They say necessity is the mother of invention... Well, when you’re trying to finish recording your album and the world has much bigger things to worry about, like a massively un-precidented lockdown to stop the spread of a pandemic, well, invention kicks in. I thought this as I sat locked up in my van with microphone and instrument cables running out of a crack in the van window, running along a path, over a garden where it was connected to a solo bass play trying to figure out what the chords of the song were, on his own.
To be fair, even if I was sat next to Pete then I’m usually no help when it comes to what the chords I've played are. But Pete battled on, in social isolation, as we managed to record some incredibly beautiful bass parts for the new album. In facts, gardens, attics, sheds and vans were all utilised to record 'Strange Days', so yeah, strange days indeed.
Love the Life you live … or ama la vita che vivi
The things we do, hey! The love of writing songs, whether as a solo endeavour or randomly linking up with artists and knocking things around, in the hope that something great happens, well, this has alway been my reason for getting up in the morning. However, be careful what you wish for...
I spent a summer writing songs with anyone that had signed up to this free global social media app that linked bored musicians all over the world, and we created some really cool and interesting songs. However the style of these songs was all over the place and not exactly in keeping with the Rob Lear Band's albums, and I am now getting complaints that a Spotify search for the calming soothing effects of the Rob Lear album randomly pops up with some of the bizarre collaborations I've dabbled in, none more so than my work on the Euro-pop/rap sensation ama la vita che vivi.
In life there are always some certainties, like when you have an unwanted item annoyingly just hanging around the house for years, until the very moment you want it, and it's not where it has always been and has chosen this very moment in time to disappear! And so it was with a local publican who put his musical reputation on the line and insisted to his mainly traditional folk orientated clientele that they would be enlightened and enjoy a random selection of Rob Lear tunes selected at random from Spotify... and first song to blast through the pub's sound system as the high energy rap/euro pop extend version of the my euro/pop collaboration song!... ah, well, fate has a funny way of bringing you down to earth...
It's been a long cold hard winter... well, that's my excuse anyway, here we are at the start of the summer again and praying that its going be a sunny warm one.
Already this year, as a band we've had a few great experiences, including live internet broadcasts, a Time Square showing of a new song and some packed out shows.
The internet broadcast can be seen via https://youtu.be/36Ckv-pmWDE with some creative effects from the sound guy, and with me and Liz playing with great accompaniment from Terry... more about him later.
My Time Square big screen debut was a bit unexpected, but it just goes to show that your better off saying 'yes' to things than saying 'no', I said 'yes' to a request to write and record a version of a Macedonian folk song, and it not only got selected, but as the lead track on a new album to promote Macedonian music! Then, as a promotion in New York. The backers of the album hired one of Times Squares big screens and broadcast the album video... so there you have it ... always say yes, well ... perhaps in moderation!!
We've also been very honoured to be asked to play a number of privete gigs, asked to celebrate birthday and weddings, despite my best attempts to convince the originator of the request that we're not your typical wedding band, the requests still keep coming and it's a great complement to be asked, even if it'll likely mean that were playing to an audience of one... and possibly a drunk uncle or aunty!
In other news, we're always open to new musicians and ideas and we've been lucky enough to be joined by another multi-instrumentalist, Terry Payne, or as he has become know in a resent gig in a secluded field somewhere in Wiltshire as 'Teddy', which he takes in good jest considering he's six foot plus and built like an outhouse! (if you remember them - i reference them in terms of the traditional solid structures they were, as apposed to cold, damp scary places full of cobwebs! Although Terry would be happy with either as he's such a good sport!) and he did the Merthyr gig with only hearing the songs on a cd and then just one run through, so he's pretty talented to boot.
I write this in the middle of a busy month of May, with gigs including Fishguards Folk Festival, Tredegar House music festival and a home coming gig in Cardiff's Nos Da venue.
As you may have noticed my internet commitment to self promotion is probably only slightly more than that of the new Welsh dinosaur they found near Barry island recently, which, I think they should have called 'Dia'-nosaur - since he's Welsh... anyway, he's been dead for millions of years, so may not have posted anything for a while either...
Anyway, the year is 2019, hopefully you'll catch the band playing somewhere sooner than my next update... now theres a challenge!!!
