Here’s a page for new music, just for my email subscribers. These songs will eventually go public, maybe with updates, but for now they’re just here for you to say thanks for subscribing! There will be one a month for the whole of 2020.
Well it’s now December and I’ve managed to complete the challenge. Some I’m really pleased with, some will need a good bit of rework but I’m really happy to have managed to complete twelve new recordings in a year. It’s the equivalent of an album.
January – Gurus At The Bar
More about this one here: Gurus At The Bar.
February – The Man You See In Me
This song was inspired by the wedding speech my son-in-law made when he married my daughter on a beach in East Lothian a couple of years ago. He said he wanted to be ‘the man you see in me.’
March – Quite Like You
Languid. I love languid. Louche. And everything of that nature.
April – Poor Liar
This one has been years in the making, moving in fits and starts, from the initial guitar tune, which is about ten years old. I thought it would be an instrumental but couldn’t think of anything to do with it. Last year I added the words ‘I saw it in your face …’ from a notebook. The two piano verses were pretty much improvised on the spot. Since then I’ve added and added until it was too frightening to try and mix it. But it’s done so here y’are!
May – Crow
This is a far more driving, aggressive sound than you’re used to from me. It started in 2013 as ‘Cale experiment #1’ inspired by John Cale’s album Hobo Sapiens, one of my all-time favourites. The lyrics are inspired by Ted Hughes’s book Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow, a dark series of poems about a demigod agent of chaos in the form of a crow. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crow_(poetry)
June – Coffee Man
A quick co-write between myself and Gerry Callaghan. Gerry had always been telling me to get into FAWM – February Album Writing Month – a site where songwriters challenge themselves to, yes, write an album in a month. He said ‘Let’s write something now’ and it was the first of a few co-writes and new songs I put up in FAWM. Not an album but a good burst of productivity. This I think is the best of them.
July – Don’t Ask The Sea
This short song started as a fingerpicking guitar instrumental, then I transferred it to the PC, aiming for a Brian Eno-type atmosphere. As I’ve often done I raided my file of unused snippets of lyrics and poems for the rather oblique words.
August – Home and Dry
Back to the melancholy side of my songwriting for the only song actually written in the last few weeks. It’s actually a spiritual song of reassurance and compassion but, well, I like a good dirge!
September – Montparnasse
Here’s something more cheerful than the last couple. This instrumental started life as a composition assignment from my guitar teacher Ged Brockie, but that was a few months ago and I’ve lived, breathed and run with it since then, using it to learn about string composition as well as melody and harmony. Thanks very much to Bobo Lavorgna in New York for the string bass part!
October – Remember
The mellotron gives it a 1970s Bowie kind of feel, probably the melody too. The scenario is quite vague but I hope you’ll fill in the blanks – someone leaving a party and pondering the meaning of it all, especially because they have some dark secret.
November – Sleeping Star
A song that dates back to 1978, living in Cairo and having a crush on a friend of a friend. Lyrically immature, but I was surprised when it popped back into my head last month and even more surprised when I realised I remembered how to play it. I don’t think I ever played it to anyone at the time, so it’s waited 42 years to be heard. Just fingerpicked guitar and some strings.
December – Blue Guitar
Last song of the year. A completely new song, written in December. The first part was sung to me in a dream by a young Mexican street boy on a battered old guitar, sat on some rubble under the blazing sun. When I woke up I remembered the song and improvised the melody and lyric to the second part. It was very quick and I decided not to ‘argue with it’ but just accept whatever lyrics my unconscious mind was providing.