Wednesday, 17 December 2014

End of Year 2014!!

Another year has passed! 
2014 was eventful and one of my busiest for many a year. It took me all around the country and also out of it and saw the release of my album 'Science & Magic'. Here's a brief look at just some of the music and other things that have influenced me....

BECK - Morning
This album was Becks love letter to conventional songwriting sensibilities in a traditional sense. With beautiful production, playing, structures and songwriting, it's a meloncollic work of beauty.

THOMAS PAUL SAUNDERS - A Luna Veterans Guide To Re-Entry
This album was a late influence on some of the mixing of my album 'Science & Magic'. It holds great memories of the Northern part of the Terry Reid support tour I did in the spring of 2014. It's an intergalactic masterpiece.

FLYTE - Light Me Up
I've loved Flyte since I saw them at Southsea Fest last year and have adored everything they have done. Still waiting for the album as the process seems to be with so many bands at the moment we are drip fed songs to build the profile up until the time is right. Flyte to me are masterful pop, intelligent lyrics, melodies that you think you have heard in every great classic song from the last 50 years and an 80's image that reminds me of my childhood. This track when I first heard it made me want to go and play guitar.

COLDPLAY - Midnight
The band eveyone loves to hate came back this year and this will probably be the only blog that includes them :-) I loved Ghost Stories...all meloncollie hues and electronic wistful synths. Lyrically it's not Martin's best and although he gets slated lyrically a lot, I happen to think he's written some killer lines over the years! Whatever you thought...this track midnight reminds me of standing in a field in Sweden with the moonlight cascading down onto the fir trees...beautiful! I'm old enough to not be scared of pop music anymore...

An interesting songwriter whose album comes out next year but has been drip feeding us songs for too long! This song is old but the session is from this year. I adore it's slightly off kilter bitter/sweet vibe. It's something I explore quite a bit in my writing and her last single 'Drown' is dark but gorgeous.

RYANS ADAMS - Gimme Something Good
I always get so excited when there's a new Ryan Adams record out and although this wasn't one of his best it was still was strong. The album reminded me of listening to the radio as a kid in the 80s enjoying endless summers and thinking of girls. Lyrically it wasn't as inspired as most of his work but the melodies were fantastic.

DAMON ALBARN - The History Of A Cheating Heart
I had the pleasure of seeing Damon play this year at the Wedgewood Rooms and it was one of the best gigs I've ever been to. I seriously believe Damon is one of the only songwriters in contemporary music that is tackling real issues and making music that represents what it means to be human in 2014.

SOHN - Artifice
I knew nothing of this guy until I stumbled upon this live session on YouTube performing this song. Part electronica and part pop this video is simple and captivating. The album is good......exploring the dark and melancholic side of expression, but I hope he indulges in pop a little more as he wears it well. Straddling mystery with accessible melodies.

JON HOPKINS - Breathe This Air
The Asleep Versions EP and versions of his Immunity album tracks, was a venture into full blown ambient music. In this adrenaline fueled instant gratification consumption of music we all have nowadays it was a brave release and one which has turned me onto ambient music again. 

MARK MORRISS - Space Cadet
Mark is a bit of a hero of mine...he's a great writer, his lyrics are especially underrated...always with sarcasm, wit, grace and harmony. He writes as Mark...which is so rare nowadays, when you buy a Mark Morriss record you are entering into his world and not a focus group idea of what you should buy. I respect his song-craft and Flash Of Darkness is just one in a long line of successes in my view.

KASSASSIN STREET - Centre Straight Atom
This band will feature in my end of year blog for as long as they are a band. They are very good friends of mine but I am an out an out fan, and am excited as anyone when I hear something new or go to a show. They have had a fantastic year and continue to craft perfect slices of psychedelic napalm bursts.

Having been an avid gamer over the years I never have time for new games nowadays. I find a lot of games now are repeats and are just extremely expansive versions of first person shooters and racers. The iPad and iPhone have given a platform to bring back retro games and the way things were. This game is a puzzle game based on mind bending perspective. Its like a psychedelic Escher mixed with the beauty of Crouching Tiger Hidden it!

I cant say this year I've been to the cinema very much which is a shame because I adore it. As many people now watch things at home and cant afford ten pounds to go to the movies it is normally saved for big blockbusters like this and I'm sure many film buff's will hate me for that statement! This is epic, beautiful, intelligent and what films should experience. Also those who know me know that I love anything to do with space....I'm in!

Have a great Xmas and thanks to everyone who has supported me this year. Its been a fantastic time with some memorable gigs, festivals, and experiences and I'm looking forward to 2015.

Stay Safe

To stay connected to everything going on next year please go to

P.S. Watch the Dr Who Christmas Special.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Terry Reid Tour - The Half Moon London

Hi all!

So here we are on the last date of the tour with Terry Reid in London at The Half Moon in Putney, a venue I know very well having played there many times before. I've performed here lots with Terry and also done an album release here with Chris Helme from the Seahorses. 

