Please check out my new music video for my song Start Again, which includes a fully remixed version of the song:
Interesting facts about this song: It was entirely written and performed by me. The song itself is about that point many of us experience in our lives where either we realise we have been doing things wrong and we realise we need to change; or maybe we look around us and see the mistakes everyone else is making and we have a sudden moment of clarity where it all begins to make sense. The video takes that to a bigger level. I think as a species we are all going through that at the moment - we are becoming acutely aware that we need to look after our home, coz we've only got one chance to blow it.
This remix of the song is also exclusively available for sale at the Love Hope Strength cancer charity website run by ReverbNation - buy it here and help support this important cause.
Please tell me what you think and please, please, please like it / comment it / share it and spread the word!!!!
Thank you :)
It gives me great pleasure to announce my latest single flying high is out on general digital release, in all the usual places - iTunes, GooglePlay, AmazonMP3, Spotify, etc, etc, whichever is your preferred flavour.
Some of you will remember the song appearing in different taster versions and mixes recently, but I finally put the final touches on it in the studio AND made a video for it too, which you can see below:
The single package contains three tracks - the single mix which you can hear in the video above, the first acoustic demo recording from when the song was just freshly written, and an original demo version of the song "Last Bitter Tear".
Flying High is available for download from all major stores, here are a selection of links. They all set their own prices so I've picked out a few here for you to make your own educated choice (prices are for all three tracks):
iTunes US ($2.97) iTunes UK (£1.79) Google Play (£1.29) Big Pond Music US ($4.50) eMusic UK (£1.26) 7digital UK (£1.29) Amazon US ($2.67) Amazon FR (€2.37) Amazon UK (£2.07)
PLEASE SUPPORT INDIE MUSIC - BUY TRACKS YOU LIKE! ;)
Okay so the funniest thing happened last week. I'm on holiday at the moment exploring Russia so not really thinking much about music On Monday we arrived in our second city Kazan, so on Tuesday we went out for a wander without any real expectations of what the city would be like.
I found the city to be a surprisingly exciting place and would thoroughly recommend it to any global travellers looking for a character city that's a bit different from the usual list. The city has recently been spruced up for Universityaid 2013, which is a major sporting event almost as grand as the Olympics, so there's a sense of overhaul reminiscent of Liverpool's recent City of Culture revamp, or Manchester's tweakings for the Commonwealth Games a decade earlier.
Anyway I'm not a travel agent so back to the story... in our wanderings we came across a curious establishment just a block away from the central Metro station at Turkay Square, called the Museum of Soviet Lifestyle. On closer inspection it turns out this place has a dual identity and is also known as the Soviet museum of Rock n' Roll, which has been passionately compiled by owner Rustem to include just about any kind of rock music memorabilia from past visiting rockstars. On display are everything from guitars signed by Rainbow or Garbage to Sting's pants. Its a cool insight into just how connected Russia's youth were to the international Rock music scene during the Soviet years and in the couple of decades since the reforms.
Despite a bit of a language barrier, and with the help of my lovely translator, I made the effort to introduce myself to Rustem and discussed his impressive collection. This struck a chord with the guy and unexpectedly a few minutes later I was invited to play an impromptu live appearance to the small audience gathered at the museum. There was only an amp available for the guitar, so I had to make up for it with some loud singing! Rustem caught the whole thing for posterity on youtube! In fact he only announced he was filming a few seconds before hitting record, so I played the first thing that jumped into my head, which was Angel. Here it is, hope you like it:
Special thanks to Rustem and his staff for such a fun afternoon! I'm in St Petersburg now and hoping to maybe catch Black Rebel Motorcycle Club live on Wendesday night!
As I have previously hinted, I'm putting together a new band with bass player Trevor Tweedy from VLB, the idea being that we will take my existing material out on the road and start to work on new material. We are currently drummerless and rehearsals thus far have been accompanied by my Mac, lol, so Trev arranged a fun Jam with Jason Cordero, drummer from the band St Louis and the Beat Up Mustangs, visiting from Los Angeles; and Melanie Turner, vocalist from the band Lineburner.
The session was booked at Enterprise Studio's in Soho, just off Charing Cross Road. I didn't really know what to expect, I'd met Mel once previously but had never been to the venue before and hadn't met Jason. This was also the first time in a loooong time that I have trekked across London with a guitar on my back, but what a great feeling! It was a glorious day, I had my cool sunnies on and had cued up some relevant listening on the Android phone to get me in the mood for rocking. As I rode the Central Line tube to Tottenham Court Road I wondered how the session would go. We had a fixed booking of three hours, we've never played together, hmmm. I wondered what we could do with three hours at hand. I'd brought my SD camera with me and wondered whether we'd get anything on it. Last time I used rehearsal studios in London we all used our own equipment, it was a logistical nightmare - carting amps, guitars, drums, stands, cymbals, pedals and "stuff" back and forth each time we went - but at least we knew what sound we were going to get. This time I had just packed my Les Paul in a shoulder case and that was it, I brought a guitar lead, oh and my own mic... I get really squeamish at the idea of singing into a "rental mic" used by hundreds of other germ ridden gozzers. So I was a tiny bit apprehensive about whether the equipment at the venue would work for us, having never seen it before.
