We’ve just passed the half way mark of 2019. We’re into the 3rd quarter now. I’ve had to take it easy this week, in order to think about what I’m going to concentrate on this quarter. And make a plan.
Now then, in this post, I have a brief new album progress report, as well as some live news/ dates for you.
New Album Progress
I’ve managed to get the recording of the new album done last week, it’s all in the can now, as they say. I do still have to slot in some backing vocals from Thor, but all my parts are done. I’m going to start mixing some tracks next week – exciting!…..well, for me it is. So now, this quarter, I can concentrate on mixing and mastering it.
I still have to do the sleeve artwork too. That’s one project for the next month or so. The album title is “Strange Sounds from the Wreckage,” so it should inspire some ideas for art…….now, where’s my sketchbook?
Schott’s List Selections
I had a session with Dan Schott last Monday. I produced his latest podcast, Schott’s List Selections #24, for him. I enjoyed the evening and we chatted a bit about things while we worked. I was impressed by some of the tracks Dan had put together for his new show. It’s all local stuff too. There’s a lot of great music coming out of Chester at the moment, it’s looking very healthy indeed. You can listen to his podcast here.
Next Facebook Live
Now then, it’s our regular Facebook Live show this coming Wednesday (10th June). We’ll be starting at 7-30pm sharp – British Summer Time. I’ll try to do some new songs again this week, and do stuff we don’t usually do. We need to try and keep it fresh for everyone, us included! By the way, I’m going to remove a lot of the previous FB Live sessions from the page (Shem Sharples Music) over next week….make way for the new stuff!
Our next live gig in July
We have a gig coming up on the 20th July at the Llangollen Fringe Festival. We’re playing at the Fringe Acoustica event. It takes place at the RAFA club in Llangollen. Tickets are available via our gigs page here, or by visiting the Fringe Acoustica web page here. It’s an all day event, and it’s £5. If you want to see us, please get there early, as I think we’ll be on near the start of the event. Hope to see you there!
So there we have a report on our new album progress, as well as some live dates for your diary. Ok that’s all I have for you right now. See you again next time…
I’ve written 3 new songs in the last couple of weeks. I’m quite pleased with them too. So I thought I’d share them with you here,
Only Ever Seen Through These Eyes
The first of them is “Only Ever Seen Through These Eyes”, which is in 3/4 time. I tried a few different arrangements before arriving at this one, which was both the simplest, and the best one after all! Here’s a video demo I did earlier….
Dreams Are Meant For Sharing
The second song I wrote recently is called “Dreams Are Meant For Sharing”, which is also in 3/4 time. It seems to be a motivational message to follow your dream, whatever that is for you, and just make a start and get on with it. Here’s a demo video of that….
Slay The Dragon
The third song I wrote is called “Slay The Dragon”. This one’s in 4/4 time. I even got into a rap-style bit where I’m actually fighting to slay the dragon. Otherwise it’s quite a calm peaceful number. So here’s the demo vid I made for it….
There are more videos to see on my YouTube channel here – Please visit and subscribe to my channel, and also please like and share my videos while your there. It really helps me.
What do you think?
Okay, that’s all I have for you at the moment. I’ll be writing some more songs soon. Let me know what you think of these three in the comments below. Any thoughts or questions. All feedback is very valuable to me, and much appreciated. Thank you!
It’s been a hell of a year so far. My dear old mum died, aged 88, in December last year. That felt like shit! She was a great soul, full of kindness, humour, and a generous spirit. I really miss her! I’m the executor of her estate and I’ve been busy sorting out all the various accounts and stuff. That as well as the probate process, which has been dragging on for ages. I’ve also had to go through all Mum’s possessions bit by bit and dispose of a mountain of stuff. It’s all taken a long time to get where I am at the moment. I still have plenty to do, but it’s getting there slowly…..yes very slowly!
The house went on the market this week and that felt like a step in the right direction. I hope the sale goes ahead smoothly and in good time. It’s brought the whole thing closer to me now, as a sort of saying goodbye to my childhood home, and the place my Mum lived for the last 50 years of her life. A goodbye to the place where a huge cavern of memories reside, and from now will have to live on without the physical space to refer to – it’s all in the mind now, as everything truly is anyway!
So it’s a goodbye to all that. Yes, goodbye, and hello to a world where I’m going to share my journey with you all, from now on. I’m putting this down as a statement of intent, and mean to go on carving out my own little corner of the world…..warts and all! A new resolve.
