The real guitar came along…fell happily in love! Went to Bristol University and was discovered for the first time by The Blue Aeroplanes – western stars every single one! Gigged and giggled a lot with them. Until we went our separate musical ways – me to London to go solo. I was discovered the second time by Richard Skinner/Bill Stewart/Editions EG/CBS. They thought I was like the young Bob Dylan !? Bill had discovered U2 too. Lots of promise and potential and life lessons……Alan McGee said I was ‘ok’……Joe Boyd almost came to a gig.
I was discovered for the third time by Billy Bragg and Pete Jenner. CD, radio, national tours…the world was my winkle. Highlights: gig in Llandudno supporting Christie Moore – a night-time walk with him, watching the wheeling gulls; BBC session at Abbey Road for whistling Bob Harris (replayed many times on archive hour!). Worst of times – coming home in the early morning after Birmingham gig – a few hours sleep, then day job!
Ten light years later, a few more discoveries. Parlophone said I was like Thom York and Tracy Chapman…in the way we saw the music business as a distraction. The A&R department came to my home and I did a gig in the spotlight of my table lamp!
Hot Records liked my new CD but some guys were put off by the Andrew Marvell and Alfred, Lord Tennyson. I wrote my first chamber musical – a satire. Then I wrote my second – a satire. Then a jazz opus in which I played all the instruments (midi on the white keys). I performed one woman shows to select audiences. Then I was discovered by Spencer Roberts of The Winnebago Orchestra. We got a deal with Schott International and both The Sun and the Rolling Stone liked us!
Gigs in Tin Pan Alley, studio by the sea and new studio round the corner, playing with my friends: ex-Blue Aeroplanes – Ian Kearey, David Chapman – and Roberto Sainz de la Maza (a name to conjure with).
I formed Mirabeau with Ian and Richard Price to make poetry-guitar music. We had so much fun we finished the difficult second album, Age of exploration, launched in a fanfare at Brixton Ritzy in August 2015.
Another musical. More songs. Even more songs. Then string quartet, guitar quartet and double cello concerto – those white keys again!
Gay demo: field recordings from the audio underground took a lifetime to form, 2 months to write and a day to record. It says what it is on the tin: it spoke its name. Watch the movie!
2017 is the year of ‘Waters wide’, the debut album by Koral Society. 10 of my songs are transformed by Mosi Konde on kora and Alison Rayner on double bass, into exquisite fusions of jazz-pop-geo-world. A brilliant musical adventure – catch us live this year in our rolling tour!
And it is the year for ‘The Squares’ – we are piloting a warm jet Blues Aeroplanes spin-off with me on classical guitar and Nick Jacobs on telecaster. We are working hard on our first album for release at the end of the year. Our EP ‘Hearth’ launched in May in Brixton. A solo album from me is also underway – all the songs with words coming out of my ears have been saved for this one 🙂
Together, Koral Society, The Squares and me solo have formed a loose collaboration which I call The Hearth Collective. We are a family of bands, combining our musical forces – our core and periphery – to make brilliant, important world class music.