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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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

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!!

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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

If Tanglewood would… I would!

7th April 2016

I received some great news from Mark at Dennis Todd Music shop in Bedlington last week. Tanglewood Guitars were to be filming a new series of videos for their website and homepage. They were to drop in-store to film a local songwriter in a local Tanglewood dealer. The dealer was Dennis Todd’s in Bedlington,  my home town and I managed to be the lucky artist who was going to get to perform in the store.WoooHoooooo!!

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Mark from Dennis Todd Music Store in Bedlington

Dennis Todd’s music shop has been around since I was a little wee wipper snapper. I used to stop off in the store growing up and gawk at all the lovely guitars and instruments in the shop. My father used to take me up there too as a little one when he was picking up strings and bits n pieces for guitars he was giving a new lease of life too. Mark Whiteman used to work in the store and has since taken over the shop from Dennis but kept the original name and local friendly shine it always had.

On Thursday , Elliot from Tanglewood was turning up at 11am and I had to get my butt down there to perform an original song and a cover version of a song using two different Tanglewood guitar models. He was going to be filming and recording the audio and putting it all together in a nice little package for the world to see on the Tanglewood homepage and YouTube.

I woke up not feeling too grand unfortunately and was all stuffed up with the first signs of this nasty cold coming along on Thursday morning but I managed to pull together and get down there to get started. Elliot was already setting up when I arrived and getting things ready so I had time to sneak a strong coffee in from Mark while we sorted things out in the shop. Mark had some lights brought down and sat one behind the corner of the seat in the corner and another smaller LED to give a little fill light.

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Ready to start on the first take with Elliot

We were pretty much ready to go when the Curly one tipped up to sit in the corner in silence while we got cracking. We had a couple of large microphones set up in front of me and I had to give the songs a few takes though for each song to hopefully capture some different angles and cut scenes to be all synced up and hopefully look lurrrvely when its all done. By the time I got through the first take of the first song my backside felt like it was on fire from the lamp which was heating me up like an oven. Mark also realised there was an expensive Tanglewood sitting right in front of the light so that was moved quickly to another location in the shop. Peowwww!!

I got to use one of the new dreadnought sized Crossroad series Tanglewood for the first song which was an original song of mine called “English Tea” and will be available on the all new ‘We Steal Flyers‘ album ‘Applecart’ which is out on the 6th May 2016. For such an affordable guitar it sounded and performed really well and I started to get a little attached to it by the end of the takes.

The second song was a cover and I chose to play a version of the Cheers TV series theme song and I played a lovely TW40 OAN on this song. It had a a great big bright sound and was perfect for the more finger-style version of the song I was playing. By the time I got through the takes of the cover I was well and truly sweating with the muckle light behind me, that was trying to turn me into mush like the wicked witch of the North (East) . Ha Ha.

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After the session with Mark & Elliot

After the session was done we managed to get packed up and had a little wander around a few places in Bedlington and got a few shots of the local points of interest. We popped into a few shops around the way and then back to the shop.

All in all it took around 4 hours and it was a great and different day with a few great people and hopefully the videos will arrive soon. With the amazing help of Mark from Dennis Todd’s and Elliot from Tanglewood UK the job was done and I managed to relax in the garden with a little fire with my little ones and Curly-top until way after dark. Another amazing adventure complete!!

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Time to chill in the garden with the lovelys!

Thank you for stopping by my little humble home of life and music as always and look out for the new videos coming soon!

Jason – Amazing Adventures Always

…Irish Muckle Elephant Food

Day 3 – Lucerne to St. Gallen and back again!

Today is the real start of the tour! Our first gig for the ‘We Steal Flyers, Winter Tour 2016’ is in Gallus Pub in St. Gallen, Switzerland This is a new venue for us and also a new area of Switzerland for us too. A nice exciting way to start the tour off!

Waking up and grabbing a coffee was the first thing on my mind! Then I had a little work to do online and get my diary up to date or you wouldn’t have any of these to read. We are in and out of Wi-Fi and travelling a lot so the days will be a few days behind mostly but at least you can still keep up with what is happening on the road and in our adventures around Switzerland.

After my work was done, I managed to squeeze a shower in whilst I listened to Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats blarring out my laptop as I got myself ready and packed my little ruck sack with bits n pieces for the show.

