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Wednesday, 17 August 2011


Now then!

Currently in Vegas, having a great time. All but totally unable to get anything musical done - it's hard work this holiday lark - but I have been working on one aspect of my songwriting: lyrics.

It's rare that I'll be completely happy with one of my lyrics. If I say exactly what I want to say, I think it's too corny. If I blur the edges a bit to make things less obvious, it sounds too contrived and desperately cryptic.

I shouldn't be too worried, though. The lyric (yes, lyric) to a song is ultimately of less importance to most listeners than the music; I cite We Built This City by Starship (lyric by Bernie Taupin, Elton John's lyricist of choice) as evidence, though I could list plenty more number one hits with lyrics that would have made William McGonnegal blush.

This in mind, though, I still think lyrics are my weak point, so I'm taking a few moments here and there to scribble some verses on various topics into a brilliant notebook I picked up at Walgreens. Practice makes perfect, after all.

A few thoughts on some of the music here in the States: most of the best current chart songs you hear piped in shops and restaurants are by British artists- well done us! Standard of buskers varies as much as back home, regardless of the city, though Memphis seemed to have a generally higher standard of player, and fewer wedding band songs. The two tracks I've heard piped the most are Rollin In The Deep by Adele, and (bizarrely) Runaway by Del Shannon. Worst ambient music by far was in San Francisco: felt like I was trapped in a Honda advert or the soundtrack to Juno. Las Vegas has the oddest taste in music. Don't believe me? Look who's playing Caesar's:

I know! Also, a local entertainment guide reads, 'Matt Goss, known as "The Voice"...' Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that Paul Rogers?

Anyways, I'll be back home and able to record in just over a week, though I've not played a piano, kit or bass properly since I left, and you don't even want to know what all this air conditioning is doing to my throat!

Tonight we head to the Venetian to see the Blue Man Group- well excited, as even on a small screen DVD they're pretty spectacular.

Until the next time, here's a picture of an amazing cheeseboard we saw in Carmel, CA:

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone in the USA. Please don't burgle my house.

Monday, 8 August 2011

New Orleans track done

But again, I won't be able to upload it til I get back. I can reveal, however, that it's called Bakelite Lady, and features the sound of my iRig mic not bastard working!

It's even harder than normal, writing songs away from home. On the plus side, there's a guitar at the house we're staying in at the mo, but I'm just not in a working frame of mind. I've noticed the thing that suffers first (and most) is melody - I end up semi-improvising the same tired blues lines I always use.

The answer, of course, is to set time aside to concentrate on songwriting; working on ideas and creating proper, rounded songs. But fuck it- I'm on holiday. ;-)

Speaking of which, just a few words on music in New Orleans. There's a bit of trad jazz here and there, and there's the annual Satchmo jazz festival on at the mo, celebrating the life and work of Louis Armstrong... but the place just doesn't seem to have a soul. There's nothing that doesn't just seem put on for the tourists.

Also, there's a lot of stodgy, chugging, accordion-based blues. It's horrid.

We did, however, find this:

Who says Americans don't do irony?

San Francisco next...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone in the USA. Please don't burgle my house.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Memphis update


Just leaving steamy Memphis. I'm still unable to get any new songs online, but in the meantime you can still donate to the Song A Week for Parkinson's UK project by visiting http://justgiving.com/songaweek. Also, have a look at these bits and pieces:

Patrick Dodd - best blues and R&B act we saw on our visit; really excellent.

Dodd and his band

Dodd himself - a white guy with dreads, and I still liked him. That's how good the show was.

Wonderful drummer; great hair

Memphis Jones - local musician, comedian and, well, tour guide doesn't really do the man justice. Inspirational.

And finally, my own take on the Stax sound, back at Song 27: Actions Speak Louder Than Words (with apologies to Stax fans everywhere!) Click on the picture to hear it!

The original Stax sign, above the stage at the Rum Boogie Cafe on Beale St.

On the sleeper car to New Orleans now. It's just like North By Northwest, only Jess is prettier than Eve Marie Saint, and I'm straighter than Cary Grant. Just about.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone in the USA. Please don't burgle my house.
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