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

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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!

 

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

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

 

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Rage Against The Machine

 

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

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

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

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

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

Jason – Shagpile Music

#amazingadventuresalways

www.facebook.com/shagpilemusic

 

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My new Covers Album is out now and available on Spotify

 

Sfarzo Strings Endorsed Artist

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

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

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FretMarks Music from Bedlington and the new Tanglewood Models

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

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Lee from Cheshire Guitars the UK distributor for Sfarzo Strings

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

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

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

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

Enjoy your week and be great!

Jason – Amazing Adventures Always

May you never (YouTube)

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

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

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

Jason – Amazing Adventures Always

www.shagpilemusic.co.uk

The Sound of Silence

15.7.2016 The Sound of Silence – Johann Reichart the Executioner

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

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

sound of silence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jason

#amazingadventuresalways

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

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