This has been quite a year, with lots of memorable moments on the music front. After releasing a series of original albums in recent years through a number of very different ensembles, I started the ‘Covering these tracks” project with Towse, Corwin Zekley and Harry Orme.
Harry has been a gamechanger in terms of recording and is now my “go to guy” for all guitar parts. He was recommended to me by Fergus Quill and is not only a brilliant guitarist, but superb as a session musician. His musical awareness is off the scale and finding him was like Bruce Springsteen finding Nils Lofgren who has become central to the East Street Band.
I pick out the songs for the covers project and Harry works out the guitar parts and sends over the files. I then work up the vocal parts in my home studio and then send the multi tracks to Carl my producer who mixes them and sends them to Towse and Corwin. They then comes back to us and we do the final mixes and mastering.
Selecting tracks for the new project
Choosing the material for “Covering these tracks” has been truly fascinating. You can listen to a track hundreds of times, but recording the vocals and doing your own version means stepping into the inner world of the artist and that is a totally different experience. My longstanding vocal coach Agi has as always been invaluable in helping me get the best takes.
There have been a number of surprises during the recording process, where the ryhthm and vocals from an artist are a long way from anything I would have thought of or attempted. One memorable example is “Atlantic City” by Bruce Springsteen. Here are the lives from the third verse
Now I been looking for a job, but it’s hard to find,
Down here, it’s just winners and losers and “Don’t get caught on the wrong side of that line”
The first line is pretty easy to sing, BUT that second line is much tougher to fit in and its all about getting the right rhythm for the lyrical content.
The Tom Waits medley was also a ton of fun and “I don’t wanna grow up” is also a challenge almost being at punk level delivery speed wise!
Enter “Mighty Mal” for video
At the start of the year I needed to hire a new video guy and sought out Mal Williamson. I’ve known Mal for some years, but this is the first time we’d worked together. I’m really pleased with the results and crucially he has an eye for detail that has taken all video creation to a new level. Here’s one of the videos he created featuring Towse.
As well as creating full videos, Mal has produced some superb teaser clips for live events and projects as seen below
In recent years I’ve made the conscious decision to be very selective about playing live shows. I’ve done the local Leeds circuit of small venues and its great for working up musical skills, but these days I really want to play to a seated listening audience that is there for the music. This means a lot more planning and organisation and running all the events myself in terms of promotion and financing.
The first main live event was with my band “The Small Change Diaries” supporting Martin Simpson at The Old Woollen. The Small Change Diaries was my first ensemble and it was great to revisit some older material and play to a substantial audience.
I also ran a live event in October for the “Covering these Tracks” project and it was great to have Harry Orme and Towse play support slots as well as us all playing as part of one ensemble.
Rich Ferdi and Dave Bowie also joined us for the live show and this is one killer band, an exceptional group of artists.
Green Eyed Records music promotion
In recent years I have been exploring how best to promote music to a wider audience and have spent a lot of time on expanding the Green Eyed Records platform. GER has been a great initiative to help other musicians who value collaboration for greater creativity. As well as looking at online promotion, I started promoting music projects through Rock and Reel magazine. This collaboration will be greatly expanded in 2024 and R and R did an excellent interview with me as well as giving a superb review on the first “Covering these Tracks” album.
Heading into 2024 and special thanks
There’s a lot planned for 2024, including the second “Covering these Tracks” release, finalising the “Nick Cody & The Heartache” album “Love and Hearache” and doing live shows in the UK and overseas. All this means a ton of work and special thanks to all the following people without whom none of this would be possible – Towse, Corwin Zekley, Harry Orme, Rich Ferdi, Michael Ross, Laurent Zeller and Dave Bowie for session work, Carl Rosamond for sound production, Mal Williamson for video, Daz Hull, Nick Field, Andy Coote, Shelly Morgan for radio promotion, Neil Atkinson for music promotion, Frank Wilks and Kycker for distribution, Rob Hirst for Spotify promotion, Silka Guy for graphics, Sarah Patrick for ongoing graphics assistance, Karen Turner for great photos and my wife Sue for ongoing support.