Monday, 10 November 2014

We're still number 1

Well folks, its defied belief on our part.. But we're still number 1 in the Reverbnation local chart!!

Would like to thank every single one of you lovely people for helping us to maintain our position.

:-)

Monday, 13 October 2014

We're Number 1!!!

Hi all,

Just have to share this amazing news with you all...

We're  number one in a chart!!! In a reverbnation chart.. Here's the link.. Go and see for yourself!

'Other' Chart on Reverbnation

Have to say we're both utterly delighted at this and would like to say a great big thank you to all our friends who have helped out over the past 3 and half years!!

You guys rock!!!!

Thank you so much!!

Forever Autumn

The chill is in the air, the nights are drawing in and its beginning to look a lot like Halloween/Samhain everywhere. Cool crisp mornings with long shadows followed by golden light everywhere. Or as is the case here in Stoke, cloudy days with lots of rain. Oh well, can't have it all ways, eh?  So what have we been up to? Lots to be honest. We've played a few gigs and are planning a couple of side projects, which will hopefully come to fruition in the next year or so.

One thing that many people don't know, is that if you're a musician you don't just get up and play music, or sing songs. It takes weeks and months of preparation, learning songs, writing, composing, so much goes into the 'act' that is booked by a venue to play. You don't just turn up off the street with a guitar in your hand and play, it might look that way, but it takes skill, dedication and hard work to perfect your 'act'. Anyway, I'm not moaning, just stating the facts as I see them. Anyone who thinks its the 'easy option' should really try it sometime ;-) Particularly jazz.. Jazz is infernal. It sounds great, lots of modalities, odd time signatures, weird melodies, all that takes practice. Jazz musicians didn't just get up and play and still don't. It all takes hard work and dedication and its what shows when you go out into the world and gig. You can knock something off and busk it, or you can work hard to put on a good show. Personally I prefer the latter.

Anyway, on with what we've been doing gig wise.

Saturday 20th Sepetember 2014 - Fundraiser for Kemball Special School and Crohns Disease, Joiners Square Community Centre
This event was considered an 'all dayer' and it certainly was! Rachel who put it all together worked tirelessly to ensure there was a constant flow of music for the people attending. There were intially acoustic acts during the day, with the odd band, then as the day progressed and as everyone moved inside, the bands took precedence. Mainly metal bands performed, which made a nice change to be amongst a different crowd and what a great crowd they were, all digging deep to support the charities. The venue has a proper stage too, which is always nice to play on. We were sandwiched between two metal bands (Adrenalize and .. erm... Oh, I forget now, I've such a rubbish memory!), which was kind of cool. We took to the stage and knocked out our Who songs, we only had a 20 minute slot, so knew we had to make an impact. The numbers were well received and it was a pleasure to play. Sometimes a short set can be as much fun as a full set to play. I know they raised loads of money for the charities.. Here's hoping that Rachel organises some more.

I know this isn't a lot of gigs, well, only one since last time it doesn't mean that we haven't been busy. We've still been filming some of the final scenes for the video. I've been working hard with the online side of the band and getting our presence felt all over the world. We're now on Number One Music which is a brilliant website promoting original new music across the globe. It allows us to write newsletters, post videos and music and generally get ourselves out to a wider audience. Which, as far as I can see is a great thing!! I've been twittering on my personal account too, which has seen an increase in traffic, so all a good thing.

The music side, well, Graeme worked really really hard and has condensed The Who album Tommy down to half an hour for a gig we have this week. Its not been easy, not at all. In fact, he's put in so many hours, he really deserves some time off. However, its workable and is sounding great. We've even been working on harmonies, just to add an extra dimension to the duo, hopefully there'll be more of that in the future too, but we'll see how it goes. We're playing for a great charity on Saturday called The Extra Guest (click on the link to find out more), hosted by the very lovely Moyra at The Hayes in Stone. Looking forward to playing this spooky venue. We're also opening for a folk act on Thursday at the Beer Festival, which should be a good one. We played last years Beer Festival and it was enormous fun, so be really chuffed to play again. A few other gigs coming up, though we still have a few slots for the end of the year and are taking bookings into next year now too. So, if you want us to play for you, better get in quick!!

Rightio, that's it from me for now.. Take care, check out the links and I'll see you soon
x

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Summers Almost Gone...where will we be, when the summers gone?

To quote Jim Morrison (no doubt much to the chagrin of Graeme, who doesn't like The Doors)... I however, rather like them and seeing as I write the blog, tough.. lol

Gosh things have been really busy in  the Rain camp again, including exciting things and that. So much to tell you from the past month really and I kind of don't know where to start. So I'll start at the very beginning (its a very good place to start)...

8th August

We ventured 'Darn Sarf', taking ourselves off for a working holiday. I can't say too much, but I will anyway.. in order to begin filming a video for one of our songs!! Graeme came up with the idea of us being in period costume, seeing as the song relates to pressganging and the Battle of Trafalger, I'll leave it there as I don't want to give too much away, other than it was flipping hard work! We were blessed with the end of Hurricane Bertha, which added lots of blusteriness to the proceedings and well, made things very interesting.. Here's a little cobbled together piece of video made from stills from the shoot, just to give you a taster of what's to come.

video

I will say that I enjoyed myself throughout the shoot, not sure Graeme enjoyed it.. But, its the price you pay for being an artiste!

