Monday, 19 November 2012

Two weeks to go

We finished recording the tracks for our album "Other People's Greatest Hits" back in June. Since then I've been editing and mixing the thirteen tracks and refining the sleeve design, etc. We set a number of deadlines along the way, and it has always seemed that we were two weeks away from completing the project. Well, it's now mid November and I can say with confidence that we are about two weeks away from completion. Still two weeks away....? Every time I achieved a mix that I was satisfied with we took it and played it on various players around and about and there was something wrong. Too bassy, not bassy enough, too muddy, too toppy.... Eventually we decided that the only way forward was to look at the studio itself and we have stripped it out and rebuilt it with the control desk at the other end of the studio. We're looked at every aspect of the layout and I can at last say that the mixes are much better. So much so, that I think we're about two weeks away from completion! Seriously, the tracks sound really good.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Summertime blues

It's a quiet time for the DCB. Last year it was my turn to be unavailable when I had a month on tour with Nicki Gillis, followed by several weeks in hospital and on the sick. This year it's my turn to sit and kick my heels as the other guys have had their own projects on the go. Still it's not all bad. I've been using the time in the studio working on a couple of album projects which will become the DCB's next two albums! And that's not all. I have a load of songs for an album of original songs which may or may not have a Cornish theme. I'm still working that through. I've also recorded a duet with Nicki Gillis! And I've dusted off an old live recording of my old band from the 1970s- Left Hand Drive. That CD is available to special order only. So although the band has been quiet recently we're still working away behind the scenes and will be back out playing again in August

Thursday, 24 May 2012

The DCB at Whitby- part one

I've been a regular performer at the Whitby Gospel Music Convention ever since the first weekend back in 2000. Sometimes I've sung by myself, sometimes with my wife Sue. I used to use backing tracks but tired of the inflexibility. The last few years I've sung solo, just me and my guitar.
However, I persuaded the organisers to allow me to bring some of the band members to the 2011 event and we went down really well. People were asking if I had any recordings by the band. I had to say no- but we began work on the new album just after Christmas. I'd not been in the studio since before my illness and had to relearn the technology.
Eventually we finished the album in time to take it to Whitby and the band and I played songs from the album over three nights.
Unfortunately our double bass player Dave could not make it as he was double booked, so we enlisted the help of Will Sherkle. He plays guitar and bass and has recently moved from Northamptonshire to Filey.

The audience loved the sound of the band and we picked up a few more fans. I recorded an interview with Branch FM, a Yorkshire based community radio station and that should be broadcast soon.
One highlight (of many) was on the final night when I asked some other artists if they'd join me on the band's last song, which was my version of "Amazing Grace".
We didn't have any time to run through the song beforehand, and having so many singers and musicians on stage could have been a logistical nightmare, but the guys who run the sound at Whitby are very experienced and took care of everything.
All I had to do was to get the musicians and the audience singing along. We raised the roof.

My thanks go to Sharon Gardiner and her son Aaron (who played cajon on a couple of songs), Samuel Purdy who played piano, and Colin Elliott and the boys from Live Issue.

Here's link to our version of  "Amazing Grace". Enjoy.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Dave Clemo Gospel Album- Mystery

Dave Clemo Gospel Album- Mystery (Click on the link) Here's a sneak preview of the Gospel Album. I wrote the song a dozen or so years ago and recorded it soon afterwards. When I was choosing songs for the gospel album this was a no-brainer as it really suits our sound. Chris plays cajon, Dave W plays double bass, Vince added some guitar and I played guitar, mandolin and sang. I enjoyed the recording process although it takes a completely different mindset to playing live. I hadn't been in the studio for a couple of years and had to relearn all the technology so it took a bit longer than I expected, but it's worked out well. Gospel music isn't everyone's music of choice, and so I was careful not to get too theological but to concentrate on good songs and musicianship. Which is as it should be.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Album finished!

The first of our record projects is complete. I made the final adjustments and tweaks and it's ready to be manufactured. I learned a lot during the making of the record. To be precise, I relearned a lot. I'd spent a lot of time recording before I was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2009 and when I went back into the studio in January,I'd forgotten how to work the software. That's not a problem now. I relearned all that and leaned some more from my mentor Andy. I'm posting a track on Soundcloud in the next day or so. We're just deciding which tracks to use. The next date in our diary will be in two weeks time when we travel up to Whitby for the annual Gospel Music Convention- hence the rush to get the project finished. Dave the bass player is unavailable due to other commitments so we've roped in old friend Will, who recently moved up to Filey and will play bass for us. We have chosen a dozen tracks for the weekend. I expect to play 3 or four songs each night as part of a show that features a host of acts, compered by George Hamilton IV and featuring my old friend Paul Wheater, known everywhere as Yorkshire's Jim Reeves. We have plans to release several albums this year- the Gospel Album, which was requested by fans after last year's Gospel Convention. Although not strictly a DCB album, all the band are playing on the album. We'll be releasing an album (or two) of the music we play in the pubs, followed by an album (or two) of our folk music set. Finally I have an idea for a Johnny Cash tribute album. I won't say any more at this time- just watch this space!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

The Wayfarers Weds 7th

I enjoyed this gig. We played well and the small but friendly audience enjoyed themselves, clapping after every song and even singing along.

There's a lot of acoustic music being performed in Kettering and the local area at the moment. Steve Jones hosts a number of these events across the county, and one we've played at a number of times took place at the Rowell Charter in Rothwell, just outside the town. It seems the featured act last night was more of a draw than we were as many of the people we'd expect to see in the audience made the short trip along the A14 to the Charter.

Still, it means the standard of the performers will and must improve and things will only get better.

