Friday, 27 May 2011

We were searching for a saviour, just like anybody else...

For the past two weeks I've been waking up each morning to pictures and blogs from The Horrible Crowes working in a studio in "a secret location on the Jersey Shore". They have completed the album now so I'm looking forward to its September release right before the Revival Tour kicks off.

Meanwhile I am preparing to record an album of my own songs. I've been writing my own material for probably nearly ten years, not all of it worth recording mind you but in the past few years the style I've been writing in has definitely matured. My concern is though that the longer time goes on, the more songs I write I'm going to end up forgetting how earlier ones were supposed to sound so I want to get them all recorded in acoustic demo form at least and then the ones I consider to be the best I hope to one day put onto an album with several instruments behind them. I guess I've reached a point where I feel I am writing songs worthy of recording. I'm not 'bigging' myself up, song writing doesn't come naturally to me. I can stare for hours at the screen and only write a few lines and I've written several 'dead wood' songs along the way but recently I'm at a stage where I'm happy with what I'm writing, a stage where I feel I'm not going to improve much more than this. Don't get me wrong here, I'm not trying to "make it". This is a project purely for my own satisfaction but once complete if I get playing some open mics and acoustic nights that would perhaps be a good goal right now.

Recording will most likely take place in my "home studio" which may lose a bit of that studio quality but I'm optimistic about how good this can sound and would hope to have a finished product in a years time. I want this to be as good as it can be but I've still got a lot of work to do. I'm still gradually improving as a guitar player so theres that to consider and a few of the songs are still only partially written so they need to be completed, I need to re-work lyrics on a few older songs and then need to write lead guitar and bass parts for the ones that will go on the album. I will be posting samples of songs on here and maybe Soundcloud at some point and will be interested to see what you readers think. In the meantime here is a link to my song 'Sweetheart Serenade'. Its the only original song of mine available on You Tube so I hope you like it.

Sweetheart Serenade

That wasn't my song of the blog by the way. Recently I've discovered this band called Against Me!, another gem that I've plucked from the endless galaxy of music available to us. They are considered to be in the 'folk punk' genre but this isn't heavy punk rock, the lyrics are well written and the band are easily compared with bands such as Rise Against, Hot Water Music and Alkaline Trio. Here is a link to a song from their new album and this is the title track 'White Crosses'. Educate yourself.

Against Me! White Crosses

Monday, 2 May 2011

Let me take you by the hand and lead you through The Streets of London

I've always liked London. I've always loved the buzz, that hustle and bustle of big city life, so many people with different agendas all rushing around and going about their business it creates this great atmosphere  and thats something thats always fascinated me.

One visit to London, I must have been eleven or twelve, back when my parents were still together. We were staying in a hotel on Knightsbridge. I remember this seedy little hotel that we stayed in called The Stuart, the lift was broken and we had to haul the cases up five flights of stairs to the top floor. Our room overlooked Knightsbridge and one night we'd just got back from having our dinner out somewhere. It had gone dark and we'd completed the usual bed time rituals of shower, pyjamas, teeth and lights out. My parents and sister were in bed but we had this tall bathroom window that slid upwards and I was able to sit on the toilet lid and lean out of this window to look out at the street below. It was late at this point but it was summer, there was a warm breeze, close to midnight too but cars and taxis were still zipping past and the odd person would go walking by and it interested me. All these people still out and about... Where are they going at this time of night on their own? Home? The train station? Somewhere out of the ordinary? It started me wondering about these lone passers by, what their story was and I guess the interest for me at that age was imagining what these people were up to, walking off into the night in this huge, dark city. It made me want to be out on those streets, maybe I could follow them through the streets and alleyways off into the night. Maybe I would just wander on my own, scared but excited at experiencing the city at night. Unfortunately that was all in my head I had to settle for closing the window and heading to bed but that fascination with the city at night still sticks with me to this day. The city at night, never sleeping, lights, neon signs, life constantly moving.

I'm recently back from my latest visit to London and no matter how many times you go theres always something new to see that you never noticed before. There are so many little streets linking all the main streets and they're all full of little businesses, traditional looking pubs, people making a living or even just living in their hidden backstreet apartments. There are so many people, so many different stories, I feel I could just find a seat outside of a pub and just watch this all happening, the world going by. I guess this makes me somewhat of a people watcher but again I'm just soaking up that city atmosphere and I'm pretty sure I've got this trait from my Dad. We all become our parents in many ways as we grow older. Thats my theory.

London seemed such a huge place when I was kid. We went everywhere in the taxis with our parents and maybe thats why but now that I'm older I realise how easy it is just to walk from place to place. I don't like using the tube unless I have to. You see more when you travel on foot, things that you wouldn't discover otherwise. Many people, different nationalities, different buildings, little pubs, hidden parks, markets, I think you're getting the picture. When I was in New York it was the same. I wouldn't have walked through Chinatown, Little Italy or Greenwich Village if I'd hopped on a train and these places are all worth seeing and at least walking through in order to see the diversity in culture and lifestyle. Some of these places have character of their own and lets face it, walking helps save the planet and helps work off the greasy footlong you just bought from one of the many subways. Its win win.

If you've taken the time to read these almost pointless musings then heres your reward... a little gem. My song of the blog this time is this old song by Ralph McTell called 'The Streets of London'. This deals with some of the stories of a few different characters, some of the more forgotten members of society, lonely in this big city and the singer makes his partner aware there are lonelier people in this city than they are. Its a sad song but the words are nice and kind of romantic I guess. I hope you give it a listen. Xiao for now

Ralph McTell - The Streets of London