Thursday, 19 May 2011

Playing for Change

This video is so mellow and so inspirational, it brought a lump to my throat.

Playing For Change | Three Little Birds

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Winter Sun and Summer Rain

It's a red letter day.

Daughter Kirsty's first album arrived this afternoon. In a big lorry. When the back was opened, it was like the Albert Hall inside, with a single pallet at the back.

But what a pallet! A thousand copies of 'Winter Sun and Summer Rain' - ten cracking original tracks, hot from replication in France. Tears, commitment and joy laser-burnt into plastic. Expertly mixed by the awesomely talented Nick Wilson at Dave Neal Studios (Dave Neal was Suzi Quatro's drummer).

Yes, I know. A thousand? It's the economics of the business. Less than 500, and you get duplication, not replication, which isn't half as good. Beyond 500 the unit cost drops radically, and it just makes sense to cover yourself.

That probably won't help, when we still have 900 bending the floorboards in the spare room in 2021.

Faute de mieux, I've been acting as her manager. It's a steep learning curve; drafting press packs, designing album graphics, arranging photo shoots and mail shots, negotiating with labels. BA (Hons) courses in Town & Country Planning don't prepare one for this, and it's one reason I've been such a rotten blogger. Not to mention the horrific overheads which make being an independent musician more of a calling than a career.

So here's the deal, loyal remaining bloggers. If you would like to be in at the start and invest in this limited edition indie album, it's £10 plus £2 P&P, and for you guys I'll include one of the real wood propelling pencils which are included in the press/DJ packs (apparently you have to include freebies to get anywhere), because you're special. And if you ask, Kirsty will sign it for you, ready to sell on eBay when she's famous.

Contact me at RMacleod at aol . com, and I'll give you the details.

And if you're in Maidstone on 18 August, she's playing a set at Pizza Express.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

No place like Ddedwydd Nadolig

Just had my mother-in-law on the phone, much exercised that her Christmas Cards haven't been reaching a relative in Wales. Put the address she was using through a free Welsh-English translator. Turns out she'd been sending them to 'Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year'. Fail.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Hannah Scott

Achieved a small ambition last night in finally hearing Hannah Scott live. We weren’t disappointed.

Actually she had a mountain to climb. Neither the venue billing nor the tickets mentioned the supporting act, so she came as a complete surprise to the audience, who were there to hear Spiers and Boden (of Bellowhead), full stop.

It was a full house, not a spare seat, and they were full on folk fans. So full on that someone in the front row was stitching a hat whilst waiting for the show to start. I thought I’d be the oldest there, but most of us were. Very Sevenoaks.

I read somewhere that Hannah believes her live performances deliver something extra, and that’s true. You get the soaring vocals and the subtle lyrics and the skilled guitar and piano instrumental, but there is more. It’s the passion, I think, and the directness of connection. That voice which cries out, and then drops almost to a whisper. The intimacy of confidences shared and guards dropped.

We wanted it to go on, and I know she won converts.

I’m ashamed to say we sneaked out before Spiers and Boden were done. No disrespect; they are as good as it gets. But the SS had an early start, and we’d had our money’s worth with Hannah, and it’s just...I don’t know...Folk should be hot and sweaty. Three pints of cider and sunshine in a field or a tatty back room, a dog under the table and a crush at the bar. It’s a foot-stomping participation sport, not a performance art. Where under forties are allowed as well.

It was good to have heard her live and good to say hello (trying and failing not to come over as a pervy middle-aged stalker). She has a charming smile.

Thank you Hannah.

(Watch out for her new album, which she’s about to record in Italy; it’s going to be a good one).