While on our sojourn we played 3 very different Open Mic nights, the first was at The Brewery Bar in Botley, which was well attended and the level of professionalism was outstanding. The calibre of musicianship was outstanding...Including a young girl who is definately destined for big things (who's name escapes me now!). The second one was at the Barn, which is a venue attached to a pub (who's name also escapes me), a rather different affair, but we were well received which was nice. The third was at The Fountain Inn, Rowlands Castle, a quieter affair, but still enthusiastic and full of talent. Overall the South East is littered with Open Mics/Acoustic nights and they're well worth checking out if you find yourself down there.

Back to gigs...

Saturday 24th August - Lightfest
Lightfest was the first in a series of fundraisers for The Birmingham Children's Hospital, held in the brand spanking new village of Lightmoor in Shropshire. Anyone who tries to find it will be challenged, including us, we went around in a circle to start with, then managed to safely arrive after a swift call to the organisers. We played in the village square outside the very lovely 'Home' cafe (you simply have to try their food, its amazing!!!) We played our usual repertoire and were well received then stayed for the main act who were the very lovely 'Driftwood'.. a kind of folk/rock affair, with stunning harmonies, and melodic flute. They were also really lovely people and keen to chat too, we discovered that we had 2 songs the same in our set, but as our approaches were different, we kept them in. Looking forward to more events put on by this lovely village and its people.


Saturday 30th August - The Boughey Arms Music and Beer Festival
We were called in to headline the Music and Beef Festival at last minute, but that was fine for us, we love The Boughey and always go down well there, which is encouraging. This night was no exception. We decided to dish out the singalongs, which got everyone cheering and singing along... A group of rather rowdy young men arrived, somewhat worse for wear, but we managed to keep them in check until they left. Bless.. the folly of youth! We had to wrap up the night as my voice started to pack up, thankfully it seems to have recovered, must have just been an 'off' day. Looking forward to going back again..

Saturday 6th September - Golden Lion, Middlewich
Our first outing to Middlewich and the lovely Golden Lion. We received a very warm welcome, but discovered that someone in the village had a 60th birthday party, our punters very kindly apologised and said they looked forward to seeing us again. However, we were left with 4 very enthusiastic audience members, who were amazed it was so quiet. Apparently a bunch of folks had gone on holiday too. The crowd that were there enjoyed what we did, which is always nice to hear and hopefully we'll be going back again to play to a relatively full house (with a bit of luck!)

Sunday 7th September - Music Wirks - Wirksworth Arts Festival
Taking ourselves off to the Derbyshire peaks for this wonderful Festival is always a delight for us. We gained 3 slots (and were told the venues were 'fighting' over us.. ) playing at Hatfield Farm, The Stable Block and The Star Disc, playing to a moving crowd can be challenging, but we here love a challenge. Encouraging people to stay and listen is hard, when people generally are milling about looking for the art on display and following the famous Art Trail. Hatfield Farm was our first slot, playing in the drive, luckily no-one wanted to drive down it, so we were safe. We then played The Stable Block, which we've now played 3 years in a row and spotted the Radio 2 DJ Mark Radcliffe along with his missus and a couple of friends. Graeme scolded me after, as I 'should have shouted him and given him a CD'... Oh well, there's always next year! lol. The Star Disc was our last session of the day, played at an amazing spot high above the village, in the sunshine, we caught up with our old friend from Wirksworth, Brian, who performed there earlier in the day and who managed to not leave the Star Disc all day! lol. It was a gorgeous day weather wise, they always seem to do it on a good weekend, which is possibly, just sheer luck.

More stuff coming up, more gigs and the video!!

Just you wait, its going to be great!


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Time flies by when you're the driver of a train... or not.. as the case may be.

Flipping heck!!!

How long since the last blog post?????

"Far too long" , I hear you cry!!,
Gosh, we've had such a busy time of it catching up with the blog has been the least of our worries..

From releasing the CD, its been a steady stream of gigs, working on other projects and well, generally being very very busy!! We're not complaining, no, we're not. Its good to be busy.

Saturday 17th May - The Boughey Arms, Audlem
Well, a welcome return for us at The Boughey, always a good night, and this one definitely was.. A favourite of ours, as well you know..

Sunday 18th May - The Gresley Arms - Folk and Ale Festival 
The Gresley held their usual Folk and Ale Festival, but this year arranged the event themselves, we were there along with Esther Brennan, sharing her new toy with us as part of Brennan and Buchanan, always very lovely to see them and the evening was taken by ever wonderful Slippery Hill Boys.. so all in all a great little festival, well attended, the sun was shining and the beer flowing.. 

