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Month: November, 2012

Sailing Ships & Dancing Horses

On Monday 12 November 2012 I re-released “Sail Away with Me” having re-mastered the original and updated the artwork by using one of my own original oil paintings.

The release is not part of some grand plan it was simply born out of a desire to share the song once more with you having heard the re-mastered version as part of a ‘Best of….’ project – which may or may not see the light of day in the future.

In 2005 & 2006 I had been completely absorbed in researching my family history – collecting old photographs from family members, speaking to elderly relatives and looking up records on the internet. I hadn’t intended for the journey to inspire a musical venture but ghosts have a way of drifting into view. In the middle of all this my Father died suddenly on a beautiful spring day, driving his beloved MG motorcar and with his love by his side. The car he was driving quietly wandered to the side of the road on a country lane and stopped without a bump or scratch…. and in that moment he was gone.

Later that summer I released an album “Faint Signal”, which brought forth two radio singles – “In the Shoes of the Fisherman” and “Sail Away with Me”; the second of which hit No.2 in the UK Sounds download chart. I hope this BLOG will act as a doorway into, what will always be a very special album to me with all its Celtic leanings and echoes of the past with its sounds of Northern England, the Borders of Scotland and the Irish Sea.

Essentially, I had uncovered the fact that my ancestors on one side of the family were fisherman with their wives and children, making a living from the seas around Holy Island in Northumberland, England at a time before factory ships and over-fishing. They battled the elements and risked all to feed their families in wooden ships with white sails on icy seas in banks of fog.

I was drawn to the symbolism and imagery of the sea and as is my way – the romanticism. The ocean and the wild carefree abandon. Perhaps the main example of this approach is in the track “In the Shoes of the Fisherman”, where love across ‘the oceans of time’ is celebrated with an acoustic guitar.  The VIDEO was shot between rising tides on the Causeway at Holy Island and it has a bleak beauty, which marries perfectly with the song.

“Sail Away with Me”, like many of the songs on the album, has a seafaring theme, the idea of escape and embarking on a journey – telling the story of a troubled soul adrift on life’s stormy seas but kept afloat by love.

“Dancing Horses” is another ode to the sea ….. “Sailors dive beneath the waves and dolphins dance on whaler’s graves”,  and again in “Spittal Song”  the narrative tells the tale of a sea voyage as a symbol for life’s journey where all our experiences only lead us to this one moment in time and this space where everything collides in the ‘now’.

Northumbrian Pipes, fiddles and mandolin work with the acoustic guitars and pianos to evoke the ghosts of the past, which at the same moment is the here and now. I hope you’re getting a flavour of the album.

I won’t embellish much more but I will mention my favourite song from the album – “Hollow” …. it’s a broken obsession, a shipwrecked heart, a pirate waiting to kidnap your heart – a fragile soul.

I hope you’re intrigued to find out more.

You can check out the full track listing and all the lyrics for “FAINT SIGNAL” via the DISCOGRAPHY page at ROJOR.COM – well worth a read if you have a few minutes.

You can BUY the CD album from ROJOR.COM, which includes some great photographs of the Holy Island causeway…. or if you prefer you can download the songs from I-Tunes.

As a taster download “Sail Away with Me” (re-mastered) from I-Tunes.

Recording Sessions Completed

The recording process for the new album is finished and I am looking at a release date in 2013 – I don’t want to commit myself to specifics at this moment but you can be assured the new songs will be out early next year. The album will feature eleven tracks including singles “The First Time Again” and “Just One Day” as well as others such as “Run to the End of the World”, “Satellite”, “When Red Blood Flows” and “Raindrops & Teardrops”.  A ‘new’ radio single will be released around the time of the album launch and I am mulling over two possibilities in this regard….  “Vagabond Hearts” or “Suddenly I Can’t Find You”. The first is a celtic influenced number whilst the second is more narrative and ballad like…… choices and dilemmas indeed.

Now the recording sessions are completed there are two other processes which need to be finished before the album goes for pressing/manufacture.

Firstly, the artwork and as I discussed in last month’s blog I do think the images and art are a great part of any album release. The artwork for the album is currently at the design stage and I’m expecting to see the proof in the next week or so.

There is also the issue of ‘mastering’ where basically the sonic quality of the recording is checked. It’s a form of audio post production, the process of preparing the recorded audio and final mixes to one MASTER from which pressing/manufacturing will take place. Remember, I have been working on this album for the last year so this process ensures levels from recordings in January match those done in October. It is also at this stage that the digital copyright information is assigned to the track so it registers with broadcasters etc. when played on the radio or TV for example.

I know that when I embarked on this album I had hoped to release it by autumn 2012 but as usual these creative endeavours tend to take on a life of their own, guiding you down paths not previously envisaged and they certainly don’t operate to a timeframe…. Lol.

Anyway I hope it will be worth the wait and you can be assured that in early 2013 I’ll be blogging about the NEW ALBUM…… I may even give it a name!!