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Posts Tagged ‘Casee Wilson’

Hummingbird is now loose in the world, a mere four years after Here At A Distance, which might as well have been decades, it felt so long. Feels good to have finally done it though! The album launch went well – although the audience was smaller than expected due to the various lurgies sweeping the nation, it was friendly and attentive, and both Sarah Hardman and The Nocturnal Flowers played excellent sets.

Casee Wilson 09.11.19

Photo copyright R Mitchell 2019

SET LIST:

  1. Super
  2. She Used to be Mine (cover, orig. Sara Bareilles)
  3. Faded and Foolish
  4. Wolf Among the Flock
  5. Hummingbird
  6. Chandelier (cover, orig. Sia)
  7. Roses
  8. Lifeboat
  9. Wild Heather
  10. Tiny Hands
  11. Waterboy (cover, orig. Rhiannon Giddens)
  12. Burn
  13. Clockwork Ballerina
  14. World Reborn
  15. Midnight Blues
Casee Wilson Micklegate Social 19-11-09

photo copyright: R Mitchell 2019

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here’re some more pictures…

All photos are copyright Robert Mitchell.

Some thank yous are definitely owed: The Nocturnal Flowers and Sarah Hardman Music for coming and playing and sharing their music, Faith Benson Productions for awesome sound in the face of challenging equipment, Robert Mitchell for photos and positive affirmations aplenty, Gem for his unwavering spirit and support and everyone who turned out to the gig, watched or shared the stream, and generally reminds me that I’m not making music for the void!

If you don’t have the album yet (why not???) you have multiple options for acquisition:

Streaming: It’s on Spotify. If you love me, put it on repeat. Forever.

Digitally: Bandcamp is the best for audiophiles, as you can have it in whichever format you prefer, including various lossless forms. iTunes and Amazon are also carrying it.

Physical CDs: My own website (or from me in person if you see me regularly) – I’ll sign it to you. You might even get a badge or a sticker (while stocks last). It is also scattered about in several locations around York, notably Busk Coffee Shop (Fishergate, York – get a coffee and cake, buy a CD while you are there), Portal Bookshop (these copies are signed, although not personalised, and who doesn’t need a bit of dark Disney folk playing while they read, right? Right???) and finally HMV on Coney Street, York.

Right then. I’m off to get a cuppa and have a little sit down. Until next time!

Toodles! xxx

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I finally, finally made it.

Hummingbird is being released on the 9th November 2019. All of the files have gone to the CD manufacture plant, everything is uploaded to Emubands for distribution, and I can finally breathe again.

Hummingbird large

It was a bit of an exciting ride. I had been gently ambling along, doing a bit of writing here and mixing there and not really rushing things. I figured I had until this week to send the CD Master files. Alas for me, the company I chose to use this time (entirely because they had really good reviews and because they are one of the few places in the UK willing to do low number runs of glass mastered CDs) got in touch with me to say they would be closed for a crucial period. So I ended up finishing the writing, recording, mixing and mastering, all within a frantic 72 hour period.

There was not enough gin in the world for this. Still, I persisted.

Everything went off by the 11th October. Last week was spent mastering instrumentals (in the event that I manage to place anything in film or TV, they always like a good instrumental) and dealing with the distributor, and this week I am doing promo and remembering how to breathe again.

Meanwhile, I had a very fun gig at Busk in York towards the end of September which gave me an opportunity to dust off a new cover (Waterboy, originally by Rhiannon Giddons) and generally sing to a very enthusiastic audience. It was a really enjoyable evening, very atmospheric, and I hope the first of many more to come.

So what now? Well, pre-orders are open for both digital and physical CDs of Hummingbird. I highly recommend it, but then I am biased!

The Launch Party is on the 9th November, at Micklegate SOCIAL, 148 Micklegate, York, YO1 6JX – FREE ENTRY! Doors at 7:30, music starts at 8 and I will be very ably supported by Sarah Hardman and The Nocturnal Flowers. Due to the venue’s own licensing laws, it’s over 18’s only, so please bring ID, but don’t let that put you off!