Saturday 31st May - The Fox, Elworth, Sandbach
First time for us at The Fox in Elworth. A delightful venue with a lovely crowd and a very welcoming manager. We're not their usual kind of act, but that's OK, as you take a chance sometimes and sometimes it pays off. Was a nice place to play. 

Saturday 7th June - Wirksworth Farmers Market
Invited back by Brian, who is a stalwart of the music scene in Wirksworth, we played once more at the Farmer's Market. Always an appreciative crowd there, even when it started to rain. The usual jokes about weather started. But we were dry under our tarpaulin. The rain drove people away.. but not our rain.. ;-)

Saturday 14th June - The White Hart, Tean
Returning to the White Hart, in the middle of the World Cup.. the White Hart, usually teeming with people took a while to fill up, but it did eventually.. Our usual friends were in and it was delightful to be able to play some requests from last time for them, which, as you would expect, went down really well! Back there in December folks.. 

Saturday 28th June - Royal Exchange Beer Festival, Stone
Michelle, who manages The Royal Exchange is an amazing lady, she worked so hard to put together the Beer Festival at St Dominic's Centre in Stone. She really deserved the award she has just won for her pub.. Anyway, we played during the afternoon, we should have played outside, but opted for inside due to the weather looking a bit ropey. As I said, we should have played outside, because the sun came out and everyone sat outside.. not because of the music, but because it was such a lovely day!! Never mind.. we enjoyed playing there anyway and it was nice to see a few folk singing along as well plus a few faces from the Lymestone Brewery Festival earlier in the year.. 

Saturday 12th July - Alsager Festival
So nice to be invited back to play the Alsager Festival, which is an absolute 'must go to' event for anyone who loves music.. There was 4 stages this year, the acoustic stage, the main stage, the Greenway Stage and the SOPHIE stage.. each one delivering different music to different audiences.
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Here's picture of us doing what we do at Alsager.. spot the flowery dress, cos it was hot and sunny again!!
Its a free event, with loads of things to see and do.. so is a must for families.. Really looking forward to 2015's event too!!

Saturday 14th July - The Red Lion Nantwich  
You know when you book something months in advance and you get a reminder a couple days before.. well that is what happened to us!! I thought the gig had been cancelled by Graeme, Graeme couldn't remember and luckily the very lovely Sam called me and asked if we were still free.. Of course we said "yes" and promptly threw the gear in the car for a lovely night out at The Red Lion.. We threw in some more new songs and had a jolly good night.. We all enjoyed it and we'll be back in September! 

Thursday 31st July - The Greyhound Penkhull - Acoustic Night
Shh, don't tell anyone, but did you know, in our spare time and when we're asked, we can be available to run Open Mic/Acoustic Nights.. The very lovely Paul Gibson asked if we wouldn't mind running it, and how could we refuse? We love The Greyhound and had a stonking night in there, loads of players turned up and made it a night to remember. 

Saturday 2nd August - The Boughey Arms 
I've told you before about how much we love the Boughey.. well, we were invited back to play.. so , again, we couldn't refuse.. etc etc.. A lovely night, as it was also the bosses wife's birthday, so she was in with her friends, singing along to the tunes we played and generally having a brilliant night.. 
We'll be back there again soon.. ;-)

Sunday 3rd August - The Red Bull Music afternoon
Organised by the ever lovely Slippery Hill Boys as a thank you to the landlord of The Red Bull, Church Lawton, we were invited down to do a set in the sunshine, by the canal. Made a real change sitting under a parasol, sipping a cool drink and watching the boats go by as we were listening to the dulcet tones of the SHB.. A few other acts joined us, a lovely girl called Emily, who writes her own songs, the very lovely Graham Dawson, who was joined on stage by SHB, which filled out his songs brilliantly.. and Hayley Strangelove and Baxter.. who were their usual boisterous selves..A really lovely afternoon, chance to catch up with a few folk and sit basking..

More to come.. when we've played them..

Ta taa for now.. 


Monday, 2 June 2014

April Showers and the Merry Month of May

Phew!!

April and May have been hectic to say the least with lots of gigs and general Rain stuff...I'd better get on with it then, eh?

Wednesday April 2nd, The Swan Inn, Stone
A wonderful return trip to a very lovely watering hole in Stone, as ever the locals had a great night and the not so locals were friendly too, chatting about Who songs with a couple of Telecoms engineers and general chit chat with another couple at the bar.. This really is a very friendly venue and so lovely to play.. I simply can't recommend it enough. We performed well and went down well, which is really what its all about...

Saturday 5th April - Rode Hall Farmers Market
After playing in November and it was cold and rainy, we thought we'd spy our chance with a lovely spring morning at Rode Hall... and guess what? It flipping well rained, rained and then rained some more... the pun being entirely intended. We were sharing a gazebo with the very lovely Raggedy Anne, who makes the most amazing headgear and knitted stuff.. each minute bought a new challenge of trying not to get the gear wet.. We played superbly under the circumstances and thoroughly enjoyed it, the tea stall bringing us hot cups of tea certainly helped, as did the bread donation by London Road Bakehouse, graciously received.. Its really something different to play there and really lovely.. Just a pity the weather was poor.. Oh well, can't pick the weather. Our gear ended up a little soggy, but our spirits weren't dampened.

