A couple of really enjoyable gigs in the last few days. Thanks to all who came to Croydon and Seaford folk clubs. Facebook Friend is selling like hot cakes and has had some great reviews. Here's the latest one from Unicorn Magazine.
Another great review for 'Facebook Friend' in the latest edition of R2 (see below....)
I've been a fan of Dave Ellis and Boo Howard's music since their debut as a duo - 1999's Maybe I Might Fall. Its own-label sound was every bit as good as anything the big labels were offering, and that remains the case with their latest recording, Facebook Friend. Indeed it's their best yet.
The title track pokes fun at the 'social media' world we now inhabit, from the point of view of someone who recalls, wistfully and with some irritation, a time when the population wasn't hypnotised by 'smart phones' and 'tablets'. 'God Save Olive Cooke' is a moving tribute to the British Legion poppy seller who took her own life aged ninety-two, unable to deal any longer with incessant cold calls and unsolicited requests for charitable donations.
'I Know, I Know' gently reflects upon the way humanity can make such a mess of basic yet profound religious and philosophical truths, and elsewhere tracks such as 'Back To Default', 'Nothing In Between' and 'We Go Round' epitomise not only the very high quality of the songwriting present throughout the album, but also the beautifully judged, subtle arrangements and the two voices, which sound great together. Facebook Friend is really quite superb. (David White)
We had a wonderful time up north at Sandbach and Bromorough Folk Clubs earlier this week. We pledged £1 from every Facebook Friend album we sold to donate to the British Legion as it's Remembrance Day coming up but it's also in memory of poppy seller Olive Cooke, who inspired one of the songs on the album.
You can see the video and the story of 'God Save Olive Cooke' if you click here. We'll donate a contribution from the sale when you buy the song online from itunes.
Got a great review (which you can read here) from Folkwords who made 'Facebook Friend' their October album of the month.
Haven't got R2's review yet except a short quote from it they gave us for publicity purposes: "Facebook Friend is really quite superb" (R2)... sounds like it might be quite a good one as well!
Thanks to all our facebook friends who came to our CD launch last night. Everyone seemed to have a great time... especially us! We hope all you CD buyers like 'Facebook Friend' and come along to a gig sometime and hum a few of the tunes. xx
Tonight (Friday 30th Oct at 8pm) it's our launch gig for our new album 'Facebook Friend' at: The Poetry Cafe
22 Betterton Street
London WC2H 9BX
This is a special night for us. We'll be playing a couple of 40 minute sets downstairs at one of our favourite venues. The evening will feature songs from the new CD. There is no poetry tonight (or bowler hats). It's just us and admission is free! We hope you can come and help us celebrate the end of 2 years hard work!
Here's a video of the title track of our new album
Here are some samples of the tracks from our new CD 'Facebook Friend' which is now available from our shop. All our CDs are £10 each but at the moment we will sell you extra CDs at half price (£5) after you buy the first CD at £10.
We really hope you like our album. We are getting some very good reactions to it so far and we are doing our best to get it played on the radio and reviewed in the papers and mags. (read a review here)
Please drop us a line and tell us what you think...
We have a launch gig in Covent Garden on Friday 30th Oct at 8pm where we will play lots of the songs from the album and admission is free. Details on the gig page.
These are the tracks from our new album 'Facebook Friend' which is available now and which we are insanely proud of!:-
God Save Olive Cooke
I Know, I Know
Back To Default
Nothing In Between
We Go Round
Two Left Feet
Who Will Tie
Reasons For The Rhymes
The Last Refrain
It will not be available as a download until we run out of CDs (estimated year 2021) but you can order the CD now direct from our shed. We will be holding the album launch on Friday 30th Oct at the Poetry Cafe in Covent Garden. We'll do 2 sets including most of the songs from the album. If you've seen us playing there before, there will be no poetry that night but it will befree admission. The only catch is that no one gets out without buying a CD! Details are on our gigs page so put it in your diary... see you there!
We were recording backing vocals for Dave Nachmanoff (pictured left) this week in deepest Wales at the gorgeous Red Kite Studio.
Dave normally works with Al Stewart but was recording his own album with the help of some of Al's musicians and Martin Levan producing.
We found the process of working on someone else's project incredibly interesting... and we were asked to do some very different things vocally. Augmented fifths are not in our pallet much but we did 'em! It's going to be a good album when it comes out... good luck with it Dave.
Dave's 12 string guitar tuned to fifths has been brought back for our current live set. This has enabled us to resurrect some of our favourite songs... 'Rocket Ship', 'For All Time', 'Rock On The Beach' etc.
There is a quality about the huge quantity of open strings used in these 5th/12 string tunes that just doesn't come across on a 6 string no matter how faithful you try to be to the original idea. It has been working well at gigs and the 5th/12 string guitar has become an incredible accompanying instrument rather than a beast to be wrestled with!
A search on the internet produces hardly anyone who has thought of this or used the 5th/12 string tuning to show its potential, but if you want to try it, here's the info...
The main strings are in standard guitar tuning intervals but down a tone and a half, and what would be the octave strings are tuned a fifth above on all pairs.
Here they are with string gauges used:
Most strummed chords work and sound awesome, but if you take it further and finger-pick you can create some weird and wonderful tunes with a banjo like picking combination of fingers and thumb... an upstroke creating one note and a downstroke creating a different note on the same string, same fret.
A word of warning though... it has to be perfectly in tune!
Here's something new for us that we've been experimenting with called a Porchboard. It produces a satisfying bass drum thump when you tap your foot on it. It's passive and has no noise, feedback or delay.
Dave has occasionally inadvertantly achieved a similar effect by wearing Doc Martens whilst performing on hollow stages, but without the sound quality and... (as he wasn't actually aware of it) clumping out of time. The rhythm section (Boo) has now commandeered it. Look out Dartford!