Well, as Mick Jagger sung into his Goats Head Soup, 'its been a long cold winter'! But I've stubbornly waved goodbye to all that and I'm looking forward to brighter warmer things to come this year.
February had us officially waving goodbye to the winter at the Devizes Festival of Winter Ales, they know how to make good ale in that part of the world, and I think everyone knows it, check out : https://www.facebook.com/DevizesWinterAles for a snifter of this annual get together.
So coming up, we have our lovely trips over to the Hive in Aberaeron, Cardiff's coolest bar Nos Da along with some real sweet and exciting festivals, including Fishguard, Hazy Days and Between the Trees!
Phil Cooper, a rising star from the west country has also asked me to perform at one of his engaging 'songwriter sessions', hopefully I can pick up some tips and nick some ideas too off the audience... which is the real reason for these sessions!! ha ha.
Talking of new songs, we're currently sneaking our new album tracks into our current set when we get chance, as we're excited about the prospect of recording these beauties soon :O)
Hope we get chance to see you soon and we'll be working hard to cover the miles to make it so... so no excuses!!!
Well, don't think I've mentioned much about our gigs recently, just too busy basking in the revery of it all to be honest, which I think is quite understandable and forgivable especially after playing Browns hotel which was gracious and personable , Between the Trees festival which was cute, enlightening and homely, Upton festival which was just immense and the Folk on the Dock festival in Liverpool was such a treat, especially when family made the trip along too!
We also have been plying our trade elsewhere. Since we've invested quiet a bit of time traveling east we thought we'd take a right turn on the M4 and head west, so off to Aberaeron and Aberystwyth we went, firstly to meet up with and play for an old friend, now running the Aberystwyth folk club, and then to play the serene Hive venue Aberaeron after sunset.
In other news Pete and Liz have been trying to pin me down to chords and timings and keys for all the new songs I've been plaguing them with, and finally their nagging and exasperation is starting to pay off and I'm getting used to playing the new songs the same way as I played it to them seconds before :O)
We're also very proud to have been asked by Michael Kennedy to appear on the Welsh Connections Volume 1 CD, released this month. Michael came up with the idea for the CD as a way of contributing to raising money for a brave 6 year old boy, Morgan, who you can read about here - https://www.gofundme.com/3ywagnc, and of course thats were all the proceeds of the CD sales go.
There will also be gigs that we can lend our support to, so keep an eye out for that in our Live page.
Anyway, off I go for another ear bashing from Pete and co about the new songs; they credit me with a wild creative free spirt that creates a new take on a song each time I play it, but the truth is in fact I have such a bad memory, I've no idea what chords/lyrics or tempo I used the last time we played it so just make it up on the spot... still, my secret's safe with you :O)
There's good people in music! It;s just a simple fact! I've been incredibly lucky to travel around the country and link up and meet some of these people. I've just returned from the Fishguard Folk Festival, yes, you've guessed it - a festival where every pub, street corner and campsite is packed with good people. It was almost a shame to spoil it and get up and play :O) but the reception I had was amazing and we even managed to get some full on audience participation going!
Talking of good people and audience participation, Llanelli's musical guru Ron Savory invited me to play his opening night of his latest music enriching endeavour Tomorrow Calling Today at the Ffwrnes Theatre, here's his promo for the event: https://youtu.be/QWC40RkuxkI
As you may have gathered from my travels, the Bongo is back on the road! I'm determined to squeeze another year out of the old fella and so he'll be leading the way for our trip to Dylan Thomas's heartland of Laugharne and some up-coming festivals including the Between The Trees Festival and the Upton Blues Festival.
I'm genuinely rubbish at keeping in touch, always have been, so it'll be great to hear from you.
Cheers for now, hope to catch you over the summer - Yamas!!
It's been great catching up with a few old friends whilst planning our festival slots for the upcoming summer, and also making some new ones like Chapter Arts and Reapers Bar. Although it hasn't all been good news for my festival planning, my trusty Bongo camper has taken a turn for the worse with news that it needs over half it's worth in welding done to it, seems as though the underneath is as effervescent as an alka-seltzar and has been happily dissolving away over the winter.