Sunday 6th April - The Berwick, Sneyd Green
Oh dear...we've all done it, played to an empty room. The landlady was terribly apologetic and really was very lovely about the whole thing. In fact the pub was empty anyway, which was a tragedy for them too. One very lovely lady did come through and watch the last few songs and was enormously supportive, finding out that she was a fellow musician after was cool. She explained she was a drummer with punk band, and really enjoyed our set, getting up on the keyboards to show how she could play a couple of classical pieces that she learned by ear!! At least we managed to get home early after a hectic weekend!

Saturday 19th April - The Royal Exchange, Stone
From and empty pub to a relatively full one. The Royal Exchange, a new venue for us, was another lovely venue to play. Michelle, the landlady runs a tight ship (its a Titanic Brewery pub, you see.. lol) and the assembled crowd were in strong voice, singing along to some of their favourites, we have been invited back to do their Beer Festival in June, which bodes well.. definately a great night.

Saturday 26th April - Freedom Feed'em cafe, Longton
The Freedom Feed'em Cafe is a brilliant idea, and serves the people of Longton simply scrumptious food and only as for 'what you can afford to pay'... which is very noble, staffed by enthusiastic volunteers it made a pleasant change to play there. We played acoustically and were joined in on a couple of songs by a few folks.. which was nice.. We were supplied with ample cups of tea and in our break were fed a delightful Veg Biriani with rice and apple crumble for pudding. Its nice to see something good for the people of Longton and to see it so well attended too.

Saturday 3rd May - The White Lion, Penkhull
Another return trip to The White Lion in Penkhull, another favourite of ours with a great crowd, including some of our friends who turned up to lend their support, which, as always is gratefully received. It was good to hear some feedback for some of the new songs in the set and just simply a smashing night!

Sunday 4th May - The Lymelight Festival, Newcastle under Lyme
A relatively new festival held in the centre of the town and one to watch.. There was a full size outdoor stage, which was nice to play on, tbh, and the everso lovely Nigel on the sound desk, with Clive, who's gear it was.. made sure our sound was perfect, even when we had a glitch and lost the sound, they were swift in their execution to put it right. We played to the few people milling around, and waved to Viv from Lymestone Brewery, who was frantically putting up the beer tent ready for the hoards of people who were promised to arrive. Being the first on has its pluses.. means you can get off stage early and get on with the day, the downside is not many people were there.. however, those who were there seemed to enjoy what we did, so it was a success, imho. Vouchers were handed to us to get a free drink from the Hippy Hippy Shake co. or Lymestone Vaults... It was a tad early for a beer.. so I made do with a rather tasty blueberry smoothie, which was divine...

Saturday 17th May - The Boughey Arms, Audley
A last minute booking at The Boughey, another favourite venue, meant that we were caught on the hoof, as it were. Still, we managed to set up and perform our usual delightful range of songs for the assembled crowd. A number of diners were in, sampling the fine foods served there and a couple of people who'd been there all afternoon, who stayed to chat. It was nice to be back there, hopefully we'll be back again before the year's out.

Sunday 18th May - Gresley Folk and Ale Festival, Alsagers Bank
Having played this event last year, it was lovely to be invited back to play again this year. However, things had changed, last year there was a rolling stream of acts, this year, not so many.. however it didn't quell the spirits of the people in attendance, who were joyfully entertained. Was nice to catch up with a couple of fellow musicians too, Tim from the Slippery Hill Boys and Ian Buchanan and Esther Brennan (who followed us), plus assorted people who listened from the Beer Garden (who were taking advantage of the weather and soaking up the rays while sampling the fine ales.. Definately a good gig and well worth waiting for.

Sunday 25th May - The Horseshoe, Crewe
Another short notice arranged gig, at this delightful Robinson's house in Crewe, arranged by the lovely John, who had seen us previously at The Nags Head and decided we were the right folk for the job. The landlady and her family took front row seats and bopped along and sang along to a large proportion of the set and certainly seemed entertained, much applause followed, and a mystery guest in the guise of Mr Kev Orbisounds in the audience ensured that this will be one we won't forget easily.

Saturday 31st May - The Fox, Elworth
Elworth, for those of you that don't know lies just outside Sandbach and was easier to find than Googlemaps suggested, thankfully Graeme was at the wheel and knew where it was. The Fox is a really really nice looking pub, its recently been modernised and it definately shows. However, trying to sing when you have a cold isn't easy, so a few bum notes were hit tonight, which I'm not proud of, but the show has to go on!! We were made very welcome by Graham and Sally and yes, a few of the crowd were reminiscing as they sang along.. which is a good sign. We were greeted at the end by a lively fellow, rather the worse for wear and who danced in front of us, suggesting that we try "You've Got to Show Me Love".. duly noted, though getting the chords to a dance track may prove tricky...

That's the gig round-up for April/May.. what else??

Well we have loads of ideas in the pipeline, including video shoots, new songs, new cover songs and, well, just loads of stuff...

