Tag Archives: alt.country

Introducing … The Crow Bone Chorus.

The Crow Bone Chorus

With our first rehearsal under our belts (and a good one at that) , I’m happy to say that my erstwhile band mates in Dog Moon Howl, Bryan Campbell and Ally Tennick, are joining me in a new project: Craig Hughes & The Crow Bone Chorus.  We’ll soon be bringing new music to a venue near you, by which I mean a venue near us, as well as selections from my studio releases and more besides. The plan is now to record and release my next album, which I’ve mentioned here before, under the Craig Hughes & The Crow Bone Chorus banner.  The album is unlikely to be underway before early 2018 but we should be playing our first gigs before the end of this year.

Croe Bone Chorus logo

The Craig Hughes Two

The Craig Hughes Two is about to be resurrected on the live scene after a year’s layoff for heavy rocking purposes.  We’ll be gigging again from Sept/Oct with our new mini-album to flog.

I’ll be posting regular “work in progress” updates here from now on, so do watch this space.

 

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Like a Great, Wheezing, Lazarus. Only More So and with a Heroic Beard.

Just as the year started kicking off work-wise, I was stricken with the flu. Highlights included four solid days of migraines and a false dawn a couple of days ago whereupon I delivered a guitar for sale to the city centre and just about ended myself.  Symptoms have now died down to a mere wracking cough and occasional back wrenching sneeze, so it’s back to business.

I’m happy to tell you that the new Dog Moon Howl EP is called These Days and will be released (CD/download) during the month of March, which this year follows hot on the heels of February.  The actual date is not yet set, but we’re planning an end-of-the-month launch gig in Glasgow, so, you know, expect it around the end of the month.  Ish.  More news on this soon, including a teaser track to be brought to you via the magic of YouTube.

Once that’s all sorted, The Craig Hughes Two will be releasing our mini-album, Off the Cuff, culled from a live-in-the-studio session we recorded late last year.  With a running time just shy of a half hour, the tracks are a mixture of live regulars from m’back catalogue, now performed with significantly different duo-arrangements, and a couple of cover versions.  We’re just waiting to get the licensing sorted out for the covers so we can decide on a release date – it will be available on CD and download; tape release TBC.  A further update will follow once everything’s in place.

Things to have fallen significantly behind during this past near-fortnight of influenza induced inertia include blog updates and gig bookings, so I’ll be on those again properly as of later today.  Expect some updates over at Ritual Objects of Sight and Sound and to the gig pages of www.craighughes.net and www.dogmoonhowl.com presently.


Best Laid Part II

Brief update: there will be something of a flurry of Channel Nowhere activity over the next couple of weeks, so you can look forward (or not) to the release of the remastered Pennies On My Eyes on March 11th and a couple of gig announcements for both The Craig Hughes Two and Dog Moon Howl.  Promos will go out for Pennies just prior to the release date and a lyric video for new track No-One Cares If You Die will be up soon on YouTube.

Told you it was brief.


Coming Soon: Pennies On My Eyes

As mentioned last post, much of my time of late has been taken up with the remixing and remastering of new/old album Pennies On My Eyes.  This was originally a mini-album from 5 years ago which was released then as part of the split CD Graveyard Full of Blues with Sleepy Eyes Nelson.

The logic behind the remastering is simply that I was never happy with the original release.  For various reasons, I left the mastering incomplete along with alternate takes and whole songs.  In the meantime, despite its limited release – the CD was sold at gigs and from Europa Music in Stirling; the download was only available via my Bandcamp page (with the two halves of the project split up online, so Sleepy’s excellent Build That Coffin of Mine was available separately via Cheap Wine Records’ Bandcamp) – the albumette picked up its own head of steam, garnering a few good write-ups and an award nomination.  My Side of the Veil became a live favourite while Oily Old Rag gained a new lease of life as the Dog Moon Howl song Tenement Porch Dog.

As with my first release, the demo EP Broke, Lonely and Guilty, Pennies… was recorded at my then home studio, the Channel Nowhere Secret Facility, basically a converted walk-in cupboard.  Everything else I’ve released, under my own name or with Dog Moon Howl has been studio recorded and although there is a pleasing rawness to the original version of Pennies…, it sounds just too rough to me.  I was obsessed with pushing the bass and curbing the top end at that time, and the end result is frankly dull.  So, I’ve gone back in, brightened the sounds up, rescued a few additional tracks and compiled them together as a new, album length piece.

