Well it’s been a busy October (and early November), 6 gigs, a NEW album and a recording session, not bad going at all for me. In this blog update i’ll give a review of all the gigs, it may well go on a bit but i hope you’ll enjoy the read whatever length this post reaches.
If you’re ready to get some serious reading in the press the ‘more’ button below this and get a-readin’ 🙂
Merlin’s Cave @ Evoultion Cafe, Exeter – Saturday the 5th
The first gig of the month was a lunchtime set at Merlin’s Cave which is located at the back of the Evolution store on Fore Street, Exeter, the store itself embraces love and spirituality, selling books on Meditation, Dreams and the like, while the cafe (which has a vegan selection) hosts music on Saturday afternoons, so for me to play in such a venue was great!
Being located outside at the back of a shop Merlin’s Cave is a cosy venue with 4 benches placed under a canopy where artists perform, the area is nicely decorated and is certainly my type of venue.
Alas i wasn’t in top form this gig, in the flow of a 7 day stretch at work which meant i was up at 4:30am on the day of the gig and then had to travel to Exeter resulted in my voice only being in half-decent shape, the first track was probably the only one i felt i could of done better on however, it’s just never a good idea to do a gig when tired.
The set on the whole i enjoyed, the audience was pretty slim, perhaps due to the Exeter vs Plymouth football game being played at the same time as my set? Either way there were only 4 people (family and staff aside there)
I had hoped Merlin’s Cave would become a semi-regular haunt but from what i gathered from the person who booked me (who wasn’t present due a personal commitment) the staff at the venue ‘weren’t impressed by my act’ and didn’t ‘take a shine to me’, which as you can imagine puts a little dampener on things but you have to take the rough with smooth in the world of music, i don’t quite understand why they seem so reluctant, you’d think having someone sing songs about love, life and freedom in a vegan restaurant/spiritual shop would go down well, maybe i’m not ‘different’ enough or my lack of a ‘clean/pure’ voice was to much for the hipsters to take.
Still my journey will have to go on without them, i’m sure i’ll cope.
Exeter Oxjam, Princesshay Acoustic Stage, Exeter – Saturday the 19th
Oxjam is back! 1 year after my first ever gig at Torquay Oxjam (who didn’t seem to want me this year, i never heard back from them) it was Exeter who offered me the chance to sing my songs at there event this year, something i am very grateful for.
As with my gig at Merlin’s Cave i did work the morning before playing but made sure my schedule building up to the gig was less intense and that helped because despite a bit of sore throat the gig went well, i even gave live debuts to the tracks ‘Gypsy Boy’ and ‘Sunshine Dreamer’.
Playing outside was fun too, seeing people stop and listening even if just for a song was cool and with little shelter in sight amongst sporadic rainfall i was even more grateful to people for stopping to listen. The members of the Oxjam team i met that day were all very nice people and the atmosphere was nothing but positive.
Photographer Jenelle Smith was taking photos during the day and you can view her photos of myself and fellow Oxjam performers via her blog at http://jenellesmithmusic.weebly.com/photography.html
Exeter Picturehouse, Exeter – Thursday the 24th
It was time for my 4th appearance at the Exeter Picturehouse, a venue that is fast becoming something of a regular. I arrived just before 8pm to find it as bustling as ever and grabbed a seat as i waiting until it was time to perform. Oddly i saw no other artists around, normally you can spot someone with a guitar, i always put mine near the performance area when arriving.
Soon the crowd dwindled, i assume a film was close to starting or that some people had popped in for some food before heading home and come 8:40pm or so the stage was mine and bizarrely no other artists had arrived, so i ran through my set as planned, with only a handful of people left in the cafe area.
It’s a laid back setting so i wasn’t the sole focus of the room but one chap toward the back was very generous with his applause, especially after the track ‘Freedom Dances Under The Sun’. I finished my set as planned and had to home as work was due with the dawn and also i had the trip to Wolverhampton ahead, otherwise i would have asked to perform more songs because still other artists hadn’t arrived.