Derek and I left the hotel around 3pm with our guitars and matching Karrimor backpacks and headed to the back of ‘Legends Bar’ on the other side of town, which is where I performed live in Switzerland for the first time in a window sill of the bar, when I came over in March 2010. Our good friend Bill used to own the bar back then but unfotunatley not anymore.

We met up with Mark, our frog squashing tour manager and jumped in his Mercedes BritBeat machine ready to head over to St. Gallen. We headed off on the road after an old guy in the biggest black car in the world shook his leather fisted gloves at Derek for trying to get in the side door of the van from the road side. We shot off through the many traffic lights and crossings of Lucerne and found our way to the motorway when Mark pulled out his ACDC album for the road trip! Yeshh!! We made a quick pit stop for some weird crisps, blue fanta and other weird nom noms for the rest of the trip to St. Gallen. The drive took around 1 hour and 45mins and then about 20mins driving around the bar in circles trying to find how to get to it.

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We Steal Flyers – from UK – Irish Music?

We nipped inside after Mark came out laughing and told us to go see the size of the place and how much gear we would need.We also ntoiced the outside advertisement on the wall you can see above. The bar was a little bigger than my kitchen at home! An Irish themed, square bar in an old upstairs building on a main street full of great little nicknack’s on the walls and ceiling. There was an in house Pa System that we could link into and we just needed our mixer, mics and micstands. The whole building was on bit of a slant and I nearly fell over twice bending over plugging leads and my pedal in and then losing my balance. It wasn’t a lot, but enough to make everything feel very strange. It almost felt like the place was moving when you looked around.

Once we sound checked we headed across the road to a Thai Restaurant called Big Elephant. We are always fed well over here and looked after. The meal was amazing and I actually felt a little full up to sing. We had a little time to relax and have a Guinness and a few of Marks whiskies in the bar before we started the show though. Mark was doing a whisky tasting in the opposite corner of the bar while we played music. The Whisky & Song works really well together in some of the bars and hotels in Switzerland.It also means I get to try out a few sneaky whiskys while we play. Win Win!!

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‘Whisky & Song’ with The Whisky Experience

We had a great fun first gig with one of the staff taking off into his own version of La Bamba in the 3rd set after I simply strummed a C chord between songs. Everyone joined in and had a huge sing along in the smallest pub of ever! It was also great to see people singing along to ‘Apple-cart’ too which is one of our new songs to come on the new album which isn’t even out yet. We performed a live take of Apple-cart when we were in the Shagnut Studio recording the album and you can see it below. We have some great news of the new album coming soon too so keep your ears and eyes peeled.

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Gallus Pub in St.Gallen, Switzerland

After we packed our little bits and pieces up we jumped back in the BritBeat Machine and headed back to Lucerne for around 1.30am, headed back to the hotel over our little night time bridge and I got a little caught up with some more work online until my eyes couldn’t stay open any longer. Luckily there was no weird little witches running around in my room and I got myself a good little sleep. The next gig for us two Flyers is in Baden, Switzerland. A great little English style bar with a nice stage area with plenty of room to shake our legs. Speak to you after the show! 😉

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Jason – Amazing Adventures Always

…Have guitar, will travel

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Have guitar, will travel!

Day 1 of the Swiss Winter Tour 2016

Today the Switzerland ‘We Steal Flyers Winter 2016 Tour has arrived and before I knew it, its the end of the day and I am parked up in my hotel room over looking Lake Lucerne and its just turned midnight. Here is a little run through of how things panned out today!

I woke up around 10am and was feeling a little spaced out and little rough as it was my big brother Andy’s Birthday yesterday. Curly and I popped down with a present and card around 5pm. Andy was in his little workshop out back and came in to make us some cups of coffee before we headed off. Somehow the coffee magically turned into a glass of red wine for Curly and some of Andy’s home made Sloe Gin for me. We had a good bit crack in the Vares Kitchen and I finished off one of his bottles of Sloe Gin and moved onto the next one. After Andy had tried out his desktop drum kit and had some giggles with a head massager from Momma Vare I headed home and took the last of the sloe gin with me.

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Happy Birthday to the Big Bro’ in the Vare Kitchen!

Anyhow after a bit catch up with a friend at the house and couch time with the Curly and more of gin I woke up in the morning still feeling a bit potent after Andy’s secret weapon sloe gin. I still had a few things to sort out and Mel was heading to get me to head off to Manchester Airport around 12.30pm.

