Workshops And Beer

Ah! Summertime!

I’m all broken up (in a good way). School has finished with a lovely gift from a pupil – this is what you get for teaching kids how to play Bieber/Sheeran.

And a mention in the school leavers assembly from a budding 11 year old comedian

“Why was Matt locked out of the music room?
He left his keys in the piano”

I’m not going to be sipping margaritas on the beach though. I’m going to be chugging them down I’m going to be

  • Giving private lessons
  • Demoing lots of songs
  • Prepping my new EP for release
  • Writing a book on songwriting!
  • And teaching a couple of workshops with my bud Nina Smith. See the ad below

In other news I got featured on author Dave Kusek’s blog in a songwriting roundtable

And Stephen Wordsmith’s album Tintinitus (featuring my co-write A Little Spillage) got a review on Troubadette

Posted in A Blog's Life | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Race To The Top

Stunning MCs like taser shocks, I got a jet pack flow, I’m taking off
A breathless hip hop sprint to the finish line. A collaboration between The Afterdark Movement and Deeper Than Forever ft. Bru-C and Kayfficial

Download      mp3 demo

Behind The Song

All credit to Afterdark’s Bru-C for the concept of trading ever shortening lines with DTF’s Kayfficial. Afterdark sax player Ed Reisner came up with the initial riffs and chord sequence. I suggested stretching out the chord sequence for the bridge to build tension and made a few tweaks here and there. Former pupil Sarah Kerry produced and played live drums and Nina Smith added and arranged backing vocals.

Posted in Behind The Song, Nottingham Sounds | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NEW SONG: Kiss Me Beneath The Mistletoe

Let’s both be bad tonight
A Christmas romance with hidden depths
Download     mp3 demo     Chords (pdf)     Lyrics (pdf)

I grew up on the beautiful wordsmithery of Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter and Irving Berlin as mediated through the golden voice of Ella Fitzgerald, so this kind of thing was bound to come out at some point. Musically it started as something like a victorian hymn but once I hit on the ascending major scale of the chorus I boarded the jazz train and never looked back. In the verses I’m obviously trying to channel Burt Bacharach.

The initial idea, based round the concept of the chorus having a completely different meaning when set up by verse 2, has been hanging around my notebook forever, but it’s only recently that I had the guts (and ability) to turn it into a song. It’s one of the few songs that I’ve written entirely on the piano.

Kiss me beneath the mistletoe
Come press your lips to mine
You’ve been a good girl all year long
Let’s both be bad tonight
Don’t you want to go down this road?
See where a kiss may lead?
Head over heels? Perhaps. Who knows?
Let’s start with a kiss under the mistletoe

The end of a year
I’m drinkin’ and singin’ with people from work
She’s standing so near
Her perfume is drawing me in
Her breath so warm on my skin
She presses close to me whisp’ring…

Kiss me beneath the mistletoe
Come press your lips to mine
I’ve been a good girl all year long
Let’s both be bad tonight
Don’t you want to go down this road?
See where a kiss may lead?
Head over heels? Perhaps. Who knows?
Let’s start with a kiss under the mistletoe

I leave her unkissed
Make some excuse and go home to my wife
My true christmas gift
I find her unwrapping herself
Mistletoe on her belt
She presses close to me whisp’ring…

Kiss me beneath the mistletoe
Come press your lips to mine
I’ve been a good girl all year long
Let’s both be bad tonight
Don’t you want to go down this road?
See where a kiss may lead?
Head over heels? Perhaps. Who knows?
Let’s start with a kiss under the mistletoe

Posted in Behind The Song | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Recommended Guitar Songbook

People sometimes ask me if there’s any guitar books I’d recommend. There’s a lot out there, many poor but I was impressed with the Beginner’s Songbook by Justin Sandercoe (2nd ed) as a readable mixed bag of old and new tunes, laid out in a sensible progression of easy to difficult. I notice Justin has a bunch of other books available too.

www.justinguitar.com

Posted in Homework | Tagged | Leave a comment

NEW SONG: Refugee With An iPhone

Safer to be where the bombs come from than the city on which they’re falling
A short walk in another man’s shoes
Download     mp3 demo     Chords (pdf)     Lyrics (pdf)

I can’t remember who it was (probably just as well) or where it was, but I remember seeing the news reports and someone said to me “if they’re poor refugees, how come they all have iPhones?” I’ve had some contact with refugees so I tried to answer their question. But I think I’ve answered it better here. Verse 3 is true though it’s hard to be totally accurate summing up a life in 8 lines.

Refugee with an iPhone, where are you all coming from?
I’ve a sneaking suspicion you’re pulling some kind of con
Refugee with an iPhone, iPhone that’s newer than mine
Would you jump the queue while I’m stuck here standing in line?

I had a house and a car and a job
Before the secret police, the riots and bombs
But it’s safer to be where the bombs all come from
Than the city on which they are falling
So I gave a man all the money I had
In exchange for a space in the back of a van
And all that I had in a bag on my back
Was my phone and a few bits of clothing

Refugee with an iPhone, where are you all coming from?
I’ve a sneaking suspicion something’s gone horribly wrong
Refugee with an iPhone, they say you have terrorist links
There’s no room on the lifeboats, if we take anymore then we’ll sink

Is it a sign that I’m radicalised
If I don’t want my wife and my daughter to die?
I’ve seen the fear in a little one’s eyes
That her daddy soon will be taken
So I call her now at the end of most days
To tell her I love her, tell her I’m safe
And we both send pictures of our scariest face
And she holds the phone while she’s sleeping

Refugee with an iPhone, exposing uncomfortable truth
We can’t bail out the bankers and afford to look after you too
Cos bankers have friends so high they own the Sun and the Sky
And refugees just like iPhones never take too long to die

In January ’48 Steffie arrived
From the wreckage of Austria to build a new life
Practiced her english late into the night
Reading out loud from the papers
Married a soldier, a practical man
He built a home for them with his own hands
Raised children and chickens and took any job
And one of her children is singing this song

Refugee with an iPhone, how can I deny you the chance,
Deny you the same opportunity my mother had?
Deny you the basic compassion I hope I would find
If the fire that fell on your country was falling on mine
Refugee with an iPhone, a symbol, as two worlds collide
Let’s take a selfie and you can ‘friend’ me if you like…

Here’s another take on the issue from The Independent

Posted in Behind The Song | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment