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Steve's Blog: Solo Bass & Beyond



Tangents by Murphy McCaleb, Steve Lawson and Andy Edwards out Today.

July 14th, 2014 | No Comments | Categories: Music News

Yup, just as you were thinking “it’s been DAYS since an album came out with Steve on!” the latest one appears…

Those of you who are semi-regular readers here will know that Andy Edwards and I have been playing together a lot over the last year – Andy’s a highly respected prog/rock drummer with a jazzer’s heart – so we’ve set about putting ourselves in numerous improv situations, from just us as a duo, to the upcoming shows with Julie Slick and Jem Godfrey.

One of those improv situations that arose was with Murphy McCaleb.
Or Dr Murphy McCaleb, to afford him the title his PhD in Performance Studies from the Birmingham Conservatoire gives him (“ooh la la!” says Moss…) – Murphy plays bass trombone. Very well, as it happens, and has developed an increasing interest in improvised music and processing the sound of his trombone over the last year.

So we went into the studio at college and recorded a load of music – two trio pieces, one bass/trombone duo and one drums/trombone duo. It’s pretty adventurous stuff, at times achingly beautiful, at others gnarly and scary. Definitely worth putting on decent headphones/speakers.

Of note is that I also mastered it. So it naturally sounds very lush indeed :)

Have a listen, and if you like it, you can buy it and tell your friends about. That’s how it works, right?

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Three Unmissable Gigs (Julie Slick, Jem Godfrey, Briana Corrigan)

July 7th, 2014 | No Comments | Categories: Uncategorized

Right, gig news! Some REALLY exciting collaborations coming up – here are the three I can tell you about now. All of them are at Tower Of Song, in Birmingham, UK, and all will, of course, be recorded:

  • July 27th – with Julie Slick and Andy Edwards :: [tickets] after the fun we had with our last gigs together in April, Julie ‘s back for another show, between legs of the Crimson ProjeKct world tour, with Andy and I. Here’s some of the last session on Soundcloud. We’re REALLY looking forward to playing together as a trio again!
  • August 10th – with Jem Godfrey and Andy Edwards :: [tickets] Jem is a true musical genius and original. There’s pretty much no-one else who fronts a massive and widely respected prog band AND writes world-traversing ginormous pop hits for the likes of Atomic Kitten and Holly Valance! Jem’s band is Frost*, who Andy used to drum for, and we’re SO excited to be playing an evening of improvised music with him. Don’t miss this!

Special Offer:

Tickets for the Julie AND Jem gigs for just £14 (£3 off)

[Click Here To Buy Tickets]

 

Then, the week after the gig with Jem, something else VERY special:

  • August 17th – with Briana Corrigan :: Briana is probably best known for her time as vocalist with The Beautiful South – she sang their only UK no. 1, A Little Time. But she’s an exceptional songwriter in her own right, and after a couple of years of talking about it, we’re finally getting our duo project happening. This will be an evening of my music, her music and some really special never-before-heard collaborations that will be the beginnings of something wonderful. Go buy her solo albums on Bandcamp.

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Gig with Julie Slick and Andy Edwards, July 27th in Birmingham!

July 3rd, 2014 | No Comments | Categories: Music News

Another gig with Julie Slick! (FB version)

Yup! Julie‘s back at the end of July, and we’re doing another gig – Julie, me and the wonderful Andy Edwards on drums. This is the beginning of a new series that Andy and I will be hosting – Andy, Steve + 1, tentatively called ‘Steve and Andy’s New Curiosity Shoppe’… August’s show will be announced ASAP…

Anyway, details for the gig with Julie:

Date City Venue Country
27/07/14 Birmingham, West Midlands Tower Of Song United Kingdom
Time: 7:30pm. Admission: £7 adv. £8/£5 door. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: 107 Pershore Road South. Venue phone: 0121 486 1300. Julie’s back in the UK! So obviously, while she’s here we have to do another trio gig! Back at our favourite venue too. This is going to be fun! Related post. Buy Tickets More information

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And here’s all the music that’s currently public from the last time we played together. Enjoy!

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Diversion – New Album Out Today!

June 30th, 2014 | No Comments | Categories: Uncategorized

…here it is! I’ve been really looking forward to sharing this with you. It’s a 21 minute, 2 song live set from me and double bassist Jon Thorne (from Lamb). It was recorded at the London Bass Guitar Show in March, and I’m massively proud of it:

Some things that you might like to know:

  • As I said, Diversion is a live recording with Jon Thorne on double bass, recorded on the main stage at The London Bass Guitar Show, on March 2nd
  • It was the first time we’d ever played together. I was booked to play solo, saw that Jon was there, and so invited him to play with me, cos he’s amazing.
  • As such, it’s entirely improvised. We didn’t play “songs” we knew or that we’d written. In soundcheck I played something mellow, and we went ‘like that? yeah’.
  • Jon is a *monster* musician. What a huge privilege it is to play with him. He’d been on my collaborator bucket-list for a long time. He didn’t disappoint. I’ve done little bits of elec bass/upright bass stuff before, but this was THE one where my idea of what was possible was superceded, thanks to his incredible musicianship and listening.
  • It’s a 2 track, 21 minute recording, and is one of my favourite things I’ve ever done. I hope you dig it half as much as I do – that’ll be enough to leave it at the top of your playlist all month :)
  • As with the rest of my stuff, it’s ‘pay what you think it’s worth‘. Why? Good question – mainly because it’s the music future that I think we all want to live in – one where we’re not ‘policing’ access to music, but instead providing opportunities to express our gratitude for music by paying what we’re able to for it, for that to reflect our sense of its value, and our desire to be a part of the ongoing sustainability of making music. All the while, it’s important to me not to prevent genuinely broke people from having access to music, or to get in the way of the music discovery and sharing process.

