I shall try and recall my recent experiences chronologically but, through sheer excitement, things may get a tad higgledy-piggledy…
As I was playing Cheltenham Jazz Festival this year I was given an Artist Pass - which pretty much got me into most places and meant that as long as there was a seat available I could also watch any of the performances! This also meant that throughout the weekend I met some really lovely people from the music business and particularly the Jazz world. It was so nice to just be totally welcomed and accepted as a working artist… to have these industry folk interested in talking about me and my music was a magnificent feeling.
That was kind of the tone for the whole weekend to be honest, amazing music and everyone friendly, open, kind and very encouraging.
One of the Festival highlights was this year’s Artist in Residence, Gregory Porter. Hung out with him a few times and he even got a microphone on me when he did his fascinating ‘Finding Your Voice’ Masterclass as he wanted to illustrate an example of a new artist who has found his voice - his analogy is in his beautiful song ‘Painted on Canvas’, where everything you experience in life has, and can, effect you…
Glad I mentioned that this trying to tell you in order thing wasn’t likely to happen… hahaha!
Right, where was I - ah yes… late on the Friday night, out of the blue, I was told I had won the Festival’s competition: ‘Search for a New Jazz Star’, set up by Decca Records with Cheltenham Jazz Festival: http://www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/news/2013/04/search-for-a-new-jazz-star/
The prize was to play an hours set on Saturday afternoon on the Free Stage. I was so happy, but then it was a scramble to try and get the band together from around the UK in only a few hours haha. In the end I thankfully managed to get saxophone and bass.
So, the following afternoon, Dan, Harry and myself headed to the Free Stage, me complete with keyboard, guitar, ukulele and bass drum (to play with my foot, whilst singing, playing keys and strings..) and gave the lovely people sitting in the gorgeous sunshine a celebratory acoustic set. Dan went above and beyond, also bringing out tambourine and shaker at appropriate moments when he wasn’t decorating my songs with his breathy saxophone. Harry helped keep my beat steady and as always played like a trooper!
Went down a storm, and I felt truly grateful to the chaps for managing to play this show at the last minute! And very flattered to have been asked by the Festival folks to effectively therefore play twice this weekend… Amazing!
Jonathan Watkins took really brilliant photos of the Free Stage gig… (thank you Mr Watkins!)
Now we get to the real reason for this blog… finally playing a ticketed event at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival in the Jazz Arena with my SUPERB 6-piece band, on the Festival’s grand piano - AND with such a fantastic audience too! Thank you so so much to everyone who came, you were really receptive and it was an absolute joy to play for you. Thank you for singing and clapping and dancing and even the mandatory ‘Jazz Festival, bobbing of the heads’ too!
The band were stunning! I am extremely lucky to play with these truly talented musicians… WOW! As always they all did a marvellous job :D
Lee Jones was grand on guitar. He really played well and brought a whole new vibe to the notsobigband sound - I was particularly pleased that he just went for it too!
The brass guys were as AMAZING as ever… it really does make a massive difference having them there - just gets me even more excited!
To be honest, I was very excited throughout the whole show - to the point where I randomly decided to jump off the stage and run right around the Arena… which I ended up doing twice, by popular demand haha
On the second lap I spontaneously grabbed a couple of ‘Have you met George’ albums we had on stage, and said that the first people to stop me would get them. As I leapt back up on stage though I felt this vice-like grip on my ankle and turned to see this kid who was not letting go until he got an album - it was hilarious! I had already given away both the CDs, and found myself sprawled on my front, trying to reach the piano and literally unable to finish the set until he let go!! (Fetched him an extra copy straight afterwards though ;)
Harry on bass was slick as ever and Hooper the beats master too… I am honestly lucky these guys play my music with me! Soooooo gooooooooooooood :D
Also, Spencer McPherson took glorious photos from the Jazz Arena set… (thank you very much Spencer) - https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151574557803614.1073741827.8405793613
Here is our performance of ‘HAMISH’ from the show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UwX-PcN80E
And here is a great review of that Monday (and the whole weekend) - some generous words about my performance too: http://www.thejazzmann.com/features/article/monday-at-cheltenham-jazz-festival-06-05-2013/
All the Cheltenham Festivals staff did a brilliant job before and over the whole Bank Holiday, and were always happy to help - on such welcome sunny days too! Phillip Woods, Aileen Flannigan and the admin team keeping everything behind the scenes running smoothly, all the willing volunteers, stewards - and especially the lovely ladies in the box office!
The backstage crew at the Jazz Arena on the Monday were also fan-blooming-tastic - above and beyond - they couldn’t do enough. Especially as, when I realised that they also had a Nord Stage 2 (I want one so bad!), I asked and they were more than happy for me to use it for the song ‘Chocolate Sunday’, sorting out setting up however I needed it :D
They were all really kind and awesome and I just wanted to say a massive thank you to each of the staff, the lighting guy, soundman, stage manager and everyone else working the stage :)
It was immensely nice to also meet many of the audience in the Rise record tent afterwards! I always love talking to people after a performance and it was fantastic to see so many lovely new faces, as well as the wonderful notsobigfans who have been to my gigs before.
Had a lovely afternoon tea with two of the guys from Fresh Dixie Project, John Oldham (the Oldham Foundation, our wonderful sponsor), Ian George (Jazz Festival Director) and Lewis Carnie (Radio 2) - we were asked about the gig and our music and we chatted about the industry. It was really nice opportunity to be able to thank John and talk with Ian George and Mr Carnie over tasty tea and delicious scones!
