*bleep* you! I won’t do what you tell me!

In April this year, a post went up on Facebook by someone I didn’t know asking if any musicians would be able to record an acoustic cover of ‘Killing in the name of’ by Rage Against the Machine as a commission job for a couple who wished to have the song played during their wedding ceremony as they walk down the aisle.

 

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Rage Against The Machine

 

A lovely friend of mine and music lover Sian saw the post and dropped me into the conversation with a lovely recommendation. I got chatting with the person who was dealing with it all for the couple and sent her a few YouTube videos over to check out my channel and before I knew the plan had been set.

So, my challenge was to cover ‘Killing in the name of’ and do it acoustically and send them the finished song. This week I’ve been getting busy in the Shagnut Studio Shack with it and to be honest it has been not only challenging but great fun as well! I love working like this and especially on something I would probably have never even had thought of either.

We’ve been sending posts back and forward in a group chat and checking out the progress and at the minute it’s pretty much there now. I am gonna add a little more guitar and some harmony in there and I reckon it’s sorted. I posted a snippet in the group yesterday and they are sounding over the moon with it so far so.. good news for me!

The wedding is on the 29th July this year and I’ve also decided to release the cover as a single on the same day of the wedding as a little hi-ho to the lovely couple who got me to work on this project and it will be out on most major platforms online! There will be a little explicit language so, unfortunately, no kiddies can listen in hahah!

Hope you are all well out there and looking forward to hearing the finished song!

Jason – Shagpile Music

#amazingadventuresalways

www.facebook.com/shagpilemusic

 

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My new Covers Album is out now and available on Spotify

 

Song a day! – Handyman Blues ‘Under The Covers’

Since I was a little wee wippa’ snapper growing up in my hometown of Bedlington in Northumberland, Billy Bragg and his music has always been around the house. My big brother, Andy, always had his albums on in his bedroom and tracks like St.Swithins Day, The milkman of human kindness and of course New England was drummed into me without me even knowing it. I didn’t have a choice of being a fan, it was simply just implanted along my little life without me even knowing it.

At a really early age when I started to play around with the guitar one of the first music books I ever got was ‘Back to Basics with Billy Bragg’ from my good pal ‘Bambi’ who started teaching me guitar. ‘Bambi’ was a massive Billy Bragg fan and sang and played pretty much any of his tracks at the time. The book he gave me had little sketchy chord charts in to learn the songs and that’s pretty much what happened.Off I went!

After that and many years down the line I recently bought a vinyl copy of ‘Billys’ newest album at the time called ‘Tooth & Nail’ a couple of years back. I absolutely loved it and the track ‘Handyman Blues’ instantly struck a heavy note with me. It was the lyrics… they were all about songwriting, poetry and well kind of not being able to do much else really. It goes on about not fixing things in the house like curtain rails and such but heads into being able to write a song that will tell the world how much ‘I love you’ instead. Its a fantastic little song and I fell in love with it straight away because of the way my musical life and journey sometimes has all these very things. Have a listen and I hope you enjoy it too. This track was recorded with one mic live for a YouTube video which you can also watch if you go searching! Have a great Monday! Shaggy!

https://open.spotify.com/embed?uri=spotify:track:56Iae7xzBNmlA8CqTkyxI1

Song a day! Mad World – Under the Covers

Day 1 – Mad World ‘Under The Covers’ – Track 1
 
I said I would be writing a little insight and sharing a track from my new album ‘Under the Covers Vol.1’ and telling you a little more information about how the cover came about and where it came from. So here is the first one.
 
In January 2013 I uploaded a cover of ‘Sounds of Silence’ to my YouTube channel. The band ‘Disturbed’ did an acoustic cover of the song not so long back and my own cover started getting lots of views and as of writing this its at 56,364 views! I was getting lots of comments and unknown traffic to the channel and I was over the moon!
 
I recieved a comment from a ‘MrBeck322’ saying ‘Love it!!!! Can I use your cover song in a video?’ and of course I replied with a yes but not knowing really what it was going to be used for.
 
The song and my arrangement was used in a Video Trailer for a Theatre Production in Germany called 3165 – Monolog eines Henkers which was all the last executioner of the Third Reich who was Johann Reichart. Here is the trailer!
 
 
I became friends with Peter (MrBeck322) and we talked about working together in the future.
 
