Posts Tagged ‘bass guitar’

Yolanda Charles interviewed for iBass Magazine

April 2, 2013

Bass player Yolanda Charles makes it look so easy.

Is there anyone Yolanda Charles has not played with? Paul Weller, Robbie Williams, Marcella Detroit, BB King, Eric Clapton, Roger Daltry. Van Morrison, recording bass on a Michael Jackson session with Jermaine Jackson. Also working with Mick Jagger.

Yolanda Charles is headlining with Steve Lawson in Birmingham at Birmingham Bass Night II in May 2013.

Nothing Can Prepare

December 6, 2012
Nothing Can Prepare

Nothing Can Prepare

Talking in terms of “apocalypse” gets in the way of thinking clearly about the situation we’re in. The end of the world as we know it is not the end of the world full stop. What we’re facing is, very likely, the breakdown of many of the systems and ways of doing things that we (in countries like the UK or the USA) grew up taking for granted. But this is not going to play out with the speed of a Hollywood disaster movie or the finality of the Christian Day of Judgement. — Dougald Hine, co-founder of the Dark Mountain Project

Nothing Can Prepare, Steve Lawson on bass and Andy Williamson on sax.

I love the way the sax appears from the back of the church and slowly meanders to the front and the use of the acoustics of the church.

In November 2012, Lobelia and I went down to Devon for a couple of shows with Andy Williamson. Andy’s a brilliant saxophonist, best known for his Big Buzzard Boogie Band, but is also one of the most responsive, adaptive improvisors I know, so the thought of some shows with him playing a range of my tunes, Lobelia’s songs, and some completely improvised music was something to look forward to.

The gigs went very well, and the centrepiece of each show was an extended improvisation which I began solo and which, at a certain point, Andy joined in with from the back of the church (both the gigs were in beautiful old churches). He meandered to the front, filling the room with his gorgeous improvisation, and we ended together.

This is in lieu of a kickstarter project for a ‘sacred spaces’ tour – booking duo gigs in places that lend themselves to this kind of languid, stretched-out improv and to using music to explore the enormity of existence.

The first tune on here is built on a solo composition of mine – Nothing Can Prepare – which was initially a meditation on the total unexpectedness of parenting, and how nothing can really prepare you for expanding your family with a new human.

These are those two centrepiece improvisations.

In the early 1970s, a friend had an album, a saxophone recorded in Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. It was amazing in its uses of the acoustics of the building. Sadly I have never been able to find it, in part because I do not know what I am looking for. I think I have it recorded on reel-to-reel tape. Something I must check out one day.

Sacred spaces tour: Wimbledon Music Festival 2013, St John’s Church, Wimbledon, Lobelia on Steinway concert grand, Steve Lawson on bass, Zoe Keating on cello, Andy Williamson on sax. Just a thought.


July 22, 2012
Water by Trevor Exter

Water by Trevor Exter

Cellist Trevor Exter, one half of the duo XVSK, plays the cello like a bass guitar.

11 Reasons Why 3 Is Greater Than Everything – Remastered

June 1, 2012
11 Reasons Why 3 Is Greater Than Everything - Steve Lawson

11 Reasons Why 3 Is Greater Than Everything - Steve Lawson

Just over a year ago, I released 11 Reasons Why 3 Is Greater Than Everything. My first studio solo bass album in 5 years. It’s already my most successful digital album ever, but now it’s been completely remastered (and in a couple of cases, remixed). — Steve Lawson

Steve Lawson has remastered 11 Reasons Why 3 Is Greater Than Everything.


In the last year, I’ve learned a whole lot more about mastering – the process of taking the mixed tracks and making the final finished product out of them. It’s a bit of a dark art, and mainly involves compression and EQ with a few other bits of fairy-dust thrown in. The process of mixing Believe In Peace was a really educational one, and from there, looking back at 11 Reasons, I thought I could do a better job… so I have.

One of the joys of digital releases is that there’s nothing stopping the art from growing with the artist – our fixed idea of recordings being set in stone is just because of the ‘tyranny of recording’ that has dominated music for the last 60 or 70 years. Before that, the salable element in music was sheet music and every single experience of that music was unique.

Now, recordings are malleable and as we learn more, we can incorporate that learning without having to do another expensive CD run.

So here it is – new and improved. I *love* the sound of the record now. If you’ve already bought it, please download it again for free. If it’s a massive improvement for you, feel free to come and pay more for it too 😉

More remasters are to follow.

Top Story in The Digital Mission Daily (Saturday 2 June 2012).

Solo Dreams

May 5, 2012
Shri's unique, self-made bass guitar

Shri’s unique, self-made bass guitar

British-based Indian musician Shri plays an unusual bass guitar which he built himself. He at times plays it with a bow.

