Tag Archives: Shawn Mullins

Sun, Sea, Sand, Great Music and a few Painkillers (the alcoholic kind!)

There’s nothing better to make the cold early months of the year more bearable than a trip to some tropical Caribbean islands.

This year I was lucky enough to be booked on Cayamo; a music cruise that sails every year from Miami to the Caribbean and for 7 days is home to around 40 artists and 2,000 guests.

Each artist performs three shows during the week as well as collaborating with each other and joining in with some impromptu jam sessions that spring up all over the boat.

onboard Cayamo Music Cruise

I had a fantastic time at all my shows and met some amazing people, got to perform with Shawn Mullins, Erick Baker, and Michelle Malone, and saw some fantastic shows of artists such as Joan Osborne, Dawes, and Delta Rae.

The week is made up of days at sea, and trips to some islands. This year the ship docked in San Juan, Antigua and Tortola.

Tortola was my favorite, with its white sandy beaches and clear blue water. And despite my perhaps over-active fear of sharks, I even dared to take a swim and survived to tell the tale!

One of Tortola’s highlights for me was a special local cocktail called a “Painkiller” that was made from rum, orange juice and coconut, with a little fresh nutmeg added at the end. They were totally delicious and dangerously more-ish!

painkiller recipe from british virgin islands

To share a bit of Cayamo’s magic, I have made a photo-video using some of my photos and some sent to me by friends.

I hope you enjoy it!

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Weird And Wonderful Moments From The Road

As another leg of touring ends and I head back for some time off the road in Nashville, I thought I would share some of the moments I’ve experienced during my 2 1/2 years of touring in the US.

To date I have visited 30 states and performed in about 25. That still leaves plenty of places on my list to visit! Along the way I have met some truly wonderful people at shows, house concerts and out and about and had  so many laughs with the amazing artists I have had the good fortune to share the stage with including Shawn Mullins, Matthew Sweet, Erick Baker, Griffin House, Matthew Perrryman-Jones, and Steve Forbert.

Here are some photos which capture some favourite moments from the road, as well as some amusing or downright bizarre sights. One moment that still sticks in my mind was whilst touring with Shawn Mullins. We were all doing laundry in Dover, New Hampshire (laundry is part of the glamour of touring!) and saw a man walking his pet goat along the road, just like walking a dog! Unfortunately I couldn’t find a photo of that, but that is the beauty of touring – you never know what you’re going to see next! From sea to shining sea, over 100,000 miles, I have seen some crazy, beautiful and exciting things, here are a few of them…

At a gas station in Kentucky….
We took a photo of their restroom sign, apparently they were filming us!

This donut and coffee store in Austin TX has an open door policy for Monkeys…I waited and waited, but none came in.

This Ohio truck stop offers Boneless Bananas – suitable for vegetarians

You know your gig is in a good part of town when the store next door sells this!

Enjoying a colourful wind farm in Asheville North Carolina

On the Freeway…The new super-hyper-mega walmart has a new mega-cart

Flying back from Portland OR – quite a view!

You’ve heard of Hank’s Lost Highway? The GPS has lost this road under the ocean!

Callaghan fan- club in Atlanta GA, with amazing posters

Wild Gators near a gas station in Alabama. I didn’t realize there was any other kind!

Who needs protecting from who here…?

Down on the gulf coast…these fellas must be driving to that Coffee shop!

A local band playing on one of the islands visited by the Cayamo music cruise.

An beautiful bright sun on 30A highway, Florida – check out the 30A songwriter’s festival in January!

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What a week, what a show…Recording my first live CD

It felt good being back in Atlanta again. After so much time on the road and recently spent writing in Nashville I love the opportunity to get back to the city that has become my first American home.

A chance to drive down familiar roads, catch up with friends, and to start rehearsals for my show at The Red Clay Theatre just north of the city, in Duluth.

This was the first week of band rehearsals but preparations for the show had been going on a lot longer. For this show I wanted to push the boundaries and really see what is achievable despite being an independent artist on an independent-sized budget. I wanted the audience to feel like they had seen a big show in the intimate setting of a 250-seat theatre.

