The power of raw music

Just a small thought to you all, is what’s on my mind at the moment. I’ve met a good few musicians over the last few years, who are my age, in bands and whatnot. Though the point and purpose I feel is far off.

I went to a gig not long ago of a musician friend of a friend and this band who were back after a break. There were fifty or so close friends and family mostly on this low key sort of night and there were a few support acts which weren’t too bad, made me expect something big at the end.

…But though the talent and songs you could tell were all great of the main front man, it had no soul for me. He spent his time prancing too and from his keyboard, guitar and macbook, with a great drummer playing over some samples and it seriously spoiled and ruined the songs and this guy’s voice and talent.

It seems that the world has lead some to believing that a live act has to have everything. To be honest in my opinion that band shouod be stripped right back to the basics. From this the drummers desire to capture samples and the guitarists want to fill a great gap will create, tension, soul, desire and a general pushing of musical limits. Hendrix would be nothing if he wasn’t in a trio.

Well, maybe it’s just me. But if I eat food I lik

e it to be cooked in front of me and not just reheated in a microwave at the tap of a button.

I’d much rather be a, Vintage Trouble, John Mayer, Joe Bonamassa or Tedaschi Trucks band who play live and loud and with soul


It’s Exam Season…

…for me, hence the lack of posts to those few who follow relatively regularly it has been more than two years since my first post, ahhhh nostalgia…. so go look at some of my personal faveourites posts of the last two years ;)

Guitars that Changed The World #3 Rory’s Strat

Why I went to see Joe Bonamassa

Robert Johnson Still Sounds Modern

John Mayer Aims for 2013 Album

see it at his blog from the man himself:

“New record this Summer… Not a Born and Raised “plus”… A new group of songs to bring the whole thing up to date with Summer 2013. I have that hunger that always precedes something meaningful. See you all soon. And thanks for the warm welcome back to the stage. Getting back on it a little at a time.


All I can add is that 2013 looks like a good year to be a John Mayer Fan


Hohner Big River Review

I decency bought this from amazon wanting a decent harp. It cost me about £15 and is a big step up in terms of clarity of sound and playability compared to the other very cheap harmonicas I had. For a relivive banknote beginner who mainly plays Dylan, Neil Young, Bruce springsteen and all and occasionally tries to cross harp along to the blues classics. (hoochie coochie man and little Walter stuff) This is a good non wooden harp for those who want to get their first decent one. Also after a few months of playing this it’s still in tune..

What’s the best way to start life as a solo musician?

I don’t know, if I did I would be rich probably or something like that. There is no answer really… so why make this post you ask? And its not really about the theory of making money about music. I like blues and soul music mostly, and where does that come from. It comes from inside you. That is something you cannot teach, but if you have something to say, then say it.

So basically my first part seems to be to write songs and to write some good songs. So then gives the question of how to do that? Which is another hard question. It stems from you, in my opinion….

1. Being a good musician, confident with your talent and always wanting to improve.

2. Say what you need to, don’t force yourself and literally live your life looking for words that you associate with. you could carry a notebook around with you (or just use phone notes app) and write down a picture a person, something that inspires you or feel any emotion. Write from your heart, would be the greatest advice I could give.

3. As for the music, another bit of advice I can give is to stop lie down or be quiet when you have some words or an idea, read them aloud or in your head and imagine the music going around it. Or when you stumble upon musical ideas, just sing words off the top of your head.

….just write it’ll get easier trust me, maybe the first few songs will be crap but it’ll come, don’t think quantity but quality.

Now back to the original question, lets assume you have some great songs, you can play by yourself, sing and play acoustic or piano also. Play them as often as you can as they will evolve. Also record video of you playing those songs on your own and watch back. You’ll get a different perspective, or just chuck them on youtube and ask your friends what they think. (don’t expect it to go viral, that would just be a bonus!)

Play them in a set on your own in your bedroom if you have 2 great originals and 2 covers you have practiced and made your own. Imagine you are playing a small pub or coffee house (if you are from the USA), sing those words you wrote from your soul and try to convey how you felt when you wrote them. Try different set orders, and play all the way through each day. Pick the songs which feel the best and simply find someone to play them to.

Or you could get a good microphone or multitrack recorder and go for it! Get some demos recorded! Record them over and over, until they are the best you can get. Then get some more musicians maybe find a duo have a jam you can a violin or bassist pianist or another guitar player, get some better demos, or even spend some money and go into a studio (but be very well rehearsed beforehand or you’ll waste your money.)

Play small shows for free, open mics or anything you can find literally, if they like you, you’re doing something right and hand out demos and all, youtube, twitter, facebook… release somethin on cd baby and you are off.

Well I cant say much. I have no fame and haven’t taken all of these steps yet… I plan to, but not for the sake of ever being a massive solo success .. but for the sake of playing music and loving it, maybe making some money on the side to perhaps donate to charity or something (I don’t plan on ever relying on music for a main income).

Bob Dylan never wrote for the sake of success, he wrote to be heard, to change a little part of the world… or to show what he felt about the world.

If you want success that’s just selfish. I will keep writing as long as I live and hope that people will listen, to make the world better by the healing power of music, however much of a cliche that sounds… That’ll be when I make it, when I can smile and speak for myself.


Good Luck

Album Review: Robert Cray “Nothing But Love”

I’ve written about Cray’s silky smooth guitar tone before and how I’m surprised that not many like the soul-guitar-amp rig at the heart of all the blues and he makes it sound so fresh and new compared to all the driven blues sounds we hear today.

The first track if the album “Won’t be (Coming Home)” sold it to me eventually. I take a long time to be persuaded to spend some money on music, as there’s a lot of good stuff on YouTube and the fact that I already have some amazing music, that I listen to all the time. So hearing that song and loving it was not enough, and I suspected that possible it’d be the only groovy contagious song smothers in silky licks and thoughtful blues and soul songwriting. But when it floats around in you head and you see cray perform some of the other songs on tv and radio shows in Europe there were about three times I only just stopped myself buying it on iTunes.

It was inevitable and now I own it and love it to death. “A Memo”, “Side Dish” and “Great Big Old House” and really groovy songs. And the keys are exquisite throughout the album like the lead man playing just enough.

I love the likes of SRV as you want to listen back to his studio albums and you hear something in the very fast soulful playing that you never did before, on the other hand Robert cray his note selection is so on the mark and moves you so much you just have to hear it over and over…. And over.

So basically robert cray shows a lot of young guitar players how it works in this album. Get a relatively clean amp and strat and just use your ears and learn to play what’s in you head and sing with your fingers. Not to mention the smooth vocals.


PS these are not really album reviews but recommendations ;)


Amazon CD: