Monday, 27 December 2010
Friday, 24 December 2010
Well, the Winter Solstice has past and it's the evening of Christmas Eve and all is quiet and there is just time to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year - let's hope it is better than the 'Old' Year.
Rehearsals start in a couple of week's time in preparation for our concert in Birling, near Maidstone in Kent, in March. The two traditional songs I sent demo recordings of to the others seem to have met with approval so we might well try and work them up for the concert.
In between rehearsals we will be recording the final tracks for the new CD and hope to be starting mixing it during February.
So, happy wassailing to one and all and an enjoyable Plough Monday.
Regards - John
Sunday, 28 November 2010
Steady progress is being made on the recording of the new album. I must try and remember where the files are on the computer. You knew where you were with several ten inch square boxes of half inch magnetic tape - or at least the cupboard where they were!
I've just finished putting together a rough edit of the recent concert footage so that the band can see what was going on with all the amazing lighting around us. Thanks again to '10 out of 10' for organising all that. The next stage will be to choose a few of the songs to go on a DVD which will eventually be available for sale. In the meantime I will try and get a song up on the blog for people to listen to.
A few weeks ago, with Alice and Bruce's help, Sue and I hosted a house concert for Susan Enan, an English singer-songwriter now based in the USA, and currently touring the UK following Europe, Canada and USA . It was a great success and it made me think it would be great to be able to an acoustic concert ourselves. It would certainly save on the hours of setting up and taking down that goes with a full PA performance. Mind you there are six of us which will start to fill up your front room before you add in 20-25 audience members. So if you have a large lounge and you would like us to play an intimate concert for you ........
I've also found a couple more traditional songs that might work well for the band. I've prepared a demo of each and I will be sending them to the others for consideration in due course.
Regards - John
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
Well, the St George's concert is over now and went very well by all accounts. The lighting was amazing and our thanks go to all at '10 out of 10' for providing it. Eventually the concert will be available on DVD. In the meantime we are concentrating on completing the new album.
A date for our first concert in 2011 has been confirmed for March 19th and will be at Birling in Kent. More details will be available in the new year.
Regards - John
Thursday, 7 October 2010
What's that down there? - photo courtesy of Ian Gilchrist
Hi - Less than a fortnight now until our concert at St Georges on Saturday 16th October. One more rehearsal to go. The set list has been finalised and I am really looking forward to playing there again. This will be our fifth time. I hope you can come along.
Unfortunately the planned launch of the new CD has been delayed because of the continuing building work at the Salomonjay Studios and recording has been put on hold. Hopefully things will improve in the near future and we are hopeful of having the CD completed early in the new year. I will keep you posted on progress.
Regards - John
Sunday, 25 July 2010
And Bruce has composed an instrumental piece called 'Warp and Weft' - because the various instrumental lines weave in and out. He composed it on his new iPad whilst on holiday. I'm not sure we'll do it live as Bruce doesn't have that many hands but it will be on the album.
Wednesday, 12 May 2010
Sunday, 11 April 2010
Sunday, 31 January 2010
Our first full rehearsal of 2010 coming up next weekend and I am trying to get new things together to work on. We had a 'vocals only' rehearsal a week or so ago and tried out a few new things. When I say 'new' I mean new to the current line up - two of the pieces were done at various times in the band's dim and distant past. The songs I am thinking about are the Agincourt Carol and the Swinton May Song. They are both traditional songs so some might argue that 'new' is a totally the wrong word to use - but you know what I mean. We did the Agincourt Carol back in the 70s as an unaccompanied piece. I picked it up from the Young Tradition 'Galleries' album, although they do it with an early music ensemble behind them. It's got tricky harmonies with staggered timings so it's a challenge and we'll see how it develops. The May Song is a simpler song altogether and was sung by carollers going round the village to various houses in the hope of food, drink and/or money. It's from the singing of the Watersons.
I've needed a rest from writing so I've looked afresh at traditional songs for 'new' material for the band. Another song I am looking at introducing to rehearsal is 'The Blacksmith'. There are various recorded versions of this and several tunes, the most common being the one adapted and used for 'He who would valiant be'. The recording I like the best is by Shirley and Dolly Collins on their 'Anthems in Eden' album. The trouble is that the backing -Dolly playing portative organ - is so distinctive and woven across the melody that using the tune Shirly sings I would feel that one would be obliged to repectfully copy the intricate backing. I therefore decided to use my own tune to avoid such difficult decisions. It is based on a harmony I was singing to 'He who would valiant be' whilst walking round the house. It's sad isn't it? I really must get out more......
Regards - John