The Grey line sessions, a nod to the invisible band around the earth that separates daylight from darkness, an enigmatic phenomenon that provides those wishing to transmit radio signals with a brief but magical opportunity to do so, unhindered by signal attenuation. Much of this album was recorded very early in the morning, an arrangement that reflected the busy lives of its creators more than any otherworldly pursuit. We did however come to regard it as a special time of day when the streets of the old market town were only just beginning to stir. The newsagent preparing the daily deliveries and the first of the fruit and veg market stalls quietly readying themselves to greet their customers some hours later. I saw them chatting whilst sipping fresh coffee from flasks as they looked towards the skies debating what the day might hold for them, weather depending. Unexpectedly there was poetry to it all as I walked the familiar path to the studio nestled above a high street slowly coming to life. There seemed to me, without any real acknowledgement, a sort of togetherness of those of us going about our business during this seemingly unearthly hour. I too craved the coffee and enjoyed being a tiny part of this simple scene and once the recording wheels were in motion it was a welcome treat for us, more so than at any other time of day or night.
Whilst not exactly conducive to recording vocals the early morning slot gifted us clarity and focus as we immersed ourselves in getting the right feel for the songs through our instruments. Vocals, strings and brass would be added later during long summer evenings but as I hear the tracks back my memories of those early morning sessions come flooding back, the fresh air of a new day as new music flowed with great fluidity from that small studio.
I liked the idea of the grey line and the magic of sound traveling freely, unhindered and with clarity. I stole or borrowed, depending on your perspective, the thought that it might also, somehow reflect in the spirit of these songs and that they too might have a reach beyond our humble expectations. Either way it was a joy to record and I hope it shows. This is an album made unhindered by any commercial agenda, time pressure or particular ambition. It’s made up of songs, some a few years old and some that simply wrote themselves during the course of our time together. It’s an experience I’ll cherish and I’m grateful to all those who collaborated on it, the incredible session musicians that joined us periodically and played their parts with passion but particularly my partner in sound Dave Muckle, who gave his talents, advice and candid views freely and without agenda. This album simply wouldn’t sound as it does without his involvement and those other souls you contributed so willingly and in that collaborative spirit so often associated with great musicians.