Topic: solo live work

2018 has arrived and its gonna be great!

Wow, its already 2018! After a seriously busy 2017 which involved 9 overseas trips, recording an album, playing in Japan and running an album launch with some amazing guests, there’s lots planned for the forthcoming year!

I’m continuing to work on “Tales of Dark and Light” which initially was going to be an EP, but now is looking to be a much bigger project. Four tracks are already mastered and mixed and I have two more ready to record, the first being in a few weeks time. 

This March I’ll be doing two gigs in NYC with friends and this will be an opportunity to play some of the new material as well as old favorites from the Small Change Diaries catalog. As luck would have it during my stay in NYC Bill Frissell will be playing The Vanguard again and I’ll be sure to attend at least two gigs. I saw him twice there in 2017 and once in the UK. He remains a great musical influence and superb live.

I’ll also be travelling to Europe during 2018 and will be in the USA and Japan during September.

As well as recording in the studio I’ll be doing a series of gigs already in the diary for The Small Change Diaries, starting March 2nd in Leeds where we headline a local venue. 

During 2018 I’ll be doing a lot of work on a bigger musical project that will be unveiled in due course. This is intended for a wider musical audience and I already have a team of people assisting with this and the website is already under construction for the project.

The Original Ukulele Songs Platform aka OUS will continue to grow and we’ll be adding more artists to the main site www.originalukulelesongs.com  

That site already has 108 artist pages and the FB page is also growing at some rate.

There are also some major musical surprises planned for 2018 which will focus on artist collaborations an performances. I’ve been look at musical promotions and doing a fair bit of research to see what works in attracting appreciative listening audiences. The feedback has been fascinating to say the least and its IMO a clear sign that the market is changing at some rate.

In short 2018 promises to be a great year musically and creatively always with an eye on the bigger picture for such happenings. Special thanks to all those people who are involved in these activities, you know who you are!

Back in the studio working on “Tales of Dark & Light”

I now have 4 fully mastered and mixed tracks for “Tales of Dark and Light” and I’m really happy with the recordings to date.

The tracks are

  1. Dunning Kruger Blues
  2. Here in the silence
  3. No more street parties
  4. He’s shooting blanks

I’ll be back in the studio mid January to record a fifth track “When the pain begins”

This is a very different project to the Small Change Diaries material, although Adrian Knowles and Rich Ferdi feature on some tracks. The extraordinary Laurent Zeller plays on the above tracks, but the final track is only going to be piano and vocal. 

The material is a lot darker than SCD material, and although I use the ukulele as a writing tool, the ukulele doesn’t really feature in the final recordings. The sound is much more piano, double bass and violin based. Carl Rosamond is once again the producer. I’m working with a number of other new musicians for the first time and each one adds a different dynamic to the material. 

The opening track “Dunning Kruger Blues” was written after some exchanges on social media and reminds me greatly of Becker/Fagen Steely Dan material

 

Dunning Kruger Blues (Nick Cody)

King of the tiny island, no bigger than a hill,
Centre of attention, is how he gets his thrills
Two fake Rolex, one on each arm
Listened to Elvis, but never got the charm

David and Justin got a Nobel prize,
Some understood, others rolled their eyes,
A New pecking order is now coming through
Bet your wondering if this songs ‘bout you….

Chorus
Ladies, gentlemen, it’s not the best news,
Welcome to the Dunning Kruger blues,
Ladies, gentlemen, it’s not the best news….
Welcome to the Dunning Kruger blues…

Bridge

Waspie women and the yummy mums,
Got the king’s number, done the sums,
But nothings really adding up so far,
He’s convinced he’s some kind of star…

Teenage kids just as bad,
All the smiling, covers up the true sad,
This dam of tears is about to break,
A parental vice, she just can’t shake

Chorus
Ladies, gentlemen, it’s not the best news
Welcome to the Dunning Kruger blues,
Ladies, gentlemen, it’s not the best news,
Welcome to the Dunning Kruger blues…

Ladies, gentlemen, it’s not the best news,
Welcome to the Dunning Kruger blues…

 

I’ll be playing some of this material live in the USA and the UK, before releasing the EP as a physical product as well as in digital format

tales of dark and light

Busy Times – 3 gigs in forthcoming weeks

Now I am back from the USA, I am getting ready for a series of gigs. First up is The Ilkley Literature Festival which has been in existence since 1973. This is a great opportunity to play to a terrific appreciative listening audience. The festival is hugely popular  and attracts a genuine cross section of people. This is a full band outing.

Next Saturday I’m doing a solo with friends gig at The Grove for charity. The theme is “We shall overcome” and I’ll be playing some protest songs as well as other originals. This is all unplugged and its unusual for me to be playing in this capacity, but I’m looking forward to it. I have support from my good friend Doug O Brien who is usually a keyboard player and my wife Sue. Its a bit of a jump into the unknown.

Four weeks later the full band and special guests play the album launch. Tickets are cranking for this evening and its almost fully sold out. Support is from Phil Doleman, Astraluna and Sleepy Kev Bishop. This promises to be a terrific night with food for all tastes and a full bar. This is also a beta tester for a bigger project. 

