If you were to write an intro for “When I Sing Our Song” before it played on the radio, what would you want listeners to know about the song?
I wrote this song about a man who visited his wife in a care home. She suffered from dementia and lost all her memories until he sat down at a piano and sung to her songs from when they were courting. She suddenly came alive, knew who he was and sung along, but as soon as the song finished, she quickly sunk back into the dementia hole. It’s a song that shows that music can break down even the hardest barriers and truly make the world a better place, even if just for three minutes!
6 Things You Don’t Know About Me:
1. Somerset, England. Renowned for cheddar cheese and apple cider, and the home of The Great British Bake Off’s Mary Berry. Can you share a favorite recipe that uses local ingredients?
My wife is a wonderful cook, and we pride ourselves on filling our plates with as many local ingredients as possible. Whether that is the countless fruit and veg we grow in our own garden or the locally sourced meat from Kimber’s Farm Shop.
Favourite meal/recipe has to be Christmas dinner, when you can find the turkey amongst the mountain of vegs.
2. Who has been your most influential teacher or mentor?
People come and go but the one constant is my good friend John Lime who has helped me make sense of this crazy industry with endless good advice and guidance.
3. “Keep It Inside.” The song is for those struggling with mental health issues. What was the creative process behind the writing of the song?
We all suffer from the conveyor belt syndrome of continuing on with the suffering and not doing anything about it. I wanted to share an example of what not to do with your mental health struggles. Don’t keep it inside, don’t struggle on alone, talk to somebody and it will start to get easier. If I hadn’t done that I probably wouldn’t be here today.
The creative process behind my songwriting is bizarrely simple, I sit strumming my guitar until I find a catchy rhythm then hum a vocal melody and the words just pop into my head. I honestly don’t know how I do it, but it quickly becomes a story.
4. Which local venues are favorites, like The Hen and Chicken Open Mic?
2020 decimated the local music scene with the economic situation forcing many venues to close forever. Unfortunately, a lot of those remaining struggle to attract customers who can’t afford nights out. It is so hard and business plans need serious creative thinking in order to meet the new challenges.
I find the people make an evening and those I have met at the H&C mean I often return to share new songs and stories to the incredibly welcoming hosts.
5. Performed at Glastonbury Festival. What is your proudest accomplishment as a musician to date?
It has to be when people in the audience come up to me after a show and thank me for sharing my stories as it really connects with them. If I can help others by putting myself out there then that’s job done.
6. What do you like to do in your free time?
Spending time with my family and our wonderful collection of animals on our smallholding.
Can you share 12 songs that have influenced your life and career?
Gave me self-belief when I was a child to just be myself and go for life.
Don’t Go Away, Oasis.
Taught me what a sad song is, even for Oasis. Still makes me cry today and although most people have probably never heard of it or is my favourite Oasis track.
The now hated choice of that awful karaoke performer or cheesy busker. I was taught the chords to this song and used it to teach myself guitar. It is where the journey started for me.
She Said She Said, The Beatles.
Defined an album and for me is an anthem of what music has defined my life. Such a fantastic track.
Dear Prudence, the Beatles.
Highlights the simplicity of story telling. The simple act of trying to talk through a door to a crying girl and provide comfort. Lennon, the Beatles, with a mix of India.
This Is Music, The Verve.
An anthem for any northern Englishman who was born without a silver spoon or tongue!
The Circle, Ocean Colour Scene.
The acoustic version of this song is stunning and gave me the confidence to pursue an acoustic only career when everybody else wanted to be a rocking electric guitar based hero.
Sixteen Days, Whiskeytown.
My introduction to Americana music, an excellent story telling track and my first taste of the genius of Ryan Adams.
Lucky Now, Ryan Adams.
Converted me to the capo 3 club, and defines my songwriting. Without Ryan’s influence I don’t think any of my songs would be what they are today.
Black Horse And The Cherry Tree, KT Tunstall.
Opened my eyes to the possibilities of what one person can create. Absolutely stunning.
Calm After The Storm, The Common Linnets.
Yes it is a Eurovision song but wow, every duet should be this good and I long to write a song and find a partner to emulate such greatness.
When I Sing Our Song.
Ok, so yes, this is my song but it is the one that changed everything and opened so many doors so I had to choose it.