Feel obliged to put this up here - sorry for not posting in ages. My manager is going to love that my first post in ages is going on about someone else. DIG!
But a lot of people have been asking - the track that plays over the PA before I go onstage at the gigs is Dinah & The Beautiful Blue by Thomas Feiner. The album it is from is called The Opiates (revised). Go and buy it, seriously, it's amazing.
Also playing before that is the soundtrack to the Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 by David Shire.
And that's it.
I'm having a lovely time on this tour. Really am. Such busy times at the moment - straight back into mixing the new Guillemots record when I return, but all good...
Was going to post more today as I have a (kind of, except for playing 3 songs at a "ladies lunch" .. yes, honestly.. ) day off, but i can't get online in me room and can't be arsed to sit down in reception of the hotel all day. That's how i roll. But I'll really try to get more up here soon.
Love to you all
KCRW session, and Claire's future husband?
I keep meaning to write an extensive diary of my recenttravels in America on here. Well i say travels but I mean 12 days or so playinga few gigs, doing a few sessions and eating some nice food. Hardly travels. ButI never seem to quite find the time.
Suffice to say I had a really great time.
****** THERE IS ACTUALLY A LINK TO SOMETHING TO DO WITH MYMUSIC AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS SO JUST SKIP DOWN, IF, LKE, YOU'RE IN A RUSH ORHATE FOOD ********
And, first things first, can heartily recommend these eatingspots. (from henceforth,capitals often mean a link. but not always. god to keep the world guessing)
PANE E VINO in LA - YES! i had Gamberetti alla santa margarita - shrimp sauteed in cognac,honey, scallions and curry served with grilled polenta, and then Tortelloni diMagro al Burro Bruciato - pastafilled with dandelions greens, ricotta, parmesan, burned butter and sage.mmmmmmm
MOLE, NYC - and get a mojitoooo which comeswith sugarcane in it - i'd never had sugarcane - or a jalapheno and cucumbermargarita. mind bogglingly good. All about the BAJA STYLE FISH TACOS
and finally , actually I can't remember the other reallygood place. A sushi place near Venich Beach in LA. Hama maybe?
And music - didn't see loads but enjoyed the band GROUPLOVE and their song Naked Kids. Please read on, they're not dodgy though that mix oftitles isn't exactly an invite. But they were a charming band, had this sort ofmix of Neil Young summery haziness and Pixies raw energy live, and a kind ofArcade Fire bigness. If I was in Grouplove I'd hate that description but hey.They're onto a good thing there though. And well done for getting lobster intoa song too.
The point of this was actually to promote myself wasn't it.The video of my radio session at KCRW in LA is up online now, featuring Tom andLeslie on da strings. It was a good one for me so I'm glad it was filmed. Notso glad I was so hot I had to fling off my shirt and reveal my exciting darkgrey vest half-way through. Casual style. But there you go.
HERE IT IS! ********* THIS IS THE LINK BIT TO SOME MUSIC! *******
And finally, another hate mail about my Billy Joel cover.Even better perhaps than Claire H.
"I have never heard of you before, and will not beupset if I never do again.
Billy Joel's song "Always a woman to me" is aclassic, and clearly too good for someone with an average singing voice. Pleasechoose your songs more carefully, songs that have simple monotone will be muchmore suitable!
Operations Director. "
Should i send Gary and Claire each other's email addressesand give Cupid a nudge?
Must get off to rehearsal now anyway. We start recording newGuillemots album on Monday. Very, very, excited.
One benefit of doing a fairly straightfoward cover of a great Billy Joel song is that it really connects you with, I suppose, a new "demographic" of people.
Such as Claire, below, who sent me this email through yesterday.
I have never sent an email like this before, but I have just heard yourcover of Billy Joel's She's Always a Woman and it was SO dreadful I hadto write to you.
Not only is your vocal awful, but you have more or less copied theoriginal note for note (although yours are all bum notes). Firstly,why feel the need to cover such an already perfect song and secondly,if you are going to cover it, at least do something different (andthirdly, while you are at it, sing in tune!).
Sorry to write such a negative email, but I notice that this song is onthe Radio 2 play list and I am now going to have to endure it over andover again for the next few weeks. How depressing.
Yours, a Billy Joel fan,
PS At first, I thought it was Damien Rice "singing" and then I wouldhave understood why I didn't like it. I like your other songs!
I like Claire but I don't think I'd want to actually go on a date with her.
Will be writing yous all soon from Americland!
GANNETS / CELLO!
HELLO AGAIN.. . a little note to say firstly i'm playing at the Vortex tonight with Gannets - hey, I'm on such borrowed time I'm not even going to link to it, just type in "VORTEX GANNTES MAY 6th) and I'm sure you'll find what you need.
