My new John McGuire Valley Pro!
As always it’s been a busy couple of months since my last post. I’ve been gigging a lot with both ‘Limited Edition‘ and ‘This is England‘, as well as rehearsing with ‘Jagged’ for the Rolling Stones gigs in Malta. I am getting to grips with the parts that I will be playing as I will be ‘Keith Richards’ for the shows. There is some very clever guitar work in tracks such as ‘Street Fighting Man’ which has a somewhat ‘Howlin Wolf’ influence.
I also received my ‘John McGuire Valley Pro‘ Guitar which has been custom built! The Guitar is very reminiscent of the old ‘Valley Arts’ Guitars and is made out of Swamp Ash and features EMG SLV pickups complete with a Floyd Rose Tremolo. I have recently just got it back from my friend/tech John Marlow, who has once again done a phenomenal job of setting the guitar up. I strongly recommend him if you live near Dewsbury.
The Valley Pro ‘sings like a bird’ and is probably my best guitar, the neck is incredibly comfy as is the body. The guitar sounds amazing and I strongly recommend John McGuire Guitars to anyone who is looking for a serious piece of kit, he is one top Luthier. The Pickups are simply brilliant and as a long standing user of EMG SA Pickups I thought I’d try the SLV’s, I wasn’t disappointed.
This next month is going to be very busy as Malta is only one month away, and I’ve got gigs in between that as well.
Having some fun at a recent gig.
The past two months have been steady away, although a lot still has happened. I’ve recently got two gigs with top Rolling Stones Tribute
act ‘Jagged’. The gigs are in Malta and will be taking place in August; I’ll be playing the part of Keith Richards complete with costume haha! This has left me with an hour and half set list to learn which isn’t bad, however trying to nail Keith’s ‘feel’ on the tracks is proving quite a challenge. I was pleased to see one YouTube teacher (mnaicck) though who is nailing the feel thing! He’s an excellent player and there’s a load to be learnt from his videos. I’m figuring the rest of the songs out by ear.
Other than this I’ve been learning new songs with ‘This is England’, they seem to be going down well which is pleasing. One of them is ‘My Girl by Madness’; once again the rhythm of the parts on this track is very cleverly put together.
So all in all it’s been an active couple of months, the hard work starts now!
Me and Alex rocking out at a recent ‘This is England’ Gig.
This year has started out great! I’ve got plenty of gig’s booked in with both ‘Limited Edition’ and ‘This is England’. We’ve just hit March and ‘This is England’ have already filled up gig dates for this year, with only New Years Eve left.
Teaching is also going well, one of my students has been accepted to study music at college and I’m now teaching quite a range of ages which keeps things interesting. Ed Sheeran has been a popular artist to teach to students.
On the other hand, I’ve had little time to do any composition or collaboration. Hopefully I’ll find some time over the next month or two to start!
Magic! Fitting two lots of kit in a 3 door Toyta Yaris!
To finish off with a story about ‘Rock n Roll’, I recently had a gig in Barnsley, it was interesting to say the least, and this is before we’d even started! To start with, we had Alan (Singer) deping with us from The Detail, a different set including songs I’d never heard. Plus to top it off me and Nigel the other guitarist in ‘This is England’ somehow managed to fit all our kit in my little Toyota Yaris. And it was my first trip on the motorway! Despite all this it was a great gig and Alan did a great job of covering for us! #RocknRoll
For a change, the past few months have been ‘steady away’. For the first time in a long time, I’ve actually managed to have some time off. I had a great little break in the middle of November up in Northumberland, it was very refreshing not to have a guitar in my hand, or some piano key’s under my fingers.
Teaching has been going well, and all of my students are really making great progress. There’s been a great mix of students, and material that I’ve been teaching them, this has ranged from ‘I Giorni’ by Ludovico Einaudi, to learning new soloing concepts on the guitar.
A photo taken after my debut gig with ‘This is England’.
Gigging has been steady too. I am pleased to announce that back in October, I joined Yorkshire based Mod, Punk and Ska band, ‘This is England‘. This a slightly different turn in direction for me but I’m already enjoying the challenge. We have lot’s of gigs booked in for 2016, it’s looking like I’m going to be gigging nearly every weekend as I am still going to be gigging with Limited Edition.
As always I have some new projects lined up for the new year. I want to work more on the compositions that I came up with for my final MA submission. Hopefully there will be more collaboration with guitarist/singer-songwriter, Roz Firth.
Thank you for your support in 2015
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Well one again it’s been busy, I’ve been down to ‘Spitfire Studio’s in London for a mixing session and have generally been all over the place, however I think I may have some time to relax, as I am pleased to announce that I have just passed my Masters in Composition at Leeds College of Music. It’s been challenging undertaking but it’s been good, I think I am now getting to a point where I am ‘liking’ more of my own work… amazing I know! I mainly focused on stand alone composition, however I did do some composition to picture like this re-score of the opening titles of ‘Where the Heart is’:
I have also been collaborating with guitarist/singer songwriter, Roz Firth. We recently did a few songs at one of my favorite local venue’s: The Taproom Batley supporting my current band Limited Edition. We’re working on a cover of a Rae Morris song which will hopefully be finished before Christmas. Me and Roz went to see Rae the other the month at Leeds, the gig was phenomenal, the band was ultra tight and her vocals where flawless.