Not sure what else to say… I am still reeling from it all, my gigs with all these amazing musicians, all these kind and lovely people working in the business, all these amazing performances I got to see throughout the Festival - Laura Mvula a true highlight… wow, just wow… words can’t even begin to describe how stunning she is live (as well as on her brilliant record).
And her duet of his song ‘Sad, Sad World’ with Jamie Cullum was as beautiful as ever!
Madeleine Peyroux played a really lovely set and I had no idea she also played guitar - what a gorgeous voice.
I caught the end of Georgie Fame’s Friday Night is Music Night performance with the BBC Concert Orchestra - that man is magnificent.
I managed to squeeze into some of Gregory Porter’s stellar slick set too!
Lianne La Havas was superb on the Sunday night - great songwriter and a very talented guitarist.
Many other hugely enjoyable shows, including Van Morrison who closed the Festival beautifully with his awesome band - his saxophone playing was sublime and he also got Gregory Porter on stage to duet with him!
I could talk about the Jazz Festival for a looong time, but hope that this can suffice for now. The only thing I will add is, ‘watch this space’…
My music is being heard.
Thank you universe *dances with glee*
Really looking forward to playing a headline slot at Lechlade Festival on Sunday (May 26th at 3.45pm) - with my phenomenal musos: Tom, drums, Harry, bass, Dan, sax and Paul Bond back on guitar too. It is going to be goooood! http://lechladefestival.co.uk/lineup-info
Lots of Love until next blog folks,
A rather exciting week watching the Cheltenham Jazz Festival venues rise from Montpellier Gardens…
After seeing the raising of the Jazz Arena shell, I was surprised at how much MORE excitement I was feeling. I was excited before, but there was something extraordinary about seeing how huge the tent is. Not only that, but the fact that it is not a permanent venue, but built for just a week in May purely to play house for some of the greatest jazz artists around! To think I am going to be performing on the same stage as Laura Mvula!? WOW!
For those of you who might not know, I will be playing the Jazz Arena at Cheltenham Jazz Festival on Bank Holiday Monday 6th May at 2.30pm, with my 6-piece notsobigband (including horns) on the Jazz Festival’s gorgeous grand piano - as well as guitar and ukulele - tickets are only £5 and I really hope to see you there: http://www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/jazz/whats-on/2013/festival-showcase/
(the brilliant Fresh Dixie Project are playing too!)
I am so excited to play with the brass guys again and, as Paul Bond is off on tour, I have a new guitar dep, Lee Jones - superb player, especially when it comes to jazz, who gives a nice different feel to some of the songs :D
As usual I shall have my stellar rhythm section with Harry Sutton on his sweet, sweet bass and Mr Tom Hooper on them BOOM-bastic beats!
The only hard thing (apart from the calluses building up on my fingers) has been to try and choose the songs! It has been fun though, because I just keep playing them all in different orders over and over and thinking… hmmm, which ones really give the best jazz and funk vibe and still show a variety for a 45 minute set. Think I have found the songs (including ‘Mind’, which is rare for me to stick a mellow number in a short set - but I just love playing it with Dan Foster’s sax solo live!), just now to sort the order. I also think I have one too many numbers, which sucks because I love playing ‘Evil Twin’ so much!
Have a rehearsal with the notsobigband this week when I will make the final decisions on the set list and get an even tighter sound for Monday!
There have been some other lovely things happening here too. Been writing quite a few new songs - which is not making the choices for album 2 any easier ;) haha
Had some really great interviews over these last few weeks, with Sam Bonham and the whole BBC Introducing West at BBC Bristol
Jess Bracey’s Teacakes and Talk show on Stroud FM where I introduced her to Tink, my little red piano -
And the lovely Kate Justice at BBC Radio Gloucestershire too!
Not to mention a very generous, encouraging and frankly wonderful review of ‘have you met George’ from Adrian Pallant: http://adrianspallant.wordpress.com/2013/04/18/george-montague-have-you-met-george-sitbcd1001/
Some other confirmed festival gigs for this year are:
Lechlade Festival, 26th May
Art Couture Painswick, 14th July
Stroud Fringe, 30th August
All of which I am very honoured to be a headliner - thank you!
There are a few new videos up on my YouTube channel from the Sundial performance: http://www.youtube.com/georgemontague
highlights - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTWxv7dB4pw
‘Blood Ties’ - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bii6T5cD3GM
‘Fairground Waltz/Mind’ - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QrPAZCMrR8
‘Speechless’ - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0INGBJw-Oio
Got to go to a spectacular special preview show that Jamie Cullum did at Heaven in London for his new album ‘Momentum’ which was truly inspiring.
(photo credit Tim Montague)
Really nice to share with Mr Hooper too, who came with me, especially as Tom used to play with Ben Cullum and we got to talk music and things with him afterwards, which was FANTASTIC. Jamie and his band were superb as ever, really looking forward to his new album, he is a really great songwriter, like his brother!
He also did a surprise duet with Laura Mvula too!
Also, went to see OneRepublic perform in London… AWESOME! I even got to meet them all before the gig too which was AMAZING!!
Such nice guys and so freaking talented. First time I saw them was five years ago and they blew my mind then.
