Alone and Together…

The exhibition has come down now. It went well. I expect I will write more as I spend the next month or so evaluating and collating and putting together the images and video for a short documentary.

The making of the drawings is a solitary task, writing lyrics is a solitary task. Putting the exhibition together is a solitary task mostly… I had guidance and help yes, but the responsibility and decisions are mine alone.

So taking it all down, spending time to carefully wrap and label the work is an act of self care… saying thank you and goodbye for a while. I turn off the music, and look forward to listening to things other people have written and made decisions about.

The antidote to this solitary creativity is collaboration. Throughout the project I have been buoyed by the creativity of Michael Clarke, and the way he receives my offerings, it can make you feel very vulnerable, putting the early roots of ideas out for review and consideration. Trusting the person you give these things to is crucial.

So after a couple of late mornings and lazy starts to the days, still rather tired, I head for a band rehearsal last night. Working on things with the band is a different beast altogether. I feel held up, part of something bigger than my own ego desperate for attention… ha!… what becomes important is the whole… more than the sum of its parts. Harmony, a counter melody, rhythm, and the vibe of it all. How does this song make me feel? Small changes can refresh, make one song sit happily among the others… building a set… perfecting the small things that make something magical.

The Sitting Room playing at The Kitchen Garden Cafe, Birmingham from L to R Guest keyboard player Michael Clarke, with Andy Jenkins, John Kirkman, Elena Thomas, Lloyd Mckenzie, Ian Sutherland

With the permission of my co-writers and musicians Andy Jenkins and Ian Sutherland, I’m posting this rehearsal recording of just three of us playing Long Grass. It’s a song I wrote about my long childhood days in rural Worcestershire. Andy took it and gave it this evocative, gentle melody that also hold a tension that we know this idyll can’t last forever… it’s one of my favourite lyrics, and one of my favourites to sing. It’s a deceptively simple little song, that carries a lot of weight I think…

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