Here are some videos that have turned up online of The Larry McCray Band, including yours truely on keyboards, during the recent UK tour.
Sorry to say Larry McCray’s keyboard player has been taken ill. Get well soon.
Pleased to say I got the call and will be playing keyboards on Larry’s UK tour.
One man’s misfortune, etc..
Here’s a quick rundown of the gigs:
Tuesday, 30/04/2013, Blues Kitchen, 111-113 Camden High St, London NW1 7JN
Wednesday, 01/05/2013, The Jamhouse, Jewelery Quarter, Birmingham
Thursday, 02/05/2013, Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Altwood Road, Maidenhead, Berks
Saturday, 04/05/2013, Darvel Music Festival, Town Hall, Darvel, Ayrshire, Scotland
Wednesday, 08/05/2013, Lucy’s Bar, Near Lichfield, Staffordshire
Thursday, 09/05/2013, The Haven Club at the Bullingdon, 162 Cowley Road, Oxford, OX4 1UE
Friday, 10/05/2013, Big Wheel Blues Festival, Villa Marina, Douglas, Isle of Man
Saturday, 11/05/2013, The Bangor on Dee Blues & Real Ale Festival, The Buck House Hotel, Bangor on Dee, Wrexham LL13 0BU
Here is Larry doing his thing (not me on keyboards)
See you on the road!
I was told that my original video of overdubbing Hammond during the Shadowman album recording sessions didn’t make much sense without the track as well, so here is a shorter version with the track playing.
For quite a while now, I actually cannot remember how long, I have been keeping track of musicians I come across on Twitter with a list. Today I was confused when I noticed that I could not longer add any accounts to it. A quick Google later and I found out that lists are limited to 500 accounts only, a number that my list had just hit. Argh! So, I am faced with the options of have a Musicians2 list, or splitting the list into genres or having seperate lists for guitarists, drummers, singers, bands, etc. None of these appeal and, anyway, I would probably end up with a Guitarists1 and Guitarists2 list and then having to sub-divide them. It is only delaying the inevitable.
I know that Twitter enforces these limits so they can manage the demands on their back-end systems, but what about a little leeway here? Currently users can have 20 lists with 500 members in each, so that’s potentially 10,000 accounts organised into lists. What about removing the 500 limit per list and just having an overall 10,000 limit? So, users can use up that quota in whatever way they please and if they want to have one huge list they can. Or, better still, just make lists unlimited. C’mon Twitter, sort it out!
In the 1990s I did quite a lot of writing with Errol Walsh while he was living in London. He had a small studio set up in his house and we used to work on songs and record demos. One of the songs I came up with during this period was “Foolish Fire”, influenced by stories I had read about the Will-’O-The-Wisp. Usually we would work on each other’s ideas, but Foolish Fire turned up fully formed formed and stayed as a solo write for me. However, Errol did do a guitar/vocal demo of the song on his own, which is the version below: Continue reading
I decided to make yesterday a day without the Internet, an #OfflineDay. I thought it would be good to take a break from the online world and it’s many distractions. So, my laptop lid stayed closed and my phone, which I did not power up at all as I would have seen emails and tweets etc popping up on the screen even though this meant no calls or texts, lay silently on the table all day.
Occasionally you might find yourself offline because of circumstances beyond your control, such as when you are without signal or battery power, but it is good to take control yourself sometimes and pro-actively remove the Internet from your day, even when it is easily available. An often forgotten feature of the virtual world is that you can, if you have the willpower, reach for the power button, go off-grid and just ignore it all. There were plenty of things I could and maybe should have been doing online yesterday, but I stuck to my guns and stayed resolutely real world only.
I found that I got several things done, such as sorting through the post, that always seem to get forgotten on an online day. There was more time to do stuff. It was actually quite nice to be uncontactable, apart from the land line phone. It made me realise how many times a day I casually pick up my phone and check the latest posts and emails. That time was reclaimed.
Of course, even though I was not online myself, the Internet still turned up during the day via other people. My father in law turned up and starting showing me YouTube videos of a band he’d seen, the barman at the pub picked up his iPad and found out the date of the first F1 Grand Prix this year when we asked if he knew. The online world was still there, lurking in the corner, buzzing away. However, I was enjoying being apart from it all and, anyway, it will still be there tomorrow.
So, why not give it a go, have an #OfflineDay, a day without the super-connected modern way of life, not because you can’t get online but because you decided not too. Maybe even make it a regular thing. You might like it..
In 2000 I walked off a cruise ship after several months away playing in a resident band, tired, demotivated and more than a little burnt out by years of gigging. I put my keyboards in their flightcases, got into web design, it was the time of the .com boom after all, and didn’t play a note for several years. It felt good to take a break, to go to gigs as an audience member, to not have to do the music thing constantly.
Skip forward to 2004 and I get a call from the drummer Cozy Dixon asking if I’d be interested in doing a UK tour with an Australian Western-Swing style singer. I said yes. It felt like it was the right time to get back on the road. The singer in question was Donna Boyd and we spent several months trekking around the UK and Ireland playing all sorts of venues. Eventually the tour came to an end and Donna stayed in the UK for a while. We used the extra time to do some writing together, something we had been talking about while on the road but never got around to. One of the songs that came out of this was “Why Can’t I Have You?”. Continue reading
It was nearly two years ago that I posted my 10,000th tweet and now I have hit the next milestone of 20,000. Phew.
I can’t see me ever posting so many updates on any other social network, or anything else for that matter, so, to mark the event and in an act of unbridled vanity, I have picked out a few highlights from the past ten thousand tweets:
Guy & girlfriend in bar must have been there all day. He tried to order another drink & fell on his head. Got asked to leave & did.
— Jack Stow (@jackstow) April 19, 2011
When I embarked on the voyage of recording my new album Shadowman I was very fortunate to be able to call on a super-talented group of people to help me out and here they are in all their glory:
It was a visit to a local hostelry with Eric, after going to see his amazing band Partikel in Cambridge, that sowed the seed of the idea of recording Shadowman. I first met Eric a decade ago while we were both playing in bands on a P&O cruise ship, him in the show band, me in a trio. So, although we’d actually been to loads of each other’s gigs, we’d never actually played together. It was time to take action and finally get around to making some music with Eric. The first plan was for a few tracks, but this soon evolved into a whole album when I realised I had quite a few songs written that had never been recorded properly. Shadowman had been in the back of my mind for years, but the meeting with Eric gave it a push into the light.
Eric is one of the finest drummers around with a groove and technique that many would envy as well as being, as they used to say, ‘one of the nicest men in showbusiness’. A true jazz cat, I may never convince him to love, or like, or maybe even tolerate, Bob Dylan et al, but that doesn’t stop me from keeping on trying.. Continue reading