It was marvellous to finally see them play songs live from their ‘Waking Up’ album as it really is one of my all time favourite albums… so beautifully written and produced by Ryan Tedder and the guys. If you haven’t heard it, buy it, a stunning album - as is their new one, ‘Native’ - though ‘Waking Up’ is just magnificent!
I did manage to give all the band a CD which was nice - whether they listen or not, it is just a way for me to say thank you - and I had a really good talk with Ryan about music and things, as well as Drew Brown, guitarist, who was very kind and encouraging with his words.
I have to admit I went into total fanboy mode, but it was nice that they all spoke to me on a musician to musician level :D
Last weekend I finally got to see Black Voices, the brilliant a cappella group that Genevieve Sylva and Jennifer Wallace (who sang those gorgeous BV’s on ‘have you met George’) sing with, though both were performing with their other bands that night. I got to meet them all afterwards… really lovely ladies with amazingly talented voices - I think my favourite part being a rendition of Dave Brubeck’s ‘Take Five’ arranged by Laura Mvula, who also used to sing with them. It was a beautiful performance and I am glad I have finally seen what they do and got to chat with Shereece, Evon, Celia, Sandra, and their musical director, Carol Pemberton.
They were so excited to hear about my album too when they realised that Genevieve and Jennifer had sung on it! (I wanted to say, “But I am the one excited to meet you gals!?” haha)
If you are on Twitter and want more up to date updates on what I am getting up to, please follow me http://twitter.com/GeorgeMontague
I have become particularly fond of using this new app called Vine - which is great fun and easy to use and make tiny six second movies for you guys - as well as the classic Instagram: both of which you can find me under ‘georgemontague’
Finally, I just have one more thing to share with you… I was very lucky to be part of an amazing workshop on puppetry - held by the inspiring Joseph Wallace at the Bristol Old Vic theatre. Not sure I can find a good enough word to describe how magnificent this day was… Enchanting is definitely a top pick though.
Making inanimate objects come to life… I do miss the other kind of performing on stage. It really did get my creative juices flowing with ideas for a ‘Hamish’ puppet… I have being toying with the idea for a very long time, but now started to get some real solid ideas on paper. So, thanks Joe! - watch this short movie that he animated ‘The Man Who Is Afraid Of Falling’ …it is sublime: http://vimeo.com/33320789
Also, go and see their production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the play that the puppetry workshop was based on - puppets are by Handspring, the same imaginative guys who did War Horse, AMAZING!
I got to meet Miltos Yerolemou (if you watch Game of Thrones… yes that is Syrio Forel) after the show - he plays Bottom in MSND at the BOV - GO SEE IT!
I think that is it for this blog… can’t think of anything more, I have been so focused on the Jazz Festival and enjoying this journey so much, there isn’t much else to talk about. I will only say this… there is a certain ‘Fool’ I will be working on after the Jazz Fest, in the midst of preparing for the festival season… (it sounds PHAT!)
Ciao for now folks,
It is a hard to try to describe the feeling of holding a stage on a grand piano with such a phenomenal band… I really don’t know where to start. I could talk about it forever, although most of it would be exclamations of sheer glee accompanied by an ear to ear smile!
The performance at the Sundial Theatre on Friday 15th March was sensational!
I am very blessed to be working with such mind-bogglingly talented musicians. The brass guys did an incredible job: Andy Hague’s solo in ‘White Cavalry’ was absolutely brilliant and Mat Colman’s trombone part at the end of ‘Lovestruck Fool’ was really filthy and blooming fantastic! Dan (Foster) did such a magnificent job helping write out the brass parts for all the songs - and what a sublime honour to have his saxophones breathy tones accompanying me in ‘Mind’.
Of course Harry (the Hat) Sutton did a stonking job, with plenty of rumbling bass riffs and runs. GORGEOUS!
It was amazing to have Paul Bond back on guitars… I don’t know how that man does it, but he is a magician with a 6-string! WOW!! He really does know what he’s doing… I love having him back in the live sound!
Frankly, I think Tom Hooper is an illusionist. I don’t believe he can make such wondrously BOOM-bastically spectacularly marvellous beats and rhythms with only four limbs! He outdid himself tenfold.
As you might now be able to tell… I just can’t find enough wonderful words to describe the experience. Well over two hours of playing (I think it ended up being) 25 songs, with full notsoBIGband in a theatre filled with old and brand new notsobigfans… drinking tea, singing, playing, having a play and generally having a stupendous time with lots of bobbing of heads, clicking of fingers, clapping of hands, ‘Oi’ing, singing, swaying, chair-boogying, tears and laughter and FUN!
I also cannot thank enough Joe Beardsmore and everyone at the Sundial Theatre in Cirencester for looking after us so kindly. They really couldn’t have done more with the sound, the lighting, the backstage looking-afterness. It was all beyond the call of duty.
Thank you also to everyone who came (some from quite far afield) and enjoyed. You were such a lovely and warm crowd and it was an absolute joy to play for you :D
There were also some very lovely pictures tweeted by the audience as well as a lot of very generous twitter love, so thank you for following me and for tweeting such kind words too :)
The video from the night looks stunning, so I will be uploading selected songs probably right through the year!! (So many awesome songs!)