Mel, Derek and the kids tipped up and I was pretty much sorted thanks to the awesome help of the Curly machine who packed up my case and got pretty much everything ready to go for me, while I stumbled around looking hazily for guitar cables, strings and chargers.

We headed south in the car with me driving, Derek in the passenger seat and Mel and the kids having a party in the back seats. It took just over 3 hours to get down to Manchester airport with the constant roadworks that seem to be on every main road in the UK for the last 4 or 5 years. We had one little wee stop at Wetherby services and had time for a quick Greggs beef & veg pastie then headed straight off again.

We made it to Manchester airport just twenty minutes before the bag drop closed and dashed through the customs to arrive at Gate 9 as it was closing, jumped on the end of the queue and before we new it we were up in the air and heading off to Basel, Switzerland. I got the window seat and deg sat in the middle talking to his new buddy and giving her a We Steal Flyers sticker from his bottomless pocket of sticky circle pictures of me and him sharing a bathroom. Hahaha!

We were planning on jumping on a train to Lucerne but the amazing Swiss Steffi turned up in her little Clio to pick us up and take us to the Hotel Pickwick. As usual I jumped in the drivers seat and headed off on the wrong side of the road. Its a strange thing driving on the wrong side of the road and the roads are pretty strict in Switzerland and before I knew it we were heading along a motorway in a 120kmh stretch and a speed camera lit up the road behind me. I think it may have sneakily changed to a 100kmh and confuddled other side driving Shaggy didn’t see it. Oooops!! either that or it was just some fireworks for the Flyers arriving in Switzerland.

We had a quick stop off on the motorway at a co-op which for some reason had a Sex toy shop in the entrance? So the first place we stopped off on tour in Switzerland was the MEGA SEX STORE! Hahahha… After Steffi checked out all the ‘toys’ and Derek and me grabbed a few goodies to nibble on we hit the road again to Lucerne trying not to set off any more speed cameras.

I’m not sure how many tours exactly we have done in Switzerland but its always a nostalgic feeling driving in as you come over the bridge over Lucerne Lake and you remember some of the times had in this beautiful part of the world.

“Have guitar, will travel” was an album by Bo Diddley and when I first started getting into the acoustic guitar as a young laddie, I remember it popping up in different places and my musical buddy Paul Bainbridge used to be always singing and playing Billy Bragg songs. He would teach me his songs and he gave me a book with his music in with ‘Have guitar, will travel’ on a silhouette drawing of Billy Bragg. Its always stuck with me and I even have a old Tattoo with the words on a scroll on my left arm as I sit here in Lucerne in a hotel writing this Blog with the Lake Lucerne in front of me and my guitar sitting by me in its case.

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Blog time at the Hotel Pickwick over looking the Lake Lucerne

We met up with Mark our tour manager here in Switzerland and Mr. Bill Weir and the five of us had a catch up and I sank a few Guinness as we sat in the corner of the Hotel Pickwick bar on the lake of Lucerne. Then it was up to our rooms to get some well needed sleep after I made a little start on the blog.

Before I knew it I’m waking up by an amazing lake in Switzerland and ready for another step into more Amazing Adventures Always. We are here with a great tour ahead of us!!

Here is our tour dates for the adventure ahead!

  • 19th Gallus Pub, St. Gallen, Switzerland
  • 20th Pickwick Pub, Baden, Switzerland
  • 21st Expresso Bar Grindelwald, Switzerland
  • 24th Shamrock Pub, Luzern, Switzerland
  • 25th Spreu & Weizen, Immensee, Switzerland
  • 26th Schweizerhof Hotel, Luzern, Switzerland
  • 27th Shamrock Pub, Luzern, Switzerland

You can keep up to date with the tour with photos and updates along the way on our Facebook page. If you can and it’s your thing please share away anything you can regarding the tour and our dates. It all helps with making our shows awesome!

I’m off to do some adventuring and I hope you have an awesome day ahead of you!

Jason – Amazing Adventures Always

…and I would drive 200 miles!!

4.2.2016 – 200 miles to the first We Steal Flyers gig!