Later in July 2016 Peter spoke to me regarding my cover of Mad World on YouTube and asked if I could re-record a version of this song for use in the live theatre production with a different feel. He described the scene to me and would like the song much slower and a darker feel to it.
 
A couple of days later and I had the track put together and off it went to Peter and the production company for the Production.
 
It now performs numerous times each year and this year I may be planning a trip to go and check out the production and meet Peter and his team for the first time and this is the first track on my ‘Under The Covers Vol.1’ Album which has just been released. I hope you like it and enjoyed hearing a little more insight into my musical little world today! Have a wonderful Thursday!

https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/1LdHaUPlrrmeNI1FBt5ZOY

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Sfarzo Strings Endorsed Artist

Back in March I headed down to the North East Guitar Show in Houghton Le Spring with the little bro’ Stevie to dream and drool over all the guitar and techy stuff that was on offer. Its a canny little day of just checking out all the new equipment that is coming out and of course to see some great second hand, vintage guitars on offer and usually some great guitar players performing live too.

We zoomed down in the car in the sunshine and arrived late morning and had a wander around the show. I also had a few bits ‘n’ pieces for sale on the FretMarks music stall which I wanted to get rid of and kept tripping over around my music filled home which Mark kindly offered to try and sell for me.

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FretMarks Music from Bedlington and the new Tanglewood Models

We had a good look around and dropped in to Marks stall to see how the day was going. The next stall to Marks had a smily chap selling lots of strings and was the Sfarzo UK distributor and after a bit of time chatting with him about gigs, live music and the strings he was promoting and selling, then we got to discussing about artist endorsments. Lee was a jolly chap, full of smiles and was very enthusiastic about the Sfarzo & Nicola brand strings and offered me a couple of different packets to take away and try for free from the Sfarzo family brand!

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Lee from Cheshire Guitars the UK distributor for Sfarzo Strings

After watching a little of the live music and drinking polystyrene cupped coffee we headed back North. Lee had posted a photo of me with the strings over on the Sfarzo Twitter page and a couple of days later I tried out some of the strings on my Tanglewood TSM1 Master Design. The D’addario strings on there were ready for a change after 4 gigs and the new Sfarzo strings gave it a new lease of life ready for the gigs ahead and lots of testing, playing and having fun!

shaggy sfarzo

After speaking back and forward with Lee he kindly agreed to add me as an Endorsed artist and was looking forward to hearing my thoughts on the strings. I got some photographs over to him with the TSM1 and they will be going live on the UK and US Sfarzo websites soon in the artist sections. I also have a nice delivery coming in from the US with lots of strings to keep me going through the many We Steal Flyers and Growing Robots gigs ahead. Playing around 200 live gigs per year means I go through quite an amount of strings as you can imagine.

So far the strings have been fantastic and they have been lasting and sounding a lot better for a lot longer than my D’addario strings I was using before. They have a nice warmth about them and still keep that brightness I need when playing for more gigs before having to change them! Which is a huge…hugeee…. bonus to me!

So.. yeah! Im a happy chappy! I am now officially an Endorsed Artist with Sfarzo Strings and of course Tanglewood Guitar Company and so far it seems like a great family of people across the globe to be in contact with and make plans with. If your a musician and would like to give them a try yourself why not pop into my local music store FretMarks Music in Bedlington who will be stocking them from this week also. You can usually find me in there tinkering around on guitars in the corner a few times a week too so say hello if ya see me.

Enjoy your week and be great!

Jason – Amazing Adventures Always

May you never (YouTube)

I have a new cover video up on my youtube channel this week! A cover of the amazing John Martyns ‘May you never’

I first heard a friend of mine performing this song at an open mic and buskers night I hosted with We Steal Flyers and the song stuck with me. I couldnt stop playing it as I was learning it. The rhythm and fingerstyle is so much fun to dabble with.

I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoy playing it!

Jason – Amazing Adventures Always

www.shagpilemusic.co.uk

What will you leave behind?

Hey up!! I’ve got a little story for ya! It was around 3 or 4 months ago, when my little half-pint daughters Olivia & Macey we’re hanging out with Daddy indoors on a not so nice day in Northumberland. After a few hours of finding things to do and getting up to mischief around the house it was time for them to head back to Mam’s and she was knocking at the front door before we knew it.

Olivia was feeling a little tired and ready for home but Macey decided she wasn’t going and decided to hide somewhere in the kitchen. After a little game of hide-and-seek Macey decided to stay over with Dad and Maria.

