I'm in the process, with help, of setting up a new Homesong website. The plan is to have a page for each Homesong venue, where hosts can put up details about their upcoming Homesong gigs, and where the people they know and contact can purchase a ticket ( with optional amount of donation) ahead of time.
In addition there should at some point soon, be a place for H4Life artists to put up information about themselves and their own touring plans etc. It will hopefully be a start in enabling Home gig hosts and artist to connect with each other a little easier. It will also continue to provide information about everything Homesong related, in the way the current site does now.
Lots of of other ideas buzzing around my head, but it will be a case of building slowly. And possibly going backwards a little, in order to go forwards.
Watch this space, and as always I'm open to any suggestions and ideas you may have for improvements and additions, either now, or when the site goes live.
Reflections On Life, Music, and Community
My name is David Fee. I write songs and I started Homesong.
This blog is written to inspire and help YOU to start or be part of "a small gig, where you live".
If you want to find out more about Homesong then click below.
When I host a Homesong here in Campbeltown, Kintyre, I usually make a curry (meat and veggie options) for the folk who are coming along. Everyone gets a little dish of something during the half-time break. Lori, another Homesong host in Kintyre, puts her own spin on making guests for the gig welcome.
None of which is compulsory when hosting. But it helps to make each event special.
So here's the recipe for a Homesong gig:
Mix together A Home, A Performer, and An Invited Audience.
Then just add your own spices.
Unlike a blog, such as this, life doesn’t have an edit button. We can’t wipe out the last few minutes and re-type them.
Which means that our mistakes, our flaws, and our bad sense of timing, are always a part of the narrative.
Maybe that’s why a live performance has something extra about it. More so than a recording, in which all the fluffs can be extinguished. Live, it can all go wrong. And both the audience and the performer know it.
Maybe that’s where the applause comes from, when, amazingly, it all goes beautifully right. Or even, sometimes, because of the rough around the edges.
A couple of days ago I went on a long, knackering, wonderful 20 mile walk in the Cairngorm mountains with my youngest son. A couple of hours after setting off early, through amazing scenery, and before starting the real climbing, we approached the first human being on our walk. A forestry worker, surrounded by this stunning landscape, got out of his 4 by 4 and started lopping a few tiny trees from the side of the track, with a handsaw.
As we came up to him I gave him my best mountainside banter, bearing in mind his task at the time. "Tidy garden, you've got here".
He came straight back with: "Aye, you won't believe it. The boss isn't allowing us to use any machinery".
Which did sound a bit daft.
But it also goes to show that no matter how wonderful your working environment might be, there is always something juicy to complain about, to any wandering passers by.
For most people, before the mid-nineteen eighties, the internet was permanently down.
OMG! I honestly don’t know how we all managed!
If it happened today, I imagine it would cause major disruption. But even though we’re all dependent, or feel dependent, upon it, we would of course, get by. As we would without any of our electronic technology.
I’m in the daily habit of intentionally “depriving” myself of it’s ubiquity. I go for a walk in the woods, with my phone, left at home. Alone.
And I love the Homesong gigs, precisely because they can be played unplugged, with an acoustic instrument, a voice, and just a few people for company. We could (and occasionally do) video them and send them out into the Cybersphere.
But there is something special about leaving the Share To The World button, unpressed. About experiencing a moment on our own, or with a few other people, which nobody else will ever experience.
Technology, as they say, is great, as long as it remains our servant, and not our master.
Folk songs became folk songs because folk kept singing them. Pop became pop by virtue of being popular.
Familiarity and broad appeal is great, and I would never knock it even if I’ve never, to my shame, found the time to learn to play more than a couple of other people's tunes. I love a good cover song and I love hearing great, familiar tunes. Shared, universal songs, the ones that we all know, bring us together.
My achilles heel though, is the song that I’ve never heard before. An original. Fresh off the page. I like to hear other people sing them, especially the first time. I like to write them and sing them myself.
I say “achilles heel”, because it is, as many other songwriters will attest, hard to build an audience purely on songs wot you writ yourself. And I say that, these days, with a wry smile and a chuckle, not any sense of bitterness.
I’ve written a few hundred songs, and self released well over a hundred of them. And I’ve loved every minute of doing that.
But here's a thing that may not surprise you. I received far more comments and local praise for my wee cameo (I sang the two George Michael lines!) in a charity cover and video of Feed The World, which I participated in last Christmas. Far more than I ever hear for the music I actually put the work into.
It's one of life's little ironies, and perhaps one of the reason why I'm motivated to try and provide environments in which original songs can thrive.
Well, it’s sunny hear in Campbeltown! And I’m reflecting on my favourite sunny day song of all time, by The Kinks.
What an intro. That descending bass riff. Whoa! I’m pouring a rum and coke (on the rocks!) as soon as I hear it, and it’s not even my kind of drink.
And then you get the best lyric ever written about the "struggles" of being a successful pop star, back in the day when songs made humongous mountains of money. For somebody, if not necessarily the writers of the songs. Plus ca change!
Perhaps the hardest thing in life is when we put in 100 percent effort and still fail at that thing we were trying to achieve.
There is, perhaps, the choice to call it a day.
It’s not really an option to be honest though. So we learn, we try and get smarter, and we make it stick next time.
That’s the journey we’re on. It’s that or simply seeing our time out as bystanders and observers of other people’s journeys.
And put like that, doing anything more than simply existing, sounds like a miserable existence of hard work and drudgery, when in fact it’s a fantastic privilege. An opportunity for joyful experiences and moments of wonder, to counter those disappointments and losses.
Just the one life for all of that, as far as I can tell.
Homesong has hosted online sets from Campbeltown, Drumlemble, Fife, Edinburgh, Portobello, Glasgow, Dundalk, Bangor, Manchester, Denton, Bristol, Somerset, Utrecht, France, Seattle, Washington and Boston, among other places.
Superb original songwriters and performers are out there in every location. And they are available to everyone with an internet connection.
But the Homesong tagline is “A Small Gig Where You Live”.
As wonderful as the internet is for connecting us with entertainment, it can’t match the unique experience of hearing those songs up close and personal with a group of friends, neighbours and family in someone’s living room.
A messy day with rain
And too many mistakes
An uphill struggle
And knee pain.
And shows an urge
To hang around for days
And no desire to be
Quickly tidied up
With a brush, a pan
And a positive attitude.
I walk down the hill
And past the cemetery
Where the rows of graves
Remind me that
These Messy Days
Should also be cherished.