A.J. Walker

writerer

Little Changes

Done a few open mics at the Dispensary now, hosted by either of the Seafoam Green duo (Dave & Muzz). Last week it went pretty well and I felt I sounded better than usual - ie not forgetting too many words or messing up chord changes. But I am aware that I have kept doing the same three or four songs (last week's songs were: 'Oh My Sweet Carolina' - Ryan Adams, 'Heart Breaks Like the Dawn' - Chuck Prophet, 'Couldn't Get Arrested' - Green on Red, and 'Whisky In My Whiskey' - Felice Brothers). The next time I play I intend to not play any of these as I should try to mix it up and stretch myself a bit.

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Currently thinking next time I'll go for '
Down By the Water' - Decemberists, 'Somewhere Down The Road' - Chuck Prophet, 'Splendid Isolation' - Warren Zevon, and maybe 'One I Love' - REM. We shall see. I dare say that I'll end up playing one or two of the usual instead. I'll let you know!

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Ripping it up at the Dizz.- well maybe just playing a C.


And in the coming weeks I intend to learn some new songs and get them out there. Before maybe playing with my own words (alongside the usual C, G, Am and F chords no doubt). Again, watch this space.
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Balinese Dancer

A Last Minute Call to the Balinese Dancr

After a strange and a bit of a tough day at work I was undecided whether to go to the regular Open Mic at the Keystone. I ended up home later than usual and a bit knackered. I hadn't seen anything saying the open mic was on for sure (even though it is pretty much always on) and contemplated staying in. When I looked on Instagram there was a message saying the open mic was on and hosted by John Witherspoon as usual. But there was a second photo - and when I looked at it, it was me playing last week with my Procrastinators T-shirt on. And to top it off they name checked me with; '
Guest appearance from our very very regular who DEFINITELY knows we are using his photo.' Well, no I didn't and at the time on the sofa I wasn't sure I was even leaving the house. But the message… I mean how could I not turn up?

So I got changed and went for the bus. It never came and so I had to wait for the next one which was over half an hour later. It was definitely not the best of days. In the end I was there about 9pm - and it was packed.

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I'd been playing some songs over the last week or so that I hadn't played before and had thought I may give them a go. When I went up to play I decided to give them both a go, but needed the reassurance of having the words in front go me. And so it was that I played one regular song and two new ones (if new means new to me playing live). And so my mini set list was:

'
Oh My Sweet Carolina' - Ryan Adams
'
110 in the Shade' - Chuck Prophet
'
Something You Ain't Got' - Cracker

I needed to play a regular song first to get into the swing of it. But I was very happy to have played some different stuff; albeit my usual favourite artists from albums recorded back in the day. It's always nice hearing some people saying they enjoy the words and to think that maybe I've introduced even a single person to the wonderful songwriting (and then when they hear the originals: the Guitar!) of Chuck Prophet (and Cracker). I've actually played three Chuck Prophet songs of the same album now; '
Somewhere Down the Road,' 'Heart Breaks Like the Dawn,' and now '110 in the Shade.' There's loads of Chuck's albums on Spotify, which I can thoroughly recommend, however this particular album, 'Balinese Dancer,' is not on Spotify. So if you wanna check out the tracks then maybe buy the album (I know, a bit old school) or just have a look/listen on YouTube.

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I was definitely glad I made the effort in the end.

But don't ask me about getting home (yes, it was that kind of day again).


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Almost A Gig~ish

As is almost set in stone I went once again to the Keystone open mic. Recently there have always been 12-14 people playing which is incredible really. And to fit everyone in we are each limited to three songs each. This week though we seemed to be a few people down though there were still plenty of regulars and a newbie couple to the Keystone who just happened on the place (Visions of Albion). I suspect the regular carnage that is Liverpool on Paddy's Day probably put a few people of visiting town on the Day of the Green Pavement Pizza.

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Visions of Albion

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Mr Sinnott doing his bluesy thing

As we were a few down everyone had there usual three songs then those still there went up and played another two each. So I played five songs. Yes, FIVE. That's almost a gig worth.

The songs were:

  • Oh My Sweet Carolina (obviously)
  • Take Me Down To The Infirmary (Cracker)
  • Landlocked Blues (Bright Eyes)
  • Heart Breaks Like the Dawn (obviously)
  • Van Diemen's Land (hey, it was Paddy's Day)

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Words needed/not needed. No one told me to sort my hair out!

