I really need to clean

Bransby's home studio, it's chaotic and untidy, mic stands, headphones and instruments everywhere, IT'S BEING USED!!

I'm in the final stages of tracking (recording the instrumentation) for a new song that I hope to release towards the end of June. I've sworn not to clean and tidy my studio until it's finished. There is a rationale to this, I'm not just a minger. It's easy to get side-tracked and procrastinate when working on something, so instead I'm focussed, I'm dialled in, I'm living in filth! I'm really enjoying recording, I've got piano, bass, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, trumpet and lead vocals down now, I've just got some additional harmonies to record then I can start the mixing. Title and artwork to be confirmed soon so watch this space! I promise I'll clean soon.

Thank you and good night

Bransby on stage at Chester's Cornerhouse

Last night I played a set of acoustic covers at my local, and favourite pub, Chester's Cornerhouse. I first played there in 2017 and have been playing there regularly ever since. We've had some wonderful nights there and last night was no exception. I've decided to stop doing these acoustic covers gigs though. I want to focus on my own songs now instead of playing other people's so last night was the last one. Thanks to all who came and to everyone who's ever been and who's sung along and made the nights so fun, that's it from me, thank you and good night xx

Someone Else’s Wife

cover art for "Someone Else's Wife" by Bransby. Image shows an old photograph of a woman in a bridal gown in the distance with her back to the camera

I don't know who the woman in this photo is and I only just remember who this song is about. Someone Else's Wife was written a long time ago in a life far, far away and I absolutely refuse to elaborate any further on what it's about beyond the lyrics. I've always enjoyed the poignant feel of the melody, the wistful yearning for something never truly desired, so I enjoyed reviving this old tune and breathing new life into it with synths and big drums. It's a simple song about driving and adultery, enjoy.

[cue id="1126"]

The music plays on…

a screen grab showing Ardour digital audio workstation with a single track recorded

This is where it all begins. The above picture shows the start of a new song that I'm currently working on. Technically this isn't where it began, the song took shape many years ago, but I've re-written and re-structured it, the single track you can see above is a basic recording of just acoustic guitar and vocals that I'll use as a guide as I continue to build it up. The plan is to have this finished within the next couple of weeks so I can release it before the end of June.

In the meantime, Bees In My Head is still available on all streaming services right now having gone on general release at the end of April, then in a couple of weeks' time Someone Else's Wife will be revealed to the world!

There are Bees In My Head!!

Cover art for Bees In My Head by Bransby and Andre Louis, picture shows a confused-looking Bransby in a colourful garden full of bees

This one feels like it's been a long time coming but here it is! Bees In My Head - a collaboration between me and my good mate Andre Louis is out now. Andre has done a fantastic job providing drums for this whilst I've concentrated on the mildly disturbing lyrics. In the depths of my anxiety and depression it often feels like nothing good could come of it, but this song is good and that's where it came from. Plenty of people have written about their struggles with mental health, I may be the first to turn it into a catchy, waltzy little earworm!

You can listen to Bees In My Head and read the lyrics below

[cue id="1074"] There are bees in my head
And I wish I was dead sometimes
One is a wasp and it's counting the cost
Of these lines
Then there's this dog and he's trying to hog my attention
He's making me see that there's nowt wrong with me
I just need some sunshine with fresh air I'll be fine

But there's bees in my head

When there's nothing left and my soul is bereft
I need time
At the end of the day it's an effort to say
that I'm fine
The pressure in here though is something to fear
It's alarming
I just need a break coz my brain is opaque
But it's clearing

And there's bees in my head

The jolly green giant is finding me pliant
He's compressing my spine
I'm pretending I'm fine
Florence Nightingale is plying me with ale
But she pours from her knee cos she has her own bees
Can we leave soon? it's no fun in this bathroom
But I'm staying calm with a little self harm
As god is my witness I'll shake off this tinnitus
reclaim my zen and be happy again

But there's bees in my head

The depths that I've plumbed
May appear moribund
But it's passing
There are lessons to learn
From emotions that churn
And I'll learn them
My jiggling knee is a signal to me
That you're boring
This anxiety is a strange energy
But I've got lots to spare and it shows that I care

For these bees in my head

My mind's on the take and this niceness is fake
But I'm glad that you buy these impressions I make
With such obligation comes endless frustration
There's always one more it's relentless there's more But all this too shall pass
Ups and downs don't last

Conversations with my younger self

an old photo showing a young Bransby (early 20s I think) on stage at possibly the Highbury Garage Bransby on stage at (possibly) the Highbury Garage some time in the early 2000s

I wrote my first song when I was 18, I'm 46 now and have written a lot more. In those early days I knew nothing about recording and production and very little about the names of chords. I would hand write lyrics onto an A4 pad, play around with chord structures I couldn't name and eventually come up with a song. Consequently there are old songs that were never recorded, rarely played live and that only exist lyrically on faded bits of paper and musically in my memory. Some of them occasionally reappear in my head to remind me that there was a hook, a lyric, a chord change that was worth remembering. That's happened recently with a song originally called One Chance. I dug out the scrappy bit of paper with the lyrics (written in fountain pen for some unfathomable reason) and tried to remember the chords. Much of it came back to me quite easily, I'd struggle to tell you what I did last Thursday but I can remember songs from decades ago with little difficulty. This has led to a new puzzle for me. It's a song of youthful exuberance (I reference being 19 in the lyrics), optimism and a sense of invincibility and it feels weird to the point of wrongness to sing those lyrics now. The last 27 years have not left me unscathed and I simply don't feel that way or think like that anymore. I'm re-writing it. I'm figuring out a way to respect the original intention and spirit whilst acknowledging with every achy joint that I am not 19 anymore. It's like a conversation between 19 year old Bransby and 46 year old Bransby, fortunately we still seem to be getting on ok.

