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I’m an emotional wreck!


Last night, Helen Lancaster came into the studio to record some violin and viola for two of my songs. Helen’s Band “The Old Dance School” can be found here:


I’ve mentioned the song I co-wrote with Nicky Kelly before… “The Gate”… this is the tricky one. This is the song that has everything in it, and has/is taking much more energy from Dan in terms of its production. It hasn’t got the kitchen sink in it, but it does have buckets, graters, whisks, spoons, cups, kettles, knitting needles and sandpaper…

And, as of last night, it had violin and viola. Helen had been sent the track as it stood a week or so before. It isn’t an easy one, the structure is all wrong, it has lots of different title-defying sections. It’s the sort of song you get from someone who isn’t a songwriter perhaps? Helen did us proud!

These strings just add so much richness, depth and emotion that we have stripped out whole sections of guitar in order to make it sound wonderful, and because the sound is so lyrical and emotional, we’ve stripped out a few lyrics too. After a period of play and editing on Saturday, it will sound amazing.

I am an acoustic, real instrument (and household appliance/utensil) kind of songwriter. The quality of sound and feeling you get from a real person playing cannot be surpassed by anything digital in my book.

“Delicate” is the song I wrote about my youngest son’s premature birth. It was originally a poem. I stitched the poem to a maternity bra.

I had wondered about recording it at all, and then maybe as spoken word, as it didn’t seem to have much structure, but did have a certain rhythmic feeling here and there. After discussion and a little while “noodling” whilst drinking tea and coffee, Dan Whitehouse wrote the music for it. We adjusted lyrics slightly, and even discovered a sort of chorus and bridge lingering in there!

The title suggests a light touch, so Dan’s guitar is very spare. The violin that Helen wrote and played last night has had me weeping. Seriously, sobbing over my laptop. For the song, the son, the mothers and the music, the strings pulling it all out of me. I’m exhausted and exhilarated all at the same time.


Music is a powerful thing. I feel so fortunate to be able to do this…