Tag Archives: album

Trying Times

This year has been fun. More playing out than I’ve done in a while, a finished album and new songs being recorded which has left me with a warm and fuzzy optimism.

I keep thinking of the currently popular cliché ‘it’s not the destination, it’s the journey’. Well, my take on this is in the trying of things. The times you try is the times that something actually happens. I’ve had plenty of times when I’ve sat and thought about doing something and then done absolutely nothing and then sunk into a fug as I realised I should have got off my lazy ass. Whether you’re a success, well, it would be nice but first you have to try and the hurdle is finding the courage to try as opposed to not. This year proved that trying things – facing occasional blind terror at the thought of singing in front of people and still doing it, trying a different approach to recording, meeting people that make you feel like you’re not completely alone in what you’re doing – makes you high, makes you hope, makes it all worthwhile.

I can think of five specific people who were instrumental in making this year a really great one for me in terms of the trying times. A couple who got married and asked me to sing at their wedding. Without that catalyst, I wouldn’t have played live for the rest of the year so I owe them big. A friend that I hadn’t been in touch with for many years who made me think and so much more, and another couple of friends who shared all of the fun, variety and occasional insanity of the Camden Open Mic Nights. To them I am very grateful.

I’ve also met loads of people or watched in wonder as they did their fabulous thing (something I wasn’t really accounting for, I just was going to go and play a bit) – Tim and Lauren, Lucy and Andy, Nick, James, Jams, ‘The Chief’, Zoe, Don, Santiago, Leo, Si Genaro, Nacho Jase, Harry, the Bob Dylan fan, lots more people whose names I will get sometime, I’m sure, like the two girls who sing really gently and sweetly (one of which is a huge Neil Young fan and insisted one week that everyone should be familiar with Wish You Were Here, quite right) as well as that girl!

So, here’s hoping for more trying times to come next year.

Until then, Merry Christmas y’all.

Love from G @ Coosticks HQ

x

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I’m sure I’ve said this before…

What a lovely thing to wake up to, an email telling me I can download two new tracks by Radiohead…free!

Problem is, and this is the bit where I must surely be repeating myself, where do they belong? Are they King Of Limbs outtakes that didn’t make the cut or are they an EP on their own or the modern equivalent of B-sides or what? You see I still cling to the format of an album. I’m not sure if Radiohead do any more. Maybe The King Of Limbs was only 8 tracks for a reason, to gently kill the idea of a Radiohead album. But I still regard an album as the release of the best that a band has done at the time. Don’t get me wrong, I like Supercollider and The Butcher but I’m uneasy about where they belong or even whether they are supposed to. My friend notes how stubborn I am in sticking to a certain artistic vision regardless of whether it alienates people and I can see this is just me being stubborn about my love for the album as a format. All this ‘download these tracks from this album’ and ‘yeah I decided to get tracks 1 to 4 but I couldn’t be bothered to listen all the way through’. Surely our lives haven’t got so hurried that we can’t stop for an hour of our lives to appreciate an album from start to finish? Jools Holland, for two weeks running on Later… has prompted the audience to applaud vinyl versions of albums (by Robbie Robertson and Raphael Saadiq) – good on him.

Speaking of an album in it’s entirety, you can download, for whatever price you like (even free), D-Songs, our latest collection of songs. Do me a favour though, at least once, listen to it through in its entirety, yeah?

http://coosticks.bandcamp.com/album/d-songs

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The battle-scars of all the good times

I was talking to a friend at a Xavier Rudd gig last week. She suddenly asked, ‘wouldn’t you like to be doing what he’s doing all the time?’, and of course I replied in the affirmative. But then it struck me that since I decided earlier this year to focus on finishing an album, I have been doing it. Since the summer I’ve made music an average of four nights a week and it has made me happy and fulfilled me and the result is a collection of songs which I’m very proud of.

I’m exhausted – I always have to find the energy to even sit near another computer after 7 and a half hours of doing so during the day and I’m broke and I’m not getting particularly unbroke, but it was a lovely thought, that I am living to do what I love. And I made up a CD and listened to all the tracks I’d done so far as an album and I felt that shift, that moment where you know you’ve really achieved something, the point where an album’s worth of songs exist where before there was nothing.

And it felt good.

And now I’m unable to sing because I sound like Barry White with man-flu (mainly because I do actually have man-flu). I wonder if there is a ‘woman-flu’ and if so, how it differs from the man variety.

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I will always be a man who’s open to persuasion

Been working on songs and instead of working on 4 at once which I was doing at one point, mistakenly thinking I could multitask like a Terminator, I’ve gone back to my original quirky idea of working on them in the order they appear on the album. Lo and behold, once I did this, I finished 2 of them and have almost done with the E song, that’s if I can turn myself into a convincing choir today! Its wonderful to listen to them together. They are working well together and Ben’s guitar on Sometimes is just SO sweet.

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Hope and Social and writing songs

This is an exerpt from the Hope and Social blog:

Ed and I discuss in some depth later – some songs will work come what may because of an integral strength in their melody and chord structure (you can play Yesterday on an accordion and nose flute and it will still have quality) but some need the wrappings of good instrumental arrangement or a “place” to give them a life. This one changes every time we play it depending on Rich’s sound, the tempo, the strength with which I hit the strings, the vocal meter.

Here’s the link to it:

http://hopeandsocial.wordpress.com/2009/07/31/one-step-forward-two-steps-back-thursday-30th-july/

I find Hope and Social inspiring. I now have their album (until Architect Of This Church I was a download virgin) and it’s good, some of it’s amazing, and yes, it is inspiring. I think what inspires me the most is their seemingly relentless pursuit of doing creative and musical things. And a desperate need to follow the paths that lead to that creativity come what may, be it lack of money, broken relationships, endless hours hunched in a corner with a pair of headphones on or singing to an audience of 15 or less, all of which I have some experience of!! That and the fact that they seem like a decent bunch of chaps.

I was interested in the post above because I’m always fascinated by people’s way of recording or writing songs. We do not make up songs together simply because we have no time to do so. I write the majority by myself, usually arrange too, and I almost always write the lyrics before the music which I believe I am in a minority in doing (to say the least). And Hope and Social…don’t, they jam together…and it fascinates me. The way a song becomes good or not or revered or deeply affectionate to a number of people also fascinates me. With a few of my songs, I knew they were good in seconds. I’ve only felt that a few times – hope they’re not the only good ones!! I didn’t feel that ‘wow this is a classic’ when I wrote Lighthouse but people seem to really really respond to it, all across the board, how come I missed that it was a classic? Is it a classic?

Hi, Hope and Social, by the way, if you’re reading this. See you in October 🙂 .

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