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The Last Box of Bullets…..

When I started playing in bands many moons ago there was one thing that motivated me above anything else and it was the craft of ‘song writing’. I was fascinated by the art and in love with the fabulous songs of the 1960s, 70s & 80s. I was driven by a desire to understand how to craft something beautiful enough to capture attention, strong enough to stand the test of time and intelligent enough to show a depth and an understanding of the human condition.

I have written dark, thoughtful albums such as “The Thief Who Stole The Truth”, I have written albums for my own amusement, I have written on piano and on guitar, I have written about birth & death and I have had songs played on the TV and the radio – but I guess over the years what I have actually learnt is how to write the songs I like to write. They may be no better than anyone who today sits down to write their first song and indeed this is a business where you can strike gold on your first dig – but I do feel more comfortable now I am familiar with the fault lines in the land and the seam in which I mine for my ideas – effectively, with time behind me as a writer. I think the greatest thing you can bring to any art form is ‘the truth’ and I now know that experience gives you the tools to search for meaning in things.  I try to write songs with emotion and honesty that tell stories from my life and hopefully that means yours too.

Let’s turn the clock forward to today and the new album “The Last Box of Bullets”. In some ways it was intended to be just that…. the last….. but only the last of its kind. It’s a collection of accessible songs – radio friendly but hopefully with something to say too. It includes the singles “The First Time Again”, Just One Day and Suddenly I Can’t Find You and it also includes my obligatory ‘green’ song in “All of the World”, while “When Red Blood Flows” is borne out of too much 24 Hour News and too many years watching politicians/people/corporations lying to us all….for the record I no longer watch 24 Hour News or read newspapers –it seems to me that  it’s all largely a fiction designed to distract you from what’s really going on anyway.  On the whole it’s an album you can stick on the car stereo, something you can enjoy with a glass of wine, something to blast out on a relaxing Sunday morning in the sunshine.  It is in some ways the fruits of my years as a writer – it’s everything I have learnt about writing an accessible album and lyrically too, it’s full of the poems I use to express how I feel about the world and our relationships.

I’d love for you to BUY a copy either as a download (I-Tunes) or even better the CD version with its beautiful artwork and 8-page lyric booklet – CDs from ROJOR.COM have free postage.

In the end I guess the whole point to writing songs is to share them with others. Hopefully you see buying a copy is an investment in the value of music and it’s the support of people like you who actually buy CDs etc that keeps the independent songwriter alive in the face of corporate greed and TV reality music shows with their huge marketing budgets – it’s as important for you as for the musicians/writers. BUY CD

Track listing

  1. Vagabond Hearts
  2. Just One Day
  3. When Red Blood Flows
  4. Run To The End of the World
  5. The First Time Again
  6. Raindrops & Teardrops
  7. Suddenly I Can’t Find You
  8. The Last Box of Bullets
  9. Soaked To The Skin
  10. All of the World
  11. Satellite

If you want to find out more, join the mailing list and check out the live shows – please visit the official website.

DOWNLOAD “The Last Box of Bullets”

CD Cover

End of the World Blog

Some say the earth goes around the sun and others believe in Planet X but where ever you stand you can’t escape the current chatter about the forthcoming, indeed imminent, demise of the human race – yeah 21 December 2012 and the Mayan Calendar long count hits zero…. the end of the world.

To the best of my knowledge – and this is not extensive – a rouge planet ‘Nibiru’ enters the solar system every 3,600 years passing close to the Earth and causing mayhem with gravity, electromagnetic fields, etc. – not something you need in the run up to Christmas.

My best advice is not to buy any Christmas Presents until 22nd December. I know it’s going to be a busy shopping day but you really don’t want to be wasting money on gifts when you’ll need to buy materials to build a survival shelter and supplies to keep you going in the aftermath of the apocalypse. That said if the predicted cataclysm doesn’t materialise you’ll be short of cash and will wake up on Saturday 22nd with a huge hangover and a Christmas shopping list as long as your arm – on the plus side at least you’ll have plenty of tinned food in the garage.

Of course the whole thing could be complete rubbish and hopefully we’ll make it through to the other side of 21 December 2012 and we’ll be looking forward to a fabulous Christmas.

Now is the time to thank you all for your support and interest in my musical endeavours in 2012 – I really do appreciate you taking the time to read my blogs and Facebook posts, put up with my tweets, watch my videos and dare I say it ….. even buy my CDs and download songs from I-Tunes.

And here’s looking forward to the new album “The Last Box of Bullets”, which will be released worldwide in early 2013 and hopefully you’ll be getting tickets for the live shows so I’ll see you on the road somewhere….. please come over and say hello.

Have a great Christmas don’t worry about the end of the world and see you in 2013.

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!!