This is the site for music, click here for my blog on other stuff

Sunday 28 November 2010

Who's web is it anyway?

I reckon it's ours. Yours, mine, everyone else's. All equal in the ether.
Hence i've joined the petition to try and ensure the UK keeps it's net-neutrality.

Rich Huxley's site gives you a bit more detail, but basically, click this net neutrality letter link, fill in your details and it will create an e-mail and send it to your MP.

I want the web to there for all of us, not who Sky or BT or Virgin decide they want it to be open to.

Sunday 21 November 2010

Thank you!

Just a quick note to say a massive thank you to everyone who helped out and came down to the album launch. Top night all-round, hope everyone's enjoying the CDs.
Mail orders will be getting sorted this week, as will download options via Bandcamp. We'll probably sort something out on itunes in time but they're more expensive for you, less return for us and lower quality. So i really do recommend the bandcamp alternative.
Anyway, enough sales for this week, i'm knackered.
Thanks again
Drew and Hils

Friday 12 November 2010

1 week to go!

Now then, two-and-a-bit years' work and now we're down to just one week to go. I will confess to being more than a bit excited...

We've got the support acts lined up: Serve Immediately... and Dan Webster,
We've got the venue sorted out, 1331 on Grape Lane in York,
We've got our set-list chosen (it's a secret)
And we've got a fair number of you coming down to make it all happen.

To say thank you for all the support we've had, we'd like to buy you a drink, so if you're going to come down, drop me a line, we'll add you to the guest list, and your first drink is on us!

And for anybody who's not yet had chance to hear us play, you can listen to some tracks from the album on myspace now (full length tracks as well, none of that 30-second-sample rubbish)

Hope to see loads of you there
stay well

Tuesday 9 November 2010


Just to confirm, the launch gig is the 19th of November not December as i had erroneously written in the last post. Thanks for spotting that Daniel!
I blame a knock on the head...

Thursday 4 November 2010

CDs and listening and stuff

Right, well amongst other things, last night i picked up the CDs.
That's about where the good news stops.
The bad news involves having a disagreement with my car about where we were going and coming to a decision that upside down in the ditch was the answer.
That and finding out there's a problem with the CDs.
It's fair to say that i've had better days*.

But, i'll be sorting out the cds in time for the launch. So, date for your diary.
Friday 19th November.
Upstairs in 1331 (Grape Lane in York)
Free entry
We'll be playing, Dr Jones' other band will be playing and we'll be joined by the excellent Dan Webster as well.
CDs (in all their corrected glory) will be available for ten of your english pounds.

For those of you who've pre-ordered and aren't based in York, i'll be getting yours in the post to you once they're sorted and i'll sent you bank details.

In between now and then i will be putting the various tracks up in various places (myspace and bandcamp) so that you can have a listen prior to parting with your hard earned. 

Watch out for a flyer nearer the time (i.e. when i've had time to do it**) that will help persuade you that this really is the best thing to do on friday night.
Stay well

*As, to be fair, has the car.And, unlike the car, i don't have a scratch on me.
** Today i have mostly been speaking to insurance companies and their associates.

Sunday 10 October 2010

Getting there...

yeesh, how long can this take? So, i think i've finished the artwork, i'm just waiting on a couple of answers on some technical queries from the folks at HDC in Bradford, and then, finally, we'll be looking at a week or so for production.
Which brings me to Launch Night!
Well, it would if i'd sorted it out yet.
And here's where you can help, there's a poll in the right frame of this site, because i'm trying to get a booking when as many of you as possible are available, so please click away and let me know which dates are good for you.
Thank you.

On an un-related note, i found this the other day:
Now i don't mind that one of my cds is on e-bay, i don't even mind that it means one of YOU thought it wasn't worth keeping and sold it on.
But really, £3.99 second hand? It's only a penny more brand new! That my friends, is what you call and unacceptable mark up. And in these difficult economic times too, i dunno...

Monday 20 September 2010

Flyer for MWK gig and other stuff

Once again we're following the Ronseal approach...

Above is the flyer for the Michael Weston King gig at the basement next friday, hopefully the subject line gave that away.

You might also be pleased to know that the album is now officially complete, I'm still working on the artwork (and having occasional issues transferring software between computers) but it should be done soon. Launch gig still to sort out though.

