My new album, now available at Bandcamp, is called Fir Tree Days. Why? Well I grew up in the tiny village of Fir Tree In the Wear valley area of County Durham, England.
I had a brilliant childhood there, with great friends, long summer days playing, long winter days sledging.
My Dad was a mounted Police Officer on Durham Police and he and my mam moved from Sunderland to Harperly Hall in County Durham. It was here that the Police horses were based. Only half a mile from the village of Fir Tree. I was born in Wear valley and spent my first 6 years of life living in a Police house at Harperly Hall before we moved to No.6 Police House in the village of Fir Tree. And that’s when all the fun started.
Fir Tree infant school was right next door to our house so I didn’t have far to walk each morning! A tiny school with only 26 pupils at one point! But we had good times. We’d have a sports day where we compete with other schools in upper Wear Valley (Weardale) and it was those innocent, health and safety free mid to late 1970’s that for those who lived in them agree, they were the best.
And so when it came to composing for a new album, I wanted to take a different direction in sound, away from the ambient soundtrack piano I’m known for. I had reconnected with some of my childhood friends from Fir Tree via social media and this gave me the idea of using the village and all I remember of my times and things connected to it and I.
Why I chose the sound of Twang Guitar and Big hammond Organ for this album I know not. But I love it, I’m proud of it and I hope you’ll enjoy it too.
So the song titles of the album may sound bizarre but they all mean something to me from my time in that wonderful village.
Let me explain the track titles for you :
Track 1. Gather Round and Let Me Tell You About a Special Place. – Pretty self explanatory this track title 🙂
Track 2. The Pea Hill Toboggan. – Pea Hill was the hill behind my childhood home and an incredible place to go sledging in winter.
Track 3. Goofy Foot. – kinda connected to the above track. Goofy Foot is a way of surfing on the big waves. But I used to try and surf on my sledge on snow, bad idea!
Track 4. Fir Tree Days. – Title track and feel good factor 10/10
Track 5. The Blue Light Gallop. – Well remember my dad was a police man (blue light) and he did ride a horse (Gallop)
Track 6. Late On The A68 – The A68 was the main road through the village. right up to Scotland it goes!
Track 7. Saturday Morning With the Cartoons. – Tom and Jerry , Bugs Bunny, Scooby Doo , the list goes on. Saturday morning TV had them all when I was a kid.
Track 8. Simon’s Dad Had The Coolest Car. – Simon was a good friend of mine at Fir Tree and his dad had the most gorgeous racing green jaguar. enough said 😉
Track 9. The Hunting Ground Of A Fearless Cat Named Tigger. – My beloved little girl cat, Tigger . She lived till she was 18 and Fir Tree was her stomping ground
Track 10. Rendezvous At The Corner Camp. – I think all kids back then had a corner camp, or den. We did too, in the corner of a farmers field, behind a big holly bush.
Track 11. Don’t Stop The Man With the Plan. -The man? well building planners who allowed the most hideous housing estate to be built and ruined fir tree in my last years there
Track 12. The Middle Cut.- A lane that cut through the middle of the village, tree and bush lined, we’d race our bikes and play hide and seek there.
Track 13. London Clive. -A friend of our family that my parents met while on holiday.THE funniest,loveliest man I ever new. He left us for good too soon.I miss him so much.
Track 14. The Big Slide. – The playground, like the school, was right next door to our home. It had THE biggest slide, probably wouldn’t be allowed today 🙁
Track 15. Goodbye Fir Tree Days. – Yep, this is about the time as a young man, I knew I would be leaving and never going back, seeing as it wasn’t the fir tree i had loved anymore , thanks to that man with the plan!