I continued pondering about these things right up until I got off the tube. Trev had suggested we go ahead and jam some of my tracks and some VLB tracks, and a few of our regular covers, so I tried to pick out a few that were jammable in my head before getting there, thinking time would be of the essence, we needed to make the most of our three hours!
Getting off the Tube was a surprise, my smartass idea of jumping out at Tottenham Court Road station and heading south on Charing Cross Road was slightly scuppered by the road being closed for some major building works, so a little detour was needed to take me where I needed to be! I still ended up getting there well early so I loitered aimlessly until Trev arrived and we headed into the studio. I was surprised to see that we were only a few doors away from the 12 Bar Club - which was the last headlining gig I played in Central London, this gave me a little kudos boost! The studio was everything you'd expect, it had seen better days, the walls were emblazoned with "art" paying homage to past/current regular bands, some of the equipment was a little dilapidated, the toilets were condemned, but everything worked and we were able to set up in minutes. They had a decent stock of refreshments which was very welcome in the heat. Jason and Melanie arrived in good time before our booked slot so we had a good chance to chat and get to know each other while the previous band finished up their session. Trev brought one of his many cool Status basses, Mel brought her own mic too and Jason just brought sticks!
Setting up was nice and easy without having to bring anything, we had a PA for our two mics, guitar and bass amps and Jason had a reasonable kit set up ready to use. We continued getting to know each other while tuning up and discussing what to play. Jason announced that he had listened to quite a few of the tracks off the web which was cool. Even more cool, he announced that he had brought a bottle of Makers Marque Kentucky Bourbon, so we mutually embarked on getting to know that also, which oiled up the jamming fingers nicely!
For the next three hours we just played, Jason is an awesome drummer, he just picked up whatever Trev and I threw at him and just played by feel. Melanie opted to be camerawoman for most of the session, but she did join in singing towards the end, which was great, she has a fantastic voice! Within a couple of tracks we totally gelled as a unit and just got into it! It was such an awesome experience to step into that room with a line up of musicians that had never worked together before and just "click"! The session was a high-energy jam and we were all totally buzzed! Trev as always was on blinding form, churning out some awesome bass riffs. A lot of my own guitar work was improv and I busted three strings in the session, in some clips you can see them hanging off and I'm improving around the gaps. We captured about an hour and a half of footage on camera and I have attempted to edit down some of the highlights into a YouTube friendly ten minute clip. In places some of the instruments get a little buried, which is understandable in such a tiny space, but overall the sound is surprisingly clearer than I expected it would be.
Alas, the session had to end so we wound the evening down with a nice curry and a few bottles of Cobra in a Soho Indian restaurant. Sadly, Jason's visit is short and he is due to return back to California within DAYS of this blog being posted. We are however working on ideas to see if we can get him detained by customs and refused permission to leave. That would be perfect for us as he'd make an ideal choice of drummer to complete our lineup! In all seriousness huge thanks to Trev for organising the jam and to Jason and Mel coming along to take part. Kudos to all, I couldn't imagine a first ever jam between musicians going better than that!
When The DJ Calls Your Name (Allan Dawson)
Turbononsense (Allan Dawson)
Anosognosia (Allan Dawson)
Sweet Child O' Mine (Guns n' Roses)
Rawk Crash & Roll (VLB)
The second track demo preview from the Dangerous At Any Speed album is now ready. This is a previously unannounced track which has jumped ahead of the other tracks being worked on. Please check this out and if you like it "like" it, share it and spread the word. :)
Also being worked on are Flying High, When the DJ Calls Your Name and Music For A Porn Show. Hoping to get a mini 4-track EP together with these tracks in the new year before making a start on the rest of the album.
Will keep you posted. Thanks for all the support! Al :) xx
Exciting news! Just wanted to tell you all my new single Turbononsense is released today on digital formats, with a rare live recording of Little Miss Hookey as the "b side". Please check it out, please buy it and please spread the word!
For those of you who like to jam and fancy a challenge, the tab of Turbononsense can be found here:
(tip, just watch out for the weird tuning!)
Turbononsense - Guitar Tab, on UltimateGuitar.com
Here is the freshly remixed version of Turbononsense, making it sharper and a little shorter for airplay. Still deciding what else to put on the record, but the single b-sides will include the full album version and as much other groovy stuff as the pressing plant will allow.
Enjoy :) Al.