Finally, next gig after MWK is back at Verve bar in Leeds on Oct 24th. Usual mix of decent acoustic acts expected, please come down in you're in the area.

Sunday 12 September 2010

Two steps forward...

Well, as of thursday, the album will be complete. Just over two years and lord alone knows how many hours, but on thursday evening i shall be walking out of the studio with the master CD. A few days after that we will have some decent samples (and probably a couple of full length tracks) on Myspace and the website (i'll come back to this in a moment) and the downloads will be available to buy from bandcamp, thesixtyone and itunes (shortly afterwards).
In addition to the downloads, I will be making 100 cds, these will be rather nifty and come with the a full inlay, nice metal case and all the lyrics and the like. They will be £10 each and I am taking pre-orders.
After that we'll be back to download only I'm afraid. Though if there is significant demand we might do another, simpler, run (standard jewel case stuff).
Basically not enough people are buying cds for us to justify making any larger runs. You don't want to see the boxes of unopened EPs we have in storage...
I'm sorry if that means that someone misses out one. I'm investigating a potential solution via cdbaby that might allow us to do basic cds mailed all over the world without needing to take the massive up front hit. I'll let you know how that works out.

We're also working on some t-shirt designs, again, this means heavy upfront investment so let me know if it's something you'd be interested in.

As soon as my replacement graphics card turns up on monday i will be working like the clappers to finish the artwork but i'm thinking about 1 month until i have the cds.

Apologies for any confusion on gigs, bit of mix-up between me and the promoter. I am no longer supporting Andy Write on Nov 2nd. The good news is that you don't have to wait that long...
Next gig is on the 1st October, supporting Michael Weston King, at the City Screen basement. £12 on the door, but just £6 with a flyer (which i haven't produced yet but will follow shortly. See graphics card issue above...)
Should be a good night, here's what the venue says about him:
When Laurel Canyon legend, ex-Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers country rock pioneer Chris Hillman says you’re “as fine a singer-songwriter as Gram Parsons” you know you’re good. In fact, it’s difficult to know where to start with the quality plaudits, “ … an exceptional songwriter” (Word); “ … elegant, subtle performances … wonderful in a way that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up” (Maverick) and so the praise heaps up. Part Nashville balladeer, part alt country hero, Nick Cave meets Rodney Crowell, the ex-Good Sons is mentioned in the same breath as Phil Ochs, Townes Van Zandt and Tim Hardin. High praise indeed, and well deserved. This is a MUST-SEE show, and early ticket purchase is strongly advised!!

The other thing i'm trying to sort out at the moment is a proper launch night for the album, it's balancing the choice of nice, friendly, intimate venue where we like playing vs. trying to get somewhere at a weekend.
Not easy, but in progress.

If you thought all that sounds like things are going fairly nicely then you'd be right. So just to balance things out, here's the hitch:
My website is down. Well, that is, is down, as is my e-mail address of You may think that that's what you're looking at, but if you check the url at the top you'll note some forwarding has happened.
Obviously i'm trying to get these reinstated as soon as possible, but in the meantime, you can get me on and you can get to the website on

So there we are, two steps forward and just the one step back. That's progress right?

Sunday 22 August 2010

New Song up, sort of...

Studio Stew has been having some fun and games with The Winter King (hint, you can guess that's on the album now...) and come up with a new version. It's called Recycled, and it's a bit different.
I haven't got it posted here yet, but you can listen to it on the myspace or on thesixtyone

Monday 16 August 2010

Put your money where your mouth is

I've always been a fan of political cartoons, a few years ago i started reading a few from the other side of the pond as a way of getting a different perspective on events being reported over here.
A couple of years ago i found the cartoons of Matt Bors, unlike a lot of the US political cartoonists he doesn't appear to be particularly partisan (though i think you can say he's definitely liberal) but just enjoys pointing out the sheer ridiculousness of the world political situation.
I like that.
But his cartoon today is a bit special. There's no joke to it.

I hope he doesn't mind me posting it here, because frankly, I admire the man, but i can't find an e-mail address anywhere on his website. I guess he gets a lot of shit from people for some of his cartoons.
Anyway, on this, he ain't shitting about.

Normal music related blogs will follow shortly.

Saturday 31 July 2010

Progress (I know I've said this before!)

