Friday, 29 December 2017
I played 94 solo gigs this year. That's an average of 1.8 per week, which is a little off the pace for me compared to previous years *checks old blog posts*. There are a couple of possible reasons I can think of for this;
Firstly, For the first 9 months of this year I was working a school job. I know I've been working other jobs before while gigging more, but I can't say it doesn't have an impact on both having time to actually find and book gigs as well as being awake enough to play them!
Secondly, all of my recurring gigs have now stopped. I was running the songwriter's sessions at The Crown Joules for the first half of the year, but they decided to take their live music output in a 'different' direction. The gigs there were great while they lasted, but sadly, last they did not. I've also finished playing at Village Coffee in Codsall after many years. I'm not aware that they have any live music on there regularly now.
However, a lower gig output is somewhat outweighed by the fact that I finally finished and released my newest album, 'As I Live and Breathe' in 2017. It was a long time coming, and I'm incredibly proud of the way it came out. People seem to like it too! Massive thanks must be given to Dickie Davis, Dan Hart and my wife Kayla who all appeared on the album.
Stemming from the album launching, I've played my first ever gigs with a full and this year too, and they were great fun. I've got another one at The Robin 2 coming up in February, for which tickets are available here. It's going to be a great show, so come down and get involved :)
On to my highlights of 2017. Other than the obvious launching of the album, I also did a mini tour at the beginning on November which was a success. One of my favourite gigs was playing at Rough Trade Records in Nottingham for a multiple union event to talk about young people's pay. Tour aside, I also had a great time at Strummer Jam, as well as discovering cool new venues like The Windsor Theatre in Birmingham and Tom O' The Wood in Warwick.
Away from the stage, I've finally taken the plunge and gone full time with music as my solo job. It's going alright so far, but I'm sure I'm about to feel the January pinch!
In 2018 I hope to have a real go at making full time musicianhood work, as well as finding a new venue for the songwriter's sessions and generally looking to book more cool gigs. I've got some cool ideas for stuff to do at home too, but they need some refining yet so I'll keep them close to my chest for now.
See you out there,
Wednesday, 20 December 2017
Recently I've been seeing more and more 'promoters' on social media advertising for what I'd call 'Z list celebrities' to play at their venues. One even put out a call to see if anyone knew anyone who 'used to be famous.'
Is this really what people want to see? That guy who was in a 90's band or the girl who got knocked out of the x factor a couple of weeks in? Am I missing something here?
I'm not saying there isn't a place for those guys. There totally is. But I can't help but feel that it's an easy option for promoters to get a couple people in a venue (probably out of morbid curiosity) rather than attempt to curate an actual cohesive line up of acts that fit together well and might draw a crowd when placed together. A line up greater than the sum of it's parts, so to speak. It's a greater risk and probably harder work to promote, but isn't that why you wanted to be a promoter in the first place? To showcase new music? To put on great shows? To be the guy who put on act X 'before they made it big?' I defy you to find me someone who got into the promoting game to try to give former pop stars and reality TV wannabes a paycheck.
That's not what the world needs.
Friday, 8 December 2017
Saturday, 18 November 2017
In total I travelled over 800 miles during the three weeks I was on tour. I played 10 gigs (11 if you count a private party) and sold 35 copies of my new album. Though I've not costed it exactly, I'm pretty sure I about broke even, which is cool for a first outing, especially as most of the gigs were unpaid.
As always, some gigs were more enjoyable than others, though I think I enjoyed all of them in their own ways. Heading into the tour I was least optimistic about the two nights that were open mic rather than booked shows, but they actually turned out to be some of the best of the tour. It helps that both Worley's in Stourport and The Market Vaults in Stafford are great venues that really try hard to support original music, and also that they have both promised me booked gigs going forward. Worley's also stream all of their gigs and open mic acts on Facebook Live, which is something I see a lot but hadn't experienced before. The video of my set there has been watched over 1100 times since then, which is crazy but really cool. I think the live streaming thing is something I definitely need to look into more in the future.
It was great to get the opportunity to play with some old friends too, and the beauty of booking your own tour through your friends is that they can come and play too! Massive thanks to Tone Tanner, Huffy, Dan Hartland, Bleeding Hearts, Dave Busby and The Pale Aliens for sorting gigs for me and playing. It's always a pleasure to see all of you play and spend some time with you. Thanks also to Roots Music, The Musician's Union and Pistol Pete Wearn for booking gigs for me too. I promise I'll come back to The Market Vaults when you're actually there to host Pete!