Shri collaborated with singer-songwriter Monica Dogra and folk collective Rajasthan Roots in the desert of Jaisalmer to perform Changing World for The Dewarists.

Bass playing made easy

April 19, 2012
Steve Lawson and the new Markbass Combo

Steve Lawson and the new Markbass Combo

Steve Lawson at the London Bass Show 2012 gives a tour of his gear, then plays Small Marvels from 11 Reasons Why 3 Is Greater Than Everything.

He makes it look so easy, effortless.

The reverb, the delay, distortion, fade, is not gear that lies somewhere between his guitar, that processes the sound when it leaves the guitar strings and reaches our ears, it is as much part and parcel of the instrument he plays, a holistic whole, as the bass guitar.

Hello – Lionel Richie – Steve Lawson

April 19, 2012

Phenomenal improvisation of Lionel Richie Hello by talented bass player Steve Lawson live at the London Bass Guitar Show 2012.

Methinks a Steve Lawson cover album is long overdue!

Albums by Steve Lawson, including his latest albums 11 Reasons Why 3 is Greater than Everything (2011) and Believe in Peace (2012), can be found on bandcamp.

11 Reasons Why 3 Is Greater Than Everything

April 12, 2012
11 Reasons Why 3 Is Greater Than Everything - Steve Lawson

11 Reasons Why 3 Is Greater Than Everything - Steve Lawson

Laid back, layered bass. If the title sounds somewhat Zen, then you have got the idea.

Steve Lawson plays some really cool bass, though he less plays the bass than weaves a haunting, Zen-like soundscape.

Believe In Peace

April 8, 2012
Believe In Peace - Steve Lawson

Believe In Peace - Steve Lawson

Many, many years ago, sometime late 1960s, early 1970s, I heard an amazing album, it was a saxophone recorded in Grace Cathedral, making use of echo in the cathedral. I still have it somewhere on reel-to-reel tape. Sadly I have never been able to find it on the net.

I mention this unknown album, as Believe In Peace by Steve Lawson brings back fond memories. The difference being Steve Lawson uses a bass guitar and tape loops. What a pity he did not make use of a building as Gregory Paul did with The Fremont Abbey Session.

The other intriguing aspect is how this album came about. It is an improvisation on an art exhibition by Geoff Bush based around I Ching.

Steve Lawson describes the events that brought about Believe In Peace as serendipitous. What he is actually describing is synchronicity, unplanned events that somehow against all odds appear to be connected.

This album came about via one of those unplannable serendipitous internet chains of events that you look back on and wonder if someone had planned them after all…

Lobelia and I had two house concerts booked in the Milwaukee and Madison, WI. Jason Bush – a musician from Minneapolis who had found us on Twitter, was considering the long drive down to Madison to see us play. However, this was right in the middle of the Union struggles in Madison, and our host was very involved, and quite rightly chose to focus on that rather than our show. So we had a free night. Jason putting his entrepreneurial hat on, invites us to play at an art exhibition of work by his dad, Geoff Bush. There’s an open studio weekend (Art-A-Whirl) and Geoff was exhibiting. We chatted on the phone, liked the sound of each other and booked it.

Intending to play a ‘normal’ Steve and Lo house concert-type set, I found on first seeing Geoff’s art that I was moved to want to react to it musically in some way. His art is all based on the I Ching – the ancient Chinese book of wisdom, used by some for divination, but by others just as a source of deep inspiration. Geoff’s work featured the various hexagram symbols heavily, contextualising them in mixed media works. My favourite was a granite carved cube, with one of four hexagrams on each vertical face. These are where the four track titles come from.

So Lobelia and I split our set in two. The first half, me solo, is what you hear here. A series of four improvisations, played while those in attendance were encouraged to continue walking around looking at the art, seeing how the soundtrack and the visual work interacted, informed or complimented each other. We then did a more typical duo show in the second half.

I feel a great affinity for Geoff’s work – his focus on the iconography of the I Ching Hexagrams roots his work in wisdom, in words, in ideas, in a quest for deeper inspiration and meaning. And his overall theme is also the title of this album: Believe In Peace. Geoff’s quest for peace has caused him to explore the themes as expressed in the I Ching, and I feel enriched by his journey and art. I hope some of that comes across in the music.

You can download the album for free from bandcamp, but if you cough up some money, Steve makes a contribution to Reprieve, a very worthy cause.

Steve also has another interesting, hard to refuse, offer, twenty albums on a 4 GB memory stick. All as mp3 320, but some are also available as lossless high quality FLAC. [see mp3 v FLAC]

Buying My Music In Bulk (USB Stick And Bandcamp)

To listen to FLAC need VLC Media Player.

For me synchronicity too. I had recently written of slow fashion. One of Steve’s albums is Slow Food. Evidently a kindred spirit.

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