Categories
Song Vault

Hard To Love

 

I’ll hardly ever love you back
Tall, Dark, Indie Rock Song, not ready for commitment
Download    mp3    Chord Sheet    Lyric Sheet

I got words as cruel as snipers
Sharp as falcons slicing air
Waiting just to take you down
The second you get near

Hard to love, hard to love
Hard to love, that’s just the way I am
Hard to love, hard to love
And I’ll hardly ever love you back

I got walls as wide as Jericho
Just try to break em down
You feel so hoarse and footsore
Still you keep on marching round

Hard to love…

I got a head as hard as hatred
So you’d have to drill a hole
For your random acts of kindness
To drip down into my soul

Hard to love, hard to love
Hard to love, that’s just the way I am
Hard to love, hard to love
And I’ll hardly ever love you

Categories
Top 10

My Top 5 Original Songs of 2012


The best of me!

Concentrating on my EP – Let’s Build An Airport this year meant I didn’t write as much as last year, or demo to as high a standard as I’d like, but here’s the 5 tracks I wrote that I’m most proud of this year

1) Fingernails
2) One More Hour With You (Generic Christmas Song)
3) Hard To Love
4) Count Me Out
5) Cheese On Toast

1) Fingernails

Quite pleased to write a simple and effective riff song as a singer-songwriter’s life is usually one long strumathon

2) One More Hour With You (Generic Christmas Song)

My response to a ‘write a Christmas song’ challenge at the most recent meeting of Nottingham’s First Tuesday Songwriting Group.

3) Hard To Love

Anytime I manage to write something short and to the point feels like a win.

4) Count Me Out

Written in Nottingham’s Jam Cafe at the Spaceships Are Cool launch party while waiting for the band to start.

5) Cheese On Toast

A work colleague told me about a disastrous date she had and challenged me to write a song about it. Would like to revisit this demo and add more drums and synths. I wonder if the members of Europe are busy?

Honourable mention

Israel’s Praise (Psalm 22)

Written and recorded for FAWM 2012 over 2 days. Another one of those, “hey you sound a bit like David Bazan songs.

You’ve had the best of me – now take the rest of me!

*Photo by Daniel Whiston

Categories
Deep Vault FAWM

FAWM 2011 Songs

 

FAWM is the February Album Writing Month challenge. Songwriters from all over the world try to write 14 songs in 28 days.

In 2011 I wrote 24 songs and my track Let’s Build An Airport appeared on the best of FAWM compilation 14 Songs In 28 Days Vol 7.2

Eleven Sweets MP3
I Got Lost MP3   LYRIC SHEET
I Lost My Capo
MP3
If You’re Here This Morning
MP3   CHORD SHEET
Let’s Build An Airport
MP3
New Mistakes (co-written with Steven Wesley Guiles)
MP3  LYRIC SHEET
Victoria (co-written with Alfalfa)
MP3
While You Sleep The World Still Turns Without You
MP3
Wood And Stone
MP3   CHORD SHEET   LYRIC SHEET
You You You MP3     LYRIC SHEET

2012 Song here
2011 Kid’s Songs here

Categories
FAWM Song Vault

Israel’s Praise (Psalm 22)

Like us they were tempted to doubt and deny
An Indie Rock Lament
Download  mp3

My God, my God
Why have you forsaken me?
So far from saving me
So far from the sound of my cry
My God, My God
Don’t you hear when I pray to you?
Wasting my breath just to
Call out for help day and night?

And yet…

Our Father’s trusted you, Israel’s Praise
And never regretted the choice that they made
So we will trust in you too
Like us they were tested, like us they were tried
Like us they were tempted to doubt and deny
But still they trusted in you
And we will trust in you too
Israel’s Praise

Categories
FAWM Song Vault

Cheese On Toast


You murdered love with cheese on toast
A soft rock murder ballad. Handle love Caerphilly.
Download mp3    Chords   Lyrics

It ain’t a pizza without bread of some description
It ain’t a pizza if it doesn’t have cheese
And it ain’t a pizza, of course without tomato paste, puree or sauce
And two out of three may be good enough for Meatloaf
But it’s not good enough for me. Can’t you see?

