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Update From The Studio # 2

I think I'm going to call this next release 'Three Miles From Avalon'.  I wrote a song recently by the same name, we put down the rhythm track to it yesterday.

It was really about being on the cusp of achieving what you set out to do,  having it in your sight, but somehow never quite reaching it.  The last couple of years have been a bit tough, and it's only now I feel i'm starting to get back on track.  It felt like a good time to vent a little about it in a (hopefully) musical way.  

I do realise that you are always on the cusp though, and that perspective is subjective to time.  

I used to hate the studio.  It was like a poor imitation of the kick I got playing live.  I was told we needed to record so we could go gig other places. Get more gigs. Agent needed material to entice promoters with, then we can play more. Money? Nah. I've always been a bit shit about that.  Makes me squirm. Playing more was my incentive.  That's never changed.  It's just that now,  I don't really mind playing for a room full of microphones anymore.  I'm actually really enjoying it this time around.

So here are some pictures of us playing for a room full of microphones,  taken by my good friend Michael Coakes. 



 

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Update From The Studio #1. 'The Old Fashioned Way'

We're back in the studio.  

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It hasn't been long since I was recording last,  but this is different.  Very different. 

Firstly,  I've been sitting on a lot of songs. They needed taking beyond the home demo's and sketches that I had scattered around.  It was time. 

Secondly,  this is a band.  

For a while recording, to me,  has been about assembly.  Don't get me wrong, I don't mean generic production line, get it on the conveyer belt and here's a record that sounds done. But rather,  let's assemble some great players,  people who we know will do a great job,  and let's record these tunes,  bit by bit, by bit.  Make a mistake? It's OK,  we can go back and fix that.  There's always been a bit of a safety net,  and I've definitely needed it sometimes. I'm not ashamed of it, there's nothing wrong with this approach, and it's kind of the norm these days,  stop and start, stop and start. But it has left me finding it difficult to gather the adrenalin, the excitement, and the energy the same way I do when I play live.  

Not this time. 

This feels a little meaner, a little more dangerous,  a little more exciting.  For the first time in a long time I feel I am part of a band of musicians who are just going to play. Live, together, and to two-inch tape.   It feels a more honest representation of actually what I sound like and what I do.  Actually, more importantly, what we do. It's invigorating. 

We have 3 days in the studio,  2 days left.  8 tracks to cut.  2 down.   I purposefully hardly brought any gear to the studio,  and so far for both the tracks we've recorded I have used the same guitar (a rented Telecaster) and the same amplifier (my trusty Bludotone Bludodrive).  No pedals, except for tuning up. I wanted this album to sound stripped down, raw, energetic, aggressive, a performance record. All about the vibe,  the feel. Less about 'perfection'.  Production is minimal, and taken care of by myself, the band, and our engineer, Anthony Gravino,  as we go along. 

I also can't believe that this is my first time recording analogue, to tape. It's extremely satisfying,  and that sound... There is nothing like it,  no plugin, no emulation, that can get that beautiful warm, glue on your sound.  It sounds like a record immediately.  There's also a beautiful lack of freedom.  Something about the limitations in recording this way that really spurs you on to capture something magical. 

It's sad that this is kind of a novelty now.  Recording a band playing live to tape. But sometimes it's the old fashioned way of doing things which are still the best. 

 

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A Manx view of America.

I am writing this from Bethany, MO,  on our way to Kansas City for a show.  As I was standing outside the hotel having a morning cup of coffee I had a little 'woah,  I'm touring America' moment.   

America, I'm sure, means different things to us 'foreigners' coming over, living and working here.  One of the reasons I connected so much to Woody Guthrie's 'Pastures Of Plenty' was the story of migrant workers coming here,  working the land, traveling across this vast and diverse country.  Well,  that's me really.  

Yesterday,  we drove more miles than the length of England,  for one show,  and to get a little ways to the next.  3 people,  in a van full of gear.  It's not glamorous.  It's not what half of our audience think is what we do,  and even at its most tiring,  relentless and uncomfortable, it is still an absolute dream come true. 

