Monthly Archives: January 2012

Once more into the breach.

Its not easy keeping it all together at times. If I get engaged or excited enough to care about something I know its going to end in disappointment. Curiously as I have started getting over the physical health problems I have had the mental ones start lurking around the corner. Its a familiar cycle but I can control some aspects of it, (moderate it rather than eliminate it) if I catch the signs early enough. My nature is such that I need to feel in control though I understand that this is an illusion at best, but a comforting one. Tuesday was intended to be a recording session, but that went wrong and in the evening went to our usual local in St Albans to hear some music and see some mates. Wednesday was very interesting filming Vicky Martin interviewing Phil May for liveblues.info (Lead singer of 60’s group the Pretty things who are still at it today, but don’t look too much like the picture on their website anymore) talking about the Album Bilbao Island which is a surprisingly energetic album for a bunch of fairly ancient rockers. Got the usual photo opportunity so I have attached a pic (how sad am I) BTW Yes I am tall and he is short… We have a couple of band gigs on Friday and Saturday and another one next Wednesday up in Northampton which should be a good one. The we have one gig-free weekend and it gets fairly busy again.

Small worlds and village pubs

This week has been a more of the same kind of week. One Band gig in Hitchin at a pub that has a regular blues night and a duo gig in a little Village called Flamstead at a very nice village pub which has quite a good restaurant.

Both gigs were pretty well received and a very modest amount of Ale was consumed. It still amaze’s me that I can chat to almost anyone when not so many years ago I was hopeless I talking to new people. Others tell me that I am very much more open and sociable these days. Well I do feel much more at ease but perhaps not quite as comfortable as others might think.

Particularly when we do the duo gigs you have to create a fairly intimate vibe to get the more subtle stuff across and we try and work a little humor but nothing too contrived I hope. Its seems to work and means folks tend to come back to see us again. A typical duo gig goes from old school Piano Boogie stuff to Rock & Roll country and bluegrass and a bit of swing and Jazz and maybe the odd torch song with a few diversions along the way. “My old Mans a dustman” often go’s rather well with almost any audience.

The band is a bit different as its not such a close connection with audience, but we do spend a lot of time chatting to folks in the break between sets. If only they knew what a miserable git I actually am 😉 LOL

I am still feeling the strain physically at the moment, but on gigs the endorphins tend to kick in so its the days after that tend to be the problem. We have bookings as far ahead as Christmas 2012 already.

My favorite gigs are the more intimate ones, even though you do end up staring in to the whites of peoples eyes! My back is still not up to attempting much accordion playing yet though, so that will have to remain on hold although there is a little bit on the new Elephant Shelf album.

I have also recorded a couple of Solo Piano works which are a bit obscure and about as far from Blues & Swing as possible and licensed some of my stuff for use on TV & film which might be useful in the longer term.

Carry on and keep calm

I have just about got over Christmas. We were back in the studio in Burnham on Crouch yesterday and I put some accordion on one of the more rootsy tracks, which seemed to work OK.So I shall be doing a bit more of that in future though Phil Cunningham will have nothing to fear from my occasional squeezing and wheezing, mind you Allie Bain has not much to fear from my fiddling either. Due to the ongoing back and ribs problem I can only do a limited amount of playing so my skills are not going to improve that quickly on it. We have about 15 tracks of which about 10 will end on the album I think. The cold is slowly relinquishing its grasp though I felt very tired last night.

We have two gigs this Saturday, one in Billericay in the afternoon at a club called Blues at the Farm as Elephant Shelf. Not the most flattering photo on the website but hey we are quite hale though rather aged and crusty I had never heard of Billericay before that Mr Drury mentioned in one of esteemed songs.

Then one in the evening in our Delta ladies incarnation in the wilds of Barnet at the pub where Elephant Shelf had one of its very first outings (before I joined believe it or not) called the Lord Nelson.

I have it on good authority that at some point this year we will hit the 1000 gigs mark as we have averaged around 140 gigs a year in our various incarnations (Elephant Shelf Jessie Pies Cleavage of Death and the Delta ladies) which I suppose is not bad going really.

Roses are Red Violets are Blue Garlic is good for you..

Still got the cold but its drying up a bit now, thank goodness. Spent a very lazy day yesterday. Up very late and then a bit of piano practice and wasting time on Facebook and so forth. A bit of very silly stuff on the box as well so not too bad a day on balance.

I had a tap on the door (I know most peoples are in the bathroom! ) and it turned out to be a couple of guys from the local church, I most lean off the bluesy Gospel stuff on the piano or the neighbors might get the wrong idea.They left me with a nice book about Abraham and wished me a happy new year so that’s alright…

I need to go out later today and brave the elements for a while and may make the trip to my usual watering-hole in St Albans the White Lion later on where rumour has it that the Frantastics may be playing.