Projects on the go! It’s been a busy old time at Shemboid Productions central, this last week or so. I’ve set in motion a lot of work for me to do on new projects over the next month or so. Some video projects, interviews, a new regular podcast, as well as the new album recording.
I recorded an interview with my friend Dan Schott, last week. We talked about all sorts of things. There’s one of the new projects for me to work on editing etc. After that, we set up and worked together on a new Startripper video for the song Black Blanket, which I feature on. So Dan recorded some video footage for that too. It’ll be interesting to see what he does with it. So we both had a good evening collaborating and creating content for each other’s pet projects.
Another item on my list of projects is my new podcast, which starts next week. I’ve already recorded the first show. It’s a corker! I’ve gone with the name The Shem Sharples Music Explosion, which i think is better than the previous options I was considering. I have some great music to play for you and it should be a fun journey – and only takes about 40 mins to get there. So let’s drink to that! The launch will be on Friday 14th June. I’ve created a page on here specially for the podcasts, so you’ll be able to listen here on the website.
One of my biggest new projects is a new video session that Thor and myself did last week. We recorded footage to use for all 6 songs from Swings, Grins and Fairytales. I really have a lot to do now with editing it all and creating 6 music videos! It’ll take me a number of weeks to get them all done I reckon. But I’ll just have to go at them one at a time, and work through them methodically. Watch them unroll over the coming weeks and months.
The next Shem Sharples Music Show is coming up on Facebook Live this Wednesday 12th June at 7-30pm. We’ll do some of the newer songs as well as a couple of our more established ones. You might even get to hear us play an old song I wrote with Sean O’Halloran, from my Rev Rev days, that I re-worked last week….shhh…..we’ll see if we’re ready to play it yet by Wednesday. To watch our Facebook show visit our Shem Sharples Music page here
See you then
Ok that’s all we have for now. My next blog post will be in 2 weeks on Friday 21st June. See you then.
Don’t forget our new podcast will go live next Friday 14th June. I’m really excited about that! Hope to see you here next week for that! Cheers!
My blog has been going
weekly every Friday for several weeks now. I’m enjoying it, but
there is something else I want to do as well….. podcasting. Thing
is, I don’t have time to do a weekly blog as well as a weekly
podcast. So what I’m thinking is to do the blog on a fortnightly
basis alternating with a fortnightly podcast.
I’ve been looking into
using Mixcloud for the podcast. It will enable me to embed the show
on my website, so will be easy to share. I think I need 2 weeks to
set up my thing and record the first show.
The format is as
follows. I’m going to play records and cds, as well as have a little
bit of chat (but not too much), and sometimes have the occasional
guest onboard. I’ll be digging up some gold for you all from my
large record collection. I’ll be thinking of all sorts of other ways
to make things interesting too. I’ll keep it quite short (around 30
mins) to start with and see how it goes.
I’m going to schedule
it like this; I’m going to keep my blog date for next Friday 7th
June and then start the fortnightly blogs from then on. I’ll then
post my first podcast on Friday 14th June, and then
fortnightly after that. Then I’ll have something, either the blog or
the podcast, alternating every week.
Names for the
I’ve been thinking
about names for the podcast. My favourite 2 so far are;
Swirls” (I could use a pic of an array of vinyl 45s pinned to the
“Shem’s Fried 8”
(Fri-date, if you see what I mean, and I could possibly play 8
Which would you choose?
Or do you have any other, maybe better, ideas? All suggestions
welcome. Please post in the comments.
So there we have it. We have our regular blog post next Friday (7th June). Then our new podcast will launch on Friday 14th June. See you there. I’m really looking forward to that.
I was a little quiet on social media last week. This was because I wanted a break, with friends popping over from the USA. So I put a lot of my work on hold. It’s been a while since I had a break anyway, and I really needed it. It also gave me a chance to reflect and think things through. I’ve made some adjustments to my plans for the near future. So I’ve come up with my big 4.
Practice, practice, practice
The 1st main thing is to work on my songs and practice even more than I have been. The music itself is the core element to everything, it underpins it all. So I’ll spend more time every day to write new songs, and practice my singing and playing – and become a better musician in the process. It’s always good to keep on improving, to learn new things, and to practice and master what you learn. Onward and upwards. I never want to stand still or become stagnant. My aim is to be the best version of myself I can possibly be; always getting better.
Finish the album
I still have to finish the album I’m working on. It’s well within the time frame I set for it. I can’t let my foot off the gas, though. I set myself a target of the end of June to finish recording all the instruments and vocals. And I’m easily on track for that. Then I’ll work on the mixing and mastering in July and August. I’m aiming to actually release the album in early 2020.