We've also been confirmed for Alsager Festival in July and Cloggerfest in August.. which we know are going to be great events!!! More gigs coming up.. so just keep your eyes peeled!

Until next time... tatty bye..






Wednesday, 30 April 2014

We're on the radio in Scotland!

Yes folks, you read that correctly. I have some lovely friends who moved to Scotland many moons ago and now they do a little radio show.. and have decided to include some of the Rain songs in their show..

Here's a link: http://www.mixcloud.com/edradio/through-the-seasons-show-12/

Obviously there's been other stuff that we've been doing recently, but this is quite contemporary with the season...

Enjoy..

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The Mad Month of March

Hi folks.. Its been a while since I blogged.. Just  getting busier and busier, as is the wont of any musician during the warmer months. Gigs getting booked, Festivals being arranged and well.. all manner of exciting stuff underway. Our CD was released at the end of February and have been finding their way off to new homes... Really must see how many we have left.. Oh, another time...

Onto the gigs..

Saturday 1st March
Saw a welcome return to The Greyhound in Penkhull, having recently changed ownership and brought about some welcome changes with the new management, it is, once more a delightful venue to play. We were rather pleased to see a load of our friends at this one, our first 'local' gig for a while. We barraged the audience with a load of new covers, which all went down well.. and as seems to be the habit in The Greyhound the dancers enjoyed it too.. We put it down to Stoke having won that day, but it was nice to be appreciated by a lovely crowd and to see so many friends there. We started a game of 'guess the song/artist'.. which went down well with everyone.. and it prevented getting mobbed on stage and asked the usual 'who's this by?' questions. One table got 4 points and were well chuffed with themselves.. and quite rightly so!

Saturday 15th March
An early doors gig at The Lymestone Brewer 20/20 Beer Festival was simply wonderful.. We'd sneaked in early the night before to watch Sons of Clogger perform their delightful blend of roguery and charm, which they did with their usual aplomb, so knew what we were letting ourselves in for.. Including making some new friends and meeting up with some old ones who promised to come along.. Saturday arrived and as it was an 'early doors' gig, we set up early.. the Beer Festival was already in full swing, ale was being quaffed and we got to performing. Despite the brilliance of the venue, with its wonderful high ceiling.. it was freezing!! Now, something I didn't realise is that fine ales need to be in a cold climate.. I thought the warmer the better, but that would just explain my lack of knowledge of brewing.. Apart from the cold, it was a stunning event to play at, everyone there was happy, as the early evening descended and the sun set, the crowds began to arrive, no doubt fed up with shopping and needing a night out. We certainly received a warm response from everyone, and enjoyed every second of the acoustics of the room! We were followed by Elvis Fontenot and the Sugarbees.. who are a 'must see' band.. playing a blend of Cajun and Zydeco beats to get everyone dancing.. had I not damaged my knee a few days prior.. I'd have got up and danced away too..

Friday 21st March

Took us to the Flying Lady in Crewe.. Before I start, I should tell you, I'd had a migraine for a few days before the gig, so wasn't at my best, but was prepared to soldier on.. Graeme packed the car.. I followed him out.. arrived at the gig, unpacked the gear... "Where's the mic stand?"... We were running late anyway, so poor Graeme had to drive all the way back to Stoke to retrieve said stand. I was unpopular.. Its part of my gear and I forgot it.. I glanced on my way out at the corner where it was propped up and it never registered with me. I was in trouble.. 20 mins to the start and we'd no mic stand. Ordinarily with a standard mic, it wouldn't be too bad, but with my huge whopping heavy thing.. no chance, I'd have no arms left.. so the mic stand was needed. Graeme finally arrived back and we just plugged in without sound checking first... Graeme's pedal board was playing up, people were complaining they could hear the vocals.. We finally got it sorted when we took a short break.. By which time we were both feeling less than our best, but soldiered on through the second set, determined to carry on... With apologies to the venue, and clientele, who were very good about it really. Not one of our best gigs.. But any musician will tell you, 'we all have bad gigs'... :-(

Saturday 22nd March
To make up for being late the day before, we set out extra early for our show at The Black Swan in Leek, only to be told by Pam.. 'You don't need to go on until 9.30'.. Which meant having to prop the bar up.. which is a hard job, obviously. Was lovely again to see some friendly faces turn up to see us.. the one thing about being a musician that sucks, is the majority of your friends are also musicians, and therefore, actually having a full house of people that know you is rare indeed. Usually Friday and Saturday, which are generally gig nights, tend to be when everyone's working and therefore, not available to come and see you.. However, we had two groups of musician friends in, which was nice.. Charlie (from Crawlin' From the Wreckage) had played a gig earlier on and had sneaked in later, whereas Terry and Sharon turned up early and went elsewhere, as they weren't sure what time we were on!... Saturday was a much better night than the night before, we played well, sang well, and generally had a really lovely gig, even getting thanked for including a song which was a personal favourite of one of the girls in the crowd.. who said "I've never heard anyone do that before.. it was brilliant"

So, that's the gigs up to date..
Don't forget you can still get a copy of the album through Ebay, should you wish.. and we are preparing to get everything ready for downloads too.. Just we needed to fill in some forms and send some stuff off and are in the process of getting that ready.. Seeing as so many of you have moved on from actual 'L.P's' and cassettes onto 'downloads' we figured we would have to bring ourselves into the 21st century kicking and screaming. Don't worry, I shall blog it to death once its done!






