I got my first acoustic guitar in my twenties, got shown a few chords and realised that I don’t need more than that to write songs.
I don’t consider myself a musician and the gift of a good voice is probably due to being born in Wales where singing is seen as natural. A sense of rhythm is a gift as is the ability to find a melody and, thus, I had the basics to work with and to express some creativity.
And so I started writing songs but only as the spirit moved me which wasn’t often – perhaps four or five songs a year – after all, one has to have something to say.
I never had a desire to be a performer, to become famous or to be in the spotlight but the one thing which, I think, is common to all songwriters is the desire to distill enough meaning in a song to connect.
When it comes to passion, it was in the creative process that that passion was found. That is a true joy.
So – what to do with the songs becomes the question. Years went by and my daughter and her friends were old enough to go to the ‘blues’ nights at local pubs. With the exuberance of youth they’d ask me along, to bring my guitar and ‘have a go.’
I’ve never been particularly sociable so this was a huge hurdle to overcome and took ‘ages’ before I managed to pluck up the courage but it eventually happened. It helped that they liked what I’d written and so I had a few gorgeous girls to serve as back-up singers and my daughter’s boyfriend to play his guitar.
My thoughts at this time were to send the songs to established singers but this is easier said than done. Fate stepped in and Bob Spencer – well known in Australia – literally lived a street away and was setting up a studio. He put a small advertisement in the local paper which I saw and we met up. That was the start of the recording process and my thoughts were still along the lines of sending the songs to established singers but, at least, they’d be in a presentable form.
Bob was excellent both as a musician and a producer. I’d put down the basic song, guitar and vocal, to a metronome and then he’d get rid of my guitar – it wasn’t good enough to be used and I’m not precious about needing my name on the credits as a musician – and that would be our starting point.
I loved the process of recording and, more often than not, three ‘takes’ of the vocals were sufficient and then it was over to Bob who was able to call upon fine musicians to flesh out the finished song.
Then the process of artwork and the manufacture followed. This has been the same process for the following cds with the last one being produced by Eliot Reynolds and, again, I didn’t use my own guitar for the same reason that I didn’t for the other cds.
Over the years I did start playing more in public, enjoyed it and found other people happy to join me on stage.
What to do with these songs led me to CDBaby and then to Hostbaby and now to Bandzoogle as a hosting platform.
Basically nothing happened with the songs but, then again, I never promoted them and contented myself with not using social media and perhaps naively believing that if the songs were good enough that they’d connect along the way.
Then the virus arrived and I made all the songs free as digital downloads because – I could.
Got a new guitar a few weeks back – a beautiful, mahogany topped smallish Sigma acoustic complete with electrics. I dropped into the music shop in Katoomba a few days ago to give them some feedback on the guitar and to give them a few cds. Explaining that I had a cupboard full of cds and heads turned and a chorus of ‘… so have I’ echoed back to me.
Life’s a funny creature. Has music been a success for me? Depends upon how one measures success.
If that saying …’As above, so below’ is true then the intelligences operating though out the galaxies are just as prone to despotic or wonderful behaviour as is mankind. Perhaps our example on Earth ripples out across space and time and has real effect.
And so – we live short lives and my allotted three score years and ten approaches. Not all my songs are cheerful but neither is life.
I loved the songs when I wrote them, have made them freely available on the website and will leave it at that.