Thinking Green

The Green Gathering 2014 at Chepstow was inspiring in 2 ways. Firstly watching Rory Mcloud was a real pleasure, I’ve heard him round the campfire and caught brief glimpses of him before, but I really got to see this show and he blew me away. He really knows the sound he’s looking for and his guitar was fantastic. He’s a singer songwriter with a folk feel but more than that, his use of a stomp box built into a piece of 6×8 board really got me thinking. Earlier in the day, I’d set up my own Stompbox for the first time on a stage that was resonating every time I tapped my feet. In the past I’ve stayed away from using the box because I find over long periods my foot aches and I can’t keep up the beat. Not having to worry about that or the position of the box was much easier and I found a lot more freedom using the box. Watching Rory effectively doing the same thing tied it all in. I think Tom Waits also used this to great effect although I’ve never seen his show.

The other inspiration, was a talk which described the history of the gathering and called for a more encompassing strategy for the Green movement. The host called for a blanket organisation designed to pull together various different groups in order to gain a unified voice, primarily in the fight on global warming. This left me debating a few things in my head. Firstly, the idea that the movement will gain popularity and weight all of its own accord in a organic way, versus, a need to act in order to affect change. Can we infact affect change upon such a thing as a world’s Eco system or the fate of a planet, which some would argue is an organism and evolving in its own way? Or can we save our humble excitable existence by some how affecting change amongst ourselves to end what seems to be this very destructive and wounded behaviour. 

Secondly, even if we do accept that the latter argument is better suited than just sitting back and enjoying the view! Are we wise to use a political system that has failed us for almost a century,! Can there be real gain from setting up an organisation that will attempt to utilise this system to put pressure on MP’s bartering for their constituents. The points raised by one gentleman in the audience, who has  complained to the BBC for not representing a valid unbiased opinion, made me think that we can achieve our ends by engaging in pro-active communication, informing and educating people upon the subject matter. it is time to start preaching. Not only to the converted, as we tend to do at gatherings like this, but to the harder folk, as one friend once said, swim out to the middle of the river and offer a hand to those on the opposing bank if they swim across, then we meet on neutral ground. 

So in conclusion I’m inspired in two ways. I will continue to perform and improve my skills and i will engage with people more upon these issues. I believe in a call to consciousness on the question of climate. On the questions of education and sustainability aswell as permaculture and farming, food production / consumption and most importantly our use / production  and knowledge of the processes of energy and indeed change.

Glastonbury Festival 2014

A great way to arrive in the UK after the mission that was getting here. Glastonbury never fails to deliver in its size and chaotic vibe.. The masses start to arrive Wednesday and quickly the population of this makeshift city swells to nearly 200,000. I think it’s almost impossible to see every aspect of this festival which as a friend put it “represents every faction of society” in some part. From the chaotic pre-apocalyptic mental ness that is Arcadia to the beauty and freedom of Tipi village, from the Glade to the Piano bar hidden in a dug out trench and filled with erratic eclectic genius. From the impressiveness of the Pyramid stage to the humble brilliance of Small World.. I visited these places and more on my wandering across site, I think maybe I’ve covered the distance of a marathon or more! 

I performed one gig on the Ancient Futures stage and put in a couple of impromptu performances in the Tipi village cafe and around the fire on Thursday night.. The gig went well considering we had one rehearsal. I’m really enjoying playing with Smiffy, whose presence both on Bass and in person is really helping in it’s openness and friendly support. I’m looking forward now to warming up for the Big Green Gathering on August 1st. 

