Feast your ears on this

A friend of mine shared this clip with me a few weeks ago after we discussed our love of the blues. I was surprised that he was recommending a John Mayer song, but pleasantly surprised when I had a listen. This is a great video, and it's got me thinking about blues. 

I've played guitar since 2001. I was in my first year of high school, and had the pleasure of being taught by a blues guitarist Robin Yeatman. By the time I stopped doing lessons with him, we were regularly having blues jams spanning much longer than the lessons my parents were paying for. In particular I remember one time when Robin and I were jamming so long that there were two kids waiting for their lesson by the time we finished. Oops! 

I love all sorts of music, but blues is particularly special for me. It's the base from which I'm able to interpret other music because it's the first music that I understood. 


I’m impressed by #Music (or Twitter Music or whatever it’s called…)

I’ve been struggling to see the benefits of the streaming music services like Spotify and Rdio. It could be because I’m doing it wrong, but I just haven’t been able to get the benefits from either of those services. I log in and am presented with a whole lot of pop music I already know I don’t like, and strong suggestions that I add my friends to get better recommendations. But, like me, my friends don’t want yet another service they have to add information to.

Again, I’m probably doing it wrong, but that’s what my first impression of those services has been.

On the other hand, #Music managed to play me a new song by the Cat Empire that I hadn’t heard about within the first two minutes of me using it.


Riff week wrap up

A couple of weeks ago I completed ‘riff week’. During riff week, I came up with a total of 7 ‘riffs’ and shared them on this website.

In total, it took me an average of 20 minutes for each riff from sitting down with the guitar to uploading it to the website. That means I’ve spent 2 hours and 10 minutes or so being creative over the week.

But riff week is only the beginning.

I spent riff week smashing out all my ideas as soon as I had them.

In the next week, I’m going to churn on those ideas, and make whole collections of related ideas and lyrics. I’ll churn for at least 20 minutes every day on the 7 riffs I came up with last week.

The experiment: churning

In the context I’m using it, churning is a process of going over and over the ideas so that I can come up with and record all the ideas and directions possible. The idea is that I will do this at the start, and decide on a direction for the riff at the start, rather than trying to work out the direction the whole way through the idea development.

If, after the churn process happens, I come up with other ideas, then they will be written down/recorded as stand alone new ideas.

The Result

The result I’m trying to achieve will be 7 riffs with fully developed ideas surrounding them that I can work on in the future. I won’t necessarily be posting any of this ‘churn’ to the Tom thing, but see if I can figure out a way to record progress.

Be it

I made it!

This is the last 'riff' post in riff week. That doesn’t mean I’ll never post a ‘riff’ again, but it does bring to a close my little project on creativity.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the output. I started the project last Monday on a whim even though I knew last week would be an extremely busy week at work (I had long meetings all day every day last week, as well as a work dinner on Wednesday night that meant I was out of the house from 07:00 to 22:00 that day). I figured I’d had the idea, why not go for it right now - I couldn’t wait for the ‘right time’ to come and bite me on the arse.

And so here are the fruits of my labor. A scratchily recorded, but meaningful chord collection asking you to ‘Be it’.

Be it


I've often wanted to write a song about Ghosts.

I think today's 'riff' would be the rhythm guitar background (I'm aware that by definition, this rhythm guitar piece isn't a riff, but what the hell!).

This guitar would appear with a steady beat, but with an erratic bass drum.

Unfortunately, the recording shows the limitations of the equipment I am using - the chords sound very tinny.