While I wake up, and wait for the rest of the band to do the same,  I wanted to write about what this country looks and feels like,  as an 'Outsider Looking In'. It's a long one,  but bear with me. 

America looks like the movies.  Big cars,  pickup trucks, drive thru's and ins,  massive portions of food.  Endless straight roads. Huge trucks hauling their loads.  Who knows where they're going.  Scenery changing from lush green rolling hills and forest,  to flat plains and farmland dotted with red barns and silos.  Seemingly out of nowhere, the high plains,  dotted with ancient canyons and vast mountains spring from nowhere,  eventually giving way to unforgiving but beautiful desert that roll down to the pacific coast, again turning into massive forests in places, massive valleys and sandy beaches in others. It's totally and utterly mind blowing.

I've been to 48 of the 50 states now. Alaska and Hawaii still on the list. 

Describing America to someone who's never been is almost impossible.  I was once flying from Manchester UK to see my sister in Malta.  I was carrying my mandolin case,  which is always a great converstIon starter; 

 "What's that you've got there then?"

"oh it's a mandolin."

"very nice,  where are you from? "

"The Isle of Man, but I live in Chicago now" 

"Really? You like it?  We didn't like it in America at all!"

"Love it,  great place to live. Sorry you didn't like it! Where did you go?!"

"Las Vegas,  2 weeks". 

End of conversation.  You are judging a country 3,500 miles wide on a 2 mile strip of debauchary, seediness - basically an adult theme park you stayed in for two solid weeks.  It's like judging the entire of the UK after going to Alton Towers one time.  With more alcohol. 

To experience the U.S is to travel across it,  to see that scenery change,  to find the family run little restaurants and diners and shops in between the iconic and incredible cities that seem to have grown out of the ground as if they were always there. To meet the fantastic people here.  America has got to be the friendliest place I've ever traveled to.  I maintain its a wonderful place, filled with wonderful people, poorly represented outside its borders. 

I've seen a lot of it,  and there's still more to see.  It's so vast and diverse - it's totally understandable that a good portion of Americans haven't been out of the country.   I've made a home here,  my Fiancée is from here.  So are my two cats.  I still miss home (Isle Of Man home) and still maintain that there is no such thing as 'The Best Country In The World',  only 'A Country In The World'.  

This is a very good one.  Not without its faults or quirks, but an inherently good one. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Observations From A Hotel Bar

Here I am,  my bags and guitar cases littered at my feet,  I finally collapse on the bed of the Marriott Hotel in Newport Beach, CA.  I'm tired,  I have a show later,  and I'm hungry.  With a couple of hours to kill I splash some water on my face and meander down to the hotel bar.   

I'm greeted by the bartender, professionally dressed like a penguin,  and he asks me politely what he can get me.  I ask if there's a local beer.  He pours me one.  I order a sandwich.  Within ten minutes I am eating it. 

Cue group #1.  A gaggle of loud,  yelping, early 20-something's flood up to the bar. 

 "Hey there,  can we get a drink?" 

 "Hi guys,  of course,  can I see your IDs?" Asks the bartender,  understandably and politely. For the purposes of this story,  I shall name him Bill.

 "Oh.  Hey, how are you too" says Entitled Child #1. 

After checking their ID's, and ignoring this blaring sarcasm,  Bill kindly thanks them and asks them what he can get them. 

 "Can you make me a Jack Nicholson?" 

"I'm sorry,  I have no idea what that is,  there's a drinks menu right there though."

Disgruntled, Whining Child #2 looks down the list and decides they should all have margaritas. High pitched yapping commences.  I think this means they all agree.   Bill writes it down.  

"Can I get you anything to eat?"  

A girl with the kind of voice that sounds like she's always complaining pipes up. 

 "urrr yeah, you know, like, I'd like the turkey burger,  but can you do that with a pretzel bun,  and romaine lettuce instead? And I'd like,  I mean have you, like, got a chili mayo I can, like, get on the side?" 

