Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Jones: To The Bone: Update

The album has been lovingly mastered by Peter Beckmann. 
Pete has pressed the 'stardust' button and has duly worked his wonders. 
One or two minor adjustments will see the the album off for production early next week.

Here's the running order with a tantalizing quote from each song:

Phil the Hat: Let's raise a glass to our younger selves

Dream HorsesSeven lonely satellites, circling my desire

Pardon Me: The love and the lust and the longing will always end up in our songs

Some Kind of Surrender: I reach out to you, reaching back at me

Books to Bed: When all hope is gone, we all grasp at straws

Man Behind the Moon: I could be beloved as I hide behind the moon

Angelicana: I know that in my blood I choose my words for sound

Cabin Fever: A question is forming. A knot is unravelling

The Fullness of Time: We danced as Dusty Springfield sang

Fireworks: It's magic we crave, explosions of wonder

Glimpsed and Gone: What does that mean?

To the Bone: If you're never awake you're never alone

Somewhere North of Here: Kindness is a kind of love and love it is a kind of fear

Row: I pray that the day will deliver all that's outstanding to me

Here below is what your CD will look like.
Makes me wish that we'd gone for the vinyl version...

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Lovesong: Johnny Coppin: Homeward

"Strong clear vocals and songs of substance" says The Daily Telegraph whilst Q Magazine heralds him "One of the finest voices in his field."
I'm talking of Johnny Coppin, folk singer and broadcaster.
I first heard from Johnny when he responded to a mailout that I did upon the release of my debut solo album 'Hopeland'. Johnny had a show with BBC Radio Gloucester, really liked the album and wanted to play some tracks. He has since been a great supporter of my solo stuff and the quieter moments (there are many) of Miracle Mile. Then a couple of years ago Johnny informed me that he was enjoying singing one of my songs 'Homeward' in his lives shows; wanted to share with me that the response was always fantastic.

And now... Johnny has recorded that song for his new album 'Borderland'. I believe that the album is out in March but I got my promo this morning (thanks Johnny!) and it is a lovely thing: gentle folk with Celtic colourings, sung in a true, pure tenor. And sure enough, track 2 is 'Homeward'. Johnny's version is beautifully rendered, I particularly like the fact that he approached it on piano, making it his own. It's always interesting to hear other folk cover my songs; the nuances that are kept and the fresh investments made. Love it; the cello and backing vocals are particularly moving on first listen.
I'll try and link videos when they appear but for now, look out for details of the release here.

Monday, 13 January 2014

To the Bone: Jones: Latest

'To the Bone' is finished; mixed and ready for mastering by those men in white coats: Peter Beckmann and Marcus.
That'll be Wednesday.
At that point we send the Hi Res files off to Linn Records who will make the album available as a 96 bit Hi Res Download and also as CD and MP3 quality downloads.
Hi Res seems to be the way ahead; read about it here at Audiophlie Audition.
Proper Records will be distributing the hard copy CDs upon release which should be around May time.
I will however be making the album available to buy via the MiracleMile/Jones website 'Store' here once we get the first pressing back; which should be early February.
No vinyl edition at this point but never say never...

'To the Bone' is back on personal ground.
After the balm and reflective calm of both 'Hopeland' and 'Keepers' and the dispassionate objectivity of 'In Cassidy's Care' this album comes from a period of relative instability.
For me, the daily dramas, the joys and the sorrows, the love and the longing; always ends up in a song; usually those songs stand as resolutions. 
This particular bundle still sit a little unsteadily so I’m unsure of their worth. 
A reticent recommendation I know but…
If I’ve learnt anything from the past year, it’s to wear your life loosely; it fits better that way. 
Mine’s still currently a tight fit, although a little baggy around the knees. 
And you’re only as good as your knees…
Thanks, as ever, to Marcus; my friend, my confidante, my brother.
And dedications?
This one’s for me.

