A new year! What happens now then?

Its time to take a few looks back, and a big look forward

It’s coming to the end of January and already Christmas and New Year seems like a distant memory. The frost has been trying its best to invite itself into all of our lives over the last week here in Northumberland. It’s a cold but beautiful sight and the mornings are now being filled with magical winter skies above my little hometown of Bedlington each morning and evening.

The morning cold soon shocks you wide awake and the little early morning walks on the school runs with my little ones, wrapped up in scarves, gloves, hats and hoods, paints beautiful pictures on the Journey.

2019 is well and truly into motion now and its always about his time of the year I start thinking about the year before and wondering about what the new year will bring. The beginning of a year is also the perfect opportunity for reflection on one’s life So why not get it down in my little blog! Not all of it as I don’t want you to get too bored along the way, but slipping little pieces into my little home of ramblings here.

2018 was a great year, filled with both ups and downs of life to balance things out. My life isn’t all as rosy and wonderful as people sometimes perceive it to be and neither would I have it that way. Balance is the key for me as the light wouldn’t be as bright without a little darkness along the way. A big ray of light for 2018 and one of my biggest life events coming to the end of the year was, of course, asking my beautiful partner in everything, Maria (or Curly as you may know her) to marry me. She said Yes by the way hahha phewwwwwww, So I already have an amazing year of planning, excitement and hopefully a fantastic wedding day marrying my little curly soul mate. Its a massively important part of life for Curly and it has been a great journey with her getting to this stage of in our little humble lives.

If you haven’t already managed to watch the sneaky video I filmed of the proposal then you can check it out below!

Amazing Adventures Always

My musical life has been as fun and as interesting as ever. I get to travel a lot and meet so many great people on my adventures with all the musical projects I’m involved in. There was a lot of new music created and also released throughout the year and there is a whole lot more to come in 2019. I’ve managed to play some amazing venues across the country and been involved in some amazing events. Recording and producing some of the brilliant, local musicians in the Shagnut Studio is always great fun for me too and its a very rewarding and exciting part of my life.

Sure, sometimes a musicians life can be very tiring physically and mentally and some parts of the music industry and gigging life can be completely and utterly bonkers but… I wouldn’t change it for anything. I love creating, writing, recording and performing! Music definitely has been and always will be a part of my little path through life forever.


“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”

So what am I looking forward to and what do I plan on working on through the year ahead, 2019?

Of course, our wedding will be one hell of a day and that will be a big priority this year. We don’t have a date set as yet but hopefully, that will come along soon and we are hoping to Marry this year.

Then as always, and as I mentioned earlier, music is always my little buddy who chugs along through life with me. No matter what is happening, its always there to get me through whether it be good, bad, happy or sad times. There’s a song in there somewhere hahaa!

So naturally, 2019 will be filled with more music. I have a great little new musical branch off in life coming in 2019 which I’m really, really excited about but il let you know about that in another blog once everything falls into place and I know it’s all working out. I also have lots of new original music coming out this year with all my projects and musical ventures. My solo Shagpile material, We Steal Flyers, the band Growing Robots and of course with my lovely wife to be Curly and our little Rings True project.

I’m also looking forward to getting more involved in local events that are coming up this year and hosting more music nights for other musicians to be a part of like The River Bank Sessions in Morpeth, Northumberland. I started this night with the support and help of The Riverside Lodge at the end of 2018 and had the amazing Johnny Dickinson give it a good kickstart in life. Hopefully, the night will go from strength to strength throughout this year and will turn into a great little home of live music and musicians.

My YouTube channel is another place in which I want to put in some more time, effort and life into building and creating more. I slowly started falling out with it over the last few years as they have gone through so many changes, which in turn have caused problems in the music category within youtube and the support for musicians just isn’t there like it was. But, things change and I’ve decided to try and put some more time into it again and push more music in there. I see so many people sharing and still watching a lot of my music and videos through that platform. This is why my new little ‘Stripped & Out There’ series has been born this week. I will write about this in the next blog post and explain a lot more about it and where it has come from though.