Wednesday, 26 February 2014

February made me shiver... well, not quite...

"February made me shiver, with every paper I delivered..." sung Don Maclean in American Pie.. But it didn't for us.. why not?? Because we've been far to busy to get cold! While we've been hard at it finishing off the CD, approving artwork, mixes and the like, we've also been attending Open Mics and generally getting ourselves out there a bit, working on new projects with other people and just generally staying out of mischief!

I can now tell you that I have in possession some very lovely CD's... 


Yes.. that's right, our first album 'Life in a Landscape' is now available.. We're so excited to be able to bring this to you as a completed 'thing', its been a long time in the making as we have spent a fair amount of time working on this throughout 2013/14, taking songs from their raw acoustic form and bringing a full musical vista to you. Its had blood, sweat and tears poured into it.. all we hope is that you like it. 

We'd like to thank so many people for taking part in this.. I think we may do a separate piece on that.

Anyway, there you go.. the CD is out now!!

So other news from our camp...

Friday 14th February
Took us to The Express in Crewe, not a venue we've played before, so we were excited to get ourselves in there and do what we do. It being Valentines Day, we kept the set full of romantic classics, all of which went down really well with the assembled crowd.. Even bumped into someone who'd seen us in previous times at The Nags Head, was lovely to catch up with him again.. if only I could remember his name! lol It was nice to play on a stage area, proving that Crewe has several venues for live bands (The Nags Head and The Imp being a couple of other places we've played in the past), proving that this Cheshire Town is still a good place to play for many bands. Thoroughly enjoyed our night there.. here's hoping we can return

Saturday 15th February
We sidled over to Tean and played The White Hart.. once more a lovely welcome from a fantastic venue, landlord and crowd. Its a joy to play The White Hart as Andy, the landlord, is a real music lover, as are his clientele.. which shows in their appreciation. The evening started sedately enough, there was a birthday party in the function room, with disco,etc, so most of the folk were up there. However, during our second set the place livened up with the party moving downstairs and the singing of Happy Birthday to one of the regulars.. (done in a blues style.. just cos we can!) Encore followed encore, as we feared that we wouldn't be allowed to leave.. all in good fun though. The White Hart is definately a good place to check out anyway, with a great menu, real ales and a warm and friendly atmosphere. 

We're also going to be rehearsing some new covers for the set.. We've had a few requests and rather than say.. 'nah'.. we're going to give them a go and smother them in a bit of Rain magic. 

Anyway, hope you like the CD.. if you've heard it, then please let us have some feedback, we're interested in what you think about it. If you've not heard it yet, then you'll have to just grab a copy from us when you see us! :-) 

Take care lovely people..

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

The mix is final!!

Well well well.. its looking like the time we've spent in the studio mixing and mixing has paid off. We've now agreed that the mixes for the forthcoming cd are final.. We've dotted the 'i's' and crossed the 't's' and its sounding brilliant. We decided to spend our time in January being productive.. and its definately paid off.

The final studio session on 24th January went more smoothly than expected, just running through and nipping and tucking here and there to finalise the mixes.. realising that when you hear something 10 times, it has to be right. There's a school of philosophy that suggests it should be "right first time"..which would technically make life easier in the long run, but, imho, makes it slightly dull.. there's something about hearing the variations in the various takes, the somewhat slightly out of synch pieces, which brings and adds colour to the piece, making happy accidents along the way.

We've used the studio as our third band member really, only when we had the basic tracks down were we then able to get creative and 'see' what the songs needed to give them a full and productive life.. rather like feeding and nurturing the songs to allow them to develop their full potential. Its the creative process in full flow.. with there only being two of us, its not always easy at first to hear what a song can become, only by getting it down, and hearing it back have we found additional pieces, decided on the theme of the song and coloured it in as each song starts out as a sketch and develops over time to become what you hear live, then in the studio it develops its wings!

So, we're now flying... we're awaiting the masterful and supremely creative Jon Aldersea to create the cover for us, then we'll be sending it off to get it produced and will hopefully have some available to buy soon. Don't worry.. we'll keep you updated!!

Gigs.. well, its been a bit quiet.. the start of the year normally is, tbh, but as I've already said, we've put our time to good use, spending it in the studio. Things will pick up, as they inevitably do.

