Music Minds Mental Health Charity Album.

I’m pleased to let you know that I’ve covered one of my favourite songs by one of my favourite songwriters and it’s included on a new triple CD album released this week on Fretsore Records in support of a number of mental health charities.

The song is Annie by the beloved Ronnie Lane that first appeared on his album Rough Mix with Pete Townshend. and it’s one I’ve loved for years. I hope I’ve done it justice. I certainly did it with love and respect and was fortunate to have some great musicians to help me. Martyn Campbell played bass guitar and home made percussion, Steve Davies, piano, Matt Hill, banjo and my Annie makes her first appearance on record playing flute and recorders. Absolutely loved doing it. The album is packed with great artists as you can see from the cover picture and you can buy it and get more details about it from Norman Records. Spotify, iTunes etc to follow. We hope it will raise money and awareness and if you have any media contacts, radio, press or online, please make sure to share this with them and they’re welcome to get in touch if they would like to talk or feature it in any way.

I’m gigging this coming Saturday (13th) at my spiritual home venue, 81 Renshaw Street, Liverpool sharing the bill with Nick Ellis and Thomas Morecroft for a Klee Records night. Tickets available from the Klee Website mention Roberts21 to get a discount on ticket price. Stage time 8pm.

I’m going to be playing songs from my It Just Is album which I haven’t done in a while. This was prompted by it being last week’s featured album on the Chris Currie Radio Show on IWFMradio. Listen back here.

Really happy to have contributed a cover version of one of my favourite Ronnie Lane songs  to a wonderful album raising money and awareness for mental health charities that will be released next month.

Here’s a video with details about the album, artists and charities:

The album, 40 songs deep, features some extremely well known artists like Glenn Tillbrook, Tom Robinson, Nick Kershaw among many others, and will be released on 10th October 2018. On the same date there’s a concert at the 02 Islington in that London. I’ll post more details soon.

MM_Gig_Poster7.jpeg-1

Two local gigs for me, the first a bit late notice, both at the best vegan Pub in the country, The Globe, High St West, Glossop.

Tonight (8th) I’m opening for the Rattlebag songwriters circle featuring Matt Hill, Emma Thorpe and Huw Costin. 8pm and this is free entry, so quite a treat it is.

Next week on 15th I return to open for Aziz Ibrahim (Stone Roses/Ian Brown and more) an amazingly gifted guitarist who’s joined by percussionist Dal. Details for this one here. Get down early as this will be very popular.

Next up after these is a return to a home from home, 81 Renshaw Street Liverpool for a songwriter night in the company of me, Nick Ellis and Thom Morecroft. Tickets available here

Well maybe not all, but a couple of mentions I’ve enjoyed recently. The first is from the gig in Liverpool where I opened for Bennett Wilson Poole a couple of weeks ago (go and see them, listen and enjoy. Superb band breathing new life in to the Byrdsian jangle) and you can read it here. There’s a couple of videos of me playing that night to be found on my Facebook music page.

Here’s the second; when you fly as far under the radar as I feel I do, then inclusion in any Top Ten is fantastic, but Top Ten songs about Liverpool?!! Quite honestly, I’m chuffed to bits. Can you guess the song? All is revealed in this article by Jamie Bowman for Get Into This.

Edit: while I’m at it here’s an interview for Liverpooletc from this time last year.

I’m back in Liverpool with a band in tow, for a festival gig on 26th August and on Saturday 13th October I’m playing solo again at 81 Renshaw Street. I’ll have more news on these soon.

Quick post to say I’m playing the wonderful 81 Renshaw Street, Liverpool venue on Friday. I’m opening for the superb Bennet Wilson Poole who fans of Americana/Byrds/Petty will absolutely love.

Im on at 9 pm for 40 minutes and I’m doing all guitar songs going from Old 16 Tambourines songs right up to the here and just about now.

Admission is £10, more details from the promoters, Heavens Gate, Facebook events page here

It’s hard to remember a time when there weren’t acoustic guitar slingers on every street corner en route to the back rooms of pubs around the country to play their bedroom classics at open mics and sessions, but at the time I recorded the songs on this collection, it was difficult for the budding James Taylor or Joni Mitchel. I didn’t regard myself as an acoustic singer-songwriter, these were songs waiting for a band to fill in the blanks.

I’ve been asked a few times why I haven’t recorded a stripped back acoustic record and it’s because I don’t regard myself as your James Taylor type – for one thing I don’t have the guitar or piano chops and also I enjoy the camaraderie of the band type collective. My songs are usually written with one eye on how they’ll sound with bigger arrangements.