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Some Guy.

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I needed the lyrics in front of me to to Take Me Down and to Landlocked Blues. First time I've done that at the open mic. But they were new songs for me to play; so fair enough.

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Charley style photobombing.

Spent most the evening on the lovely session
Trappers Hat from Brimstage Brewery, then ended the evening with the epic Keystone IPA (just a schooner) from Chapter. So all in all a very good evening - and no pavement pizzas around this area of town. Huzzah!

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Great Live Music

Live music is great. I love it. And last week was fab for it. I ended up playing two open mics in one night on Thursday. I played in both the Head of Steam and the Keystone. Two of my favourite Liverpool pubs. It was good to do.

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Jack playing at the Head of Steam

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Playing at the Keystone

At the Jack's open mic at the Head of Steam I played four songs. I saw the to women that were sat next to me nodding away to my tunes which was nice. And they were periodically looking at their phones. When I spoke to them afterwards it turned out they were Polish and on their phones they were typing in the lyrics I was singing to find out whose songs I was singing. If I've introduced Chuck Prophet, Green on Red, and Ryan Adams to some more people my job on this world is done.

In the Keystone I played three of the same songs at
John Witherspoon's mic. There was no need for the people there to look up my songs as I play them there every week of course. It was great to be invited to John's full band gig at Jimmy's on the Saturday.

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John Witherspoon at Jimmys

It was a long day on Saturday as the Liverpool match at Brighton was at 12:30. It is far too early for any game. Watched it with a couple of mates at the Head of Steam - we won (0-2) and are still on the coattails of City. Then it was a question of filling my time with reading and what not before the evening gig. I made it in one piece and was very glad to have made it. John's band was great and he looked so in his element it was lovely to see. Definitely worth seeing him play if you get the chance. The support from the singer songwriter Thom Moorcroft was excellent too.

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John with his full band.

Live music is great innit?
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A Different Three

Enjoyed playing the open mic at the Keystone this week. And in a shocking turn up I played three different songs from my usual three. I noticed that at the last three open mics I've gone to, at the Keystone and the Angus, I'd played the same three songs: 'Oh My Sweet Carolina', 'Heart Breaks Like the Dawn', and 'You Couldn't Get Arrested'.

So I ended up playing: '
Somewhere Down the Road' (Chuck Prophet), 'Down By the Water' (Decemberists), and 'Whiskey in my Whiskey' (Felice Brothers).

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Remembered nearly all the words and chords; with just a pause playing some extra chords in Down By The Water whilst I tried to remember the next verse. Who'd have thunk it. So maybe next time I'll play a different three again. That'd be nine different songs then: almost a gig's worth.

There were loads of great players/singers there once again. Not sure how many but it was in double figures. John Witherspoon hosts a really is a top night - guaranteed. Made up to see he's supporting Ian Prowse at one of his gigs. Boss news.

Rock on!
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Back at the Key

Great to reappear at the Keystone this week after a month or so of missing it (largely due to Liverpool playing multiple matches on Thursday nights). John was the hoster with the moster once again. Always a pleasure to talk to – and to listen to play his beautiful songs. We'd moved from the front room into the adjacent one between the stairs and the conservatory which worked really well. There were plenty of performers there again and so everyone had a maximum of three songs when up there.

I think I was about the fourth or fifth up. I'd purposely held on to my pint glass tightly to that point so that I didn't knock back too many before getting up – one glass too many and the risk of forgetting words or muddling up is greatly increased. Despite this I'd still had about four pints before getting up and was at risk of issues. But as it happened I performed three of my usual songs as good as I ever have (I think). The usual were:
'Oh My Sweet Carolina', 'Heart Breaks Like the Dawn' and (as requested by John) 'You Couldn't Get Arrested' – same as last week at the Angus.

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Really enjoyed playing and watching everyone – and the pints of Chapter Brewing 'Tenta Temos' and 'Mahog'un' – there was a fifty-fifty mix of regulars and newbies. A most enjoyable evening. Of course, I keep saying it but yet to do… I need to write a song or two to perform and/or do some new covers. It WILL happen. Honest.

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