Tag Archives: craig hughes

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!

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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.


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.


Switchback No More

When I went full-time with this music malarkey, some six years ago now, I released an EP, not much more than a demo, called Broke, Lonely and Guilty.  Much to my surprise, it got a wee bit of attention – a couple of reviews, some local radio airplay and the likes.  This led (after, I believe, a good word being put in by The Dirt) to my being invited on to a local community radio station for my first ever interview/live-on-air session.  The station was Sunny Govan FM and the show was The Switchback, presented by Paul Clarkson.

Picture me, in a black cab, guitar by my side.  “You playing tonight?”  asks the driver.  It’s a night-time session and it’s already dark, the show starting at 10pm.  I’m running late.

“Aye, I’m on the radio,” says I, with no small measure of pride.  The driver is suitably impressed and, armed with the address (which I have written on my hand), he heads confidently Govan-wards.  However, once in the general vicinity, we drive around in circles for what seems like forever.  We are drawn to a couple of porta-cabins.  We pass them a few times, both of us certain that can’t be the place. “There should be some kind of big aerial mast” the driver says, and we duly crane our necks in every direction. Eventually, the driver gets out and asks for directions at one of the cabins.  He comes back to the cab shrugging his shoulders.  “Aye, this is it,” he says. “Just asked the guy – the aerial’s up the high flats.”

And so began the first of several nights I spent at Sunny Govan, which eventually moved to its current comparatively palatial headquarters in an actual building.  There was a greater element of washing mugs and making coffee than I’d entirely expected and Paul was a good guy (there are many good folks in the grass-roots music scenes but a fair few fannies as well) so I was put at ease straight away.  The end result was a relaxed session, the recording of which I released as a limited edition promo EP for the launch night of my first album a year or so later.  I’ve experienced a few other community radio setups since and Paul, despite his propensity for modesty in this regard, has a knack for getting a decent sound from the room using just a single mic – in sharp contrast to some of those others.

The Switchback was a great supporter of the Scottish and international grassroots americana/country/blues/folk scenes.  Pretty much the entire regular live roster of the old That Devil Music night I used to run and very many more all played sessions and received airplay there.  Paul played tracks from, I think, every release I’ve put out over this past five years as well as the work I’ve done with Jim Dead.  Where other early local media support had dried up, The Switchback was one of the main sources of airplay of my most recent album, Losers and Bastards, and it was much appreciated.

Inevitably, geography and real life took their toll and in the spirit of all good things coming to an end, The Switchback aired its last show on May 15th.  It was a good one, with much in the way of anecdotal reminiscence from Mr. Clarkson.  Some kind words about me there too, and an airing for a cool old session version of The TR7s Have All Gone To Heaven.  This post is really just intended as a wee “thank you” to Paul Clarkson whilst wishing him all the best for the future – your efforts on the show were always appreciated man and the grassroots scene will be poorer without your input.

Here’s the link to an MP3 of the final Switchback show – more than worth your time, trust me (I’m a guitarist).


This and that.

Been a while, so here’s an update:

Recorded the Dog Moon Howl album in January at The Boathouse in Alloa, started mixing it and then came down with the mother of all eye infections which was supposed to clear up in a fortnight but went on for over two months, becoming increasingly debilitating due to seriously affecting my vision.  Seems to have left me with some permanent problems in that regard, too.  Oh well.

Anyway, had to cancel gigs and the likes but since then have played a solo set at The Vagabond Social Club in Glasgow and a duo set at Record Store Day in Stirling (@ Europa Music), both of which went down rather well thank you very much.  Finished the mixes on the DMH album, getting the masters completed just now, and starting work on the cover art to boot.  Looking at a June release.

Actively booking for the band, the duo and myself so more live dates to be confirmed soon.  Playing (solo) @ Slouch, Glasgow on Wednesday.  Getting into a whole guitar design/business thing as well, Zentone Guitars, more news as-and-when.

Right, that’s your lot.  Blogging, eh?  Fucking doddle.


Dog Moon Howl update (and a live Craig Hughes Two video).

Work on Dog Moon Howl’s first album is in the mixing stages.  Currently sitting at nine tracks, produced by Alec Pollock of Chasar at his studio in Alloa, it threatens to be rather good.  Release and promotion details will start to get hammered into shape in the next few weeks (current thinking is a May release but that’s far from set in stone) – in the meantime, we have a gig on the books for Saturday, March 22nd with Glitterball Vegas and Traquair at The 13th Note in Glasgow.

