If you’ve been in contact with the Academy Office recently, you may have noticed that I’ve been AWOL on occasion – most notably for the majority of last week. It seems only polite that I explain myself… I love teaching and academia, I’m all about the voice-geekery. But beneath that is the same fundamental urge to sing and make great music I’ve had all of my adult life. So, that’s what I’ve been doing! I formally acknowledge dereliction of my duties in favour of my work with a new band, The Dowling Poole. We’ve just spent a long weekend entertaining the people of London, Leeds and Birmingham live for the first time, as part of the ‘Bleak Strategies’ Pledgemusic album project.
http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/thedowlingpoole (Project Details)
I’ve known the protagonists of this collaboration (Willie Dowling (Jackdaw4, Honeycrack) and Jon Poole (Cardiacs, Wildhearts)) for some 10 years now and have been fortunate/pushy enough to work with them both regularly in the past. When they began discussing this project and asked me to join in, I couldn’t have been more pleased!
I’m always out working on some stage or basking in the windowless void of a studio, so why am I choosing to share this, in particular? Well, I get to sing. A lot. In fact, everyone does. I have a huge weakness for layers of harmonies (amplified by years of working with The Boss – not Springsteen, Principal Dr. Yoda) and the whole album is heavily laden in this respect. And these are most certainly M&S vocal harmonies… The arrangements are among the most complex and wondrous I’ve ever encountered. I absolutely love the music but I’ve really relished the challenge of learning and nailing this type of material for the live shows. The best thing of all is that I need my ‘A game’ everyday with these boys. To give you some idea, I’ve been working on 20 songs, collectively requiring over 3 octaves, all registers and a myriad of textures and dynamics throughout.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gFABqNx0Dk (Video performance)
I’m very pleased to report that all of the gigs were a roaring success! Dr. Keen dropped in on Sunday evening’s performance and was uncharacteristically gushy about the whole experience! As I write this, dates are being booked for a UK acoustic tour in mid-September, and in the past couple of days, two further (rather more urgent) engagements have been confirmed;
On Tuesday 15th July 2014, The Dowling Poole will be playing a free acoustic show at London’s 12 Bar Club for some press VIPs. If you’d like to attend (tickets very limited!), please email firstname.lastname@example.org . Furthermore, the first single, ‘The Sun is Mine’ has been picked up by the likes of Phil Alexander on Planet Rock and Marc Riley on 6Music. So, my final piece of great news is that the full band have been booked to record a session for 6Music in August!
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00c72y1 (Marc Riley show details)
In conclusion, my reasons for writing this blog are two-fold. Firstly, I would ask that you treat these ramblings as a formal apology for my sporadic disappearances throughout the remainder of the year. And secondly, don’t ever concern yourself that the VIDLA Team are tied to their desks – we’re out there doing the job at the highest level! This is just my little adventure and I’m loving every minute of it!