The only thing original to the menu was that the burger patty was made from turkey. 

This is,  and should be, a simple transaction.  Look at the menu.  Is there something you like? Good. Order it. There isn't? Go hungry or go elsewhere. 

After taking similar ridiculous requests from the rest of them,  and confirming that yes,  he would be happy to bring everything out to the pool for them,  Bill resigns to making them their order.  

Cue wealthy, orange, Golf fanatic.  His skin looks like old leather stretched over bones. Like an emaciated cow.  I imagine him firing someone from The Company while making a put on the 15th hole. 

"Hey you",  he shouts to Bill,  "there's a place setting missing from our table"

Bill politely nods,  puts down what he's doing,  walks across the room to the table next to wealthy orange golf fanatic, picks up a napkin, knife, and fork, and places it on his table.  

Surely after all his 138 years on earth,  wealthy, orange, golf fanatic could have done this for himself.  I did a quick check. Yes,  he had all of his limbs. Perhaps it was a brain and some common courtesy he was missing.  Perhaps the dangers of sunbeds had fried that out of him. I can't help but imagine this is what Entitled Child #1 will be like when he is older. 

Bill takes his order too. Some ridiculous drink that requires a Bachelors of Arts and a tiny piece of Bill's Soul.  

Meanwhile,  as if he was listening to my thoughts, Entitled Child #1 enters the bar again. 

"Hey. Any chance we can get our drinks, like, before the food?" 

"yeah,  I just want some alcohol" Whines complaining girl,  who had somehow crawled in too. 

Bill nods,  explains there is only him here,  apologizes to them for the four minute wait, and tells them he will be there shortly.   

They shuffle off,  whinging to each other.  I think to myself how awful it must be to be them.  Living in a constant state of disappointment. 

I glance at my watch and finish my beer.   Bill asks me if there's anything he can get me.  I ask for the cheque,  but tell him there's no rush,  he's a busy man after all. 

Bill closes out the tab,  I pay him.  He thanks me for my patience.  I thank him for his.  He smiles,  and gives a little chuckle.  He knows exactly what I meant. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Percy Got An Upgrade

Hello from Sacramento airport

Last night was the last show with George and Brian, and before I go any further, I have to thank them and their tremendous crews for taking such good care of me. What a wonderful bunch of people.  

Yesterday I flew up from San Diego and picked up my rental car in Sacramento.  Meet Percy Mk II. 

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Percy got a facelift, a paint job, and really grew up.  Proud.  

This also gave me the chance to fulfill a lifelong ambition,  drive a pickup truck in America.  Cue the Merle Haggard and off we went. 

With an afternoon to kill ahead of the show in nearby Lincoln, Percy Mk II and I headed out to explore Old Sacramento.  While well preserved,  I have to say it was really touristy and not really my thing. I was about ready to call it quits when I found the saving grace of Old Town.

Down the stairs and into the basement of what I can only imagine was a brothel back in the day, I found Brooks Novelty Antiques and Record Store.  While I didn't see many novelty antiques, the record selection was astounding,  and the gentleman behind the till was helpful and very friendly.  I left smiling,  with these under my arms,  and with a recommendation for lunch that was bang on the money:

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On to the show... 

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Beautiful big venue in Lincoln, CA - with only one major drawback.  The expansive team of Physicists and Meteorologists who accompany me on every tour determined that it was in fact hotter than the surface of the sun, and that it was the wrong day to wear black jeans - no matter how slimming they may be. My acoustic guitar preamp agreed and immediately overheated, the monitors soon followed suit,  and I received third degree burns from my metal-bodied National guitar. After covering the equipment in foil blankets like the marathon runners they are, and with the expertise of Gary at front of house, Pete on monitors, and Brian's guitar tech, Tyler,  the show ended up a good un. 

So what next? Well,  today I take a Short Flight to Long Beach, where I am looking forward to playing a house concert tonight.  Then I fly home to Chicago for five days before meeting my Mum and Sister in Malta (where my sister lives) for some much needed time together.  We will be raising a big glass of wine to Dad,  and with it being Father's Day tomorrow,  I feel much wine may be needed. 