Teaching and gigging has been fairly steady recently, although the other week we did gig at ‘Band on The Wall’ as part of ‘Rail-house Rock’, for the children’s cancer charity: Sargent. I’ve taken on a few more students and teaching seems to be going well.
There are a few exciting things in the pipeline including a new band and possibly some more teaching, however more on that next time.
Madeleine Bullett laying down some brilliant Sax in the studio!
At the moment I’m enjoying a little bit of time off however it’s been a busy couple of month since I last posted. I’ve been mainly working on finishing the second semester of my MA, and getting my compositions sounding polished. I had a brilliant studio session with Saxophonist Madeleine Bullett, who did a brilliant job in laying down a sax solo I had written for a composition. My friend Ian Richardson also did a brilliant job on the recording side of things, massive thanks goes out to him! I’ll be uploading the track when I get the master corrected.
I’ve also been gigging a lot recently with Limited Edition, furthermore we have a steady stream bookings coming in, including one at ‘Band on the Wall’ in Manchester! Furthermore I have a gig with a few of the guy’s from the ‘Buddy Holly Show’ I was featured in, the gig is at Legends Bar in Batley on the 3rd of July, if you’re around please feel free to come along!
My friend Tom Jackson has finished his new EP, ‘Shoot the Demons off my Back’. The EP features me on Electric Guitar, It was interesting to hear what production wizardry he had done to my parts. The EP is a mixture of Spoken word/Song about a story about a fictional character lost in a journey of addiction, check out the EP here!
I start my 3rd and final semester of my MA which starts next week, so I’m currently planning on what to compose for that. My other plans include collaborating with Guitarist/Singer: Roz Firth, Roz has a unique style that blends acoustic fingerstyle with pop flavour; all of this is then rounded off with some loop pedal wizardry! Check out her YouTube channel here along with her new album ‘Passing Eyes’!
Check out her cover of ‘Sugar’ by ‘Maroon 5’!
Well I think I should first mention that ‘The Buddy Holly Story’ that I took part in was a great success. I can honestly say that it was one of the best experiences of my life. It ran from the 24th – 28th March at the Laurence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield & was put on by the Woodhouse Musical Theatre Company. I worked with a brilliant cast including bassist ‘Craig Sqaunce’, who’s toured with the likes of ‘Gerry and the Pacemakers’ as well as with members of ‘Showaddywaddy’. Daniel Flynn did an excellent job of playing Buddy, although the praise goes to the whole cast. Despite one technical mishap, every night was thoroughly enjoyable. The audience’s for the show were really good and were literally “dancing in the aisles” as one review put it: read here! I hope to do it again at some point in the future. A massive thank you to Producer: David Lockwood, Chairman: Alan Warmby and Musical Director: Rachel Haley. The WHOLE CAST worked tremendously hard on this and it’s down to this fact that the show was a success.
On the composition side of life I’m just preparing my Portfolio for June. So far this seems to be talking slow progress; I’m getting a little frustrated with the Idea’s I’m coming up with. Hopefully this will soon change. I’ve also just finished playing guitar on course mate ‘Tom Jacksons’ new EP which is a mix of weird and wonderful sounds, more to follow on that front. Fellow course mate ‘Peter Darling’ has also just released a stunning new EP, which you should definitely check out here!
Once again things are really busy. During the past few months, I’ve been focusing on my MA as well as doing more gigs with my covers band Limited Edition. The theme for my first term on my MA was ‘Melancholy’, furthermore what Melancholy Music actually is, and do my compositions fit in that genre? You can check them out on my Soundcloud: ‘A lovely day’, ‘Perfect Moment/After the Party’ & ‘She’s Missing’.
Winter 2014 also saw me working with hard-rock flavoured pop band ‘Molly Anna’. I played electric guitar and was mainly providing textures as well as doing general rhythm parts. It was a great opportunity to work with some excellent people. You can follow them on Facebook & Tumblr.
I’m also very excited to announce that I will be playing Guitar in ‘The Buddy Holly Show’ which will take place from March 24th – 28th at the Laurence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield. This has been a little challenging so far, but also great fun! Tickets are £10 – £14 and can be purchased here along with more info. Get them quick, there selling fast!
These past couple of months having been quite busy. I’ve been busy practicing and sharpening my Guitar Skills and trying to develop a more focused way of playing. I’ve also been doing quite a few gigs as July saw me out every weekend gigging. There are more to come to as next Thursday (11th) my band are playing at ‘Band on the Wall’ in Manchester as part of the ‘Railhouse Rock’ event; which I am very excited about.
I’m planning on doing some more video lessons at some point, so if there’s any suggestions please let me know.
September is going to be quite big for me too as I start my MA in Composition at Leeds College of Music.
In this lesson I’d like to show you how to play Cry by Doyle Bramhall II. This is one of Doyle’s most popluar songs. It highlights his great talent for songwriting and also his great singing voice.
To get the Guitar tone like the record. I would reccomend using a fairly deep & slow tremelo. A reasonable amount of reverb to will help the tones presence.