Cheese on toast
What we’re looking at is cheese on toast
And there’s no way to disguise it
With candles on the table and soft rock on the radio
Cheese on toast
Welsh rabbit if you want to boast
Whichever way you slice it
Love’s gone to waste for want of tomato paste
This is such a cheesy evening, our romance is toast

It’s still a pizza if it doesn’t have anchovies
Still makes the grade without some pineapple chunks
But it’s not Italian cuisine without a thin red line between bread and cheese
And I don’t want to fight but slapping own-brand cheddar
On top of some Mother’s Pride just ain’t right

Cheese on toast
What you’re giving me is cheese on toast
And there’s no way you can hide it
With candles on the table and soft rock on the radio
Cheese on toast
Now love has given up the ghost
And there’s no way we can fight it
Love’s gone to waste for want of tomato paste
And I think I should be leaving…

There’s no way to express the pain I feel
Without some blazing guitar
And a gratuitous change of key

GUITAR SOLO

Cheese on toast
You murdered love with cheese on toast
No matter how much you deny it
The proof is on the table, stack the pots while I get my coat
Cheese on toast
Exhibit A is cheese on toast
And any court would try it
There’s no trace of paste. I rest my case
Find another lover to deceive with your cheese
Your cheese on toast

Categories
Deep Vault FAWM

FAWM 2012 Songs

 

FAWM is the February Album Writing Month challenge. Songwriters from all over the world try to write 14 songs in 28 days. In 2012 I wrote and demoed 14 songs.

Bug Bug Buggy Bug  MP3
Cheese On Toast   MP3    CHORDS   LYRICS
Glory   MP3
Happy Valentine’s Day  MP3 CHORDS  LYRICS
I Got The Jungle (Right?) MP3 LYRICS
Israel’s Praise (Psalm 22)  MP3
More Than We Can Carry (co-written with Steven Wesley Guiles)   MP3
Shut It (Cult Of The Diamond Geezer) (co-written with Tom Spademan)   MP3
Space Monkey Mafia Theme Tune (co-written with Tom SpademanMP3
Space Monkey Mafia Theme Tune (Closing Credits) (co-written with Tom SpademanMP3
That Box MP3 LYRICS
Toasters Of Death Incorporated   MP3
Sadie’s Sister (co-written with Stuart Kidd)   MP3
(We Need A) Holiday    MP3    LYRICS

2011 FAWM Songs
2011 FAWM Kid’s Songs Album

Categories
Song Vault

One More Hour With You (A Christmas Song)

This worn out year is almost through
A true life Christmas ballad
Download   mp3

The gifts are wrapped, the tree looks great
Some Yuletide crap on an old mix tape
Let’s light the fire and warm our feet
As our children will themselves to sleep

The scent of pine, the manger scene
A glass of wine, Die Hard on TV
This worn out year is almost through
But can I spend one more hour with you?

Things go unsaid
Life gets in the way
And I forget
What I need to say

It’s five a.m. How can you sleep
Now that our bed has become a trampoline?
And childish hearts they want what’s new
But I just want one more hour with you

I need some tea, you want some toast
I need to pee but what I need the most
Is just the time to show you how
I love you more than ever now
My love is old, my love is true
Let me spend one more hour with you

Categories
Top 10

Top 25 Of Everything Else In 2012

 

Having covered the best Nottingham songs, music releases, books, films and songs by me here’s 25 people, places and things (in no particular order) that have made my life better this year.

1) Sodajerker On Songwriting
2) Boston Legal
3) First Tuesday Songwriting Group
4) LeftLion
5) Brown Betty’s Sloppy Joe
6) WTF with Marc Maron
7) London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony
8) Noisetrade
9) Beastie Boys live video
10) Being named one of the ‘top 100 must follow’ on Twitter
11) Redmen TV
12) Mark Nelson
13) The Hillsborough Independent Panel Report
14) Bear Makes Ninja live
15) Banksy
16) Prof John Wyatt sermon
17) Filmsack
18) Nottingham Music Breakthrough
19) Billy Bragg’s John Peel Lecture
20) Mermaids video
21) Luis Suarez’s celebration
22) Annie’s Burger Shack
23) Nusic
24) Rob’s Record Mart
25) Pistol Allen’s drum fill