Cheers, 

d

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Good Company

Hello from seat 9F, American Airlines flight 1358 to Los Angeles. 

I am ready and settled. I've seen the baggage throwers do what they do best, play toss the caber with people's belongings, and I am about to ask the stewardess if there is a 'Bucket Of Wine' option on this flight. 

We have been delayed half an hour.  You will not believe the amount of whinging and whining 1,800 seconds can prompt.  Good grief,  get a coffee, use the loo,  and then we'll be boarding.  Perhaps we'll all get lucky and this horrific, major life event will put you off travel altogether. 

The last show was marvelous.  Having done my fair share of long distance solo driving this tour,  I invited my friend, Tarik, to hop in our Honda Fit and drive with me to Council Bluffs, Iowa.  I am glad he agreed, and I was very glad of his company.  It's a hefty drive from Chicago. I introduced him to Sandra the GPS, and they got along great. We pretty much laughed the whole way there,  and the whole way back.  We didn't laugh very much in the Cracker Barrel in Clive, Iowa though (Clive?! The town is called Clive?!).  The lady serving us had a very difficult time,  bless her,  in differentiating between the two types of iced tea available.  After several attempts to provide the one requested, I gave up and ordered hot coffee.  Which is pretty much the exact opposite of iced tea.  Also.  That roast beef sandwich had never been a part of a cow in its life.  Perhaps a cardboard box,  but certainly not a hooved animal. 

So ahead of me are the two final gigs of the tour with George Thorogood and Brian Setzer. I'm flying into L.A a little early to see my co-manager, Jason, and take a few meetings around town with him.  How mad does that sound? "Just nipping to California to take a few meetings".  13 year old me would have laughed his arse off. 

Anyways. I must dash.  The wine is becoming more crucial and necessary after I just heard the lady next to me ask the stewardess; 

"Is there gluten in the snack pack?" 

If I had been the stewardess I may have replied; 

"yes,  there is - and you must avoid it like the plague!  However,  that menu you are holding is entirely gluten free,  and probably just as nutritious and flavourful!"

I am going to ask if I may upgrade my Bucket Of Wine to a Trough. 

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Now the seats are all empty...

As I walked into Dayton Airport after the show at Huber Heights, Ohio,  Jackson Browne's beautiful tribute to his road crew, 'The Load-Out',  was softly playing through the tinny speakers of the check-in area. A more appropriate song there never was.  It gave me a big grin,  knowing I was off home after a cracking week on the road with George Thorogood and Brian Setzer.

More correctly, I was off to move home... 

The apartment I have shared with my beautiful fiancée for the last 4 years had just gotten a little small (perhaps due to an increasing collection of musical paraphernalia, perhaps not),  and so instead of resting up ahead of the next batch of gigs with George and Brian,  I am now packing our lives up in boxes and moving them a mile down the road and into a much nicer, bigger place. We even have an outside deck,  upon which I fully intend on persueing the most serious and intense of American pastimes.  Grilling.  I believe the enthusiasm for it here is topped only by the Australians. 

I have had a short few days of this,  broken up by a fantastic quick pit stop of the tour up in Mikwaukee at the BEAUTIFUL Riverside Theatre.  But come Saturday I will be back out on the road again,  this time to Council Bluffs Iowa, then back to Chicago,  then to San Diego, then to Lincoln CA,  then back down to San Diego,  then back to Chicago,  then to take my Mother to see my Sister in Malta.  

The life of a musician. Beautiful, transient,  difficult at times,  but good god I wouldn't trade it for anything. 

D

 

 

 

 

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Acoustic Tour Diary #3

I'm writing this from a restaurant in Chicago O'Hare airport, waiting for my connection to Dayton, Ohio.  I'm nearing the end of this first leg of my time opening up for George Throrogood & The Destroyers and Brian Setzer.  

