Blog.....Blog.....Blog.....

SEPTEMBER 

Hi Everyone

September's had quite a bit going on! Earlier in the month we launched our single 'Severn's Hidden Mysteries' collaboration with Anne Cunningham. It was promoted by AVA Live Radio and we hit over 3,000 plays on Spotify, which was very pleasing. We also used the usual Social Media promotion routes - you can see our Facebook  promo vid  here and if you want to add to our Spotify tally, just click on this Spotify Link .

Thank you everyone for your support with this - it's great to get back into some acoustic folk music. The song is about the River Severn, and started life as a photograph taken by Anne and put on Facebook with the heading 'Big sky over Gloucestershire'. I mentioned that it was a good line for a song, and that's how it started, and here's the picture (thanks Anne!).

The rest of the month has been about preparation - I've been pulling together six new and previously unrecorded songs for the next project with Messers Gibbon and Harrington, so that is starting to take shape. Here's a little bit of instrumental from one of the songs, Don't Bother Me, on my Instagram link .

 

Also I'm in the later phases of recording a new single as another collaboration (to be reveled shortly!) and we're hoping for a late November release. It's looking and sounding really promising! In the meantime, enjoy your October!

 

 

AUGUST 

Hope you have all had a good Summer. I've been reflecting in August on my collaborations with other artists. It's amazing how many like-minded independent artists there are around the World, and I'm lucky enough to be working with some of them.

First up is US based  Randy Wayne Belt of Barley Station   - I recently played piano on one of the tracks for the forthcoming Barley Station new album, and a clip of this can be heard on  his Facebook page  , thus proving that a 3000 mile distance in recording studios is no object!    

In a similar vein, a little while back, I recorded some piano tracks for Toronto based Jacqueline Jax at AVA Live Radio , and she is currently working on one of these tracks, Randy Newman's classic 'Feels Like Home to Me' , so here's a short clip of her video .

Many thanks, Randy & Jacqueline, for inviting me to add piano to your work, albeit at a distance! It's really great to be involved with your recordings.

Closer to home we continue to promote the 'Northeast' album, my face-to-face collaboration with my old friends from Northeast England, Franky Gibbon and Al Harrington. I'm writing new material guys, so looking forward to our next venture. In the meantime, I had the opportunity to play a couple of the Northeast songs live at an open-air gig in August as well - see this link here!  It was at a dog rescue centre annual event, hence the yapping - I've never seen so many dogs together in one place!

Last, but by no means least, I've teamed up again with Anne Cunningham (we released the Ridgeway album together less than two short years ago) to release a new single 'Severn's Hidden Mysteries'. I wrote it after Anne posted some glorious pictures of her walks by the River Severn, one of which was titled 'Big sky over Gloucestershire'. I joked at the time it would make a good song, and shortly afterwards the song was born! It's in our classic folk/ballad style and there's a short clip from the lyrics video. The song is about the two faces of the River Severn, its beauty but also it's danger from tidal currents.

It's due for some release publicity in the next few days, and thanks also to Tom Wildy, who played flute, and Ali Davis who, once again, provided a great painting for the cover art. Thank you so much, guys!

So, all in all, a much more varied August than I anticipated, but thanks for all your support and following! I'm looking forward to more news and updates in the Autumn.    

JULY 

Hi Everyone

July has been busy marketing and releasing individual tracks from our 'Northeast' album! We've had tracks played on AVA Live Radio  based in Torronto, Lonely Oak Radio based in LA, and Invisible Folk Club , based in Buckinghamshire and broadcasting on four different UK stations. In addition, Lonely Oak Radio keeps playing earlier tracks I've submitted, so I'm having an ever-growing presence on there with different tracks from different albums. Also, AVA Live Radio has featured our songs a number of times, and if you pop over to the news section of this website, you'll see a link to a feature they did for a US magazine called British Invasion!

As we've been releasing some of the Northeast tracks as singles, I thought I would give a big shoutout to Ali Davis who is a good school friend from our progressive rock days and now, as an artist, very kindly offered to paint a picture not only for the album cover, but also for each track! That's been really useful as we've been able to use them on the single releases and also expand our collaboration into the sphere of art as well as music. Thank you so much Ali, and we feature your great work on this month's picture! Be sure to visit Ali's art site by clicking on her name above, and the link will take you straight there.

Looking to the future, it's a great time to take stock and decide what to do next. So, I've been looking at more tracks for Garmonsway, Gibbon and Harrington to record, but also in September, I'll be releasing a single with Anne Cunningham called Severn's Hidden Mysteries. It's about the two sides of the River Severn, beautiful and dangerous, and was inspired by some photos Anne took on her walks around that area. More of that in September, and again, Ali is involved in some stunning artwork.