Hummingbird launch poster

See you there!

 

 

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Here, live and unedited, in all it’s glory, warts and all, is the full video of my set at the Duchess on Friday 22nd April. I was there in support of Vinnie Whitehead, who was recording his live acoustic album. Also playing, BingersUK, with loopy, loopy madness. It was an exciting night!

The setlist looks like this:

1. Rubbish Fairy Tale
2. Burn
3. Windmills
4. Numb (a cover of the song originally by Linkin Park)
5. Silence of the Stars
6. Scarlet Casanova
7. Learning to Fly

It’s unedited to keep the feel of the live gig, so there are some sound issues – some exciting whalesong feedback halfway through Silence of the Stars that knocked out the monitors for Scarlet Casanova, but live sound is unpredictable, so it’s all good, I still had a great night! Anyway here is the video… Enjoy!

 

casee duchess

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It’s a little late, being already the 4th January, but to try to make up for a rather lackluster year in blogging, I thought I’d take this opportunity to whiffle on about what I managed to do in 2015 that meant I was too busy/lazy to blog!

On a personal front, it was a pretty quiet year. I mooched from one short term dayjob role to another, ending up somewhere where hopefully I shall now be staying, I achieved my coaching level 1 in Aikido, I celebrated my 5 year wedding anniversary, built a lot of Lego,  watched a lot of Netflix and generally did Stuff. Oh, and I took up archery. That one definitely merits a mention. My inner Hawkeye/Katniss/Legolas* (delete as applicable) is definitely having a whale of a time going “pew! pew!”. I recommend it. Especially if you’d like one arm to become noticeably bigger than the other in a short space of time… Erm…

OK. Well. moving on.

Musically it was a crazy, busy year.

In February, I did my usual romp through 14 new songs that we call FAWM. I didn’t blog about it much at the time, mostly because I was busy doing it. It went well, I dinged 14 without too much trauma, and ended up with several songs I could basically gig with immediately. I made a vague promise to myself to put out another album before the end of the year, and to include some of the songs written as part of FAWM, then shoved it on a back burner and forgot about it.

Spring and early summer saw a lot of gigging, including a fabulous slot supporting Everlate at their album launch at the Basement, City Screen (review here). Really enjoyed that – I think this has been the year I’ve finally started to feel like I have a handle on playing live, rather than just feeling like a random imposter who gets away with it because I smile a lot, or something…

In July I started 50/90, and made it to 5 songs, (so a tenth of the way, which isn’t to be sniffed at!) and suddenly realised I actually had a whole album ready to go. By the end of August, I had decided I was going to crowdfund the album, and in the space of an afternoon, I had set up the crowdfunding page on Kickstarter.

When I launched it, the day before going to Alnwick for a long weekend, I thought “well, I have a month to get to £800, there’s pretty good odds on that”. But, by the time I had returned from Alnwick, 5 days after launch, the campaign target had been reached, and I was looking at stretch goals. It was incredible. It totally made my birthday too, which was not long after!

And so, Here At A Distance came to life. I asked Ros Dando, a local artist, to do the artwork, and amazingly, she said yes, and did a beautiful, beautiful album cover. I mixed and mastered everything, and nearly gave myself a nervous breakdown trying to get it all to the pressing house in plenty of time. Launch night was 30th October, and we booked out the Bay Horse in York, and got Flora Greysteel, Bleeding Hearts and Artists, and Helen Robertson to come and play.

album cover

It’s done well since release. FATEA Magazine reviewed it, as did Soundsphere and Planet London.  It’s certainly my biggest achievement in 2015, and I’m immensely pleased that I got it out there. I couldn’t have done it without my supporters on Kickstarter though, and for me one of the biggest things about achieving it was the reminder that people DO believe in me, and they DO support what I do, and even when it feels like I’m throwing music into the void, someone, somewhere has noticed. That’s been a massive thing for me to bring into 2016.