I still uphold and maintain the same romantic sentiments I have about solo-travel as I wrote about in the first installment,  But this very short run has been very difficult at times. Just me and the rented Nissan Versa.  I nicknamed him Percy on the very last drive we took together,  just before I surrendered him back to his rightful owners underneath a nondescript concrete monster at BWI airport that I shall nickname 'Dollar Rent-a-Car'.  FYI Percy was more than a Dollar.  False advertising.

Percy and I did lots of talking during our time together.  Sometimes he felt small next to Brian and George's tour buses. I told him not to sweat it.  I've been in lots of them,  and the view from your bunk is normally someone else's sweaty bunk,  with a sweaty foot sticking out of it.  I had a great view out of Percy's front window as we ambled up and down the East coast.  Plus, Percy isn't as thirsty as a big bus. 

Often,  we both swore at Sandra,  the GPS. 

But more than anything,  we talked about Dad.  

He would have loved this trip,  we could have done it together. We kinda did. He'd have liked Percy too.  I'd still have driven though. The drives would have taken a lot longer otherwise.  

He'd have loved loitering around these big arena stages,  sparking up friendly conversations with people trying to work.  They would have stopped to talk though. They always did.  

So here I am,  en route to the next show,  and it's your birthday, Dad. So I have a beer in front of me to toast to you while i'm writing this, trying desperately to hold it together so a whole bunch of strangers don't look at me like the Airport Weirdo.  

Too late. 

 

 

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Acoustic Tour Diary #2 - from Hector, NY

Hello there,

After a fun start to the tour with George Thorogood and Brian Setzer at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank NJ,  I travelled up to see some friends of mine up in the Finger Lakes of New York State,  ahead of the next show in Canandaigua.  

I've been a bit spoiled. After navigating my way out of the state of New Jersey,  I parked the car at my destination and was immediately greeted by the wonderful Rose and Jason with copious amounts of wine,  (Jason owns the beautiful Hector Wine Company ) a barbecue, impromptu jams, and enormous amounts of laughter.  I've spent the last two days either on Lake Seneca with a drink in my hand,  in the garden with a drink in my hand, in the pub with a drink in my hand, or asleep (perhaps with a drink in my hand,  I don't remember).  

It has felt marvelous to be with good company on these couple of days off,  in one of the most beautiful places I have been (if you haven't been to upstate NY,  you are missing out!).  For me this is the spirit of traveling, of being a musician.   Meeting great folks, in a beautiful place,  never far from a guitar or a little inspiration. 

 

 

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Acoustic Tour Diary - Post #1

I am writing this from my hotel in Red Bank, NJ.  Tonight is the first show of this short run with George Thorogood and The Destroyers,  with Brian Setzer at the Count Basie Theatre. Last time I was at that venue I was opening up for Styx and REO Speedwagon with Back Door Slam.  We weren't old enough to drink yet. 

 I am doing these shows completely solo,  no tour manager, sound engineers, or band.  Just me, a rented Nissan Versa, two guitars and a suitcase.  I thought I would keep a little diary on here (this will also be posted to my blog on the main [a href="http://www.davyknowles.com"]website[/a]) to pass the time I have by myself.   


Yesterday I flew into Laguardia Airport, New York, got in my rental car and drove past Manhattan towards New Jersey just as the sun was setting,  sending a beautiful stream of red and orange through the concrete canyons.  It was a beautiful moment.  There's a romanticism to traveling alone,  an independence and a freedom that I really do love. The feeling of being in-between, not belonging to any one particular place for any length of time.  It's a nomadic experience,  and while I crave it often, it certainly makes me appreciate the time I have at home in my own little corner of the world.  


This also gives me the chance to play more acoustic guitar.  It's something I have been enjoying increasingly of late.  There's nothing wrong with bashing out some loud, aggressive, distorted electric,  but why can't you do that - AND some of the more subtle acoustic side of things?  One of the things I admire most about Rory Gallagher, was that he was always sure to include at least a couple of acoustic songs on his albums,  and in his live performances.  That's something i'd like to work on too.   I admire Richard Thompson because of his incredible ability to straddle both acoustic and electric, sound undoubtedly like no-one else on both, and treat them as entirely different instruments.  It's something to aim for,  and you've got to aim high, eh? 


