Sean Webster Band News Update Dec 2016

As we near the end of what has been not only a year of progress and change for the band, but one of significant importance. October saw the departure of guitarist Ash Wilson from the band, who has taken the time to now focus on his own band project, for which we wish him well. This departure sparked an interesting opportunity for the band and careful consideration as to where we want the bands sound to steer for the future. In the interim period we had the benefit of having my good friend and great guitarist from Belgium Stef Paglia step in to fill the void, whilst we make some decisions.

October also saw the band take to the studio to record the new album "Leave Your Heart at the Door", due for a Feb 2017 release. The 11 track album features an array of stylistic elements new and old fans will find familiar and refreshing, with the bands sound augmented by the sound of Hammond, Rhodes, Piano and strings throughout, provided by King King's own Bob Fridzema. This new sound has cemented the road for the future in the bands mind, and thus the 2017 shows will feature this new sound, and let me tell you it really is something special. So between now and then we finish this year with Dutch Hammond great Colly Fransson with our regular set of material. These shows are one-off never to be seen again, and proving to be a lot of fun for all of us. 

So the album has been mixed and is currently being mastered by Jon Astley (Eric Clapton, The Who, Sting, George Harrison etc) at Close To The Edge Studios in the UK. We expect to have physical copies back from print early January, ready for release in February all being well. So between now and then there is much to do, with rehearsals for the new live show commencing in January which will feature a small selection of past set favourites coupled with much of the new material from the latest album, and I for one can not wait to share this with everyone.

So all that remains is to thank everyone that has come to a show this year and made a connection with me, I have made many new friends all over Europe and beyond, and am continually humbled by the whole experience, so to you all I hope you have a very merry Christmas and a prosperous and Happy New Year! See you in 2017.

Greg.

 Subscribe in a reader

How To Learn Difficult Bass Parts

How To Learn Difficult Bass Parts

An excellent article on how to learn difficult bass parts on the bass guitar, written by the great Damian Erskine. I thought this was a really useful article, so reposted it here. Check it out!

 Subscribe in a reader

How to develop your bass skills in less time.

How to develop your bass skills in less time.

Welcome to the second post in my "tone hunter" blog series. Throughout  my time as a developing bass player, having explored many roads seeking the "next level" of playing the instrument, I have found several things to be true. These truths are what I like to think of as the "cut the bullshit" paths to skill and knowledge development. I present below some of these findings in the hope that you take them onboard and employ them in your weekly practice time. In 6 months message me back and let me know how feel now as a player?

 Subscribe in a reader

Embracing Change in the SW Lineup & My Latest Gear Update

Embracing Change in the SW Lineup & My Latest Gear Update

Welcome back, just a quick update on band news for you! A change in lineup within the band is afoot. My longtime friend and "rhythm section brother" for over 10yrs Phil Wilson (the brother of fellow band member Ash Wilson),  is moving on to pastures new. 

 Subscribe in a reader

How To Get Good Tone In Any Room With Your Bass Rig.

How To Get Good Tone In Any Room With Your Bass Rig.

Welcome to the first of a few posts I intend to share regarding aspects of bass playing. I wanted to share some of my own thoughts and feelings on anything from gear, practicing to touring etc, and hopefully some pass on a few of the things i've learnt in the meagre 20+ years of playing the instrument. I have no agenda here simply to give, and maybe even receive some ideas from others that have a real love and enthusiasm for the instrument. 

 Subscribe in a reader

Another Successful Poland Tour Complete!

Well we're all back safe in the UK after the Paris atrocities over the weekend, needless to say that came as quite a shock, particularly as our drummer had been at one of the UK concerts of Eagle of Death Metal the previous week, needless to say if he'd been French he'd have been at that show! My heart goes out to everyone that was there and survived, and to the families of the deceased.

Paris Nov 2015

Paris Nov 2015

Still before all that went on I can say I personally have thoroughly enjoyed this last tour. This was the second time out as a 3 piece, as Ash our second guitar player has recently had his first child, a baby girl which they have named Bonnie! Thus he has had his hands full so we did the whole trio thing. Its been a long time since i've done this, previously we went out without Phil and Ash with the fantastic drummer Craig Bacon (Stevie Nimmo Trio, Ben Poole, King King, Gloria Gaynor etc.). This time it was Sean, myself and Phil Wilson. I must say we all missed Ash because he brings so much to the sound, but at the same time, I personally enjoyed the challenge of the freedom a trio affords. 

