Apologies for not being around much lately, I’ve been putting the finishing touches to a new collection of tunes. You can listen to the whole album for free below:
And here’s a little rundown of what each tune is about or what inspired it:
Ace In The Hole:
When I set about writing this tune, all I had in mind was that I wanted something positive, upbeat and tuneful. I was thinking of tracks like Eric Johnson’s “Cliffs Of Dover” and Joe Satriani’s “Friends”. This is my contribution to the genre of melodic instrumental guitar playing.
A Taste Of Honey:
Herb Alpert’s version of this tune was always on in the house when I was a kid growing up. Both my parents were big fans of the Tijuana brass sound & this piece of music stuck with me. I’m a sucker for that up-tempo walking bass-line shuffle in any song and this was great fun to arrange for the guitar & record.
The Redcar Rag:
My good friend Geo (pronounced “Joe”) Ballentine is one of the finest acoustic blues guitarists I’ve ever heard. He sent me this chord sequence he’d recorded on his old Regal acoustic & asked me if I wanted to do something with it. I transcribed it and added a bassline & improvised the lead guitar part. Despite the fact that Geo lives in Pennsylvania, he suggested that we name it after my home town of Redcar on the north-east coast of England. Hence The Redcar Rag.
As the brilliant Howard Goodall put it “If you can remember a tune, it’s probably by Mozart; if you can’t, it’s probably by Liszt.” That’s definitely true of this one – it’s the Andante section from Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.21 in C major. Definitely one of the most memorable melodies I noticed when I started to get all middle-aged & listen to Classic FM a few years back.
One of may favourite albums is Jeff Beck’s “Blow By Blow” & this tune is a nod in that direction. Tracks like “Scatterbrain” and “Air Blower” were foremost in my mind when writing this. The title is a reference to the Lee Child novel of the same name. I’d just finished reading this book when I was coming up with a title for the tune.
Flash In The Pan:
I was doing a lesson on songwriting with one of my guitar students and the basic chord sequence as well as the bones of the melody came together in the lesson as I was demonstrating various elements of composition. Afterwards, I listened back to it and thought “I could do something with that”… so I did.
Back in my leather-clad rocker days I always caught a lot of flack for having country albums in my CD rack. You can’t deny it though… guitarists like Albert Lee & Danny Gatton are the mutt’s nuts when it comes to blistering soloing. This is my little attempt to capture some of the feel of tracks like “Country Boy” and “Remington Ride”.
This one is me trying to get into that Dick Dale “surf” guitar sound. It’s based around the Neapolitan Minor scale, as used by Dick Dale in the classic “Misrilou”. As for the title, when I listened back to it it reminded me of old ’60s spy movies like “The Ipcress File” so I sought out a suitably espionage-esque name. John Le Carre refers to the technology section of British Intelligence as “the lamplighters” in his novels & this appealed to me.
The Texas Cannonball:
Of the three “Kings” of the blues (BB King, Albert King, and Freddie King) Freddie is the one who always sets my foot tapping & blood pumping. This is my homage to one of the greatest blues guitarists who ever lived. A big nod in the direction of tunes like “Hideaway” and “The Stumble”.
Weathering The Storm:
Of all the tracks on this album, this is the most personal to me. A really good friend of mine has been through a particularly rough time in the past year and I wrote this for him. Chin up, mate… you know who you are… it’ll get better in the end.