I was venturing into areas that I had never been before – designing a lighting plan, timing the set to know how much space was left in between each song, costume changes, as well as recording and filming the whole night.

Luckily I had help. Lots of help from people who I cannot thank enough, and who worked so hard putting the show together with me. I now understand why those arena shows have hundreds of people on the team!

The day of the show went by in a blur. It reminded me a bit of how on your wedding day people tell you to take a step back and enjoy the moment. There was so much going on that it was a challenge taking it all in. Because of extra time needed sound-checking for the actual show and for the recording, as well as a few issues with positioning the new grand piano and a guitar breaking, I was still on stage at 6pm, only an hour before the doors were opening.

And I still had to film backstage interviews, get dressed, go through vocal warm ups, and eat some dinner! This is so often the scene before a show though, and there was so much riding on this particular one it was hard to relax. Somehow it all got done, and I was there right on time to walk onto the stage for the first song – a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Walk The Line”.

The set list for the whole show was:

Walk The Line / Folsom Prison
Look Around
Sweet Surrender
Smile
Close My Eyes
Love Me For A While
Piece of My Heart
Get Me Through Tonight
The Edge of Love
It Was Meant To Be
Green Eyes
Alone
Lost
Over The Rainbow
The Only Thing Real
Noah’s Song
To Be Loved By You
Best Year
At Last


I’m still working out which songs will be on the final live CD which I hope to have available by the end of the year. A good idea for some Christmas presents!

I’ll be putting up some live footage soon on my Website and Facebook page, as well as some photos from the show.

I can honestly say I learnt more from this show than probably all the others I’ve done combined, and maybe there are some things I’d change next time, but that’s what performing is all about. Learning and improving. And I can’t wait for the chance to do the next one…I’m already thinking of new ways to make it even bigger!

I’d like to say a big thanks to the team who helped bring the show to life:

Kip Connor – Recording 

Shalom Aberle – House sound, Red Clay Theatre

Eddie Owen – Owner

Zach Wetzel – Lights

Steve Sherrick – Videographer

Jolene Eyre – Wardrobe/ Styling

Lisa Stephenson – Hair styling

Scott Lowden – Photography

And to my wonderful band!

Tom “Panda” Ryan – Bass, Backing Vocals, Musical Director of the band

Jon Poole – Drums

Davis Causey – Electric Guitar

Jeff Box – Keyboards

Shannon Cochran – Acoustic/ Electric guitar

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A thought for those hit by the storm…

Unfortunately the joy of the weekend was followed by Hurricane Sandy – and it was shocking to see the devastation that unfolded in towns and cities where I have enjoyed playing shows and meeting people. I hope individuals and communities who have lost possessions, homes and even loved ones, will find the strength to get through a very difficult time.

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Back to Reality…An East Coast Tour, and a Live CD show

Callaghan East Coast Tour 2012

After taking 3 weeks off to visit friends and family in London, I am re-adjusting to life back in the US and getting straight back to my job of performing and making music.

I don’t often take breaks – partly because there are constantly too many things on my list to do! – but this one I think was well earned. After countless shows over the last few months to promote my album “Life in Full Colour” I was ready for some down time.

Touring, I find, is an interesting existence. Each day is carefully planned, so you know what time you have to get up, how many miles to the next venue, what time load in is, where you need to be for soundcheck, what time I’m on stage, meeting people after the show, and then driving to the hotel. Then it all repeats the next day, exactly the same routine, different place.

Assuming everything is going to plan it can be a relatively stress-free time, and getting to do what I love each night sharing my music with an audience gives me immense enjoyment.

But you can’t be on the road all the time, and it’s good to get some breaks from constantly performing to work on my playing, my voice, and to find the time to work on new song ideas.

So, after my mini break, I am very excited to be starting an East Coast tour in a few days with two other performers; Matthew Perryman-Jones and Matthew Mayfield. We’ll be starting the tour in Vienna, VA, and heading all the way up the coast hitting places such as Philadelphia, Boston, New York, Cleveland, Charlotte and finishing up in Asheville, NC.

You can see all of the dates and ticket details on my website www.callaghansongs.com/gigs

There’s also a very special show I’m currently working on for the end of October. On Saturday October 27th I’ll be performing a full band show at The Red Clay Theater just north of Atlanta, GA. It’s a fantastic 250-seat theater and the whole show is going to be recorded for a live CD that I plan to release before Christmas.

