My first EP from 2006! You’ll probably recognise the title track but that’s me playing the guitar part I wrote on my trusty Alvarez MD60, brand spanking new then, I still use it today… The Tangled Tree EP
Singing & songwriting are hopelessly naively cynical in that way little me was. Lots of things I wouldn’t do today but also plenty I would. I was 24 which is old enough to be better than that but I always was inclined to take my time, no protégé am I, more tortoise than hare.
I flirt with the folk genre in the use of imagery but it’s not trad by any means, I was going be hard to pigeonhole, tough to pin down.
Confrontationally demure, Earnestly honestly cynical, Acerbically articulate, succinct…
And utterly unprepared for an industry of arseholes
By 2018 I had honed it all a bit & was asked to write songs for playwright Zoe Cooper’s adaptation of ‘The Snow Queen’ for the National Theatre ‘Let’s Play key stage 2 education project My second writing commission for The National The Snow Queen
Songs written, composed & arranged by me. The superb guitaring is the wonderful folk king legend David Delarre. The drumming is my fave Dave Hamblett & bass by Sonny Johns. Recorded by engineer Sonny in The National’s recording studio in one afternoon. Writing songs for children aged 7-11 to sing is a very different discipline to writing for myself. They need to be pitched higher, not contain too much melodic or lyrical complexity but they simply MUST contain the right emotional impact, they can handle & deserve depth.
I got to watch a performance in Liverpool in Jan 2020 (These are not privileged kids, these plays are made for state schools) It was amazing & I can’t describe the feeling of hearing their tiny voices sing my songs so well & with such heart. One of my favourite projects of my career.
A couple of ‘lost songs’ written in 2007/8 & demo recorded in 2009 One of them isn’t even finished, often the way, some of them get finished, some take years. I’m gradually getting better at writing… But I never got round to using either of them.
What I hear now is that my guitaring really wasn’t bad, wish someone had told me that, anyone, at the time. But alas my insecurity about guitar playing is the perfect opportunity for some bloke to grab my work & pass it off as his own isn’t it. Lost songs & lessons learned.
Lastly my weird little 2PrivateMatters EP ‘Doubts Run Out’ with Alec Bowman_Clarke Recorded at home during the long days of lockdown, these are song demos I made that Alec has given his industrial noise treatment in Ableton… Every noise made out of my original song demos Each songs settles a little score & lays to rest some past wrangling
“When all the weapons are spent out, when all your doubts are run out / You sleep so soundly in your bed / When all the words of someone else aren’t in your head”
“I give you nothing like the nothing you gave me / That’s how you win / That’s how you won / No, not to hurt you / But to stop you hurting me / That’s how it ends Slate and sleek, grey Wait and see Wait / Weigh down with stone.”