1) Sodajerker On Songwriting Podcast

Combining scouse humour and songwriting, consistently getting the best out of the often unsung heroes of songwriting. Start with the Narada Michael Walden, Mike Viola and Allee Willis episodes if you’re new to the show.  www.sodajerker.com

2) Boston Legal TV show

Watched all 5 seasons and didn’t regret a minute. Seasons 3 and 4 are the highpoint. Buy it Boston Legal – Season 1-5 [DVD]

3) First Tuesday Songwriting Group

In March I started a ‘bring and share’ monthly meeting for songwriters in my home and it’s made me write more and write better. And my wife cooks amazing food! If you’re a Notts songwriter why don’t you join us? First Tuesday Songwriting Group Facebook Page

 

4) LeftLion Newspaper

For many years a lone voice in the wilderness preaching the riches of Notts artistic diversity with passion and humour, the UK is finally starting to take note. LeftLion

5) Brown Betty’s Sloppy Joe

The jewel in the crown of this Notts family run hole in the wall deli/restaurant. Props to Mark Graham and the award winning Oli Hrubiak for clueing me in. Brown Bettys

6) WTF with Marc Maron podcast

Marc’s interview with Weird Al was my introduction to his brutal style of comedic self analysis and has had a real effect on me as I seek to be more emotionally honest in my songwriting. Very sweary as you might expect. Listen www.wtfpod.com

7) London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony

It would have been so easy to celebrate all of Britain’s achievements in an upbeat US style ‘we are the world’ way that goes against everything British culture is. So for Danny Boyle to create a mashup of art and industry that made fun of the things we are all so proud of in a self-effacing and seamless (not to mention just plain bonkers) way was the artistic triumph of the year. Buy it London 2012 Olympic Games [DVD]

8) Noisetrade website

The Derek Webbsite has introduced me to so many great artists (Josh Garrels and Fiction Family stand out) and, just as importantly, ensured I didn’t have to spend money on other artists to find out I didn’t like them. noisetrade.com

9) Beastie Boys live in Glasgow 1999

RIP MCA. At least watch the 5 minutes or so starting from 2:30 and appreciate the energy, humour and passion these guys brought to the stage.

10) CD Baby naming me one of the top 100 ‘must follow’ music resources on Twitter

Here. Mainly due to my work on Beatles Songwriting Academy. It was an honour.

11) Redmen TV internet channel

A wellspring of scouse humour and stoic positive support for Liverpool Football Club. So refreshing to hear opinion and commentary from people who understand that we’re called ‘supporters’ for a reason. Watch The Redmen TV and We Are The Redmen

12) Mark Nelson – producer of Let’s Build An Airport

Professionally recording an EP had been a dream of mine for a few years, but Mark actually made it happen, and did a great job of shepherding my rusty brain through the process. Look out of the release on Amazon/iTunes/CD Baby next year. Mark on twitter

13) The Hillsborough Independent Panel Report – Justice For The 96

Growing up in the Thatcher era & having experienced abuse by the police first hand it was an incredible day when we finally heard the present Tory Prime minister apologise for 23 years of lies and coverups over the Hillsborough disaster. As many said, we finally have truth, now for justice. People should go to jail.

14) Bear Makes Ninja live at Stealth vs Rescue Rooms 18 Aug 2012

Only went to see a friend’s band supporting and planned to leave before the headliners. So glad I stayed. Some groups can play, some put on a good show, others have great material. Few can do all three AND boast two great lead vocalists. Bear Makes Ninja

 

15) Banksy

The artist, or artists, know as Banksy not only produce amazing visual modern art across multiple discipline but his/her/their philosophy of art as a subversive act is one of the most well thought out example of how to make things in a post-copyright age. (And yes, I did mean post-copyright). www.banksy.co.uk

16) Prof John Wyatt at Grace Church, Nottingham 18 Mar 2012

More than any other words spoken in church this year (with the possible exception of “Hey Matt do you want to go for a curry?”) Prof Wyatt’s sunday morning sermon recounting how God helped him through a mental breakdown was a ray of light in a year where not a lot of other things made much sense. Download the message here.