I’m currently hitting up festivals and the likes for bookings (solo/duo and DMH) and the first solo booking of the year is for Foakies @ The Royal Oak in Edinburgh on June 2nd. Tying all this together, here’s a video of me and Ally Tennick (DMH drummist) playing as The Craig Hughes Two late last year, from the smartphone of Bryan Campbell (DMH basser).


Winter News Round-up

So, my Mail manager-thingmy isn’t letting me send Newslist emails out anymore.  Fuckity-fuck-fuck-fuck.

Anyway, here’s the main body of what should have been this winter’s newsletter…

The Blues Magazine #10

There’s a full-page interview with me in #10 of Classic Rock Presents: The Blues Magazine and there’s also a great review of the new album in there.  Available now from WH Smiths etc., or order online.

Reaction to the new album

Reviews and reactions to Losers and Bastards are coming in and I’m pleased to say that so far they’ve been overwhelmingly positive.

“A diamond in the rough, with a poet’s soul.”

            The Blues Magazine (UK)

“It’s bloody brilliant.  Not just Hughes’ best, but one of 2013’s.”

            Resurrection Songs (UK)

His lyrics too are a mix of despair and grim humour and on a couple of the songs here he proves himself to be a great chronicler of Glasgow life with one of the songs, Future After All, reading as if it was an excerpt from a James Kelman story.”

            Blabber’n’Smoke (UK)

“…one of the most honest blues albums of 2013, leaving no doubt as to why Craig Hughes has often been compared to some of the past greats including Blind Willie Johnson.”

            Blues Underground Network (Canada)

And check out Charlie Bear’s video review of the album on her first Vlog, which also features some exclusive live footage.

The album entered the Blues Underground Network’s UK/Europe/Australia Top 10 Blues/Blues Rock Chart at No.1 and stayed there for four weeks running! Which brings me, slightly smugly, to some end-of-year charts/critic’s lists:

Blues Underground Network’s Year End Review – Best UK Blues Album : Losers and Bastards

Blues Underground Network’s Top Ten International Blues/Blues Rock Albums – #3: Losers and Bastards

The Third Class Ticket’s Festive 60 – #33: A Strongman and an Acrobat

Resurrection Songs’ Top 10 of 2013 – #5: Losers and Bastards

If you’ve yet to get a copy of the album or fancy giving one as a belated Xmas present (cheapskate!) please do check out my Bandcamp store for CDs and downloads – or download only via CD Baby, Amazon, iTunes and all that good stuff.

The Craig Hughes Two

The final few of 2013’s gigs were good ones.  I had a busy night in Slouch playing on a bill with the splendid Estonian/English trio of Andres Roots/Steve Lury/Peter Piik and last month’s “Craig Hughes Two” debut at the Vagabond Social Club with Ally Tennick from Dog Moon Howl on percussion went down a storm.  Look!  A picture!!

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Dog Moon Howl

Talking of Dog Moon Howl, it’s been a quiet year on the band front for various reasons but we played our first gig in months at Pivo Pivo, Glasgow in November and it was a great night.  We were at Pivo again in December for our last gig of the year (another good one, a very different set to the previous month’s) and are preparing to record our first album in January 2014.  Which, come to think of it, is really soon.

New videos

There’s a video for the album track Everybody’s Got to Cheat and Lie Sometimes, culled from live footage taken by Dog Moon Howl’s Bryan Campbell available for your viewing pleasure HERE.

Also, a live performance of album track Beans and Bread from that Craig Hughes Two debut gig can be found HERE.

Tungstone Guitars

I recently had a meeting with Jordan Campbell of new guitar business Tungstone Guitars.  Something exciting is in the off – watch this space for updates.  In the meantime, Tungstone are just starting up and they have a new Facebook page so if you’re a Facebook sort of a person check them out and give them a “like” and/or follow them on Twitter.

Plans for 2014

Next year is going to be busy on both the live and recording fronts.  I’ll be continuing to play solo gigs but the live focus for my blues/roots stuff will be on the duo with Ally.  Dog Moon Howl will also be stepping up the live work on the release of our first album as mentioned above.  There are a couple of other projects in the offing which will likely happen in the second half of the year – more on those as and when.

So, that’s it for the time being.  Please do keep checking the website for updates, “like” the Facebook page and check out the YouTube channel as there’ll be a lot more content added there over the next wee while.