Calamateur Vs. Steve Lawson album now available here…

Calamateur vs Steve Lawson album cover image

Finally, the actual release date has come round, and you can now get the Calamateur Vs. Steve Lawson in the online shop. I know that quite a few of you have bought it already from either iTunes or, and that’s great. for those of you that haven’t, or want it as slightly higher res, you can get it

It’s a really lovely album. Pretty strange, and rather more bleak than most of what I do. But, conversely, rather less bleak than most of the Calamateur stuff, thanks to the influence of my general fluffiness. I’m very proud of it, and hope it really takes off so at some point we can afford to do a CD release of it. That’s not the plan at the moment, but if it sells loads as downloads, and develops a huge underground following, then who knows…

For now though,

Todd Reynolds' EP…

Those of you who saw Todd Reynolds play at the Recycle Collective last year already know what a genius he is, but for those of you who don’t, you owe it to yourselves to head over to the CDbaby page for his new EP and have a listen to the previews – layer upon layer of beautiful violin playing, looped and processed into a gorgeous soundtrack, bearing the influence of both his many years in Steve Reich’s ensemble and his time with Bang On A Can.

More recently, Todd’s been touring with the cooler-than-cool The Books, both opening the shows on his own, and playing with them in their set. He’s all set to become huge, and you’ve got the chance to get his EP now ($6 – that’s £3, for 3 really great tracks, which are a lot longer than your average pop single too) – go over to the CDbaby page, have a listen, but it, then come back and thank me… :o)

new album! new album!

OK, this album has been a VERY long time coming – the Calamateur Vs Steve Lawson album was actually recorded two years ago, and it’s taken this long for us to get round to releasin’ it!

For those of you who haven’t heard about it before, it’s a collaboration between myself and Scottish singer/songwriter/sound experimentalist Calamateur AKA Andrew Howie. Andrew’s music blends gorgeous acoustic singer/songwriter-ness with odd noises and late-era Radiohead squeakiness, and on this project it’s mixed in with my loopy ambient stuffs, some proper bass-playing (including the gorgeous sound of my Rick Turner fretless acoustic) and a load of my programming and tweaking. It’s tough to remember now who did what, cos we’ve nicked enough ideas off each other over the years…

The official release date is October 1st, but it’s actually available to download now via cdbaby (where you can listen to a minute or two of every track and buy it for) and via itunes (where you can listen to 30 second clips.

And of course, it’ll be up in the StevieStore before too long as well.

Please go and have a listen at cdbaby – it’s a project I’m really proud of, and I’ve been a huge fan of Andrew’s stuff for years – we’ve known each other for over 15 years, and he even bought my Fender jazz off me 10 or 11 years ago, and went to college to study bass before finding his own path through lo-fi loveliness.

More ways to download… hurrah!

Those magical wonderful peoples at have started doing download sales direct from their site – hurrah! If you want to get mine, you can go to my main page at and if you click on any of the solo albums, you can get them there for just $10 downloaded (and the files are 200k MP3s, so considerably higher quality than iTunes.

The duo albums aren’t up there yet, but I’m going to look into sorting that out fairly soon…

And don’t forget that you can get the 3 Lessons Learned From An Aged Feline albums from my online shop for just £2.50 (that’s $5!) each… Go on, you know you want to!

Grace And Gratitude Sold Out!

Grace And Gratitude is, I think, sold out on CD. I’ll have a look and see if I can find any more copies, but at the moment, it looks like the ones I’ve just put in envelopes to send out to people who’ve ordered them are the last ones I’ve got! How bizarre… I’m sure I’ll find a load of copies under someone’s bed somewhere in the world at some point, and be able to sell those on, but for now, I’ve taken it down from the online shop.

Of course, it’s still available as a download, and also from iTunes, should you want it! And hopefully I’ll repress soon enough – I like it too much not to have it available on CD. Oh, there are probably a couple of copies available via Cd Baby if you want one…

Behind Every Word available on CDBaby

Behind Every Word is now available at – click here to head to the page – there you can hear 2 minutes of every tune, and read about it. And if you’ve already got the Cd, you can post a user review at the bottom of the page (just as you can in my webshop too!)

