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.

 

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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.

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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, Robert, Lo Bloch Management, DennyMac and of course the lovely listeners who turned out for the show!

Il leave you with a little live video recorded by ‘Robert 69 little’ at the show! Go out there and be awesome my friends and do something great today along your way!

Amazing Adventures Always – Jason

 

 

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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!

 

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

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!

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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!!

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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

..last show & goodbyes!

Day 11 – Last gig of the Tour, Shamrocks

The last gig of the We Steal Flyers winter tour was back at Shamrocks Irish Bar in Lucerne. A five minute walk around the corner from the great Hotel Schweizerhof we were staying in. Derek and I didn’t really make it up in time and missed out on an amazing feast for breakfast at the Hotel Schweizerhof. I woke up at 10am ish and Derek messaged me not long after. Unfortunately the breakfast finished at 10am so without a time machine and a flux capacitor we weren’t going to make it. Sad times!

We had to meet Mark at 1pm at Shamrocks to load in and get set-up as there was a few rugby games on through out the day and the bar was going to be jam packed. We landed and got the gear and and marked our territory in the corner of the pub with speakers, mic stands and chairs, hoping that no one would cross the sacred musicians line.

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Shamrocks Irish Bar , Lucerne

As I said, sadly we missed out on the breakfast, so we ordered some food to keep us alive at the Irish bar. Derek had a mahoosive plate full of chilli, chips and chicken nuggets on the side and I went for a full Irish breakfast. We then headed back to the rooms to jump in our muckle massive baths again (not together) and then relax until gig time. I pretty much played guitar all afternoon, working on a new original song and playing around with a few covers too. I also managed to give my new little blogging camera a try again and recorded some footage while I was playing around with Tom Petty s ‘Free Fallin’. I used to play this alongside Mike Slaughter at the Open Mic and add some harmony’s with him and lately my little daughter Macey has been singing it a lot with me too. So here is a little video of me playing around with it unplugged in the Keb’ Mo’ room of the Hotel Schweizerhof.

We left for the gig around 9:00pm and had a little wander along the front of the lake outside the hotel and took some photos. The swans were floating around in the darkness with the Railway Station all lit up behind them in the distance on the other side of the lake. I could of stayed out there a lot longer but we had to get to Shamrocks for the last gig of the tour.

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The Railway Station and KKL Music venue, Lucerne Lake

When we turned up the place was already full and we managed to squeeze over into our corner near the bar. Shamrocks is a pretty small bar and when its full it can be quite wild. Most of our friends and fans through-out the tour had turned back out for our last show and we had a brilliant night. A good way to end the tour with lots of people enjoying the music together and me enjoying my lovely Guinness without even having to move to order one. Hahahah

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The view from our musical corner before we started the gig!

We finished up at 12:50am with our last song and I headed out for a few more sneaky beers in Lucerne before heading home to my hotel room. I had my alarm set and I wasn’t missing breakfast this time around.

Day 12 – Time to head for home!

We madeeeeeeeeeeee it!! Derek and I both got up and managed to get down stairs in time for breakfast and it was definitely worth waiting for. The Hotel Schweizerhof pretty much had everything you could think of , laid out for breakfast. It was all amazing too! We both had a bellyful of all sorts and then headed back to our rooms to pack up and get ready to meet Mark and Stefi downstairs to say our Goodbyes. We had a quick coffee and before we knew it, we were heading to the airport in Stefis car. She was driving this time after my little speeding incident although I think she was a little rough from the night before and I probably would have been a safer bet. Hahha.

We got stuck in traffic from an accident on the motorway ahead of us on the way and weren’t sure we were going to make our flight for a little while but Stefi managed to get us there safely and in good time to check in our bags. We said our little goodbyes again to Switzerland and Stefi and took a quick photo before we headed back to the UK. The mission was well and truly accomplished again. We nailed another tour and made a whole new We Steal Flyers story to leave behind with the help of great people in a great country. Thank you for reading Amazing Adventures Always, taking part in our winter tour through Switzerland and of course for supporting us in what we love to do!

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Our final photo with Stefi in the airport before we set off for the UK

Jason, Amazing Adventures Always

www.westealflyers.co.uk

..who you calling a hippie?