Of course, the original tracks remain lo-fi but hopefully with a touch more in the way of clarity and dynamics.  I’ve added a couple of touches I wanted to try at the time but dropped due to looming deadlines.  The three new tracks are Richter Scale for Heartache, which had already been recorded at the time the split CD was suggested although the mix was never completed, Stone With My Name Carved on It, a single-take moody, distorted solo slide guitar instrumental that I don’t even remember recording and No-one Cares if You Die, a banjo tune that started life as something else entirely.  I matched the rediscovered banjo track with an old unused lyric and Bob was quite suddenly your uncle.

The audio masters for Pennies on My Eyes are being completed this week.  Then it’s the turn of the artwork.  As soon as possible thereafter there’ll be a physical release (CD and, it looks like, tape) with downloads available via Bandcamp and from iTunes, Amazon, Spotify et al via international digital distribution from CD Baby.

Watch this space!


Stuff that’s happening.

There’s been a fair amount of Channel Nowhere activity recently, what with a run of solo/duo Glasgow gigs at The Howlin’ Wolf and Dog Moon Howl gigs at The 13th Note and Ivory Black’s, while music and movie blogs Tapes For My Walkman and Tapes For My VCR have been increasingly finding their feet.   Here’s what’s coming up.

LIVE STUFF

There will be one more Dog Moon Howl appearance (with Jim Dead & The Doubters at their album launch at The 13th Note on December 4th) which unfortunately will be your last opportunity to see the band live this year.  Bassist Bryan Campbell is having a knee operation which will put him out of commission for a while.  I’m a bit fuzzy on the details but essentially I believe he’s having his existing, faulty, knees replaced with cloned gorilla elbows which will be fitted backwards so that he can walk like a mantis.  Exciting stuff, but he will need some recuperation time afterwards, during which he hopes to complete the scale model of Tokyo he is building in his garage for destruction at a later date with his mutant mantis powers.

In the meantime, DMH drummer Ally Tennick and myself will be kicking the arse out of the live thing in our alt.roots/blues identity The Craig Hughes Two, including a turn for our friends at The Vagabond Social Club on September 27th at Nice’N’Sleazies, Glasgow.  For other dates, watch this space, or head over to www.craighughes.net.

STUDIO STUFF

Mastering is the key word for this month.  Work is underway on the remastering of Pennies On My Eyes which was originally a mini-album I put out about five years ago as part of the split CD (with Sleepy Eyes Nelson) Graveyard Full of Blues.  I was never happy with the original master/mixes and, due to running-time constraints and release deadlines – not to mention my rank incompetence – there were a few tracks recorded at the time which were never completed and therefore left off of the finished product.  Well, limited availability or not, Pennies went on to gain a bit of a life of its own.  A ‘fan favourite’, it picked up good reviews, an award nomination, was a Bandcamp staff pick and so on.  As a result, I’ve gone back to the original recordings and completed work on the unfinished tracks while properly mastering the whole project, now full album length.  This will be released in October or November (the original having been unavailable for a while now).

Before that, though, I’ll be working on the mastering of that new album from Jim Dead & The Doubters which is due for a December release.  I’ve heard the mixes and it’s good stuff – grungey, country-tinged rock.

VIDEO STUFF

Last time I did one of these news updates, I mentioned regular YouTube updates which have yet to start appearing.  They will though.  Honest.  Also, towards the end of the year I’ll be laying the groundwork for a documentary project.  More of that closer to the time.


Two Drinks From the Bar.

I was recently invited to play a new festival, having registered my interest a few months ago. This 2000 capacity event has been partially crowd-funded via Indiegogo and is charging up to £85 for a three day ticket. Their offer to have me play a Saturday evening set? Weekend tickets for myself, a meal and two drinks.

As this is a festival in its first year and I’d like to think the organisers’ hearts are in the right place, I’ll put their side of the following exchange down to inexperience, thoughtlessness and naiveté. We’ll see, but in the meantime I’ll avoid “naming and shaming” here. I hope you might find this post of interest simply because This Goes On – and it really bloody shouldn’t.

From the original “offer” email:

We are completely non profit and volunteer run, aiming to create a great event for its own sake. In year 1 we are greatly reliant on the goodwill of talented artists who are willing to support the festival by appearing for a lower fee than they would usually expect. We have been impressed by the generosity demonstrated by artists so far and hope that you will be happy to support us on the same basis, helping us to get … off to a great start in 2015. A full agreement will follow, but in the meantime please could you confirm if you are happy to accept the following offer:

Performance on Saturday evening
Weekend camping tickets for yourself
1 meal and 2 drinks from the bar on the day of the performance

They go on to ask for standard digital promo materials before signing off. The person who sent the email bears the title “Legal & Commerical Services Director”, which seems awfully businesslike considering the above event description.