Note to self- I lost the first note of a particular song for the second gig in a row. Must practice!

Lastly I love the poster advertising the band. Spot the spelling mistake.
But- "some nice tunes" What? Only some?

Monday, 5 March 2012

The Old Market Inn

I'd been looking forward to playing this pub as it's the nearest to a local I have here in Kettering. Chris' band Scoria Sky have played there a few times and I've gone along to watch and film them, so I've got to know a lot of the regulars.
Last Autumn we decided we were about ready to play the pub circuit and arranged a booking for last Friday. We'd played Watercress Harry's a couple of weeks earlier and I felt we needed to add a couple of songs to our repertoire. We had a brief rehearsal in the days leading up to the Market show and had four songs ready to play, but then we heard that Davy Jones of the Monkees had died, so we added a couple more songs to the set. Normally we try the new songs out at an open mike night, but we had no time so our set contained six songs we hadn't played live before!

Those songs went well. I wish I could say the same for all the songs but I confess I had a senior moment when I couldn't remember the opening note, and consequentially the melody for one of the songs we've played for months. Doh!

However, the audience loved us. We kept the crowd entertained all night long and the bar did a roaring trade. Our secret?

According to everyone I spoke to- and I speak to anyone and everyone- they told me it was a pleasure to sit and listen to a band without being deafened. It was a joy to be able to listen to some great songs and chat to your friends without having to shout. Etc etc.

I really enjoyed the show. I kept my cough under control (just) and my voice was strong. I'm wiped out for days after one of these shows so couldn't play more than once a week, but I'm loving it. More please!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Update Feb 21st

We're over half way through the current round of shows which started back in January with the surprise 60th birthday party for our friend Stevie Poole. He plays mandolin, accordion and various other instruments with his band The Old Speckled Men and also hosts the Open Mike night at one of our favourite pubs the Dukes Arms in Woodford.
His wife Carole asked us to play and on the night in question we turned up really early, hoping to set up in relative peace and quiet. No chance. The room was full of people before 7.00 and we managed to play a rushed sound check before waiting in silence for the special guest to arrive. It was a great night. The pub was absolutely jam packed full and everyone really enjoyed themselves.
I picked up a cold.
It laid me low for a couple of weeks before we returned to the Dukes again, this time it was a regular Friday night's entertainment. Once again, we played well and everyone enjoyed them selves. I managed to keep from coughing long enough to sing the songs, but I was laid up again for a couple of days afterwards.
Then we played a pub in the centre of Kettering- Watercress Harrys. They'd just started having bands on a Thursday night and the town was very quiet as there was live music in three other pubs within a few yards of each other. We kept a small crowd entertained, and picked up a couple of potential gigs for when the weather gets a bit warmer.
Once again I was laid low for a couple of days. I hadn't realised how weak my immune system is, and how much this chest infection is taking out of me. As long as I rest up in between shows and don't try to play too often, I should be OK.

On Monday night Chris, Dave and I played an acoustic show for a local WI group. That's right- no microphones or amplifiers. There were about 40 or so in the audience and no-one complained they couldn't hear, so that's another first. We also gave away a host of business cards, with many ladies enquiring whether we could play wedding anniversaries (yes), birthday parties (yes)and garden parties (yes.)

Roll on the warmer weather. We have a couple more shows to play in the next couple of weeks, then it's back to the studio.

Ah yes, the first album (Dave's gospel album) has been recorded and we're just mixing it and once that's done my friend Andy Crawley will master it. We have a couple of gospel music festivals to play this year, and we were asked if we had any recordings of the new band. So yes we have. All will be revealed soon.

We're also making progress on our covers album, with a number of basic tracks laid down. We'll be back in the studio to carry on with that project as soon as the current run of live shows in completed, and as soon as I shake off this infection.

Roll on summer!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Back on the road again (ish)

Following our successful pub debut at the Wayfarers back in November, work and other band commitments kept us off the road throughout December. But we've kept busy.

Three of the band members (Dave, Chris and Vince) played a set at last year's Whitby Gospel Music Convention and we went down a storm. We were repeatedly asked afterwards if we had a CD of our music and we had to say no. Well, we've been invited back again in 2012, so I spent some time over the Christmas break in the studio recording tracks for what we hope will be three albums in 2012.

The first CD will be the Gospel Album by Dave Clemo & Friends. Although not strictly a DCB album, it features all the members of the band plus a couple of special friends on some of the tracks. As I write this, we've completed the recording of 14 tracks and will begin final mixing in the next day or two.

This weekend I started work on our first "official" DCB album. This has the working title of "Other People's Greatest Hits", and yes, it features versions of songs by other artists. If you've seen us live, you'll know what to expect.
Once that's out of the way, I want to record an album of original songs, plus some traditional tunes and more folk style songs. We have a working title and all will be revealed....

Last night we played out first full length show since November. We played a short 30 minute set at the Shed in Leicester at the end of December that went down well, but not as well as last night's show at the Dukes Arms in Woodford. I love this pub. I love the people, the atmosphere. It was our friend Stevie Poole's 60th surprise birthday party, and the place was packed with family and friends.

It was a long night. We arrived at the pub at 6.00 and began setting up. The pub was filling up by 7.00 and we played our first set at 8.00 (rather than the 9.00 as I'd anticipated). We had a break while food was served. It was a Burns Night supper, so Haggis, Neeps and Tatties was on the menu. I declined.
The second set had everyone dancing and singing along. We didn't finish loading out until way past midnight and the party was still in full swing.

I don't drink these days, but was stopped by the Police and breathalised on the way home (a first for me). Apparently my van crossed the white line on the side of the road. They let me continue my journey and I tumbled into bed at about 1.30.

It was a good night.