‘I’ll play you songs you were in’

I couldn’t figure out what it meant. It’s a line from the chorus of the Dermot Kennedy song Rome and it confused me. A song you were in – what is that? The musician in me immediately thought it must be a song on which you played, or a song you sang, but that seems too narrow an explanation somehow. So the meaning I have settled on is that it’s a song that reminds me of you. Possibly a song we sang together, or a song that was big at the time we hung around together, or perhaps a song that you even don’t know reminds me of you but there’s something about it that does. A nice sentiment whichever way you look at it. But if we’re in a song, it means that we have made an impact on someone, so much so that when they listen to the song, they think of us. Which leads back to the

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Technology vs talent

Steve Wickham is one of the guests on our new music podcast. His interview and performances will feature at some stage in Season 1 – which began today and will feature new episodes every Wednesday between now and Christmas. In preparation, I read this interview with him. It’s from 1987, at the time they were recording the Fisherman’s Blues album in Windmill Lane. He is quoted as saying that he doesn’t feel that the increased technology takes away from the music: “It’s a recording studio and what a recording studio does is record musicians. Technology improves the techniques by which they record. The way in which the musicians choose to use the technology is their own choice.” In other words you can have an amazing studio and brilliant technology, but unless the musicians know what they are doing you’re not going to end up with good results. It’s like rhymezone.com – the modern version of a rhyming dictionary, a crucial

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The nudge…

I’m buying a bike. I had the idea a few months ago, but had never acted on it. However a conversation with a friend this morning gave me a nudge me to do it now, and so I’m doing it. Because it’s a good idea. A good idea is a good idea. It may not always work out in the end, but that doesn’t make it a bad idea. We all have them. I’m sure you guys reading this blog today have them. So maybe this is your nudge, or maybe you will give yourself the nudge, or maybe you will give somebody else the nudge? Because good ideas are good, but by acting on them we can make the world a better place. PS Luke, Rory and I think we have a good idea and we have acted on it. The pilot episode of our new podcast – In The Lamplight – comes out tomorrow at 7am. You can

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Our new podcast launches today!

In The Lamplight, a podcast created by Luke Devaney, Rory Maitland and me launches today. It’s really exciting to be able to share news of this project with you all and I hope you’ll be able to join us over the next few weeks. It’s a podcast for people interested in music and musicians in which we explore the influences, passions and ideas that made some of your favourite musicians into the people and musicians they are today. Each episode will include 3 performances including lots of original music. You can see a short video explaining more and giving you a sneak preview of some of our guests from Season 1 here. Our trailer podcast launches this Wed 21st Oct and you will be able to find it wherever you get your podcasts. If you don’t usually listen to podcasts, just go to the Subscribe section of our website and enter your email address to get notified as soon as

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Big day tomorrow…

So here are some blog titles from the past few weeks. Beginning. Will It Be Any Good? Nostalgia With Intent. Facing Fears. If any avid blog-readers somehow put these titles together and deduced that I and some friends were beginning a new project where we all get out of our comfort zone a bit while looking back at the lives and careers of some very special people I would be very surprised. But that’s exactly what’s happening. We have recorded it over the past few weeks, and starting with tomorrow’s blog, we get to share it with you all. I can’t wait. Stay tuned.

Beginning

A friend of mine – blogger, podcaster and musician Matthew Carey wrote this the other day and it was so good I wanted to share it word for word. “Waiting until we feel confident is a bad strategy for getting started. But getting started is a good strategy for building more confidence”. You can read Matthew’s blog here, and listen to his podcast here. I had the real pleasure of being a guest on it earlier this year, and if you’re interested you can listen to that episode in particular here.

Social media – Good or Bad?

A friend of mine once described the feeling of getting distracted by your social media feed like walking into a room and forgetting why you did so in the first place. How many of us have come to our senses, suddenly realising we’re watching a video of an elephant playing with a cat, yet not having a clue how we got there or how long we have been there? Whatever reason brought us to check social media in the first place has been long forgotten and our minds have become thoroughly distracted from whatever task we were trying to carry out. Another few minutes of our precious attention wasted. It’s no accident. Facebook and other social media companies deliberately try to make their services addictive, utilising techniques employed in the casinos of Las Vegas to lure us into spending more and more time on their apps. And yet just like the slot-machine addict, none of us actually feel better after

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The sing-song

Not too many of them going on at the moment – so here are some features and characters we will all recognise from great sing-songs past. The one who forgets the words. People don’t get up to sing if they don’t know the first verse or chorus. But not knowing the second or third verse rarely stops them. And no matter how many times people say “we’ll help you out”, and no matter how good their intentions, they have often had a few drinks and you CAN’T rely on them to know the words. You need to know them yourself, or have the lyrics handy. The person who has never sung before. The sing-song has a special place for them. Extra encouragement on the way up, extra applause on the way down, no matter how the performance goes. The shushers – there are always a few. Usually have the best interests of the sing-song at heart but can be annoying

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All of Me

The ultimate love song, written by John Legend and songwriter Toby Gad in the lead-up to Legend’s wedding in Sept 2013. He sang the song to his new wife, Chrissy Teigen, during their wedding ceremony on Lake Como. It was suggested to him by one of his managers to write a song dedicated to his fiancee with a similar message to Billy Joel’s She’s Always a Woman to Me, and you can certainly hear the similarities both musically and lyrically. The song is striking because of it’s simplicity, which makes it all the more astounding that it was a no. 1 hit. At it’s core it’s just piano and vocals. Some backing vocals enter the mix after a while, some sounding natural, others towards the end with a bit of a robotic sound but they all add to the feel of the song. I wrote about Paul Simon’s Bridge Over Troubled Water a couple of weeks ago – another stripped

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Zooming

I’m guessing that I’m not the only one who has been using Zoom, or some other video-conferencing technology a lot more than I used to. I use it mainly for three reasons – to catch up with friends, to meet with colleagues to discuss an upcoming project, and to teach a class. But it’s new to many of us, so the likelihood is that many of us could do it better. Somehow. I have learned a lot from a man called Seth Godin on this. He describes it as combining two of the most important inventions of the 20th Century – the telephone and the television, and has published these two blogs and recorded this podcast on the topic. Here are my favourite tips, adapted to things I have experienced. If you’re running a Zoom meeting/class/catch-up, run it for the right reasons. Not to demonstrate your power/status to the others involved, but to share ideas in the most efficient way

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