Wednesday, 28 July 2010
Friday, 18 December 2009
BBC Four celebrates merry midwinter in unique style, with an exhilarating blend of folk tradition and burlesque fun. Energetic 11-piece Bellowhead and The Unthanks get together with the impressive young singers Thea Gilmore and Lisa Knapp, plus other special guests.
Steered by genial host Paul Sartin, the assembled artists perform seasonal songs of their own alongside yuletide favourites, ranging from folk ballads and carols to parlour songs and carousing dance numbers, with everyone coming together for a final knees-up.Filmed at the atmospheric Shoreditch Town Hall, the setting evokes an old music hall combined with a festive Victorian family parlour, bedecked with garlands, period lamps and fireplace. Even the audience are dressed up in old-fashioned finery and prove themselves ready to kick up their heels.
Thursday, 17 December 2009
I've just got back from an extremely early start 4.30am to be precise.
Now one of the reasons I went in to the music business is because of the hours you get to keep - and I wouldn't want getting up earlier than I did for my paper round to become a habit. However - it was for telly and as we all know - anyone will do anything to be on telly.
Here's a picture of Benji to prove we were on the telly.
As you can see - the BBC have put quite a bit of effort into their festive decorations. Actually, to be fair to them, it looked stunning at 6.30am before it was light but at that time in the morning I was still too bleary to think of getting my phone out and snapping it.
Anyway - this was all in aid of promoting our performances on BBC4's Christmas session - Fire & Ice which will be coming to your digitally enabled screens at 9pm tonight 17th December and it will be repeated on Christmas Eve at 10.30pm.
To promote this remarkable event - we were allowed to play 59 seconds of our song "Whiskey is the Life of a Man" using 45.4% of the band (they said it's a very small studio - actually it's a very big studio with a very small sofa in it). We also answered questions such as "is that an accordion?" and got to plug the New Years Eve gig at the South Bank. As you can see on the YouTube clip below:
This has been brought to you by Squeezy John - possibly the most infrequent blogger of them all. Mery Christmas!
Tuesday, 30 December 2008
I've been thinking about music and health. You can often end up a little unhealthy as a result of music. It might be that you go to a festival and drink too much beer and eat at the Mexican stall for a week, it might be that you spend all your spare cash on travelling to gigs and can only afford to eat gruel for the rest of the year or it might be that you jump up and down too much at a concert and struggle to walk for a few days afterwards. These are all potential dangers to watch out for.
When we recorded the last Bellowhead album, we ate lots of microwave food and meals out. It didn't always work out too well.
Here's Brendan enjoying a microwave beef lasagne with a salad, topped off with a bag of cheese and onion crisps....mmmmm!
Eating out doesn't always guarantee a better quality meal either. Paul was loving his spaghetti bolognese!
Pete found some mushrooms behind a Travelodge...but nobody was brave enough to eat them!
Touring can be quite unhealthy too. Late nights, early mornings, travelling, service station food and perhaps a little beer or two of an evening do not help in the slightest. You know the food is bad if Justin can't eat it.
Squeezy John and Sam even resorted to eating lemons.
Don't get me wrong though, I'm not moaning, it's merely an observation that as a result of music, we don't always take care of ourselves.
But it needn't be this way. On the last Bellowhead tour we ate well, stopping off at supermarkets to stock up on REAL food!
Here's myself and Gideon enjoying a smoked salmon and cream cheese baguette with a little glass of Cote de Road on the tour bus.
I decided to continue this new healthy way of life and with the view that healthy musicians are happy musicians. When we arrived there was a toaster and a microwave...adequate but limited.
So I bought a few additions to the studio so that I could cook up a feast every day.
A slow cooker, a toastie maker...
and best of all...a steamer! Real veg...woo!
So I've been hard at work in the kitchen...
...and look at the joy on their little faces!
Well fed musicians are happy musicians.
So this is my last blog for now, I'll be locked away in the studio for most of January.
I wish you all a healthy and happy 2009. See you at a Bellowhead gig somewhere soon.
Don't read too much into this healthy blog though. Feel free to bring us treats.
We like chocolate brownies and wine.
HAPPY NEW YEAR
love Rachael xxx
Friday, 26 December 2008
I was going to write to you over Christmas but I thought you might have something better to do than read the Bellowhead blog! But I'll fill you in on the last couple of days.
