Creative Highs


Tuesday nights. Used to be a blank space in the week, but just after New Year's Day I joined a musical circle that has rapidly become a fixture in my life.

This group of disparate musicians and poets meet in a village hall in one of the oldest communities in England. The hall is lit with harsh strip lights, there is no cosy atmosphere - there is nowhere to hide.

The group was set up a dozen years ago by a local man, who has since passed, who wanted to give a forum to anyone with a desire to express themselves, whatever their skill or talent level. And so it is on these amazing and sometimes bizarre evenings.

I am working on a large collection of mainly acoustic songs at present and these evenings give me the perfect opportunity to showcase them. (plus a few Dylan covers I haven't sung in public for half a century...)

With a number of my songs getting heavy airplay on a few of the US indie stations I'm keen to finish the acoustic album before the Summer festival season.

I have whittled forty possibles down to around ten. Titles include: Snake Island Girls, Moses, Blood Moon, Eighteen Shots, Life (You'll Be The Death Of Me) and West Country Boy among others.

I'm experimenting with open tunings and the deep sound of my baritone Alvarez guitar. Plus collaborations here and there with three of my songs about to be covered - Shropshire Lad, Firenze and Splinters & Sparks. I'm about to perform McClean's 'Vincent' with an opera singer and I'll be accompanying my partner Sandra on some of her poetry.

Creative High? That's how it feels. I couldn't be happier with my new set of lyrics and tunes if I tried.

So, on Tuesday nights as we veer between Frank Mansell's Gloucestershire Gleanings, an off the wall version of Jailhouse Rock, a Celtic folk tune on fiddle and my rockist acoustic approach to everything - the highs are creative alright. Fuelled only by tea, crap coffee and packets of biscuits the jolly band created a unique and never repeated set-list of mythical proportion. Where is the venue? Suffice to say that on Tuesday nights it's The Centre Of The Universe...

I'll keep you all posted.


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