posted Monday, January 10, 2011
Bob McNeill's new album Me and Mary Ann has been shortlisted for Best Folk Album at the Vodafone... read more
posted Thursday, December 30, 2010
Bob McNeill tours New Zealand in support of his new album "Me and Mary Ann", starting 25 January... read more
posted Monday, December 27, 2010
My friend Carrie is cycling from Cairo to East Cape on a bike which has a name of its own. It's... read more
posted Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Bob appeared recently on TV in Santa Barbara, California with old friend, violin maker Jim Wimmer. ... read more
posted Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Last week I had the pleasure of playing with Ronan Martin at Tigh an Eilean in Sheildaig, and want... read more
posted Thursday, July 01, 2010
I started this album in April 2009 when Rob Winch persuaded me the songs needed a new life. They were all over the place, he said, and they needed to be together. So we started. I didn't really know what I was doing, but Rob steered me through. People's lives are so full of stuff these days it seems you don't get to focus on anything for long enough at a time, and months later I thought it would never be finished. I had gigs all over the place and so much else to do... but in September the last of the stuff came through from Nashville. I happened to be gigging with Ronan Martin at the time; we were at the house in Breakish, on Skye. It was midnight and I was leaving in a week for the states. (A few weeks before, Ronan and I had listened to the songs prior to the Nasville recording, in the car driving through Arnisdale.) Christine came in while the stuff was downloading, so the three of us listened to what the Nashville boys had done with the songs. We loved it.
Bits of the album were made or recorded or worked on in so many places, they all run into one. I remember mixing Signs of trouble on the Amtrak heading north out of Los Angeles to go see Jim and Peggy in Santa Barbara; couple of days later, I finished Strong winds for autumn on a Greyhound bus going across the Oakland Bridge into San Francisco (that was a productive day - I wrote Jesusita that day, on that ten-hour bus ride, and when I got to James Goldman's apartment in SF, my recorder wasn't working and I ended up in some bar in the Mission. Next morning, bit groggy, I woke up thinking about the song and found I still remembered it).
The project is full of memories of great moments for me; not least of which was rediscovering some songs I had written quite a long time ago and liked more than I remembered - putting them back on felt real comfortable. There were others that we thought about, but these are the right ten songs - my favourites from my first few years as a writer. I met and recorded with a lot of interesting people; but the best moments were always when the takes came in. The Nashville stuff came in in two lots - those were good days. You should have seen my face when John Egenes sent up his pedal steel part from Dunedin. Beautiful. Then Mike and Siobhan Moroney sent up guitar and vocals for Southland man's lament. Oh yeah. Authentic. Davy Stuart's piano part for Strong Winds came in a few days later, and it's pure Davy. Kenny put down his fiddle part on Norway Yawl, and made it look so easy that next time, I think I'll do it myself... and then Mark Mazengarb came round and made me wish I could play guitar. And then there was a great day at the end of last year when Marie's vocals came in from Galway, six songs worth.
Out on the road in NZ in January and February I didn't get much done on the project, except two days in Whangerei in January and a day in Wanaka. I didn't forget about the project, but I forgot about the sound of it, so at the end of February it was like starting again, only some very talented people had already pointed the way.
Rob went through the songs with me in March 2010 in Wellington and we completely remixed some of them; Marie and I sat and listened to the whole thing in Galway in June to sort out the vocals, and just when I thought I'd run out of people who cared anymore, Jon Sanders and I had the final listen in Dingle. Julie suffered it too, but kept smiling.
Finally it was finished. So the story of this record is a bit like my life these days; it started in New Zealand, where it was written, and it traveled Scotland, Ireland, California, New Zealand again, Scotland again and Ireland again, and then... I sent it off from a post office in Glasgow at the end of June. In January, it goes on the road, back in New Zealand. I can't thank the people who worked on it enough, Seylan, Jeremiah, Marie, John, Dug, Wayne, Pat, Mark, Mike Moroney, Siobhan, Kenny, Mike Rojas, Davy, Dow and Dennis all played or sang a storm, Steve, William and Denis turned all the right knobs and really heard it, and Rob - well, like I say, he persuaded me to do it, and then made it happen. Kia ora, go raibh maith agaibh, tapadh leat, gracias. Thank you :)
BM, Glasgow, Scotland July 2010