Here is the first, ‘Blood Ties’, with the full George Montague and his notsobigband experience (if you were there, please enjoy again and if not, you are in for a treat!):
Next up, the festival season kicks off with probably my most important gig to date… Cheltenham Jazz Festival in the Jazz Arena, Bank Holiday Monday May 6th - and yes, I will be on grand piano with the full band again: bass, drums, guitars, sax, trumpet and trombone - I am so excited, now I know how it feels to play with the big band and on a grand piano… I just want to share it with everyone all the time, these players are superb, it is going to be marvelous :D
Please get your tickets (they’re only £5): http://www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/jazz/whats-on/2013/festival-showcase/
There are a few other wonderful things happening, I am delighted to announce I have been invited to headline on the opening night at Stroud Fringe Festival Friday, August 30th (and it is a free event):
Finally I just wanted to share with you Laura Mvula’s new music video… it is fantastic. There are no words to describe how marvellous this woman is and what an original songwriter and performer she is to boot - please ENJOY!
That is it for now, until next time my lovely readers,
Wow! What a Sound!?
I can’t even begin to describe the elation and glee of playing with a horn section! Dan Foster on sax, Andy Hague on trumpet and Mat Colman on trombone. Superb players. I have been working on brass parts for the new songs for a while - got some MIDI ideas down and, with Dan’s help, we have fleshed some of them out into three parts for all the brass! Having never actually played my music ‘live’ with brass before, I found the first rehearsal incredibly distracting! All I wanted to do was just sit and watch - it is a wonderful feeling and adds a spectacular new dimension to the live sound.
Friday’s gig (March 15th) at the Sundial Theatre is going to be EPIC! Not only the full phat sound to include Paul Bond back on sensational guitars, Mr Hooper on fantastic booooombastic drums and percussion (both played on ‘have you met George’), Harry the Hat on sweet thumping bass, together with all the new wondrous brass guys - but also the theatre manager and lighting technician Joe (Beardsmore) has got some truly excellent and rather awesome plans for lighting the staging… so, not only will it sounds amazing but it is going to look stunning!
This will be such a phenomenal show, if you haven’t already, please do book your seats as they are going fast: http://www.sundial-theatre.co.uk/listing.php
If you have got your tickets then thank you, I can’t wait to see you there! Expect much tapping of feet and humming of tunes, your favourites from the album as well as brand new, never before heard songs of mine (especially not previously with horns)!
This show shall most certainly be a night to remember!! :D
This marvellous notsoBIGband line up will also be playing with me at Cheltenham Jazz Festival for my performance in the Jazz Arena on Monday May 6th, just before Van Morrison hits the stage… :)
(Tickets now available for £5)
A big thank you to everyone who came to the Rise record shop in-store sessions - in both Cheltenham and Bristol - two in one day was crazy, but all you wonderful people make it very worthwhile. Had an unexpectedly enchanting moment when a young boy came up to me and was so overwhelmed by how “EPIC” (as he said) I was. He was so sweet and just didn’t know what to do with himself, he just had to keep hugging me. I later found out that I was the first gig he had ever seen, and then, that my album was the first CD he had ever owned… a massive honour. I was deeply humbled and touched by his wonder. Thank you Ben :D
Also, I have some other big news coming up… one is the filming of a new video for a certain song about rain… I’ll tell you all about that video shoot with Gerry Lane in another blog.
The other news is a brand spanking new tune to be released as a single on its way soon… (which will also have its own video - these also both foot related…) ;)
On another thought, I would like to share with you a few things music related, but not music of mine…
The first is an incredible young woman by the name of Laura Mvula - she is absolutely sublime. Her album ‘Sing to the Moon’ is exquisite. If you haven’t heard of this new record, or don’t yet know of her, then please get knowing and get listening, you will not be sorry :)
The next sharings are from two of my longtime favourite artists - the sensational One Republic, whose new album ‘Native’ comes out soon and which I am very excited for.
The other is that dude, some of you might just know of, who made me want to play piano the way I do… that’s right, Jamie Cullum’s new song ‘Everything You Didn’t Do’ is utterly inspirational, I cannot wait for his sixth studio album ‘Momentum’ - I have very high hopes for it :D
In non-music related news, I went to see Shappi Khorsandi’s stand up show at the Sundial theatre last week and she was brilliant - had me in absolute stitches! Gave her a CD at the end, and she has very kindly shouted about it all over twitter saying such lovely things like, “Have you met George? You should. Very talented fella.” Greatly appreciative of her listening and encouraging :)
That is it for this blog, I hope you are all most well, hopefully see you Friday! If not, catch you next blog ;)
Much Monty Love,
Most exciting news *currently skipping about with glee*
I am absolutely delighted to share with you that I can now officially announce that I will be performing at Cheltenham Jazz Festival this year as a full 7-piece band! Wooohooooo!!
After last year’s successful performance on their Fringe stage I have been asked to perform for their Festival Showcase in the Jazz Arena (Bank Holiday Monday 6th May, 2.30pm), which is the Festival’s pick of up-and-coming acts from last year’s Jazz Fringe stage :D
This is going to be a spectacular performance and I feel greatly honoured to be playing this festival - which has played such a big role in my musical life - and to perform on their grand piano too (especially with such a fantastic world class band), so a massive thank you to the Oldham Foundation for all their kind support, and I hope to see you there!
