The Strength of Shadows 

I haven’t written a blog post in a while. I haven’t been doing well, and I haven’t been posting all over about it. No anguished Facebook statuses expounding on my less than coping condition…with the exception of last Thursday, when I admitted that I had to take a double dose of duloxetine in order to make it through the day.

In one sense, I am better than ever. Musically, things are happening for me, things that should’ve happened years ago. And, I am grateful for finally being in (somewhat of a) demand and appreciated for this music that IS me. I have a diary full of gigs, and I’ve been asked to play and sing on two different artist’s albums (one of which is a national artist). 

This keeps me busy. This also keeps me tired. Tired, on top of the chronic fatigue and pervasive everyday weariness I experience. Am I glad about my musical opportunities and successes? For certain I am! Does it change my brain chemistry and my worn out body? Certainly not.

It’s hard. My musical partner doesn’t know how I struggle. I hide it from him (thus the afore mentioned double dose so I wouldn’t fall apart in him during rehearsal).

My kids are an added stressor and cause of anxiety. One is facing her own set of health issues (‘gee, thanks, mum, for the lousy genetics’)…and, I feel guilty and frustrated because of that. Fucking bad genes! 

I have to force myself out of bed. I want to hide. Escape. The music is worth it, and I feel free and as close to ‘good’ as I get when I’m doing it. But, the anxiety and exhaustion persists. It waits until I step off the stage and then jumps on me with a vengeance. 

Sometimes, I am the shadow. Without substance. Waiting, longing even, to fade out of existence. Other times, I am all too real, heavy, and the shadow over me makes me heavier yet. 

But, dayum, do I sound awesome!

Reflections on 2016 & Beyond

I suppose many bloggers will be doing posts on a similar theme. My post may just get lost in among the multitude, as my music, similarly, gets lost amongst the glut of music that is out there. But, as I continue to make music, I will also write and share this post.

This year has been marked with an inordinate amount of loss. In addition to the passing of so many celebrities, there have also been very personal losses. An old friend tragically dying in a car crash. One of my best friends taking her own life. A dear friend and one of my favourite musicians moving a world away. These things have defined this year with a lot of pain. 

My continued dissatisfaction with how my music career is received has also been a distressing and irksome characteristic of 2016. 

It hasn’t been all bad. There’s been a lot of bad, but there has been some good happenings this year. Friendships have grown. Love has grown and strengthened. I was prescribed new meds. I met Chris Chambers and, together, we are a formidable musical force. 

As I look towards 2017, I have no rose-coloured delusions. I don’t make resolutions. Ha, that rhymes. But, no. I’m not making it into a line of a song. This year, I tried out vlogging. I don’t know if that will continue; it’s a lot of work – editing the videos – to only have a very few people watch. I’d rather just write. It’s much easier and I don’t have to edit out all my stuttering. Basically, I’ve decided not to bother trying to get people’s attention anymore.  If you want me and what I have to say, YOU can do the effort. I’m tired. 

I’m not going to share my music or ask people to listen to it on Facebook and Twitter anymore. It’s on YouTube.  It’s on Bandcamp. And, I perform live. Come and get it, or don’t.  I’m tired. I’m done.

I will continue on with The Way Out. I will continue writing and recording. I will NOT grumble on social media about people not giving a fuck. I’m tired. I’m done. I’m no longer wasting my breath.

It is what it is and will be what it will be. 2017 will come and contain new sorrows and continued madness and a whole lot of shit. It will surely also have a few bright spots. There will be great performances, brilliant gigs, music shared with people who appreciate it. There will be coffee, meeting with friends, shared special moments. There will be laughter. There will be love. Always love. I’m tired. I’m done. I’m no longer wasting my breath on the ignorant, prejudiced, ageist and tasteless; I will use what precious little energy I have to try to make the most of those bright spots. Fuck everything and everyone else.

NOW HEAR THIS (Music & Musicians you should know) Episode 1

now-hear-this-ep1

Back in October, I presented this idea.  Lots of life stuff has happened since then, and it’s been difficult for me to put something together for even the first post.  But, as there was some actual interest for this – and because I owe it to the musicians themselves – I better crack on. In this episode I will introduce you to three artists that I love.

Now, I know I told you I’d put people in categories, but I really do hate doing that. Categories suck.  I suppose you could stick these three under a sort of indie-folkiness category if you were shoving them in a pigeon hole, but I’d really love if people had more of an open mind and just forget the labels.

I’m going to begin with Tom Kane aka ‘No Man’s Heath’ – a singer/songwriter after my own bruised and broken heart. Tom packages raw personal truth in velvet metaphor, with an intricate, mesmerising guitar style and clean vocals. Every lyric is packed with meaning, every note is breathed through silver.  I challenge you to listen to this artist and not be touched and moved.  Here you will find longing and pain expressed in such a beautiful way, and – if you are at all the type of person like I am, who lives in a half-world of wishes and what-ifs – you will find yourself in Tom’s music.