Talking of winter, I've been doing a bit of moonlighting, in so much as I've been applying me vocal cords to a few tracks at the request of others, and have been enjoying the freedom of writing and recording with some very talented folks, with some more sessions on the horizon. Here's a song I was asked to record;-
That said , me and Brett have been knocking some new songs into shape in preparation for getting together with the whole band later in the month. And with some new gigs fast approaching I think I'd better light up the bat signal and get the troops in!!
As always, I'll keep you posted and look forward to seeing you at a gig soon.
Cheers for now!!
2016 - Over and out.
Hello 2017, we've all been waiting for you :O)
We've just had a cracking reminder of a superb summer of gigs and festivals sent to us by Terry Helyar. Terry runs the ‘Songs from the Caravan' session, he's a dedicated camera man and sound recordist who tours the country recording bands and artist in-situ in some of the biggest and best folk festivals around.
Here's the links to our session in his touring caravan:-
Since my last blog we've been asked to play a house party! It's a great idea where everyone gets chance to take advantage of their hosts hospitality and drink, eat and listen to music. Me , Pete and Liz packed up and headed off to our first house party booking, and it was superb, the food and drink were anyway, Shredded Lamb, chocolate cake, red wine and nibbles... we had to spoil the night by playing of course! But it was great to share a relaxed evening in good company, and play a few tunes :O) I've always wanted to do one, so thanks to Steve and Lizzie.
Everyone been really busy since the summer, Brett has been doing some session work, Liz has a new band and album coming out, Tim's been travelling and Pete's been in the studio with, you know who! (rhymes with Can).
We're headlining the Llan Acoustic club Mid November in Pontypool, a chance to play another local gig, which will bring us all back together again to plan our christmas Do :O), a hotly debated annual meeting where we each try and pick a venue closest to our respective homes to cut down on the time it'll take to walk home drunk after we've inevitably missed the last bus... and of course we will start to think about next year.. with some exciting venues on the horizon.
Looking forward to catch you at a gig soon
I was just about to set off for the Village Pump Festival when I had a call to say we'd made it into the renowned R2 magazine for the release for 'Motorcycle Heart', well, what a great start to an awesome weekend, well, actually it started even before that, as we had a plea from the spell-binding Upton Blues Festival to ask us to headline the Friday night the week before, so I was still on a high from that, but what a stunning weekend festival the Village Pump was, even Brett enjoyed it!
It was an honour to support such great bands and artists such as Peter Knights' Gigspanner and the great Proclaimers to name but a few, but it all made for a brilliant weekend... to calm things down me and Liz played on the Kennet and Avon canal barge cruise the week after, to a sell out captive audience... I didnt see anyone jumping over board so I think all had a good time. Although an aggressive looking swan circling the boat helped keep all in check!
Up coming shows include a few more festivals that I've managed to shoe-horn my way onto, check the 'livepage' for updates.
After simply mammoth efforts from Pete, Tim, Liz and Brett to make all the gigs, I may let them have a few days off :o) so may be playing a few solo spots at a few festivals near you, so watch out!
Finally, talking of mammoth efforts, we've met some amazing lovely supportive people over the summer, not to mention a lot of the unsung heroes of all these festivals who really commit themself and put themselves out to make an event work, for nothing more then of being part of something they feel proud of. And I do hope they feel proud, they're just an amazing group of people...
Not to mention our interviews and features in Acoustic magazine and Country Music People magazine, we feel honoured.
We officially launched the new album "Motorcycle Heart" in our home town of Blackwood in May and we were treated to family and friends gathering to enjoy another loved up evening of song. I then hotfooted it down to the Fishguard Folk Festival to play to a packed house of lovely people and some familiar faces. I eventually stayed for the whole weekend and beyond such was the quality of the good folk... and the music... not to mention a slice of stunning weather!
It sets everything up perfectly for a summer of music festivals playing alongside the likes of The Proclaimers, Tom Robinson, Fairport Convention and also Mark Radcliffe and Andy Kershaw.
...but I got to work on the ‘tan' first tho and take advantage of all this sun... summers here - and let's hope it's a good ‘un!