17) Filmsack podcast

Having listened to almost all of the 150 episodes of the show that plumbs the depths of (mainly) 80’s (mainly) bad films, I can say it’s still going strong and as hilarious as ever. Without this show I never would have seen Bubba Ho-Tep, They Live, From Dusk Till Dawn & Stripes. (But I don’t necessarily hold that against them). www.filmsack.com

18) Nottingham Music Breakthrough

2012 was the year Nottingham finally got it’s due in the national music scene. While the coverage was perhaps unfairly skewed towards major label signings Jake Bugg, Natalie Duncan and Dog Is Dead, other like Ram1, Shide Boss, THePETEBOX and Ronika were nominated for Mobos, got millions of Youtube views, signed publishing deals, scored international TV adverts, appeared on national soaps and got the attention of top producers.

19) Billy Bragg’s John Peel Lecture

Billy spoke eloquently about his own DIY rise to fame and how the government’s educational policies are pushing the arts out of the state schools ensuring the charts will be dominated by the privileged privately educated. And he bigged up the Nottingham music scene! Download here  Watch here

20) Mermaids – Flight Of The Conchords

How many times can you say the word mermaid and get a laugh?

21) Luis Suarez’s Everton celebration

The context was Everton Manager David Moyes singling Suarez as a cheat and a diver in a pre-match conference. So when Suarez scored this happened…

The fact that Everton’s captain was later booked for diving only made the moment sweeter.

22) Annie’s Burger Shack

Annie moving to the Navigation Inn two doors down from Grace Church is surely God’s way of telling me to eat more gourmet burgers. The most fun you can have in a bun. Annie’s Facebook Page

23) Nusic

Along with the mighty Left Lion no one has done more to promote Notts music that Mark Del and his merry crew. www.nusic.org.uk

24) Rob’s Record Mart

The recent attempt to spruce up Rob’s domain and repaint the whole of Nocturne Alley in preschool friendly colours has fallen on deaf eyeballs and merely resulted in some nicer looking boarded-up shops. But dig into the mountains of vinyl upon vinyl and you might still find a rare Beatles album, a cheap region 1 DVD or the bones of a missing Northern Soul DJ. WordsPictures.

25) Pistol Allen’s drum fill on What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted

Nothing sums up victory over a lifetime of adversity and anonymity like a pensioner hitting the skins in memory of all his fallen colleagues (3:23 on this video). Buy it Standing in the Shadows of Motown

Categories
Top 10

Top 10 Films of 2012

Just back from a screening of The Hobbit – here’s my top 10

1) The Guard
2) Avengers Assemble
3) Hope Springs
4) In The Loop
5) Brick
6) Seven Psychopaths
7) The Hobbit
8) Standing In The Shadows Of Motown
9) Dead Man’s Shoes
10) Koyaanisqatsi

1) The Guard

In Bruges writer/director Martin McDonagh’s brother, writer/director John Michael McDonagh, proves that a genius for dark comedy and a penchant for Brendan Gleeson runs in the family. Stellar performances from Gleeson and child actor Mícheál Óg Lane.

2) Avengers Assemble

Transcended the comic book genre with a gift for humour and characterisation in a large ensemble (Mark Ruffalo and Tom Hiddleston steal the show) that many serious films couldn’t manage.

3) Hope Springs

I watched this in the cinema and found some scenes hard to hear over the sound of collective buttocks clenching. Hilarious, heartbreaking, life (and love) affirming. I’d pay money to watch Tommy Lee Jones paint a fence.

4) In The Loop

Peter Capaldi plays the most gloriously angry man ever portrayed on screen in the sweariest political comedy imaginable.

5) Brick

Rian Johnson’s film-noir/college drama mashup is a love/hate proposition, but to me totally fulfilled it’s promise in a way The Brothers Bloom and Looper never did.

6) Seven Psychopaths

Martin McDonagh put my favourite mentalists Tom Waits, Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken together in a labyrinthine plot and let them try to out crazy each other. A subtle comedy full of graphic violence that would repay repeat views.

