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

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What will you leave behind?

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

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

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

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

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

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Headed to Greggs for some pre-studio nomnom!

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

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

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

Jason #AmazingAdventuresAlways

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A day in morpeth by Olivia Vare

Monday 27th June 2016 in Morpeth

Me , nana , macey and grandad went to feed the ducks on the bridge.Then we went and met daddy he had just got off the bus and then we went to the charity shop to buy some records and Cds

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Fish n Chip time!

After that we went to get our lunch at the fish and chip shop I had sausage and chips with tomato sauce macey had fish and chips tomato sauce. after we had our lunch grandad took us to the park but daddy and nana were realy slow and they were still drinking their tee while we were on the round about with grandad pushing us MY HEAD NEARLY CAME OFF. Then I had to get off because I felt sick then when macey finely got off we went and had a boat ride for half an hour.

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it was £4 there were me , daddy and macey in one boat and nana and grandad in the other daddy flicked nana with his oar and nana was soaking wet but we were all laughing me and macey were draging our hands in the water and daddy said that he used to jump off the bridge into the river and swim in the river when he was little but now your not aloud to jump off the bridge . After we got out the boat we came home and I wrote this story on daddys computer for his blog.

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This is me writing todays adventure

By Olivia V

#AMAZINGADVENTURESALWAYS

..the lady’s of the night!

Day 8 – Lucerne, Switzerland

We were over half way of the We Steal Flyers swiss tour! We had two days off to relax and get ourselves ready for the next four gigs. We made it back safely the day after Grindelwald in Patrick Shumakers rocket ship, and somehow lived to tell the tale. The two days flew by pretty quickly and after eating chicken, lots of YouTube songs, Noblesse coffe and some more writing, before I knew it, it was time to meet Mark at Shamrocks Irish Bar in Lucerne to get set up for our Wednesday gig.

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Time off with half a chicken and some Rivella!

Shamrocks was 5 minutes walk from our hotel in central Lucerne and we met Mark there to load in the equipment at 4.30pm. We quickly stuffed our gear and guitars into our little corner of the Irish Bar and I grabbed a little early beer and Derek had a lovely fresh glass of Orange Juice as he does!

Its unusual to be playing the Irish Bar on a Wednesday for us and usually its on a Saturday or Sunday at the end of the tour and it can get a bit wild for sure. I started setting up and I had half a PA system to set-up for the room then linking into another in-house system as well. Leads and cables everywhere and no electric points anywhere near us to be seen. I changed three mic cables on my pedal as they weren’t working whilst trying to disco step around our little corner. I doubt my buddy back in the UK Mr. Rob Saddler doesn’t have these problems. He has just won an award for “FOH Engineer of the year” and has been on tour with James Bay for quite a while now. Its great to see a lovely local lad and buddy doing so well at something they love.

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Great plateful at Shamrocks Irish Bar in Lucerne

We managed to get set up and sound checked by 5.30pm and I ordered myself a lovely plate of nachos, chilli and cheese, with guacamole and salsa! OOOOOOOshhhh!!! It was a hell of a portion and went down lovely with my beer on the side! Derek headed back to the hotel while I hung around in the bar feeding my greed and chin-wagging and he returned 20 mins before gig time at 8pm ready for our show.

We had some lovely buddy’s turn up to listen again which I hadn’t seen since the October tour and Legend Bill came in with a Cahjon drum for Mike Marshall. He said he would join us for a few songs later on in the sets. Unfortunately Bill was feeling a little under the weather and could only stay for a short time. It was also Mike Marshall’s 50th birthday at midnight so he was in celebrating mode and was passing birthday cake around the bar.

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Birthday cake time for Mike

We played through our three sets and it was a pretty relaxed gig in the bar for most of it. Mike got up and played four songs with us on the cahjon and we finished off on a spur of the moment take on “Show me the wayyyyyyyyyy to go homeeeeeeeeeee” with a bit of a sing along. We finished up and had a bit crack with everyone in the bar and I sang Mike ‘Happy Birthday’ unplugged while he sat on his drum with a beer looking a little drunk. Hahha. Derek spotted a picture on the wall of an old bearded fella and said it was me, so we took our photo with it too. haha

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After the show I decided to head out with Mike and a few others as he was going for that world famous ‘one last drink’ and the Irish bar had stopped serving by this time and was ready to close. We attempted to get in three other bars but they were all closing and the staff at Downtown suggested going next door. We headed into the bar which was open till late but they didn’t only sell alcohol. You could still have a normal drink in there while the ‘lady’s of the night’ did they’re thing though! We had a couple of beers and tried not to stare too much at what was going on. Hahah.I always find myself somewhere I shouldn’t be on tour for some reason .Haha. I got back to the hotel and Derek was still up who had took my backpack of stuff to his room for me. I managed to grab it and had a bit crack and giggle about the night in the corridor of the hotel before heading off to peeps.

The next gig coming up is The Sprue & Wiesen in Immensee, Zug. See you there.

Jason. Amazing Adventures Always

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