clearing out my closet..

…no, not in the eminem sense! With the impending release of my duo CD with Theo Travis, I need to make some space for the new CDs, hence the ‘special offers’ link now posted in the sales bit of the website front page… if you or any of your chums have been waiting for some reason to get my CDs, now’s the time to do it – cheaper than ever if you buy all three! :o)

Anyway, talking of new releases, I’m just listening through some of my recordings with Patrick Wood, keyboardist and guitarist extraordinaire, with whom I’m playing a duo set at Greenbelt. We’ve been talking about the possibilitiy of doing a limited edition CD for the festival, so I’m listening through the recordings with a view to editing some of it down…

Oh, I’ve just noticed that this is my hundred and first post in this version of the blog! happy birthday for yesterday, I Guess… silly of me not to notice and post something of great pith and moment in my last blog entry, but still, it’s a landmark and must be made mention of somehow. I’ve no idea how many blog entries were in the old version – maybe I’ll go back and read some.

What else? nothing much. Just parcelled up a box-load of CDs to send of the cdbaby.com – cdbaby is an excellent site for independent musicians. The way my cd sales breakdown, the majority are either at gigs or through evinsol.co.uk, but that’s largely because evinsol tends to get them listed before anyone else, and is the place I use for pre-orders of a new CD when it comes out (the usual deal will be available when the CD with theo comes out, with advanced orders getting a very limited edition free extra CD!)

But aside from that, cdbaby has been a really good sales outlet for me, as it’s made my music available to a lot of people who wouldn’t otherwise have found it – the search functions there are really intuitive, and it seems like a lot of people shop there as a way of finding new hidden gems, and of supporting independent music – something I obviously endorse wholeheartedly. I’ve bought some great cds from cdbaby – cds by Pamela Sue Mann, Ron Miles and Alex Skolnick, all three of which are Excellent, and highly recommended. click on any of those links to head over to cdbaby and hear samples of their stuff!

…it’s a simple as that, which is the odd thing with the internet – the potential market at any one time is ENOURMOUS. I mean, huge. millions. but it’s the same for any artist, and we’re all vying for people attention. The best we can hope for, being fair and realistic, is that people who connect with what we do can find it. The mainstream industry relies on sensationalism, titilation and crass hype to foist sub-standard music onto the public. The indies having neither the money of a billionaire not the morals of an alleycat can’t really stoop to that, so we’ve got to rely on actually being worth listening to (imagine that!) – so far, it’s working out ok… ;o)

Soundtrack – right now, it’s the duo tracks with patrick wood, before that, Cara Dillon‘s album – she’s a folky singer with a beautiful voice, and some gorgeous songs – well worth investigating.

The strange ways people find my music!

as you know, my CDs are on the cdbaby.com site, and one of the things you can get from cdbaby as an artist is a list of where people came from to find your site – and this is one of the links that someone used to find me –

http://search.msn.com/results.aspx?q=hear+baby+chicken+sounds+&FORM=SMCRT

so, buy my CDs and hear baby chicken sounds – simple as that!

…anyway, this reminds me that I need to send another box of CDs to CDBaby as they’ve just about sold out of Not Dancing CDs… there’s been a mini-rush of sales to Japan, which is rather cool… must get a japanese language page up on this site somewhere… hmmm, time to email Chi, methinks…

Soundtrack – right now, Mary Chapin Carpenter, ‘Time Sex Love’ – one of the most consistently fantastic singer/songwriters around, rarely does anything edgy or groundbreaking, but just focusses on write fantastic songs and using great musicians. Is also blessed with a gorgeous voice… Before that was listening to Ma, ‘Links’ – Ma is a French electronica/dancey stuff artist, who came over the London to buy an Echoplex from me last week (still got a couple left is anyone’s interested – drop me an email…) – she’s just sent me her CDs which are really really good. Great sounds, great voice… ….and before that, Morphine, ‘B-Sides And Otherwise’, which is genius.

