Anam Cara Overview
So the album is finished!
It has taken a great deal of work but the result is something I am so proud of and cannot wait to be able to let you all know when it is due for release. (Something my management and I are working hard on organising).
The idea for the Anam Cara album happened way back before the Mother's Ruin album when I was working with the Cornish singer Rachel Williams. We worked on a few tracks and had planned to work on a whole album in a rock/celtic vein.
However due to various issues and circumstances the project never came to fruition so I moved on to the Mother's Ruin project and then onto the crazy world of Yes.
However, after the "From a Page" box set and the subsequent success of the Tales by Gaslight and Collaborations box sets, my management asked if I would like to work on a new album and, if so, what would I like to do.
I decided that I wanted to write and release the Anam Cara idea which at the time was only embryonic so there would be plenty of work to do. I found myself becoming more and more excited as I started to write and look at what pieces I had half-written ideas for.
I also needed to work out what musicians I needed for the project and so I spent a great deal of time trying to work out who would be right to be involved in the project.
I had a couple of people I knew I wanted to work with immediately. The drummer Scott Higham and I had worked on a few tracks for another project I'm working on and I knew that he had the right level of expertise and sensitivity which the music required and so I was delighted when he agreed to be a part of the project.
Next on the list were David Mark Pearce and Steve Amadeo. Many of you will know that I have worked with Dave on many projects over the years and his melodic approach to guitar soloing was exactly what I needed for this project. Steve was the wonderful bass player that was on the Ravens & Lullabies album and did such a great job that I knew I needed his abilities on this record as well.
I knew that I would also require an experienced acoustic guitar player as well and so was really pleased when Oliver Day (from Fragile, the Yes tribute band) agreed to cover all the acoustic requirements for the record. He also bought his lute, mandolins and lap steel guitars along for the ride as well!
Next up was the massively important role of vocalist. I knew I needed a female vocalist for this project. I also needed someone with an exceptional range in order to sing the challenging parts I tend to write. I also needed someone with the ability to sound like an angel one minute and then occasionally have the ability to 'rock out' when required. A tall order I'm sure you'll agree. Luckily Hayley Griffiths was available and loved the music. Hayley has an exceptional voice and is a delight to work with and has done a stunning job (Hayley was a former lead singer of the international phenomenon Riverdance and Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance, so had a great feel for the Celtic element as well!)
That sounds like a great five piece band to me but I knew that this album would need the extra colour of additional instruments and so I was honoured when Troy Donockley (Nightwish) agreed to perform on the album as well with his collection of whistles and Uilleann pipes. This added a real Celtic element to the songs. I also needed a violinist and had a standing offer from my friend Robert McClung in America for whenever I needed violins. I also needed a saxophone solo on one of the tracks and I had had a recommendation from a friend of mine for a saxophonist. Enter Mick Allport who played some amazing sax on the record and threw in a bit of clarinet into the mix as well for good measure.
So after a long mix period which was overseen by my long term friend and engineer Karl Groom, I now have a master recording of Anam Cara which I cannot wait for you to hear!
The artwork for the album is by the equally wonderful Anne Sudworth and her work throughout the booklet is a thing of beauty! Many of you will recognise her from the wonderful cover of the 3 Ages of Magick Sleeve.