So what’s next for 2016?

At the moment, I’m undecided. Obviously I’ll do FAWM, although I’d like to get back into the more electronica side of things. I have a gig in April at the Duchess, York, which I’m really excited about, I’m playing at Coventry Pride in June, and I’m also going to be on the Fox’s Den Show on the 29th January, playing live and talking about the album. I’m at one of those quiet points just now, where I’m waiting to see where the tide pulls me..

Meanwhile, if you aren’t bored of Christmas songs, I finished up the year by recording a silly cover of Fairytale of New York, with Jon from The Bleeding Hearts and Artists. 

And if you feel like you want to hear my dulcet tones talking nonsense about music and other things, check out these:

Appearance on FAB Folk and Blues with Tony Haynes on Vale Radio

Interview on The Cultural Review with Tom Mallow

Happy New Year!

 

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Today has been such a long Monday. So long. So very long.

The reason is quite exciting though. No, not the day job. That’s not exciting, although it allows me to spend lunchtime in the company of a handful of the craziest and loveliest people I know geeking out over movies, t-shirts and baby animals. No. The exciting reason is that I came home and did Things To Prepare For The EP Release.

Yes.

This Friday, 25th July, Tales from the Undertow will be available on Bandcamp to buy as a digital release. 6 tracks, lovingly handcrafted, mixed and mastered by yours truly, with a little help from friends heckling from the cheap seats. There will, as a result, be an extra post on Friday with a link to the EP. One of the jobs I have been working on tonight is the final mix and masters of all of the tracks. This is having to be done around my aforementioned day job and also aikido training, so I hope you’ll forgive my laxness in producing an essay this evening.

The other thing I did was to rehearse a live set, because coincidentally and marvellously, I am headlining at the Shhhh! Acoustic Evening at the Black Swan on Friday 25th July.

It’s an important date. Put in in your calendar. Write it on the back of your hand. Set your phone to play Ode to Joy.

Friday 25th July. Tales from the Undertow release day and gig!

Playing at the Rook and Gaskill. Photo courtesy of Vinnie Whitehead.

Playing at the Rook and Gaskill. Photo courtesy of Vinnie Whitehead.

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Good afternoon, dear readers, and welcome to another thrilling installment…

I don’t know about you, but for me it’s been One Of Those Weeks. Murphy’s Law had applied Murphy’s Law to itself (for 3 X 3 the amount of things going wrong) and by Saturday morning I was a quivering, gibbering ball under the duvet, muttering “please, no more” again and again and again and again…

Ok, it’s possible I have exaggerated slightly. Still, it was a bit of a pants week, redeemed only by free books from Waterstones thanks to obsessive points collection in months past, and free cake. Free cake makes just about anything better.

Today has thankfully been better, and I’m optimistic for a sunnier week! The tale of woe that is last week does however tie in well with today’s theme, suggested by a friend, to write about my best and worst gigs.

In the same way that bad news should always be delivered first, I’ll open with worst.

Worst Gig 1 – The Duchess, York

Yes. I’ve played the Duchess. No, it did not go well.

I was thrilled to be asked. I was approached after playing at York Pride, and honestly, I thought this was it, at least a medium sized break to get me going. It was a November gig, and I came down with an awful cough in September. I didn’t know at this point that I was asthmatic, all I knew was, I had a big gig coming up and I needed to get rid of the cough.

By the time the gig rolled round, I was demoralised and still coughing. So I geared myself up for my voice to let me down.

Oh, if only.

