Sunday, 18 December 2011

I thought you said we could fix it in the mix? - photo courtesy of Sue Richards

As you can see from the picture, the new album is in the final stages of mixing. "Turn it up" "No, turn it down". As you can see, Alice has the right idea, carry on with her Viking weaving until the rest of the committee have argued themselves to a standstill and then give the casting vote.

For a change the majority of the album comprises traditional songs. Traditional material has always made up a significant part of our repertoire so it seemed appropriate to feature more of it this time. In doing research for the CD notes I realised that my exposure to English traditional song dates back to 1969 and the release of three albums that had a great influence on my musical outlook from then until the present day.

The first was 'Liege and Lief' by Fairport Convention. It marked their move from contemporary American West Coast singer/songwriter material to find a more 'English' sound and in turn set off the folk rock genre. We had already been covering a number of their earlier songs so it was logical to explore the origins of the songs on their ground-breaking album.

The second was 'Anthems in Eden' by Shirley and Dolly Collins. Not only did it feature wonderful songs sung by Shirley in her natural Sussex accent and Dolly's distinctive instrumental settings on portative organ and piano, but it also featured the Early Music Consort lead by David Munro and began my love affair with the sound of medieval instruments and trying to play them!

The third was 'Galleries' by the Young Tradition which introduced me to the more than distinctive voice of Peter Bellamy. This album was released shortly before they broke up but it started off my interest in unaccompanied singing which in turn led to discovering The Watersons and back to the Copper Family. The 'Galleries' album also featured the Early Music Consort.

That's enough for now. So I will conclude by wishing you all, on behalf of everyone in Childe Rolande, a merry Christmas and a very happy New Year.

Regards - John

Sunday, 9 October 2011

A concert shot courtesy of Ian Gilchrist

We've done some initial mixing of the album and the intention is to get a rough version for everyone in the band to listen to on different systems and to make comments on instrument balance and whether anything needs to be re-recorded or added. At the moment it looks like the album will be twelve tracks with three of them self compositions and the rest traditional although some have new melodies. Bruce will be putting some short clips of some of the 'work in progress' song mixes up on the website for you to listen to in due course.

I am getting near to finishing the shooting for the video of Phaedra and hope to have it uploaded by the end of the year. While on the subject of videos we've had a couple of favourable comments on videos already on YouTube - Film Noir and Shepherds Arise. Thank you to the people concerned. It 's certainly nice to have positive feedback. It makes everything worthwhile.

Regards - John

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Shepherds Arise live at Birling Church March 2011

Well, I have finally finished uploading the video of us performing Shepherds Arise and you can see it by clicking on the link below. Our lingering memory of the concert is that it was bitterly cold in the church that evening - probably you can hear our teeth chattering in the background. In strict rhythm, of course! Nevertheless, we really enjoyed it and we got lots of positive feedback in the days following the concert. Maybe we'll go back again - when it's warmer!

Regards - John

Sunday, 27 March 2011

A still from the forthcoming Phaedra video

Work is coming along well on the new album and the final recording sessions will be taking place over the next few weeks. Alongside the recording over the last few months I have been putting together a video for the song, Phaedra. It's going to take a while before it's ready to go onto YouTube. In the meantime there will shortly be a video uploaded of the live performance of the unaccompanied traditional song, Shepherds Arise, for you to enjoy. Recorded at the recent Birling concert.

Regards - John

Monday, 21 March 2011

Behind you! A view from the back line at the Birling concert

The concert at Birling Church on Saturday night was a great success. It was very well attended and raised some much needed money for the fund for the repair of the stone boundary wall. Our thanks to Nick, Rob and Robin for the design and set up of the stage lighting and to everyone else who helped - Sue on the sound desk, Clare for looking after us and Romey for the chocolate cake!

Attention now switches to completing the recording for the new album.

Regards - John

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Photo courtesy of Ian Gilchrist

The concert at Birling Church is now only a week away. Tickets are £8 (which includes refreshments) - give Dave or Margaret a call on 01732 521022 or 01732 842216 respectively to reserve a seat. The concert starts at 7.30pm. The church is in the centre of Birling at the junction of Ryarsh Road, Bull Road and Snodland Road. For you SatNav folk the address is Birling Church, Snodland Road, Birling, ME19 5 Kent. There is a car park just behind the church. Birling is just north of the M20 at the junction with the A228 for Snodland and then taking Snodland Road westward to Birling.

We will be featuring some of the songs that will be found on our new album which should be nearing completion around Easter.

Hope to see you at the concert.

Regards - John