So to round up, I think the whole thing was a success. Yes I drove a lot (though the podcast 'I Only Listen to The Mountain Goats' has helped with that a lot), I did get woefully lost in Nottingham - huge thanks to Ben Benson from the MU for rescuing me - and I did only just break even, but as an exercise is playing to new people further afield I think it was worthwhile. After all, there are now 35 more people that have listened (I hope) to my new album, and if they tell all their friends about it then they will soon be flying out the door!
I wait patiently by the post box ;)
See you soon (like in Leicester next weekend, for a tour never really ends does it?)
Tuesday, 24 October 2017
Thursday, 28 September 2017
Friday, 8 September 2017
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Thursday, 3 August 2017
'“I’m the last of the protest song heroes” sings Sam Draisey in ‘Five Years Later’. That in itself is unusual because many writers of protest songs deny that’s what they are. Furthermore, ‘Five Years Later’ is a very good protest song and it comes on the back of ‘The Worst Lie Of All’, which you might consider to be even better. Sam is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Wolverhampton and As I Live And Breathe is something like his fifth album. Like others before him he’s turned his back on the first two and re-issued some of the songs on Anthology. This album has been a long time in the making and the polish that Sam acquired in recent years is self-evident.
As I Live And Breathe is, in many ways, autobiographical but often in an oblique way. ‘Used To Be My Hero’ is an attack on an un-named musician and my mind immediately turned to Bob Dylan but Sam is too young to have that sort of attachment to Bob. He says that “punk’s not dead” so that alters the time frame and opens up the field a bit. To confuse things further he follows that with ‘Let’s Not Grow Old’ heavily inspired by Johnny Cash.
Sam is a whole band all by himself but he has back-up from Dickie Davis on drums and Daniel Hart on second electric guitar plus his wife Kayla, who co-wrote some of the songs, providing vocals on ‘Turning You Down’. Sam has a distinctive voice that sounds younger than his years and he’s mixed himself well up front even when the band is rocking – oh yes, he did all the recording, mixing and mastering himself, too. And now I’ll tell you that Sam has only one arm and I discovered that fact only when I’d got to the end of the record which is when you learn it. Sam is someone who has proved what can be overcome.'
Monday, 24 July 2017
So now's your chance to get the album! If CDs are you thing, you can order one from my online store by clicking the link here, or you can get it on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and Amazon Music (and probably more, who knows. Send me a message if you find it somewhere else!)
So that's it. It's been a long road, and now an even longer one begins. Good job I've got my walking boots on!
Friday, 21 July 2017
The press pieces are coming in thick and fast now the album launch is almost upon us! Those great people at The Express & Star have done it again, this time doing an artist profile on me. You can read it by clicking the link to their website or just scrolling down!
'Some people are lucky enough to live and breathe what they love to do.
It is a hugely privileged position to be in, and Sam Draisey - who can count musician, gig and festival promoter, live sound and studio engineer, festival organiser and musician's union committee member among his job titles - is fully aware of that.
"It’s a great feeling knowing that I’m doing something I really love," he tells us. "I’ve worked in education for a few years but I’m leaving this summer to concentrate solely on music – I’m really excited about it.
"I like the diversity of having a number of strings to my bow when it comes to music, and that does seem to be the way the industry is going these days. It’s nice when other musicians come to me for advice on all sorts of things from recording and performing to distribution and copyright and I feel like I can help them."
Yes, some slave away for eight-plus hours a day at something which merely serves to pay the bills. But Sam, 29, from Wolverhampton, has other ideas for his life.
"I don’t aspire to be rich or famous, just to be able to live off what I do," he adds. "I get asked a lot if I would consider going on a TV talent show, but I don’t really think it would suit what I do, the type of music I make or the kind of person I am."
Sam is a busy man. Just playing music would give most of us enough to stay occupied. As a solo artist he has a new record he wants to show the world - releasing it officially on Sunday with a live showcase at Codsall's The Crown Joules.
"I class this as my third album, though it’s actually more like my fifth," he says.
He draws his inspiration from a range of artists as any singer/songwriter would. Notable influences include Frank Turner, Damien Rice, Jack Johnson, Cat Stevens, Paul Simon and the incomparable Johnny Cash, as well as other more traditional folk artists.
He also has extra cash flowing in through a successful wedding band called The Replicas for whom he plays bass.
But he has much, much more than just playing on his plate.
"I'm an elected member of the Midlands Regional Council of the Musician's Union, I run a songwriter's night at The Crown Joules every two weeks - one of which I'm hijacking for the album launch - and I've run recurring gigs all over the place over the years, including a monthly session at The Robin 2 for a while.