WELL!!! The first reviews of the new album have just sneeked in, along with plays and lovely comments from Acacia Radio; “Motorcycle Heart is as smooth as silk" (Lucas Jackson) and BBC Radio Scotland “this is very good" (Iain Anderson) and as for the written word, well, Folkword reviews have said:
"Immediate attraction is a rare and wonderful thing - ‘Motorcycle Heart' an album of powerful Americana from Rob Lear appeals from the first and the longer you listen the more it holds your attention... desirability and longevity, what more could you ask? Using a laid-back delivery tinged with a note of sadness, Lear offers an amalgam of folk-influenced country mixed with wider excursions into Americana through the 12 songs on ‘Motorcycle Heart'.
Lear's passionate missives expound his views on experience both personal and observed, uncovering the influence of people and places with a conspicuous impact on his life. The fervour overflows the songs and pours through every note with striking hooks and arresting lyrics - listen to ‘Light Of My Life' and ‘Strung Out' or perhaps take in ‘Who' and ‘Elfin Man' - and all will become clear."
So thank you so much folks, we think so too :o)
And so this weekend sees us play the Newport Friends Folk Festival; Me ,Pete, Brett and Liz are all turning up for a day of awesome music from some of our favourite players.
May is album launch month and as well as my solo trip over to the Fishguard Folk Festival, the day before, Friday the 27th May, the FULL BAND is playing at the Blackwood Miners Institute!
Finally , things are warming up...
They're here! Well, some of them. The new album is done and dusted and due for release on 1st May 2016. Those of you that helped us with your purchases of the Limited Edition EP at some of our recent gigs will have noticed a codeword hidden inside the CD. Well, for those who did we have now sent out the free, complete, pre-sales download for your kind support. For anyone who still hasn't, then just send me the code word for your copy :o)
We're really looking forward to this release and it would be great to know what you think...
In other news! We played our first full band gig of the year for Malc Shipp at the opening of his new venue and drinkery in Stroud called the Bowbridge Lock. It turned out to be a right old ‘event in the tent' as we literally blew the roof off!! Mother Nature chose the middle of our performance to almost completely destroy the marque and everything and everyone in it by unleashing a flash storm! But we all survived and de-camped indoors for a much more settled and dryer performance that was a cracking, beer-soaked end to an eventful day. Thank you Malc!
So onward and upwards... Oh yeah!!!!!!!!!!
Feeling excited! We've just been asked to play the main stage at a major festival for this summer along with a return to the Hay festival and also some new festivals for us including the Fishguard Folk festival and Priston Festival.
Not a bad start to the year. Oh, and I'm currently looking at a stunningly shiny and round brand new CD!
Lucky we've nearly finished, and we've enlisted the help of Richard Thomson's main man again, Simon Tassano, since he was a legend working on the 'Let It Go' album.
Everyone has their current favourite new song but I think the album as a whole reflects the ebb and flow of the year we've all had. It's the richest body of work in that regard that we've done to date... so, onward and upward!
See you all in 2016... it's gonna be a good one, well, after all it's got to stop raining!
So summer's giving us it's final bursts from that big old yellow ball in the sky. It's a shy old devil but it hasn't stopped us having some great weekends! The Village Pump Folk Festival was magic; I don't think anyone noticed the torrential rain on the Friday night and if they did get a bit moist then the mini-heat wave on Saturday was made all the sweeter :o)
We were lucky enough to play Friday night on the club house stage and then a beautifully chilled set on the lovely White Horse stage.
Upton Blues Festival was very special too. Although I have to be careful not to make anyone jealous since, second number into our set, the hall had reached it's capacity and the elf and safety crew had to stop any more coming in... lovey complement for us, but not so for those left outside. Can we make it up to you next year?
We returned to Trowbridge in August for the annual White Horse Festival. It's just a fabulous part of the world to play, and to camp... as we found out when the road crew lit their open hearth bar-b-que that was behind the stage right in the middle of our daytime set – we instantly had a bacon and burger-smelling smoke machine! Sadly, it was a little stinging on the eyes so only the brave managed to get close to the stage... let alone stand on it!
This month sees us play the Bath Chapel Art Centre. We're planning a long Indian-summer evening with a few drinks and lots of music. See you there maybe? Cheers, Rob.
Well, here we are again. Festival season!
And we have news!!
