Yes, it’s hello 2014, goodbye Radiohead.
What I mean by that is, no more Radiohead covers in my set. No more Coldplay. No more Keane. No more Snow Patrol. My friend Nick Lauro will be soooo pleased…
Instead, I’ll be playing much more Gary Stewart Smith. Which is good, if you like my songs. And hey, I happen to like my songs, so good for me!
Of course, I’ll still be playing covers in my pub/restaurant/café bar set, but the ones I play will be more in keeping with the type of songs I write. Beatles-esque stuff, you know? Like The Beatles. Or Wings. Or early Paul McCartney. Or John Lennon’s good stuff. Or little bits of George Harrison, either with or without the Traveling Wilburys.
Probably no Ringo Starr though. Sorry, Ringo.
You see, I have very broad tastes in music, and am happy to have a bash at playing just about anything. When I play a gig, I take my big black books along with me. These are a bit like Bob Monkhouse’s famous joke books, though not as funny. They contain almost 500 songs in alphabetical order – yes, I know I’m a NERD!!!! – from Johnny Cash’s A Boy Named Sue to David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust. From Abba to The Zutons, shout out a name, I’ve probably got a song or two in there somewhere.
A couple of days ago, I had a brainwave, which on reflection now seems pretty darned obvious: rather than taking my own Gary Stewart Smith originals along in a separate big black book (as I currently do), I shall merge my originals in with the cover versions. Genius!
I’m at the stage now where I can quite happily play my own compositions in front of an audience and know that these songs will be well received (or at least I won’t get bottled off, or have the plug pulled on my gig). But quite often, because my songs are in a separate book to the covers I’m merrily working my way through, I neglect to play them. It’s not that they’re not good enough – I genuinely believe they are – it’s just a case of out of sight, out of mind.
So at my next gig, wherever and whenever that may be, you’ll be hearing more Beatles, more Elvis Costello, more Crowded House, more James Taylor, more Squeeze, more Simon and Garfunkel. And a little bit more of a certain Gary Stewart Smith…
That’s New Year’s resolution number two, by the way.