Also, I'm hoping for another collaboration with another lady vocalist over the Autumn too, but more of that later. In the meantime I'm just getting on with writing a few more songs and enjoying the Summer - hope you are all doing so too!

June - Introducing Garmonsway, Gibbon & Harrington  

This month is dedicated to launching a new ep, Northeast, which has been made with three good and longstanding friends, all of whom live in the Northeast of England (which is where I was originally from as well). Franky Gibbon and Al Harrington are my musical collaborators. We are also joined by Ali Davis, who has contributed some stunning watercolour paintings, one for each of the five tracks and an album cover painting as well. I'm busy setting up publicity and recently had an interview on AVA Live Radio

The tracks are also being played each day for the next month or so on Lonely Oak Radio

We're really pleased with the album, I wrote all of the songs, but Franky's arrangements and musicianship plus Al's distinctive vocals and Ali's distictive art make it a pleaure to have brought it all together. Needless to say, we are planning a follow-up and some new songs have also been written, together with some interesting older ones that would work well with this approach!

We've done a limited run of cds as well, so if you want to purchase a copy, please send me a message via the site. They're £6 (UK postage included or postage additional if outsde the UK).

EARLY MAY (& THE 50th SONG) 

I did it! My 50 Original songs livestreams were completed with a 6-string Martin acoustic and my mother's trusty Chappell upright piano last week. The 50th song was 'Lady Mary' and there's a clip of that on my Instagram page as well as the whole livestream on Facebook. I'll be putting together a compilation video for Youtube as well over the next couple of weeks, and here's the full setlist.....

Heads up in May/June for our new collaboration ep called 'Northeast' which is in the very final throes of mixing. 'Our' is myself, Franky Gibbon and Al Harrington, both top musical guys from the Northeast of England. All visuals are designed and will be with you shortly - I've also asked one of my Northeast friends Ali Davis to provide original paintings as visuals for all of the songs. Thank you to all who have been working so hard on the project - the whole package looks and sounds great!

What else? Ah, also, I'm working on a new song about the River Severn and have just persuaded a whistle and flute player to join in the recording session in France. The single Lighthouse is doing well and had a play on the Invisible Folk Club show which broadcasts across a number of radio stations in the UK.

APRIL (Interim - New Single Alert) 

Hi All - Pleased to say that my single 'Lighthouse' was released yesterday (19th) and thanks for all of the nice feedback so far - truely appreciated. You can have a listen here, Lighthouse - New Single , and I look forward to updating you on other things as usual at the end of the month. Have a nice Easter. Alan

MARCH 

Hi Everyone.

March has been busy and focused on two specific projects. The first is the continuing livestreams to bring you 50 of my original songs, either on piano or 12-string. I started these at the end of January in France and over the month, came back over to England. Last Saturday saw the sixth livestream and I've now clocked up 44 of my originals. The last in the series (to get me to 50) will be in a couple of weeks, and I still have songs competing to get into the final set! The most recent session featured songs written on my 12-String and can be found here. 

I've also been back to Durham, UK to continue recording an ep with a couple of good friends, Franky Gibbon and Al Harrington - both super-experienced and talented! Our ep is due to be called 'Northeast', with five of my songs. It's amazing how the songs developed in the studio, with everyone involved in adding ideas and suggestions, and we're milking every last emotion and nuance out of them. I've been particularly pleased with how the lyrics have worked with a different vocalist. Also, I've recruited on of my friends of many years standing (all the way back to school!), Alison Davis, to provide artwork as she now spends her time painting great pictures, many of the Northeast of England. But more of that in April and beyond....

There's also a single lurking in the works called 'Lighthouse', so that will find its way to release at some time, depending on how the ep develops. In the meantime, stay well and I look forward to updating you again at the end of the month.

FEBRUARY 

It's been a busy month! I've been focusing on playing Facebook and Instagram livestreams, with all my own original songs played on piano or 12-string. There's been a nice response to this, so the project has grown somewhat and now developed into performing 50 (yes, fifty!) of my originals. So far, I've played 23 in three sessions, so I'm looking forward to four more live sets of about 30 minutes each through March and April to reach my target.

I've trying to find a theme for each set - first was an introduction to my music, second songs about places and most recent, songs about emotions. Next up is 'songs with stories' to be performed early March - look out for details on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The posts stay on Facebook a while, so if you want to catch up, here's the link to the most recent Livestream 

There have been other benefits to the sessions as well. They've helped to re-present and arrange some of the songs, even those written a while ago. Also, one of the new songs I played on the first session, Lighthouse, has emerged as a natural single, so I'll be releasing this as soon as it's ready.