Melbourne to Heathrow via 4 planes, 1train, 2buses and fifteen coffee’s

I was excited to be leaving Avalon airport, Melbourne being that our final destination would be Avalon on the isles of Britain.. Little could I have known that our journey was going to be a bit of a Zig Zag continent hop. My brother has recently started working for British Airways and had nominated myself and our son for staff travel at a hugely discounted price. We knew the risks, at any point we could get bumped off our flight in favour of a paying customer or more senior staff member, but had to give it a go. My brother was able to check the availability and our flight status online and all we had to do was get ourselves  from Melbourne to Sydney to catch the first leg of our British Airways flight. We arrived with plenty of time and caught a bus to the main international terminal, we checked in our luggage with no trouble at all. The flight lasted 8 hours and was very enjoyable, we landed in Singapore about 10 pm local time. This was were things went sour, the flight had sold more tickets whilst we were in the air and we’d been bumped off our second leg to Heathrow! To make matters worse there was no more availability for three days.,  We got some sleep before tackling the problem of being stuck half way around the world. After much talk with Brother by phone, we finally worked out that our best option was a four hour flight to Hong Kong where we could standby for one of two flights leaving that evening to Heathrow.. So we checked out through customs and found a carrier that would take us to Hong Kong,. The flight took us four hours and we arrived with a couple of hours to spare, however we still had to wait to see if we could get on. We caught a bus to the terminal and worked our way through customs and baggage reclaim, by the time we got to check in my son had fallen asleep, exhausted. It was a nervous wait to see if we’d get on the second plane. When they called my name I was so relieved, I too was exhausted and honestly I think I’d have cried had we not made it on.., I can tell you that the free beer on that flight tasted extremely good.. And so we made it to Heathrow, 

Return to the UK..

Really looking forward to a return to the UK now. I haven’t had as good a response for festival dates as I’d hoped, however, I’ll be at Glastonbury which gives opportunity to play in several of the smaller venue’s. I’m glad to say that Smithy and Sam have agreed to play on festival dates over the Summer and that the Big Green Show will be a full contingent. Jerome will also be available for a few shows and Gem will be making an appearance when his busy schedule with Dragonsfly will allow. 
As for Australia I’m looking to go in and record 2tracks with a Bass player and Drummer over here in the next couple of weeks.. I’ve managed to lay down a lead vocal for ‘Rollin On’ and I’m very pleased with the initial mix, we might have it in the can so to speak. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at ways to build the website and have to say I’m very nearly ready to put it all together, I think less is more at the moment and I can build on it as I need. The thing is I’ve learnt a lot in the process. All I really want is for people to interact with me and the music and if they feel that’s worth paying for then there’ll be easy ways to do that,,.
I’m still really focusing on the material and I’m hoping it’ll blossom as we start to play it over the Summer in the UK. I’ll look forward to the fields… 

Open mics.

It’s been busy these last few weeks. I made a promise to myself back in January to get out there more and start to build some momentous  to releasing an album.. That has happened with a tour of the open mic circuit here on the Border. I’ve played at the Kinross and the Albion here in Albury, Gerogery Hotel and the Telegraph in Chiltern and last Thursday a new open mic in Beechworth. It’s been good and a few actual gigs are starting to materialise. Open mics offer a relaxing way to rehearse with a live sound in a variety of environments to a small group of mostly musicians. Feedback from contemporaries is invaluable and not to mention the contacts. Gigs do often come from playing open mics and there’s no doubt your playing improves.. Important lessons for performing  live can be learned here.. Always, always warm up, check your instrument and have your songs prepared. questions like, how do you relate to the audience.? And, which songs are going well, or are received well? Can be answered.. On that note, I do believe that the key really is in the material, if what you do is well considered ,well rehearsed and well performed, then you can’t do much better. I’ve been glad of the time that I’ve carved to make it to open mics, however, I need to get my head down now. 
March will be about rehearsing and attempting to get the UK leg of the journey sorted. I’m glad to say my first festival date will be at the Big Green Gathering in August. 

Streetcar Named Desire

I find myself watching ‘A Street Car Named Desire’ on the screen and I’m amazed, stunned. I realise I’ve seen it before and a similar sensation came to me then as is now. These movie stars of the 50’s could really act.!! When was the last time you watched a piece of film that has only four characters and two sets! When was the last time you were so mesmerised by the actors on the screen, that the lines on their faces and their sets would hold your gaze more thoroughly than all the explosions one could muster. Why I find myself talking with blanche’s southern drool.  I truly have been mesmerised by Brando and the like. Fantastic. Oh where are the actors that can do that now.?
Now, I wrote a song a few years back called ‘my liability’ and it contained a lyric that went “… got a monster streetcar named desire.” I’ll dig it out and post it a.s.a.p..

