The time has come, although it could be fair to say that it�s just about been and gone, but �Recent News� has still to be updated before it slips into �Recent History� and from there into �Ancient History�! I do apologise for the lapse in web land activity which I can only put down to... me!
The DV tapes of the Trestle gig have finally been handed over after much patience and annoyance in equal measure. In the meantime Stevie R mixed the audio, which was recorded by Dan Feel; and then, after having it remastered at SRT, I have a very tidy product which should be heard by a larger audience. As soon as I�ve finished editing the video (another craft which I�ve had to master) I�ll be uploading some of the tracks onto YouTube which I hope will reach an even larger, larger audience.
Over the past year or so I�ve been going through some ideas with Skweek, with a few acoustic gigs thrown in for good measure. Skweek�s a very talented artist who�s been a good friend since the 60s�, when in the early, heady days of French Row, he was affectionally known as the Artful Dodger. I�ve always been impressed with his feel for rhythm, and the contribution he makes on djembe and harmonica takes a lot of beating, so to speak.
I�ve also been working on some songs with another old mucker from way back; Julian McAllister, my partner in crime in �Amber.� It started in Andalucia under an Iberian moon and ended up at The Berries in the rain. Nevertheless, the tracks are outstanding and confirms my belief in our musical partnership. I shall be uploading edited audio tracks in June to show that there�s still life in the old dogs yet!
Another project which is on the horizon involves Dick Moffat, a St Albans based singer/songwriter and part-time taxi driver. Dick writes some well crafted songs and what with my role as producer and arranger along with experience of the music industry, I can hopefully bring his material to the general public, apart from the unsuspecting passengers in his cab who are usually treated to an impromptu performance!
These pics are from when we did a little stint at the Portland Arms a couple of weeks ago.
There�s not enough hours in the day!!! Apart from pursuing all my various musical projects I�ve embarked on a lifetime ambition to build my own guitar, along with the grateful help of master craftsman/luthier, Gary Hearn. Having been a carpenter/joiner in my other life, I�m amazed at Gary�s commitment and attention to detail in his quest to build instruments that are second to none. I�m getting really excited thinking about the very first time that I string it up...and it�s looking great! I�m scalloping the struts below the table at the moment; giving them form. In fact, here�s a couple of pics to give you an idea of what�s going on:
Working on an acoustic guitar takes me back to the early days with Donovan when we were expected to play Mecca ballrooms and the like without pickups in the guitars and hoards of screaming girls. Mind you, even with pickups we still wouldn�t have been heard...those were the days!
Nowadays home studio electronics and the digital age rule the roost. I�m still amazed at the amount of knowledge that I�ve had to accquire in order to get into orbit, but of course the cornerstone is, as ever ... the music, thank de Lord!
Which brings me to my personal projects. I have six original songs alongside reworkings of previous material which will be released as an album later in the year, that is if it doesn�t escape in the meantime. John Renbourn, who�s been a mate since the early days in Torquay called by recently and made positive comments regarding my new material and reminded me of the parts we both played in the folk revival of the 1960s�.
I�ve got great hopes for this year, and I suppose the fact that I�m still around, doing what comes naturally and enjoying it, is a testament to a life in music.
And as a postscript here�s a bonus pic, taken last week in the Portland Arms (you�d think that it�s the only venue in St Albans, but at least you know what�s on the menu}. For the first time in years I thought I�d see if I could still cut it by playing completely on me jack...and I think I got away with it!