Category Archives: Recordings

In Any Weather

A very long time ago now I posted about my debut solo album, and encouraged you all to support my kickstarter. Those kind souls who did so are immortalised here, I will forever remain enormously grateful for your kind support. Thanks to your generosity, I am happy to announce that my solo album, In Any Weather, is finally finished! All the backers should have received their copies by now, so it is my pleasure to release it to the wider world. You can listen to it in its entirety three times using the player at the top of this page, or click here.

It has been a long time in the making and has taken a great deal of hard work and effort, far more than I was anticipating. Out of the 13 tracks, there are 17 tunes, including some from England, Scotland, Quebec, Norway, Sweden and the USA. There are traditional tunes, recently penned tunes, tunes from the classical tradition, and interpretations of recently written works outside the folk sphere. The album was recorded and produced by Jon Loomes of Talking Cat Recordings (who is a fabulous melodeon player). The mastering was expertly done by Nick Cooke (who is also a fabulous melodeon player). The executive producer was Forbes Legato (who is not a fabulous melodeon player).

The album is me playing, just me, no singing, just one melodeon. I play my Saltarelle Irish Bouebe D/G, my “Impiliput” B/C+C#(4) with Hayden/Wikki free bass and of course my incomparable four voice (LMMH) D/G “Torader” from Olav Bergflødt (of more anon). This means that I have had to work hard to make sure that the record remains interesting the whole way though – I think I’ve managed it.

Life has changed quite a lot in the year and a half since I started my kickstarter. I have started a new career in organ building, I have moved to a different part of the country, my long term relationship sadly ended, I bought a house, I organised almost single-handedly an entire academic conference and I made an album. Through it all I have struggled off and on with my ongoing depression and anxiety, something which I am increasingly open about. Making the album has been a lot of work, it has used up energy which has sometimes been in short supply and it therefore signifies a signal achievement for me. That is the origin of the title (from the wonderful Yarden Brody), In Any Weather.

Some of the tracks on In Any Weather have personal meaning to me, especially Missing Roof Tile, which is a work by Mae McAllister about our mutual friend Calum Burt. Calum was a character who one meets but rarely and he was taken from us far too soon. Mae wrote the work for our piano trio There and Back Again to perform at his commemoration event at Churchill College and so I decided to put it on my album in remembrance. Citalopram is a track about my own struggles with depression. If you identify with it then you have my sympathy, I hope in any case that you enjoy the sounds regardless! The rest of the tracks are a motley collection of tunes from all over the place, some of which you will have heard before but some of which will be new to most of you.

I still struggle with music, every day. A number of years ago I wrote this post: Why I didn’t give up melodeon, which is still as relevant today as it was over three years ago. At least now when I contemplate giving up playing I have something concrete which I can hold on to as an example of the achievements that I have made.

And, on a brighter note, you can have one too!

In Any Weather

p.s. if you like my stuff then why not buy any or all of the other albums I have for sale over in the Shop?

The Tempest

We, the musicians and storytellers of Silent Sessions are delighted to inform you all that after the resounding success of our first album (about which you can read much here) we have brought out a second!

Click to buy Shakespeare’s The Tempest!

Continue reading The Tempest

My solo album

It has been a long time since I have updated this blog. Most blogs become moribound eventually – either because of lack of ideas or lack of time. With me it is most definitely the latter; I have an ever increasing list of articles to write and an ever decreasing amount of time to write them in.

The last post that I made was on building a melodeon. The project has progressed hugely since the last update, it will now play a tune! Unfortunately there are problems with sealing the bass pallets which means that it isn’t quite finished yet. More on that project in future posts.

I have a new melodeon, made by the amazing Olav Bergflødt, an incredibly exciting instrument which I can’t wait to tell you all about. That too will have to wait.

This post is on something completely different. Continue reading My solo album

My New Box Demo

Hello all!

First off, I have a gig at Baldock and Letchworth Folk Club this Wednesday the 17th October. I’ll be playing for 25 minutes or so in support of the fabulous Jody Kruskall. Hope to see lots of you there.

I have now moved into my new residence in Cambridge and very nice it is too. For the first time in around 8 years I have my own desk, which need not be used for anything other than work (or in my case, fettling). The house is still full of instruments, but we are gradually getting on top of that. In a spare moment whilst sorting the house out, I recorded a demo on solo box using a Zoom H2 lent to me by a friend. This is mainly to send round clubs as advertising, but I thought that I would share it with my hypothetical readers as well. Continue reading My New Box Demo

There and Back Again – Long Way Round

Hello everyone! I am back from my ramblings across the country, more about which anon, with some good news for you all! There and Back Again’s debut CD is now available, from our Bandcamp page or by post (more details here).

For those of you who haven’t explored that part of my site, There and Back Again is one of the groups with whom I perform. We are a folk piano trio, probably the only one in existence, comprising Piano (me), Whistle (Yarden Brody) and Cello (Pip Ash). We play music mostly from the British Isles, using semi-improvised arrangements developed over time. We use no written music and none of our arrangements have been written down. Continue reading There and Back Again – Long Way Round