So you can now get Behind Every Word on my site, CDBaby, at gigs and from Ray’s Jazz Store on Charing Cross Road in London. What are you waiting for??

more exclusive sales deals with non-CD shops

So, following on from Garth Brooks discraceful hook-up with WalMart, we’ve now got Bob Dylan following hot on Alanis and Elvis Costello’s heels by having a CD exclusively available in Starbucks.

OK, let’s get one thing clear, Dylan hasn’t been the counter-cultural icon he’s perceived as since about 1965. His view of the world is actually rather conservative (his comment at the original Live Aid that ‘it’d be nice to see some of this money going to American Farmers’ was pretty much par for the course), and he certainly hasn’t set out to lead any kind of counter-cultural revolution.

However, any musician who signs a deal with a shop that has NO interest whatsoever in nurturing new talent, in providing knowledgeable staff, broad selection, and a place for lesser known artists to be stocked alongside the biggies, is selling out their own roots in the industry.

Everybody needs a break. Starbucks, Walmart, Tescos, Sainsburys and any other shitty shop that only stocks a limited selection of music (top 40 at most, plus a bunch of low-priced compilations of 70s hits) are not going to do that, and those of us that care about the future of music, about seeing new talent emmerge, about seeing the back of low-rent karaoke bollocks getting into the charts should refuse to buy any CDs in any of those places.

It’s not often that I’ll speak up for chainstores, but you’re much better off shopping at HMV or Tower than you are at Starbucks or a supermarket. Better still, little indie shops, specialist shops, or online from the artist’s website, or CD Baby. Tower online even stock all the CD Baby catalogue!

So, boycott the new Dylan, Costello and Morrisette records, and lets see an end to Starbucks as CD-shop.

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Yet more great reasons for staying indie….

“Increasingly, the music companies understand that they have to take some of the money back from the artists to correct a business model that has squeezed their profit margins. The challenge as the consolidation takes effect is whether the artists will agree to sign away some of the rights they have enjoyed in the boom times.”

That’s a quote from an article in The Sunday Times Business Section from a couple of weeks ago, relating to the EMI/Warner deal.

So, let me get this right, record companies are struggling to make enough millions, so they take money from the artists? artists who already surrender the ownership of their recordings (which if they want them back they have to buy back, they don’t actually revert to their possession after they’ve paid of their advance or ‘loan’, like a mortgage where you never get to own the house…), artists who already often end up on a crappy retainer while the record company fritters away their advance on unwanted and unneeded extras to people within the company (hiring their own contracted producers, using RC owned studios, paying for limos/parties/schmoozing journos etc…)…

Good lord, I’m so glad I went the indie route… While there are clearly some advantages to getting signed etc. it seems that the cons far far far outweigh the pros unless you only want to be some educationally challenged cat walk buffoon pedalling rehashed 70s MOR tunes on totp after winning a televised school talent contest (only, at most school talent shows I’ve been to, the winners have been considerably more telented than ANYONE I’ve seen win fame academy or pop idol or whatever…)

the time is now better than ever for supporting indie artists, listening to indie radio (or the BBC, which seems to be be a bit more flexible than national commercial radio in its playlisting), and supporting indie cd shops. Next time you’re thinking of buying a CD, head over to and have a browse around to find something new and original that you like, rather than spending far too much money on some tripe that’s in the charts. Go on, I dare ya!

in other news, I’ve just been booked for an improv gig in Derby on Wedneday night – obviously, I’ll post more news when it comes in, but it’s going to great fun! Orphy Robinson on steel pans and assorted odds ‘n’ ends, and another vibes player… :o)

Soundtrack – The Rough Guide To Congolese Soukos (amazing stuff, get this CD!); John Patitucci, ‘One More Angel’; some loops that I set up about an hour ago and am still listening to…

Is There Something I Should Know???

…and other such classic Duran hits were all in evidence at the gig at The Forum on Tuesday night. And what a fantastic gig it was!! Really really great to see a bunch of ‘pop stars’ who can a) write fantastic melodies, b) come up with really interesting arrangements and c) play as well as anyone. Seriously great stuff. Oh for the days when pop stars could play instruments!!! It set the dick-heads that currently litter the charts in stark relief, that’s for sure…

Anyway. What else?? Of course, the big news is that the album is here!! All the advanced orders have now been sent out, so you should be getting them early next week. the packaging, CD printing, sound quality and everything is just great – Theo came round yesterday to sort out the press-list and to sign all the extra discs, and we were like a couple of kids with new toys! I’ve been listening to the CD almost constantly since it got here on Wednesday, and it just sounds fantastic! Even though we played it, it’s still hard to conceive that it was all done live… a strange feeling indeed. Anyway, if you haven’t got it already, you can order it now! Paypal/Gemm and post are what we’ve got happening at the moment, but CDBaby will be sorted v. soon, as will evinsol, hmv and a few others…

anyway, here’s the paypal button –

One word of warning to anyone planning to do the same thing, all the backordering on GEMM decimates your rating – if you did buy the CD through GEMM, please go and give us a good feedback rating, or it looks like we’re a bunch of charlatans…!

