Tomorrow we record at Gloucester Guildhall. I've spent a lot of time there in the past two decades. It is where I met many of my favourite people and began friendships and long musical relationships with individuals. It is also the youngest of the buildings I've chosen to work in - just 128 years old. For 30 years it has been the place where touring bands (Oasis, Radiohead, Muse to name some of the most well-known off the top of my head) have played.
It was also where I began WIRED, the project which ran for 8 years, had an impact on hundreds of local young bands and helped formed the foundations for a lot of other local community music work that is still around today like The Music Works.
My wife asked me if I was excited yesterday about this month's sessions.
Not excited, thinking about it a lot, looking forward to it, anticipating it, but not excited - there's a mass of creativity and logistics to keep me busy today and tomorrow so I can't afford the energy to be excited! That sounds not quite right now I've typed it but I'm going to leave it there.
What I am excited about is meeting up with an old friend Stu, who I met at university in Lancaster 20 years ago. We formed a band together there and we are still the best of friends. He is a bass player and sings backing vocals too so I invited him to participate so he's made the trip (from the Isle of Wight) and will join my band mates from "The Long Bees"; Shane, who is putting his camera down for this one and taking on the role of drummer, Charlotte a great guitar player (who played in Bell Jar, with the Phil Beer Band and in Eden Burning) and Colin another terrific guitarist. Another extremely talented guitarist friend Charles Campbell (the uncle of Luke who played drums in December at the St Michael's Tower session) will be joining us so it will be a guitar fest! I'm not sure if I should also play a guitar so I expect I'll take my stage piano and play that.
Nikola Jurčáková will be making the film for this session. She is a 2nd year Film student at University of Gloucestershire and has been our runner, 2nd camera and all round brilliant assistant on the previous two sessions and Chris the film maker from the DeCrypt session in November will be our photographer.
The piece is called "Love Will Remain". Not shrinking away from a big topic for this one I wanted to write about Love and make some open ended suggestions about what I believe it/he/she is. So this one involves my personal faith and that of others. Eloise, the project artist, provided me with some poetry by Carole Ann Duffy, TS Eliot and RS Thomas as well as a couple of her own. I printed out these poems, pinned them to my whiteboard and read them aloud and stared at them for several days trying to distill something from my head that was along the lines of these amazing verses.
....and eventually I came up with something that describes my ambitious take on Love and some sort of core belief or faith that I hold dear but, like every other honest creative soul, I struggle to articulate. I have taken a line or two from each and played with the words making them scan to a piece of music I had written. Shane came up with the main melody and I created what I'm calling a "tangle" during the 2nd half of the piece where 8 different sung parts are overlaid one by one on top of each other. Eloise heard the demo and said it's like The Incredible String Band and prompted good memories of her dad playing cassettes of this group on family car journeys.
I'll be excited at the end of tomorrow. It's the process of getting a new team together to make these recordings and films and then working to finish them that is truly exciting. That I have to hold them back for a little while too is really difficult when I just want to share everything all the time. I'll definitely be excited when we launch it all in September.