Everything Came Crashing Down

This is not the easiest post to write. Yesterday marked four weeks since my Dad was taken into hospital as an emergency, with an unidentified illness and a fever spiking at 40 deg.  That’s why I haven’t posted for ages.

The trouble started at the beginning of October, but it took a while for it to become clear that something more serious than a stomach upset or mild food poisoning was going on and to persuade Dad to get seen. There had actually been a few signs Dad wasn’t well over the summer, but we’d put it down to him overdoing it, and he had seemed to get better.  Dad’s age seemed to accelerate – he seemed about 25 years older than his real age on the day we called the ambulance.

After a pretty thorough round of testing in A&E* and an ‘acute’ medical ward, we were initially told that Dad had cancer in multiple organs and ‘months’ to live, even though he was miles better than a few hours earlier. Then suddenly just over a week after that, the diagnosis was changed to ‘not cancer’ but ‘abscesses’ of an unknown cause.  The medical team were more surprised than we were – they said they’d not seen anything like it, and that a turnaround like this was very rare.  It started to feel like we were in the plot of an episode of House, MD, just without Hugh Laurie or his glamorous team of assistants.

Dad’s now been moved to a different ward in a different hospital in a different city and been prodded and poked and tested and scanned a whole lot more. Visiting hours are shorter and travel times are longer, but this hospital has the particular specialists Dad needs, if he is going to get better. We don’t know if he will fully recover, or if there will be long term damage, but there’s a lot of prayer and we’re hopeful. Dad hasn’t lost his sense of humour, although he’s seemed close a few times, and he says he’s ‘got more tubes than the Northern Line**’. He wants to be out before Christmas, but I’m not sure that’s going to be possible.

Because of what’s going on, my life is completely on hold just now, and the album release is going to be delayed until next year. Dad’s been talking about getting ill as ‘when everything came crashing down’, which seems pretty apt for what’s happened. I’m hoping for the rebuild to go well, though, even if it takes a while.

 

* That’s E.R. for my friends in the US

**London Underground pun-based Dad-joke. Not bad for someone in Dad’s current state of health.

 

 

I entered a song contest!

Drooble-Competition-Entry-Sept-2017Drooble – a social media site for musicians and music fans – are running a song competition at the moment. They have two prizes, one for most original song and the other for the song that gets the most votes.

I thought I might as well put an entry in – it can’t hurt, can it? So I have entered Sleepwalker.

Please could you vote for me & share this link with anyone else who you think might like the song?

THANK YOU!

P.S. (If you fancy joining me on Drooble and discovering a load of other indie artists, as well, here’s a link for joining, too.)

My Chilled Folk Music Playlist

Chilled Folk - a Spotify Playlist by Stoneygate

Every now and again I will hear something I like that just doesn’t fit into my other chillout playlists because it’s quite folky, so I had to start a new list to gather these pieces together. A particular highlights for me on this list are the songs from Uncut Pages, a British indie outfit with a songwriter that I know from way back near the start of my songwriting efforts, who now lives in the States with his wife, whose beautiful voice you will hear.

Which song is your favourite?

 

Just keep going until you get to the top

Just Keep Going Until You Get There

Album Progress Update

After a couple of weeks where I was getting a lot of other things done – like researching what to do if Soundcloud suddenly disappears (and actioning what I found out) – I’ve managed to make another dent in the heap of significant things-that-need-doing to finish a second album.

I recorded vocals for Solitude in Numbers and Niagara this evening and did some more work on the mix for Of Space And Time, one of the tracks from Tune-A-Day-June, as well as sorting out a few glaring problems with the backing track for Solitude in Numbers.  I haven’t reviewed the vocal takes for Niagara yet, so I may have to do that song again, but that won’t hurt – it’s a difficult song to sing, so practising it is a good idea. (Note to self: try to write some songs that you find a bit easier to sing… )

I’m not 100% sure that Of Space & Time will actually fit in with the rest of the album, as it’s steadily becoming more and more of a triphop album, but we’ll see. I might have to hold that one over for the next project, depending how weird the mix of tracks seems once I have enough tracks for some to be considered ‘spares’ towards the end.

As ‘No. 1 Fan’ was disappointed that I didn’t include Solitude in Numbers in the Sleepwalker album, I have sent her a mix to see what she thinks. (And to prove I’m really going to include it this time!)  It was one of the first tracks for the first album, and No. 1 Fan had heard my first mixes. I felt pretty bad about leaving it off when I saw her reaction, but it wasn’t in good enough shape to go on Sleepwalker.

Solitude in Numbers is the song that wouldn’t completely behave itself, no matter what I did to it. I hadn’t learned to mix when I put the first version together, which certainly didn’t help. The mood of the initial mix was upbeat and poppy, and although I’m all for sad songs sneakily hidden inside happy tunes, it wasn’t working, even after a remix. So a few months back, I started to record the song again completely from scratch, slowing it down a bit, and making the arrangement incredibly sparse this time, whereas the original version had been crammed with all sorts of unnecessary sounds which only served to make the track more difficult to pull together. At first, the new version sounded too empty, and needed more momentum, but it is now well on its way with what I hope are the right sounds and effects. This time, without the clutter, you can hear the lyrics better, and feel the message behind them. I think this version does the song a lot more justice than my previous attempts.

I’m sorry, but I am going to have to keep it to myself for a while yet, though, as I want as much of the material on the album as possible to be new to listeners when it is released. (There will be a few of the Tune A Day pieces on the album as well, though, and it’s probably not all that hard to guess which ones I’m thinking of using that I’ve not already mentioned in the blog!)

How to Relax

How to Relax - a Spotify playlist by Stoneygate

My ‘how to relax’ playlist is slightly more upbeat than my ‘super-chilled’ one, but it’s full of tunes which are easy to listen to. I’ve included a few East Midlands based indie artists, such as Yakobo and Lynz Crichton, as well as some that are better known.

Which are your favourite tunes for when you want to put your feet up and chill out?