"I've gigged all over the region and supported acts like Ian Parker, Edgar Broughton, Bleeding Hearts and Under A Banner and played at various festivals all over the country."
He's also part of the committee that puts Codfest together every year and he is busy putting this year's event together for its usual September slot - though at the moment the exact date is a closely-guarded secret.
"Shhh, I’m not supposed to talk to the media about Codfest," he jokes, before adding: "I’m kidding, but we are very close to being at full capacity now without any real advertising, which I guess is something to be proud of.
"I’m on the committee that puts the festival together, as I have been since the start. My role is mainly to organise the music side of things, from booking the acts to managing the stages, helping to run the live sound and generally just being very busy about the whole event.
"You can find out more about this year’s festival – Codfest 8 – by liking their page on Facebook."
It has been a lifelong effort for Sam to get to where he is today, and he epitomises the hard work required to establish yourself in a crowded and often fickle environment where one minute's buzz-artist among listeners can be forgotten and one moment's enthusiasm from an artist can drain when met by obstacles.
"After singing all my childhood, I took up bass guitar at the age of 16, basically because the strings are further apart than on a six-string and I didn’t think I would be able to manage that," he jokes. "The first song I ever learned on bass was In Bloom by Nirvana, on Christmas Day 2004. By the evening I was jamming with my nextdoor neighbours Mick and Jack Edwards, who played guitar and drums respectively.
"In fact, Jack went on to play drums and congas for me on The List and Anthology albums," both of which are previous solo releases from Sam.
"A few months later I was asked if I wanted to join a newly forming band by an old friend of my dad. I learned a huge amount about playing live and working within a band from playing with Too Shrewd, and I still see it as an important part of my musical education. The band lasted for a few years before members started to move away."
To see that education put into practice, head along to The Crown Joules on Sunday to help Sam launch his new record. He will be selling CDs on the day, and it will go live on streaming sites such as iTunes and Spotify the next day.
The evening kicks off at 8.30pm, with free entry, and support will be provided by David Young & The Midnight Chorus and Brains For Breakfast.
For more information on all of Sam's projects, live dates and past and future releases, search for Sam Draisey on Facebook or visit www.samdraisey.com
Wednesday, 19 July 2017
Another great review of the album, this time from The Express & Star. Read it here or at the link at the bottom;
' Wolverhampton's Sam Draisey hides a deceptively powerful voice inside his slender frame.
The 29-year-old exercises his vocal chords on his new record that will be a hit with singer/songwriter fans.
It's a mixture of softer folk and country vibes with a drop of gritty rock here and there. He sounds a tad like an angtsy James Blunt when aiming high and a young Brian Molko when sinking low. Quite a combination, eh?
The guitar plucking on display from the Unsigned page star in The Ticket is talented, and the soft anarchy that flows through some of his tracks is a joy to hear.
There is a kind of been there, done that feel to the tracks, too. It's a confidence and assured nature which breathes experience rather than cockiness and arrogance.
Take opener Roots. A forlorn melody accompany's Sam's voice for a track that oozes gloominess but stops short of heartbreak. It's a good sound.
Upbeat crescendos permeate Five Years Later, a protest song that inspires rather than scaremongers. This is the kind of track which can fall flat on an unsigned release, sincerity and seriousness can get lost among bad production values. But Sam and his band avoid the pitfalls with ease, he produced and mixed the tracks himself so he shows a keen musical ear in more ways than one here.
Anger does break through in Used To Be My Hero - a different side to the vocals than heard previously. His gentle approach to the music allows his voice to take centre stage. It helps get his message across without being hidden by a wall of sound.
Perhaps the highlight moniker falls on Turning You Down, a lovely slow burner that grizzles raw energy when the rock outro kicks in.
This is a fine example of doing things yourself and could herald the start of something big for Sam Draisey. Scott Matthews has done it, is it time for somebody else to break out?
Sam Draisey will be releasing As I Live And Breathe with a launch show at The Crown Joules in Codsall on Sunday, starting at 8.30pm. He also performs at Wolverhampton's Hogs Head on Friday, July 28, before playing at Village Coffee in Codsall the next day at 2pm.'
Monday, 17 July 2017
Thanks to these heroes, I can officially announce what you may have known for while...
My album launch on Sunday will be a FULL BAND SHOW! I'm so bloody excited about it too!
