Over the last two and a half weeks, I’ve been lucky enough to be out on tour, playing guitar for Texan Singer/Songwriter Ryan Hamilton. The tour was made up of 15 dates, seeing us play all over the country, from Nottingham, London and Blackpool, all the way up to the Orkney Islands!!
The tour was a co-headline affair, along with Warner E. Hodges, legendary guitarist with Jason and the Scorchers and Dan Baird. Warner had a tale to tell lets say! We alternated each night, as to who went on first and, I have to say, I quite enjoyed going on first and laying down a marker for the night.
The idea was that Ryan and Warner would share a band (apart from me – I just played with Ryan) and simplify matters in terms of setting up etc. I thought it worked great and the band were an absolute pleasure to play with. I could feel us getting tighter and tighter as a band, as the tour went on. I have to say though that we sounded pretty great at the first gig in Nottingham!. I loved playing there at the Rescue Rooms, a venue I’ve seen many of my favourite bands at, but never played myself before now.
Highlight of the tour for me was playing at The Cluny in Newcastle. A nice venue with a decent sized stage and a great, packed crowd. I felt I had really hit my stride by that gig. Ryan has a song called “Oh My God” during which we lengthened the middle section, allowing myself and Ben, Ryan’s other guitarist, to cut loose and play an extended solo each. I love doing this sort of thing as improvisation is what I play guitar for. I think my solo at this Newcastle gig, was the best one I played during the tour. Whilst you have a few set piece places to go on the guitar whilst doing this, I loved trying to vary my solo a little bit each night.
Sometimes, when I do these improvisational videos, I can see myself over thinking what I’m going to play. That happened a bit here, where I’m over thinking what to play over the major chord modulation. Still, I got into it in the end!
I write a lot of music. I’m writing songs and riffs all the time. Sometimes, these pieces of music don’t make it through to my band, so I’ve ended up with loads of stuff on my hard drives, just sat there doing nothing.
So, over the various lockdowns, I made a conscious effort to try and finish some of these songs. Now I’ve ended up with several new “solo” songs, which I will be posting over the next few weeks.
Not only did I want to get these songs into a completed state, I NEEDED to do it. Like many of my fellow musicians, the pandemic has been very hard for me mentally. I needed a focus, whilst I couldn’t rehearse, play gigs etc. God knows how I found the time; I suppose I made the time.
So here is “Let Them Go” Even though I’ve sung harmonies and backing vocals for many years, this is my lead vocal debut. I hate hearing myself sing at the best of times, so it has taken some nerve for me to put this out. I usually just hide behind my guitar!!
There are several more tracks to come, and, you never know, I might be able to gig them one day…