Getting sorted to head off for tour is never a really relaxing time for me! Everything is last minute usually and today isn’t anything different. After a full day at a funeral yesterday for Curlys grandma and getting in late and sneaking a cheeky lie in I finally jumped up out of bed around 11am to a text message saying that Mel n Derek were leaving soon to drop Derek and the car off ready for our little travels and I hadn’t even started to get anything ready to leave.

It always manages to get sorted on time though and I’m never worried, everything was packed and I restrung the Yairi with a set of custom light strings ready for its travels.

Unfortunately is seems to be more often than enough I am leaving an unhappy Curly behind for one reason or another lately, which really doesn’t help when your heading off on tour. You have to be in a certain mind set and keep the excitement flowing as it can be a very tiring experience driving and travelling from one place to the next. I still love it all though and enjoy touring a lot.

Me and Derek hopped in the car finally and started heading out. The first gig of the tour was at The Tank Bar in St. Helens, Merseyside which was a 191 mile drive down the road. Usually tours take us up or down the A1 in the UK but this time we were heading across to Carlisle and down the M6 to Merseyside which made it feel like a whole new world. Travelling over the hills and winding roads towards the M6 instead of the constant roadworks and 50mph zones of the A1.

We made it to Merseyside after just one toilet stop at a services. The trip took 3 and a half hours and we had the small faces to keep us company for most of it, before that it was the Peter Kay, Matt Lucas and The Proclaimers Charity Comic Relief single which started the journey. Derek was on CD duty. Yeah I know!!!…. and I would roll 500 milesssssssssssssssssss!!

We checked into our hotel for a little chill time and it was a bit of a surprise to find out our room had a horse racing jockey theme to it. The bed side lamps were Jockey helmets and we had wallpaper covered in Jockey accessories with a big yellow and blue chequered head board behind the beds. Welcome to The Ibis hotel in Merseyside! Hahaha!

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The Jockey room at The Ibis Styles Hotel, Merseyside

The venue tonight was a new one for us and came about from a message about a year ago from Ian the owner who saw my video of “White Devil” when it was released on YouTube and sent me a polite message asking if I could play a show in his bar. We Steal Flyers were booked in for about a year later and now it was time to turn up and play some music.

The bar is such a great little place full of character. You never know what your turning up to usually on tour so its always a nice surprise when you land in a nice venue. The venue wasn’t much bigger that our hotel room with a small bar in the corner. A Yamaha PA was all set up ready for us so there wasn’t much time spent setting up and sound checking. Ian was a lovely guy and a fellow beardo and it was good to finally meet him! It was good to see some great beards dotted around the bar too! Hahaha

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Beardos

We started around 9.30pm for our first set and we had a great gig from start to finish. Derek said his usual “Merry Christmas” in the middle of the second set at some point and a crowd of people started shouting it was they’re Christmas party and asked us to play a Christmas song for them. Frankie goes to Hollywood & The power of love was as close as we were getting to Christmas and they did a wicked job of singing most of it for us! We also had a guy at the bar who was shouting he used to know a band from where we were from… and I thought he was saying Alnwick. After shouting things after every song the penny finally dropped that he was saying Ireland and he thought we were Irish for some reason. He was shouting Aslan and we thought maybe it was just a Lion ,Witch and the Wardrobe reference to Derek looking like a lion.

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The show finished on a great high with a brilliant crowd of people up for some joining in and audience participation. Lots of CDs sold to music lovers and some new dates for We Steal Flyers to return to Merseyside. We got packed up and headed off to find our Jockey hotel room with a couple of late night ASDA sandwiches. A little low music on the laptop and some reading until it was time to drop off into dream land. Day 1 was complete!

Big Mother Truckers

Sunday : 24th January 2016 – Jason Isbell live at the 02 ABC in Glasgow

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Moments before Jason Isbell took the stage at the 02 in Glasgow

Today was one of those days I had been waiting around for with excitement, but then forgot it was coming and then it turned up out of the blue and surprised me a few days before it happened. I was heading to Glasgow to see Jason Isbell live at the 02 ABC as part of the Celtic Connections festival. My ticket was an amazing Christmas present from the very generous  Mike Slaughter who I was travelling up with. What a lucky ducky eh?

We set off just after lunch in Mr.Slaughters super duper, bright white and freshly cleaned BMW with no cup holders or place to put my hat, apart from under the seat and we were heading to Glasgow without stopping for sandwiches, toffee pudding or wee wees.

