I've been having a lovely time in the studio. Between shows with The Magpie Arc at Sidmouth Folk Festival and Folk East I spent two days with Chris Pepper at his Saltwell Studio recording eight of my new songs. Two weeks ago I packed five guitars and various bits of kit into the car and headed to Glasgow for a day of rehearsals in the Upper Room with Boo and drummer Liam Champman. Then we had three days at Chem 19 in Hamilton with Kevin McGuire on bass and Jamie Savage as our engineer. Looking forward to returning there in October to finish the lead vocals and acoustic guitars.
For those of you following the Outsider project you can probably see that it is taking a lot longer than I hoped but we are making progress. If you want to keep up with what we're doing I'm posting the rough mixes up to Patreon. Some of the original phone/demo recordings of the songs are there. A interesting way to see how a song evolves from the initial idea towards the final production.
My new merch has landed and pre-orders are live. Pre-order the album from my label The Bothy Society or Bandcamp. Grab yourself a proper winter hat or a tea towel from the Bandcamp page. I'm doing a five date tour in November (see below) and I'll make sure to save some for then. The tea towels are flying out the door so please get in quick.
Three songwriting workshops on the horizon. The The Hurst retreat with Fiona Sampson and Katie Melua has completely sold out but there is a waiting list. Then it's Folkestone Songwriting Festival which a weekend workshop festival open to all abilities. I highly recommend joining us. Final retreat this year is at Black Bay Studio in Lewis. See full details below Just get yourself an early Christmas present and come along... the location alone is incredible and getting the opportunity to record in such and incredible studio is the icing on a delicious songwriting cake. If you're not sure which one is for you reply to this email and I'll help you with your questions.
Despite having climbed back up eleven places to 17 on the Folk Music Chart it's all quiet on The Magpie Arc front this month. There is a large tour announcement for February 2024 coming next month. Yes, there is finally a Scottish date! Please sign our mailing list.
I've saved the big news this month is that in today getting a new family member. Joni the unbearably cute eight week old black Labrador is moving in. If you like puppies you'd be best to follow me on Instagram. Jen from The Bothy Society pointed out that a puppy is for life not just for short term boost to your social media. Too true. My entire annual social media budget blown on chew toys and poo bags.
I've been making a playlist of outsider songs, songs that have inspired the album and songs that compliment the album. "I Wish That They'd Sack Me" falls into both categories. Boff Whalley set the lyrics to a traditional tune called "Green Grow the Laurels". You can find the proper version on Chumbawamba's album The Boy Bands Have Won.
Two new things I've helped with are out in the world. Check out Norman Paterson's Torn album and Susy Wall's Home is the Colour EP. If you want a hand with your EP/Album project before you go into the studio give me a shout. I helped these guys with various things from lyric and song form tweaks/edits, advice on the recording and mixing process and advice on how to listen to what you've recorded. Give me a shout to see if I can help you.
Do not missFolkestone Songwriting Festival 29th Oct-1st Nov. This weekend festival is incredible value for money so get in quick! You'll learn loads, meet some great people and write a bunch of new songs.
The "Freeing Your Voice" songwriting week at Arvon Hurst that I'm running with Fiona Sampson and special guest Katie Melua has sold out.
Reply to this email for Zoom songwriting sessions, face-to-face songwriting sessions and remote recording.
HOW YOU CAN HELP WITH THE MUSIC STREAMING SITUATION...
It turns out one of the biggest favours you can do an artist is to "follow" them on Spotify or "love" them on Apple Music. It's absolutely free and it's as painless as ticking a box. It's to do with algorithms. If you want to go above and beyond you could add a few of my songs to a playlist. The algorithms like that too. You can like me on Spotify HERE and love me on Apple Music HERE.
SEPT 25th-29th Songwriting Retreat @ Arvon The Hurst, Shropshire w/ Fiona Sampson & Katie Melua TICKETS/INFO 30th Sept-1st Oct- Folkestone Songwriting Festival INFO
OCT 30th Sept-1st Oct- Folkestone Songwriting Festival INFO 6th Cummnock Tryst Festival TICKETS 26th-28th- Stages part 6 at Eden Court, Inverness TICKETS
NOV 16th CCA, Glasgow (Fallen Angels Club)- TICKETS 17th UpCo Otley INFO 18th Bishop's House, Sheffield TICKETS 19th Aces & Eights, London TICKETS 20th Swallow Theatre, Dumfries TICKETS
FEB MAGPIE ARC TOUR Dates Coming Soon INFO Sign the mailing list to
APRIL 17th Harrogate Folk Club TICKETS 21st Live at Sam's, Sheffield TICKETS 24th Edinburgh Folk Club TICKETS
In order to write interesting new songs I've realised it's important to listen to new music, read books, watch good TV and film and listen to inspiring podcasts. A few recommendations based on what I've been consuming over the last wee while. I'm on Apple Music and I have a 2022 picks playlist that you can check out and the 2023 one is here. It's where I save and share my favourite tracks from my weekly "New Music Playlist" and other stuff that I come across in the wild.
Lowland Hum- Waterloo Sunset HERE (A really good cover of a song that has has some bloody awful covers in the past)
Being Dead- Last Living Buffalo HERE (Reminded me of a psychotic B-52s)
Mulatu Astatke- Tezeta HERE (I'm sure I've heard it before somewhere but I heard it on the soundtrack for The Bear. If you've not seen that show yet you are in for a treat! No more than one episode a night or you'll start acting strange and calling everyone "Chef" or "Cousin".)
Bonnie Garmus- Lessons in Chemistry- As usual I'm late to the party on this one. What a fantastic book despite being really funny it made me incredibly angry. I believe it's already a TV show.
Neil Gaiman- The Ocean at the End of the Lane- I left my Kindle in Sheffield so this is the first real book I've read in years. Thanks Rudi for the recommendation.
WTF with Marc Maron- The rise of the right, Pete Seeger and more check out the Jeff Sharlett episode. Expect a song or two about this one. Have you watched Maria Bamford's stand up or her TV show? Great introductory chat with her her here too.
TOP: Day one in the studio. The SG was too much for "Who Cares?" but the Outsidercaster was just the ticket. The custom scratch plate came from Tiny Tone. Those guys were great to deal with and they do all kind of interesting custom guitar things. MID LEFT: A car full of guitars and pedals. I used all but the high string. That'll get used on the next session. So no complaints about having too many. I really missed the Strat. MID RIGHT: Jamie Savage, Liam Chapman, me and Boo Hewerdine posing about outside Chem 19. BOTTOM LEFT: Pig, pig, pig, pig, pig syndicate. Hard to distinguish the runt these days. They've got huge. Not long now till we'll have to buy an extra freezer! . BOTTOM RIGHT:The Magpie Arc posing backstage at Sidmouth Folk Festival. We had a brilliant time out on the road this summer. Looking forward to the February tour and summer festivals with the guys next year.
Brodick, Isle Of Arran United Kingdom
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