I was actually a little under the weather for this gig that later developed into an ear infection, but it didn't effect my voice and I was still match fit....just. 

My performance was a little marred by a few ingredients, some unfortunate sound battles, an early start, a thinner crowd because of said early start and a slight fight with my own energy levels because I was hours away from a health blip!
I performed well considering and people engaged and bought a few records. It's always great to play the half moon and it's nice to see it's still healthy and thriving as a music venue.

Putney is also the place to go for fish and chips....and rupert the bear comics....apparently.....

Terry had a great gig slowing all the songs down to a hyper melloncollic state with BJ Cole filing in the gaps as only Terry and BJ can do. The crowd were mesmerised and it definitely showed his cult status  and type of person Terry attracts. On a good night a Terry Reid gig is almost a sermon or religious experience to his fans and tonight they lapped it up! For me though Newcastle was still his best night.

This tour has been dashed with incredible experiences that I'll never forget. Meeting Robert Plant, travelling across England seeing places I'd never seen, playing in venues I'd never played before. Going over to Sweden was the highlight for me, a fantastic experience that I hope I can re-visit at some point. 

Terry and I will now part company and he will go back to America and do what he does, and I will carry on with my own dates. It's always an adventure with Terry and I learn so much each time we travel together. I've had the chance to spend some time with him away from music, which has given us quite a bond I think.

Till next time Terry.......a well earned rest ;-)

Here's a song I demo'd out in Sweden. Conny and Karin (our amazing hosts) had a fantastic array of guitars with Gibsons being a staple. Saying this a gorgeous little Epiphone parlour guitar took my eye and it didn't leave my side all weekend! As soon as I picked it up this song filtered through obviously being influenced by my surroundings and this had just been finished on the deck of the Saloon Hilbilly. Sky City was the first sign I saw as the plane touched down in Sweden. 

There is still tickets available for my Worthing show that can be purchased online from this link.

Next stop this week....

Stay Safe
Andy xx

Mostly listening to....
I saw Damon Albarn at the Wedgewood rooms in Portsmouth on Saturday night...I can honestly say it was one of the most fantastic gigs I've ever seen. The band he has are exceptional.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Sweden - Saloon Hillbilly Oxhagen

Hi all...

First of all I'd like to say that this little blog write up on this gig will not do it justice and I will have to be careful not to descend into a 'wish you were here' style tourist episode. We flew over on Norwegian Airlines (787's are proper good!) and were greeted by the venue owners who took us straight away to Hard Rock Cafe in Stockholm for dinner and a photo with the staff. Stockholm is absolutely beautiful and everywhere is less populated and clean with shimmering lights over incredible architecture and grace. I fell in love with it instantly....

Conny and Karin (the venue owners) own farmland which they have kept in the family for generations and built their own venue upon its land from which they put on events. Keeping it low key and exclusive they retain all control over what's going on and it gives the place its own vibe. It has a western saloon d├ęcor and is situated 30 mins away from the capital amongst a backdrop of Sweden's beautiful rural area. They really are beautiful people and took us in to their home like we were one of the family with the best hospitality I have ever experienced ...period. I feel I have a strong bond with them in the small time I stayed with them sharing a lot of the same ethics and desires.

The first thing I saw as we pulled into the farm that night was a huge wild moose in the garden....just chillin out! The day of the gig we had an extremely relaxed soundcheck having so much time to do what we wanted and explore their home.

The gig was packed full of amazing gentle souls who for which Terry and I being there seemed an event they hadn't experienced much. They were lovely to us and I have received messages from them afterwards.  The weather was so nice there was food being cooked and people walking in and out which meant the event took a private party style feel. People were talking as we played which is new for the tour but they were enjoying themselves and watching. Of course it's always a little daunting doing something like this as there can be a little language barrier but after the show you could tell people had engaged with both Terry and I  because of them expressing how grateful they were for us coming over. 

The next day was a free day for us to explore a little of their local area has to offer. We drove their American car over astonishing countryside, hills, and rural Sweden visiting the sea, a Viking church, a castle where we had afternoon tea...all organised by Conny and Karin. Like I said I'm rushing through it as hearing me go on about it isn't good reading ;-) I wrote a song whilst I was over there called "Sky City" as this was the first sign I saw as the plane touched down in Sweden. I will post a video of the song at a later date.

I can't say thank you enough to Conny and Karin, I hope our stay made them as happy as they deserve to be because I know how much work they put into this event and I wish the Saloon Hill-billy every ounce of success and hope to go back sometime soon....

I love Sweden!

Next stop London at the Half Moon in Putney this Thursday - 29th May. Stage time approx. 8pm.

You can still buy tickets for my headline show in Worthing at The Connought Studio on July 5th

Stay Safe

Mostly listening to
Coldplay - Midnight
I defy anyone listening to this when standing in a field in Sweden with a ghostly twilight to not be emotionally effected!

Friday, 23 May 2014

Terry Reid Tour - Newcastle - Cluny 2

Hi all...