Anyhow, with only one little minor mistake because of the silly signage in Scotland, we arrived in good time at the Premier Inn in Glasgow which is 10 minutes toddle up the street to the 02 ABC. The lovely girl in reception knew that we were two lovely fellas the moment she met us and asked us if we would like upgraded for FREE to a king-size room each with a muckle hugeeeeeeeeeeee bed each instead of a single room! Yesss!

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Free upgrade at the Premier Inn in Glasgow

After a quick coffee and a bounce on the bed it was time to grab some food in the bar downstairs before heading out. Chicken wings with loads of Tabasco sauce and then a spicy salsa burger with more Tabasco all over it with chips and salad sorted me right out. Not quite sure how my rear end will feel in the morning though. Either way the food was awesome when it went down the hatch and I was well impressed with Mr.Premier Inns bait and lodgings for the night already. Time to head out in to Glasgow and try and find our way on foot to the 02.

We stumbled through a few back streets and made our way down the main road whilst looking for numbers on the shops and trying to work out where we were. We did well and found it after a 10 mins or so of walking about and headed up about 5 flights of stairs to the bar inside the 02. We grabbed a couple of San Miguels and shot into the main area which was already filling up. Mike spied a little balcony up above us and we found some signs for the Pod Bar and headed up to the top where there was only a handful of people and the sound engineers. We got a prime spot looking onto the main stage with a wobbly table for our drinks, Happy days!

The support band ‘Anderson East’ came out and got the place warmed up for Mr.Isbell. An American rock/soul/pop/blues band from Alabama. Unfortunately the singer must of had some kind of accident and one of his arms was in a sling. This didn’t effect the show at all and he was very much alive and full of energy on the stage. Amazingly powerful, soulful vocals and they even dived into a great cover of ‘Stay with me’ by The Faces which got everyone jumping up and down in the 02. A great performance!

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Anderson East with Micheal the lead singer and his arm in a sling.

It was then time for Jason to come out and do his thing after a short break. I have been listening to Jason for some time now but I had never heard anything by the Drive By Truckers which he was a part of. The first song I ever heard of his was ‘Cover me up’ and it grabbed me straight away. The vocals on this track are amazing and the acoustic simplicity of the music with his roaring vocals and beautiful song writing just blew me away.

In 2014 Jason won Album of the year, song of the year and artist of the year at the Americana Music Awards and having the chance to see him live 3 or 4 hours drive away from my home town was great. The show was astounding from start to finish and his amazingly strong song writing is a force to be reckoned with. The passion he puts into his songs and lyrics is such an amazing thing to behold when he performs them live. I have always found myself pulled towards this kind of song writing and artists who perform and write this way. Writing about the stories of his life, other peoples lives, storys and situations he has encountered with brutal honesty and passion without any kind of gimmicks or need for anything else apart from the song. Trading between a huge band playing some great guitar and slide on his Duesenberg to him standing there with his trusty Martin D28 acoustic guitar on his own. The songs work wonderfully either way and its a perfect part of the show. He is completely natural in his environment on stage with the odd few sentences about the music and leaving the songs to do the work. The show was right up there with the top gigs I have ever been too and it will take some beating in the future. He headed off stage at the end to a roaring crowd and slipped back in for an all acoustic take on his song ‘Elephant’ with a little haunting piano joining him and then into a full band again for the second finale of  ‘Super 8’ leaving everyone electrified and ready to head out into the world of Glasgow.

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Jason Isbell with his Martin D28

After the show I grabbed myself a lovely Double Vinyl of his latest album ‘Something more than free’ from the merchandise table and fought my way outside with Mike. We headed up the street towards the hotel and had a sneaky couple of drinks in a lovely little Scottish bar down a back street until we got thrown out at last orders.

We woke up in the morning to an awesome ‘All you can eat’ full English Premier Inn breakfast and then headed straight down the road listening to more great albums that Mike had brought along to educate me on the way home. We managed to miss another turn off and went around the round about a few times whilst jumping a red light but apart from that we made it safely home with a stop off to the parents farm in Belford on the way for coffee and some lovely home made pie. Mama’s pies are unreal and I even managed to grab the curly one some for her tea in some tin foil, they pretty much fix any illness or sadness thats about and fill you up with mother magic.