    You’re a grown up, you get how this works. If enough people pay for this, I get a bit of latitude in terms of the time I spend on my next project. The sales of each album help to free up the time and resources to make the next one. I’m not about to stop making music if it stops making money (that particular threat seems to be reserved for the entitled rich) but given how nice it is to be able to say ‘thank you’ to the people who make the music we enjoy, and how life-changing it can be to make enough money from music to keep making more music, there seems no good reason for not linking the two. Be the change you want to see – the change I want to see is more music by more people in more places, and I’m more than happy to help make that possible as an artist and a fan. Does that make sense?

  • PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE share the link with your friends – your tweets and Facebook posts are vital to the knowledge of the album being propagated. Posts to music forums and mailing lists are also hugely appreciated, as are blog/Tumblr reviews. Also, reviews on Bandcamp are SO SO useful. We’d love it if you’d log in to your Bandcamp fan account (if you’ve ever bought anything on Bandcamp, your fan account is just waiting for you to claim it, if you haven’t already) and write a review. You’re all very lovely. Thanks :)

    P1020603

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New MXR Pedal and Dunlop Super Bright Bass Strings Demo Video

June 25th, 2014 | No Comments | Categories: Music News

It’s turning into a veritable film festival round here – video #2 for this week went online last night – a demo of three MXR bass effects pedals, and the new Dunlop Super Bright bass strings that I’ve recently started using.

The video itself is about 10 minutes of playing using the effects in various combinations and settings – 1001 sounds (give or take a few) by combining the three effects in different ways (though I didn’t actually change the order!) – it’s pretty long, but is fairly comprehensive in terms of the range of sounds that I use from these three pedals…

The string demo part is most obvious right after the ambient pad part is laid down at the start – the first bit of playing is just my bass through my ever-present Markbass MiniDIST pedal that acts as my preamp, with a little bit of reverb from my Lexicon. That’s my ‘neutral’ sound. If you’re pretty familiar with my sound, you’ll perhaps hear the difference from my old strings – more bite, more clarity low down on the neck… What’s not possible to show on a video is the FEEL of the strings. They just feel great. I’d been using my previous string brand for over 20 years, happily, and was reluctant to even try anything new, but after giving these a try, I’m hooked.

enjoy!

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Two versions of Orange Crush by REM (solo bass cover version)

June 23rd, 2014 | No Comments | Categories: Music News

Right, I’ve had a busy couple of days, working on a new cover version. Lobelia and I were talking on Saturday afternoon about which REM song we’d like to cover. The logical answer was ‘all of them’ – way too many great songs to be able to choose. When we got home, I decided to have a go at Orange Crush as my start-point. I played it through once to work out how it goes, and recorded the 2nd time – that’s here:

Then today, I thought I’d do a version for video, and that’s here:

Compare and contrast! It’s a pretty good example of where my bass sound is heading – the layered overdrives and all the gnarly goodness they bring is there in full effect, as well as the more edgy, forceful tone of these lovely new Dunlop Super Bright Strings that I’ve got on that bass. I love them!

More new music a week today – that’s when Diversion is released!

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New Track Today, New Album on July 1st!

June 20th, 2014 | No Comments | Categories: Music News

Right, first up, here’s a new thing I recorded this morning, as a tribute to the great Gerry Goffin who died yesterday. He was one half of one of the all-time great songwriting teams, along with Carole King. They wrote SO many amazing songs, but I picked ‘I’m Into Something Good’ to reinterpret for my tribute:

Now, the new album is out on July 1st, is called Diversion,  and comprises two long duo pieces with double bass genius Jon Thorne, recorded live at the London Bass Guitar Show this year, the first time we’d ever played together.

Jon, as bassist with Lamb, has been a bass hero of mine for many many years, and his own album, Watching The Well, written for Danny Thompson, is outstanding. I’m SO happy with this music, and am looking forward to playing shows with Jon. Here’s the artwork for the album. It’ll be at http://music.stevelawson.net on July 1st!

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New Music with Julie Slick and Andy Edwards

May 1st, 2014 | No Comments | Categories: Music News

Not one, but two new tunes! How exciting.

During the time the Julie was here at the start of April, she and Andy and I managed a gig, that was recorded, and a recording session at Kidderminster College, where we also gave a bass/improv/Julie-stuff masterclass.

We’ve got HOURS of stuff recorded, which I’m sorting though. My guess is that the first ‘official’ release will be some bass duets, but here’s one duet from the Kiddy sessions, and the first thing we played as a trio at our gig at Tour Of Song – both are rough mixes, but are just about there. Enjoy!

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Photos from Sunday’s gig with Julie Slick and Andy Edwards

April 9th, 2014 | 2 Comments | Categories: Music News

It’s been a wonderful week of music-making with Julie Slick and Andy Edwards. First our show at Tower Of Song in Birmingham on Sunday night, then a day at Kidderminster College, giving an improvisation masterclass, and then recording some more music and a photo shoot.

All of that will be forthcoming ASAP, but for now, here are some pictures from Sunday’s gig, taken by Rob Groucutt:

Also, if you haven’t heard/bought Julie’s most recent solo album yet, it’s here. You need it:

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New Video – An Introduction to My Pedal Collection, Pt 1

April 7th, 2014 | No Comments | Categories: Music News

This is the first in a new pile of videos I’m going to be doing, introducing a few of the effects pedals that I use. I’ve taken the 5 that are in my current live set up, and gone through them. Not just ‘reviewing’ them, but looking at how they interact. That seems a bit more useful :)

Oh, and there’s a lil’ improv thingie at the end putting them all to good use.

Enjoy, and if you dig it, feel free to share it around!

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