Now, here’s the 3rd thing. I need to sell my mother’s house, which is a big thing that needs to get done too. That’s something I’ll have to do alongside my music stuff, and it has to get done asap! There’s still a lot to do. But the sooner the better!
If I was to choose a big 3, I’d leave it there with those above. But I feel there’s a 4th thing that needs work too…….
Rework my website
The 4th thing is this: I’m going to rework my website over the coming months. I’m going to build more content and think about the site navigation. I feel that my personality doesn’t really show at the moment, and I’m looking to improve on that and make it all much more fun for everybody. It’s been looking a bit dry for quite some time now and it needs a few upturns to its smiles and a brighter, fresher look and feel. I’ll be gradually rolling that out in the course of time, so you’ll notice some differences happening bit by bit as we move on.
So there we have my big 4 areas to focus on for this summer. Everything else will have to fit around these 4 things.
The Grosvenor Museum’s 13th Open Art Exhibition in Chester opened this week. It’s great to have an art exhibition at the museum, as I feel there are not enough art galleries in Chester. We could do with a permanent public art gallery. Recently, there was an exhibition of prints at the vacated old library building a couple of years ago, which was great. We got to see some top pop art prints from a lot of artists I admire. And there was also a great exhibition of modern sculpture, called The Ark, in Chester Cathedral. These were heading in the right direction, but only temporary. So I think we need a permanent home for great art in our city.
The current exhibition
The current exhibition at the museum was open to anyone who cared to submit works back in April. I submitted 2 myself, and yes they accepted one of them for the exhibition. So I’m pleased about that, and it now hangs alongside around 200 other works in the first room on the right as you go into the museum. There is a vast array of different styles and media on display, including paintings, sculpture, prints, collage, ceramics, drawing, and all manner of subjects. About 496 works were submitted to the exhibition and, I think, 203 chosen. The standard is very high and there’s something for everybody’s taste in there.
My painting is an abstraction, and I counted the abstract works and they make up around 10% of the work in there. This isn’t enough for my taste, as an abstract artist, but it does show that most people prefer representational art. Having said that, it is a great collection of work, and should be seen by anyone living in or around Chester, and anyone visiting the city. So I heartily recommend it!
My painting, Earth Sea
My painting is called Earth Sea, and is number 76 on the far wall, in a high place. Here’s a photo of it:
It represents a changing world, the ground moving like the sea. There is a message in there somewhere, but I won’t explain it much, the viewer can make their own mind up what it’s all about. The viewer’s interpretation is what matters in the end anyway. We all have our own singular experience of any artwork, or anything else for that matter!
I talked a little bit about my work and my entries to this exhibition in a previous post here
Karen Bate’s Bloomin’ Chester
My partner, Karen Bate also got an abstract collage of hers accepted, called Bloomin’ Chester. Congratulations to her! Karen’s work is brill, and can be seen below mine and to the right in the corner in a white frame.
So I recommend you all go and see the exhibition, there’s something for everyone. It’s at the Grosvenor Museum from now until Wednesday 18th September 2019. Monday to Saturday 10-30am to 5-00pm, and on Sundays from 1-00pm to 4-00pm. Their website is http://grosvenormuseum.westcheshiremuseums.co.uk/
I seem to have a dilemma. A huge conflict of different interests. It’s common for a lot of us to have multiple things we’d like to do in our lives. There’s so much to do out there! For me this conflict is mostly creative in nature. I want to explore my creativity in so many different fields, that if I tried to do them all at once, I’d actually achieve very little and be totally overwhelmed. My main interests lie in the following fields –
I’ll go into some detail about this conflict of different interests now, and there are conflicts in each of these umbrella interests. Music is my first port of call.
I love music above all other things (except my partner of course!) and I have multiple interests in music.
singing and playing my songs
recording and producing my music
tinkering with other instruments
composing experimental soundscape music
recording experimental soundscape music
playing my music live
learning new techniques
All my time could be spent just doing these things. There’s a vast amount of work involved in doing each of them, and there’s much more to doing all these as well. Like changing strings, sorting out technical things, amps, effects pedals, and other equipment. Listening to my work and fine-tuning and developing ideas. It all takes hours upon hours.
