09/04/2012

The time has come, although it could be fair to say that itís just about been and gone, but ĎRecent Newsí has still to be updated before it slips into ĎRecent Historyí and from there into ĎAncient Historyí! 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 Iíve finished editing the video (another craft which Iíve had to master) Iíll be uploading some of the tracks onto YouTube which I hope will reach an even larger, larger audience.

Over the past year or so Iíve been going through some ideas with Skweek, with a few acoustic gigs thrown in for good measure. Skweekís a very talented artist whoís been a good friend since the 60sí, when in the early, heady days of French Row, he was affectionally known as the Artful Dodger. Iíve 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.

Iíve also been working on some songs with another old mucker from way back; Julian McAllister, my partner in crime in ĎAmber.í 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 thereís 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.

Thereís not enough hours in the day!!! Apart from pursuing all my various musical projects Iíve 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, Iím amazed at Garyís commitment and attention to detail in his quest to build instruments that are second to none. Iím getting really excited thinking about the very first time that I string it up...and itís looking great! Iím scalloping the struts below the table at the moment; giving them form. In fact, hereís a couple of pics to give you an idea of whatís 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 wouldnít have been heard...those were the days!

Nowadays home studio electronics and the digital age rule the roost. Iím still amazed at the amount of knowledge that Iíve 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 doesnít escape in the meantime. John Renbourn, whoís 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 1960sí.

Iíve got great hopes for this year, and I suppose the fact that Iím still around, doing what comes naturally and enjoying it, is a testament to a life in music.

And as a postscript hereís a bonus pic, taken last week in the Portland Arms (youíd think that itís the only venue in St Albans, but at least you know whatís on the menu}. For the first time in years I thought Iíd see if I could still cut it by playing completely on me jack...and I think I got away with it!