Welcome to the release of the fourth song from my second record. Stream Stick To Your Dreams Not To Your Guns here The song appeared in my mind during one of my usual writing walks, a little more inspiration came from the Kon Tiki museum in Oslo and I finally finished up lyrically in New York in the snow covered forest, another true world song which I seem to have become quite regular in creating. I recorded the majority of the song on my travels and then really put it together in the Shokan sessions with Dan Weller on co producing skills and Brook Downton on outdoor reconnaissance.
Listen out for the banjo solo in the mix in the final part of the song provided by Dan Weller, a different DW to producer. Dan is live banjo / guitar and keys with stadium country band Florida Georgia Line and has become a friend over the past year during my US writing trips.
The drums you hear at the start of the track are myself and Brook along with a fine bunch of locals in a drum circle we joined in Woodstock, that felt pretty spiritual and hard on the hands (a couple of hours of solid bongoing) So happy I was to be able to include them in the recording. Lyrics are here
Excited to have Jonnie Blackburn on board to look after management of my songwriting, it’s been a three year courtship and 2019 felt like the time to solidify and build. The fact he signed one of my favourite bands Mew is just evidence of the quality of his ear. It’s taken a year or so but I’m really happy splitting my time between the continuation of the world I built in LostAlone now into my solo work (all of which I manage myself – WHO could manage my solo music other than me!) and now with this additional writing and co writing with others for multitudes of projects which Jonnie will be in charge of wrangling the chaotic schedule! I’ve had the so many amazing experiences over the past year in Europe and the US meeting so many amazing artists and looking to repeat that x a billion this year! Next stop is my return to Nashville in February, oh and a new solo song before that!
And let’s not forget that I will be playing my first headline shows since 2016 this year! More on that soon
Looking back on my ambitions list from this time a year ago it didn’t mention me spending so much time in the US writing for other artists and it certainly didn’t mention not playing any shows for the first time since I was in the first year of school! It’s been a nonstop twelve months full of travelling, writing and new creative experiences. Its quiet possible that when my songwriting spreadsheet (with I’ve kept in some sort of order for many years now) is updated that 2018 could be the most prolific year to date.
In Nashville and Kansas I’ve found songwriting destinations that will form part of my every year from now on, both geographically and friendship wise they’ve opened a new window into a part of my brain previously untouched a true expansion of story telling with words that previously only existed in metaphor. I also wrote two of my favourite songs I’ve ever written in Belfast back in June so I’ll be certain to return! As always a couple Berlin trips were full of creativity and ending my year in Montreux always gives me the some semblance of schedule, a bookend to a manufactured set of hours and seconds.
The one BIG thing I did have written down this time last year was to fly to New York and make a new record which I did! I had the best time living in my friends beautiful house in Shokan upstate New York and allowing the vibes of the place to truly inhabit the recordings. In the ever changing new age of how we consume music you’ve been hearing the fruits of my musical labour a song at a time so far, I will ALWAYS be an album lover and this collection of songs is structured to run as one piece however I have really been enjoying drip feeding a song at a time and having the individual have its moment to shine unencumbered by track listing.
Okay so its time for me to sit down and set out some ambitions for 2019, they will include playing live, releasing this record AND recording the next one, that is going to be a new fun adventure.
Happy New year and thank you for supporting my music. A few pictorial highlights below
Recorded in Shokan, upstate New York after attempting to meditate in a Buddhist temple that David Bowie used to frequent and realising that rather than being a relaxing experience, meditation for me is the most stressful thing I’ve ever done. I wrote and recorded the initial parts almost exactly a year ago (first demo is dated 3rd December 2017) at home and then ended up in the US recording in March this year. The end section of the song was recorded live by my friend Brook in the snow covered woods that surround his house (the studio is in his house) and is just me with an acoustic singing and playing walking through this magical setting.