Quick update on the album. I have with me now the almost-final mix, i've found two little tweaks but each of them is nothing more than a fifteen minute fix, and then we're back into the studio for a couple of days mastering.
HDC in Bradford are going to do the manufacturing for me and here's how it will work.
There will be 100 cds produced, a few of them are spoken for (Dr Jones, me, a couple of other folks who've played on the tracks), the rest are available on a first-reserved basis. I.e. if you want a cd, leave a comment or drop me a line and i'll put one aside for you. I'm expecting to still have plenty to sell at the launch (aiming for the beginning of october for this to fit round a couple of key holidays (i.e. mine and Hils').
If you do miss out on a cd there will, of course, be downloads available from i-tunes, bandcamp and a few other places. You'll be able to get the full artwork for free from the website here.
Depending on how demand goes i may be producing more cds down the line, but they'll be standard Jewel case fare, rather than what i've got planned for the limited run.
So let me know if you want your name on the cd list...

Monday 5 July 2010

Today has been a good day.

Today we (Studio Stew and I) have done a lot in a surprisingly short time. This means that i am now listening to cd with a draft mix of the entire album.
Yep, it's finally getting there.
And it has double bass on it...

Nearly two years since we started but we have one possible piece of recording to do (it's one of those things that might not work) but, that aside, we're onto mixing and mastering.

Now all i have to do is sort out some gigs, find a manufacturer, create the artwork, sort out a venue for the launch, arrange advertising etc etc etc...

What the hell, today is still a good day.

Thursday 24 June 2010

Not yet dead.

In case you were wondering, i am still alive. Things have been busy and all things music have taken a back seat recently. But things are changing and work on the album has re-started. Bear with me...

Thursday 22 April 2010

Free Download of a little taster track!

Well, Stew and I are still working through the mixing for the album but because you've been waiting for something (anything!) from us for so long (my drafts folder tells me we started in 2008) we thought we'd give you a little taster for free.
Hils and I have been playing a version of Josh Ritter's excellent song Monster Ballads for a couple of years now so we've recorded it and it's free to download.
It won't be on the album but it's been recorded and arranged at the same time so it does give you a good idea of the kind of stuff we've got coming.
But anyway, cut to the chase, you can stream it on myspace here:
Or download it free from thesixtyone here:
and soon we will get it sorted on to the mainsite as well but i'm a bit of a luddite and need a bit of help there.

Oh yes, and while i remember, feel free to stick it on limewire, bittorrent or any other file sharing site you like. Digital Economy act my arse...

Hope you like the song

Thursday 25 March 2010

Of Polls, progress, profits, piracy and portents.

So, the poll closed and the voting public had their say. And very helpful it was too. Half of you said cds, half of you said downloads (approximately). So based on that i am absolutely no further down my decision path. I think i would need a larger sample size but, as i shall come to, it no longer matters.

Progress on the album has leapt forward despite my recent, resurgent cold. We've had Adam in giving the skins a battering, Hils has been back in demonstrating more of her multi-instrumentalist skills and we've also had Mr Chisolm and his banjo joining in the shenanigans.
There's still about half a dozen things left to record and then we're into mixing and mastering; which seems to involve Stew and I getting ever more picky about 64ths of a second until we have to go outside and remind ourselves what the sun looks like. But it's still kind of fun...

Anyway, once we've got the songs finished we've got to decide what to do with them. Or rather, we've decided what to do with them. You see the problem is, people just aren't buying cds any more. Not just my cd i should point out! Even good stuff isn't selling in that format.
And for a tiny label like SOUP they just can't afford the up-front costs of runs of cds and then sitting on the boxes. Basically the profit margin isn't there. And it's not like we can rely on the download sales to offset the initial cost, after the VAT man and Apple have had their chunk there isn't a great deal left.
So sorry to all those folks who were hoping for a cd but unless i can figure out a cheap way of producing a high quality short run, then it's soft copy only from now on.

So why aren't cds selling anymore? Is it because of music piracy? Should we all be rushing out to petition the government to run the digital britain bill through the house as quickly as possible? Should we bollox. It's got bugger all to do with piracy. The buying public has moved on, that's what's happened and we have to move with it. What we should be doing is petitioning our MPs not to sign the digital britain bill because it's a bog-awful piece of knee-jerk, lobbyist-led legislation that cannot be currently implemented and can be abused in the future.
But that's probably a different blog...