Club Sekfana "aNTenna" Nowy Tomsyl Nov 2015

Club Sekfana "aNTenna" Nowy Tomsyl Nov 2015

So 10 days and 6 shows later I feel honoured to have performed at the venues this week, the audiences were so engaged, they came along with us for the ride every single gig! The Polish have warm hearts and are very much lovers of live music, is this because as a rule they don't have the standard of living that we have come to expect in the UK? I don't know what it is, but whenever we go there everything seems a little more real, and for that I thank them.

Until next time Poland.

Bluenote Jazz Club Poznan Nov 2015

Bluenote Jazz Club Poznan Nov 2015


 Subscribe in a reader

Now Endorsing Cleartone Strings USA

     

 

 

 

After a bit of tooing and froing, I am very pleased to have an artist endorsement deal with Cleartone Strings USA. It's quite an honour to be working alongside an honest and respectable brand that share common ways of thinking. The strings themselves are fantastic, and i'll be letting everyone know how they fair under trials over the next year, apparently you can get 3 - 5 X longer out of a set than a regular brand, and with increased tone and volume! If you are at all interested in hearing more about them, visit the website Cleartone Strings, or indeed pop along to a gig near you for a live demo and a chat with me! Thanks again to Andy Garza for hooking me up, a really nice bloke.

 Subscribe in a reader

Greg Smith now on Flickr (OriginalGPhoto)

I've started taking a lot of photos of late, particularly as a way of documenting things I get up to and people & places I visit when touring. I am new to it, but am already really enjoying what capturing your life visually can add to your life. I feel much more like i'm paying attention to the world around me on a different level, and I swear it is enhancing my musical life in much the same way. 

Here's a link to my Flickr Photostream 

 Subscribe in a reader

"Always Here" airs on BBC Radio 2 Paul Jones Show (16th Feb 2015)

A proud moment last month when the song "Always Here", from the Sean Webster & The Deadlines album "See It Through" was selected by Paul Jones feature on his Blues show. I am really proud to have been apart of that recording, to receive recognition at that level is something many musicians aspire to have at some point in their lives. It has been somewhat of a milestone for me in particular, and I remain humbled and grateful by the opportunity in the hope that more such opportunities may come this way in the future. If you haven't heard the song yet i've linked it below. Enjoy!



 Subscribe in a reader

**New** Sean Webster Album "See It Through", Guitar & Bass Magazine & Gear Overhaul!

Well lots has happened since my last post, the new Sean Webster album "See It Through" has now been released, and available from his site, and on sale at all forthcoming shows this year. It's been quite a task to get this done, with tight deadlines right up to the last few days, but we did it! and it is an album I am proud to have been apart of for sure. We've been getting lots of positive reviews coming back thus far which you can read on Sean's Facebook page  , after the first week of release the IBBA had the album ranked 10th in the top 50 current albums being played on their radio stations, which i'm really pleased about.

 

Along with the press releases came a first for me, a mention of the band in Guitar & Bass magazine. Not the biggest, and not really giving much away, but still a step in the right direction haha!

Finally I made a few changes to my life in the last few months, after a reflective time over the holiday period I came to the conclusion the 2015 needed to move in a different way for me and thus steps were taken towards a new direction. Firstly my departure from Infamous Vampires came about, definitely the hardest decision i've had to make in a long time, particularly leaving the Wilson brothers who after more than a decade of playing together are more like family than anything else. Still we do get to play together still as "The Dead Lines" with Sean, so not all is lost. They are both phenomenal musicians and songwriters in their own right, and I don't think I could not play with them at all, it is a joy! 

Max is back from his travels in South East Asia, and with renewed energy. There is a bit more energy going into the Jazz band at the minute, and we are currently developing new music for this project, and looking to develop it's online presence and hopefully bookings...watch this space. 

