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2019

Oh Dear! ... nearly the end of the second decade, the ecology of the planet is going to hell and back and it needs kids to tell the UN to DO SOMETHING... too little too late I fear. Why I remember when this was all fields...

Our politicians have now gone from bad to worse. We are living in what amounts to a self-imposed dictatorship, unrestrained by truth or morality, geared towards self perpetuation of the minority asset wielders. I’m just waiting for the revelation that the Cabinet are now indulging in ritual cannibal dinners on Thursday evenings before breaking up to return to their taxpayer funded manses in GlousterWosterHamptaCotswoldshire. There to pick up on their infuriatingly interrupted ptarmigan and peasant shooting pastimes, with their lizard families before giving their offspring (neatly stashed in a publicly-funded, private indoctrination creche) their weekly 10 minute phone call. I’m either beginning to despair or I’m cracking up - not sure which - but I digress.

Some more of my bits have stopped working altogether and the remainder are seizing up quite nicely thank you. This year I became an orphan. Mentally I remain in the late 90’s. Even more of my contemporary musical colleagues have dropped off their proverbial twig. Sad but inevitable? I still wonder how many more of these pages will I be putting together in future? I hope I’ll manage at least a couple more.

The house project that we took on last year is getting there now. One more room to complete and some groundworks. Music is back in the front of my list most of the time and I’m frantically trying to catch up again.

It remains a productive period musically, despite the lack of live gigging. The difficulty remains making the time to find like-minded musicians with the time and willingness to perform for minimal cost and maximum fun, locally.
If you fancy it - give me a nudge please. One really good thing this year, I went to Bulgaria to meet up with my cousin, Phil Jackson, who I had not seen for several decades. We used to be, and still remain, close and it was great to spend a couple of weeks catching up with him. Phil was very important in the birth-pains of Phoenix Rising and will always have a soft spot in my heart.

I was back working with my long-time friend, the hugely talented folk/rock musician Alan Ibbotson. I’ve produced his second album ‘Alan Ibbotson At The End of The World’, the follow up to his album ‘One Good Summer’ for the Rising Records label. I mixed and mastered both albums as well as performing on a few of the tracks in various guises. My work on the new album was equally rewarding and great fun. Check the clips out and buyor download the albums. They are well worth it.

The video teaser ‘My Amie’ taken from the Pig’n’aif album, ‘Electronicalis’ was released last year, The album itself is due for release as soon as I can get it out there. It’s a Prog/Electronica album, heavily synth and guitar synth based with a seasoning of the usual instrumentation as well. I was pleased when Factory Fast Records of New York USA picked up the option to include this track on their ‘Dance with Destiny’ compilation album

 

Musicalis Grumpiosa - Pig'n'aifMusicalis Grumpiosa’ (Grumpy Music) is a project very close to my heart and is progressing alongside the ‘Electronicalis’ project. Another one that I really need to get finished and released in order to clear the decks for new material. But I’ve got to say that the material on this album really does make me laugh. It has a very wry perspective on life. Probably based on hind-site.

We had another couple of video releases as well recently. Firstly there was ‘Rollin’ Stone’, one of our favourite tracks taken from the ‘Pig’n’aif Blue’ album featuring the excellent vocals of Mel Day. Our second was ‘Cycles’ taken from the Pig’n’aif album ‘Handover’. This was a track that I first wrote way back in 1969 and demo’d in 1970 before introducing it to the Golgotha set list in Scotland. It has been played around the country with a number of bands, but was never formally recorded until we released the ‘Handover’ album. Mel Day’s voice beautifully brings this rock ballad to life.
Thanks Mel...

 

Please click on the
pictures below for details

 

 

Handover
 ‘Handover’, was released in February 2015. It was composed of original material which had been hanging around waiting to be polished for a long time. It is a retrospective re-work of material going back to my first days of writing, brought up to date with modern recordings and treatments.

