Tag Archives: america

Being a Brit in the USA – my first 4th of July

Living in a different country to the one you grew up in often means coming across the new and unfamiliar and I seem to write a lot in this blog about the experience of being a Brit living in America.

So I thought I’d share another “first” that I experienced recently…

My first 4th of July

Although I’ve lived in the US for 2 years, last year I was on the road touring and didn’t get to truly have the authentic 4th of July celebration. So, wanting to do things right, I went onto my Facebook Page and asked people how this holiday was best celebrated. The consensus was that it should contain lots of grilling, drinking, and blowing things up. I think I followed that advice pretty closely and spent the evening with some friends eating burgers, drinking good beer and watching a very impressive firework display.

One thing I’ve noticed since living here is that this country has some great holidays, and 4th of July is definitely one of them. Like Thanksgiving, it’s a chance to get together with friends and family, eat good food and have a good time without any of the pressures or commercial aspects that other holidays can bring.

Of course, I know there is also historic tradition and story behind these festivities, and I’m learning more about American history which I find really interesting (particularly since I’ve been tracking the story of my great-great-great Uncle who moved to the States in the 1800s). Being a Brit there were a few gags from people about red coats and historic butt kickin’s, but it was all in good spirits, and some people were surprised to learn that the revolutionaries had attracted many supporters in Britain.

In the Facebook discussion I had many people also said the 4th is an opportunity to pause and be thankful for the place in which you live. So, Happy Birthday to the USA, and thanks for giving me such a lovely home.

I’ll just finish by quoting one Facebook fan, a Brit who has lived here for a while, who made me smile:

“If someone asks you whether you have the 4th of July in the UK, just reply and say “Yes we do, it comes after the 3rd and before the 5th”

I celebrated my 4th in Tennessee this year…I wonder if the celebrations are the same across the USA? Let me know what you think and I can start preparing for next year!

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Countdown to “Life in full colour” #3

Callaghan-banner Life in Full Colour

# 3 – Nothing You Say

This is my mini blog about each of the songs that make up my debut album, “Life In Full Colour”, and the stories and inspirations behind them. “Life in Full Colour” is released on iTunes May 1st.

“Nothing You Say” is one of the older songs on the album. It was written several years back with a friend and very talented keyboard player called Luke Juby.

Luke and I wrote quite a few songs together – another co-write “If only for tonight” is also on this album.

Although I write a lot of songs on my own, I really enjoy co-writing because of the different places it can take you to. When you’re working with someone else or even several co-writers at once, ideas, stories, outlooks on life, opinions, emotions can all be multiplied. Of course, you don’t want to have too many writers on one song – the old “too many cooks…” saying probably applies quite well. But whenever I co-write I usually end up with a song that is definitely different than it would have been if I had written it completely solo.

One thing that’s interesting on this particular song is the piano part. The piano track that you hear on the finished album track is actually the very same one that was on the original demo for this song. And it’s pretty much because at the time of recording the album I wasn’t able to find any keyboard player that could play Luke’s part! When I perform the song live I do my own version on the piano, there’s no way I’d attempt what Luke plays. He has a style all his own and it’s part of what brings such an interesting feel to this song.

“Nothing You Say” was also the title track of an earlier EP I released on iTunes a few years back. But it was such a special song I knew I had to give it its rightful place on the album.

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The countdown to “Life In Full Colour” begins!

Callaghan "Life in Full Colour"

 

Blog #1 – BEST YEAR 

My album, Life in Full Colour, is going to be fully released on May 1st!

It feels fantastic to be able to say that, as it’s been a long journey that has brought me here. Some of you may be wondering why I’m announcing that the album is out on May 1st when you’re already listening to your copy! Well, to begin with I made the album available only at live shows and through a very limited preview order from my website. Because I am a completely independent musician putting the album out as a limited release for a while has allowed me to raise some money and spend some time building the team I need to get the record out there. So the good news is that now I’m getting a lot of press coverage, my single Best Year is getting a lot of air play across the USA and I’m gigging all the time. The best news is that from May 1st Life in Full Colour will be available on iTunes, Amazon, my website, live shows…everywhere you can think of!

So thanks a million to all of you super keen music fans who bought Life in Full Colour at a show, as I really could not do this without you, and for those of you who don’t have your copy yet, there won’t be long to wait now!

Leading up to the release date I am going to write a short blog about each of the songs on the album, why they were chosen and the stories and inspiration behind them.

And thinking about my earlier mention of journeys brings me nicely onto song number one – “Best Year”. This song was written about 6 months after moving to the US from London. It was a big decision to “fly across an ocean, move 1,000 miles from home” as the song says. It was definitely not easy leaving friends and family behind and taking the plunge to start my music career over in the USA, not knowing how successful I would be or what welcome I would get.

Thankfully I couldn’t have asked for more. The welcome here has been absolutely amazing and I have been encouraged and supported by everyone I have met along the way.

I began recording my album after moving here in 2010 and “Best Year” was one of the later songs we recorded. I was making a short list of all the songs that would end up on the finished record and knew that I wanted to include a few more uptempo songs to balance out the overall sound. “Best Year” almost wrote itself really – there were so many different emotions flying around at the time – excitement, anticipation, being homesick, wondering about the future, and an over whelming feeling of freedom after making the decision to follow my dream.

“Best Year” is always a great song to sing live because it has such a positive energy. I can feel it going right through me and into the audience. I love hearing people’s stories after the show about how the song has inspired them to take a risk on something or follow a dream of their own.

That line about ‘move a thousand miles from home’ is interesting to me now. When I wrote it a thousand miles seemed like a huge distance, now I’m getting used to the scale of touring the USA, I sometimes travel a thousand miles in a day when I’m starting or ending a tour.

I think that “Best Year” is going to be like a little time capsule for me – each time I listen to it, even years from now, it will always bring me back to the moment when I realised you’re only given one life and you’ve got to take every opportunity to make the most of it!

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“Best Year” is the first single from the album “Life in Full Colour”. It is currently available as a free download from www.noisetrade.com/callaghan

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