I'm looking forward in March to completing my 'NorthEast' project with my friends in the Durham (UK) area. We are recording five songs including a couple specifically inspired by the North East of England, where I was brought up, so more about that next month. In the meantime, stay safe and see you soon.

January 2019 

Happy New Year everyone! January has been spent planning livestreams on Facebook and Instagram playing a selection of my original songs. The first stream kicked off last weekend with nine tracks on piano or 12-string and here's a link Livestream January 2019

I used PA for vocals and guitar, mainly just to balance out the volume against the piano, whch can overpower everything if you're not careful! However, I think I prefer singing into a mic as it seems to give me a bit more flexibility of expression - I'm not the loudest singer in the world!

 

 

 

 

Livestream preparation.

 

 

The songs were a mix of established and very new ones; some haven't hit the studio yet and some are midway through production for a Spring release. My plans for February are to keep streaming, but aim for 5-7 originals per set. Also, I'm going to 'theme' the songs so I have themes ready for Places, Emotions and Stories. Watch out for ads on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter!

Many thanks for all the feedback on the stream and to those who shared it around. Being part of a bigger community is much appreciated and also, the extra edge of a live stream really helps to focus on getting the best out of the songs, particularly if they are new and eary-stage.

All the best for 2019 and see you in February!

October 

Well, October has raced by and for me musically, it has been very much a month of preparation. I've started work on writing some new songs for a 2019 release, been rehearsing some recent songs ready for a visit to a studio in North East England (where they will receive a very different musical treatment) and also been getting ready for a performance on 26th November at Chesham Folk Club for performing some original songs in a show 'Songs from the Front', which is a commemoration to the centenary of the end of World War 1. This is in conjunction with John Bickley from the Invisible Folk Club, a web radio station that supports independent artists - go to their Facebook page for all the information, and do take a listen. 

Also in October, I have been involved in a great new musical collaboration, mainly playing piano and keys and suggesting songs. I'm really excited about it and hope to be able to tell you more in due course, but it's currently in the promotional planning stage. It's taken up quite a bit of studio time to get the right feel and passion, and look forward to telling you much more about it in the future. 

I've been focusing quite a bit on my Instagram site of late at Instagram.com/Alan_Garmonsway  This is where I often first perform my new song ideas as they are developing and it's great for getting some interactive feedback. Drop by and take a look, you'll be very welcome there.

Blog...Blog...Blog...

DECEMBER AND REFLECTIONS

I thought it would be nice to take stock of this year, seeing as it has come to a close and we start another 'turning of the year'. 2018 saw me start out with a new album Ridgeway in the early stages of marketing, and nothing much else. So, I can happily add the highlights over the course of this year have been...

- a new website (this one!) where I can let you know what's going on and get your feedback,
- releasing two further eps, City Canvas and The Bridge. I've gone for ep's this year as I like to theme a few songs together if I can, but often with a full 12/13 track album, some of the songs often are lost, as promotion activities always seem to focus on one or two songs from an album. Hence ep's for me is the happy medium!
- a big focus on Instagram for me. I quite like the one minute video approach and the spontaneity that can bring as you're writing and  recording songs, so take a look at my page at www.instagram.com/alan_garmonsway . Also, I've started to pick the best of those one-minute sessions for the bestroomsongs YouTube page.
- revisiting some of the Ridgeway songs and also earlier songs commemorating the centenary of World War 1 through podcasts, broadcasts and live performances with colleagues from Invisible Folk Club (they have tons of music and information on Facebook and other social media sites), Anne Cunningham (co-artist on Ridgeway) and others,
- writing about a dozen new songs for further development in 2019, and
-  spending 3 days in a studio near Durham, UK where an ep of 5 of my favourite self-penned songs are being worked on at this pont in time. I'll be heading up there in March to finalise things, but that is sounding like a really nice collaboration and bringing in new ideas to some of my songs.

So, Happy New Year, may it be very successful for you and thanks to you all for your help, assistance, support and taking the time to have a read or listen. It's much appreciated and I'm setting my plans in place for 2019, so I hope you'll all be part of this.

 

NOVEMBER

I had a really busy November! It all started with a week visit to the North East of England to record four of my tracks for the next EP. There's still a way to go but was really pleased to see the old home town and catch up with longstanding friends.

I also performed some of my musical play songs with other friends 300 miles further south in a night called 'Songs From the Front', to commemorate the centenary of the end of World War 1. The photo is from that evening. December looks equally busy - more on that later!