Saturday 25th January - Rubber Soul Session, The Roebuck, Leek

Having played the Rubber Soul Session at The Old Brown Jug, we asked Rob if he'd slot us in for the Roebuck in Leek, as well.. and what a superb evening it was. Kicked off with the local lad Dom Morgan, who sung his usual brand of covers and originals for the assembled crowd (and what a crowd, standing room only!).. we followed doing a set of original numbers, all of which went down well. We were followed by Jacey Rayne a lovely girl doing an acoustic set, very powerful voice and excellent songs (she's going a long way.. ) A bot of stage jostling and moving equipment around brought us Faux Pas a bunch of guys from Keele, who have a kind of Franz Ferdinand thing going on, though I suspect they were a touch loud, but good at what they do.. followed by the excellent Longwave, who's sort of Prog rock/New wave/whatever sound carried us off into the night. For a three piece, they certainly sound like they have a lot more going on. So, it was a great night, a chance to catch up with old friends (The Longwave) and new friends made, made it a much welcomed great night out.

Right, that about wraps it up for another blog... I wish I could give you a date for the CD release.. promo versions should be ready in a couple of weeks (for radio stations and venues).. then its only a matter of time before the real life, all singing, not much dancing CD is ready.. Can't wait.


Saturday, 18 January 2014

Studio musings...

I promised myself that I wasn't going to blog anything yet.. But I'm bursting to tell you how excited I am about the CD.
We spent last night (17/01/14) Mixing again at Tremolo Studios. Going through each song, tweaking things like reverb and volume levels and generally scrutinising it to find any slight blips that can be ironed out (or erased).. It really is something watching Dan work, he listens intently with a very fine tuned ear if you suggest "this doesn't sound right".. .or"There's an extra note there"... and will swiftly, like a bird of prey swoop into the mix and pull it out and work his magic. With a light touch he tweaks levels..and we discussed amongst ourselves as to whether we (by that I mean Graeme and myself), find it suitable. "No, needs little less reverb".. "Oh now the volume needs dropping".. "No, that's too much, you can't hear the.... (insert whatever can't be heard)". So we discussed, decided and now have a load of tracks to listen to again, to see if we've managed to iron out the wrinkles.

One song, we really thought we would have to spend all night on, re-recording vocals and adding flourishes and.. well, pretty much everything too, was listened to in isolation. The recording booth was set up for the vocals, Dan played the first few bars... and... "Hold on, do you want to come and listen to this in here first?".. The words came through my headphones from Dan. "Yeah, its sounding OK to me".. I uttered as I slid off the headphones and sloped back into the control room. We listened to the whole song, there were gorgeously presented vocal lines with lovely harmonies where I was expecting some snot fueled gobbledegook. I was certain I'd had the sniffles when I'd recorded the vocal lines.. yet, hearing it last night, I realised that it didn't need doing.. It was perfect just the way it was... How very strange. So as to make full use of the time we set to adding in the rest of the instrumentation. Building it up from the bottom.. "It needs something, its too.. samey" suggested Graeme, "Maybe remove the guitars and bass from the start"... Suddenly it was taking shape.. half way through I suggested "Tympani"... Dan set to work adding in some Tympani (I know, I know... using digitised sounds.. But it was all played in, as if we'd had real Tympani... Just without the struggle of getting a set from somewhere and struggling to get it into the studio!).. "Put some more of the oboe here".. "Yeah, now drop the bass in".. The song was taking on its own life, as each of them do. "I'm going to do this effect".. "I don't think it'll work".. a stalemate.."Trust me, its going to sound great".. "Hmm, not sure"... levels were balanced and yes.. I could see what was happening.

I'm not going to name any of the tracks and what we've worked on now, because I want to wait until the final versions are ready. Some people will love it, some people will no doubt hate it.. But you know, it doesn't matter, because its the work of everyone who is a part of it, in whatever way. How I look at it, you can go into the studio and record the songs as they're played, and that works for many bands and many people and I think they're brilliant. Then there are some songs that come to life and come into their own when they have studio production and extra instruments can be added, they become more than what they start out as and develop little lives of their own. With different producers, you get different sounds. With different musicians you get different music. I'm not saying every song has to have heaps of production, some stay simple, but when you have the toolbox of a studio at your disposal, why not pull out a few toys and have a play with the sound, its how albums like Seargent Pepper developed. I'm not suggesting we're anything like the Beatles, cos we're not, but that the toys are there to be played with, if you like, there's no pressure to use them, but its nice to know they're there.

Right, better get listening to the rushes.. and see what it all sounds like now.
Hopefully its sounding good.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

January..I'm sure there's a song about you somewhere

Hi folks.

Well We're well into January and the frenzy for booking gigs is underway.. We have some nice ones coming up, but we're not going to tell you just yet.. Cos we want them to be a surprise. Well, that, and we know with things in this current climate that the pub trade is deeply affected, with venues closing left right and centre... What can we do about it?? We can support our local music scene all the more... And that's kind of how we've kicked off 2014..by popping along and seeing other people perform, attending Open Mic nights and generally getting out there when we can.

Without a local music scene, there would be no national music scene and, well, no music being played outside of people's homes. There's nothing better than hearing live music, its thrilling, exciting and just as much fun for the people on the stage as in the audience. I will say that of course not every band is to everyone's taste and that's a good thing. If every band were the same, if all musicians played the same way, if all singers sounded the same, wouldn't it be boring??? I prefer to live in a place where there is an infinate variety of music, played by an awesome range of people, all putting in the hours to perfect their techniques and develop their style. I might not like all of it, but I like some of it and that's a start.