June 2013, Glastonbury Festival.

To all my wonderful friends and the mad masses who are partying hard on the last night of Glastonbury festival 2013, on the other side of the planet..  As I check the clock it is exactly 12:12! at twelve minutes past midnight my friends will be gathered in tents and tipi’s in fine voice and garments, spangled in parts and merry. I miss the festival not so much because of the acts, but because of the years, times and friends that have gathered. I’ve been on stage with Mumford and Sons and Crosby, Stills & Nash, I’ve been up for days on end, i’ve made up, split up and found new love,. (my current partner and I met at Glastonbury festival.)  heck, I’ve seen it all. And there’s nothing quite like the madness and mayhem created in the fields of Pilton.

Back to Oz,. I have  a gig coming up on the 12th July and am working towards a new set of material. I am quite happy with the way it’s going so far and looking forward to trying it out on friends and family at the Rastus Watermelon Cafe.. The 3 set show incorporates comedy and covers with some of the album mixed in..

MAY 2013

I’m playing music again. hooray! I have listened to the album cuts over the last week, plus i’m rehearsing material for solo shows, just got to book some gigs now!. Last weekend I started writing a track for TAXI, found that i couldn’t afford to submit it but felt good about the production technique and overall sound achieved with ‘Ableton’ as a drummer and bassist. In the material for the album I found a little monitor mix of ‘Another Platform.’ which i’ve posted to ‘Soundcloud,’ you can download it here if you wish… <link>  It features the wonderful talents of Mr Jez Hellard on harmonica. I’m also pretty happy with a version of ‘I’ll see again’ recorded with Samantha Barry on violin, but i really want to clear the release with her (and pay her a well over due session fee!) before i share it with you all. There’s a few versions of this track available and you can download the original version here . <link.>

Well I’m really hoping to be a lot more active now and therefore posting a lot more material, content, content, content, as they say. Really if your reading this then please join the mailing list here>> JOIN. That way I can let you know about all the cool free stuff i’m giving away. Thanks for listening

W R DAVIES > WHITEDOG

down an blues

What can i say, January has floated by and i’ve hardly played a guitar. Still, have heard through friends that there’s a guy named Evan down in Melbourne who’s just opened a studio.  He’s looking for artists and i’m looking for somewhere to record, so fingers crossed. I’m seriously finding it hard at the moment though, working and staying at the farm here. I have decided to enter the ‘Man from Snowy River’ Bush festival again this year. I’m thinking to I want to enter either the Dylan song that Emily knows, “Wagon Wheel’ or the 32-20’s track, “I want to be a Cowboy..” written by Rico Aalst and Gareth Austin.. I think an Englishman singing “i want to be a Cowboy…” at a Cowboy Rodeo will go down real well.. either that or i’ll get lassoed an lynched..

**update: 10th Feb..
feeling a little more positive today after working on the set.. a new set, some more covers. Plus Evan’s studio will be ready in a bout 8 weeks so that gives me a time frame to work towards getting the musicians and tracks ready to record over here in Oz.

January album update

I wanted to give you all an update on the progress of the album. “St. Cecilia & the Abbey.”

I thank you all for your donations which successfully reached our target with the final
amount pledged at £959 ($1,471.)

Whilst in England we laid down the backbone for 3 tracks at Hive studio’s and added a harmonica part to a 4th track. Two of those tracks are waiting now for the vocal tracks to be added and one needs an electric Guitar overdubbed on to it. Not having the contacts that I do back home, it will require a bit of searching and a bit of time.

The overall budget for the album is £3,395 ($5208.) With only 5-6 weeks in the UK, I didn’t manage to find the required time and funds needed to rehearse, record, perform and fund-raise, all at the same time. We reached the fund-raising target, which alone is an achievement. I’ve taken a fresh look at the Soundcloud page and placed the latest monitor mixes up there for you to listen to.

I really want to be as transparent as possible with all of this, and, still seek your valuable opinion
& feedback on the project.
Wayne Robert Davies
info@whitelectricdog.net