I spent this past week in a beautiful cottage on a farm out in the rolling hills of the Peak District in the heart of the U.K. Writing songs for another artist, big rock songs so it was very close to my musical home! I really loved the peace and quiet of the farm life, lucky for me I was always well awake before the cockerel started the morning call. As November turns to December I’m always reminded by many of you of a certain lyric in the LostAlone song Paradox On Earth “It’s always December when the nights last forever” this clip might be my favourite version of the song Paradox On Earth Barcelona
A big Happy Birthday to my first solo record Exit Brain Left which came out on this day two years ago, Stream it here and you can get the repressed CD & second pressing of the blue vinyl over on my shop here I started writing the record directly after having to make the decision to end the band, it began with a trip to Montreux and then Berlin both between LostAlone touring and then I spent all of 2015 traveling, thinking and making the songs that would end up on the record. This album is me mourning LostAlone and I’m really proud of how it documents the trauma in my heart and mind at that time.
Steven PS Look out this coming week for a new song from me 😉
Thanks so much for all the great messages, tweets and comments about Shipwrecked. Love that you’re loving it! I’ve just written up the lyrics a bunch of times (my poor thumb) and put them on my store for sale here Genuinely some of my favourite and meaningful for myself and those who’ve been traveling this music odyssey with me. Also as its Black Friday so you can get 20% off all my music by using the innovative code FRIDAY at checkout. SHOP
Ace to see Shipwrecked on the Kerrang! chart and Apple Tree on the Amazon Rock Right Now playlist, the next song will be with you in a few weeks.
Shipwrecked came from a stream of consciousness and has remained unchanged, unedited since the day I dumped those raw thoughts onto the page. Spilt out under the shadow of the single biggest event in my life and staring at an horizon which for the first time had no clear destination only waves of uncertainty where pride, anger, sadness, hope and a multitude of questions waged war for control of my mind.
I kept the first verse as unaccompanied words to stay true to the original way in which I wrote them… a confused cathartic scribble then built (I hope) the intensity by multi tracking myself (many times) to effect the chord change (It almost sounds the way I hear it in my head). A vocal dam holding out until the strings and finally the riffology crash down and all that emotional baggage fell out onto the crumbling bridge into the water.
This song was recorded at in the beautiful seclusion of Chapel studios in Lincolnshire. I had a strong feeling, almost an internal demand that a full band was needed for this track and so very appropriately due to the lyrical content I enlisted my former band mates Alan Williamson and Mark Gibson to actualise the rhythm section. This felt really special to be back in the studio with them again, a real treasured moment.
Some credits and details. All music and lyrics written and performed by Steven Battelle Produced by Steven Battelle & Dan Weller at Chapel studios Studio assistant Luke Farnell Super special guest musicians Alan Williamson and Mark Gibson Harmony vocals recorded with Rich Collins at Snug Studio Mastered by Dick Beetham Photography Rob Baker Ashton
Created some beautiful songs with a bunch of new friends in Nashville and in Nashville itself I’ve found a new place that really feels like a songwriters home – excited to return soon! Brief stop off in New York, always fills me with a unique energy and is on the small list of places I could really see myself residing at some point.
Landed in the U.K and walked directly into the peoples vote mark around parliament, right back in to the thick of vile U.K politics and then balanced that with a visit to the Queen pop up shop and then witnessed one of my favourite bands playing at the Barbican. Mew Frengers played in order was something amazing to behold, what a band! Check them out f you haven’t before. They actually impacted myself and Mark from LostAlone a lot in the early days of our band.
So seven days in LA, three weeks in Nashville and a day in NYC come to an end, many songs were born and are now being nurtured into a state the world can hear them.
Okay time to play a lot of vinyl (I’ve missed y record player) and then get right back into it all! New solo song from my second record out next week 🙂 Steven
Another week is almost gone here in Nashville and its been non stop evolution of writing and friendship forming, an enchantment of riches and such a pleasure to be a part of.
I’ll always write my own songs in solitary, by myself and in open seclusion but am now fully enjoying bringing my brain to the melodic dinning table of an other artists meal, takes me to places I’ve never been before yet feels familiar.
Excited to get back to the UK next week and prepare to unleash upon you the second track from my new record. Describe it? Well its vocal only for 40 seconds and then its a downpour of RIFF!
Another few days writing here in Nashville then New York before home! 🙂