Two steps from greatness…

Have you ever checked out cdbaby.com ? It’s a very cool indie music sales site, based in Oregon, with a great website, cool search functions and a lot of support for artists… Anyway, they have a system where CDs are linked from different pages, and one of them is the ‘Other CDs you will love’ section – Ron Miles is a very fine trumpeter extraordinaire, and dueter with the mighty Bill Frisell on his new CD… which is for sale at CDbaby… and who’s album should be in the ‘Other CDs you’ll love’ section, but me and Jez – Conversations! So there you go, just two steps from Frisell… don’t believe me, see for yourself…

Soooo, what else has been going on here? Currently working on the artwork for a CD by a Danish girl band called Desta – Jez is producing it, and last night I went over to see him and take some piccies of the band, and today I’m putting it together. It’s looking rather good, though I say so myself. It’s amazing what you can do with a fairly crappy digi camera and a bit of experience in photoshop…

Other than that? Been sorting out some upcoming gigs (see the gigs page), and also getting some dates arranged for Rick Walker when he comes over to Europe – Rick is a fine percussionist from Santa Cruz, with whom I’ve toured a couple of times, and whose friendship and musicianship I’ve enjoyed ever since my first solo gig in the US, which he organised back in Jan 2000… I’ll post more details about his Euro-dates here at some point…

Soundtrack – did lots of driving yesterday and listened to more of the Disposable Heros album, which still sounds amazingly fresh and inspiring 11 years after it was released. Then I had Paul Simon’s greatest hits on – I do love greatest hits albums, they are sort of a summary of where people have got to, it’s like recapping for those who missed the first half of a conversation, and Paul Simon’s GH is one of the most consistently outstanding bodies of work in the pop world. He’s amazing, and still making brilliant music, as You’re The One bore witness to. At home I’ve been listening to Ned Evett – ‘Circus Liquor’, Bill Frisell Live, Matt Garrison, and various projects featuring me!

All work and no play…

…would be a highly inaccurate way to describe my life.

However, the work content is now increasing once again, after a fairly relaxed easing into it after the exhausting tour of CA…

This morning so far has involved sending out lots of CDs – shipping a new box-load to CD Baby – probably the best online indie music store – well worth checking out. And also shipping out some other ‘normal’ orders that arrive via evinsol. There are now loads of different ways of buying my CDs – still very few shops, but it’s not really an angle I’ve been chasing, as unless there’s a demand, they just sit on the shelves and do nothing, and just the admin of keeping track of where they are would do my head in. So instead I stick, predominantly, with web and gig-sales – web-wise, most still come through evinsol, the main CD order link on my site, and the Pillow Mountain Records site, but I also sell a few through CD Baby, and GEMM.COM – the primary usefulness of those are that they are both heavily searched sites, so people can find out about me without me telling them, and also their pricing is in dollars, so it’s less confusing for all you lovely americans parting with your hard earned green-stuff.

the nice thing is that with the increase in reviews, interviews and radio airplay, the promotional process gets a momentum of its own – a google search on my name throws up tonnes of stuff, and there are now quite a lot of bass sites that link back to my site… Add to that you lovely people helping to spread the word, and playing the CDs to your friends (word of mouth is still the most powerful tool an independent musician has, so thanks!), and it all starts to look a little more viable, and less like I was mad to go the indie route in the first place. The problem of late has more been that the touring side of things has been too successful, and I’ve had very little time for promo! It’s fine, cos the sales of CDs at gigs are better than they are through magazine reviews and radio airplay anyway, but it still has to be done…

Add to that my teaching schedule (currently busier than it’s ever been!), and I have less and less time for play… which is no bad thing. I’ve stored up so much play-related-mellowness (recognised medical phenomena), that I can probably cope with doing a respectable amount of work finally. After all, I’m 30 and have a mortgage and a small hungry feline mouth to feed – responsibilities!

So the rest of the day will be spent trying to get details on my upcoming gigs (I’m meant to have one in Brighton next week, but know nothing about it yet!!), sending out some radio copies of Not Dancing, teaching (starting in 15 minutes), practicing (been working on some of the EDP stuff that I saw Andre do at the clinic we did together – he’s very good…)

And maybe a few minutes just mucking about on line in between… :o)

Soundtrack – this morning I’ve been listening to Attention Deficit’s ‘The Idiot King’, and Jughead’s self-titled CD – both very very good. Attention Deficit is Michael Manring’s trio with Tim Alexander from Primus and Alex Skolnik on guitar. Jughead is Ty Tabor from King’s X with Greg and Matt Bissonette. Yesterday, I was listening to ‘Contemplating The Engine Room’ by Mike Watt for most of the day – Mike’s amazing, his CDs are amazing, his indie-thinking is amazing and he’s a very sound chap – check out his forum at on talkbass.