Twas the night before Christmas and in Newcastle town the Rachael McShane Band were still in the studio working hard! You might think I'm a little mean making my band work on Christmas eve...but I did provide everyone with party hats. Some members of the band were full of beans and festive joy...
...some members of the band were up for working hard
...and it was all too much for some people!
After the hard work was over I headed down the road to Yorshire to see my family. We sang a few local Christmas carols at a party...my favourite being While Shepherd's Watched to the tune of On Ilkley Moor Baht 'At. I think I may have been in trouble for singing "The angel of the Lord came down, the angel of the lord came down, baht his trousers on"...but it made me laugh. I like everyone getting together for a good old sing song at Christmas.
It was time to go to bed and hope that we'd been good and that Arfur would pay us a visit. He's called Arfur in my house as I thought his name was Arthur Christmas as a small child but couldn't say Arthur...of Father for that matter! Anyway, my Mum and Dad weren't sure if he would want brandy or whisky so we left both just in case, two mince pies for if he was really hungry and a carrot for Rudolph.
In the morning...he'd been! He must've been hungry as he'd eaten both mince pies, he obviously had a taste for brandy and whisky as both the drinks had gone and the carot was nibbled too! I hope you all had a lovely day.
I thought one day off was quite generous enough, so today (Boxing Day) we're back in the studio for more hard work. We've just realised that all the shops are shut because it's Boxing Day and all we have to eat is jelly beans and a chocolate orange, so if anyone feels like swinging by the studio with some dinner for us it'd be most welcome. Lots to do so I'd better get on!
Bye for now
Tuesday, 23 December 2008
It's been a lovely day up in Newcastle today, the sun was shining and it didn't feel Christmassy at all! I think the Bellowhead boys think I live at the North Pole. They keep asking me when I'm moving south and everytime we play anywhere north of the Watford Gap they all pipe up saying "It's cold up north"...well today IT WASN'T! :)
Today we moved into the recording studio...no more daylight for the Rachael McShane Band for a few weeks. We went in to get set up today and do a little rehearsing
before the recording starts. My keyboard player JP was late so we had a little bet on what time he would arrive, with a £3 jackpot...woo! Playing in a folk band we can all afford to splash the cash. Drummer Adam was the winner and JP was overjoyed to discover he'd been the subject of a little game. However, Adam forgot to take his winnings so he will find himself a pound down and myself and bass player Jonathan are 50p up...good times! I get the feeling that it may be the first of many little bets on the reliability of JP! Anway we're all set up and ready to go now, we'll be back in there for more rehearsing tomorrow. No christmas parties for
us tomorrow, but we might perhaps eat mince pies and wear party hats.
That's all for today, we've got lots to do tomorrow so time for an early night I think. Sleep in heavenly peas.
Love Rachael x
Monday, 22 December 2008
Well, I'm taking over from Gid so I'll be rambling on at you for a bit this week. I enjoyed hearing what Gid was up to in Japan, drinking Sake and playing tubas he can't afford...he might be on the other side of the world but nothing changes! Unfortunately not all of us have the luxury of time to go off gallivanting...some people have work to do!
If nobody told you yet, the season of forced jollity, Christmas is upon us. I usually spend a fortnight eating and drinking too much, sitting about doing nothing and getting frustrated at sitting about doing nothing...but not this year! I decided it'd be a great time to start recording my solo album, so Christmas is officially cancelled for the Rachael McShane Band...sorry guys.
I'm having a day off today though, getting a few things done, wrapping a few presents, writing a string arrangement, eating a truffle or two. My housemate is playing her Christmas Crooners CD...I think she's trying to get me in the spirit! I like to save the joy for Christmas day myself...although I'm having difficulty stopping myself from joining in with 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town'. Our upstairs neighbours don't seem to like it much, there has been some angry stamping and their Stereophonics tape was turned up a few notches.
I popped into the recording studio earlier to check all is OK for tomorrow. They had a couple of fellas in there recording a Christmas single and I was lucky enough to get a little bit of footage to share with you all. You can watch it here.
That's all from me for today, I shall be back tomorrow. Don't forget "he sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake, he knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake"
Love Rachael Scrooge-McShane x