Tag Archives: free reed

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?

Making a melodeon…

Making a melodeon is difficult. That is the conclusion that I have come to and to be frank, if I had realised just how difficult it would be I might not have embarked on it. Mentally I had assumed that the difficult bit of making would be designing the reedblocks, the casing, the grille and so on. Actually, the difficult bit is working out how they will all fit together! Every little bit has to be thought out, designed, built, rejected, redesigned and rebuilt. Every little bit of wood glued to another bit of wood just to hold a screw so that yet another bit of wood doesn’t fall off has to be painstakingly thought about. It can be an amazingly frustrating business, however rewarding it also is. It took me five weeks of effort to get a set of reedblocks that I was happy with. I tried several different ways of manufacturing them but eventually I ended up with the below… Continue reading Making a melodeon…

The joy of Making

Welcome to this new look site! Ever original when it comes to names, this site (the successor to “Music and Melodeons” is entitled “Melodeon Music”. On it you can find information about my solo melodeon, the Jazz Ceilidh Project, Peregrine (my small ceilidh band) and There and Back Again. Plus, of course, the world famous blog. Please take the time to explore the site and let me know of any errors, bad links and so on!  Continue reading The joy of Making

Harmonetta Bass

Some of you, the more astute ones perhaps, may be aware that I am interested in fingering systems for accordions. I have already posted on the Loomes Chromatic and am currently working my way through the Atzarin Accordion (very much a work in progress). And, of course, I already play a D/Em melodeon and a B/C+C# with Hayden free bass. Continue reading Harmonetta Bass

Inside and Out Part 6 – The Shand Morino

Today we go back to Inside and Out and I’ve got one of the giants of the accordion world to take apart for your delectation and delight. For those of you who are new to the blog and don’t know what this series is about, see Parts 1234 and 5. This week I’ve been given a set of pictures by Ian Cruickshanks (the same Ian Cruickshanks who took the pictures of the Schwyzerörgeli) from one of his other accordions – his 1950s Shand Morino.

Continue reading Inside and Out Part 6 – The Shand Morino

Box Acoustics Primer Part 3 – How do different reeds differ?

And it’s back to the Acoustics stuff once again. Don’t worry, there will be some less science-y more melodeon-y posts soon!

This, the third part of this series is on how different reeds differ. The first part was an overview of Box Acoustics and the second part (updated recently on the advice of Olav Bergflodt, so give it another read) was on how the reed generated sound. Continue reading Box Acoustics Primer Part 3 – How do different reeds differ?

Inside and Out Part 5 – The Impiliput

Yes, it’s back! After a gap of three months, Inside and Out is back. I’ve got some exciting boxes yet to come in this series, but the subject of today is the newest addition to my collection, a Hohner Liliput. Specifically, it is a 12 Hayden-style Free Bass B/C+C# Liliput, or “Impiliput” for short. Continue reading Inside and Out Part 5 – The Impiliput