Greetings! I am proud and pleased to present my latest album ‘Cosmic Soul’ to you all! The album contains 14 songs (and 4 bonus songs if you buy it from Bandcamp or on CD) based around the theme of love, life and light.
In this blog post which you are now reading i will take you through the songs one-by-one, first off however i’d like to talk to you about the general recording process and stuff like that.
The Recording Process
Usually when i decide it’s time for an album i book a session at my favourite studio (Sound Gallery in Exeter) and we record the songs as live takes, add overdubs if necessary and then mix it allowing me to essentially get it all done in one day, however this time we did things a little differently, which is actually the most common way things are done, by recording parts separately and building songs up.
During the first session in February i went in and i recorded the acoustic parts to a simple rhythm and then added vocals, the first session was just about getting the basics done. I returned to the studio later that week to tinker with the tracks we’d done, re-doing some vocals, editing the drums and such.
By mid-to-late March we had everything pretty much done, all the songs were recorded and had their relevant parts added and i had decided the tracklist and just had to record vocal overdubs and do some slight mixing to get things just right so that i could share with you the songs in their best form.
I am pleased with how this album has turned out, especially as i had no plans to make an album this year, in fact i only went into the studio because of the damage done to the railway system here in Devon, otherwise i would of been off wandering around the UK most likely, although now sunnier days are dawning i can wander with my guitar and share these songs on beaches and in parks throughout the land, maybe i’ll even get a gig or two.
Song By Song, Note By Note
Anyway on we go with the song by song description, etc
Track 1 – Cosmic Blues
Cosmic Blues had been recorded in the studio during late 2013 but it never really fit any past projects of mine and it was also done as a live take. It is hugely inspired by the lesser known Donovan track titled ‘The Light’ which is about reincarnation, although musically this song came about when i was playing along to The Beatles track ‘Yer Blues’, in fact if i ever forget the lyrics to my own song live i can easily drop the words “yes i’m lonely, wanna die…” in, just incase my spectacles and long hair didn’t suggest John Lennon is a big influence of mine.
Cosmic Blues gave the idea for the album, the majority of the tracks deal with life, death and re-birith and even those that don’t have a mildly cosmic link (of sorts, well maybe).
Track 2 – Come To Love
I’d had the idea for this song for a while, it’s a bit heavier and at a faster pace than my usual stuff and for a while it only had ‘filler lyrics’, although the chorus was the same as the chorus was what i came up with first and i had work on the verses after.
I decided on the night before the session it was recorded to re-write the lyrics, the others weren’t that bad but they weren’t about anything but now i had a greater idea of my albums theme i had something to draw inspiration from, although the line “up is down and down is up” makes little sense it is balanced out by my favourite line in the song which is “give out what you need back, let karma take command”.
While song was meant to have a ‘rocky groove’ to it i never envisaged it would be quite so persistant and feature such driving bass and drums, it all makes for a great short folk-rock song though!
Track 3 – Falling Horizons
Something a little different, it’s based around 2 simple riffs played on the acoustic guitar with layers lovingly added afterwards. The songs lyric is based around living in the moment you are in and realising that now is all that matters, if you want a better tomorrow then make today the day you prepare for it.
I have found when i’ve been hanging around various places with my guitar and playing the songs riffs that people seem to really enjoy the tune, it’s a nice feeling to write something that people enjoy. It also has a piano solo, it’s simple but it does the job.
Track 4 – She’s Guided By The Stars
A song written about a friend of mine, someone who enjoys being in the outside world and doesn’t want to be stuck in the dull 9 to 5 routine. The chorus which begins, ‘who wouldn’t love to love her, this girl unlike another’ came about because of the kindness and joy of life within her, it’s always good to be with people who make your day better and give life it’s all.
I wrote the song when staying at Beachside in Hayle, Cornwall in June 2013, it all came pretty quickly and i remember having to get out my iPad and making both an audio and video recording of the song just to be sure that the song wouldn’t escape me, it’s amazing how many songs are written when the mind is free to wonder.
Track 5 – You Bring The Sun Round
Another nice upbeat number as the album rolls along! I remember writing this track in 2011 when listening to the debut album from Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, perhaps his well structured song crafting effected me? because this is a nice catchy tune.
The Harmonica intro kinda reminds me of The Beatles track ‘I Should Of Known Better’ and you know as soon as you hear you’re in for a good catchy song. It’s a song about friendship, about being the bright part in each others day and that feeling you’re both gonna go out and change the world, leaving the boring money driven souls behind.
There isn’t much to say about the recording process, like the track before i sing-along with myself on the chorus to give the track a lift and hopefully it will be a song people listen to to give themselves a lift.
Track 6 – Chasing The Sun Around The World
Chasing The Sun Around The World seems to get great reviews when i trot it out at gigs, i don’t know if it’s the simple shuffling melody or the sense of adventure in the lyrics but it is one i love to play.
It’s been recorded a few times, with and without the choruses but this latest version featuring Double Bass and a nice simple steady Drum really brings it to life. One thing i like to do when playing the song live is to drop the name of the venue/town i am playing into the song where i normally sing “i’ll chase it to St. Ives”, especially if i can think of a good rhyme for the venue/town i’m playing at, i look forward to strumming this one on many beaches and in many parks during the summer months.
Track 7 – Unexplained Mystery
Unexplained Mystery is inspired by the famous Flammarion Engraving which features a man who has found where the sky and land meet, which is probably given away by the last verse “i always wanted to find the hole in the sky”. I remember i was listening to the Donovan album Ritual Groove when i wrote the song and as it comes from my beginnings as a songwriter, it will always have a special place in my heart.