I guess I should stop here and continue in the next post as my butt and hands have gone numb and I’m pretty sure your eyes are getting tired reading all of this. Part 2 will be along soon enough…

Thank you if you took the time to read through my ramblings and I would like to personally wish you a happy, healthy, prosperous and positive year ahead with lots of Amazing Adventures Always!

Jason

New single ‘Northern Skies’

NEW RELEASE!

My new single ‘Northern Skies’ is available on all platforms including Spotify, iTunes, Amazon and Deezer.

northern skies artwork

Out Now!

SPOTIFY LINK : https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/5w0WF8WEco6GnO5TTsuQnC

Live to be a Lighthouse!

A few days back, I woke up, jumped out of bed, pulled back the curtains aaaand… the sun was actually shining like it did that one-time last year,  So… I decided to spin around, stick on my clothes and pop in my headphones with my ‘walk like a badazz’ Spotify playlist jumping down my ears and …. get on the bus (like a badazz) to Newcastle city centre for an unplanned adventure and wander about.

20180430_140416-01 (1)

Newcastle Monument in the town centre

I had a great day wandering around in the sun with my music without anything planned when all of a sudden, I came across a camera which I had been keeping an eye on for some time in a second-hand store. After lots of haggling and speaking to managers, I came back with the camera and a few other lovely little items for a lovely little deal and we were all friends!

I’ve been using a little Sony mirrorless for a while now and loved it so much I wanted his little bit bigger brother. Anyhow, the day after, after a lovely slap-up meal at Wetherspoons in Bedlington with Curly and Mam & Dad. I decided I wanted to nip over to St.Marys Lighthouse in Whitley Bay and try and catch a bit of the light with the new camera. Momma Shaggy kindly agreed to accompany me. She is always up for an unplanned adventure too.

Anyhow it all worked out grand, I loved the camera, loved the wander in the crazy northeast weather and of course, the time spent with Mumbassa ..HaHa.  Heres a little series of the photos I managed to snap and Il leave ya with this lovely little quote to send you on your way!

“Live to be a lighthouse for others; become the ray of hope in everybody’s life. Use your life to touch someone else’s in such a way that it would never have been achieved otherwise.”  ― Latika Teotia

Jason – Amazing Adventures Always

st marys 2

st marys 5

St Marys Edited 1

st marys 4

st marys 3

You can see them Full Quality if you head over to here!

Happy to Feed a Smile!

I thought I would drop in and tell you a little about one of last weekends shows. January is always a bit strange with gigs and venues for working musicians. So many venues end up cancelling music or even closing all together which has a massive effect on my life as a full-time musician and of course on the venue owners too! I ended up having a few more dates available than usual this January and I was asked to perform an online gig within the virtual world of Secondlife. This time it was a little different though, as it was a Benefit or Charity Gig for Feed A Smile and Live & Learn in Kenya. I hadn’t played any Charity shows in Secondlife so thought I would check out the charity and what they provided and I decided to go for it.

 

kenya kids

check out these smiles 🙂

 

Here is how the gig works, people donate in a currency in which every 100 lindens (Secondlife Currency) exchanges to purchasing 1 hot meal. It is a really great way to view the show, rather than seeing the money exchanged and thinking about totals raised and it makes it so much more fun and engaging. During the live show, there is a board behind you which tells everyone how many meals you have managed to raise throughout the 1-hour show within the virtual world.

Snapshot_004

DennyMac on stage!

The full fundraising mission for Feed A Smile was 2 hours long for Sundays edition and there was a great musician performing in the hour before my own show called DennyMac who was a fantastic guitar player and played some great songs including some lovely instrumental original music he had written. After both our shows were finished and the donations were counted up we managed to raise an amazing 110 hot meals. How unbelievably amazing is it that with just 1 hour of my time performing a live gig, from the comfort of my own home, this can make such a huge difference and impact these lovely little kids, who are in need in such a huge way.

So yeah! I’m looking forward to working with them again in the future and helping out in any way I can and I’d just like to say a massive thanks to everyone who helped put this all together especially Brique, Lo , Sparkie, Lo Bloch Management, DennyMac and of course the lovely listeners who turned out for the show!