The event was an all day fundraiser gig. At the point I arrived, it was still mid afternoon and the venue was dead. Maybe 16 people in the whole room, including the sound engineer. Most of the room was made up of a group of my friends, many of whom were seeing me live for maybe the first or second time. I’m amazed any of them have ever come back since because I bombed utterly. But not vocally, oh no, my voice was fine. It was my accompaniment, I completely forgot how to play at ALL. My fingers became unresponsive limp sausages stapled to my sweaty, shaking palms. The cold sweat started on the first note, and remained until we left the venue, a very very long 45 minutes later, trickling down my back like a trail of shame. It was unremittingly awful.

Witnesses on the day tell me it “wasn’t that bad”, but I know, and they know, that they are speaking out of love and telling a very big white lie. And no-one could flagellate me like I could anyway!

Lesson learned: Rehearsal, until utter boredom and beyond, is an artists best friend. Muscle memory can be relied on when stage fright has ripped out every other vestige of ability.

And so you can see how far I’ve come, here’s the only even remotely decent recording to come out of that gig:

Worst Gig 2 – An Unnamed Rugby Club Somewhere in the North of England

So this has a joint placement as worst gig, but for entirely different reasons. My 30 minute set was absolutely flawless.

I was asked by a friend to play this one, he assured me it was his local and it would be great. Here’s what went wrong:

It was a Rugby club……

 

 

…..On a Friday night.

I had, at that point, zero covers in my set. And most of you, I imagine, are pretty familiar with my style of music, especially a couple of years ago, before I learned which chords were the “happy” ones. The set was pretty introspective. Not sad, exactly, but not really a sing-a-long jukebox of chart hits. But it was all I had, I’d agreed to play, and the show had to go on.

There were about 40 people in the room. Two of them clapped, and my partner was one of those. There was a gentleman at the bar deeply occupied with imbibing a bright pink liquid that I have never seen sold behind a bar, not before or since. And at the end, one of the locals came up to me, and said: “You’ve got a lovely voice, love, but that was wrist-slittingly depressing”.

Erm. Thanks. I think.

Leason learned: Know the audience and tailor your set! 

My only consolation was my friend, whose local it was, had almost as hard a time as I did…

Best Gig – Malt Cross, Nottingham

This was the outright winner for best gig. I loved the venue, the other acts on the night were incredible, and however I sounded from the audience, The sound engineer wasn’t shy about using the “talent” button on the monitors (reverb to you and me!) so monitors made me sound like the biggest god-damned diva in the world. It was awesome. This was the first gig that made me feel like I could actually play live and it reminded me why I started performing in the first place.

For a reminder, I blogged about it here and there’s a radio show about it all too!

Honourable Mentions for Best Gig

City Screen – Everything I’ve done there. It’s always been to a packed room, and the sound engineers there are fab. It’s just got such a lovely atmosphere every time.

Vinnie and the Stars Fundraiser at The Winning Post (April 18th 2014) – Great crowd, great acts and supporting Vinnie was a blast.

And that concludes this weeks blog post. I hope you enjoyed the trip down memory lane. Now, I’m off to rehearse!

Casee is playing again at The Winning Post on Sunday 4th May, with CATSELF, a visiting artist from Finland, and the fabulous Floydian tribute band The Bleeding Hearts and Artists. 

Dark Side of the Room printable

 

 

 

 

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Hello – a happy (or at least bearable!) Monday to you all! To commemorate the week in which I have formally started to offer singing lessons here, I thought I’d do a wee post about 11 ways to help keep your voice healthy. This is particularly relevent to anyone who uses their voice professionally – as a teacher, public speaker or singer – but will hopefully hold some interest for everyone 🙂

1) Warm up your voice before use

If you are anything like me, you probably wake up croaky and hoarse. My voice is definitely clearer in the afternoons and evenings, after I’ve had some time to use it. A gentle warm up of the muscles in your jaw, neck and shoulders, and some easy humming up and down through scales, will do a lot to alleviate this, and to help prevent straining of your voice.

2) Stop smoking or don’t start!

Leaving aside the increased risk of cancer in the vocal folds and the lungs, smoking causes irritation in the airways which can lead to excess phlegm production and it also reduces lung capacity, affecting breath control.

