Hello there dear blog reader, i hope the festive season has been good to you. Before we enter 2014 i would to ramble, witter and type about my musical journey in 2013 and then ponder on what 2014 may hold in store.
Lets Start With Gigs
Gigwise things started pretty slowly in 2013, i didn’t play my first gig of the year until March when i performed a 30 minute set at The Croft in Bristol, sadly this venue closed a few months back but i remember fully enjoying getting back out on to a stage even though the crowd was thin and my closing number was performed to one of my brothers and the rather cool sound engineer. After the Croft gig things picked up and the Exeter Picturehouse because something of a regular haunt for me, i played four sets there and had plans for a fifth until a dose of flu left me unable to sing on the night in question.
There were also 2 performances at The Fleece, which is a very well respected Bristol venue and they gave me an eye opener in to the world of more professional gigging where ticket sales are important, i barely sold any but the gigs were enjoyable enough but it’s not a venue i’m desperate to play again, it didn’t feel like i would find my audience there.
On a more positive note there were also two Vegan events played, now these were of course personally very important gigs for me, the first at a meetup of Newton Abbot Vegans and the other at the West Midlands Vegan Festival which i had played the year before, those gigs give me a chance to sing to an audience on my wavelength and the latter was by and far my favourite gig of 2013! Such a positive day!
There was also the discovery of a lovely intimate Open Mic in Kingsteignton called the ‘Acoustic Warehouse’ where not only do i get to hear splendid playing and songs but i have performed many songs that i don’t always find room for in my sets.
It seems Exeter has become my musical home in many ways, during a busy October and November i played many gigs there, you can check out the setlists from all my gigs at rossmayhew.co.uk.
Albums & Songs
2013 was very productive in terms of musical releases, the year started with the release an album that i recorded in October 2012, ‘Tales From Sunshine Street‘ which featured the single ‘Freedom Dances Under The Sun‘ amongst it’s 18 tracks, during the year i had a CD made of this album and it can be found at various outlets around Devon.
On the whole i released 5 albums, 1 ep and 7 singles this year! So hopefully you’ll understand if i don’t take you through each release song-by-song but if you wish to check them out please head to http://rossmayhew.bandcamp.com where you’ll find all my songs online to stream free of charge. There are songs of love, hope, freedom, sadness and life for your souls to connect with, not all my works appear on iTunes (and similar services) because of the cost and my overall lack of a following so by staying in touch with me on social media sites you will be able to keep up to date with my songs and my journey much easier.
Top 10 of 2013!
Actually while i am here i will give you my personal 10 favourites of my own songs released this year and a short reason why i chose each one 🙂
- Winds Of Freedom – it’s a re-recording but i felt i finally got this song sounding as it should.
- Freedom Dances Under The Sun – my first single of the year, i felt this song like the one above holds an important message and it has something a little special.
- Save Me, My Lord! – ok it’s not my happiest song, in fact i was rather down in the dumps when i wrote it but i like the recording and the fact i put something out there with a very honest lyric about my own self-doubt, etc.
- Falling Sunrise – i like the feeling this track gives, it’s a simple 2 chord song with an organ underneath, to me it’s a little hidden gem of sorts.
- Love In Your Own Way – a song that crept in to my set as the gigs went on, it’s a song gentle in spirit that was written in support of someone’s life choice and my own feelings about love and life.
- All Will Become – a track i’ve only played live once but i hope in 2014 to play it more, another of my songs about letting life take it’s natural course. I love the chord changes.
- Sunshine Dreamer – a good groove with an opening harmonica part that took a very deep breath in recording, it’s a fun song to play!
- Ramblin’ Christmas Blues – my song for the festive season, which i love to play, even if i can’t do the sleigh and church bells live.
- Songs Of Freedom – from the album of the same name this recording just sounded right to me and the lyric sums up my dream and view on the world.
- Goodnight To You – the closing track from my album Tales From Sunshine Street and often the closing song to my set, my lullaby, a song i very proud of!
I can confirm there will be two NEW singles released on the 7th of January 2014 on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and the like and i can honestly say at this point these are the only two planned releases for the year as i feel i need to focus on singing my works to the world before i release any more.
The first of my new singles is titled ‘Shine Your Love’ which becomes the first of my songs to feature a second singer, the talented Becky Grinham from Exeter who answered my call for vocal backup on this track, we met in the studio and knocked the song out in an hour, adding Organ, Finger-Cymbal, Percussion and Handclaps over the live take of Vocals, Guitar and Bass.
I did however add more and more to the song, such as Piano, Sitar and Wind Instruments alongside tweaking the mix. The songs message is about spreading love and staying strong when life gets you down and there will be a special release for this single shortly after it’s worldwide digital release but more on that later.
The other new single ‘Step It Up To The Groove’ was a more straight forward recording, i went in the studio with my brother (the Bass player and chief songwriter for Slow Down World) with the rough plan of him seeing what he could do on some of my songs as i wanted to start adding to tracks and the feel of this song suggested a Bass would give it more power and feeling.
As usual we hadn’t really planned anything so the Bass line you hear is what he made up in the studio and while it is a fairly simple groove it really adds to the song and it’s not necessarily i had in mind, it’s far better than that! The songs message is about making the most of the day you have and like ‘Shine Your Love’ it might not be a theme that is new or shocking but the feeling of both singles should hopefully leave the listener in positive mood.
Beyond The Horizon?
My 2 new singles aside as mentioned all i plan on doing in 2014 is spreading my music far and wide, be that in Devon, Bristol, Cornwall or elsewhere. My experience at the West Midlands Vegan Festival showed me there is a warm and receptive audience out there for my work and like minded people, after all as a vegan singer/songwriter i must be focused on spreading a message rather than commercial success, both would be nice of course!
I hope 2014 brings you your dreams (well as long as they love filled ones, no need or place for dreams of hurt and pain).
Thanks For Reading
Well i have run out of things to witter on about, thank you all for your support during 2013, i hope 2014 will see me playing to more people and seeing old friends and making new ones as i journey down the road of life with my guitar in hand.
You’ll be able to be see me perform at The Exeter Picturehouse on the 9th of January and the Real McCoy, Exeter on the 11th of January, i’ll be sure to post more gigs news if and when it arrives via Facebook and Twitter.