Wednesday, January 1, 2014
The target I set for myself last January was to become a better musician, songwriter and performer. On reflection, I think I did a reasonable, if not spectacular, job.
As far as live appearances go, I played 101 shows. Not as busy as some recent years, but not a bad effort considering the amount of travel I did in the first half of the year. As well as playing in pubs and other venues across the Adelaide metropolitan area, I performed in Blinman and Melrose in the state's north, and also in Tarlee which is quite a way out of town. I played two very satisfying shows in England; one at the Queen's Head in Belper - the same venue that hosted Andy White and David Rovics in 2013 - and the other at the Holly Bush in Makeney, featured in Tony Robinson's Channel 4 documentary Walking Through History only a few weeks later. In keeping with my "Never Say No to a Show" resolution, last year's venues included markets, a racecourse, restaurants, a football club, the Overland train, a garden centre, a bowling club, a country fair and, most bizzarely, atop the new South Road Superway.
My favourite show for the year was probably the Yours Truly gig at the Grace Emily just before Christmas; it was such a good vibe, but there were plenty of other groovy nights.
I can now knock out over a hundred songs without needing to refer to chord charts or lyrics - one of the goals I set myself at the start of the year.
In terms of songwriting, I've made slow but steady progress. There is still, however, much to do. I guess the most noteworthy songwriting moment was being named a joint winner in SCALA's Festival of Original Music Live section with my song "Is There Something Wrong With Me?" .
In my modest home studio I recorded the theme for a musical friend's podcast. I had very little in terms of source material so it was a real challenge for me to turn what was essentially a solo guitar and vocal performance into something that featured bass, banjo, percussion, backing vocals, crowds, drinking sound effects and, erm, goats. I think it scrubbed up rather well. I also recorded a version of "Love Me Tender" for a friend to play at his daughter's wedding. He sang to my guitar guide track, and then left me to it. It took a few days, but he was genuinely moved when he heard the finished product. I hope the wedding was a nice day for all concerned.
I lent my musical services to the Save The Brickworks movement, and also played at a benefit for the Cancer Council. I raised money for the Hutt Street Centre and for CanTeen through my playing and singing.
The latest SCALA CD featured a David Robinson song, "Wish I Was You"; it was my only new release of the year and I am hoping to get more done in 2014. Finally getting around to releasing A Drop in the Ocean and Very Together digitally was pleasing.
So, all up, I think 2013 was time well spent. Peace and love, everybody.