3) Drink plenty of water

Staying hydrated is a fundamental rule for healthy vocal chords – water keeps the vocal folds moist, causing less irritation when they are used in song and speech. You are much less likely to experience a “crack” in your voice if you have hydrated appropriately. If you are about to perform, it is also a good idea to avoid alcohol or caffeine (both of which have a drying effect on your voice and also cause you to lose water through increased urination), milk (causes production of phlegm which interferes with vocal clarity) and fizzy or acidic drinks (which can cause a loss of control of the vocal muscles and also excess gas – a tiny bit embarassing mid-performance!). I favour room temperature water, as too much cold can cause constriction and tension in the muscles around the vocal chords. I save my beer until after I’ve performed 🙂

4) Be aware of tension

For years I couldn’t sing without my shoulders rising to somewhere around my ears. Singing is a full-body experience though, and any tension at all will affect the free movement of the voice, so keep good tabs on any tension. If you know you have a tendency to carry neck or shoulder tension, be conscious of it, and try to reduce it. Plenty of exercise is a good starting point, and also massage.  Consciously relaxing when you start to feel that “shoulder shrugging” sensation will help you to learn to manage it subconsciously. Now I rarely have trouble with it, but it took a little while of conscious management to fix.

5) Be aware of health issues that might affect your voice

The inhalers supplied to asthma or COPD sufferers can act to dry the voice significantly, so if you are taking these, discuss options with your doctor for reduced usage or other ways to mitigate the effects (for one of my inhalers, I was able to reduce usage to once a day, and I’ve noticed a significant improvement in vocal quality). Some options include increased water consumption, or managing the time that you take your medication so that it has less of an impact. Acid reflux is a common problem, particularly for opera singers, or singers who use their belt frequently. Again, this can be managed with some help from your doctor, and there are things you can do, from dietary changes, to raising the head of your bed, to help with these issues. In short, if you are having problems with persistent hoarseness, “clag” or dryness, it’s well worth popping to your GP for a chat about whether any of your medications or health problems could be influencing your voice.

6) Humidifiers are your friend

You might be spotting a theme here about how important it is to keep your vocal folds moist – you’d be right. So much so that I’d recommend using a humidifier when your environment is very dry, in winter (when central heating can act to dry out your voice) or if you have a cold or flu.

7) Avoid overusing your voice

Roughness, hoarseness or voice loss are most commonly caused by overuse of the voice and are a sign that you need to give your voice a break. If you start noticing these problems, take a break, and avoid using your voice unless you absolutely have to. Do not whisper – this actually places more stress on the vocal folds. Try to avoid clearing your throat for the same reason – this action slams your vocal chords together with a great deal of force and is not conducive to your voice healing. If you need to speak, speak calmly and quietly and only for minimum periods of time.

8) Learn to breathe

It sounds obvious – after all we’ve all been doing it since birth, but the first thing I teach new singing students about is the importance of breath. Speaking or singing from the throat is actually quite hard on the voice and lacks the full support of the breath.  Healthy vocal use involves breathing from the diaphragm and you’ll find if you can master that, singing and speaking will not tire your voice out as quickly and your overall stamina will improve.

9) Watch your diet

Spicy foods or foods which are too acidic can contribute to acid reflux, and dairy foods and chocolate can increase your phlegm production making your voice sound “claggy”. Also, be aware of when you eat, it is never a good idea to sing on a full stomach as your diaphragm will not have the room it needs to move freely as you breathe.

10) Look after yourself

Make sure that you are getting enough sleep, so that your voice gets a chance to rest, enough exercise to improve your muscle tone and reduce stress, and most importantly, if you are worried that you may have a voice problem please do go see your doctor or health care specialist.

Finally…

11) Don’t sing like this…!!

Thanks for reading! See you Thursday!

For more information about medical advice available for performers in the UK, please go to the British Association of Performing Arts Medicine 

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