This song is the first on the album not to feature any percussive backing, it features an acoustic guitar with a simple string arrangement in the background and they complement each other nicely i feel.
Track 8 – The Fallen Stars
The Fallen Stars was actually recorded and mixed in late 2013 but it laid forgotten about for a while gathering (digital) dust, i have no idea why but when i was on my way to one of my sessions to work on some songs i found it on my iPod and realised how much i liked it and how it fit the cosmic theme i was using so it found it’s way on the album.
The song is i suppose a fairytale of sorts, it speaks of a time when the stars fall to the earth and lay dead on the land and in the ocean, only to shine when the sun lights them. There is a little touch of sadness to it i guess but in a good way.
Track 9 – Piano #37
Coming in at about 30 seconds i was tempted to stick this on the end of another song rather give it it’s own place on the album. Piano #37 is the first tune i came up with on the piano and it’s nice to include it here as a nice gentle link between the other piano based songs on the album.
Track 10 – Wake Up Your Soul
My first (and really my only) fully composed song on the piano. It was written in 2009 but had very different lyrics and a different title up until the evening before it was recorded. The song was previously titled ‘What Has Time Given Me?’ and was rather downbeat in nature so i decided to see what i could do with it and as i was feeling inspired having re-written ‘Come To Love’ earlier that evening it didn’t take too long to get this track done either.
The song is about making sure your are looking after your soul and that by doing so you will see all the wrongs in the world and desire to make them right. It’s nice to have some piano tracks on the album having been essentially an acoustic artist since i started releasing songs in late 2011.
There is an instrumental version of this track available with the album on Bandcamp and on the CD release as i feel the music sounds nice with and without singing on top, a nice calming tune, hopefully.
Track 11 – Falling Sunrise
The day is coming to an end and we must shut our eyes and sleep. Falling Sunrise features only 2 chords and moves along nice and gently, the organ and the military style drums give it a nice feel too, a calming song to relax the mind.
Track 12 – The Endless Lullaby (Coming Through The Light)
We’re back to songs about reincarnation now, The Endless Lullaby is based around the idea that we are born, we die and that we repeat this pattern, so in essence our souls are sung to sleep each time we die but each time after we pass we come back through the light and step into life once more, an endless cycle, well unless you believe in the soul reaching Nirvana.
As the album progressed you’ll notice after the fairly poppy start things mellow out a bit, in fact after track 6 of the album only 3 feature percussion.
Track 13 – To Be (Tryin’ To Find)
This gentle acoustic number is about the quest we’re all on, to find peace of mind in the modern world, it seems impossible but i assure you it isn’t if you’re willing to put the time and effort in and focus.
Musically this song features a repeating 4 chord pattern and some strings come in about half way to move the song into another mood and the ending (which was played by Duncan Chave, who’s help on the album can’t be understated) is a splendid little piece of music the closes the song nicely, it reminds me of The Waterboys for some reason and i feel good every time i hear it, magic! (just wish i could play that last bit live).
Track 14 – Shine Your Love
Now if you’ve been following my musical career prior to this album then you should know of this song, it was released in January 2014 as an iTunes single and here it acts as the album closer with it’s message of living a life full of love.
Backing vocals are provided by Becky Grinham and Bass by Adam Mayhew, while Duncan Chave added plenty of lovely touches to this track too (and on the album as a whole of course).
I should point out that i am not a member of the Hare Krishna movement/religion but their mantra (which ends ‘Shine Your Love’) is a cool and fun thing to sing and play and it really shifts the song into a nice mood, and maybe one day i’ll join some Hare Krishna folks in a nice bit of chanting one day!
Tracks 15, 16, 17 and 18 on the CD (and Bandcamp release) are exclusive to those releases, the tracks included are all previously unheard
Track 15 – Little World
This is a re-recording of my June 2012 single ‘Little World’ which orginally came from my first Sound Gallery Session so it felt right to trot the song again and i feel you can hear how i’ve developed and the journey i’ve been on since i started using Sound Gallery in June 2012.
Track 16 – Listen To The Gulls Fly
This is the first time this track had been recorded at Sound Gallery, it first featured on my album ‘Nothing Specific’ which was recorded at The Music Mill but i felt it could be improved and this new version certainly creates a more relaxing feel then the previous one.
Track 17 – Wake Up Your Soul [Instrumental]
No much explaining to do about this track, this is the same as Track 10 on the album but minus my vocals, it’s a nice tune which i am proud to have written so i hope you’ll enjoy hearing both versions.
Track 18 – Nature’s Remedy [Demo]
We made this recording when we had 10 minutes spare at the end of the session which saw ‘Shine Your Love’ finally finished! (It took a few sessions to perfect it). I popped into the vocal booth with my 3/4 size Tanglewood Guitar and sang this song and i love the sparse nature of it, i was very tempted to re-record in the manner of which i made the album but i think version holds up on it’s own well.
The only reason it has [Demo] added to it’s name is incase one day i do feel like creating a more produced version.
Spread The Word To The World!
I hope you enjoyed reading about the album, i would be grateful in an eternal way if you could share the album with all whom you know. You’ll be able find the album on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify, Deezer and of course Bandcamp, if you’d like a CD version (which features the 4 bonus tracks) please get hold of me via rossmayhew.co.uk or on my Official Facebook page.
My brother Harry who is behind all the great work at Mayhew06 Photography was of course responsible for all the great artwork for this album and many of my past ones too! One of my other siblings Adam (of Slow Down World) kindly lent his Bass playing and Hand-clapping talents too the track ‘Shine Your Love’ and Exeter based singer/songwriter Becky Grinham also was a big help on that track too, she added Hand-claps and her fabulous vocals!
Thank you for reading and your support of my musical adventure.
Remember to shine your love!