Chapter One: How do we get to Lovers’ Leap? Take a boat…
Hello. As you may have heard, my second “solo” album, Lovers’ Leap, is nearly ready to release. The plan is to put it out in early December 2019. It’s been years in the making with the input of loads of brilliant artists, musicians, producers and writers and I’m very happy with it – I hope you will like it too.
I know that these days artists are supposed to catalogue their every move by posting photographs on social media saying, “this is me writing a song”, “here we are in the studio”, “here I am having a vegan mocktail”. I have not done this, which you may be thankful for. What little spare time I have I spent focusing on the music; and now we have finally recorded it I can tell you something about it.
So, this is the first of a series of short blogs to paint a picture of how Lovers’ Leap came to light – and hopefully whet your appetite for coming to gigs, buying CDs and checking it out online when it comes out.
This is the point at which most artists tell you to pre-order a CD. I’m not sure how pre-ordering differs from ordering, but drop me a line anyway and I’ll send you a copy as soon as it’s released. Thank you!
My first album, Good Day Mr. Magpie was written in Cambridge, recorded at Stonegate Studios in Yorkshire by Sam Lawrence and released at the end of 2012. On the cover I am walking towards a boat, unaware that my next step in life would be to move onto a boat. My partner, Rose and I had to move to Oxford for work and boating seemed like a good way to meet people.
And it worked. There is a natural interaction with people around you on the canal, with conversations on the towpath about little day to day happenings. It was a wrench to leave our home, friends and fellow musicians in Cambridge, but we soon made great friends and links here in Oxford. Good Day Mr. Magpie got good reviews, which also helped.
We lived on the Oxford Canal for five years, when the songs on Lovers’ Leap were written. We generated electricity from a solar panel and a diesel engine, we got water from a standpipe on the towpath and a stove kept us warm in the winter. There were raves in the glades. We narrowly survived a carbon monoxide leak. It was a serious reality check. There is a much longer story to be told.
By contrast, all the while I was also working as an editor and producer in the field of major sports and entertainment events. My commute involved 15 miles of cycling and 100 miles on a train every day and a lot of ideas for songs came to me while travelling.
The home environment was also conducive to creativity. The Oxford Canal is a hidden corridor through the city where you feel like you are living an alternative lifestyle, with few distractions and nature all around. On a more practical level, not having much electricity lent itself to playing acoustic guitar and writing music. It also meant getting out more, to play in various bands and collectives.
The world was at our door.