Day 2 – Lucerne, Switzerland

After a long day travelling yesterday and landing in Lucerne, I think Derek and I were both ready for a good kip! We are both still not 100 percent after my little hospital visit in the UK and Derek has had a some trouble with his ears since the flight. I woke up around 11am and sorted myself out, unwound the window shutters and opened the window to the view of the lake. We arrived at night so we didn’t really get to see much at all apart from the motorway, the inside of pickwicks bar, Guinness, coffee and our hotel rooms. I was in the infamous ‘room 101’ and Derek was at the the other end of the hotel room in 105. After opening the windows to a cloudy gloomy morning in Lucerne it is still such a great sight and the blast of the cool fresh air was a nice little wake up call for me.

After a quick sort out and a shower I met up with Derek for a walk to the shop for some room supplies. I grabbed some bread, ham (which I later found out was garlic sausage as I didn’t understand the label) some yummy, spready cheese and some flavoured water. Rock ‘n’ roll huh?

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Wandering to the shops for supplies along Lucerne Lake

Walking around the shop there was an older lady who couldn’t help staring at Mr. Derek and pulling twisty, funny faces as we wandered about. We turned up at the check out and she slipped in behind Derek as if she just appeared from thin air. As we were putting our items in a ‘free’ (none of this 5p nonsense in the UK) carrier bag she said to Derek “Are you a Scottish hippy?” hahahhahahaa .. Derek gave her a sticker and she said “I cant see that” hahah. I think out of all the things we both have been called whilst we have been on tour, that was by far the funniest! We headed off back to the room via a Canadian guy trying to sell us magazines in German and some swiss people setting the road on fire.

I had a cup of coffee and then got my guitar out and restrung it ready for tomorrows start of the tour.

If there is anyone interested in what strings I use , they are mainly Custom light gauge on my working guitars. I use Martin brand most of the time and sometimes switching to a set of Elixirs now and then when Mr. Mike Slaughter gifts me a pack. He’s good like that!

Anyhow I managed to get it all sorted and ready for the tour ahead and decided to play it in whilst I had the chance. I’ve been working on a new song in Open D tuning and thought I’d have a play around with it and let it progress a little. The verses are starting to get to where I want them and there is a little part which needs lyrics but it was all coming together nicely so I thought I’d grab a little video in the hotel room of part of the song. This way you can have a sneaky little listen at something new and also, I won’t forget what I was doing!

Once I had my fill of music I went for a little wander around Lucerne with my new little dinky travel camera. I managed to get some nice shots of the lake and the bridges around Lucerne just as the light was starting to dissapear. I bought a Sony a5000 as I wanted something better than a phone with a few more manual settings and so far I’ve managed to get some nice photos with it. Here is a little photo of the lake and bridge in Lucerne, right outside my hotel window which I took on my solo stroll.

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Lake Lucerne with our Hotel Pickwick on the left, shot on my new Sony camera

After a quick look through the photos and a quick change I headed back out into Lucerne. One of my favourite bars here is Bruch Brothers and was one of the first places I played on an early tour. It has a real great ‘muso’ feel about it with a nice stage and PA system and the owner is a great guy. When there is no live music on the playlist on the sound system is always brings back great memories of songs through out my life from rock,blues and grunge times gone by. Tonight a good friend Patrick Archer from San Francisco was running a Jam night with his band in Bruch Brothers so I was heading down to have a listen and see how he was getting on with his band.

Legend Bill was heading down too and met me for a few little sneaky small beers. Patrick was setting up and when they got going the band was brilliant. There was some great song choices and originals and Patrick was joined by a female sax player, bass player and Mr. Paiste who was part of the  Paiste Cymbals family was behind him on the kit and was a great drummer to watch playing live. I managed to get up and play a few songs with the band and picked two little bluesy songs. The band jumped in with me and it was such a great feeling having a great band around you listening to what’s going on and being able to just jam through anything I did. Such a great little night at Bruch Brothers as usual and after they finished off I wandered back to the hotel in the nipping cold ready for my little cozy bed to warm me up.

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Patrick Archer Band @ Bruch Brothers, Lucerne

After that, I had a bit of a strange night. I managed to have a little chat online before I headed off to sleep and then wound my window shutters down in complete darkness. I dropped off to sleep and woke up around 3.45am with what sounded like someone screaming in my ear. It was a strange thing as if someone was in the room and screeching at me, and I couldn’t find any light switches! The mind is a strange thing sometimes and often catches me out for some reason or another. I ended up sitting for an hour trying to work out what had just happened and if I was just still suffering some kind of feverish silliness that sent my noodle off on one! Hahah… anyhow I must have slipped back off to sleep with the light on feeling very strange, but woke up in a fine fettle for day 3 of the tour and finally our first gig, but that’s for day three of the diary!