I’d love to compose pieces for orchestras, bands of all sizes, and arrangements for a wide range of different instruments. Experiment with sounds and ways of producing them. Learn to play every instrument under the sum. Train my ears to be able to name a note on hearing it. Learn to play many different styles of music The list is endless. In just one field, there is a massive conflict of different interests. If I just concentrated on music and nothing else, I’d still not get all I want to do done!
Art is one of my passions. I’ve been doing it since I was in my early 20’s, back in the 1980’s. I have different ways of making art too –
In my spare time, of which there is very little, I like to set up and produce paintings, prints, and collages. These are messy things and require a good few hours (3 or more) to set up the space for being messy, and concentrating on producing the art itself, and then clearing up after myself. If I had a dedicated studio space, it would make it much easier, but I can dream about that for now…
Digital art can be done at the computer and doesn’t take much setting up time, but it’s still a time sucker! The same’s true of graphic design too. Now, these are just techniques and different forms of art.
There is also the subject matter and themes and projects I want to work on. I’ve got loads of ideas floating around in my noggin, and in various notebooks and sketchbooks. Again, this could be a full-time occupation for me – and, no, I’d still not get it all done! So here as well, there is a conflict of different interests, pulling me this way and that.
Writing is the other thing (one of the big 3) that I love to do. I can break this down into the following –
blog posts/ articles
I sit down and write something every single day. This could be a blog post (like now!), a poem, a song, a story, writing in my journal (thoughts and ideas, feelings about things, keeping track of what I’ve been up to etc.), or brainstorming ideas for stories, articles, themes, novels, videos, movies….. you get the idea! I love to have a pen in my hand and a notebook in front of me, it’s like a home comfort.
Then things move to the computer and that’s when the serious editing and fine tuning and crafting takes place. I’ve increasingly been using a portable keyboard and writing on my phone, in recent months. It’s handy when away from the office, and I can use Evernote to share my work across devices – I can work from anywhere!
Writing takes a long time and though most of my current projects are small in size, I’d love to have the time to spend on bigger projects – like writing novels, screenplays, e-books, autobiography, or longer articles etc. Again a conflict of different interests.
I like making videos. They can take quite a long time to do. Some can be shorter, if they’re done live. I’ve only done a few videos so far, but it’s a medium I’d like to do more of. It’s important for a musician to have videos. Let’s face it, videos can be on any subject under the sun….or even beyond, in the outer world of the imagination! Movies are just like long-form videos. These are the areas where my interests lie in this medium –
poetry and soundscape
With video, since it is a multi-media thing in itself, I can use all my interests together in the one medium. I can write scripts/ screenplays, create set designs (art), paint and design stills, make music/ soundtracks, perform in them, and work on the production and editing on computer. It’s all encompassing for me as a broadly creative artist. Video is something I want to develop further.
Photography is great. I like to take photos of things. And now it’s much easier to take and edit photos, without bulky equipment. They’re useful in my other work too. It’s good to document myself at work on various things, use in artwork, make photo art for its own sake, use in videos and set design, post on social media and the web. Also having holidays and memories snapped as life moves along, a visual journal. I don’t use photography much as a serious photographic artist – although I’d like to. But I do use photography in many aspects of my other forms of art.
Education: Learn new things
I love to learn new things all the time. My eyes are constantly fixed on reading books, blog posts, e-books, to learn all sorts of things. Online courses are good for me too, eg. Udemy, Coursera, and others. I’m always hungry to learn something new, and I never stand still, even when I’m waiting for a bus. It’s no good just doing the reading though, or the course, because you have to actually do the exercises and work at whatever skill you’re trying to develop. This all takes a lot of time too, and now we come to the crunch…
The Crunch: There’s only so much time
The thing is, there’s only so much time! We all have the same amount of time – 24 hours a day. Everyone has to sleep and take care of housework and domestic things. We need to take time off for our partners, or spouses, kids, and our friends. Leisure time, holidays and days out are important too. If we don’t do all this stuff, we’d quickly burn out – big time. Some people have to work at their jobs too, a big time-sucker! Even with all of this, there is little time, or headspace, to achieve much else.
So how can I fit in all I want to do into my life? The answer is – I can’t! True, I don’t have a day job, or kids of my own, so I have more time than the majority of people. But still, given all the things I’ve listed above, I still can’t do it all. Not all at once anyway. Basically I have loads of ideas floating around in my head about things I’d like to do. That’s where a notebook comes in handy. I just write down my ideas and get them off my chest. Then put them away on the back burner. Anything important I’ll keep in front of me.