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My two amazing daughters (left) Macey & (right) Olivia

We woke up the next morning and Maria headed downstairs early as always, so Macey decided to climb into Daddy’s bed for a bit banter and giggles. We ended up with both of us at the bedroom window watching all the birds in the trees in the garden. She loves watching them all flying in and out and learning about what they’re called and naming them all. She likes the ‘Chaffies’ and has a besty called ‘Crush the Thrush’ hahahha

A few days later I was sitting playing the guitar with Macey and having a little sing song and I was asking her about writing a song and what she would like to write about. She instantly started singing about our morning watching the birds together. ‘In the morning when we wake up and watch the birdssssss….’ was her little line to start with and we started singing different stuff together while I secretly took mental notes of all her little lyrics. It was such a lovely little moment to share with her and the time flew by and before I knew it a lovely little song was pretty much altogether and she was singing away while I played the music. She wanted to get it all finished so she could show Maria when she came in from work and she did. I even set the microphone up for her and she sang her little heart out. Since that moment she just sings it anywhere when I ask her or if I start singing it. She loves giving a little performance! (wonder where she gets that from haha)

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Headed to Greggs for some pre-studio nomnom!

So… now we’re a few months down the line and I managed to get the guitars and my vocals recorded in the Shagnut Studio. I picked the little ones up from school yesterday and we walked around in the fresh October winds, up towards home. We stopped off for a little bit food and chinwag in Greggs Bakery on Bedlington Front Street. Macey wanted a cheese pastie and Olly had a sausage roll and we sat and talked about all sorts. I told Macey I had been recording the song and it was ready for her to sing her parts on now and we could do it when we got home if she wanted to. She was really excited about getting to record her song and she said “I’m excited to do it… but I’m also a bit scared”

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When I asked her why she was scared she said because she didn’t know if she could do it or sing it right. Macey is only 5 years old by the way!! I assured her she was going to be amazing and that it didn’t matter what happened in there, then we got inside, stuck her headphones on and she had two little practices singing along with it. I hit the record button and tracked two takes of the full song with her singing her little heart out. She was absolutely amazing and she has such a beautiful little voice with a lot of control for such a young girl. She was standing there in her little school outfit while she twiddled with the headphone cable and I didn’t have to tell her a thing. She just sang through it without any problems and then sat on my knee asking about the mixing and what was happening on the screen. A very proud daddy moment and such an amazing part of my week, month, year watching her sing and express her cute little self and loving it!

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The song is called ‘Maceys Morning’ and has turned into an amazing little moment captured between me and my youngest daughter and will also be on my new solo album. While all this was happening there was so much going through my head about what we can leave behind for others and memories that will still be around once we’ve left this little life behind. So… maybe have a think about what you would like to leave? or… what would be your favourite little moments in life if you could stick them in a box and pass them onto someone before you head off to the land of nevernever! Have a great week.. and be awesome!! Thank you for reading as always!

Jason #AmazingAdventuresAlways

www.facebook.com/shagpilemusic

www.twitter.com/_shagpile

My mission for ‘Music in Hospitals’

RARRRRRRRRRRRR!!! Did I scare ya?? Halloween is approaching fast and I’ve already been out shopping for ridiculous items to cover my little home in! Hahaha. I thought I best drop in and get you up to date with a few things as I seem to have lapsed a little with the #amazingadventuresalways blog. It just means I’ve been busy with a few things which can’t really be a bad thing huh? Anyhoooo …  here we go!!

The big news is my new single which is released really soon! ‘These Boots’ will be released worldwide on the 7th October 2016 and all proceeds from the track are going to the wonderful ‘Music in Hospitals’ charity. I’ve already started raising money for them through my Just Giving page and the support from you lot out there has honestly been absolutely amazing so far!

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Released on the 7th October to all good online retailers

‘Music in Hospitals’ is a charity whose mission is to improve the quality of life for adults and children with all kinds of illness and disability through the joy and therapeutic benefits of professionally performed live music in hospitals, hospices, day care centres, special schools and care homes. I was looking for a charity that was a little more music themed as it’s pretty much my whole life and I had a phone call with them early on while the single was all being put together and it was instantly a no-brainer I was speaking to the right people and I had found who I wanted to raise money for.

Tanglewood Guitars are also helping with the cause and have donated a lovely Soprano Ukulele which I have had personalised. The Ukulele will be giving to one of you lovely people who have already made a donation to my Just Giving page. If you have already donated, please make sure you have liked the Tanglewood Facebook page also!