The Vortex is just off Kingsland Road in London.
Secondly, I have a cello piece being performed on Sunday, and indeed some other days. I've just written it and need to decide what it's called today. I think I'm going for "Poco & The Cage", though I'm not sure why.
Here's stuff about it .. please do come along, it sounds like a really interesting night.
Wow - thanks to everyone who came to my two Bloomsbury Theatre shows this week. Had a bit of a surprise at the 2nd show, last night, when 5 minutes before I was due onstage I got a knock at my dressing room door with my manager saying there was a somewhat important visitor to see me, and I opened my door to Paul McCartney standing there! Just saying hello, like, and explaining he'd have to leave before the end and so if I saw him leaving it wasn't because he didn't like it. . but that he was looking foward to catching a lot of it.
It was almost so surprising it felt vaguely normal, if that makes sense..
But I can't really put into words what it means to have someone who's music I've listened to literally as long as I can remember come and watch a gig of my own. Especially when it's someone who's had such a huge huge influence on music all over the world in the last 50 years. And someone whose songs are constantly swimming around in the back of my head, pretty much every day. But I can say this - it feels PRETTY PRETTY COOL.
So I found myself in the strange position of playing "The Fool on the Hil", which I'd covered a couple of times before and had already put into the setlist for last night too, in front of the man who wrote it. I don't think that's a memory I'll be forgetting.
Anyway - yes - more from me soon. Back into writing and piecing things together for next Guillemots record now. But a massive thanks to Sir Macca for giving me his time, and again to everyone else who came along and showed their support, and last but not least to Marie and Charlie who have been bowing strings beautifully onstage with me the last few months. These last two gigs were a real joy to do, even more than usual.
A Brief Update, More Soon..
Yes, I really need to sleep now but had vowed to at least write a "will write more soon" note when I got back in. So this i do. Just back from three gigs supporting Corrine Bailey Rae which has been fun. They've made us feel most welcome and, tonight, backstage in Leamington Spa, we encountered Tammy Wynette's old caravan, which just seems to be there because the owner had the chance to buy it, and apparenly build an entire backstage area around it. Fair enough, if you can, you can.
Done a bit of promo these last few days and had a great time today with Hywel and Jamie recording some stuff for both their Key 103 podcast and their Kerrang and Q shows .. most fun I've had in an "interview" ( I wouldn't really call it that though!) in a long time. ..
Life has been very hectic of late - my head's been mainly focused on getting ready to start making Guillemots Album 3. We now have a month or so to go before we begin to record properly. We made a list of potential album songs the other day, and reckon we have 40 to 50 so far, not counting about another 30 or 40 ideas that we need to work on more. We just need to figure out which ones fit together the best! But a nice position to be in.. .still want to write some more new ones though. . .you can always do better ...
But in-between that I've been having fun doing gigs for my own record, I was in America last week, at the mentalfest that is South by Southwest. At some point I'd like to start putting some links up here and so on but for now just a brief list will have to do - I really enjoyed a band from just down the road from me by the sound of things called Kasms, went to see a band everyone in the industry is apparently talking about Local Natives who despite all the hype / as the hype would suggest (delete as appropriate) were actually pretty good, likewise a band from Australia called The Middle East - although my favourite things that they played were apparenly new songs so I can't hear them anywhere, and also a band from somewhere in America called Fictionist, who were great, a proper old fashioned pyschedlic rock band and all the better for it. I was also a fan of the way their guitarist took the time between songs to start introducing himself to people in the front row and shaking their hands. Very suave. A guy called Boy Eats Drum Machine also played the same night and was very entertaining. So yeah - glad I got to see some new music that I'd never heard about before.
Apart from that I largely stuffed my face.
Live music-wise in Britain, I've also enjoyed wonderful gigs recently by Wild Beasts at Koko and by a wonderful Canadian songwriter called Eric Cheanux at the Good Ship in Kilburn.
I also have a special little record with I Blame Coco coming out, we covered "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" by Neil Young and it turned out really nicely. There will be a video appearing online soon, and a video blog too. The hat I am wearing in said videos, I should add, was just lying around the studio, and I was persuaded by everyone there to wear it. I do not, repeat, not, actually think that I am a cowboy.
Right, well this will have to be it for now. But I will soon return to this electronic space and post some links to good stuff that has been floating around my head of late.
Until then, stay awake when you've got things to do, and enjoy sleep when the time is right
IF YOU'RE VISITING INDIA, READ ME..