For all those that follow my bass gear evolving over time, I have made a few changes also. The Ampeg cabs have gone, and have now been replaced with a brand new Glockenklang Rig. Still powered by my fantastic TC Electronics RH750 head, I have purchased both The DUO a 2x10 cabinet, and its larger sister cabinet The DOUBLE which is a 2x12 design. This is not saying that the Ampeg cabs were bad, they were great, but really bought for use with Infamous Vampires, at the time of buying them i'd already spent countless hours researching bass cabinets and the Glocks were initially my first choice. How do they sound? well after their first outing at The Maltings in Farnham, Surrey I wanted to cry! That room is like playing in a shipping container, hard and cavernous with no soft furnishings, the band never sounds good in there, and I sounded awful by my standards. Fortunately we were at Peterlee Catholic Club (a favourite of mine) two nights later. Needless to say a great sounding room, and the cabs sounded "SPECTACULAR". Its the tone i've always wanted, and a sceptical band were very soon relieved after a 10min soundcheck haha! hear them for yourself at a gig near you soon ;)



 Subscribe in a reader

Carlisle Blues Festival 2014, Poland, Holland & UK!!!

Another busy month musically, with my first experience of playing at Carlisle Blues Festival. Really felt like the band did a superb job at this show, armed with new material in the set, and 200 pre release CD's we really woke the room up on the Saturday for sure! Very enjoyable. The highlight for me was not actually our show for once, it was meeting and chatting to some long time heroes on this scene Mr Jon Amor, Aynsley Lyster who have been among some of the best artists in UK Blues for a long time. In addition to this meeting Aynsley's wife and manager Steph, and his bass hero a man I have always admired for his talents, the great Steve Amadeo, whom for once I got to have an in-depth discussion about bass gear with (not something that happens often to me!).

Following this we had a mad one in Poland again, with bonkers amounts of miles covered in the van, but as always fantastic audiences, venues and reception by the locals. Managed to bag a couple of Festival appearances for 2015 too, so can't be bad. On the gear front the new TC RH750 head is performing exceptionally well as expected with the Ampeg 1x15's, my rig is literally the best it's ever sounded at the minute and always a joy to perform with!


 Subscribe in a reader

October

image.jpg

Lots has been happening over the last month or so, so thought I ought to get everyone up to speed! 

IV have parted ways with our good friend Max Miechowski on 2nd guitar. Max has decided he has so travelling in South East Asia to do and we wish him all the best! The exciting news is that his replacement is the very talented Sam Varlow lead singer and bassist with Devlin Blue. Rehearsals are in full swing, and as expected the bands sounds massive! We have our first gig with Sam in December at The Scene Lincoln.

Sean Websters latest album is sounding great!! We've added some last minute brass parts played by our good friend Richard Pustalnik, and we're at the final mixing stage. Sean wants the special edition 100 copies to be ready for Carlisle Blues Festival in November, what he wants he normally gets so you'll be able to grab it first there.

Texel Blues Festival in Holland this month was fantastic (see crowd pic), the band was well received and we made new friends in The Fever Dogs, and their frontman / festival promoter Marijn Ooijman, we'll be seeing them again in the future for sure.

image.jpg

A change in gear has occurred also this month. With doing increasingly larger stages with Sean's band I was starting to run the TC gear at full whack, and really had no headroom left. Now for those of you that have TC gear you'll know it isn't quiet stuff and this should also tell you about the volume of this band!! We are loud, but the tone is great so I must make changes.

image.jpg

So while spending weeks researching and reading user reviews I have parted with my Rebel Stack cabs, and bought two of Ampegs new Portaflex 1x15 cabs (no tweeters). They sound great!!! With the TC head which is voiced like classic valve heads anyway, so the match is great. We've got a run of shows including Poland coming up in November so I'll be looking at upgrading the current TC Classic head to the newer louder RH750. 

I guess that's it for now, still in love with the Roscoe Beck Fender bass, so no itches to scratch there haha! 

 Subscribe in a reader

Giethoorn Blues Festival Weekend 2014

Back to Holland this weekend with The Sean Webster Band, for a run of shows. Had a great time once again! fantastic hosts the Dutch, and they really love live guitar music over there. On the Thursday night we enjoyed watching our friend Laurence Jones & his band at the De Sloothak Bar / Restaurant, and a pleasure to finally meet Mr Roger Innis LJ's bass player, a true gentleman and great musician. Saturday we had a little time to kill so made an impromptu music video of and acoustic version of "Stay With Me" from the forth coming album, of which I am pleased to say is sounding great and expected to be out October time. The whole thing took place in a boat on Giethoorn's beautiful waterways, we even got a round of applause from one of the many riverside restaurants along the route!