We have a very special guest accompanying us at our appearance at the Upton Blues Festival and the Village Pump Festival!!!
This special guest takes the form of a limited edition E.P. containing five beautiful songs taking from our forthcoming new album... oh yes!
Whilst we are currently putting the final touches to this new album, which has turned out to be very special indeed, we wanted to give the good people who are supporting these two amazing festivals an exclusive chance to enjoy a select group of new songs.
We will be in Upton on Friday the 17th July, playing the Hobson's stage at 9pm and then we play at the Village Pump Festival on the night of the 24th July and also daytime on the 25th July.
So as the release date for our new album moves closer, we really hope you get a chance to see us at one of these fine events and maybe even leave with a little piece of us too... in the shape of a sparkly round disc!
Catch you soon
Well, this year seems to be rocketing by, and the weather's been freezing! Even one of my songs has had the frozen treatment (see what I did there!) well, have a listen to this - https://soundcloud.com/roblearmusic/let-it-go-splice. Yep, it's that frozen track spliced with the chorus of my 'Let It Go', (for educational purposes only). Anyway, my mum's convinced Disney must have copied or at least been influenced by it, since mine was written first! But hey, mixing the two together works pretty well as a new song :-) maybe Disney will be up for that?
In other news, Liz has returned safe and sound and raring to go after her time in Africa, Brett's new studio is almost finished and were 11 songs into the new album where Tim and Pete's playing on the album is the best I've ever heard !!
March sees us kick off with a trip to the lovely Brown's Hotel, situated around the corner from Dylan Thomas's old place, so playing there on St Davids day seem very appropriate, and very Welsh :-)
We end March with a cracker of a show in Blackwood Miners Institute as a promotional show for this year's 'Village Pump Festival', it's gonna be a packed night in the stute as we are joined by bluegrass band 'Up the Creek' and soloist Phil Cooper...
So as we move into a warmer spring it'll be great to finally leave all this 'frozen' stuff behind and we move on to brighter and better things... well, when you wish upon a star .... Now, where've I heard that before??
Ok ok, I may have skipped a month or two, but hey, its been a busy one (or two), we started off doing a lot of work for charity... but we don't like to talk about it... well - go on then, after the Newport Oxjam gig we all played Cardiff's Oxjam gig at the Claude and it was a fab night that raised enough money to put 40 kids through school, so Tony the organiser told me later.
We then headed off down to Dylan Thomas's watering hole (well, one of them). Browns hotel in Laugharne and were very warmly received and have excepted their invitation to play back there as soon as poss. Another gig we were chuffed to play was Cardiff's Nos Da festival, lovely lovely people and a great line up and a great night!
Then things got a bit bizarre, over a two week period we played our return gig at Garway which was broadcast live on the internet followed by trips to New York and Sweden...? Needless to say the duty free chaps in Heathrow were a bit fed up with me by the end of my travels... I think they may be regretting offering up the free Whisky and Wine samplers... and my lame excuse of not being able to decide if I liked the £35 bottle of new smoked whiskey or not... and I'm still undecided –think I need yet another sampler :o)
Anyway, as I'm writing this just I've just come from the studio where we've started work on the new album, I love this part of the recording process, it's a completely different emotional journey when you start to record a new song, I think it's because you know what your recording is permanent, what the music does to you in the studio is not going to go away (unless the computer crashes), whereas playing songs at a live gig, that feeling is transient, you know until the next gig you're not going to feel that way again... so if you can capture some magic in the studio, well, then that's something you know you can share... and talking of sharing, it's about that time of year again ! Chrimbo.
I'm now off to wade through the throng of shoppers in the center of Bath because top Blue's Man ‘Keven Brown' as invited me to open for his Bath Chapel Art Centre show, its my last gig before Christmas.
So, I hope you have a good one,and you manage to spend some quality time with the people you want to be with.
Nadolig Llawen, hope to catch up with you soon next year !!
September had a very relaxed feel about it for us; we worked a bit on songs for the new album, with Liz and Brett eager to stop me making them sound like the Soggy Bottom Boys and more like Crosby Stills and Nash, we did our bit for charity, met up with some old friends but first up we played a cracking new venue for one of British music's godfathers – Alan McGee.