So I am going into this tour with enthusiasm and high expectations of myself.   And a grateful heart.  Definitely a grateful heart. 

See you out there,

Davy

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Keep Moving

I'm waiting in Chicago airport to board my flight for the East Coast .  I have 3 bags checked in, two with me,  and a whole bunch of things in my head. I'd only been in Chicago for a day. 

Before that I had been back on the Isle of Man with my Mum, Sister, and Fiancée after my Father passed away. I'm not going to talk about that though. He wouldn't want to be splashed about the Internet too much. He complained every time someone invited him to play some insignificant game on Facebook. I will say that I miss him,  and it hurts. 

But ahead of me now I have a load of shows, with an amazing band, and the support of some incredible friends. Music is joyous, therapeutic, and vital. Now is the time to lean on it, to use it, and to move forward with a piece of the puzzle missing - but still a view of the picture. This tour is crucial for me,  keeping busy, a chance to express and release,  and a big reason to smile.  

Hope to see you out there

DK

 

 

 

 

 

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Dust And Grooves, and the meaning of Vinyl Records

I am now completely addicted to www.dustandgrooves.com. Great blog/website on record collecting, and a great resource to dig for new music. 

I was reading an interview with Sheila Burgel on there, and came across this beaut of a quote that I thought I'd share with you; 

"The internet is spoiling us, turning us into children who have all the toys in the world but not enough time or patience to appreciate those toys. I think the internet and mp3s have devalued music. Vinyl, on the other hand, demands value because it takes up more of our time. It makes us engage with it and take care of it if we want it to last. You can view vinyl as a way of life; it’s an acknowledgement that taking time and effort to do something yields far more gratifying and enriching results than what comes easy."

My sentiments exactly,  despite having read, and now sharing, on the same internet that she speaks of.  

D

 

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INSIDE THE OUTSIDER - EPISODE 1

EPISODE 1! 'INSIDE THE OUTSIDER' 

Welcome to the first of a new series of videos, 'Inside The Outsider'! We will take a look into some of the key tracks from the new album 'The Outsider' , break them down and show you how (and why!) they were written, and a glimpse at the sounds used to record them! First up, the title track!

WATCH THE FIRST EPISODE HERE

 

You can download The Outsider from iTunes here: 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-outsider/id974955495

Or - from the online shop on this website! 

 

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Island Bound - Musical clip

From DAM Productions! Here's a clip from Island Bound with me playing with the brilliant Manx Musician, Greg Joughin. 

We filmed and recorded so much material and so many wonderful interviews with Davy Knowles for his documentary Island Bound, that we couldn't possibly fit it all in to one programme! So, rather than see it sit on the cutting room floor, we thought we'd share a few choice moments with you. CLIP ONE comes from an interview Davy did with the lovely and very knowledgeable Manx musician and historian, Greg Joughin of 'The Mollag Band'. Throughout the course of their interview, Greg paused to play Davy several Manx songs - and even got Davy to join in on a few! This is one of them, a Manx love song. Greg's delivery of the song is heartfelt and very touching, beautiful stuff. 

"Island Bound" will be released as documentary on DVD in early February 2015. Follow www.davyknowles.com @davyknowles (Twitter) and @damisleofman (twitter) for updates.

 

Here's the video!


http://vimeo.com/116201677

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New Year Musings.

Well.  A new year is looming ahead of us.  2014 was a strange year for me,  filled with both good and bad.  

But maybe that's what a 'good' year is?  Enough 'good' to feel grateful,  and enough 'bad' to learn from. Granted, I didn't do everything I wanted to do,  but that just leaves more to accomplish going into 2015.  