So, back to Rain.. well, we popped along to The Blacksmiths Arms in Alton to attend their Open Mic, a lovely affair organised by Geoff Smith.. a really nice bloke, with a penchant for Willie Nelson... It was a great night, jamming with some of the guys and thoroughly enjoying ourselves.. a reminder of why we do it.. because its fun.

Anyway back to real Rain stuff.. the CD... eeek.. Its coming along so well, on Saturday 11th we popped into Tremolo to carry on the long job of mastering the songs... We'd mastered a couple on our last visit, so we got stuck into the rest... Dan tweaking and twiddling to our request.. "Put a bit of reverb on that bit"... "No too much, can we turn that down?"... "Can we drop this bit out, but bring it up at this bit"... We listened  and listened and mastered away. We  were joined later by Katharine, who has already put brass on two tracks, but we felt we needed some on a third, and she,as always, didn't disappoint, coming up with a truly delightful piece that has really brought the song together. We were finally ushered out at 11pm, with 8 tracks mastered.. Just two more to complete and master, then the exciting stuff begins, with the design work of Jon Aldersea, adding his magic to the proceedings. Its all getting a bit real now. Its taken nearly a year so far of gigging, writing, recording and the like, its hard to believe the end is nearly here and we'll finally have a copy of our CD.

So, lots going on behind the scenes, I've written something close to 19-20 songs that require the Beardmore treatment, due to his amazing ability to transform a rough sketch into something beautiful. So this year will no doubt involve us airing those at some point.. But not until the CD is finished!! So, you'll just have to be patient!

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Happy 2014!!!

Well folks, the New Year is well and truly under way and I thought it time to update the blog.. Been busy over the festive period, doing the family thing, eating and drinking far too much and having a general lovely time with friends and family. However, it meant that little things like blog updates were put aside for a while... Though we did share "Boatswains Call" with you as a sneaky peek at the CD.. You can expect music that sounds at least as good, if not better than that, with a wide range of styles and substance..

So what did we do during the rest of December, I hear you ask.. well, here goes:

Thursday 19th December - The Imp, Crewe

Acoustic gigs are on Thursday evenings at The Imperial (The Imp) in Crewe, and we were really pleased to be able to play there, having heard so many good things about the place. The place was rather busy when we arrived, so we unpacked , set up.. then received apologies. A large group of folks were off on their work's Christmas meal, but were apologising profusely, they'd seen the sound check and wanted to stay.. But had tables booked.. Ahh, well, such is the way, sometimes. However, those that were left got into the swing of things nicely, singing along to some old favourites and some of the new covers.. receiving rapturous applause and plenty of interactions with the assembled groups.. Mainly discussion over who the song was by. I've wondered if it might be an idea to hold a "pop quiz", to see if anyone can guess and maybe give away a prize to the person with the most answers.. Then again, maybe not.. Its not about pop quiz, but about performing the music. The bar person was most accomodating, supplying us with an ice bucket with some cider in.. which was most appreciated and rather sweet. Overall a really lovely gig was had there.

Things went a bit quiet over the Festive period, as is the way sometimes, so it just meant lots of time spent with family instead, which has its bonuses and has made up for the busier times of the year.

Tuesday 31st December - New Years Eve - The Shroppie Fly

We'd initially approached The Shroppie Fly with a view to getting a gig in 2014, and were really stunned when Tracy asked if we could do New Years Eve!! Considering we'd not done a lot during December, we jumped at the chance.. New Years Eve is a kind of Golden gig date for a lot of people, and now, we had been asked if we could do it.. How could we refuse?? We didn't.
We rolled up there early, in order to set up before it got busy and were welcomed by the staff, who went out of their way to accomodate us. We knew we were in for the long haul, so with sets sorted we began the evening. The crowd in the Shroppie Fly were brilliant, such a delightful place to play... Lots of people singing along to the covers they knew, our original material well received and simply a really lovely, chilled night. During our breaks we received lots of very positive compliments, which is always nice to hear and is the main justification for doing it. Knowing that you can do something well really inspires confidence. We were slightly disconcerted at around 11.30, when the pub emptied... literally two or three people left.. then we overheard someone say something about the firework display.. We continued playing, and ended shy of midnight, when the firework display was in full swing, illuminating everywhere with greens, reds and bright whites. The chimes of Big Ben on the TV screen, Gary Barlow and friends singing Auld Lang Syne.... a perfect end to 2013 and a huge welcome to 2014.

What will 2014 bring for us??
Well, our resolutions are:

1) To bring you even more excellent music
2) To bring you our CD.. all finished and ready to buy
3) To play even more gigs than we did in 2013
4) To just keep going from strength to strength
5) To work on some more new music to bring you some excellent new and original material and some classic covers just to keep you on your toes.

Happy 2014 everyone.. Hope it brings you all that you wish for...