Its great to have the opportunity to play to so many different diverse audiences and we already have gigs lined up for March and April, with a big festival gig in May

Instrument explorations and inspirations by Nick Cody

Many will associate me with the ukulele as an instrument with my band The Small Change Diaries and in Nick Cody music, but the uke is  only one of many instruments I play and love. Others include acoustic & electric guitar, mandola, mandolin, dobro, walking bass dulcimer and of course concert, tenor, soprano, baritone ukuleles. Each instrument inspires different ideas, playing styles and different end results. My many years learning from Martin Simpson taught me the value of playing a variety of instruments and the importance of having an attitude of sonic exploration. This is a key ingredient to becoming a more creative and skilled musician.

For the last three years I have been writing and recording with my band The Small Change Diaries. To date we have recorded two albums (2nd album released Nov 3rd this year) and an EP. Its been an amazing journey and in 2018 we will continue to focus on live work and return to the studio in 2019. In the meantime I’m working on a solo project with the first track “He’s shooting blanks” already recorded, as well as a duo project with longtime bandmate Jessica Bowie and an instrumental project. The main band goes from strength to strength and we are delighted to be invited to play at some really wonderful events including Lagoa Guitar Festival, Ilkley Literature Festival and Wetherby Arts Festival. As a solo artist I also recently played in Japan and am soon to do the same in Austin Texas.

As Nick Cody the solo artist I am delibeately exploring sonic territory outside the ukulele and instruments like the Collings 4 string tenor guitar, mandola and mandolin mean thinking in a new way musically. When I first started with the uke I had no idea what I was doing and that naivity is actually quite useful in musical exploration. Of course when playing with a band some basic musical awareness and education is essential as well. I have always loved music and have a diverse set of interests. Instrument exploration and creating original material is a fascinating journey that means opening up your mind to all kinds of new possibilities. 

Busking in 1977 – Nick Cody

My first experience of playing live to an audience was busking in Guildford underpass in 1977. Those days I played acoustic guitar and on average would earn around three quid an hour which was a pretty good rate back then. An album (this was way before CDs appeared) would be around two pounds forty pence, and I was delighted to fund my first copy of John Martyn’s Solid Air from this work.

Most of the songs I played solo or with my girlfriend at the time were CSNY or Neil Young tracks. I was back then and decades on remain a great fan of these artists. Dylan was also in one of his golden periods and Blood on the Tracks was back then and to this day remains my favorite album. I was just seventeen at the time and playing was pretty basic but extremely enthusiastic. I had an old Kay acoustic that really wasn’t that great and yearned for a Yamaha, but couldn’t afford one. A year earlier I had seen Neil Young play his Zuma set at Hammersmith Odeon in London two nights in a row. He did an acoustic set initially and then an electric set which included Hurricane which wasn’t then released until years later on American Stars and Bars.

This was a fun time and in my view a golden age for singer songwriters. Its funny looking back at this period and how many decades later I have returned to acoustic music with great joy. Its also interesting for me that most of the music I love most was created 1971 – 1975 and when travelling in Europe, USA and Asia most of my listening is from that period.

Playing live in Japan – Nick Cody

I just got back from playing with Brian Cullen and guests in Nagoya Japan. This was a wonderful evening in a small bar Country Joes which was like a small part of Americana in the middle of Japan. It was fascinating to play some of my songs for the first time arranged for mandolin and guitar as a duo. It was also great to sit in with many other great artists. There’s a wonderful “Anything can happen” vibe to the proceedings and I loved it. I’m hoping to do something similar in Austin Texas this Sept. Its a real joy to be playing original music in Japan and showing how the mighty ukulele can be used to create a wide range of music.

Nick Cody Live in Japan July 22nd

Next month I am delighted to be playing in Japan. This is a country I truly love, with great people, great music and terrific instruments.

This will be ny 16th trip there and I never get tired of visiting. I’ll be with my good friend Brian Cullen playing 

Country Joe’s 2 Chome-8-9 Shinsakae, Naka-ku, Nagoya-shi, Aichi, Japan 460-0007 on July 22nd at 8pm.

This is a small club, so we advise getting there early. We promise a great provocative evening of great acoustic music and original songs. This will be the first OUS outing in Japan and my plan is to have many more in this wonderful country

 

There’s a FB event page here – https://www.facebook.com/events/775084982673519/?acontext=%7B%22ref%22%3A%2222%22%2C%22feed_story_type%22%3A%2222%22%2C%22action_history%22%3A%22null%22%7D&pnref=story

This will be an opportunity to play some classic Small Change Diaries tracks as well as some material off the 2018 solo release for the first time.

Brian is a terrific artist in his own right and plays a variety of instruments including mandolin, guitar and ukulele, He writes terrific songs that stick in your head. We have jammed together during my Japanese trips but this will be the first time we have played an actual gig.

I’ll be travelling light with a Rob Collings purple heart tenor and any other instruments I pick up on route! Its going to be a great night out and I welcome all Japanese friends and fellow musicians to come and join us!