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Big smiles after the show in Glasgow

Well that’s pretty much my end to the weekend. What an amazing Christmas present from a great friend and it will never be forgotten. If you managed to get this far then well done. Here is a little link to ‘Cover Me Up’ by Jason Isbell incase you haven’t heard any of his music. Turn it up, close your eyes and enjoy the story.

Until the next Amazing Adventure Always… Thank you for reading!

Jason

2016 is here! So is Harry the Bigfoot!

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Mulled wine with a shot of Rum @ Edinburgh Christmas Market

It’s 2016! Whilst the last year was amazing, it’s time for a new one and lots more Amazing Adventures Always!

If you read my last post you will already know I was playing a show with We Steal Flyers and staying in Thurstonland in Yorkshire for my New Year. We had a great fun gig at the Rose & Crown and always do! This is one of our regular bars to play in Huddersfield when on tour and it’s a different gig everytime we perform there. Richard the owner is one of those awesome, genuine and generous blokes and also one of the most hardest working men I’ve met. The gig was a great laugh we only had one person fall over the monitor into us (not bad for a New Years Eve gig…I won’t mention any names *cough “Cheryl” *cough). We managed to finish our show at 11.45pm and stuck good old Jools Holland on the TV with a microphone shoved in front of the speakers, and we joined in the crazy countdown with the whole bar. Then, of course, began the smooching and cuddling of everyone that was anywhere near you.. hahaha ..  what better way to start off the New Year!

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Performing at The Rose & Crown on New Years Eve

New Years Day was here before I knew it…  Waking up in a hotel room in a strange bed is nothing new for me as I travel a lot with my musical adventures and I love that part of what I do. I love the difference of the rooms and turning up to somewhere new, making friends with the employees and then disappearing off onto the next place. However not all the places we have stayed have been great but it’s always easy to find some amusement in the bad ones when I’m sharing a room with Derek. As long as they are warm and clean it will be fine for a night to get some shut eye and gather your thoughts and life force.

Heres a few little 2016 first facts that happened on new years day!

  • First Song I listened too in 2016 ‘Don Henley – Heart of the Matter’ : This was the first song I stuck in the CD player of the faithful little Suzuki Swift as I got ready to drive up from Yorkshire heading back up to the North-East with Maria relaxing in the passenger seat. I have a little thing about shoving an album on and starting it from my favourite track on the album in the car. Music is a massively important part of my journeys as I drive around, whether it be to the shops or to the other end of the country. At some point before getting to the car there will have always been some planning in my noodle about what I’m going to listen to on my way.
  • First Movie I watched in 2016 was ‘Harry & The Hendersons’ : Yeshhhh!!! What an awesome movie to wake upto for a new year! Opening my little peepers up in a hotel room with the smallest TV ever sitting at the bottom of my bed and turning it on to find Bigfoot Harry eating the plants in the Hendersons kitchen was a dream. I remember watching it a lot as a kid and especially at Christmas. As a kid nipping down to the Oval Newsagents in Bedlington and getting a ‘Radio Times Christmas Special TV Guide’ heading upto christmas was always an awesome part of the run up to Santy visiting and going through the pages with my mam checking to see what films were gonna be on every day! Since I moved into my house here 5 years ago I’ve never had a TV aerial connected (my own choice) so hotel rooms are pretty much the only time I get to see some normal TV.
  • First thing I drank in 2016 ‘ A pot of lurverly Yorkshire Tea from Sids Cafe in Holmfirth’ : In the morning of New Years Day, once we managed to get up and get showered, we met up with Shaun & Cheryl who came down and stayed over for the show. We all headed down to Holmfirth where the famous British TV series was filmed “The last of the Summer Wine” as it was only 10-mins drive from the bar. We headed to Sid’s Cafe which was one of the main scenes in the TV series and had a lovely pot of Yorkshire Tea.The staff were all awesome and friendly and it’s still decorated the same as it was in the series. I even managed to get Mamma Shagpile a Sids Cafe tea towel as a little pressie and souvenir. Here’s a photo of us having a giggle in the Cafe and enjoying the lovely Tea!
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Sid’s Cafe in Holmfirth, Yorkshire

The next adventure was spending time with my little half pints and then heading off to Edinburgh for a few days and checking out the amazing Christmas market, but I’ll leave that for the next post. I hope you all had a brilliant New Year and lots of Amazing Adventures! Thanks for reading!

Jason