Friday, 11 July 2014

Martyrs, Secret Fires and the C-word

The beginning of 2014 has been a funny sort of fish. An interesting mix of gigs, recordings, putting together a new band and the C word no less. 

With the Tamara andthe Martyrs’ album complete and released at the end of December, it was time to move onto the next project: The Girl with the Secret Fire.  This album is a collection of all the songs I didn't play with the Martyrs, solo and folksy with more of a go-out-and-romantically-drown-in-the-ocean sort of style than our upbeat Martyrs’ dirge .  I started the year by recording some demos with Richard Neuberg of Strawhouse recording studios, and we were on our way. “Griefy but mythical” was the phrase of the day.  We are now in July and making steady progress. The Martyrs’ album took two years so the release date of this album is firmly TBC.

To help me develop these songs I decided to start a new band with Dave Griffiths (of Witches and Francis Pugh and the Whiskey Singers fame) on the double bass and Tommy Longfellow, my very favorite drummer. Stripping everything back like this is more appealing to me now than anything else I feel I've done musically. The double bass and drums have great synergy and compliment my simple guitar playing.  Each instrument has the space to work with the themes of the songs, and playing like this has reminded me that dramatic doesn't always mean loud and heavy.  This is undulating and intense, and I’m totally hooked.

And the C word? Well, what more do you expect from an incredibly pleasant night of poetry and music at the Albion Beatnik on International Women’s day? Not the C word said once, but repetitively, over and over again like a sad old pet being called in for its dinner.  After I’d finished my set, a woman from the audience invited herself on the stage to instruct us all that it was imperative for us to reclaim this word.  It was an interesting point, and one the audience didn't seem entirely adverse too (although some looked horrified as they tried to crawl under the wallpaper), until the woman then emphatically announced her hatred for the word vagina, accusing it of being a dirty word that we should cease to use from this moment on.  And, just when I thought I was going to be enlightened by an intelligent and crafty poem, the disappointment smacked me in the face like a dog being shown a card trick…

…this is why we have (and need) open mics.

Well done though to Tina Senderholm and Anna Hobson for putting on a great night of music and poetry despite the lady-garden related heckling.  This is the beauty of Oxford’s diverse and creative artistic scene, you never know what kind of night you’re going to get.

If you want to hear a little of the new band then come along to the Jericho tonight. We are supporting Rainbow Reservoir’s EP launch and Billy T’rivers are also playing.  We are on at 8.00pm and I promise they’ll be no C-word shenanigans.  Hopefully.