This week has been a really interesting musical one, as I've encountered two new experiences, at either end of the positive/negative scale.
Firstly, the positive one was that I was really thrilled, honoured, and quiite frankly surprised to be invited to record some backing vocals for my really great friend Dai Robs (pictured).
For the last few weeks, Dai has been ensconced in Backyard Recording Studios near Churchstoke, recording his first full solo album. He messaged me and asked whether I'd like to visit and sit in on a session or two.
Now, I'd never set foot in a studio before, and never expected to, so that was one reason I jumped at the chance. The other reason is that Dai is just one of those blokes who is a joy to hang out with. Always a good laugh, and a great mate!
So, Tuesday & Thursday evenings were spent listening to Dai absolutely nailing his lead vocals in the studio, and watching the wizardry of another top fella, Will Barnes, operating the desk. Will is producing the album, and is also one of the finest guitarists I've ever heard. With me being a studio novice, and despite the huge gulf in experience, knowledge and musical ability between us, Will was really brilliant with me, showing me around the studios, explaining the process, and allowing me to watch him in action.
I was really astounded at the sound quality we were hearing in the control room. The musical arrangements, performances, and Dai's superb vocals really are top notch! No pressure then, when my chance came to step up go the mic. Eek!
Dai and Will guided me through what was required, and I was pleased to be able to come up with some harmonies for a few songs. How much ends up being used remains to be seen, but the experience alone, and the chance to spend two evenings with two fabulous musicians for whom I have immense respect was reward enough. Thanks guys!
Dai's album will be available in the New Year, it'll be superb, and I can't wait to hear the final result! Details can be found on his website here >>>> www.dairobs.com
Having enjoyed my first and quite possibly only studio experience, I was struggling a bit with a cold, and a dodgy throat... always a worry when you're a singer and there is a gig on the horizon.
I've been very fortunate in my three and a half years of performing that I've never been poorly enough to feel that I have to cancel a gig. I've found in the past that a bit of singing has cleared any throat gremlins. However, my set at the gorgeous Mytton & Mermaid hotel in Atcham didn't follow this pattern.
Right from the start, my throat started feeling worse, and by the time my 3-hour set was completed, I could barely speak. I've never struggled through a gig like that before, and the much appreciated help of Georgia behind the bar providing me with her lovely honey & lemon just about kept me going. Whilst being proud of my record of completing my first 217 gigs without a cancellation, I think I got a reality-check with this one.
Saturday & Sunday have been a complete write-off, with me completely unable to talk, and I'm using every method I can find (steaming, gargling salt water etc.) to ensure that my vocal chords recover in time for my next gig at Bistro 7 in Welshpool on Saturday. This promises to be an emotional one, and I'm determined to be at my best!
The learning process continues!