Bees In My Head is scheduled for release towards the end of April, we're still finalising the artwork but it should be heading into the distributor shortly. Watch this space.

What do you do all day?!

I've finished two songs in the last week. Bees In My Head is complete and ready to upload to my website, Bandcamp and all streaming services, I'm just finalising the artwork and will get it uploaded. Andre Louis, my friend who has collaborated with me on Bees In My Head, is blind and has made it perfectly clear to me that he doesn't give a toss about the artwork, which is completely understandable, nevertheless I need artwork to submit the song to streaming services. Another friend who goes by Design Mechanic is helping me with it, I'm reliably informed that it involves AI, which is exciting.

I had some extra time off work so have recorded and finalised another song, Someone Else's Wife, which is an old song I've revisited and turned into a vocal-lead synthwave track about driving and adultery. Watch this space for more on that!

Couch to 5k

an x-ray of my right leg showing extensive metal work after a climbing fall

Yesterday I did my first run in the Couch to 5K training programme. As someone who has run several half marathons and a couple of marathons this felt a bit weird, the photo above explains why I am where I am. I'm generally fairly active but the last 8 months have seen a drastic reduction in those activities while I recovered from a climbing fall and the subsequent injury and surgery. I've signed up to do a sprint triathlon at the end of May which involves a 5km run. Given that a few weeks ago I couldn't run at all, this is perhaps a little ambitious, but it's a goal.

Last weekend I attended Storyhouse Women, my partner Dawn is on the steering committee and it's a fantastic event. One of the sessions I attended was called "Why it's ok to be a bit more medium" that was devised and chaired by the exceptional Molly Naylor, who is a brilliant writer, poet and I'm pleased to say, a mate of mine. The session looked at what it means to face the constant pressure to "smash" everything, to be exceptional, to give 110% etc. etc. It resonated very strongly with me. I'm creative, I make music, I play gigs, I entertain people. I feel under constant pressure, almost entirely from myself, to be better at it, to play more gigs, release more songs, get more listeners on Spotify (I have hardly any to be fair) get more streams. Molly's session was a brilliant opportunity to ask myself "is that pressure helping me, is it making me happy?". It's a question I've asked a lot in recent years, particularly in the face of some fairly serious mental health problems, and the answer is usually "no". I love making music, I love performing music, I hate self-promotion and I hate feeling under pressure or obliged to do something, even if it's something I love doing. When it comes to music I'm trying hard to just enjoy it, to lift that pressure and lean in to the love of it. I'm facing varying degrees of success, my focus on what goes wrong at gigs, rather than what goes right, is still there, and it spoils my enjoyment of live performance, but I'm aware of it, and I'm working on it. I'm feeling guilty about not having made much progress on my latest song, my friend Andre has provided some brilliant drum/percussion work for it, but it's still nowhere near finished and that's down to me. Rather than feeling pressured to do it though I'm concentrating on looking forward to working on it, what we've got so far does sound great!

So I'm not going to "smash" this sprint triathlon at the end of May. I'm going to try my best to complete it. Doing Couch to 5K has made me realise that one person's warm up run is another person's unachievable dream. Running 5km again will be a huge achievement in itself given how bad my climbing injury was. I also have no intention of getting into triathlons, my last marathon was enough to tell me I'm not an endurance athlete. I want to get my fitness back, but mainly so I can go climbing again, this time with a lot more focus on not falling off.

Life beyond music

a photo of exposed ceiling joists in my lounge that I'm about to re-board

Sometimes I go a little quiet on social media and there can be many reasons for this. Sometimes I just have nothing to say and honestly, I think if more people didn't post on social media when they had nothing to say social media would probably be better. Sometimes I'm struggling with my mental health, posting chirpy shit on the socials when you're in the depths of crippling depression is challenging to say the least! Then sometimes I'm just busy with other stuff. I have a full time job, other hobbies, and I do a fair bit of DIY around the house. This week I'm re-decorating my lounge which has involved replacing the entire ceiling and, for those that know my lounge, I am sorry to say the disco wall is going.

Having said all that the music is never far behind, my good friend Andre Louis has provided some excellent drums/percussion for my new track which I'm still working on. Echochamber have been busy practising for our Cornerhouse gig at the beginning of March and I'm back at Chester Market this Saturday for another solo acoustic gig, so maybe see you there.