Also, that very same 6-piece backing band and I will be raising the roof at my Sundial Theatre show in Cirencester on Friday 15th March- Yes, that’s right, for two hours there will be me (on grand piano, guitar and ukulele), playing with six superbly talented musicians on bass, drums, guitar, sax, trumpet and trombone! (Double woohooo!)
Been having lots of fun writing brass arrangements for all the new songs, it is going to be one awesome evening :D
Met up with Dan (Foster), the saxophonist (from my now bigger nosobigband) who is helping write out these brass parts I have written. We had a play through some of my songs and it was only when I was playing that I actually realised, I had never played my music with brass before - as when we recorded the album I was worked with the guys using what we had already just recorded, and I never got to play along with them! Therefore, having this extremely accomplished player’s breathy tones of gorgeous sax accompanying me so beautifully, was actually quite an emotional experience for me. We sparked off each other brilliantly, and I am very grateful to Tom (Hooper, my drummer) for introducing me to Dan!
In other news, as a special Valentine’s treat from the album, we have released ‘Mind’ as a new single, so please ENJOY - and maybe encourage your favourite radio stations to play this special tune ;) http://bit.ly/mindsingle
Music Video for‘Mind’ - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-pbhSbkPMY
This is doubley nice because it is almost a whole year since we made the video at Rockfield Studios, and I uploaded it to YouTube! Happy Valentine’s Day all :D
Great interview with John Oldham on Radio Winchcombe this morning about the upcoming show at the Sundial, and now the Jazz Festival, which was really good fun. I am also looking forward to heading into BBC Radio Gloucestershire once again (Friday 15th Feb), to have a chat with Claire Carter from 3pm about all these exciting things happening - so please do tune in if you want to have a listen - she’ll be playing a song or two from the album (one being ‘Mind’ of course) - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p001v96m
If you’d also like to see the trio notsobigband gigging (me on keys, with bass and drums) I will be performing half hour sets at two different independent Rise Record Shops on Saturday 2nd March:
Rise in Cheltenham 3pm
Rise in Bristol 7pm
Had an amazing rehearsal with Paul Bond (guitarist on ‘have you met George’), he is definitely going to bring his magnificent dimension to our live sound again! It was so nice to see him as we haven’t played together in over a year - his young son (Joshua Bond) has been in hospital with Burkitt’s Lymphoma but is now, I am thankful to say, on the road to recovery! Paul is at this very moment climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to help raise money for GOSH (Great Ormond Street Hospital) who have been so brilliant with Josh and continue to be the most wonderful children’s hospital. To help with the money-raising Paul also recorded a charity song which is beautiful - http://paulbond.co/CharitySong.aspx
Now I am about to ramble on about songwriting so if you aren’t that interested in how my creative flow works, then I really appreciate you reading this blog thus far, here is a photo to make you smile and I’ll catch you next time!
Much love and smiles,
For all you lovely lot who want to continue reading - here we go…
When a Muse visits She can be most Kind
What a wonderful thought!
I never really know how to explain how I write songs. They come in so many different shapes and sizes (or should I say, words, keys, melodies and rhythms). One comes with a word or a phrase. Another with a melody or chord. It is the question I am most often asked and yet the question I never feel I truly can answer. I don’t know why. It all depends on how she (my muse - not a real person just what I call my figment of inspiration) is feeling. Sometimes she might put me in a funk or lift me out of one, but always for a reason. These past few months have been a very wealthy time for my creativity. There is no explanation for why though, I wish I could tell you, but perhaps if I could it wouldn’t happen anymore. One of the biggest fears I have when I am in a dry spell is will I ever write a song again. The answer (so far) has always been yes. It may take time and patience. But, as long as I’m living, I am learning and all this new information, these new experiences, they all make little notes and then when the moment is right I feel that inspirational hand on my shoulder and it’s time to sit at the piano and go fishing. The fishing analogy is one that I heard Jamie Cullum talk about a couple of years ago at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival. He explained exactly the way I also go looking for songs, but not looking as such, just putting out a line and seeing if it bites. There is always something there, but it might not be ready to come out yet - don’t force it because you might scare it away. Just keep feeding it and then suddenly it will wash over you. Of course this is not always the case, as with many things in life things change, but fundamentally if I put out my line and am patient enough to wait, my muse will arrive with a smile and a song.
Anyway, enough of that deep stuff, in a nutshell, I have been very blessed with a lot of new material of late, styles of music I hadn’t realised I hadn’t yet approached. Lyrical stories I didn’t know I needed to tell and melodies that I can’t believe I never thought of before, because now ‘Hamish’ (the creature I created who gets songs stuck in your head) has got hold of them, they ain’t never going away :P
The good news is, although I have all the material for albums two, three, maybe even four - I like that I am again in the position I was when choosing the songs for ‘have you met George’. I can pick the best of the best. There are some songs I have written that will never see the light of day, but they were a process to me finding a greater goal. Basically, come album number two, I hope you will enjoy it as much as album one - the same heart and soul was poured into the content :)
Thank you for wanting to find out more about my songwriting, hope it was an interesting read…
That’s all folks, hope to see you at the Sundial Theatre on the 15th March, and in the Jazz Arena on May 6th at Cheltenham Jazz Festival,
Broadest of grins and ear-to-earest of smiles,
After such a successful performance in October for this wonderful charity I was also privileged to perform at their Christmas Gathering - this is a very powerful afternoon where all the families get together and share before the holiday season. Winston’s Wish had enjoyed my gig so much they felt that it would make an uplifting and lovely end to this important, if emotional, day. I was honoured to be asked and am very pleased to say everyone was up and dancing by the end - apparently a first for one of their gatherings.