As much as I enjoy the acoustic shows I perform, getting to play with the full band is something else. The musicians are mostly from Shawn Mullins’ Band and mind-blowingly awesome! I love getting to experiment when I perform full band shows and do different versions of my songs, as well as some very surprising covers! You can find all the details about the show and get tickets from www.eddieowenpresents.com

Maybe I’ll see some of you there!

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Life in Full Colour #6 – Sweet Surrender

Callaghan "Life in Full Colour"

Blog # 6 – Sweet Surrender

I recently read a review of my album which described Sweet Surrender as a “woe is me” song. It has always interested me the ways people interpret songs and how different they can be from my original intention.

I have no problem with people taking whatever interpretation they feel when listening to one of my songs, in fact I’m just happy they’re listening! I always try and write in a way that isn’t so personal that it excludes someone else’s experience and ability to connect to a song.

Having said that, I found the review I mentioned earlier particularly interesting since it was the exact opposite of what I had intended the song to be about. For me, Sweet Surrender’s message is more ‘woe is you, I’m outta here!’

I’m sure a lot of people who have been in a less-than-ideal relationship can relate to the moment when you realise you’re not going to put up with it anymore and make the decision to walk away. Sometimes it can take quite a bit of determination to leave a bad relationship when there could be so many factors making you want to stay, but once you are free and clear you can gain a new feeling of strength and self-confidence.

I think the last verse of the song sums up the feeling for me:

Waking up alone in this silent motel room
Can’t believe you ever talked me into loving you
But there’s no use trying to turn back
All the time I gave to you
Cos it made me who I am 
Somehow I found the strength to walk away

Life is about taking chances, and a life in full colour has it’s highs and lows all of which contribute to who we are.

I’m happy with that reviewer or any other listener making up their own mind about what the song means to them. I think that’s all part of the power and enjoyment of music.

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LIFE IN FULL COLOUR #5

Callaghan "Life in Full Colour"

# 5 – Close My Eyes

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 now available on iTunes, Amazon, or www.callaghansongs.com

Love reckons hours for months, and days for years; and every little absence is an age ~ John Dryden

I think that quote sums up the intention of this song quite well. Being apart from someone you love can be so difficult, especially when you don’t know the next time you’ll see them again, or if maybe you’ll never get to see them again.

I wrote this song back when I was living in London and when the idea of moving to the US was still only a passing thought. I always knew that moving across the ocean and thousands of miles from my friends and family would be challenging but even now, after nearly 2 years of living in the States, and with all the friends I have here,  missing some people never gets any easier.

But for all the moments of heartache it has made me a lot more aware of not taking people for granted and treasuring every second you have.

None of us knows how long we’ll be around or how long our loved ones will be a part of our lives and for all the things which weigh on our minds every day and take up all our time, we should never forget to let people know we love them. So close your eyes and think of someone who makes you happy.

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The Countdown to Life in Full Colour #4

Callaghan "Life in Full Colour"

# 4 – It Was Meant To Be

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.

In my last blog I mentioned co-writing, and this song “It Was Meant To Be”, happens to be another one of the co-writes on my album. Written with two other writers, one of whom was John Peppard (who also co-wrote the Grammy-winning song “In Another’s Eyes” by Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood).

This song seems to be quite an audience favourite – both at live shows and people telling me it has been played at their wedding, which I think is so cool!

“It Was Meant To Be” is an unadulterated, simple, straight-from-the-heart love song about the moment when you feel all the stars align and everything falls into place.

The song was written several years ago and has been recorded a few times in various different ways – stripped back and slowed right down on the piano (as on my EP “Nothing You Say”) to the full band version on the album. I really love the album recording and had great fun experimenting in the studio with new sounds like mellotron.

I’m sometimes asked what it’s like to sing the same song over and over again. I have no idea how many times I have sung “It Was Meant To Be” but it’s probably in the thousands. There must be something special about this song though because I get something different from it each time I perform it. I have a feeling I’m still going to be singing it years from now and I hope it continues to connect with the people who hear it.

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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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