At this time of year,  we start thinking about what we'd like to change about ourselves.  Normally 'exercise' is top of the list (partly out of guilt that comes with the enjoying of the season!) But I am always drawn back to Woody Guthrie's New Years Resolutions from 1942,  particularly numbers 18, 19, and 20 on his list; 

18. Stay Glad

19.  Keep Hoping Machine Running

20.  Dream Good. 

I am adopting these resolutions for 2015.  

Dream good everyone,  and all the best for the New Year. 

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Observations From An Airport

I am in-between places, once again.  

A friend of mine recently posted something brilliant on Facebook.  Facebook is not normally the best, or most reliable, source of wisdom,  but this was a rare gem.  It was just one word,  and it's definition. 

'Sonder' : N.  The realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own - populated by their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries, and inherited craziness. 

Across from where I am sitting, cradling a cup of coffee with my laptop in Dublin Airport, is a group of lads on their way to a stag do. It's 9AM and the drinks are already flowing. The Groom is easy to single out,  as he is the recipient of slaps on the back,  and has more empty glasses in front of him. They all have matching T-shirts. Poor sod is going to feel like death tomorrow. 

There is the obligatory traveling business man. Black coat,  rimless glasses,  briefcase and overnight bag.  He's going through the motions. Travel is no longer the thrill it used to be,  his ambition has been drained from him like an empty swimming pool. 

Across the cafe,  on the other side of the room, there's a mother and father with a toddler.  The father is pointing at the planes on the runway and the toddler is enthusiastically pointing and already making up stories about planes.  Maybe he'll be a pilot someday. 

Then there is the girl clearing up the empty glasses. She is here every day.  Clearing up the debris that serves as the only reminder that anyone was ever here.  I don't think she sees people the same anymore.  We're all just moving cardboard cutouts that she'll never see again. 

She comes to my table.  

"Anything else?"

"Another large black coffee please" 

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Distractions

I often wonder what is was like to grow up before all of the distractions.  

I caught the beginnings of it.  Our first computer in the Knowles household was an old Amstrad.  It was an electronic typewriter really.  It had a couple of games.  One was 'Hal'.  I think my Dad nicknamed him that,  referring to Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy.  You typed in questions to ask this artificially intelligent being on the other side of the screen.  It was great.  You'd receive a clever answer back.  More often than not it would say "ask me another" .  

I remember getting the first Windows PC hooked up to dial up Internet.  I was big into Cricket at the time, and was looking up my favourite teams online.  I remember my Dad looking over my shoulder and telling me that this Internet thing was just full of absolute rubbish.  He now has a Facebook account.  Just like the rest of us. 

As a professional musician, I spend more time answering emails,  taking and posting pictures,  and generally working online, more than I actually play guitar.  It's a fact of life,  it's part of the job, and I actually really enjoy it. I love people.  I love interaction. I love how easy it is to interact.  I love the people I work with, although it took a while to find them.   My songs are about people, and if I didn't meet anyone... well I'd have nothing to write about.  So I don't think it is necessarily a terrible thing. This very post is a distraction I guess.   These distractions are, at their very best, utterly inspiring.  At their worst, crippling. 

I just wonder what it was like before them.  

My generation is a grey area.  I'm 27.  We still remember saving our pocket money and having to decide which album we could buy with it.  We couldn't download the ones we wanted for free.  It doesn't matter what the medium was.  CD, cassette, vinyl. The same principles applied.  But we're also an online generation.  Our whole adult lives.  It's how we keep in touch.  We spend more time socializing with the clicking sound of a keyboard than with our voices.   

I don't wish things were different.  I really don't.  I just wonder what they used to be.  When reading a book on the subway was what playing a game on your phone is now.  When we wrote letters in our own handwriting,  and not in binary. 

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Island Bound

Hey there,

Some of you may know I have been working on a documentary entitled 'Island Bound' . 

This has been SUCH a fantastic experience.  I have just returned from the Isle Of Man,  where I was previewing the film with DAM Productions at the Isle Of Man Film Festival.  

To find out more,  and watch the trailer,  click HERE

Here's a photo of myself and Christy D of DAM at the gorgeous Gaiety Theatre during the festival! 

 


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