Next, we have Melanie Page. The word ‘exquisite’ comes to mind when thinking of Melanie and her music. This woman’s artistry upon the classical guitar is a musical feast for the ears, while her lyrics paint very visual pictures. And, her voice! True sopranos are nearly as rare as true contraltos.  Melanie’s voice is a high, sweet, clarion call straight to the heart. Her songs are of love, loss, friendship, longing, hope, frustration and memories – the keepsakes of the heart. Her music is like starlight and thunderstorm, and can be likened to the musical equivalent of a good book that you get totally lost in; Mel’s music has the power to transport you to another realm.

Now, for Les Hayden.  This young man is ridiculously talented. I don’t think there is an instrument that he can’t play, and play well.  And, what I love about his songwriting is that it pulls no punches. This is life as it really is, minus the rose coloured scales and other nonsense people blind themselves with.  His musicianship is, as I say, totally outrageously good. Fellow musicians will appreciate the complexity of Les’s compositions, while everyone can appreciate the truth and power of the songs he writes. I recently got to see Les perform at The Musician (music venue) in Leicester, and knowing I was doing this series, I captured some video for this post (watch the video version of this post to see Les perform). Awesome stuff. Just awesome.

So, there you have it.  Now, GO HEAR IT! And, stay tuned for the next episode of NOW HEAR THIS!

A New Project

First, I want to thank those of you who follow me here on WordPress. I know that many of you here suffer with health issues like I do, and the main reason you follow me is because we have that in common.  I also hope that I have gained fans and followers of my music, so much of which comes straight out of my struggles with my illnesses. First and foremost, I am a musician.  That’s where my heart is and, really, if you don’t want to hear/read me ramble on about my music and why you should listen to it (and support independent artists in general), you pretty much shouldn’t be here (just sayin’ it like it is). So, saying that, I want to go on to say that I really do appreciate my readers, watchers and listeners, and sincerely hope you will stick with me.

**(For those of you who would rather watch and listen to a vlog version of this post, here you go…otherwise, keep reading.)** 

Inspiration has struck for doing a series of posts about obscure/independent/unsigned musicians (other than myself), in an effort to make more people aware of the talent that is out there amongst us lesser knowns.  So, I am beginning ‘Project: Now Hear This (Music & Musicians You Should Know)‘ in order to spotlight the treasures that dwell amongst you.  Because, they are worth knowing about.

Now, in doing this, I know that musical tastes vary immensely.  But, I will try to provide something for everyone…well, for most people, anyway (if you like grunge metal, move on now). Thus, I will have categories for genres, so that if you really aren’t interested in a certain genre, you can skip that one if you must.  However, I encourage you to check out all the artists that I will be sharing over the coming posts; you may surprise yourself by finding you like something in a genre you never could imagine liking.  Hey, it happens all the time.  Music is like that, and so many of my fellow artists cross genre barriers all the time (I do it on purpose).  So, don’t count something or someone out just because you’ve never liked a particular genre before. Try to keep an open mind, and heart!

Now, this is simply an introductory post to whet your appetite for what I plan on sharing as an ongoing series – an advertisement for future posts, as it were (I’ve also written it for myself, in order to solidify the inspiration and importance of doing this) . So, as I say, stay tuned. Watch this space. And, get ready to Now Hear This!

Life, Death & Coffee 

​Some people require a visual. Some are more auditory. Others still prefer the written word. This vlog/blog post has it all.

I actually have a friend who prefers my vlog posts, where I TALK, more than she does listening to what I – and many others feel – is the considerably better use of my voice. 

Personally, despite having a good vocabulary, I find it difficult to verbalise my thoughts and feelings. I am unable to put these things into SPEECH. So, I put them in songs (one uses a different part of the brain when one sings than when one talks… this is the reason why some people who have suffered severe strokes, rendered speechless, can sing just fine…it is also why a stutterer can sing perfectly and clearly) or in visual art which illustrates how I’m feeling.

I find talking overrated. When I’m forced to speak, I do so…but, it’s rarely willingly. And, inevitably, I never end up saying what I really want and need to get across. It’s very frustrating. I don’t stutter badly, but I have elements of the problem. Speech is just hard work.

Of course, the problem with art, in any form, is that once it’s ‘out there’ it’s open to all sorts of interpretation. You see, hear, read and feel it through YOUR filter.

Sigh. It is the human condition. 

But, I continue to try to communicate, for what it’s worth.

 Life is hard. One could say, life is hard as speaking, and life with ANY chronic illness is a prison. Here’s an animation illustrating the daily struggles and dreams thereof:

This next video is a music video… I’m not explaining it. Just watch and listen. 


And, ending on a fun note. One of my grandfather’s favourite jokes was about a guy who needed to pass his school exams, but he was woefully stupid. His teacher, trying to be kind to him, decided to help him out by marking him a passing grade if he could spell just one word correctly. The teacher thought about it and realised that the student was too dumb to even get one word right, so decided to let him pass if he could just get ONE LETTER of one word right. The teacher thought that, surely, even this idiot could at least get one letter in a word correct. So, the teacher said to his student, ‘Spell the word coffee.’ The student replied, ‘K.A.U.P.H.Y.

And, thus, I give you this:


May your coffee be good and may you always be heard.