I was tempted to take the obvious route of breaking down the costs and time involved in a full time music career but couldn’t help think that the Legal & Commerical Services Director of a music festival must already know all that. In the end I replied thusly:

Thanks for your email.  While I was pleased to be invited to perform at ****, I am disappointed that, while you suggest that performers already on the bill are playing for a reduced fee – which I would certainly have considered – you then make an offer of tickets, a meal and two drinks in lieu of payment.  As someone who makes his living (such as it is) from music, I find that offer wholly and obviously unacceptable.

Access to the event is hardly an aspect of payment.  As you were asking me to play the Saturday evening, I would have expected – as a necessity – a couple of Saturday passes.  “A couple” , as I, like many solo acts, travel with someone else who is there not only to drive me to and from the gig but also to help with kit, merchandise and so on.  And, no, I don’t expect them to do this for free.  As to the offer of “1 meal and 2 drinks from the bar” – that’s the sort of fare many promoters or venues might lay on for acts in addition to their fee.  I don’t ask for it, it’s not always offered but it’s a welcome kindness when it happens.  Never in lieu of payment, though.

My fee for playing a solo set at a small festival would normally be £80, so I’m hardly asking the Earth to start with, and am usually prepared to offer some “wiggle room”.  For the right event, under the right circumstances, I have worked for a reduced fee, door-split, or simply expenses and even, yes, for free.  However, it’s not enough to be told that you’re running this festival on a “non profit” basis and “creating an event for its own sake”.  You are, after all, charging up to £85 for weekend tickets.  Surely payment of musicians is one of the fundamental projected expenses a music festival has to account for when setting the ticket prices in the first place?

Here’s a thought.  Perhaps, if it’s okay for you not to pay performers, it should be okay for the audience not to pay for tickets?  In the spirit of your offer, they could hand in a donation of food-and-drink on arrival and then get on with enjoying all that free music.  You know, just for its own sake.

Seriously, I do wish you success with ****, and hope that you can build on that success by sharing it with all of the musicians who might perform there in the future.  They’ll have bills to pay too.

In fairness – and the main reason I decided not to name the festival here – their reply was prompt, apologising for any offence caused and stating: We’ll definitely take into account what you’re saying when planning next year’s event.

I really hope they do but as I mentioned earlier, the purpose of this blog is not to draw attention to this particular event but to this practice of entitled assumption when it comes to stiffing musicians on pay. I’ve encountered similar attitudes from small-event/pub promoters, where it’s offensive enough, but on this scale it’s downright galling. Of course we all know that even the mighty Glastonbury pulls this shit – mind, I’d tell them to fuck off too. And I’d name them in the inevitable blog post.


Channel Nowhere

This post serves as a minor relaunch of the Channel Nowhere blog which has been somewhat moribund of late. So. A roundup of some recent news, then.

BLOGS

This blog will be updated fortnightly on average, concentrating on the music/media business as it relates to Channel Nowhere. I do, however, reserve the right to write about any old pish as and when the mood takes me.

Tapes For My Walkman is a blog I started some time back as an excuse to force myself to write more often. It’s a review blog based around, you’ll never see this coming, tapes I’m picking up. Check it out HERE.

I’ve just launched a “sister blog”, Tapes For My VCR. You can probably guess the subject matter. Check it out HERE.

Being brought more firmly under the Channel Nowhere umbrella, the Tapes … blogs will also each be updated fortnightly on average. If things go to schedule, that should mean at least one new blog post appearing most weeks.

VIDEOS

The Channel Nowhere YouTube Channel will be regularly updated from mid July. The plan is to post a lyric video for all tracks from each current Channel Nowhere release at the rate of at least one a month.

LIVE

I’ve been gigging fairly regularly solo and with The Craig Hughes Two for the first half of this year, and thanks to the positive results from these shows we’re planning on pushing ahead with a heightened schedule. There’ll be more from Dog Moon Howl too. To that end there are at least a couple of Channel Nowhere-promoted nights on the horizon. Watch this space.

In the meantime, check The Craig Hughes Two out in Glasgow at The Howlin’ Wolf on July 5th and at Nice’N’Sleazy on September 27th. I’m playing solo at The Howlin’ Wolf on July 27th and on August 1st you can catch Dog Moon Howl at The 13th Note.

OTHER PROJECTS

There are two projects (well, two and two halves) on the bubble which I’m not quite ready to detail here but which I hope will be worthwhile. More news here very soon and don’t forget to check channelnowhere.com for regular updates.