As i write this i am currently down in the far reaches of Cornwall in the town of Hayle on the north coast, just around the bay from St. Ives. I realised just before i set off on this holiday that my album ‘Vegan Revolution‘ is coming up to it’s first birthday, although this post won’t go online until after that date has come and gone as i am staying in an internet-less chalet and writing up this post via Linux on my Chromebook, i did set up a Facebook post to announce the one year anniversay which you may have seen, anyway on to the point of the post.
Looking back on the album i can honestly say i am proud of it as a body of work even if my singing wasn’t on top form the day of recording (lets face it i am not a natural singer). The message shines through and when giving the album a re-listen recently i was surprised by some of the songs i had forgotten about, songs such as ‘A Better World‘, ‘If It Was You’, ‘Worldwide Blues (Lies and Truth)‘ and ‘No Kiss Goodbye‘, in fact the last track of those is perhaps the saddest song i have written.
Other songs such as ‘The Vegan Gypsy‘ and ‘Soul Revolution‘ really need to be played more at gigs, the first is kinda my dream and if i can’t sing about my dreams i am a poor artist really and the latter just has a good rhythm without being too preachy, i do sometimes wonder if playing songs from the album live regularly and non-vegan gigs is a good idea, i don’t want to preach to much but at the same time the message needs hearing if the world is to have any hope of moving on, it needs all vegans to play their part.
Coming up soon is the West Midlands Vegan Festival on the 26th of October and as far as i know i will be donning the stage again, for either 20 or 45 minutes (hopefully the latter). Last year when i played the festival it was only my second ever gig and i was a little shy and too focused on not messing up to enjoy it fully but with a bit more gigging experiance under my belt i am really looking forward to singing some songs, getting more into the groove and getting to know some more vegans on the day, maybe even meet a fellow vegan artist (you never know).
I kinda consider this my first decent album, while all works before it will always play a part in my musical journey i felt it was on this album i started to become the artist i am today. That said this album was sort of a second take because in February 2012 i recorded and released an EP titled ‘Talkin’ Vegan Blues’ (which is still available) at The Music Mill, Newton Abbot but i always had a nagging feeling i could of done a better job so with 10 NEW songs written i decided to head into Sound Gallery Studios, Exeter and not only re-record the first 5 from the EP but add the new tracks too and i think it was worth doing.
As i am rambling on about the album i’ll give a quick summary/a bit of info about each track
1. Talkin’ Vegan Blues – the very first vegan themed song i wrote, it was inspired by Lonnie Donegan’s song ‘Talkin’ Guitar Blues’ and as veganism was very much on my mind at that time i decided to have a bash and seeing what i could come up with. It’s also the first track i released to feature harmonica, which on the album (unlike the EP) was done live.
I have never liked singing and playing the guitar without a capo on so i think my voice sounds a little odd on this and the following track because i’m singing differently to usual, nowadays i just use a different an Harmonica in the Key of A instead of G which allows me to use a capo.
2. Daisy’s Children – this song is my rant at the way Cows are treated and used for their milk and flesh. It was written within a day or two of ‘Talkin’ Vegan Blues’ which is the reason for the harmonica featuring here too. The melody reminds me of an old protest song but i can’t remember which one.
3. Vegan Love – a simple call out for all humans to spread more love around the world! The song was inspired musically (sort of) by The Waterboys track ‘Sweet Dancer’ although i doubt anyone will ever notice, often a song will get stuck in my head and due to my lack of musical knowledge i’ll attempt to write something similar but end up with something totally different.
4. The Vegan Road – i like the beat of this track and it’s a fun one to play, although i do often forget the lyrics but i’ll blame that on the fact i rarely get to sing it.
5. Soul Revolution – this track wasn’t written specifically for this album but it was written around the time veganism started to creep more and more into my song writing. It’s another track with a fairly decent groove i feel and the lyric isn’t too preachy but still says enough, it’s one i will be adding to set once i’ve practiced it a little more.
6. A Better World – i imagine i was listening to ‘Sutras’ by Donovan a lot around the time i wrote this as it’s reminiscent of another song i wrote, recorded and released called ‘Resting Eternity‘ from my album ‘Tales From Sunshine Street‘. Like most songs on the album the lyric aims to bring more awareness into to peoples lives.
7. If It Was You – a songs that asks a simple question, “how would you like it if what we as mankind do to animals was done to you?”, need more be said?
8. Worldwide Blues (Lies and Truth) – this track is another non-vegan specific one but it fit the album well and it brings nice change of pace. I remember i was annoyed/disgrutled by a co-worker when writing this for their total lack of willing to look beyond any problem that wasn’t centered around them, so this track is just me having a go at the selfish people in the world.
Hoping this will become a fairly regular track in my sets to come.
9. I Can Do Something – a track that tries to encourage people just to make the smallest changes in their life, after all we can’t all be activists or even all work in vegan friendly jobs (well not yet) but we can all choose how we live our day-to-day life and interact with the world.
I changed how this song was played moments before recording it, reverting to simple chords at top of the next instead of moving my hand up and down like i had planned, was much easier to sing and play when keeping it simple.
10. The Vegan Gypsy – this song that most crystalizes my dream of being a roaming vegan, wandering the land and telling to all the path to a better world. I am proud of the lyrics here, to me it’s almost ‘Talkin’ Vegan Blues’ part II, it nicely sums up my mission and the issues of veganism.
11. Winds Of Freedom – you may have heard the single version of this track and if you have the pace of this recording my surprise you because i decided to sing it in a different key and for some reason that made me speed up.
This track is one of my favourites that i have written, nice a simple melody and lyrics i am pretty darn proud of, it’s a song i tend to play live whenever i can but with it being 6 minutes or so long sometimes i do drop it from sets because it takes such a large chunk up of the 30 minute sets i usually play.
12. Vegan Nation – this at the time of recording was the newest song i wrote, i sat down with my guitar one night and decided to hum as i strummed and this song came pouring out and it is a nice dream to have, a world where all is shared and all are treated well.
13. Echoes Of Life – this track is very much inspired by Donovans ‘Sutras’ album, another non-vegan specific track but it fit the EP well so there was no way i wasn’t including it here too. The lyric just tries to remind people that whatever we do in the world will have an effect, basically a song about karma i suppose.
14. No Kiss Goodbye – as i mentioned earlier in the long-winded blog post i view this as perhaps one of the saddest songs i have written, the almost cheery melody offset against quite an upfront lyric about animal neglect and how many animals die scared and alone everyday.
If i was to change something about it though it would be the line ‘what did it do wrong?’ in the second verse to ‘what did they do wrong?’ but that’s only a little thing really i guess.
15. Free – this track started off life as poem written by my friend Sally for the EP ‘Talkin’ Vegan Blues’ as i had hoped to put that on CD but because that never happened her poem was rarely seen so when planning this i decided to see if i could put any music to her words and came up with the song you can buy and steam now.
I hope this post was interesting somewhere along the line, please have a listen to album even if you aren’t vegan, it has some nice lyrics and melodies even if i do so say so myself and the best review i’ve had of it said i was like a vegan Woody Guthrie and there is no better compliment than that! – Check it out at http://rossmayhew.bandcamp.com/album/vegan-revolution
Thank you for reading and peace be with you!