Last Saturday we played at 'Live at the Tithe' which was a one day festival held in and around the Tithe Barn in Gt Coxwell, Oxfordshire.
The evening concert was held inside the stunning Tithe barn and was a joy to play.
As you can see, the lighting was exceptional, and the sound was equally brilliant.
Thanks to Jay, Ray, Derek and Chris who organized this event... and of course thanks to everyone who came... we had a great time... thanks!
(photo: David Garmont)
A quick update about 'God Save Olive Cooke' (see 30/may)...
We had one of the best reviews we could hope for from Rhiannon Teeluck underneath the 'Olive Cooke' video on youtube: "Hi there, I am Olive Cooke's granddaughter and I just wanted to say thank you for writing such a lovely song about her. The family love it and keep humming it to ourselves, my nan would have LOVED it! Thank you so much xxx"
...and we were worried about upsetting them! Come on spread the word and buy the tune at https://itunes.apple.com/album/god-save-olive-cooke-single/id999293854?ls=1… to help raise money for the British Legion.
This song is a tribute to the poppy seller Olive Cooke who had dedicated her life to the British Legion.
At the age of 92 Mrs Cooke jumped to her death in the Avon Gorge, Bristol, reportedly after becoming stressed by endless cold calls and begging letters.
Her family have insisted that the charities were not to blame for Olive's death and said the pensioner would have wanted charity work to be 'promoted'.
This song was written and recorded a while ago for our forthcoming album but the lady's name in the song was changed more recently as it seemed to reflect Mrs Cooke's story.
We hope this might raise some money for the cause she cared so much about so - click here to find "God Save Olive Cooke" on itunes for 99p - any money we receive from this song will go to the British Legion. Please share this video by using this link https://youtu.be/f7mX3qfqzK0 Thanks!
We've been getting our publicity department up to date!
Anyone wanting posters or photos can now get downloads of some really excellent studio shots taken just last month by Liz Simcock. Click on the picture or go to our publicity page if you want to have a better look.
(pic: Liz Simcock)
Paul (Mr Boo) Howard directing a video we were making today for 'Facebook Friend'. This was at the tail end of an eight hour day of photographs for a new CD cover (see below) and publicity shots, so we are understandably looking a little weary!
Boo takes one final photo of the day at the Ally Pally watering hole after the shoot... Goran, Paul, Dave and Liz Simcock, who took so many excellent pictures (over 400 of them!) that we're now faced with the problem of choosing which ones to use.
No chicks onstage last night (see below), but there was a knitted dog!..
Thanks to everyone who came to Hitchin last night. A great turnout for us and Liz Simcock with whom we played as a band for almost the last time before pursuing our own projects.
Liz was on top form and we wish her all the best for her tour with Clive Gregson later in the year.
We shall be back next Easter at Hitchin with Liz - though who knows what format it will take!
In the meantime we shall be concentrating on finishing our current album 'Back To Default' with a photo and video shoot planned in a couple of weeks time.
We'll be playing our usual Easter gig at Hitchin Folk Club on Easter Sunday 5th April.
Details on the gig page
We'll also be playing as Liz Simcock's band in the second half of the gig.
See you there if you're around!
Our new album has been delayed slightly as we're experimenting with 2 extra songs.
One is a resurrection of one of Dave's songs from the 70's called 'Reasons For The Rhymes' which was brought to his attention by an old DE fan who says he has been playing it for the last 30+ years (poor guy!) It has now been reworked and rewritten but not yet recorded.
The other is a blues called 'Nothing In Between' which we are revamping as an acoustic blues as opposed to the wild thrash it used to be in our band days. This continues our tradition of pillaging our past repertoire for our CDs. All the other songs for the album (listed below on 7/feb/15) are original and written over the last couple of years.
You may be wondering what this Magritte painting has to do with the album... well, the CD will be called 'Back To Default' and we are going to try and recreate this picture for the cover with a bit of Dave and Boo photoshopping. The bowler has already been found!
Really looking forward to playing tonight at Watford Folk Club (see gig page for details).
Here's a little video we've just put together of the kind of thing you might expect later if you're in the area. It's a gig condensed down to 5 minutes...
It was a lovely night down in Arundel last night at the Willows FC. Thanks to Trish and all the regulars. Can't believe it's 15 years since we were last down there... but it was good to be back and we had a great time.
We did miss Chris's presenting skills as he was ill and couldn't make it, but get well soon Chris and hopefully we'll see you next time.
We now have a complete or almost complete running order for our new CD. We have been working on it over the last couple of years and we're very excited with the way this most recent crop of songs has taken shape. Can't wait for you to hear it! It should be available in a couple of months...
We Go Round
Who Will Tie
Back To Default
Two Left Feet
We have been doing most of these titles live for some time, so we hope there's a song or two there that you might have been waiting for!
We've been very busy recording our new album with the latest and possibly the last song 'Home Again' being recorded over this last week. It's a real Dave and Boo collaboration and has taken months to get into this form. We've had a lot of fun recording it though despite disagreeing about almost everything!
It was a real joy to play at Readifolk last night. A more attentive and responsive audience you couldn't wish for! Thanks to Una and Colin and everyone at the club. We haven't done a gig since before Christmas and we really enjoyed playing through our new amps which replaced our old Fenders (pictured below). If you play live acoustic music using amps, do check out ACUS amplifiers... they make your beautiful guitar sound like a beautiful guitar and not like a pickup!
We had lots of new songs to try out and we have now nearly finished our new album which should be out sometime in the Spring.
Happy New Year everyone!
Looking forward to a few gigs in January. The first one is in Reading at Readifolk on Jan 11th. Details on the gig page. See you there if you're in the area.