Happy New Year! (and update!!)31st December 2013
It’s been a while. I’ve been travelling a bit, writing a lot, singing a lot. I had an amazing gig at the Halesworth Arts Festival which is where we left off in October. Bill Oddie interviewed me about writing the music to BBC Africa in the first half and the 2nd half of the concert was me singing some of my new material with the guitar and at the piano. I was joined by Danny Moss Jnr (double bass – son of Danny Moss the famous saxophonist!) and Gilly Robertson singing harmonies. It was a great evening with a wonderful audience. We also showed some of the more evocative (and amusing!!) clips of Africa that evening – Bill made me laugh a lot as did the audience;).
November arrived and with it new song material and preparation for a trip to Kauai and Los Angeles. The first part of the journey was more of a writing/surfing holiday and I took my new guitarlele with me which as it sounds is a cross between a classical guitar and a ukelele!! It sounds mellow and sings out beautifully – definitely went with the whole vibe of the trip;) I was in the north of the island in Hanalei Bay staying with my friends Erin and Richard – Richard had build this beautiful property with stunning views across the bay – here’s a pic!
So – not too hard to get inspired here! The only other time I came to Kauai I was walking along a quiet country road on the far end of the bay and who should pass by with a cup of coffee and a small bag (containing what I found out later was an oat cookie!) but, Pierce Brosnan!! He lives this end of the bay – an area, this time around I hasten to add, where my surfing buddy Krista and I got cut off because of trees in the road, or flooding or both. Once that happens, you’re trapped there until they clear it!! I wrote a new song here and another in Los Angeles in Laurel Canyon. When we arrived in LA (red eye from Hawaii – not too much fun!!) we went from meeting to meeting. I went to Hans Zimmer’s studios – where I’d written some music when I’d first visited LA, innocent and just beginning my music career – this time his studio was all plush dark red velvets and wood, with a lovely grand piano and technology all around. It had the feeling of a high tech risqué boudoir!
Staying in Laurel Canyon is always a lovely experience – calm, creative inspiring. There amongst the hummingbirds, and pines, the palms and hibiscus many musical masterpieces were penned in days gone by – Joni Mitchell, The Doors,Carole King James Taylor the Byrds, and even the Beatles all stayed or lived here at some point. The Canyon Country Store at the bottom of the hill – still rustic, is a legacy and kind of cultural centre to Laurel Canyon for over a century. Jim Morrison sang about it in “Love Street” Mama Cass Elliot of the Mamas and the Papas lived in the shop’s basement (now a fancy wine cellar) for a while. I can see why this place is a singer/songwriter mecca – it has a kind of stillness….. as though the music written there is still suspended high up in the cool fresh air of the Canyon…..and perhaps it is.;)
It’s been an interesting year, for me a preparatory year, full of promise….. I wish you all a wonderful and fulfilling 2014.