'Hello, Called My Friends', was created and recorded over a three month period during the strange summer of 2020.
I didn't really plan to put this album together until Covid hit and I knew I'd be stuck at home for a period of time. As music is a bit of a coping mechanism, it felt completely natural to set up some microphones, formulate a list of songs to record and disappear into creating for a bit.
All songs were written, performed and recorded by me, and also feature Steve Parker (bass), Jimmy Count (drums), Andy Bray (guitar/organ) and Nic Jones (vocals). It was mixed and mastered by Marc at HonestyPot.
It’s available now on Spotify, Apple Music, Bandcamp and all other streaming and download sites.
SALT is the shortest song I've written so far. It's about being a bit afraid of falling out of love with creating stuff, and finding inspiration in other things, like for instance running, which I've been doing a lot of lately and hence the line 'the salt in my sweat doesn't taste like regret but the rust on these strings feels like losing everything'
The video for Salt came from the brain of my good friend Ian. If you look closely there are some little Easter eggs hidden in the scenery including our dog Duchy, some of the people who helped make 'Hello Called My Friends', as well as the chalk board that announced my first show in Vienna which was my first gig outside of the UK.
Fireplace as a song has been around for a while, and it always feels like a bit of a palate cleanser when I play it live. I'm aware quite a lot of my songs are a little, shall we say...introspective...so this tends to go down well. I've recorded it before but lockdown was a good opportunity to get a full band version.
Jimmy and Steve supplied drums and bass from their respective homes during lockdown and I roped my friend Andy into added some additional guitar parts, with Nic adding the icing on the cake with her vocals. It's a happy upbeat song, and I'm really pleased with how it turned out.
For the video I roped in some friends and family who all did their part in miming, dancing and just having some fun with it. It makes me smile, and I hope it brings you some joy too!
These past few years I've been reflecting on my life so far, what has made me into the person I see today, how I navigate this world, and working out what I got right and the many things I’ve got wrong! This song spilled out of me quickly, and captures exactly where my head was at as I was turning forty years of age.
My friend Tim laid down the perfect strings part on this recording, Nic joined me on vocal duties and Adam from Home From Home Studios mixed and mastered it whilst adding some subtle piano parts to the final version which finish the song off nicely.
Here's a little cover version of the amazing 'Say It To Me Now' by Glenn Hansard.
This song came quickly and became a favourite to play live after the 'Somewhere New' EP launch. We had an opportunity to record it with Home from Home Studios in November, when we were briefly known as Mister Jones and The Living.
In the summer of 2016, I quit my job and relocated to Brighton, somewhere we'd been considering moving to for a while. Soon after moving, I began work on a new EP, and once it was finished I decided to put on a launch party. Steve joined me on bass and Jimmy on drums, along with Hailey who joined us on trumpet for a couple of songs on the night. It was definitely one of my favourite gigs so far, and thanks to everyone that made it down for the night and for singing along, it meant a lot to me!
This song was inspired by a documentary I watched by Shane Meadows about his good friend Gavin Clark, a singer-songwriter who tragically took his own life at the age of 46. I was a fan of Gavin's first band Sunhouse after watching them do an acoustic set at Glastonbury years earlier.
I was able to get a proper recording of this years later, and you can find it on my album 'Hello, Called My Friends', but I've still got a soft spot for this bedroom acoustic version.
The documentary that inspired it is here https://youtu.be/lVJBYBUabbU if you're interested.
This was, I think, the first song I wrote when I moved to Brighton. It just appeared and was a very easy write from memory. Here’s me playing it live in Islington at Oxjam, kindly captured by my friend Stu who was in the audience.
The gig was in an Oxfam bookshop, and I fondly recall finishing my set and a guy coming up to me at the end and saying he'd heard my voice as he was walking by the shop and just had to come in and watch - that felt nice.
Fun fact: the opening line ‘the sea calls, make some waves’ was something someone actually said to me when I told them I was moving to Brighton.
You can also find a demo version of this on the Magnets EP here.
This was my first proper release, I recorded it all from home and sort of learned as I went along. I’m still really proud of what I created here, though some songs stand up better than others.
I originally went by the longer name of ‘Mister Jones and his Guitar’ and have since shortened it. It was a bit weird introducing myself and my guitar on stage and was generally a bit of a mouthful.
Highlights for me are Good Good Heart, In Plain Sight and Muscle Memory.
Sometime in 2013...
My Metal Friend was written at a pretty tough time in my life; looking back I was in a transitionary period, working in a job that didn't fulfil me, struggling with an as yet undiagnosed auto-immune condition, and living in a town where nothing really happened (well at least not for me).
This song was an early warning sign as well as a realisation that things needed to change.
It's stuck with me and lots of people seem to connect with it, playing it with a band brings it to life more than I could ever have hoped and I have Steve and Jimmy to thank for that!
It took a while for this song to get recorded but you can find it on my 'Somewhere New' EP.