Ok so here is my long awaited update from LOS ANGELES
As you are probably aware, over the last few years I have taken rather a long time to make my 3rd album – sometimes, I’ve even wondered myself if it will happen – and to be frank, I wish it could have been a far quicker process, but it is what it is so there’s no way around that!
Even as I write this I still have a way to go, I’m here in the studio laying down guitars with Wolfie, my co- producer, and although the finish line is still someway off I’m definitely on my way now and everybody involved in the process seems to be really psyched about the vibe of the album (including me – I’m glad to say!)
Here’s what tracks I’m presently working on:
Whatever Made Sugercane Sweet
Arc Of Your Mallet
Love is Not Enough
The Uncarved Block
All that you are
Where We’re Staying In LA.
Some good friends of the family who me & my brother Charlie met through Peter Gabriel, Pati & Danny Hillis invited me out to their house to make the record!
Danny Hillis is one of the worlds famous progressive thinker / inventors – if you want to find out more about him click the links below:
wikipedia ted.com longnow.org
The Hillis compound is an amazing place tucked away in the Encino Valley. Their house is an old Timber framed ranch house built way back in the 1920′s by a successful song writer. To this day it exists as one of the last standing ‘ranch style’ houses left, in what used to be an area surrounded by 100′s of acres of orange & lemon groves -Although the property has gradually, over the years, been somewhat reduced to a smaller plot of 4 acres, it’s original spirit still holds strong and as you enter the wooden gates off the sleepy Encino street, winding down a short dusty track, you enter the wonderland of the ‘Hillis’ microworld.
A bridge (made from massive railroad sleepers) connects you to another side of the property – (crossing two massive ponds packed with tropical fish)
and at the bottom of the compound lives a collection of stables houses, chicken pens, and other fenced up areas to house the many exotic animals that Pati & Danny have collected over the years – Alpaca’s, miniature ponies, llamas, peacocks, goats, chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits (you name it!) casually roam around as if you were on some ranch in South Africa.
As you walk up to their main house you negotiate your way across small hobbit like bridges arched over trickling streams, through the bursting vegetable gardens and then up to the house where you enter to a welcome of barking dogs, squeeling parrots, and other varied tropical birds.
How did I end up recording in LA?
Pati Hillis was thinking about building a studio on their property for a year or two but it wasn’t until my brother Charlie was staying with them last November that the idea really sprang to life (Charlie’s new album has just come out by the way – www.charliewinston.com)
They both decided to call me up to see if I would be interested in coming out here to make my record, and if I was, it would motivate Pati to get the studio built once and for all!
Even though it was a bit of gamble- I was well up for a change of scene and without much hesitation me & my wife booked our tickets. We arrived on New Years Eve, a little jet lagged but excited to be here and fired up to make an album.
I’ve got 3 months to pull it all together and fortunately Wolfie (a talented producer who I met out here 4 years ago) got involved early on to help make it all happen.
The studio was still being built when we arrived in what was an old garage adjoining a small ranch house – it is at the end of the garden and is now to be known as ‘Patagonia Studios’. So while those guys concentrated on getting the studio set up, I spent most of my time meeting musicians/ making phone calls trying to find the right crew to play on the record.
After a few nail biting weeks Wolfie & the carpenters cobbled together a fully functioning studio and I pulled a band together from different parts of the globe, before long we had started rehearsing in the living room and then when it felt good we went into the studio to start tracking
Who’s playing on the Album?
Piano: Max Greeenwood
Violin & String Arrangements: Oli Langford
Drums: Tamir Barziley
Bass: Nick Fyffe
Backing Vocals: Lily Fraser
Backing Vocals: Vashti Anna
Co Producer: Wolfie
Co Producer: Jimi Lundie
The basic tracks have now been recorded and most of the other guys have done their bit leaving me, Wolfie, Jimi, Lily & Oli (who is hidden away in a room doing string arrangements) here to finish off the record.
There is some way to go, but i think it’s gonna be a good one! (although quite different from anything I’ve done before) In the meantime – I am going to be doing a few shows and festivals over the summer and, I hope to confirm a tour in October ASAP.
Might even have some recorded material on offer !! If not – something will be available on the website soon.
Sending you sunshine from California!