And what of our 5th alliteration? Well, i reckon there's two sides to that. Firstly, if musicians can't make money on hard-copy sales and (perversely) there's not enough return on soft-copy sales then you've got to expect gig prices to go up. Or the quality of music to go down i guess, but i doubt it's that straightforward.
But return on investment will have to come from somewhere (and don't give me that "sell t-shirts and signed records" shite; that's for established bands only i'm afraid, otherwise it's just more upfront investment and capital tied up in stock).
Secondly little labels like ours will leave the market, they'll concentrate on areas that will guarantee a living. This, i think, would be a bad thing as it will just further the gap between the major label artists and the bedroom amateurs.

Well, that's tonight's depressing blog. Just remember the good stuff! Album's into the finishing straight now, one day soon we will be finished.
Oh yes, and we're playing at Verve in Leeds on the 15th of april so if you're in the vicinity why not pop in. While it's still free...

Sunday 28 February 2010

Gig Update! Supporting LAU on the 7th

Yep, just when i was despairing of being able to a gig that didn't involve doing my cover of Pokerface those good people at CRS have got me a little stormer. Sunday the 7th Dr Jones and I will be supporting LAU. 2 time Radio 2 Folk Awards winners, 3 dazzling musicians and all round good blokes to boot. If you've not heard them, get them listened to here. But that doesn't do them justice so print off a copy of the flyer (cheap entry!) and get yourselves down to fibbers to hear them in the flesh. Oh yes, and make sure you're there for 8 so you can hear us too!
Stay well

Thursday 18 February 2010

Let the people decide...

In the spirit of democracy, and because i found a new widget on the site, i've added a little poll on the right hand side of the page. Following on from the earlier posts about what to do with the album when it's done, i thought i'd throw open the floor (as it were, not literally though, that would be awkward, and probably inconvenient).
So make your mark and have your say, you're empowered!*

Quick reminder that we're playing the Fox and Hounds in Newmillerdam in Wakefield on Saturday with our label-mates TWO, should be good.
Stay well

* you may be empowered but i still reserve the right to ignore the lot of you!

Thursday 4 February 2010

Tired, very tired

Cracking gig in Melton's Too last night. Thanks to everyone who made it down, and thanks to all the guest musicians. Top night all round.
Despite the curse of two-wheelers and Meltons coming round again. The first time we played there i got knocked off my motorbike the day before and had a nice concussion, this time i fell off my mountain bike and dislocated a finger (fortunately it was on my right hand and i was able to pop it straight back in).
Haven't made any progress on the album yet i'm afraid. Still working on it and still thinking about how we release it, but, in one form or another, release it we will.
I'm also trying to figure out how i can get MP3s up here on the site so i can share some new stuff with you as and when i come up with it. Any techs out there got any ideas?
Just a quick update this time, partly because it still hurts to type, but mostly because i've been too lazy/busy to do anything. Anyway, for those in the north we have a gig with TWO in Wakefield on the 20th but that's all that's on the radar at the moment.
Stay well.

Friday 1 January 2010

Brand New Year, Same Old Problems

So, way back in 2008 (seems a surprisingly long time ago now) I released the Digging for Bones EP, and later on that year started recording a full length album. 2009 turned into a difficult year to keep things going and it wasn't until November that we had another chunk of time in the studio and managed to make some real progress.
I reckon we're about 85% there now, give or take a half percent either way, but the biggest problem still hasn't been addressed.
I refer, of course, to the problem of how to sell the bloody thing when it's finished.
And they do have to be sold. The idea that you can give away your recordings for free and fund them from live shows and merchandise sales is strictly for established bands with massive global fan bases. For the rest of us it just doesn't work like that.
I regularly read Tom McRae's blogs and find myself wondering that if a musician and song-writer of his calibre can't sell enough records then what chance to do the rest of us have?
So, cutting to the crux, i'm trying to decide what to do with the album when it's finished. The most cost-effective option is to release it as a download only. But most of my friends and most of the people who are into my music seem to like the CDs. Unfortunately there aren't enough of them to justify doing a CD run (i'm sitting on, well, let's just say a LOT of boxes of unsold EPs at the moment).
So i'm kind of heading towards the idea of a limited run. 100 CDs, first come, first served. We won't make a penny on a run of that size but at least it'll give the people who really want a hard copy the chance to have one and we shouldn't actually lose money this time.
What do you think?

Oh yeah, and happy new year...