Factory Fast Records of New York USA, also included a number of tracks from Handover on their compilation albums. The first ‘Oh Girl’ appeared on the Hot, Sweet And Blue album in August of 2015. The second  ‘Dead Man Blues’  appeared on the Road To The Sun album in November 2015. The third track, ‘Cycles’ appeared on the compilation album ‘Curtains Against the Wind’  released early in 2016.  A really good body of work. Check out clips from the compilations by clicking on the album covers.

I thank Brian and the Guys at Factory Fast Records, and we continue to pick up a lot of Radio and internet play in the States and worldwide as a result. Great news.

 I have other albums in the pipe alongside ‘Musicalis Grumpiosa’ and ‘Electronicalis’ and have every intention of releasing them as soon as possible.

Pig'n'aif BluePignaif Blue-ishWe still have the Pig’n’aif core musicians plugging away in the studio, and that’s great fun of course. We released the second and final Pig’n’aif album from the jam-band line-up. ‘Pig’n’aif Blue-ish’ is the follow up to ‘Pig’n’aif Blue’, and takes over where the previous one left off. Both albums have received a lot of good critical acclaim from the press and media (click on the images for reviews and audio). The  ‘Pig’n’aif Blue-ish’ album is again composed of old blues and rock standards but with even more of a groove and interpretation twist. Check it out, you’ll see what I mean. This was the last time I will be visiting this musical area for a while, but it was fun to do.

The Live SessionAfter The FireIn the last few years I have written, produced, re-mastered and collaborated on, a significant number of albums and videos. The limited edition vinyl release of the Phoenix Rising classic album is now sold out at HIgh Roller Records and is on it’s way to becoming a collectors item (especially the red vinyl version). I have a few copies myself which I may make available for sale in the future if you contact me directly. We have a new Phoenix Rising album titled
After The Fire’ in the can and scheduled for release soon (that’s not a schedule...). This album features definitive studio versions of the Phoenix Rising material and includes some Digitised version of Danny’s drums taken from original recordings. It will bring the Phoenix Rising saga to a close and all new heavy rock  musical development will be done under the Pig’n’aif banner in future where it naturally belongs. Still, ‘After The Fire’ promises to be well worth the effort, as those songs deserve to be released in their definitive versions at last. You can find out more info on that story on the Rising Records Website and Phoenix Rising Website.

As always, there are sample tracks and a video nasty or two on the Discography and Video  pages.

My primary recording gear has now been bolstered by a Kemper profiling amp which immensely simplifies the workflow around guitar recording and brings the added bonus joy of re-amping (or second guessing, depending how you think about it). The amp sources continue to be my rack mounted Mesa Boogie TriAxis and Simul Class 2:NInety valve amps. I use these with Palmer load DI boxes and Impulse models of my stage rig on the second channel of the TriAxis output. The second channel of my power amp is used on the Axon Guitar Synth setup. The whole thing is incredibly versatile but I still use my Orange rig or Vox AC10 occasionally (especially for live blues based stuff) just for sheer simplicity and fun. Of course I have taken to opportunity to model of these into my Kemper - sweet...

Custom  made Phoenix 'V' - Click for larger image and detailsFor guitars, I switch between my vintage Gibson Flying ‘V’ my custom-made Phoenix ‘V’ which has a beautiful, powerful character all of its own and is a joy to play live. Looks good as well eh? (Click the image for a better look) I also use a Variax alongside the others for a bit of variation. I am currently recording with a very nice sounding Les Paul, kitted out with 490s and ‘Jimmy Page style’ multi-tap wiring. Very variable tonal quality and is an excellent foil to and a real change from my beloved ‘V’. And then, there’s always my 70’s Strat for those glassy tones. Enough said.

I’m still thinking that maybe I’ll finish that novel this year? The problem is getting the uninterrupted time to sit down and think about it. Every time I do that I get a new riff or lyric idea and have to put that down before advanced senility wipes it from my head or the arthritis makes it impossible to play (even more frustrating). But, I would like to see how the novel turns out...

Please feel free to click on the mug shots on the right for some potted history and links.

 

 

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