Saturday saw a treat for me seeing the Nimmo Brothers headlining the lake stage, weather wasn't great but the company and music was good! We left early to get to our own show at De Grachthof, which itself turned out to be packed out. We played a 3 hour set, debuting John Mayers "Good Love is On The Way" which went down well! The owner implied it had been the busiest he has ever known it during these weekends, needless to say everyone left happy including us!

 Subscribe in a reader

Back in the studio - (Sean Webster Album) Part 2

Making use of the time everyone has off over the summer from our day jobs, Sean returns for another week of recording, before our return trip to Holland and a string of away performances in the Netherlands. Having been playing bass so much recently, and in a variety of guises i'm really looking forward to see how my newly developed hands bring life to Seans recordings and live shows. A true test of whether or not the strength and stamina gains from playing all the Rock, and the continued focus of fretboard harmony visualisation from my personal practice has come on. I definitely feel a stronger sense of control and in both fingers and hands, for those that are interested i'll let you know how I get on. If I were to offer a little gem of advice, i'd have to say when trying to develop on an instrument, the following is essential, and should be challenged regularly:

1.  Hand and finger strength work (but musical, no gimmicks, good old scale and arpeggio work to single chord backing tracks & learning bass lines that are increasingly demanding)

2. Learning music you like, regardless of genre / style (in fact the wider the better)

3. Writing music with others for recording / performance

4. Performing Live

Although there are more ways (reading music for one), I think exploration of the above for a few years would yield great progress.

I've definitely enjoyed this summer from a playing perspective, probably the busiest i've been in a while, but with the time to think about what and why i'm doing something, making better decisions about how to advance my playing. The journey continues.

 Subscribe in a reader

Rock 'n Roll

So i've been getting my Rock on as of late, with IV practices back in full swing both with Max and his soon to be replacement Sam Varlow. It'll be sad to see Max go from both this project and the Jazz sextet. But I know he will benefit hugely from his proposed travel adventures in sSouth East Asia. So the Warwick Starbass is back at the forefront this week for IV, and in addition to this i've been learning some Rock covers for Sam the band he has put together with himself , me and fellow Devlin Blue drummer Callum Turk for his ACM final degree live performance. See the link below for my bass cover of Alter Bridge's Find The Real.

video Block
Double-click here to add a video by URL or embed code. Learn more.

 Subscribe in a reader

Good Love Is On The Way - Bass Cover

Well finally its all done, took a bit of learning, and probably drove my brother and his girlfriend mad during the process, but it was worth it! I've really enjoyed the experience much more than anticipated, and feel I have absorbed a few of pino-ism's along the way which is what i'd hoped for. Studying Pino has led me onto other bass players that have things that I want, Brandon Gilliard (Janelle Monae) is one guy I will be studying in the near future for sure, as well as some of the work by J Dilla as a platform for fill experimentation perhaps.

To anyone at all reading this that is an aspiring developing musician, I say this, DON'T disregard transcribing as part of your development, it can give more than you'd imagine. If you are worried about not developing "your sound", you already have your sound within you, it is comprised of elements of bass lines you have learnt by bass players that inspire you. It can not be replicated by another, it is unique to you. THIS is how you get "your sound". Take it from me transcribing is proving to be a faster way of making progress with this. Balance this out with good scale & arpeggio knowledge, some theory and you have a great practice routine.

What are you waiting for?

Here is the video of my final performance.

 Subscribe in a reader

**New** 'Transcriptions' page added to site

As mentioned in my previous post, I wanted to encourage myself to transcribe more, having somewhere to display my efforts is working currently, so i've done just that! here is a link to the new transcriptions page on the site. It has a PDF of the notated track, a midi bass track to assist with reading the music (useful for familiarising rhythmic patterns, without committing to full-on reading practice ...yawn!), and streamable version of the track that was transcribed. Completed performance videos will be in there somewhere i'd expect!........ "thinking of videos, they may even become tutorials yet? mmmm we'll see, it's easy to get ambitious when you're on summer holidays haha!

 Subscribe in a reader