Yes, I have to set priorities. I can’t get it all done, and if I tried, I’d achieve very little. Nothing would be finished. There would be dozens of projects lying around never seeing completion. So I’ve decided at the moment to work on my singer-songwriter, performer, and recording artist career path. This entails that I write songs and certain other things, like social media and other web content. I get to make a few videos. Also, it means I do some art for social media, posters, album sleeves, graphic design, and some photography. I get to play, perform and record my music, and do production work. And education grows by reading books and taking online courses about music, production, business, and marketing, etc. This is all in service to my music career. If you’d like to listen to some of my music, follow this link here.
Now, I do have dreams of doing some other big things, like writing a novel, or making a movie, pursuing an art career, creating a multimedia art installation, making art films – all sorts of things. Smaller things like painting, printmaking and poetry, I can do occasionally when I’m taking time off (not too much time!) But if I digress too much, I’ll spread myself thinly over a wide area and not stand out in any one field. So I focus on the one main thing, music.
And in my pursuit of excellence in my music, hopefully, someone will hear my voice above the background noise of all that’s out there, and say “that speaks to me.”
We’ve been getting up to some live action by appearing at a few open mics recently. We ventured out of town to Bromborough, playing at Nathaniel’s Bar. That was a good jam-packed night, but unfortunately the venue’s closed down now, so we’ll have no more of that there.
Closer to home, we’ve been appearing at the Chi (Chichester Arms, Garden Lane) on Monday nights. It’s generally very bluesy down at the Chi, but my stuff sits in well alongside all that. It’s good to make a change anyway.
We’ve also been showing up for live open mic action at the Carlton Tavern, in Handbridge, the last coupla Tuesdays. We’ve made a few new friends there, as we haven’t been for ages. It’s good to meet new people…..(I know the people aren’t that new, they’re old enough to drink, but you know what I mean!)…..as well as catch up with some older acquaintances.
We have a proper gig at the Carlton Festival today (Fri 3rd May). It’s part of their 5th Anniversary festival happening this weekend. We’re kicking the whole thing off at 7-00pm, so if you want to catch us make sure you’re early! We only have a short set allotted to us, so if you arrive late you’ll probably miss us.
Call out to venues
We’re still looking for more gigs, so any venues/ promoters out there please get in touch. Contact us via the email link at bottom of page, or message via our Facebook page – Shem Sharples Music.
Next Facebook Live shows
We have some Facebook Live shows coming up next Wednesday, 8th May, starting at 7-30pm on our Shem Sharples Music page. The next one after that is on Wednesday 22nd May (7-30pm). It’s good fun doing those. If you want some live music streamed into your living room, then this is for you. You can comment in real time, and I’ll give you a shout and answer any questions and generally have a conversation with whoever wishes to post comments. We play around 5 songs and it usually lasts about 30 mins in all. Join in with us, it’s fun! We do them every 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of every month – always at 7-30pm.
Anyway that’s all I have for you concerning Shem Sharples live action at the mo’. See you next Friday x
The last couple of weeks have been busy as usual. I’ve spent time recording the percussion parts for the new album, and I’m now doing backing vocals. I’ll be working on the backing vocals for the next few weeks. Then I’ll be looking at electric guitar, keyboards, and other textures to finish off the recording phase of the album. This should all take about 6-8 weeks. Then the mixing process begins, which I’ve pencilled in on the calendar for July and August. So that’s where I am with the new album. I’m going to change the subject now, if you don’t mind, and talk about my artwork….
I’m going to submit 2 of my paintings to the Grosvenor Museum Open Exhibition, in Chester this weekend. The works I’m entering are 1. Earth Sea; and 2. The Ridge #2. They’re both on canvas. Earth Sea is acrylic and The Ridge is oil paint. The dimensions are 500 x 600 mm. They’re both the same size.
I love spending time doing art. It’s one of my passions. But I don’t do as much of it as I’d like, because my main focus is on the music. I love to do paintings, make monoprints, and create collages. Those are my primary art media. I work mostly with acrylic paint, but sometimes I’ll work in oils.
My style is generally abstract. If I do representational art, it is usually abstracted in some way. The 2 photos in this blog illustrate what I mean by that. Otherwise I’m a purely abstract kind of artist. If you want to see some more of my art, have a look on the art page – here for monoprints – and here for collages
That’s what I’ve been concentrating on recently. Wish me luck with my art submissions! I’ll let you know if they accept my pictures into the exhibition. They’ll inform me in a couple of weeks.
Okay, I’ll leave it there until my next post on Friday 3rd May. See you then x