Hello there Stoney Broke! How are you? Great to have you back on the website for a follow up chat, you've certainly been busy recently, so what have you been doing since last we talked?
Hey! I'm good, thanks! Great to talk to you again after so long.
Things have been really busy, but most importantly they seem to be moving forward, so it's been good. Through 2016 I found that there was a bit of momentum starting to come from all the gigs I had done, especially in the latter part of the year, so I was really conscious of keeping that going, really pushing the EP (which can be bought in the NHC shop!) but also trying to tap into that next level of shows and interest, rather than treading the same ground and over saturating things.
I've had some really key gigs which have opened quite a lot of doors, and moved things in ways I maybe hadn't thought at first. It has definitely been an eye opener too! I've started to get some of the “right people” getting in touch, often out of nowhere, and that definitely gives you the buzz that something is/can happen! Unfortunately a lot of the “wrong people” hang around, looking over your shoulder, but that makes me think I must me doing something right!
For most of 2017 I've been gigging, writing, and constantly on the go. It can be a mind fuck though; losing track of dates, days, weeks, and no sooner has a gig come round, I'm back re-stringing, re-loading the gear and off to the next one.
I've just finished a Summer tour which included festivals and a mix of gigs, from Edinburgh to Silloth, and about everywhere in between! There is still a lot to come before the end of the year, but just trying to take stock and plan what the hell I need to do next! I do all my own admin and stuff, so likely a lot of time spent in front of the computer too!
You were out and about on a mini tour recently with Fallen Arches, how did that go then? Was it as mental as it sounds like it was? Did you and Colin need to snuggle in tents and stuff, or did you send him home every night?
It was like an acoustic Bert + Ernie, with beer! Haha. No, luckily, his Mrs took pity on me and he went home each night, while I couch surfed!
It was a great mini tour, a lot of laughs, met some strange characters along the way, and definitely scope for doing it again, but on a bigger scale. Hopefully with some sort of video documentation of the WTF moments!
We originally met at an NHC night at the Panopticon and started chatting, talking over ideas etc, and found that we have a lot of the same expectations/ambitions, and realistic about what we are looking to achieve in such a minefield of a profession. We share links, ideas, possible gigs, and cross promote, so it helps open things to a new audience. We also sit and talk absolute bollocks as well!
Although our styles/genres are a bit different, they seem to work really well on the same bill, so it definitely got people's attention. Some acts group together and it all sounds very safe, but Fallen Arches writes crackin' songs, so it forces you both to raise your game a bit to do it justice. In the end we both sound better for it.
What was your favourite gig of 2017 so far then?
There has been a few! Probably the most important gig of 2017 (if not my solo career so far) came early this year when I supported Willie And The Bandits, at the Old Fire Station in Carlisle. (also a kinda cool story)
I was initially going to see the band, but had forgotten to buy tickets! The day before, I found I had won tickets to see them. Then about 2 hours later I was invited to be their support act! So I turned up at the venue, not sure what to expect from my slot, and just went for it. The band are superb, and really nice guys too, and they took time to have a chat. From that gig I have had support from Blues Matters magazine, had bookings for festivals, and a support slot for The Stumble (at Recar Blues Club) and other enquiries. So you could say, if that hadn't happened, would I have enjoyed as much success this year? Possibly/probably not!
Do you have any coming up in the remaining third of the year that you are particularly looking forward to?
Yeah I have a few booked. Probably the biggest of the remaining is Southport Blues Festival, in October (Saturday 7th), where i'll be playing on the Blues Matters stage. It's a great showcase stage, but from that stage they also pick one of the acts to come back and open the main festival stage the following year. So it has that extra excitement to it. The other acts are really, really good, so I'll have to be on form to stand a chance. But like “...The Bandits” gig, it could open a few more doors too.
Not sure if we talked about this last time we spoke, but what inspired you to write songs like you do, was their a favourite artist who got you into music in the first place, or maybe a favourite song?
Growing up I had access to a lot of music genres, Glam/Rock/Blues/Soul/Pop, but my first musical inspiration was Status Quo. So I took a lot from them, and as I got older I got into acts like Frankie Miller, Otis Redding, Free, Ben Harper, Iron Maiden, Jimi Hendrix and so many others that a lot of the elements came together, and started to add to my writing style.
I call my sound/style “eclectic” and just let people decide for themselves. I've had comparisons to Frankie Miller, Springsteen, Bryan Adams, and Chris Stapleton (not half bad for a guy from Dumfries!), and called Country-Blues, Blues-Soul, Soul-Rock, Pop, Folk style lyrics..... but as long as it's not stale, and repetitive, I'll keep trying to write across those styles.
Any new releases coming out, or any new songs in the pipeline that we should expect soon?
I started a new project months ago, and I'm still no closer to nailing it down! I've a shit load of songs both in the set, and half finished, that I need to sit, work through them, and pick out what to do next. My first EP (“If It Ain't Broke...”) was tracks that I had been gigging, and ready to package. So I'd like to release something new/unheard, rather than always road worn, but I keep refreshing my set lists, so nothing stays unheard for too long! Whether it'll be an album or EP, again I'm not sure (I'm good at this....!), I've also considered re-recording an album I released straight to MySpace (ahh those were the days), strictly as a download to give people access to back catalogue stuff. Ask me again next year and I'll still be working it out!! haha.
Any new recommendations for other musos we may not have heard yet, but should really listen out for?
I've been put on to some really good sounding acts through the NHC (Fallen Arches, Trongate Rum Riots, Van Dammage to name some), but one act from Dumfries I'd recommend looking out for is Taagan. They are a young duo, that have supported me a couple of times, and I really like what they are trying to create. They incorporate traditional Scottish, Folk, elements (Jigs and reels and other Kilt-y things) and also Pop, Jazz, and Blues. They are trying something different with guitar/fiddle/vocals, and just recently moved to Glasgow for Uni, so they will be around before too long!
What's next for Stoney Broke in the coming year then, any big plans you are laying the foundations for in 2018?
Things are looking positive for 2018. I've already booked in for some festivals in the first few months of the year, with others pencilled in for the rest, and even into 2019! So I'll be ironing out details for them, trying to get others in place, and arranging gigs/venues around those.
The website (www.stoneybrokemusic.co.uk) is up and running, and I have overdue plans for new promo pictures and videos to add to my channels, along with recording of some kind.
No doubt there will be some surprises along the way, but I'll make sure NHC are the first to know!