I am lucky to work with people who are prepared to go the extra mile to support my music. Many miles in fact! Jad is an extreme case because I seem to remember him driving up from Exeter to rehearse with us in Poulton then back to do a talk in Bristol the same evening. It was something like that anyway. And just last weekend Matt performed the Steady Triangle, starting from home in Leicester via a rehearsal in Loughborough on Friday evening, to arrive with me for a midnight curry ahead of our day’s recording for #TheBreedingGroundOfVile then leaving around 4pm for his gig with Cruel Sister in the evening….in the snow! At that point my knowledge of his whereabouts is somewhat sketchy. I know he got home to Leicester, but I don’t know on what day, or whether or not he had to bunk down in the pub in Lincoln for the night!
The previous weekend Pete had driven over from Hull. A few weeks before, Kieran, Emma, and Kate had made the trip over from Blackpool for their first of two recording sessions for the album, the second being on the last weekend of April. That will shortly be followed by a final session with The Lewinskies by way of a break from gigging in mid May. They are over here again from Milton, Nova Scotia to present their unique music to the north west of England. So extra miles sometimes become thousands of miles, but every mile that anyone travels to help out is hugely appreciated. Air miles, road miles, every one of them.
Fortified by a breakfast of Taylor’s pork and leek (thin) sausages, eggs, mushrooms, beans and a couple of slices of bread, a couple of fine cups of tea in the company of a spectating spaniel, we arrived at the studio around 10am and were at work within 30 minutes. Four hours and six songs later, combining three of Matt’s instruments, we set off back to mine for even more food before he intrepidly set off over the moors in the snow and ice, bound for the historic city of Lincoln. The results of the recording were amazing, partly because of Matt’s incredible versatility as a musician but also because I could really feel the final pieces of the jigsaw falling into place.
All we need now is to find a way of parachuting Jad in from wherever in the world he may be, to record on five or six tracks and enrich my work with his classical tabla skills. The good news is that this two year project for # TheBreedingGroundOfVile is reaching its conclusion and that the double album will be released online on time in the middle of June. There are always mixed emotions when you reach the end of a project like this. It’s something you live and breathe, and when it’s done you feel a bit like a spare part. I need some space though to focus on developing the live performances – I prefer to do all that myself – but also to rest! I have about 30 unrecorded songs and a number of ideas to chew over for the years to come.
Look out for our gigs in May with The Lewinskies, Duncan Reed, and Sam Jefferson, and ‘book early to avoid disappointment’ (Fred Pontin 1975):