Once again it has been an age since my last blog – Christmas and New Year have been and gone and Spring is almost here. Or at least I think it’s almost here – it’s hard to tell as any early blooming flowers are under water at the moment!
The Sons of the Delta recording session at Monnow Valley Studios got pushed back to early February but it happened and was a fantastic day. All the boys were on form and our guest keyboard player, Bill Blair, really added something special to the sound. The engineers Liam Ross and Felix Mercer looked after us very well, knew exactly what they were doing and did it brilliantly. Aaron Taylor, our co-producer on the album, was there to make sure everything went according to plan and that he had plenty of good takes to work with back at his studio, Plump Hill Studio. At this moment in time I’ve recorded some of my additional guitar parts and still to come are more guitar, vocals, harp and some guest performances including what I hope will be a four or five piece gospel ensemble. It’s going to be a busy few weeks as I’d like to get the album finished and ready in time for our dates in Mississippi in April. It’s going to be a great album – I can feel it in my bones – and the title Tasty Nuggets is very apt! For those of you who bother to read this here’s some advance information – the yellow chicken that you may have spotted on the Facebook pics taken in the studio and, if you’ve really been paying attention, in our animated Christmas card on Facebook is Chokey the chicken and features on the front cover of the CD artwork. Chokey has been living with me for a few years now after I found him looking lost and forelorn in a charity shop. he’s called Chokey because his party trick involves eye-popping, gurgling and flailing whenever he’s throttled. He loves it really, besides which he’s not real!
Met up with my blues buddy Keith Thompson the other day and the discussion worked its way round to the inevitable topic of what do you have to do to get your name out there, get decent publicity and therefore more and better gigs. The answer when we’ve discussed this previously is ‘anything and everything’. It still is to a certain extent but a growing number of bands who are getting magazine interviews, reviews and decent airplay are paying publicists to get it done. Once the domain of bigger bands, even small bands are having to cross someone’s palm with silver – or gold if they really want good coverage – in order to get their name and music out there. Certain well-known specialist radio shows take nearly all their music from trusted sources – i.e. publicists – making it so much harder for up and coming bands who send material directly to get heard. I have no problem with this – it is the way of the world, money talks – I just don’t have the money at this moment in time to take part. To be honest the idea actually appeals. I’d love to not have the hassle of pursuing publicity, to be able to pay someone who has the contacts, the time and the gift of the gab to do it. If I manage to get the funds together at some point I may go for it and report back.
So it’s more recording for me, then mixing and getting the CDs pressed. During all that I have our Mississippi trip to finish organising and when we get back it’s gigs, gigs, more gigs and doing my best at a home-grown approach to publicising the album. Maybe I can get Chokey to take more responsibility…