Meanwhile, here's an early look at some of Barry Cross's excellent artwork:

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Hopeland (Notes From Corsica): 24: A Cima

A Cima

There are in our existence spots of time,
Which with distinct pre-eminence retain
A renovating Virtue, whence,… our minds
Are nourished and invisibly repaired

William Wordsworth
From The Prelude

Abide. I’ve lived the life, now I have the tools.
Where once I was misguided by wiseacre wisdom and boozy false dawns, I now understand that, in darker times, I had needed to see a light, even if it was a shadowy bliss.
I’m told that there is a point at which the pursuit of a dream can turn on itself and hope takes flight, when the youthful adventurer becomes the seasoned traveller and innocence is soured by bitter experience.
Wisdom warns of undercurrents, so we tread water. All waters lead to the sea, but somehow this island has returned me to the waterfall and there I found the water fresh and sweet.
Refreshed, I began to write.
I wrote about my living day, the ‘dear ordinary’.
But, why the inherent need to write?
I write to join the dots and make sense of the past.
I write to protect myself from emotional inertia, to help myself ‘move on’.
I write to connect with myself.
But ultimately I write to remember and to be remembered.
From heart to head, from head to hand, I write to make marks on a page, to give myself shape and form, that form declaring ‘I am here’, and, like any cave painter, my hand is poised to leave a mark that declares: ‘I was here’.

Here, as I scribble in my small yellow note pad, I recognise safe harbour and liberty. I am ‘of the moment’ and at this moment there’s no place on earth I’d rather be. I’m learning to inhabit my world without resenting the past or fearing the future. Refreshed and heavy with hope I work hard at being remembered. Perhaps being childless is what continued to lead me so vividly back to my own childhood, a past that’s been altered and now fits me well. Whether half remembered or best forgotten, memories are filtered, the haze of a childhood that can never be reclaimed is where we all start and end. William Wordsworth wrote about ‘spots of time’, vivid memories that can be recalled at will and help trace a life’s journey, moments that resonate long after they came to be, giving clarity and new meaning to present circumstances. Visions that taste and smell of one’s very fabric.

Early this spring morning we walked out of Montemaggiore towards the village cemetery; the Romanesque church of San Rinieru, and then up through a field of grazing cows under the protective gaze of a lacklustre bull, up as far as an ancient walled path lined with lavender, still used by shepherds to channel their flocks back down the valley. Following this route we traced the villages of the commune of Monte Grosso from above: Lunghignano, Cassano and eventually Zilia. In Zilia we refilled our plastic bottles with icy water at the roadside fountain and bought apricots at L’Epicerie from the toothless lady who always rants at us in Corsican, cackling hysterically at the end of each impenetrable yarn, her tired lips glad at the relief of not having to keep those ill fitting dentures in place. Understanding little, we couldn’t help but join in her laughter. As usual, the only part of this oft-repeated monologue that we comprehend is her age (now eighty two, she’s getting younger) and how much she loves the Irish. On our return we descended into Cassano as the heavens opened, taking relief in the tiny bar just off the star shaped village square, dunking small almond biscuits into our milky coffee until the storm passed. After the rain we retraced our steps back up the hill, homeward. Now, as we approach the cemetery we pause for rest, sitting on the grass roof of a shepherd’s hut, looking down at our village. In the heady midday heat, memories come fast to me, as if all previous experience is being funnelled from the eye of that stormy past, down into this vivid singular moment. Like the proverbial drowning man, images flicker and flash before me; here in the beating sun my heart races at the recognition:

I’m sitting on a swing. Over my sandaled feet I see Gareth, entranced by a pet chameleon, “his name is Peter” he lisps. Kate squints up at me from the dust, toothless and happy, while Mum twirls in a turquoise ball gown that seems made of paper.
“How do I look? Will I be the prettiest there?” she asks. On her wrist is the gaudy bangle I brought with Dad’s dollar from Changi market, her birthday present. My father stops singing and smiles down at me, his front teeth intact. Kerry shouts at me to be bolder so I stand tall on the swing “bend your knees, it’s easy”, she whispers, from behind me now. Soon I’m swinging my red knees high, well past the horizon, giddy with excitement.
The rusty squeal of that bright arc.
Two shadows that linger and then depart.
Blue sea, white dog, a red sand filled bucket, the tang of metal in my mouth, finally the vague but definite outline of a blue tractor, before the visions blend and blur and I blink to stop the dizziness. When I open my eyes I’m back on the lustrous roof of this bergerie, clutching my yellow notepad. I lean into the gentle breeze and open my mouth.
I can taste the sea.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Lovesong: Jo Hamilton: Think of Me & Liatach

Morning all.
I hope that you are feeling better than me...
Trawling for some new music on New Year's Day I found this.
Nothing particularly original I know but there's something in the voice and arrangements that hit head and heart hard; an emotional bullseye!
I've never heard of Jo Hamilton before but these two songs are stunners; both taken from her 2009 album 'Gown'.
All the best for 2014 by the way...