Making ‘The Year, She Turns’ – July
July 22, 2017. No comments.
This time last year I was working in my home studio during a heat wave and decided to escape to a local swimming hole called Warliegh Weir.
The whole world it seemed, had the same idea. The place was packed. Cars lined the main road as far as you could see, crowds of excitable people walked down the path and over the bridge to the riverbank. I was greeted by the smell of BBQs, the sound of children squealing and jumping in the river, everybody soaking up the sun. Someone shouted, ‘Watermelons for sale!” and a small girl exclaimed about a beautiful butterfly…. “Fly, fly “ she began to sing. I had my portable Tascam recorder with me and rather surreptitiously pressed record…
The song for July was inspired by the first time I flew a kite on a Pembrokeshire beach. I loved the challenge of trying to keep it up in the air as it swooped and dived across the sky and running to fetch it every time it fell, to have ‘just one more try’. Memories of that time flooded back, and when I got home to the studio I thought it would be great to incorporate the sounds I had recorded at the Weir into the final track.
The next day my friend and fellow songwriter, Sue Harding, came round for a cuppa and agreed to record some backing vocals for me. I had never recorded anyone other than myself before and it was a lot of fun. Sue’s distinctive voice and timeless narrative songs can be heard on her excellent debut album… coincidentally called “Flight”. You can buy it Here.
With a pressing monthly deadline, it wasn’t until the final mixing/mastering sessions that the sound effects were added; it was Stephen W Tayler‘s idea to link the songs with the atmospheric soundscapes you can hear when you listen to the complete album. Stephen is based at Real World Studios and produced my previous album ‘Carnforth Station‘. These days most people listen to music on a song-by-song basis, but for me the flow of an album is of utmost importance. I had no choice about the running order (obviously!) so I thought carefully about the overall shape and the changes of key, time signature, and mood as I went along. Listen out for subtle hints of rain, sea, traffic and birds in between the tracks… as well as more than a hint of Big Ben at the start of the album!
Stephen W Tayler’s fantastic audio/visual performance of his own album “Ostinato’ premieres tonight (Saturday 22nd July), at the Pound Arts Centre in Corsham. If you live anywhere in the vicinity I urge you to go. I find his music uniquely uplifting, both exquisite and exciting all at once. Not only that, the quality of the sound system will blow you away.
I performed ‘The Last Day in July’ for the first time at Ely Folk Festival earlier this month. Unlike the recording, the live arrangement featured Clare Lindley on ukulele and backing vocals, Mike Cosgrave on guitar, and I played a harp solo. It feels natural to sing, and has a simple, happy vibe that I really enjoy. We loved this friendly, perfectly formed festival and had a great gig. The new line-up was a huge success and it feels like things are really beginning to take off…
At long last I think it’s time to fly.
Listen to the SONG