Nottingham Sounds

Nottingham’s First Number 1

Jake Bugg debuted at no1 in the UK album charts. There’s a really positive working together vibe in the city at the moment


Dr Who Rocks

Dr Who is really popular with people I teach but unlike most shows they keep changing the flippin’ theme tune! If you want to hear how the music has changed over the 50 or so years check this out…

And here’s a nice rocked up version for you

Best Posts Songwriting Worship Leading

You Need Deadlines (Slight Return)


My recent Ben Folds post got me thinking about how helpful deadlines really are to the songwriter.

Q: Do you sit down to write or do you have to get struck by [inspiration]?

Ben Folds: I have to get struck by the deadline. I always have songs in my head and I always have things that I’m starting but I find finishing it is really tough. Most of my best stuff was finished on a deadline.

Here’s a few other takes on the need to have a finish line. Brenton Brown likens the worship songwriters roles to a pastor who has to preach a sermon every Sunday whether it’s ‘finished’ or not.

Matt Redman … or Paul Baloche’s catalogue of songs don’t just happen. At a certain point, you can make a decision. You can either wait for the songs to come or you can treat these albums almost like a Sunday morning service, as a pastor, where I’m preaching to the church on Sunday. I need to prepare, I need to find bread for the brothers. I need to get the Word of God for them. Once you set up that structure, we’re going to try to record an album once every three years or something. That focus, that target, that deadline whatever you want to call it collates everything, coheres everything. You get more intentional about your songs. And that’s not a bad thing, is it?

Classical composer Rossini relied on deadlines to help him to complete his operas

Nothing primes inspiration more than necessity, whether it be the presence of a copyist waiting for your work or for the prodding of an impresario tearing his hair. In my time, all the impresarios in Italy were bald at thirty. I composed the overture to Othello in a little room in the Barbaja palace wherein the baldest and fiercest of directors had forcibly locked me with a lone plate of spaghetti and the threat that I would not be allowed to leave the room alive until I had written the last note. I wrote the overture to La Gazza Ladra the day of the opening in the theatre itself, where I was imprisoned by the director and under the surveillance of four stagehands who were instructed to throw my original text through the window, page by page, to the copyists waiting below to transcribe it. In default of pages, they were ordered to throw me out the window bodily….

Calvin understood the role of adrenaline as an aid to creativity

Lastly, Douglas Adams perhaps serves as a negative example. I remember as a young HitchHiker’s and Dirk Gently fan feeling the frustration of waiting years for the next novel as Adams tinkered around on the latest Apple product.

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.

Download my free single Let’s Build An Airport

A Blog's Life

New Song: Here At The End Of The World


Hey folks – check out my most recent tune. When my wife suggested I write a cheerful song, but then backtracked and said the words don’t need to be happy, just the tune I ended up with Here At The End Of The World – an apocalyptic love song

Download it here


David Bazan Takes First Bass

I really appreciate the way David Bazan reinterprets some of his older songs here. There’s not many guitarist who would switch to bass

More Bazan stuff here

Nottingham Sounds

The Music Capital Of The UK

After years in the wilderness there seems to be an incredible buzz around the Nottingham music scene. Three artists release their debut albums on major labels this month, Dog Is Dead, Jake Bugg and Natalie Duncan and everyone seems to be jumping on the bandwagon…

Update – my little excursion into photoshop here scored me an invite to the sold out Dog Is Dead launch party!

Check out Natalie’s recent performance on Later with Jools Holland here


Nottingham Sounds Set Lists

Set List: Open Mic @ Lee Rosy’s Tea Shop 5 Oct 2012


First ever open mic at Lee Rosy‘s high class tea joint, hosted by Marc Reeves and headlined by Will Jeffery. I had two lattes and played the following (click on title for free mp3 demo downloads)

Hard To Love (no demo yet – I haven’t really finished it) click on title!
Let’s Build An Airport

I also enjoyed Hannah Heartshape‘s set