This event meant I got to revise ‘Christmas Blues’ and perform it live for the first time! Both Hoops (Tom Hooper on drums) and Harry the Hat (Harry Sutton on bass), brought it to life most magically. I couldn’t believe how much fun it was to play live with the band. We had had great fun working on the song that morning and performed it wearing Santa hats and all!
(here’s a link to the original video I did last year, just a bit of silly fun!) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3fo406BPfo
I am also delighted to say that the video of the live performance we did at the Winston’s Wish Charity gig has been viewed by over 50,000 people on YouTube. My hope is that this will help add to the awareness of this tremendously valuable charity and may lead to more people making kind donations to support the fantastic work they do for bereaved children. - http://youtube.com/vJRNemEr8E0
My album received an awesome review on the Bright Shiny News entertainment websiteyesterday. I am sincerely grateful to Yasmin Ali for taking the time to listen to my CD and write such kind and inspirational words. - http://www.brightshinynews.com/entertainment/5229-have-you-met-george-george-montagues-debut-album-review.html
I will be expanding my sound once more in a brand new upcoming gig… on the 15th March 2013 I have kindly been asked at perform at The Sundial Theatre in Cirencester - together with my ever awesome notsobigband on drums and bass; I also hope to have Mr Paul Bond back on guitars (and a brass player!)
It is going to be one amazing show, the complete joy of performing two hours of my original music, getting to share some of my new songs - and as they have a grand piano at the venue I am hoping to work this into the set - it would feel great to at last play a real piano on stage for an audience, something I have yet had the chance to do properly and I am extremely excited! - http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/search/searchPerformanceDetails.asp?performance_id=51886&sid=
We also began work on a brand new tune, ‘Evil Twin’ which took a while to find it’s ska feet - as there was so much choice with beats for Tom, but it really is fast becoming one of my favourites! Can’t wait to play it live!
That is pretty much it for now, I have some other exciting news about things happening over here at GMHQ which I shall divulge soon…
That is pretty much it for now. Hope you are all well and looking forward to the festive season, I know I am!
Much love to you all,
I am very blessed by all the wonderful things that are occurring in this marvellous world of music. So first off I would honestly like to say thank you to everyone who supports and enjoys what I do. You are AWESOME!
Hit London for a gig at Archangel (otherwise known as AAA) on High Street Kensington.
A lovely little venue, with a great atmosphere and the sound guy was an absolute legend - really nice dude, who couldn’t do enough to help and with a happy spirit.
Was a superb gig and good to be back in the big Smoke :)
Next up it was the Download Music Awards!
Great night, full of great music and great fun :D
I was very honoured to even be up for an award let alone 3: Best Album, Best Live Performance and Best Website. I received one and am proud to say that the acts who won the others were very well deserved. Especially Best Album, the album is superb!
Getting to perform a few songs on the night was a plus too, managed to tear the roof off and bring the house down, especially with ‘Hamish’ - he tends to do that… if you haven’t seen the music video yet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuFgBL41YQ0 (you’ll see the crazy there) :P
On the subject of YouTube, I still can’t quite believe the audience I have there… I am so grateful to everyone who enjoys watching what I do, these videos are so much fun to make and to get such a generous response is most gratifying, so thank you :)
It feels like such a long time ago when we recorded the documentary interview and then since I was editing it all together and uploading… a lot of hard work, laughs, and fun. I wanted to bring the booklet that is in the album - with all the stories and lyrics of each of the songs - and the recording to life and I feel it has done so.
Here is a link to the whole of the ‘have you met George’ Documentary: http://bit.ly/HaveYouMetGeorgeAlbumDocumentary
Something I have noticed a lot recently… when writing some songs they tend to come in twos - sometimes one up beat and the other either about love or hope, these latest songs seem to have both in both. I honestly don’t know where my inspiration comes from - the question I am most asked and find hardest to answer. Everything has an influence on my writing, I can never really pinpoint the reason. More often that not, it is just wanting to try to write something new and every now and again an idea bites and tugs on my fishing line. Then it’s just a question of time. Some take little. Some take more. The wonderful thing is though, now more than ever I understand how I write.
I had a brilliant interview again with John Oldham for his Radio Winchcombe Breakfast Show - it was good to meet up at the Everyman Theatre just have a chat about where I was and all the exciting and wonderful things that are happening :) if you missed it you can have a listen on MixCloud here (5:48): http://www.mixcloud.com/radiowinchcombe/winchcombe-bfast-podcast1511-with-john-oldham/
At last some of the photos from my summer gigs are now up on Facebook, so please have a browse and if you haven’t already, please give it a ‘Like’ - thank you kindly: https://www.facebook.com/georgemontaguedotcom
Lastly, I will be expanding my sound once more in a new upcoming gig… on the 15th March next year I have kindly been asked at perform at the Sundial Theatre in Cirencester - together with my ever awesome notsobigband on drum and bass, I intend having Mr Paul Bond back on guitars and bringing in some kind of brass aspect from a very talented player I met last year!
It is going to be one amazing show, the complete joy of performing two hours of my original music, getting to share some of my new songs and as they have a grand piano at the venue I am planning on also working this into the set - going to feel strange to at last play a real piano on stage for an audience, it is something I have yet had the chance to do properly and I am extremely excited!