Wednesday night was fun – Bob Lee, buddy from California was in town, so Bob and I, along with a couple of other guys from the churchbass discussion list met up for a curry. I’m always amazed at the myriad friendships that the internet facilitates – it makes a nice counter argument to, which, while I think they’ve got a point, does take it too far… :o)

Tomorrow I’ve got my first gig in ages with Jez – you know, the piano guy on ‘Conversations’ – it’s a wedding reception, which is cool cos I don’t get to play standards very often, and playing with Jez would be a pleasure even if the gig was all TV Themes!

Soundtrack – Me and Theo (both discs), Billy Bragg, ‘Must I Paint You A Picture?’, The Cure, ‘Greatest Hits’, Scritti Politti, ‘Cupid And Psyche’, John Lester, ‘Big Dreams And The Bottom Line’ – if you’re in any way interested in solo bass and singer/songwriters, you NEED to hear John’s music – he’s seriously good – great tone, fantastic voice, fine lyrics, and all really well produced – GO AND BUY THIS CD.

Evolution or Revolution?

The music industry is changing, that’s for sure. To do what I’ve done even 10 years ago would have been a heck of a lot more difficult and expensive to get off the ground. The cost of recording studio set ups has plummeted with the home computer market, the net has thrown the doors wide on forming underground niche networks through which to make a small-scale name for yourself, and online shops are waking up to the growing sales of independent albums (interesting that while the majors are all crying ‘foul play’ over file sharing, the indies are selling more records that ever…)

Maybe people respond well to having the chance to buy CD directly from an artist – I know I do! I love browsing CD Baby looking for interesting music, having a listen to the streaming stuff and then buying a CD or two, knowing that the artists are getting the dough for their hard earned work.

So is this a natural shift, or are we about to see the collapse of the industry as we know it? The mainstream charts are getting less and less relavent to your average joe – how many ‘big’ albums have I bought in recent times? Right now, I think I own two CDs in the top 40 – Athlete’s ‘Vehicles and Animals’ and Coldplay’s ‘A Rush Of Blood To The Head’ – that’s a pretty high proportion for me! A large amount of my time is spent listening to indie stuff, self produced CDs (with nothing to distinguish them as self produced other than the care and attention that’s gone into them, and the rather more matey sounding sleeve notes!)

But, if the truth be told, there are times when I wonder if the record company route might be easier – someone else to do the work. Then I read articles like this one by Steve Albini – he produced In Utero by Nirvana, and here outlines the details of a major ‘rock’ deal (some fruity language again, so avoid if easily offended). Thanks, but no thanks, I’ll stick with ‘jamming econo’ as the mighty Mike Watt calls it – the DIY ethic is a powerful one, and it doesn’t take much searching to find like-minded souls with whom to share a thought and a word of encouragement. I’ve met loads of indie musos through Looper’s Delight, the solo bass network, and just through gigs, web surfing, at NAMM and so on. Tomorrow I’m meeting up with a very fine solo bassist called John Lester, another solo bassist ploughing a furrow in London, and making some amazing music (check out his site, he’s great).

Anyway, I thank God I had the chance to go indie when I did, and that it’s all working out so well… looking forward to putting out the new record with theo, and then starting work on the next solo one! I’ve done loads of practicing over the last few days and am getting a few ideas together for new tunes… what fun…

Soundtrack – Terje Rypdal, ‘Skywards’, Duke Special, ‘Lucky Me’, and an advanced copy of Andre LaFosse’s album ‘Normalise’, which is marvellous. I mean, really really good! not easy listening by any stretch, but some of the most adventurous, funky, glitchy fascinating sounds ever to come from a guitar… Go and have a listen to some of the tracks in Andre’s MP3 archive, and then order the CD…

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