I hope you are enjoying the daily blogging. I’d love to hear any stories or your thoughts on the crazy witch screech… or your own weird happenings in the middle of the night.. or you can of course just take the mickey!! Hahahah!!!

Thanks for reading Amazing Adventures Always!

Day 3 ere we goooooo!! Jason….

Happy New Year and a lovely new blog!

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The Bathroom of the Rose & Crown, Thurstonland “New Years Day” 2016

Waking up in Thurstonland in Huddersfield, Yorkshire on New Years Day in a hotel room at The Rose & Crown , I found myself heading to the bathroom where I was greeted by this nice little piece hanging on the wall while I showered and got prepared to see what the New Year 2016 ahead had in store for me. The bathroom was the only room warm enough to get naked by the way.

While it could of meant a lot of things and thoughts to me, the thing that buzzed around my head while I showered in this luke warm room was the words ‘journey’ and ‘destination’ …I’ve been thinking and talking about getting my travel diary and blog online for over 2 years now with all the musical adventures and still hadn’t managed to get it running and now another New Years Day turned up to surprise me. What better a time to get it started and finally have somewhere for my thoughts and ramblings to live online for the world to view.

I have always filled out my private diary with thoughts, lyrics, songs and writings but not as much as I’d have liked to this year. I also have lots of unfinished lyrics and writings scattered in probably 30 or 40 different notepads and books lying around which need a place to live also and with this fine digital age of technology the ease of writing and posting something to this website is very easily accessible wherever I am.

So here it is, my first post of 2016 and to give it a nice little start I thought instead of just writing in here everytime I do something then dumping it and moving on, it would be a good idea to actually think about what I want from my posts and blog and add this to my first post of the year. So here’s a little list I’ve put together of my thoughts. I would also love to hear what your thoughts are and feedback on anything you think you would like to see here amongst my posts.

  • People to read and get some enjoyment from my writings : This is the obvious goal for any blog and makes perfect sense. If you don’t get anything from the posts, you won’t return, then I am writing to no one. This can still be very enjoyable for me but I’d much prefer some feedback and nice people to stop by and take something away from the posts. This could be inspiration to start your own blog, write a song, a book, a poem, get out your pencils and start drawing something, take a flight out to another country last minute and have a look around, try out a brewery, a beer or some food, pick up an instrument for the first time, find a new favourite artist/album, try harder to reach one of your forgotten goals, fill in your lunch break reading, feel better about making mistakes or just simply take away a little smile.
  • To write about and let people understand what I am passionate about : Again this is pretty straight forward. This lets me express who I am and what I’m passionate about and also connects me with people who have the same interests in life. I can also share parts of my life, travels and personality with those who have a genuine interest in what I do and who I am.
  • To practice and develop my writing skills : There is always something to learn, and practice is always one of the best ways to improve something you love to do. If I improve my writing on this blog then hopefully people will take more enjoyment from the website and posts. If I improve my lyrical writing then hopefully the same happens with my songs and my music. Happy days!
  • Promotion for my own projects, music, art or other musicians, writers or someone/something I feel should be shared and people/readers will enjoy and be interested in, in someway : I’m a musician amongst many other things and although I love to write for myself and enjoy the whole process there is an amazing amount of enjoyment from someone listening and falling in love with something you have created. It can be the lyrics that connect in a certain way or the music itself grabbing someone and tugging at them somewhere inside. The possibilites of connecting with someone is endless and very rewarding whether it be your own creation or sharing something that has touched you and you pass this on! Sharing is caring!
  • To have fun : Of course I want to have loads and loads of fun whilst doing this too, which I’m sure I will and already have so far just getting this ready to post.  Amazing Adventures Always is alive.

So, I think that’s enough to get me off to a good start for the New Year! An all new updated page ready for my ramblings and some thought thrown into what I want to write about and what I think you would like to see here.  I’d love to hear what you think and a little feedback on what you would like to see or even just a friendly “Hello, I’m reading this”

Amazing Adventures Always and all the best for you and yours in 2016!

Jason!

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Photo by Jay Dawson