Words, Pictures and Life Balance

It has been such an unproductive couple of months for me with regards to writing and catching up with stuff, but I have been trying to get through it, which is easier said than done, there have been a couple of days where I thought the mist had lifted a small window of clarity, but like a switch it went back to not being able get cohesive thoughts from my head to the laptop screen. Got to persevere though, it will I hope click back into place as easily as it stopped. (Yes seems like crazy talk as I’m writing this, but this is right off the cuff, not an analysis of an Album or Gig. That’s where the problems seem to be arriving).

After looking back on the quantity of reviews that I’ve actually submitted over the last 3 1/2 years it’s pretty hectic, over 4 per month and then pretty much a Live Gig review a month on top of that and an interview here and there. Add that to the Photography, a very busy full time job and a very young family and it’s just that bit too much. So a step back and lets try this again 😉

Going to post some photos from HRH Blues back in April as I try and finish off the words – wish me LUCK 😉

I may just need it …………………………………

The Wild Atlantic Way is another piece of Heaven.

The natural beauty of the Country you live in is often something that simply never enters your mind when you are younger, it bypasses you as the exploration of other parts of the World takes hold, or you simply haven’t taken the time to explore your own Countey, Island or even local area.

View over North Fhee, Turloughmore and Slieve Aughty in The Burren, Co. Clare. Ireland

This is quite true of me, as a child our family would have brought us to different parts of the Ireland (my Country of birth), but I don’t think as a child you really appreciate the sheer beauty that may be 1 hours drive from your bedroom. Having taken holidays/vacation in different parts of Europe, the US and Canada over the years since, it has only been the last few years that we have stayed on home soil, especially since the birth of our son 19 months.

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Cliffs around Loop Head Peninsula, Co. Clare

Since then we have traveled around a lot of this Islands coastline, both North amd South, visiting places like the Giants Causeway and Malin Head and many stops around the Wild Atlantic Way and without doubt we can say that we are seeing so many different areas of stunning beauty, it’s a very liberating experience, so much so that we are already beginning to plan next years trip.

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As for our son, well we will see if he develops the same appreciation, for now he is certainly experiencing different places, and he is not quite up to meeting different animals. Still to come this week is a trip to the Cliffs Of Moher and weather dependent visits to gardens, beaches and whatever else we can fit in.

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An Emu we met at Moher Open Farm

Can you have the Blues missing the Blues ?

So back home a few days from another awesome weekend of wonderful music, this time around it was HRH Blues in Sheffield, and I’m already missing it, yes I have the Blues from the Blues 😉  Was lucky enough to be shooting and reviewing this one for Firebrand.

A two day Festival, with some really brilliant performances though it did all seem to fly by all too quickly. With Artists from the UK, Europe and the US there’s plenty of choice in styles and approach, but there can’t of been many that go for it as much or as well as the Billy Walton Band, such a fun set for a band absolutely loving what they do.

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Billy Walton of the excellent Billy Walton Band.

There were many highlights across the two days, of course it was such a shame that King King couldn’t play (sending best wishes and a speedy recovery to Alan Nimmo – maybe next year), but it was awesome to see Erja Lyytinen, Simon McBride, Ten Years After, Laurence Jones, Chantel McGregor, Sean Webster Band, Dan Patlansky and lets not forget Crow Black Chicken who got a lot of mentions in the last few days as one of the bands of the Festival.   Just wish I could have seen a lot of the artists on the 2nd stage as well, sadly time overlaps didn’t allow. The slightly more mature crowd there were seats in the venue, which worked to a certain extent, but there just wasn’t enough space between the rows and made it a bit awkward for people to get around, especially on the main floor, but that’s a minor thing at the end of the day.

Working on the Photos and Review this weekend and will hopefully have it all ready to go very soon. Roll on the next one 😉

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Sean Webster Band – terrific start to Day 2 on the Main Stage
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The wonderful Chantel McGregor
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My personal performance of the weekend Laurence Jones
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Very much still an underrated guitarist, Simon McBride, great banter with the crowd.
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Brilliant set from Dan Patlansky

 


 

 

 

Full flow Festival Season 2017

 

With one HRH Festival completed and everything online (Review below) it’s already time to head off to another, and a little different, this coming Bank Holiday weekend we have HRH Blues in Sheffield, again it’s another really cracking lineup with the likes of King King, Stan Webb’s Chicken Shack, Ten Years After, Erja Lyytinen, Chantel McGregor, Simon McBride and Laurence Jones all in attendance.

Having not been able to attend last years event I’m really looking forward to this show, there’s always a good atmosphere at HRH events and I’m sure this will be no different. Still hoping to do Bloodstock, Rockingham and squeeze in some if not all of Ramblin’ Man. Reality is that these days if you have the time and the money you could be doing a Festival every week.

