Socially distanced musicians: let’s busk in the street

I love singing northern songs like 4am by Cherry Ghost, mainly I guess because the guy who wrote it is from my home town of Bolton some 8 miles from Manchester. I can get my mouth round the words and descriptions because we pronounce syllables the same way. When he writes “it’ll get you on the last bus home” it reminds me of the orange 540 Greater Manchester Transport Bus that we used to catch back from Friday nights drinking in the town centre. The bus could be wild sometimes, like an on board party, rumbling up Deane Road. As teenagers we thought this was amazing, especially as we could get off at Sou’s Chippy and order a tray full of chips n curry sauce on the walk back to our estate.

Simon Aldred (Chery Ghost) wrote this song – 4am – (no it’s not the same song as my 4 Hours Sleep and Sunshine) and I recognise all the references in it as being from home.

We played on the pavement outside our double bass players house down a side street in Lancashire for reasons of social distancing. Any negative feelings about not playing live gigs or not playing in a fancy practice room or even a front room were tempered by our desire to simply play music together and hang out. It’s like being lost in a magic place in your head once you get going.

The double bass player is Ray Walmsley and our drummer Anna Ashworth drove over from Manchester to play percussion.

This was our first session. Singer Katie Ritson came to the second one and though we did stand in a line against a wall beneath a row of trees and managed to work through some songs – it rained more than the sun shone.

Collectively we are Sweeney Astray and if you want to hear any more of our songs you can find us on YouTube or Bandcamp. You can even download them or order a CD.

The second song featured below is called “Seagull” – I’m still working on the arrangement with the others in Sweeney. I wrote this when I was living in a flat in Avenham in the City of Preston. From the second floor I could hear and see the seagulls flying in and out from the estuary which takes the River Ribble out in to the Irish Sea. I was truly on a low income living there and I didn’t get much sleep and the best food. I did always get free drinks from venues though and had lots of friends.

Sometimes you simply wish you could fly out to the ocean on a breeze.

Published by mikekneafseyguitar

Musician, blogger, songwriter and guitar tutor. Full time professional musician/tutor since 2005. Originally graduated in Sociology, trained and worked as a local journalist before working in FE teaching and environmental education.

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