Go out there and be awesome my friends and do something great today along your way!

Amazing Adventures Always – Jason

 

 

 

Gone too far…..

This week I ended up playing around with a song which has floated around my life for quite a long time. I first heard it when a great guitar player and friend of mine Brian Home who played it live in the Fox Cover Bar in the local town of Ashington. Brian always put on a great gig and at the time seemed a very different acoustic gig to what was being played in local bars with songs from Tommy Emmanuel instrumentals, songs about Dead Skunks to this wonderful Norah Jones song ‘Humble me’

I’ve always played around with it a little and tried to work it out when I have been noodling away and working on songs but it just never came together. Earlier this week I had the guitar out late at night and I had been learning a song in an open tuning when I stumbled into parts of the ‘Norah Jones’ song. Then suddenly it struck me that I had been trying to play it in standard guitar tuning when it was probably in something else. Sure enough, I watched a couple of live videos of the song and it was in an open tuning and off I went learning it and it all came together. It sure is a wonderful song to play even without the vocals and before I knew it the camera was out and here it is! I hope you enjoy my little live take of it and hopefully, it connects with someone out there, the way it did with me all those years ago.

Jason, Amazing Adventures Always

Milestones and Memories

Way back in May 2007 I signed up for my first ever YouTube account. I must have just been a wee sprog with a baldy chin back then! haha.. It seems so long ago! I remember watching a guy called Ortopilot who was from England and seemed like just an ordinary guy throwing covers and originals up there for the world to find and he seemed to get a lot of feedback and along with it advise critique and criticism. Some not so good with online trolls but most of it seemed like a very nice community of music lovers who shared and cared enough to make it all work.

So.. I bought myself an old JVC camcorder and decided to stick songs I was writing, working on and covering up on YouTube. The video platform it is today was very different back then and had a thriving original music scene with a great community feel about it, but it changed a lot when they pushed the music category towards mainstream artists and got rid of the little folk! That said, I still love sharing videos on there to this day and it’s a great little platform for people to listen to music.  I think I will always be posting stuff on there until my hands or head falls off. As long as I can still play the guitar then I’m sure there will still be videos to be made.

Anyhoooo! Way back when I started out on YouTube I always remember setting milestones and targets to reach. 100 Subscribers, then 500 Subscribers, 1000 views on the newest upload and so on.  There was also daily targets and awards to hit like ‘#todays most viewed’ and ‘#this weeks most comments’ which made it really fun and gave you things to keep the interest alive and the community of people working together to help share and check out each other’s new content.

During this time one of my BIG targets for myself and my little home of music was to try and get one of my videos over 100,000 views. This may not sound like a lot but for my own little channel of music I either wrote or listened too and covered I knew it was going to be a huge challenge and as my life in music took different directions, my channel has never really had the attention from myself I intended to give it.

I still love creating videos and posting them and finally after 10 years since I started my little channel, a video I posted in 2012 which was an acoustic cover of  ‘time after time’ by Cyndi Lauper has broken that milestone for me!

At this current point my channel has so far :

4,283 Subscribers – 877,891 views collectively with all my videos together and has 121 videos on there. So the next two milestones look pretty obvious to me! 1 million views across my whole channel and 5000 subscribers 🙂

If you would like to help me with this and you enjoy the music and videos, then please stop by and subscribe to my channel. It would be more than much appreciated and the next time you stop by a video of mine .. drop a comment on there! Say hi, tell me what you think, let me know you stopped in or request a song cover! Anything goes and the more interaction helps my channel out and also gives me the chance to chinwag with you and see who is watching!

Right, I best do a one as its heading into midnight and this screen is making my eyes go wonky but before I go I would just like to say a massive, huge, THANK YOU, if you have ever stopped by a video, bought an album, turned up to a gig, dropped into my Spotify or listened to anything in any way over the many years of my musical life.

Merry Christmas out there! Shaggy!

 

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

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!

these-boots-cover-for-blog

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!

ukulele-for-blog

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!!

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!

shagpile banner tanglewood

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.

DSC_0049_3

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