One thing i’ve learned is that when it comes to audience interaction i feel more at ease with a bigger crowd, it seems odd trying to talk about songs or further promote my musics online presence when only a handful of people are present.
Anyway i enjoyed the night and hope i can play there again before the year is out, preferably in December, so i can sing a festive track or two.
West Midlands Vegan Festival, Wolverhampton – Saturday the 26th
Now this is possible where i ramble on for hours, so apologies in advance.
Unlike last years West Midlands Vegan Festival i decided to head up to Wolverhampton the day before and head back the day after, allowing myself to have enough energy and to enjoy the day fully and not have to undergo about 8 hours of travelling.
Anyway the time spent in Wolverhampton on the Friday was uneventful so no real need to mention that so i will move onto the day of the festival. I got the Civic Hall at 7:45am briefly said ‘Hello’ to Kevin White who is the main man behind the festival and then went inside to see what was going on, as it turns out not much, i went to the bar where music would be performed and helped Rob Jackson set up where i could then when my friends Sally and Amy arrived i gave them some copies of my CD to give-away on their stall which focuses on the links between veganism to other issues in society like sexism and racism, check out their Facebook page! – http://www.facebook.com/equalityinaction
Before i had the pleasure of playing some songs i did some volunteering and my first task was between 9:30am and 1pm and involved me hitting the streets of Wolverhampton with some leaflets and FREE food samples to entice the public in the direction of the Civic Hall. There was a Samba Band also present and they marched to and from the venue and for a while myself and fellow volunteer Abby (with whom i spent a large part of the day with) stayed with them but we also set off on our own little adventures, despite neither of us knowing the area well we wondered pretty freely and got some positive feedback from the people we met and also there were no rude people either, well not that i recall.
Come 1pm i headed inside to see how my friends Sally and Amy were doing with their stall ‘Equality In Action’, Amy in fact was helping to organize the volunteers during the day so when needed i would step in briefly at the stall to allow Sally to take little breaks, was nice to be able help them out, felt like i was really getting involved in the festival this year!
But now we get to the main event, singing some songs! Without a doubt this was the most welcoming crowd i have performed for, they got what i was about and i felt very comfortable on stage singing my songs and i don’t think i made any mistakes either such was my level of calmness, i saw people listening and focussing on what i was singing and that gave me a great buzz.
After i completed my set it became my job to tidy up the bar where music was being sung as meals were being eaten their also, how quickly life changes! Moments earlier on stage and now a cleaner but that is what is great about a vegan festival, everyone chips in on various levels.
It was during my cleaning role that i got the chance to chat to fellow volunteers, it’s always great to make new vegan friends and i got an added reason to be pleased with the day when 2 girls who i’d seen listening to me sing came up to me and asked at which stall they could get my CDs from, so after badly giving directions i took them there and they were kind enough to donate money so they even got a badge from the stall too, i hope they enjoyed their CDs, i think in total 9 out of 14 were taken, which isn’t bad at all! Thanks to all who took one!
It was in many ways a day i didn’t want to end, such a positive feeling and after the festival those of us that could went to a pub and had a good chat, it gave me time to get to know some more people and also chat to my friend Sally, who was a big help in my going vegan in April 2011 and someone i will always have time for but soon it was time to part and when a good day comes to a close it is a melancholy experience, part of me was thrilled to have such an amazing day and the other sad it ended but there will be more!
After the festival i made a quickly compiled video for my song ‘No Kiss Goodbye’ where i used some footage of mistreated animals as a backdrop as the track plays, it’s simple and to the point and you can watch it here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSnQ_GmX504
Think positive, act positive and make a positive change to your life and everyone else’s! 🙂
The Bowling Green, Exeter – Tuesday the 29th
Despite the coming of a storm that almost threatened a smooth journey back from Wolverhampton over Sunday and Monday it was time to carry on the musical adventures at the Bowling Green Pub in Exeter, thankfully the foretold storm didn’t strike with much force in Devon so rail usage was pretty much as it was.