These songs were recorded sometime late 1990’s or early 2000, I can’t remember. They were done one afternoon at Liverpool’s Parr Street Studios in, if memory serves, the 16 track facility they had there. Mike Hunter recorded it and I do remember him coming to my house to listen to what songs I had beforehand. He was very encouraging as I’ve always been a nervous player in studios. He set me up in the middle of the live room with a load of microphones around me like I was in a little den. I know some photos were taken during the session by my friend Spike and if you’ve seen the pictures of Dylan at the Isle of White festival, that was the kind of way it looked. Kind of.

In the 3 hours or so I believe we were there, we rattled through 1 or 2 takes of each song and in the time left went back and did some very basic overdubs. Comrade Martyn Campbell helped, along with providing some wine to keep the whistle wet. Mike mixed on the fly and we left with everything done. The CD I found had a photocopied cover, very basic, and I used it to hustle gigs and pretty useful it proved to be. Three of the songs I re-recorded later for the It Just Is album. The lovely rediscovery for me are the songs I Surrendered and Lucia, songs I really would like to record again at some point.

This collection is free to listen to and/or download over at Bandcamp and I hope you enjoy them.

 

The Sunny One

I think this is my favourite of the many songs I’ve written with Brian Chin Smithers. For years Brian and I got together once a week to write songs and we must have written, though a lot were never finished, a couple of hundred.

My recollection is that it was usually a Wednesday but it happened whenever we got together with a guitar or keyboard up until the time he moved to Brighton. In the years since, on the all too few rare occasions we meet up, we still write songs and he’s the only person I’ve ever successfully, consistently written with. I have demos of many of them recorded on to a wonderful 8 track Tascam 688 for which I have Dominic Walker to thank.

The song, though it doesn’t sound like it was, in my mind at least, inspired by Bob Marley’s High Tide or Low Tide and I remember we rediscovered our idea for it after not coming up with something we liked and so went back to sketches recorded on cassette at some earlier time. We finished it pretty quickly once we had found it. The lyrics are about Mother Nature the closest thing I have to a religion.

Brian was in Brighton by the time I recorded it but I had a midi file of his keyboard parts and lovely Mike Hunter sampled Mansun’s mellotron for me. Love the sound of it.

I recorded my vocal at 10 in the morning at Andy Wilson‘s Hype studio and it was my attempt to sound like Smokey Robinson! Doesn’t quite get there… Martyn Campbell was boss with his ideas for the song, Lizzie Nunnery popped in to sing some bvs and Tony McGuigan played them drums.

Get me out of here I need to feel the wind blow
And change this atmosphere and make my blood flow
Walk out to nature
Feel the rain that’s why she made it.

Chorus
She was wired to the sun
She lit up everyone
When she called a king would run
Coz she’s the sunny one

The past grows longer still the future shortens so
We find that time can kill but also helps us grow
Dive in to nature
Smell the flowers that’s why she made them

Chorus

So get me out of here I need to feel the wind blow
And change this atmosphere and make my blood flow
Step out to nature
Be the world that’s how she made it
That’s why she made it.

Chorus

The thing I like doing more than anything is reading, I can waste, if that’s the word, days with my head in a book. I wrote a song about authors and writing, the
real life and the imagined one. The song can be listened to below after the lyrics and I love the bass clarinet in it. A guy named Dave Roberts (no relation) who lived in Chester came along and played it. I’m not sure how we got him, a friend of a friend, he was great.

I’d demo’d this song at home but it was re-recorded at Hype studios and I used Martyn Campbellmob’s big Gretch acoustic guitar on it. Lovely big sound, fat neck but very playable.

Somebody asked me if Will is Shakespeare but it’s not him.

If Auberon was quite lazy

Martin was up with the lark

One was a sponge one one was a shadow

How do we tell who is what?

Will’ loved his mum completely

But it made him scared of his art

Writing down words can sometimes be easy

But sometimes it shows who you are.

You are easily read your heart is an index

You write whatever’s been said and you know how it sounds best.

Sentences can be a ruling

A verdict passed on to the crowd

Commas like comas you sleep for a while

A full stop’s the end of the line

A full stop can last for all time.

So write me apart where I’m famous

Let me stand out from the crowd

Give me a voice that is wise and sublime

Give me a mother who’s proud

And a father who dresses too loud.

You do what you do.