As I was travelling through the north on the train you can see the remanance of old industrial sites, mills, quarry's and mines. Beautiful countryside, rolling hills, bridges, nature and a huge number of farms. 

It got me thinking of feeding the population and how old farming techniques could surely be phased out entirely as in many years to come it may seem an almost primitive way to do things. This got me thinking of a doomsday scenario when oil isn't currency but food becomes the new power......that done my head in...... so I played Sonic the Hedgehog on my iPad instead ;-)

I'd never been to Newcastle before and I'm not sure what my ignorance was expecting but it's much prettier than I imagined. Maybe it's the soft southern fairy in me being judgmental, but I haven't really spent much time that far up north before.
The Cluny is a venue off the Tyne and I believe it was an old whiskey brewery. It's a great location next to a lock with art centres, a woodwork factory and a steampunk submarine....? It has a bohemian vibe and the Cluny 2 (the room which we were playing in) is a fantastic space for a smaller band/acoustic music. In fact I'd go as far as to say that along with the Bedford it's probably one of the best I have played in. Ross the sound guy deserves a mention for his patience and professionalism, and the staff were lovely. 

What was quite perturbing though was the announcement by one of the bar staff the minute I arrived that the dressing rooms were haunted and to look out for a "vibe". Now being a guy who tries to stay rational I didn't think anything of it but just enjoyed the story....course when I was down there I was looking!...I think it's human nature. I didn't see anything although my door got stuck and I panicked for a second, it's not really "the ring" that though is it ;-)

The Geordie crowd were right up my street, interacting, inviting, friendly and respectful. Although I was on a little too early they were fantastic people and a pleasure to play to. I was being cheeky onstage forgetting the name of the Tyne and saying I couldn't understand them...good fun and they engaged with my music. I would definitely want to come back here anytime and people need to support venues like this one. 

As for Terry's set, it was almost like an event, and the show took on a different vibe making Terry talk more. They really hold him dear up here and his northern connections obviously have made a mark on people maybe on a deeper level. It was like "an evening with" and an evening it certainly was he went way over curfew and played for nearly three hours haha! 

So a late night, hotel mixup, loooong journey to to Sweden we go!

Stay safe
Andy xx

Mostly listening to Paul Thomas Saunders - Beautiful Desolation
Listening to this album whilst looking out on these bridges is quite an experience. You should try it sometime ;-)

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Wolverhampton - Robert Plant... sorry Robin 2.....

Hi all

So on the Virgin train cross country bound for Wolverhampton, for another gig with Terry Reid. I like Virgin Trains...plug socket, smooth, comfy, I don't work for them just don't get a chance to use them a lot. Anyone who's ever been to Robin 2 will know it's a great music venue from which there's not many of them left. A great room with a fantastic acoustic sonic, armed with an experienced and cool headed sound engineer. It reminds me of a slightly bigger Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth.

Terry's in good spirits, soundcheck was great and everyone was relaxed and chilled. What's great about this venue is there's a small hotel attached to it! I wish all venues were like that how much easier would that make should be default ;-) it just relieves all the leaving the venue angst that can put a downer on the night sometimes. 

Terry's friend Robert Plant came to see him.....what was that? Yes Robert Plant from a little band called Led Zepplin. I shook his hand 15 minutes before I played. His opening gambit when he came through the doors was " who's that imposter" pointing at a poster of tribute act 'Boot Led Zepplin' who were going to be playing the venue soon....which I thought was hilarious. It's not everyday you meet arguably the most famous rock frontman of all time....

Terry reading an article on himself from a melody maker from 1969!!

Zoe was on first displaying some great soulful vocal talent from a bygone era. She reminded me of the singers from the 70's, simple songs but all the performance is in the vocal display rather than a kaleidoscope of arrangements and chord structures. She held the stage like a country rock singer that had been a staple for years.

I enjoyed my set even though it was a little weird using Terry's gear as it's set up for him of course. I am using Terry's tree of life Gibson acoustic on this tour and it's absolutely beautiful and people obviously don't get a chance to use a guitar like it. It just goes to show though you need time with an instrument to fully understand how it responds and where it's sweet spots are. The onstage sound was great and I flew through my set. I felt a little dislocated from the crowd tonight but it always seems to be worse in my head than it is. The crowd were extremely English but turned up to eleven. 

Tonight people were here to see Terry though and that was quite apparent. He was onstage again with legendary pedal steel player BJ Cole who I had a brief chat about royalties over dinner.
The highlight for me was a down right bizarre and psychedelic versions of his songs that were rediculously trippy, I don't know where BJ's head went but it was fun to witness! Terry was coaxing the polite crowd to settle in to the night with his rock and roll anecdotes and they seemed to be lapping it up. It was quite a downbeat set from Terry with songs being a little slower than usual and breathing more but the venue is great for this.

With Robert being mobbed by tipsy fans and Terry laughing his way to bed....we retired...

So next stop Newcastle! Never been there let alone play there, should be fun!

Stay Safe
Andy xx

Mostly listening to 
Damon Albarn - Everyday Robots