Hi people! It’s been forever since I last blogged, so I have got tons to catch up on. I was emailed recently by my old friend Andy, who is also a musician and songwriter, and he was talking about one of the songs on the Angels album, Beautiful Love Song, which I had totally forgotten he had performed with me at a live show a few years back. It was one of those last minute emergencies where my keyboard player, Steve, was due to go on holiday when we had a “Battle of the Bands” appearance booked.
Wow! I had almost completely forgotten about this moment in time and the memories flooded back about that event. Being a well spirited fellow, Steve kindly agreed to leave his keyboard behind if somebody could be found to play it for the show. In stepped Andy (ordinarily a guitarist) who devoted an entire week of his life to learning the complex piano part of my epic ballad to perfection. He played really well on the night and we got a great response from the crowd. Of course we didn’t win… the winners had loud shirts, stupid dances and were miming to a tape, but ya’know, a B.O.T.B. event it isn’t about winning!
So, having worked at a technical level on that song with Andy in the past, the conversation followed a technical path and I found myself explaining the production process behind the Angels and Alligators albums. As I did so, I realised this would be worth sharing on my blog too, so here it is!
Andy observed that the version of Beautiful Love Song on Angels is noticeably faster than we used to play it. I explained that this is because the whole performance is a live take, piano and vocal. In fact what is interesting about both these albums is that they are entirely live takes. In an ideal world I would have wanted to do two full studio albums, but I found myself coming up against two main problems.
Firstly, I had been trying to put a studio double album project together, with the working title "Start Again", but the time needed and all the changes going on in my life through this time kept pulling me away from it and I ended up with lots of little groups of two or three songs all started at different stages. It was becoming a nightmare to pull it all together and I just didn't have enough time to focus on it. Secondly, the songs that were getting close to finalised in the studio - even though I felt like 'wow, these are the bees knees' in terms of polished production and everything in its right place, the reaction I got from my fans was that my live performances were way more charged with energy. Listening to live snapshots I could see what they meant. You just can't fake the vibe and excitement of a live gig in the studio.
So, I took all that on board and decided on a novel technique to produce the albums in the shortest time possible and capture that live energy. I recorded about a dozen each of live rock- and live unplugged- concerts and cherry picked the best versions of each song encoded straight off the mixing desk stereo mix. I worked hard on making sure the mix was right at the desk before the performances happened, so that basically what got recorded was compressed and equalised at “release quality” and would require minimal work in the studio. So, basically all 24 tracks are exactly as they happened. In the case of Beautiful Love Song, I don't really play the piano that often so it was a bit "in at the deep end" to include that song in the project, but people who had heard me play it live were crazy for it and always requesting it. I listened to a few recent live takes of me playing it, alongside the original demo version, and I felt that the original version was too slow and came across as lacklustre compared with the slightly more upbeat live performances. By contrast, I also had a few live takes of it where the tempo was really dragging and I thought, omg this is like funeral music! So, when I came to record the handful of takes to choose from for the album, I must admit I was just thinking in terms of keeping the song fun, lively and not letting it drag... but apart from that the 1000% concentration on making sure my fingers hit the right notes was harder than my final year exam in rocket science so overall I am amazed I got anything worth putting out from the exercise! I didn't use any form of metronome for any of the unplugged tracks on the Angels album, so they probably wander a bit too... I dunno I haven't checked! hahaha :)
So there you have it! Thanks Andy for inspiring me to put those thoughts into a post!
I have more things to talk about, but its already very late here in England so I think I will sign it off there and chirp up again with more in a day or so.
Hey peeps! Thanks for visiting my blog page.
Finally the new music revolution is here! And so are my songs!!! The Internet came along and started changing music just as I was starting to make in-roads to the music industry, playing the cool indie clubs of London, sharpening my skills as a songwriter and performer, and romancing the old-school record industry.
So, between a few sniffs of interest from the old world and the utopian glow of high-tech promise from the mp3 enhanced new world, I got caught in a dilemma for a little while:- keep pursuing the route to sell my creative soul for a record deal... or ride out the new media revolution and see where the wave carried me?
Against the advice of some respected contacts in the music business, I chose the latter option, to see what exciting doors the Internet could open. For a long while nothing much happened - the ideas where there, the technology was there, the popularity was slowly getting there, but there was something missing - the Internet just didn't have any "social gravity". So for a few years I concentrated on writing instead of promoting, deviated to do more with engineering and production, and generally let life carry me in other directions for a while. But in the last year I have found that "social gravity" online. I am using tools like Twitter, ReverbNation, Myspace, Facebook and my own website to get me connected to fans all over the world.
So, these days I am what is called an "independent" artist - this means I am not really out looking for a record deal or waiting for a limo to pull up outside to take me to the shops. I am more interested in getting a fanbase around my songs because people like what I have to say, or just like my sound. So my fans, you are very important to me! I am excited to get to know you so please feel welcome to comment on things or message me. Also, you are the most important way that I will meet new fans, so please tell your friends about me and help me spread the word.