I taught myself guitar from around the age of twelve beginning on a battered half size acoustic that came from a relative when me, Christine and my three brothers Colin, Stephen and Martin were growing up. After an age of pestering, Mum and Dad finally caved in and got me a full size acoustic from Golumbs Music in the Gallowgate for £8, this would have been around 1975/6. I had several acoustics including an Ibanez and an Echo Ranger 12 string and eventually bought the basic Yamaha SJ180 I still play today. I have owned several electric guitars over the years including an Ibanez and a very old Gibson SG to the 1977 Fender Stratocaster I still have now, however I’ve never ‘Got’ electric guitars and now as a guitar maker I don’t consider them to be true musical instruments that work as a physical vibration and sound box system. Maybe I should just practice more but I’ve only ever played with a pick, unlike some real players I know.
I only started writing songs in spring 2015 after seeing the movie Rudderless and thinking ‘ I can do that’. I wrote ‘A Different Song’, in about half an hour after the movie, which has been my fastest, I always pick out a riff or tune first, get inspiration for a title or theme, frame the chord structure and write the lyrics last.
These are rough and raw recordings, mistakes and all, using only my phone.
All music © Copyright Stuart Campbell 2016.
A Different Song
Played on Mario ‘The Spalted Silverado’. Contains expletives, because life is hard.
Panjaab Ka Sapana
Hanging around the Punjabi Tadka, eating far too much Indian food and soaking up Indian Restaurant ‘musak’ has eventually taken its toll on my subconscious. This came out of the Yamaha in the garden recently, translates as Punjabi Dream, all the way from the land of the five rivers…..
As we have not been able to afford a holiday for years we have taken an annual trip down to Christine and Willie’s in Clevedon. I hadn’t arranged the trip in 2015 as although they always make us welcome I knew they were busy with their new business and didn’t want to impose. I was working on my new guitar making workshop in the garden in the rain, as usual. I looked up at the sky to curse the weather when the clouds broke, the sun shone through in my face and a gentle breeze stirred the line of trees at the front of the house. At that moment my phone rang in my pocket, It was Christine, calling to see when we were coming down south…….
Passing Train is auto-biographical but began life as a Leo Kottke influenced tune that came out of the Yamaha while I was playing in the garden in summer 2013, after my first year of the Stringed Instruments course at Anniesland College. I was picking out a riff with the guitar tuned to Open D when a train passed on the East Kilbride – Glasgow line that runs right past the garden, strangely, the riff was in sync with the rhythm of the train on the track and I played it in a loop as it passed. I developed the riff into a complete tune structure and played it every time I picked up the guitar, the title ‘Passing Train’ fitted perfectly with the rhythm and structure of the tune. I remember that summer playing guitar in the garden, watching the trains go by and wondering if the passengers were just commuting or travelling on to the next chapter of their lives, a new opportunity. Later, after I had started writing songs, I revisited the tune and completed it as a song. The lyrics reflect my re-evaluation of my life when I left my last professional employment, how sick I had become of the corporate machine that enslaves everyone and kills their creative energy, so I grabbed the things I loved and jumped on life’s next passing train…..