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Win the Tanglewood TU6 by donating to Just Giving

The single has been getting lots or airplay already on Koast, Lionheart, Radio Northumberland and Beach Hut Radio and I nipped up to Lionheart for an interview and to perform it live on the air on Friday with Charles Ellis which was great fun. There is also a nice little write up heading your way for you Chronicle Newspaper readers out there!

So far with all your donations I have broke my second target and we’re now up to £321.00 and the single is not even out into the world yet! Amazing news!!!

I also have a fun video for the track which is all coming together nicely and will be live on YouTube sometime during the week of release and I’d also like to thank everyone who checked in on my live stream on Facebook for my Bathroom Session of ‘These Boots’ live on the throne. The video has had over 2000 views in such a short space of time because of all your sharing efforts and support.

If anyone reading this hasn’t donated and would like too, then please follow the link to Just Giving or you can text ‘PILE99 £5‘ to 70070 and of course you can change the amount to what ever you like. Every little counts and helps towards my fundraising to help ‘Music In Hospitals’ do a fabulous job and you get the chance to win a lovely little one off Ukulele! If you can’t donate then please just share the posts and updates as this is just as important! Thanks again for all your unbelievable help so far!

Jason – #amazingadventuresalways

www.facebook.com/ShagpileMusic

The Sound of Silence

15.7.2016 The Sound of Silence – Johann Reichart the Executioner

In January of 2013, I performed a cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Sound of Silence’ for my YouTube channel of videos. Sitting in my kitchen and recording it live whilst I practised.

Lately the band ‘Disturbed’ did a cover of the same song and it seemed to send quite a lot of traffic to my video with people commenting and telling me ‘Disturbed brought me here’ and the video is now heading towards 38,000 views…. now the good bit!

sound of silence

A month ago I got a comment on there by ‘MrBeck322’ saying ‘Love it!!!! Can I use your cover song in a video?’ and of course I replied with a yes but not knowing really what it was going to be used for.

A month later and I get an inbox with a nice message from Peter on my Facebook page with a link to a video. The track was used in a brilliant trailer for a theatre play about the last executioner of the Third Reich who was Johann Reichart and I had a look into what it was all about.

Johann killed 3165 people and among them were 250 women with a guillotine. Reichart is from a family of Bavarian executioners. He tried to escape his family tradition tried his hand at many different jobs and kept failing when people found.

When Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party rose to power, the enemy’s and death sentences were piling up so they needed an executioner. Reichart was the most successful in the business by this time and was rising to fame for being the fastest executioner of that time!

He was also know for being concerned for his victims. He never wanted them to suffer so he developed ways to increase the speed and changed technical procedures of the execution to aid this.

After the second world war he was imprisoned by the Americans for his role in the Third Reich but knowing they had a master executioner in custody and lots of Nazis which were waiting to be executed, the Americans decided to use Reichart to rid of his former bosses.

After that he had to go through his denazification haunted by his deeds and he became a depressive, his only son committed suicide and he died lonely and hated.

Here is the brilliant trailer they created for the Theatre production.

After a little bit more communication back and forth over Facebook, we discussed maybe writing some music for future productions and it all seems like a brilliant connection that came from nowhere. One minute your sitting recording a practice session in your kitchen and the next this. Great and unexpected things can come from such simple decisions you make.

I hope you have an amazing adventure filled time ahead and that you enjoyed reading my own latest adventure. Thanks for reading!

Jason

#amazingadventuresalways

Applecarts & Tanglewoods

BOOOOOO!!!!! Its been a little while since I got to the blog so I have quite a few updates on what’s been happening to catch up on but I’ll try and keep it short and sweet!

First of all, I am sure most of you know by now that the new ‘We Steal Flyers‘ album ‘Applecart’ finally arrived and has been released to the world. You can now purchase it online and at most of the good online retailers like iTunes, Amazon & Cdbaby. The physical copies are also now available at ‘We Steal Flyers’ gigs and for home delivery from the ‘We Steal Flyers’ Shop.

Its been available now for just over a month and the support has been completely overwhelming! Not only did we have lots of orders online through our shop but they have been flying out at our gigs and the feedback from everyone has been so great! Lots of happy people out there with new songs from the us to listen to! A massive thanks to all of you for your continued support and patience! Now lets crack on and get the next album sorted!!

wsf banner page album
The next exciting news is after doing a few live videos in Dennis Todd Music shop in Bedlington for guitar manufacturers Tanglewood, I am now an official Tanglewood artist/endorsee. We kept in touch after the videos were shot and released and it all came together. They are a brilliant UK based company who make some stunning guitars and I am now the owner of a beautiful all mahogany TW47E which was presented to me in my local Dennis Todd Music Shop by Mark Whiteman. I’m proud as punch!

