Happy 2020 everyone. Well the truth is, I’ve stopped drinking wine for a little while and it tends to make everything just a tiny bit less jolly. Hey ho!
Still….I don’t want to depress anyone with my problems….
I have a new album ready to come out very soon now –“Americanarama” by Kev Walford. However although it says Kev Walford and I wrote most of the songs, there’s actually a cast of thousands involved, and I feel so lucky all of these talented and awesome musicians helping me to get this thing up and running. The core band on the project is “the usual suspects”- me, KellyBayfield, David Booth doing most of the vocals, instruments, arrangements etc.-because initially when we started work on this project last year, it was Kelly and Me doing our follow-up to the “Walkin” cd from 2018 but that situation changed midway through and now Kelly is doing her own solo album for release later in the year.
That can only be a positive thing though because although I think the 3 of us work really well as a team, Kelly’s now becoming more prolific with her writing and should be allowed the freedom to develop her own style, as she’s too good a talent to just be part of a group and not have her own unique voice. We have been incorporating a few of Kelly’s original songs in our sets over the last few years-so people who have seen us live will understand why she wants to develop this work further. For me though it’s all about the songs, and it always has been, so we’ve tried to make this album that each song is a little different from the one that follows, which should make for a cool listening experience-and although there’s 13 songs on here, which is a lot, it’s ok cos I had a bad case of the "Abbey Roads" during recording (I'm over it now though!) so a couple of these songs are quite short. Also, some of these songs have come from different areas of my life-so some are a few years old, and others are absolutely brand new.
At the end of the day though, if we’re working on a song and all pooling our ideas together until we’re all happy that it works at its best, then that’s how the songs come out, but that doesn’t really mean anyone else is going to like it!!! We just have to use our best judgement and then hope for the best……Over the course of recording these songs I’ve been really fortunate to have awesome musicians get involved, some of whom I already knew, and some of whom are new friends including Jonathan Evans on Cello once again, Honey and The Bear joined us to sing on 1 song, Andy Trill and Mark Stuart on guitars (both brilliant players-but actually very different from each other in their styles and delivery), Ella Spencer and James Hutchinson joined us on a song I’d written specifically for Ella cos I love her voice-she’s quite unique and they make a great sound together, Finn Collinson played alto recorder on 1 song, we had 2 (yes two) harmonica players-Paul Gillings who’s awesome and is currently out there promoting his own solo cd and my old gigging buddy, Adrian Day who also featured on Acoustic Sessions no 1 with Kelly and I. Hope I haven’t missed anyone……..eeek.
Artwork was done by Sam Thurlow with assistance from Tony Bell who took the cover shot and some of the other photos at Suzanna’s Old Schoolhouse in Campsea Ashe.
Anyway, some people like this, and some people find it self-indulgent, but here’s a track by track thingybob:-….and if that’s too boring leave now. Bye.
1: Shining Man. This is my homage to my life in Liverpool that I miss quite a lot, and featuring Jonathan's beautiful cello playing.
We also end the song with a cursory nod to the
Beatles which seemed fitting.
Ella Spencer & James Oz Hutchinson
2: If You Ever Get To Houston. A foot stomping Bluegrass/Country song that I wrote for New Orleans based Drew Young-but he hasn’t heard it yet!! He’d have been singing the lead on this if he’d gotten over here in time. Lead guitar by Mark Stuart.
3: So Long At The Fair. This my attempt at doing a folk song. Nah. Surely not….Tried to write the lyric so it could be a piece that had been written in a previous century. Maestro-Finn Collinson on alto recorder solo-so it definitely sounds like Folk Music. The title comes from some prose from 18th Century and also was the title of a 1951 movie starring John Gregson (!) who???? I know only people over 96 will remember it.
4: Jordan (The Glory Road). Wrote this especially for Kelly’s voice and she’s done the most awesome job on the vocal. Difficult piece-the 1 st verse and chorus are a-capella (no instruments) and that’s a lot for one voice to try and hold attention for-but she does it beautifully….and I suppose in some ways this should really be on Kelly’s own solo cd…but it’s not. Beautiful instrumental work with Paul Gilling’s harmonica and Jonathan’s cello weaving about together.
5: Kathmandu. The return of an old live favourite of mine. We did this with Steamboat Union when we were gigging together a few years back so decided to revisit it. David’s put down a really solid Bass/guitar and drum track and Paul’s back on harmonica. So Kelly and I sing verse 1, Jon and Lucy verse 2, Lucy and Kelly on the middle break, and me and Mr Booth on last verse. Andy Trill’s added some lovely guitar bits underneath it all too.
6: 128 Seconds Of Love. Lasts less than a minute, just me and David acoustic, and harmony whistling. Harmony whistling is awesome-you should try it….who needs to sing when you can whistle. This song’s about being a bad boy-luckily it’s very short…just like me!!
7: Healing Heart. Another song I wrote with Drew Young in mind, but as he wasn’t here I sang it myself with harmonies from Kelly and David and some Country style electric guitar from Mr Mark Stuart.
8: Tennessee Williams. David sings lead on this, and I was definitely aiming for a Finn Brothers thing when I wrote it. Based on a true story centred around an incident from 1956/58 and featuring characters from T.W.’s plays of that era.
9: My, My, My. The original song, I wrote back in 2010 ish and Andy Heasman, Adrian Day and I used to gig it regularly. We’ve changed it now though. David wrote a chorus for it and added some cool electric slide guitar….and it’s almost Rock!! Not quite of course cos it’s me. But very danceable nonetheless.
10: 1100 Miles. This is a rework of a song I did on the Devon Sessions cd from 2013-the arrangement is still inspired by the original arrangement done by my old pal John Clarke, musician extraordinaire and formely of Romford!. Tis a sad song I wrote about a good friend of mine, and interestingly, if you listen to the lyric in the chorus-if I actually tried to drive 1100 Miles from here in any direction my car would end up in the Sea…..We left a gap at the end so Jonathan could make up a cello part to take the song out. Beautiful.
11: Sell My Soul To The Blues. I wrote this recently for Ella Spencer who I met at Maverick Festival last year and just love her voice. I asked her if I wrote a song for her, would she sing it…and she did and her musical partner James is playing guitar also cos he’s just so good. Song’s very different than I first imagined it though, cos we were going to do a slowish jazz/blues track, then David had an idea about making it a little more accessible and doing a “Rumours” type rhythm track. So that’s what we now have.
12: Breakfast at 8 (Fatty Arbuckle’s Blues). Ok well I’ve been working on a Suite of songs, which is a little pretentious of me, but it was to do with Comedian Roscoe Arbuckle (from the Keystone Cops silent movies era) as he had a very sad tale to tell. Anyway it started to get a bit heavy so I just took out this little song from it which is like a Bluegrass Nursery Rhyme. (“They call me Fat boy, and that’s okay- I make a living out of being this way”)….oh, oh…cant really say that kind of thing these days, but that’s how it was for Roscoe I’m afraid.
13: Milk & Roses This is also a very short song- 1 min 20 secs.and was written from the perspective of someone in London in the midst of World War 2, and David is the Brass band on this to try and get the feel of that era…
….and that is it “Americanarama”. It’s not all Americana music but I thought it was when I came up with the title cos that’s where I was headed.
I'll have copies by next week and will be sending off to reviewers and stuff, and should be available for download by end of Feb. Lots o' love Kev x