SALT is the shortest song I've written so far. It's about being a bit afraid of falling out of love with writing songs/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 was made by my good friend Ian. The idea for the animation was all his idea and if you look closely there are some little Easter eggs hidden in the scenery of our dog, some of the people who helped make 'Hello Called My Friends' as well as the chalk board that announced my first ever show in Vienna.
'Hello, Called My Friends', was created and recorded over a three month period during the summer lockdown 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.
And this is the result...!
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.
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 sound. 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 some extra vocals. It's a happy upbeat song, and I'm really pleased with how it turned out. For the video I enlisted friends and family who all did their part in miming, dancing and just having some fun with it. I always smile when I watch it which is not easy to do these days...!
There's no coincidence that I wrote and released this song leading up to my 40th year on the planet. I thought turning 30 was challenging enough but 40 - dear god - this was a strange age to get my head around. But not necessarily for the reasons you might think. I actually feel like my life has got clearer and less complicated the older I have got. My thirties were all about change, I relocated to Brighton, changed jobs, got a little bit of counselling/therapy, took my songwriting a little more seriously and also got a dog.
These past few years I've been able to start reflecting on my life so far, what has made me into the person I see today, working out what I got right and the many things I got wrong! A lot of the time I haven't helped myself and I've often felt like there is a black cloud following me around, maybe that's a bit of depression, anxiety from past experiences or just what we all feel sometimes. When all you can see is that black cloud it makes it really hard to move on, but that's the plan, because these days that black cloud if it did exist has disappeared for a bit.
My friend Tim laid down the amazing string part on this recording, Nic joined me on vocal duties and Adam from Home From Home Studies mixed and mastered it whilst adding some subtle piano parts to the final version which finish the song off nicely.
I'm not a massive fan of covering songs. For years I said it was because I wanted to just play original music and that was in the most part true, but the other part was that I struggled to find cover songs that I could connect with, this song by Glen Hansard is impossible not to connect with, and so I jumped in and I'm quite happy with the result.
This three track EP kind of came out of nowhere, I had the songs and I was really keen to get them recorded. The title track was new but Tiger was another song that had been around for a while, and we were playing it live a fair bit. Fireplace was another pretty new song and this is more like the demo version of it as you'll find the final version (which I think sounds so much richer) on my album 'Hello Called My Friends' .
This is the first EP that Steve plays bass on, and also features some extra guitar parts by Adam House.
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 Nov, when we were, albeit briefly, known as Mister Jones and The Living. Steve plays bass and melodica and pretends (shh) to play the cajon. Fun fact....Steve couldn't play drums back then but he's learnt since.
In the summer of 2016, I quit my job and me and Nic relocated to Brighton, somewhere we'd been considering moving to for a while. Soon after I began work on a new EP, and once it was finished I decided to put on a launch. 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.
We had a great turnout and my friend Jamie managed to catch a bit of footage featuring a strong singalong at the end.
I loved this gig, so many people I love came along and supporting us. It meant a lot that so many people came along and if you were there and I didn't thank you - THANK YOU FOR COMING!
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 provided by my friend Stu who was in the audience. It was actually a bookshop and I fondly recall finishing my set and a guy coming up to me at the end and saying he heard my voice as he was walking by the shop and just had to come in and watch. That felt nice.
Recorded from home and learning while I went along, this was my first attempt at an album. I was still called Mister Jones and His Guitar at that point* and honestly in hindsight...I didn't have a clue what I was doing. I'd bought a microphone and had GarageBand on my Mac and I just kind of played around. The result was better on some songs than others, I'm still really happy with how Good Good Heart, In Plain Sight and Muscle Memory turned out and I THINK they still hold up.
*I dropped the second part as it was a bit of. a mouthful on stage
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 a yet to be diagnosed auto-immune condition, and living in a town where nothing really happened. This song was an early warning sign as well as a realisation that things needed to change and change them I did.
The video is by the Animation Workshop in Denmark and I think it fits so well with the song.
It took a while for this song to get recorded - but you can find it on my 'Somewhere New' EP. Its 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 had hoped and I have Steve and Jimmy to thank for that! But they don't turn up until later in this story (dependent on which way round you're reading).