 

HRH AOR V Review – broken into Day splits, just click on a link below for review/photos.

Day 1 – Tequila Mockingbyrd, Last Great Dreamers, Bonafide and The Quireboys

Day 2 – The Radio Sun (Acoustic), Walkway, Kane’d, Romeo’s Daughter, Jizzy Pearl’s Love/Hate, Bang Tango, Autograph, FM, Lita Ford

Day 3 – Häxan. Summers, The Radio Sun, VEGA, Paul Laine, Mike Tramp, Bailey, Michael Monroe, Slaughter, Reach

Festival time again ;-)

Right better head off and get some sleep, up in a few hours to get the red eye over to Birmingham to begin the annual pilgrimage to HRH AOR in Pwllheli, North Wales. Shooting again this year and it’s going to be a busy few days, though as always great fun too meeting up with friends from far and wide.

This year’s headliners are the legendary Lita Ford, Slaughter and The Quireboys, with a plethora of great bands from both sides of the Atlantic including Autograph, FM, LA Guns, Jizzy Pearl’s Love/Hate, The Radio Sun, Bang Tango, Romeo’s Daughter, VEGA, Bailey and many more……..there will be much running around, but sadly with the review side of things also in play there will certainly be some acts that will be missed over the three days.

Look out for a few photos over the weekend and will be doing a full weekend review for the great guys at Firebrand. The one above is from FM’s last performance at HRH AOR in 2015.

 

Another great night with Jo Harman

Jo Harman may not yet be one of the biggest names in music, at least not quite yet, but Jo’s talent, ability, hard work and determination will pay off soon I’m sure. Sun 19th February 2017 provided the official launch for Jo’s second album People We Become, released on Feb 3rd to much critical acclaim and rightly so. Considering Jo and her team have always done so much of the distribution work themselves they have done a great job in promoting her name and her music.

Following on from 2013’s excellent Dirt On My Tongue, the new album takes on the mantel and just pushes so strongly forward, really well written songs and having Michael McDonald as a guest on the track “When We Were Young” (now playlisted on BBC Radio 2) is no harm at all.

Having followed her music since 2012 it’s been brilliant to see the development as an Artist and the new album is just stunning, as was her performance on the night in the Jazz Cafe, the new tracks sound amazing live and with an extended 8 piece band it just worked so well, having such a talented backing band must be a big help too. It was a pleasure to be in attendance and and even bigger one to be able to bring the camera along and take some photos. Working on them at the moment and hopefully will have a gallery uploaded over the next couple of days.Seriously go check out Jo’s music, if you like Soulful Blues, with a number of influences and a great voice, it would be criminal to miss out on this. There will be plenty of Live dates this year in the US/UK/Europe so if you can make sure you get to see the live show.

New Year – New Challenges – 2017 bring it on.

tof-2016collage-pic2So as we roll into the second day of 2017 I wonder what the hopes and aspirations for this year are for my friends and fellow music nuts. A new blank canvas awaits, there’s already a calendar filling up pretty rapidly, a number of old favourites and newly added Festivals that we will see if they can take flight and establish themselves. Personally I’m looking at 4 or 5 for the year, depending on how things work out, it’s never an easy thing these days to put your name down for something that’s a year away, life can change plans so quickly sometimes I think it’s foolish to plan ahead too far – but then again at least if there’s some sort of schedule formulated you have a chance to make it happen.

2017 is looking like AOR, Blues, Rock, Metal and maybe some more AOR, add in a number of shows already inked in and it’s an exciting looking year ahead. There’s a possibility I’ll finally get that Camera hardware upgrade that’s been on the wishlist for a while now, that would be interesting and bring in some new things to learn, which is always good.

Sadly as our musical heroes are aging, just like ourselves, we will continue to lose more of the stars, more of the lesser known but no less talented people, but lets hope the rate of attrition is nowhere near as high as the 12 months of 2016 were, the loss of global stars may be more thought provoking for the masses, but every loss is significant to someone.

Away from the Camera 2016 saw me reviewing over 40 Albums, 20 Gigs and Festivals and put together a couple of Interviews – which considering the amount of time I’ve been unable to get any work done is a pretty valiant effort, but hopefully the coming year will being at least that same level, working on a number of items already so fingers crossed. 2016 also saw some of my photos making Album booklets, contacts from promoters to shoot shows and some things a bit further out of left field, which all fill the heart and make things interesting.

So here’s hoping we all manage to have some success in what we do, and most importantly enjoy and have fun doing it, because when that goes it’s time to stop.