7) The Hobbit

Peter Jackson+Tolkien+Weta+Martin Freeman+Andy ‘Mr Mocap’ Serkis should = box office gold. But there were a few worries, so… it’s not isn’t too long, too padded out or too childish. Also (in 24fps 3D) it doesn’t look cheap, too real or too bright. In fact, it looks like ‘tradition’ 3D always does. Dark, motion blurry, and you only notice the 3D when it looks like a children’s pop up book. I’m looking forward to seeing this excellent film in a format that really does it justice. On DVD. A good first film that can legitimately say “I go to my sequels, in whose mighty company I will not now be ashamed”

8) Standing In The Shadows Of Motown

This documentary about the Funk Brothers is a heartbreaking testament to the enduring power of a band that were bigger than The Beatles and yet remained anonymous. I cry every time I hear Pistol Allen’s drum fill on What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted.

9) Dead Man’s Shoes

Nottingham director Shane Meadows, powerful low budget revenge drama with a twist in the tail. Occasionally let down when the improvised skeleton shows through.

10) Koyaanisqatsi

A bewildering collision of sound and music portraying modern life out of balance is and a great way to experience the music of Phillip Glass.

Honourable mentions

Boston Legal (seasons 3 and 4)
Dara Ó Briain Live At The Theatre Royal

and three films that could easy exchange titles and be none the worse

Prometheus
Chronicle
Skyfall

Categories
Top 10

Top 10 Books Of 2012

…that is the ones I READ in 2012…

1) It’s So Easy (And Other Lies) – Duff McKagan
2) Rebel Without a Crew – Robert Rodriguez
3) Soul Survivor – Phillip Yancey
4) Dracula – Bram Stoker
5) Everything I’m Cracked Up to Be – Jen Trynin
6) Fab: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney – Howard Sounes
7) Here, There and Everywhere – Geoff Emerick (with Howard Massey)
8) Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell – Susanna Clarke
9) Reach for the Sky: Story of Douglas Bader – Paul Brickhill
10) The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler

1) It’s So Easy (And Other Lies) – Duff McKagan

Not just a tale of rock and roll debauchery and exploding internal organs, the Guns N’ Roses bassist story is an inspiring journey of redemption and recovery. (Get It’s So Easy (or any other book) from Amazon US).

2) Rebel Without a Crew: Or, How a 23-year-old Film Maker with $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player – Robert Rodriguez

Rodriguez’s inspiring account of how he made a multi-million dollar grossing film while on his summer holiday. Required reading for any independent DIY artist.

3) Soul Survivor – Phillip Yancey

A book for survivors of church abuse morphs into short biographical sketches of inspiring Christians and back again. Worth the journey.

4) Dracula – Bram Stoker

A genuine thriller, and nothing like any film version. Makes Frankenstein look like the Twilight of the 1800’s

5) Everything I’m Cracked Up to Be: A Rock & Roll Fairy Tale – Jen Trynin

The funny and bittersweet true story of someone who got the elusive major label deal and found out just what a poison chalice it can be.

6) Fab: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney – Howard Sounes

Unless you just want to focus solely on the Beatles era this is THE McCartney biography. Accept no substitutes. (Watch my full review here)

7) Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles – Geoff Emerick (with Howard Massey)

A fair minded and balanced eyewitness account of the magic and madness of Abbey Road as seen by Grammy award winning engineer Geoff Emerick.

8) Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell – Susanna Clarke

A beguiling parallel history of England where magic is real but neglected until two very different magicians arise. Imagine if Antonia Fraser wrote Harry Potter.

9) Reach for the Sky: Story of Douglas Bader – Paul Brickhill

The classic biography of the legendary disabled fighter pilot, told in true boys-own style.

10) The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler

Chandler’s crime noir is a tale of bad things happening to bad people, beautifully told.

Honourable mentions

Two books that compliment the films they inspired

Band of Brothers – Stephen E. Ambrose
The Princess Bride – William Goldman

Speaking of films – check out my top 10 films of 2012 tomorrow