Well you can be re-assured that my lack of posts on here of late has been entirely down to business, and nowt else. we're really enjoying being guillemots again . . and we're also hatching a few more plans for my record - think we're going to be announcing some shows very soon. . .. so yeah. . .and what else can i tell you. this morning i am drinking strong coffee and a Nair Dosa from last night's meal at Rasa that I had to take home cos I'd stuffed my face. Nair Dosa? Wha? Well, look it up kids. It's good.
Anyway, I should have put this link up here a long time ago. I had an amazing holiday in India at the start of the year, with, amongst other people, my friend Ben. I will hopefully put some photos up here soon. Anyway, as well as being my HOTSTEPPER friend, Ben is one ot the PEOPLE behind HOME AND HOSPITALITY, who are basically a fairly new and extremely, well, good company who decided that hotels In India are usually dead over-priced and that there should be better and more personable alternatives. So they have set up a range of wonderful places to stay in India, from B&B style stopovers, to living with families in their homes, to independent self-catering loveliness..
And yes I am entirely bigging up my friend's company but hell, it's my website and I can do with it what I will.. . and if you're thinking of visiting India, which I can't say enough - YOU SHOULD. . so what if its cliched coming from a musician . it's amazing and i so want to go back .. but anyway, yes. . . look HITHER for somewhere to stay. You may even be lucky enough, as we were, to have a man living with you who makes omlettes that are so tasty they make you question whether you had ever truly eaten an omlette before. True fact.
THIS IS THE THING TO CLICK ON IF YOU WANT THE MOST EXCELLENT BED & BREAKFAST OR HOMESTAY IN INDIA KIDS! SO CLICK IT!!
YES! Seriously. More people need to know about H&H. And you, reader, are a people. As one. So, spread the word. The word is the link. And the link is good, kids.
I guess you're not all kids are you. Oh well. Who is, really? Who is?
Well I am going to finish listening to Greig's new song megamix - he's just the kind of guy, he likes making DJ sets of unreleased material for us all to listen to - and then off to play, write and rehearse with me possie
By the way, if you haven't bought my album yet, buy it! It's good! (i think)
HERE"S A LINK TO IT ON AMAZON!!!!
The Shark Ballads
i found these today in the flat, some poems that my rather wonderful friend Robert wrote a few years back. He will probably demand i remove them from here as soon as he knows they're up, but until then, enjoy -
THE SHARK BALLADS
THE SHARK ARRIVES
Cool down the rocks in fresh water
Do not burn the guest
He is about to arrive
Present him with pre-shelled pistachios
Gold-leafed pine cones
Whiskey over iced champagne
Remove the dust, paint the halls
Bleed the carpet red
The shark has come to visit
What a day for me and mine
The shark slumped on my sofa
No more second rate bovine guests
What grace at the table
What wit in his speech
How elegant the cut of his suit
But please move your God eyes
Slightly to the side
You are here for supper not for my mind.
THE SHARK'S HARP
Today I have learnt how to play the Shark's Harp
In a narrow corridor of ocean
Somewhere south of Polynesia
It has charmed men and fish
Lured even sirens
It has drowned birds and monkeys
Whale and squid have shook hands
And shyly circled each other
Building courage to dance
Mighty Architeuthis reduced
To school disco shame
By my novice fingers
What gift for the shark
Kind enough to share this
His greatest creation
I shall, unlike the others
Not make him my slave.
THE SHARK'S HEIST
He has slyly robbed me
His jaundiced gills slapping my face
Knocking me out with his stench of rot
We should never have met
Never have circled with his family
Made plans to swim the moon
All hail the magnificent shark
Coarse breathed friend
THE SHARK DIES
I've made heavy cordial
Of the ocean
The shark is dead
His head is staked
As a subtle warning
To a thousand blind fish
No one is grieving him
A cruel master
Deposed, reborn, deceased
Dropped in the struggle
The harp is lost
Somewhere beneath the Pangean ghost
Silly that we bothered
To become such friends
But I shall still say a prayer as I fall asleep
That you are safe out there in the mist.
IF YOU WANT TO WATCH SOMETHING
well, hell, why not watch this.
it's a session i did the other day for absolute radio, with three songs from me record and a cover by some liverpudlian band that that thomas tank engine dude used to be in called the tootles or something
(i can't work out how to embed it, so we'll have to be old skool about this)
and an interview, herein
alright that's it for now my luvvies
a very very good song
well this kind of got me welling up. wow. i keep thinking i'm getting bored of songs and singers, that i want to fill my head and days with blips and samples and future sounds, and then a song like this arrives and just makes me play it over and over again, and reminds me how i'll always, whether or not i actually want to, be drawn more than anything to the emotions rather than the mathematics of music. this song seems especially resonant at the moment. and i'm playing with them in january in glasgow at the abc.. i can't wait.