All in all that is pretty much it for now. Hope you are all well and looking forward to the festive season, I know I am!
I always thought that it would be a very theatrical and extravagant video that would need many helping hands and never dreamed I should attempt to do it alone - but after much thought and deliberation I decided to go with this simple idea that came to me one day. I had a camera. I had me. Why didn’t I just set it up and give it a try… well, I’ll let you decide whether it worked or not - I am very proud of this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuFgBL41YQ0
The idea was to make a kind of ‘brother’ video to a ‘sister’ - ‘Hold On’. I used the same technique, of singing along to a version of ‘Hamish’ played back at half the speed… 9 minutes approximately - a long time to exaggerate the movement in one’s face and make everything look a little ‘taken over by the music’ whilst still keeping a straight face (although when I did laugh I made it work for me haha).
I think that is why I liked doing this part alone… I find it hard to look at the camera with others watching - it’s not embarrassment as such, more the having to explain, “you might not know why I’m doing it like this yet, but when I have finished the editing, you’ll understand” kind of thing.
Well, anyway, I did a few test-takes (just for the first verse of the song) and seeing it was going the way I wanted, just went for one full take of the whole song and that was all I used for the singing to camera shots.
I then set up a tripod at the piano, directly in front of the centre keys and played the song (again at half the usual speed), the effect made my hands come in down onto the shot. I also did another take, placing the camera facing the hammers of my upright and that was it for the piano shots.
Then I began the first rough edit, just using the singing to camera and piano footage. It was all having the desired affect.
But, I wanted more…
So I set up the camera on the floor pointing upwards, grabbed my double bass and shot a full take of me playing the bass part.
After adding that to the edit, I sat back in my chair… it was all coming together, but a major element of the song wasn’t there - something else…
I texted Tom (Hooper - my drummer) and explained what I was doing and that although I play the drums, I didn’t think I could attempt to match his virtuosity, especially in this song! He kindly came over on his way up to Rockfield (for a session with the Major - Matt Butler) and we began to set up the room here for a drum shoot. It felt like we were just making a den to play in with blankets everywhere!
The shoot was good fun and it was nice to just be the man behind the camera for a bit - again, like me, Tom was having to play the whole song at half the normal speed, which is rather difficult with such an intricate and slightly improvised drum part.
But we got the shots and I began the long process of editing…
With all the shots in place I watched through the footage… it was good, but for some reason the energy… it needed more. So I began experimenting with different effects, a shaking camera here, some flashes there and the odd distortion of an underwater filter… Suddenly it came to life in front of my eyes.
The whole essence of the song, that feeling of earworms, the beat taking over, all that, it was there. Of course, there is still one thing missing… Hamish - unless you take me as Hamish… that’s why I left the shot of me mucking about and licking the double bass string (which tasted gross), my craziness and muppetry when on stage IS Hamish.
This is not to say I won’t be making another video for this song… when I find time to make my original idea of a puppet…
And now for the gigging type news:
I was also invited by the kind Sybil Ruscoe to the launch of her London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Commemorative Book. This is a stunning coffee table book in which there is a quote from me (near the end) about playing the Eden Sessions as part of the Cultural Olympiad supporting Tim Minchin :D
The band and I also had a massively successful charity concert in aid of Winston’s Wish, for which I would like to thank BWM Promo for organising the gig and treating us very well, to Saskia Says for playing support and of course Winston’s Wish for wanting to celebrate their 20th anniversary in style!
We all had a fantastic night and so many people came and sang and danced and wanted signed CD’s - we also had wristbands made for people making a donation to Winston’s Wish, I am pleased to say there are now a number of people who can prove that they ‘…have met George’ :P
Also check out this awesome collage of photos by Jenny Stewart at Raining Light Photography…
To help publicise this special charity event there were some great articles in the papers and online, plus an interview on Total Star Radio, and a spot on the lovely Claire Carter’s afternoon show on BBC Radio Gloucestershire - it was nice to be back in the studio and as always to play live for her and her audience, Gloria (my guitar), sounded lovely and ‘Otto Orange’ went down a treat!
In other news, I am playing AAA, on high street Kensington (London) this Saturday evening at 8.15 - so if you’re about in The Smoke, please come along, it’s going to be awesome! - http://www.aaa.uk.net/whats-on/symptomatic-present/
And finally… drumroll please Mr Hooper…..
I have been nominated in 3 categories for the 2012 Download Music Awards:
Best Live Act
The Voting went live from Tuesday, 30th October and closes 7th November, so please tell your friends and please get voting! Thank you :D - http://www.independentcharts.org/download-music-awards-voting/
The Download Music Awards are held in association with British Music Week, The International Independent Charts and the Official European Charts.
I have also been invited to perform at the awards ceremony on November 9 at Cargo in Shoreditch, London and if you would like to be there please follow this link and grab yourself a ticket! - http://downloadmusicawards.eventbrite.co.uk
There are now 10 episodes from my ‘have you met George’ documentary series giving insight into me and my songwriting, my music and making the album are available for you to watch on YouTube - there will be eleven parts that I hope you enjoy!
Here is the Playlist - http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9E823281139936C4
Keep a look out because the final episode (11: Pocket Full) goes live very soon!
