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Maybe I think too much for my own good

July 5, 2009

The dust has settled and the audience has moved on. Meanwhile I’m coming to terms with a little achievement.

I should be pleased. I am. But shouldn’t I be more pleased ?

Last Thursday so many people turned up to the gig I organized. More than I expected. Flattered and touched. Genuinely. However I’m a little pissed off with the venue because the PA system was inadequate. Nobody complained though a couple of people who would know these things did agree with me that it wasn’t good enough.

I have to let this go. So many things went well: I didn’t fuck up, I’m guessing some folk liked my songs, the video thing was interesting. Most of all: I Did It !!

Next gig there’ll be something else I’m not 100% happy with. Is it always going to be this way ? Probably. Better get used to it.

The ‘folktronica’ thing isn’t really happening. I write concise songs and they don’t lend themselves to un-natural extension. That’s not to say I won’t try again with 1 or 2 songs in the future. By the autumn/winter/spring I’ll have more gig-ready songs. I think that’s the reason why I went for the extended versions this time around: to fill out the gig.

I wonder what people think when they see me play this stuff. Do they really like it or are they being polite ? If they’re being polite it’s bloody expensive and time consuming for them so I can only guess they really do like what I’m doing. My other fear is that this is not sustainable: will the novelty wear off ? Next spring when I’m trying to get people to go see me in Whelans (large well known Dublin venue) will they show up again or will I be playing to a handful of die-hards ?

I’m still going to do it though. Until someone says I’m biting off more than I can chew I will keep going. I can’t not do this.

I heard second hand that one of my songs (Bed For Sale) was praised by another songwriter I admire. So that’s two: Dan & Thomas Walsh. Good enough for me. My hunch that there’s a rich vein to mine there is right. I should trust myself an little more and use my own voice.

To that end I dug out a song I had been working on titled ‘Turning Blue’. It’s not a million miles away in tempo and feel from McCartney’s “Young Boy” and the colour imagery in the song is probably a bit simple but screw it. While goofing around with the song this evening another song came out. Having had too many glasses of wine to be disciplined about finishing it I might have a bit of a slog to get 2 more verses and a middle 8. Maybe not.

Perhaps when I start demo’ing these two songs with drums & bass & electric guitars the sounds will inspire me to finish the songs. Maybe they’re not meant to be finished yet.

Reflecting back on the set I played last Thursday I know what I’m doing right:
– picking a couple of cover versions and making them my own
– keeping the songs concise
– engaging with the audience
– keeping the show going no matter what is happening

Some of the songs just aren’t going to be keepers and that’s ok. At least I know they’re not and as soon as I have better material I’ll replace the songs one-by-one. Next time around I want to open with ‘Bed For Sale’

So to close, here’s a video clip from the gig with that very song. [Yes I know the bloody camera is cutting my head off… I set it up before the gig and didn’t have time to deal with the details.]

4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 5, 2009 11:01 pm

    Peter,Concise is good. The only real problem is the more concise the songs are, the more songs you need to fill the set. It's not easy to add extra original songs to a set in a hurry, so we're talking adding covers here for the time being. With your in-depth knowledge of music, I'm sure you can find some interesting and obscure songs to flesh out the set. I'd venture Jarvis Cocker as a suggestion for a source of good material.The other interesting thing about covers is the fact that you might be able to "cover" lyrical issues that you might perhaps be a little uncomfortable with in terms of writing lyrics yourself. The cover might in fact be a "cover" for your own thoughts. So now the word "cover" works on three levels. And counting…Regards,djp


  2. December 10, 2009 6:41 pm

    Hi Peter, I like the live version of "Bed For Sale", it seems to work better and is more immediate than the tracks I listened to on your MySpace..


  3. December 10, 2009 6:46 pm

    Cheers – I'm inclined to agree with you. Still defining my 'sound' and getting closer to "me".thanks for listening šŸ™‚


  4. February 20, 2011 10:09 am

    I think you’ve just got to do what you do because you can, because songwriting is fulfilling and rewarding in itself. If you feel good about what you do and get a good vibe from it then some other people will too. Don’t worry too much about those who don’t. We’ll never achieve 100 percent or perfection in sound, composition, set up etc. But we can give give 100 percent in delivery, performance, communicating with the audience (live or recorded), have fun and give fun! Doctor Tony!


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