Check out the Facebook event page here;
Friday, 7 July 2017
I've had another album review come in, and it's another really good one! Read it here and I'll copy it below - https://westwulf.wordpress.com/2017/07/05/sam-draiseys-new-album-brings-protest-love-from-the-heart/
Sam Draisey’s new album brings protest & love from the heart
If you live in Wolverhampton or South Staffordshire and like music, chances are you’ve heard of – if not seen – Sam Draisey. Sam’s been about for a few years yet hasn’t quite reached the grand old age of thirty yet, which will come as shock on hearing new album, ‘As I Live and Breathe‘. Draisey sings with a real conviction, you feel his words come from the heart, from experience, at times from personal anger about politics, greed and the state of England. There are echoes of Frank Turner here, modern folk and protest. But this is far from just a protest album, there’s plenty of love and upbeat melody here to raise a smile – even the songs that deride modern society, apathy and negative attitude such as ‘Scarecrows‘ play along to a positive rhythm – that feeling of “hey, despite how it looks, life isn’t all bad so keep your chin up! Things will get better.”
A favourite of ours, ‘The Worst Lie Of All‘ tells a story that many from the working class will be familiar with, trying your best to get somewhere but having the world against you, of the wealthy turning a blind eye to the plight of those struggling to make ends meet and of people in power treating the rest of us as political pawns rather than thinking, feeling people.
‘Used To Be My Hero‘ bounds along at quite a pace, another familiar theme for listeners – musicians that had a powerful message and gained a fan-base but ended up middle of the road once they’d become successful – and comfortable, losing their edge and putting out music just to keep people happy and the money rolling in, never regaining that original passion. ‘I Won’t Ask Why‘ is a thoughtful ballad about unexpectedly falling in love and cherishing it now it’s here, come what may.
There’s a lot of experience behind ‘As I Live and Breathe’; as well as having several albums under his belt, Draisey is a regular live performer. if you haven’t seen him live, it really is worth tracking him down – a recent Facebook post on Sam Draisey Music tells us that he’s approaching his 1000th gig since he started out in 2005 (both solo and in bands such as The Replicas). This includes the Molineux, Codfest, various festivals and pub gigs such as the Newhampton Inn and The Crown, Codsall. Live, Sam holds an audience captive – we’re looking forward to hearing some of ‘As I Live and Breathe’ in person.
‘As I Live and Breathe’ is being released on 23 July at The Crown in Codsall, South Staffordshire. Entry is free and the gig starts at 20:30.
Friday, 30 June 2017
You can read the full review by Nick J. Townsend below, or there is a link to the publication here.
Tuesday, 20 June 2017
I hope to see you there, but if you can't make it, the album will be available on many online retailers and streaming sites (iTunes, Spotify etc.) from the day afterwards. You will also be able to buy a CD copy directly from my website.
Thursday, 25 May 2017
Saturday, 20 May 2017
What do you think of the artwork?
Saturday, 6 May 2017
I'm about 3 songs away from having my album mixed, and I'm really happy with the way it's going so far. The only thing is, it's around the 45 minute mark already. It won't quite get there, but it will be up close to an hour by the time it's done.
Is that too long? Would you listen to an hour of music by one artist?
I'm also aware that it's been a long time since I've released anything, and keeping all the tracks on there feels like a good way to repay people's patience. Plus, if I hold tracks back for my 'next release', there is a decent chance that when I get around to that, I'll either forget about the songs I left back or won't want old stuff on a new record, so they will never come out at all. Plus different people will like different tunes, so more songs gives me more chance of having something someone will like.
What do you think?
Thursday, 13 April 2017
I can't quite believe it. After what seems like an eternity of recording, leaving, moving studios around, forgetting, re-recording and agonising over minute details, I've finally finished tracking my album! The computer tells me that it's a total of 1,128 takes! I guess I am a perfectionist after all!
Now it's on to the task of editing, fine tuning, mixing and mastering. Then I can start thinking about fun things like pressing CDs and launch parties. Who am I kidding, it's all fun really!
Thursday, 2 March 2017
You may have noticed that I've not been gigging a huge amount recently. Aside from the obvious family and recording reasons, I thought I would shed some light on why that is.
Over the past few years I've hosted lots of different types of gigs in lots of different types of venues. I've run open mic nights, booked nights, all dayers and festivals. Recently I've tried to make a clean break from running gigs where I can't pay the other acts involved, such as open mic nights or freebie booked nights.
I'm not saying these nights don't have a place, I play at them myself. I guess I'm just trying to build a reputation for myself as someone who can get musicians paid gigs, even if the fee can only cover travel and drinks.
So now I have my fortnightly songwriter's session at The Crown Joules and I've just confirmed the dates for another year of Fox & Anchor gigs. Outside of that, I'm starting to look again at some more gigs for myself, but I really do want to focus on getting this album finished. It's been way too long!