The converted chapel in Talgarth is a wonderfully vibey place to play and is obviously a labour of love for Alan and for all involved and we played alongside artists from New York, London and little ol' Wales. Check out this link to find out more and who up there next http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-mid-wales-27442297
Me and Liz headed down to Newport to be a part of the Oxjam events and a rare chance to play Wales newest city. We shocked a few locals with our close harmony singing and tails of woe but we survived the city centre on a Friday night and we're now awaiting our badges of honour to show off to everyone !
We then headed up, up and away, into the Cynon valley to play the Cwmaman Music Festival for the first time in a good few years. It was great to meet up with, if all a bit too briefly, some old faces. We would have mingled a bit longer but someone mentioned Bruce Springsteen to Brett and he got involved in a conversation that lasted a few days…we were too polite to interrupt !!
I also checked out the competition –Jake Bugg, the young scamp had booked out the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff and wasn't half tidy too, fair play like !
October sees us playing in Dylan Thomas's favourite drinking corner, over in Browns hotel in Laugharne – apparently its been kept exactly as it was in his day- so we're hopeful the beer prices are the same and they've dusted since then.
Ok, so what has happened over the last month... well, a lot of people have gone off on holidays that's for sure... but not everyone, I didn't, so I found I had a bit of free time and I linked up with London based EDM producers ‘Lua Sonique' and we recorded a track, check out https://soundcloud.com/lua-sonique/it-all-feat-rob-lear, it's already been featured on BBC introducing.
I then dragged Brett back from his long awaited family break in west Wales to play at the Unicorn beer and cider folk festival... and after a very enjoyable gig, and a good few free pints, I think he forgave me! So I then gave him the night off as a reward and me, Pete and Liz played over in Weston-Super-Mare , now, there's a place that knows how to party... however we hid from all that and set up in Loves café for a night of free food and music, and you can't fault that.
September sees us playing one of the gigs I've been looking forward to for a very long time, check out http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-mid-wales-27442297, Alan McGee and his wife have started a new acoustic venue and with their contacts it looks like it's going to be a very interesting place to visit and keep your eye on, we form part of the line up on the 19th if you up for the trek?
I'm also popping down to play a rare solo gig in Newport, as part of the Oxjam event at Six Feet Under on the 26th before we head up to play the Cwmaman Music Festival on Saturday 27th.
And finally a nod in the direction of the new songs, I wrote a new one last week and played it to the band... Brett's reaction was very interesting, he actually said ‘...oh, that's a new one is it? I don't mind that one, for a change.'!!, which was nice of him. Cheers.
I'm stood in a field, happy, legs aching, a warm beer in my hand, grinning like a fool and looking at my name written on the back of t-shirts worn by dancing folk I haven't met yet... bliss! This was the Village Pump festival at the end of July. Over the course of this weekend I'd played a gig with my full band, met Seth Lakeman and Martin Simpson and immersed myself in this sunny uber-cool festival community... again,bliss!
This has to be the best month of the year so far, it started with me and Liz playing in Deviser's, to a captive audience, on a Barge - only the strongest swimmers stood a chance of escape! A brilliant concept by the aptly named Mal ‘Shipp' to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon chomping on fish and chips, guzzling beer and playing a few tunes whilst cruising down the Kennet and Avon canal. Check out http://youtu.be/GSc0LF9uWK8 for a sampler of the trip...and try not to get sea sick!
Back on dry land we headed for the Shire, well Shirefest to be exact, with our full line-up, followed by the Upton Blues festival, two completely different settings and two radically different venues, but both superbly organised. I just wished my organisational skills matched up, although, to run out of CDs at the end of the Upton show was a mixed blessing, yeh, true, I should have been organised and restocked the CDs beforehand but, what a reaction to the music, to have so much demand as soon as we finished playing was just a joy to experience. I think I should take less CDs more often!
We then all trolled off to Trowbridge, to play at one of the best folk festivals around, just a perfect weekend to finish a perfect month, so I celebrated with a new addition to the band.
‘Little Ern' now has a butty, - ‘Mini Me'…a ¾ size git! ..time will tell what sort of git he turns out to be.. but if the reaction of my solo spot down Newport's folk club was anything to go by, I think he'll do ok !
Catch him at a gig soon...