When making my way from Exeter St. Davids station to the pub, which is about a 30 minute walk, there was a busker singing ‘Catch The Wind’ by Donovan, naturally i stayed until the performance was over then offered my applause and carried on, i was tempted to take out my guitar and suggest a busking duet but with time short it was time to press on.
I arrived at the pub and said ‘Hello’ to Tony, the promoter who had kindly booked me to play, a very friendly and kind man, not only was a give a drink on the house but also he covered my train fare, i actually ended the night in profit, is this usual for a musician? I am grateful for his kindness and support of the musical lifestyle.
Prior to my performing was a 16 year old girl called Holly, she had a nice voice and played guitar well, certainly a step up from some young singer/songwriters i had seen, she also played a few of her own songs, nice to see people writing so young.
My set was 40 minutes long and i sang 13 tracks, the audience was always changing in amount and the majority of them seemed like they were their after taking part in a local football match but i never felt unwelcome and finished shortly before 10pm where i then had to leave to make the train home.
Will i play the Bowling Green again? Who knows but it’s nice to have played another venue!
You may have noticed my blog post a few days prior to this one where i announced a new album containing songs that were hanging around my archive from various studios sessions over the last 16 months, well now you can listen to them as i decided i didn’t want them to waste away any longer, you can stream them for free (or download them for just £2) here – http://rossmayhew.bandcamp.com/album/homeless-songs
The Real McCoy, Exeter – Saturday the 2nd
Well despite almost not making this gig due to a delayed train, i hate to be late for anything, i made it to the Real McCoy Cafe in Exeter with a good 15/20 minutes to spare before i was due to play, it’s a venue i’ve never really checked out before, which is odd as it is right next to Manson’s Guitar Shop where i have spent many a penny and many an hour.
Upon arrival i introduced myself to the staff who were very friendly, the cafe/shop has a nice vibe to it, very relaxed, which is what i like. I played my set sitting on a stool which felt kinda cool, chairs often feel a bit too low unless i am recording or doing a more intimate gig and i generally prefer to stand but it was nice to sit and play comfortably for once.
My set list for all these gigs has been pretty same-y as between working and gigging i don’t find a lot of time to practise other tracks to the point where they will stick in my brain i did however give gigging debuts to the track ‘Come With Me’ and only the second every live playing of ‘Echoes Of Life’ too.
During ‘And I Sang’ which is becoming a favourite to play live a chap decided to come up to me and ask “if anyone can play here?”, so i had to stop singing (but i kept on playing) to answer him, i didn’t find the tone of his question rude, i think he was either keen to play himself, or was perhaps asking for a friend, maybe he could of waited until i was between songs though but it was all good.
It was an interesting experience singing unplugged because i know i have a quiet voice and with people milling about and it being a fairly open area i wondered how well i was being heard but i was reassured after i was perfectly audible and was even given a thumbs up afterwards from one guy so it was as it felt a good gig!
There are currently only 2 more live appearances planned this year, both at the Young Devon Music Project where i volunteer which is called Infusion Music, i’ll be singing songs on the 10th and 30th of November, the latter is part of a big final gig to celebrate the end of a fabulous project where i met some cool new people and learned some new skills too.
As usual i will announce gigs on Facebook, Twitter and the like as soon as they are confirmed, so stay tuned!
You may remember way back at the beginning of this post i mentioned a recording session, well it was fruitful and i can confirm i will be putting a Christmas single onto iTunes (and all those other digital places) on the 11th of November! So stay tuned for news on that!
Cheers for reading! and Thank You to all who came to see me sing over the course of the last 4 weeks!
Wishes of Peace ‘n’ Love to you and all who you know and care for!