Thursday, 27 February 2014

Paco de Lucia dies

Sadly the flamenco guitar great Paco de Lucia has died the BBC has reported.

So  Here is a tribute to him from his work with Al Di Meola and John McLaughlin which no doubt exposed him to a different audience some years back.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Rochester Music Cafe - Love Songs

I was part of the Rochester Music Cafe - Love Songs night.

The cafe is an idea for a "community" based music group.  An eclectic mix of people from solo singer songwriters, solo singers etc. etc.

I was asked to join by my brother-in-law who has been involved as they were weirdly lacking electric guitarists - normally not a problem but they had drummers, bassists, keyboard players and singers galore but no one who can widdle on a 6 string.

The format is a one or two numbers from each singer.  I was in the "band section" which was new for this set up they've never had a full blown group play like this.  We did BonJovi's I'll Be There For You - we were ok - apart from yours truly hitting the wrong intro chord! Way to go!  Also a trio did one of my old numbers - Just Let Me Love You Tonight.

Actually it was good to get out and play with others - it stretches me and makes me listen more.

One funny story I must share was the drummer commenting on my song - "I was trying to find a pattern to lift it up a bit.  I mean it's a love song but you have quiet a melancholy voice."  I just found that funny but also probably an astute observation.

Some of the singers were really impressive.  Shame many used backing tracks.  I think my brother-in-law has an evil plan for band domination that we become the "house band" and the singers rotate through with us playing the backing - I'd be up for that, again the different styles that'll demand will be an interesting proposition.

One point though.  I'm going to have to change my amp - now the Hughes and Kettner Statesman is a great sounding amp.  But at 60w it is a bit too much frankly even in a setting like that I can't push it.  Also it is too bloody heavy for my back to cart about!  It has forced me to think - I'm considering something like the Hughes and Kettner Tubemeister 36 now.  Greater flexibility in terms of better for home use with the reducing power soak option and speaker emulated out.  36W I think will be ample for the situations I play in like the Cafe.  Also you can program in settings and recall them if you use a midi pedal which sounds really useful if this house band thing comes off rather than fiddling with a load of resetting sounds in between numbers.  You can get a 1x12 combo which will be more portable and I might add an additional 1x12 cab for live use maybe...   watch this space I'll talk about this more if I do decide to make the purchase.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Latest music stuff

I've been quiet on the solo side lately - frankly I've just not been bothering to try and get any gigs, turn up at any open mic nights etc.

I've not been that inspired to write much either - just seem to have the same old stuff.  I plan to spend sometime on dedicated song writing sessions at some point soon to try and address that.

The other thing I have been doing is a band thing.  My brother-in-law is a member of a church and they have a spin off community music group, so whilst not part of the church he asked me to join as for some bizarre reason they lack electric guitarists - not normally a situation you find in any collection of people.

Anyway - we are playing a "love songs" theme night today.  I'm only in two numbers "I'll be there for you" the BonJovi classic and "Just let me love you tonight" my tune which we've had no rehearsal time for!! 

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Adrian Legg USA tour

Adrian Legg has announced a series of dates in the USA.

Here is a couple of examples of his brilliance... The Irish Girl is so hauntingly brilliant

Monday, 3 February 2014

CD Reviews

Time to review some recent CDs...

Transatlantic - Kaleidoscope

Latest from the four piece prog rock super group.  Now if you don't like your prog to be PROG then look away now... 25 min epics, time changes galore, over production etc. this has the lot.  Has to be said though these guys are turning some of the best prog on the planet at the moment if you like old style Yes, Genesis etc.  This isn't perhaps as good as the full blown concept album The Whirlwind which was the last time they had space to get together but it is still a really really good album.
We kick off with an epic - Into the Blue - which as a stonking overture just to get you in the mood building from violining guitars with synths and bell percussion etc. to a King Crimson'esq heavy riff with Hammond organ blaring out. It's 6 mins before the vocal starts - you know where you are with this lot! More instrumental through out than vocal this is my highlight of the album probably has the best singing on the album too.

Shine and Black as the Sky are a couple of shorter more commercial tracks in the middle along with Beyond the Sun.  Shine is a great anthem I had a video of it up a few weeks back - search back.

Then the title track another 30 min epic of great proportions.   All round great stuff.  My version came with a second CD of covers from Yes, through King Crimson, Procul Harum to Elton John - all quiet faithful attempts to recreate not reinvent but all well produced the same.

James Vincent McMorrow - Post Tropical

A reasonable followup to his terrific debut (Early in The Morning).  This is a reasonable effort but doesn't have the punch that the first had - maybe not recording it in a front room lost some of the punch of the first.  Also whilst some good songs on it there is nothing that really stands out like a couple of tracks did on the first.  If you loved his first you'll like this but I can't see it winning him many more new fans I'm afraid.

Adam Holmes - Heirs and Graces

Found via SoundCloud and the excellent Folk Radio UK stream on there.  Really like this, honest English folk, hints of John Martyn and John Mayer neither of which is no bad thing.  Really like it - Monday Morning the kick off track is a great Martyn'esq laid back sway along, sing along song and sets the store out well.  Common Ground is another highlight with some great slide playing on that with beautifully executed guitar and heart felt lyrics.

Try and find him to listen to - worth it.

Show of Hands - Wake the Union

Got this for Christmas and it's been one of the mainstays on my playlist since.  Just brilliant from the stunning opener "I'll Haunt you" through to the last track you're entranced with great songwriting, playing and singing.  One of the best kept secrets on the UK folk scene I don't understand why this lot aren't superstars they are superb.

Steeleye Span - Wintersmith

Bit of a folky feel to my latest lot isn't there... well the Span showed up in the Christmas stocking too with this masterpiece inspired by a story from Terry Prachett's Discworld novels.  The Dark Morris Tune and Dark Morris Song are worth the money alone but some other great folk-rock sounds bounce out like Band of Teachers and Fire and Ice.  Shows they can still do the business.