Not so Wild West Wales, Motorcycle Madness and the Shed door closes.
So, what's been appertaining this month ?
The guy's at the ‘Heart of Rock and Blues Festival' organised a faultless event with every whim and need covered... except one, the weather! unfortunately torrential rain put off all but the hardiest of campers, and a three day event, which included some of the most outstanding live bands and artists around, struggled for a festival crowd, but the spirit was still there! and so were we :o)
However, as the weather cleared, to celebrate, I took to the hills, as can be seen in this http://youtu.be/J9W4Br_yxs4 sound tracked by me and the bands jamming through a new song !!
I then shared a week off with Rhod Gilbert down Brixham harbour (I was on holiday – he was on work experience as a trawler man! oh, yeh… late nights and stinking of fish ... and Rhod didn't fare much better!!) then we returned, for a West Wales bonanza.
First up was Caerwedros village hall, in rustic wild west Wales overlooking the Irish sea (or the Welsh sea, depending on your point of view and pedantic bent), we supplied free drink and snacks... which seem generous, but Aldi's and Lidl's bounty did us proud!
July is a very exciting month...starts with a gig on a barge ...and ends with Seth Lakeman and co. at the Village Pump Festival!!! Bring it on !!!!!!!!
This months recap on events include Sherlock Holmes, 007's boss and that bloody salad bar !
Me and Liz played the welsh perry and cider festival mid May and everyone got drunk as drowned rats..that is , as the heaven opened on our set, the glasses of cider and perry ( perry being a posh name for pear cider apparently ..... Well, how was I to know - Magners and Bulmers never used it ! ) anyway, the glasses were filling up with rain as fast we could drink it...lovely ! However, set in the grounds of Caldcot castle I must complement the ground staff on their drainage...cos compared to the mud in Hay, the castle was a veritable garden of Eden.
What started the weekend of the cider festival continued right the way through the Hay festival, the Rain just wouldn't stop...except it did, on the last day, when we were playing, the sun shone and the relief of living for a week in a muddy field could be felt from the stage. People chilled, and we played ...cracking !!
...Oh, and James Bond's boss and Sherlock Holmes were there too...in the shape of Judy Dench and Benedict Cumberbatch , which was nice.
And the salad bar ? well, if you've scanned through some passed Bob's Blogs then you may have noted my gig playing to the salad bar in the absence of the vegetables ...well, I answered a call of mercy from the same restaurant and did another gig there...solo this time, I'm still trying to claw back some respect from the band so I spared them to experience.
Musically, this month has seen us remixing some new songs with mistro Frank and also with me sheepishly trying to get the band to play a stack of new tunes I've written. I say sheepishly, after my ' you can sulk for Wales' youtube smash (http://youtu.be/ERbtO2ft6V4) I've had to make up for some lost respect...but I may have clinched it with a couple of new ideas, we'll have to wait and see...
First up… apologies if I jinxed the weather.. but April did at one point look like it was warming up, and I may have mentioned this in my last blog...oops. but never mind, at least we can get our moaning about the weather over before the summer starts… and our coughs and sneezes too hopefully!
However, I have braved the rain and the runny noses and ventured out this month, this included an impromptu performance at my local pub. The Nelson Inn hosted an acoustic open mic night, and after a few beers and right at the end of the night I found myself playing a new song, intended never to be heard again…until I found out it was video'd ….to see the result have a butchers at
Also, Jim, a talented singing bar manager asked me down to play his swanky new beer bar in Cardiff, initially I thought it was called ‘The Gravy Station'...which was cool but my dyslexia had bitten and it's actually called ‘The Gravity Station', however once I even wrote it as ‘The Gavity Station'..which makes no sense at all now I'm sober! Still, a good night was had by all.
Me and Brett also ventured to play a siml-cast for a live web and Radio-broadcast, (see link below) for the good people at BRFM, all as promotion for the Heart of Rock and Blue Festival in Builth Wells, but that's not til June, this month of May should be great too, as were heading over for the Hay festival and the Welsh Perry & Cider Festival too ….I'm looking forward to the cider, as the beer in the Nelson Inn hasn't done me many favours!! (‘you can sulk for wales' indeed !!!)
