Full Moon Fever


Hi All
I'm going to be blogging more often. I should have more to say leading up to the release of 'The Water' but i'm afraid it's more to do with some new fancy bit of software that allows me to blog directly on my site, with picture blog and video blog too. It's fair to say that since the doorbell was attached to my front door this is the major communicative development in my life.
I'm up back home in Tobermory on the Isle Of Mull, on the west coast of Scotland, working on something that you'll hear about another time, after The Water comes out, I don't want to confuse the two too much.
Bugger it… you'll hear about it now.
I'm working on recording another album – 2 recorded in one year seems like a good thing – these are more acoustic-based songs. I've wanted to record something more stripped back like this for a while, but thought
that i needed to get the 'proper' album out first, but now i'm doing the unplugged material and loving it. It will come out some time after 'The Water'.
I've been inspired by Rick Rubin's Johnny Cash / 'American Recordings' kind of production. Also the Bonny 'Prince' Billy/Palace Brothers and Martha Wainwright's albums have been getting a spin. And some early Neil Young too.
And Mogwai too, which is not at all unplugged, but i just love it.
For some time I've also wanted to go home to Mull and record – its the place where music started for me – so here i am in the arts centre (which is also a recording studio) in Tobermory on Mull. It's weird to think that I've recorded so many songs here on the island, when i was a kid, that have never been released, but i suppose they were the learning years.
The arts centre is called An Tobar ('The Well' in Gaelic), and is having its 10th anniversary year, which is another reason I'm here.
The building in is the same one where I started my first year at primary school, when i was five years old. In fact the only slab of concrete in the vicinity of the building where i can get a decent mobile phone signal is opposite the old shelter where we used to hang about on breaks, that's if i ever hung about when i was five years old. I think more likely i was homesick for my house, all of 200 yards away. So the studio is also a venue (which has been cleared out for this project) and there's a lovely big piano where the blackboard might have been, and a stage that i've yet to stand on, and a mass of my acoustic guitars where 5 year old's used to pee on the wooden floor (not me, obviously).
The studio has a stunning view over Tobermory bay. The first two nights i've been here a big fat moon has lit up the sky. I think with being back home i've come over all mystic like Brian May (some would say i have the hair too), but the night i arrived here the Harvest Moon dominated above the bay like a big happy face and each night it's been mesmerising. It's a shame that that album title is already taken.
So – my first picture blog will be a photo of the moon. I'll post something up later in the week. There has also been some filming done. So some time after 'The Water' you'll hear/see more of this. But the songs feel great and its so refreshing to have things stripped back and more raw, and be doing it at home! Quite new for me to record in this 'unplugged' way. I seem always to go at break neck speed in the studio, whether it's on Mull or London or wherever……but i realise it's also where i'm happiest, and best. It has been brilliant to have spent so much of this year in studios creating. This has felt like a special trip. Everything has just worked and clicked into place.
Mostly i'm working on new songs which fit this format but i'm also doing acoustic & cello versions of some of the songs on 'The Water' that you'll become much more familiar with when it is launched.
I'm using some great local musicians with celloists and pedal steel players coming on board too. It's been crazy hours, hitting big drums and tinkering on a harmonium that had to be vacuumed, but great fun to be home and creating something. My Gran's cooking is also a big bonus.
I'll post another blog before I leave. Tomorrow I'm off to Calgary Bay on the west coast of the island, on the Atlantic side. It's my favorite place on the island. I'll take some amateur phone photos there too.
I'm having another go at that song. I'll need some waves recorded. And they obviously have to be the real deal, i cant go using BBC sound effects cds.
I hope the sea gods are on my side. I've heard they can be temperamental bastards. I'll let you know how it goes.