The Journey is the Destination
It's been a while coming, this one... I started writing some of the songs on this album quite a number of years ago, and then 'stuff' happened. Life, various tragedies, other work. In the summer of 2017, I managed to assemble the band of wonderful musicians above for a two-day session at Loft Studios in Newcastle, under the watchful ears of Adam Sinclair. Drums (Russ Morgan), bass (Paul Susans), piano (Paul Edis), percussion (brendan Murphy), guitar (me) and some vocals were recorded 'live' with Paul Edis adding various woodwind and organ, and over the following months the other singer-songwriters from The Coast Road - Bethany Elen Coyle and Bex Mather - added harmonies, and I added a few overdubs where I thought they'd be useful. Bits of harmonica, the odd harmony... We have the amazing Joe Haydon to thank for coming in to the studio on the second day and capturing the session with the fantastic photos you'll find scattered across these pages.
It's a suite of songs that I'm hugely proud of and excited about, and I'm indebted to the great musicians who helped realise them. Mostly, these were recorded in one or two 'takes' - Paul Edis and Russ in the 'live' room, Bren and Paul in separate booths, and me in the control room with Adam. A quick play through the form to get the 'feel' of the song, then hit 'record' so what you hear is some great musicians really listening to each other and responding to the song as it emerges.
Adam Sinclair engineered and produced the whole thing, and it's down to his skill in capturing the sounds of the instruments so beautifully, and nailing great takes, as well as mixing and mastering everything, that it sounds the way it does. I hope you enjoy listening to them as much as we enjoyed making them.
The whole album tells a story, of sorts. Life is great, then shit happens, but we learn and grow from it. So I decided to break the album up and release it in three distinct 'chunks':
- Breathing (EP1) - April 2018
- Everything Breaks (EP2) - hopefully summer 2018
- Out of the Darkness (EP3) - hopefully autumn 2018
The first digital EP 'Breathing' was finished in late-March 2018, and became available in most online stores on 16th April. It's largely relaxed and jazzy, and pretty easy to listen to. If you like it, please don't keep it to yourself, but tell your friends, and spread the word. I'd love more people to hear the music.
I have no expectation of any commercial success - I'm an old geezer now in terms of the music 'industry' (whatever that is) but that in itself is pretty liberating. What the songs mean - to me, and to anyone who listens to them and likes them - is more important than any financial value. One of the things I'm interested in is finding other artists (especially 'everyday' creators) who are interested in any of the songs, to use them as a catalyst for other creative ideas. I haven't made any videos for these songs yet, as I'm hoping that some creative people will come out of the woodwork and want to make something in response to them that we could turn into a collaborative video as an accompanying video for each track. A dance, a photo, a piece of furniture, whatever. If this might be you, get in touch and let's hatch a plan...
Later This Year...
I'm working on finalising the second instalment now 'Everything Breaks', which is the 'dark' section of the album, and believe me, it's dark. If people know any of my story, you'll know why. Part of the reason for wanting to do it as three separate EPs is so you can skip the darkness if you don't need it in your life, although I really hope it speaks to other people who've experienced profound loss. Fingers crossed, it should be out by the summer.
The final section of the album, 'Out of the Darkness', is an altogether more uplifting proposition, which might even get you dancing. Jazz flute, lush harmonies and lots of redemption. Worth waiting for, I reckon, and I hope to get it finished by the end of 2018.