This month has been a bit 'Welsh' ...including eating lava bread, for the first time, experiencing Dylan Thomas's 'Under MilkWood' at the New theatre ( you will put your Pie-Jammers in the
draw marked...Pie-Jammers!) followed by free food and drink in a shed ! ( very Dylan Thomas) ..and also cooking the odd cheese on toast, again for the first time...proper Welsh see ! But
the best experience of the year so far was the great night we had over in England's garden ...in Wiltshire's Seend acoustic club, we turned up mob handed and fashionably late (again) but
played our hearts out and were awarded the accolade of being part of one of the best nights the club has had...which was nice. We were also really looked after when we played some
lovely gigs in Weston super-mare and Swindon.
But what's really getting us going is the great gigs we're being offered for this summer, including loads of festivals like the Upton Blue festival and a crackin new venue hidden over in West
Wales .....more details to be filled in on the new website..it's worth keeping an eye on the new website cos, as promised, the new tunes are coming along nicely, we've been back in the
studio and our secret musical guru has been weaving his magic on some brand new songs.....so fingers crossed, we may be giving birth to some tunes soon....so keep watching the sky's !!
...talking of watching the sky's, rumour has it that the sun has been spotted this month too ..... Hopefully getting ready for the summer - Come on you ugly lovely glowing orb !! Let's be
..and we're off !
After a lethargic Christmas and new year, February has eventually prised us out from under our collective rocks and given us some cracking gigs to break us in to 2014.
First up was a gig for me and Liz in early feb, it was a chance to play a new restaurant in Cardiff...oddly enough though our stage for the night overlooked this eateries self-service salad bar ! And at one point I was asked where the vegetables were ? , I replied that Pete and Brett were busy and couldn't make it ! Ha.
We all then trouped down to the heart of Wiltshire for a night of true English folk, the Village Pump festival this summer has us playing along side the likes of Seth Lakeman and co' and as a taste of things to come we were asked to play the Village pump folk club, mistakenly the WRU's David Pickering cocked up his dates and scheduled Wales to play France on the same night so the boys missed our set but its fair to say we both had a great result !
As I write this we've just come back from a gig at one of the best little pubs in Wales, the aptly name 'Boat' pub sits on the banks of the river Wye and has been fighting back the flood waters all winter, so with a roaring log fire and a strong community of drinkers a great night was had by all, worth mentioning is their keg'ed beer...I swear if god made beer it would taste like their pint of Butty Bach ! .....but with no hang over !!
So we march onward onto my favourite month - March.
Welcome to the new look Rob Lear website, packed with new features where you will be able to find out directly about the latest shows, listen to the latest tracks and find out all the news. If you have any feedback about the website, the music or just want to get in touch then the Contact page is waiting for you.
Well, tomorrow me and Brettus get together and play some of the new tunes Ive been working on, it's a big day for me cos due to Liz going to Africa , Pete going down with the flu and me going off my head cos my car keeps on blowing up leaving me stranded , it's the first time this year we've had a chance to have a blast.
I had some lovely messages over Chrimbo about wishing us all luck for the new year, one such message ended with a comment that struck a chord with me ( pun intended) , it said 'loving the new album, good luck for next year, but write some happier tunes for gods sake' , so, with that in mind my new tunes are on subjects with a lighter tone, suicide, using fear as a weapon, kidnapping and coping with bereavement.
Old habits die hard - Happy new year !!
I've been invited to the Penarth Songwriters Circle. It's an idea copied from Nashville where three songwriters play and talk about their work. This time it's me along with the amazing Amy Wadge and John Lewis.
November 9th - Blackwood 'Stute Rob with the Full Band .
BBC Radio Wales-Artist of the Week
Hi, Rob,Liz,Pete and Brett have a session on the Beeb this Easter Monday with Alan Thompson from 8 !!
I love March !!! .. the 11th sees the release of the single 'Let it Go' and also we have been selected as BBC Radio Wales artist of the week !!
CD available outlets
Blackwood's happening music shop and Cardiff spillers now have the new album in stock !!!!
Single Launch party
The 'Let It Go' single launch is all set for March 11th, we've have now booked the launch party venue for Sunday the 10th !! Free entry - Free food and free music.....oh yeh !! ...more details coming soon !