I am very humbled to now have over 3 million views on YouTube - my appreciation and gratitude to everyone who has watched my music online, thank you :) - http://www.youtube.com/georgemontague
That’s pretty much it for now, hope you are all well - and Happy (belated) Hallowe’en!
At the end of August we played the Three Horseshoes in Monmouth as part of Monmouth Festival’s 30th Anniversary. What a great place to play and it was packed through the doors! Truly AWESOME! Our 75 minute set went down a storm and one of the volunteers wrote a very kind review… - http://monmouthfestival.wordpress.com/tag/george-montague/ - apparently, not since 1982 has an act created such a buzz around the festival!?!
I was very honoured that not only did the producer of my debut album, Matt Butler, come along to this gig, but also all the Rockfield Studios family Kingsley, Lisa, Otto and the whole Rockfield crew. Kingsley, who founded these wonderful recording studios almost 50 years ago, rarely goes to gigs anymore, so it was a massive honour - not going to lie, it definitely heightened my nerves, but for the better! By far one of my favourite gigs to date.
Up early on the following day for a special long session recording at Rockfield Studios (where ‘have you met George’ was recorded) to make a start on album number two with some of my most recent songs written for piano.
The truly important thing was to capture the new “chooons” needing Mrs B (Rockfield’s beautiful Bosendorfer grand - the very piano on which Freddie Mercury recorded ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, incidentally 37 years ago to that day was when Queen began recording that song at this very studio). Everyone’s favourite from our live performances ‘Lovestruck Fool’ was the must to record, next was ‘Nom Nom Song’ and as all went to plan I was able to knock out a take of ‘F.I.N.E.’ too! We even managed to overdub a bit of Rhodes for both ‘Nom Nom Song’ and ‘Lovestruck Fool’. Now I really can’t wait to record my new guitar and ukelele songs!
It was an amazing day and we worked HARD. Tom (Hooper) did an absolutely fantastic job with both drums AND percussion as usual. I can never ask more of that man, he always gives it, and more. I am very lucky to work with him. The same goes for Harry Sutton, it felt strange not having Steve on bass, but Harry is a blooming awesome player and did a brilliant job just like he had done the night before at the gig.
In the midst of all this (after I’d found out I’d be recording on the Friday) I wrote two new songs - and then in the studio, while Matt was setting up all the microphones, a brand new song came to me there… it felt odd to be working on a new one with everyone around me - it is normally such a private process, just me in a room with a piano, but it still worked splendidly. What a wonderfully inspirational day!? Working with Matt again felt so good, a team-up like no other! Thank you Major.
I also have a few very exciting announcements…
There are now six episodes from my ‘have you met George’ documentary series giving insight into me and my songwriting, my music and making the album are available for you to watch on YouTube - there will be eleven parts that I hope you enjoy!
Here is the Playlist - http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9E823281139936C4
Episode One: Blood Ties - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5bfXWjbENA
Episode Two: White Cavalry - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaQoeYyZFeQ
Episode Three: Hold On - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TpoX6Uj9-w
Episode Four: Shiver - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFUT0y-NtZY
Episode Five: The Smoke - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRUTpK1DDIw
Episode Six: Footprints in the Rain - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvNbruuv8YY
I honestly wish to thank everyone who has watched my channel, views have now passed 2.5 million!!! Three of my music videos have been submitted to the BBC Music Video Festival - fingers crossed :) http://www.youtube.com/georgemontague
I have had my first official album review by Stephen Morris, music reviewer for BBC NEWS, calling the album ‘a musical marvel and something of a masterpiece’ - very humbling words… here is a link so you can read this awesome review in full - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-gloucestershire-19337141
Very excited about my special charity gig to raise money for Winston’s Wish in celebration of their 20th anniversary. It’s on Friday 19th October at the BWM Promo Wotton Hall Concert Room in Gloucester with support from an awesome local act, Saskia Says (saw them at Nibley and knew they would be a perfect fit to support)!
Thank you to everyone who is publicising this wonderful cause - http://cotswold.greatbritishlife.co.uk/article/winstons-wish-celebrate-20th-anniversary-with-local-singer-songwriter-george-montague-43858/
Feel free to join the Facebook event - https://www.facebook.com/events/276960549072837/
Tickets in aid of Winston’s Wish are available in advance (at a reduced price) - for details please click here http://www.bwmpromo.com/ticket-sales/57-george-montague.html
AAaaaaAaaaaaaahhhh…. right, now that’s got that out of the way… my debut album ‘have you met George’ will be available Nationally in all music stores very soon… yippee!
We have signed a distribution deal with a major distributor and the launch is happening on Monday October 1st - I still can’t believe my album is going to be in shops! *still doing the snoopy happy dance*
This Saturday (September 29th) I am so very excited to be back in London at the London Summer Jam Festival at The Bedroom Bar in Shoreditch, so if you fancy coming along and joining in (literally) I look forward to seeing you there!
LSJ is FREE and going to be bucketfuls of FUN!! - http://www.wikifestivals.com/content/london-summer-jam-countdown-takeoff-29092012
Want to say a massive thank you to Stephanie Kennedy as she is doing a superb job of publicising LSJ so brilliantly and making us all feel really connected and part of the biggest and best Jam EVER!
Thank you all once again for reading my blog… you are Magnificent!
PS A very special new treat will be coming in the next few days - keep an eye out for a certain dude who we all like to blame when we get a song stuck in our head…..