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The new addition! Tanglewood TW47E

I was also performing a wedding gig in Ashington last week with Growing Robots with the new guitar for its second outing and the great Darren who is our bass player managed to grab some shots as I was setting up for the show. These were used on the Tanglewood website! You can check out some of Darrens amazing landscape photography of Northumberland and further afield at his homepage ‘Darren Turner Photography’

It’s been a busy old time here in the Shagnut Studio too with a few different projects for artists but I am also well into working on my new solo album too. Its already featuring a few great people you might know of through my pages and the songs all feel exciting and fresh to me. The album is heading towards more melodic and bluesy finger-style guitar and playing around with different tunings to keep it all exciting and I’m absolutely loving the challenges and the learning curves that have come along with it all. I still have lots of more good news in the pipeline but I will have to leave this for the next update!

Life has been good, creative, full of fun, love, laughter and busy times!! What else do I need??

Now back to work I go… hahaha! After a cuppa and some Marmite on toast of course!

Jason … #amazingadventuresalways

www.facebook.com/shagpilemusic

Curly-hair does care!

After a bit of a crazy week of the We Steal Flyers tour mobiles trouble and having to cancel some shows, I ended up being around the house over the weekend and into the next week a lot more than expected. I was missing the music that had been planned and on a lazy Tuesday night last week I ended up on the couch with the Curly one and my lovely new Sigma guitar.

There is pretty much guitars everywhere in our little humble home and they pretty much get picked up all day and played around with for a little then put down again. I can be in the kitchen, studio or sitting on the couch and noodling away while the tea is being cooked, the missus is creating her little crafty things at the table or when a movie is on.

So this Tuesday I was sitting playing around on the couch while Curly sat checking her phone and having a bit chin-wag with a glass of wine and after a bit noodle on the guitar we decided to try out a few songs while we chilled together. I even managed to bring her round to the idea of maybe recording a video for YouTube of us together. I was quite surprised as when I first tried to get her to record a little vocal in the studio, without video, I pretty much had to push the record button and then leave the building as quick as possible and come back when she was done! Hahahha. She is a shy little thing when it comes to her singing so this was quite a step.

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Sound Check for Declan & Ali Donnelly’s Wedding

Curly does perform live though in a band, on her own with the piano and with me too. She sings for a worship band performing at events and festivals usually focused towards Youth Ministry. The band also performs around monthly at the lovely St. Marys Church in the centre of Newcastle for Y.M.T at their regular ‘Source’ events. She also performs at weddings and other Church related events and I managed to perform alongside her earlier this year during the service of ‘Declan & Ali Donnelly’s’ wedding (Ant & Dec) and as you can imagine it was quite a thing to be part of! We have a few wedding services to perform throughout this year together too. This was just to give you a little history on the little Curly one and what she does by the way!

I’ve been along to quite a few of the ‘Source’ events at St. Marys and when she sings with the band on stage, she really puts herself into an amazing place and her voice and emotion takes a whole life of its own and fills the huge chamber sounding church. The kids & adults absolutely love the events and its like being at an arena gig with the lights and production and all the effort that people put into it.

Anyhow, getting back on track we worked through a few songs together and we picked a song to get her singing on the camera for YouTube. Doby Gray’s – Drift Away was the song of choice and without a real practice, just a couple of quick run through, we managed to get sat in front of the camera in the kitchen and recorded it. We checked a little of the footage afterwards and I got all the crazy comments in my ear of “is that my face” , “I look weird” , “ohh I’m a bit off there” and “wow…shaggy you look amazing with that guitar you should buy loads more” hahahhahah. OK maybe not the last one… but I think she did amazing and looked fantabulous on the video as she always does!

The next morning I got the video up on YouTube and the response from all you lovely people out there was really amazing. All of the lovely comments & feedback from everyone has really boosted her confidence in singing in front of the camera and I’m sure she will be back with some more music as requested by so many of you. You did well, the shares and comments kept rolling in and it hit nearly 800 views in less than a week and we’re both over the moon!! Thank you!!

Jason #amazingadventuresalways