Songwriter, singer, performer, musician, and music educator who believes passionately in music as a form of expression, engagement, enjoyment and education

How did I get here?

There are many external influences including people, places, communities, politics, and ideas that have shaped my relationship with music. This relationship is complicated since when growing up I had no formal or informal music education and started playing, performing, and writing music rather late.
A collage of old photographs - some with very dodgy clothes and hairstyles
Ahh...the early days!

I was born in Liverpool (yeah yeah yeah!) and moved up to the north east in my late teens for what I would now loosely call education purposes. I have always sung but taught myself guitar and piano so I could accompany and put some structure to the songs and lyrics that have always floated around in my head.

I joined bands, did gigs, played all kinds of regional venues including the Working Men’s Clubs circuit where you do not get any second chances and that probably toughened me up to be able to perform to any audience. However this was all mainly ‘covers’ and I was desperate to get my own songs out there. This happened to some extent with the bands I played with but really came to the fore when I started performing as a solo artist.

A vinyl album ‘Eventually’ on a local label Projects UK but distributed through Rough Trade got me playing venues all over the country. A guitar and a suitcase in the back of a beat up old Mondeo took me to folk clubs, arts centres, student unions, alternative cabaret, concert halls and festivals. Some notable appearances included The Reading Festival, Hackney Empire and London's Mean Fiddler.

An opportunity to play a couple of gigs in Denmark was the springboard to quite a few years playing all over Europe and Scandinavia, with a nod to Paul Simon the railway station became my second home, I’ve seen them all.

Whilst between tours abroad, a chance meeting with guitarist Dave Kennedy grew into a stronger alliance and the JINSKI duo was born. Dave played on, and helped put together, two albums ‘Hurry Home’ and ‘Down Here’ on my own label Lucky Smile Records distributed through Proper Music.

During the last few years we have toured all over the UK and notable appearances for the duo have been Music Room Liverpool Philharmonic, The Musician in Leicester, Brewery Arts Centre in Kendall, Green Note and 12 Bar Club in London, Broadstairs Folk Festival, Shrewsbury Folk Festival and The Americana Festival Gateshead.

To add to that an appearance on BBC 1 The One Show and I think we can say we did alright. Jinski Duo is currently ‘resting’ but may surface for some live shows at some point in the future.

About Songwriting

I’d like to say a word or two about song writing and the pursuit of a great song that “echoes through the years”. I know that I do not want to be “the vengeful little troubadour with the grit between his teeth” with a level of self-indulgence that is almost claustrophobic. How do I try to avoid that? One of the things I do is ask myself, will this mean anything to anybody else, will it touch them, will the song be able to live beyond my own little world? The contradiction of course is that any songwriter worth their salt will also be looking to develop their own distinctive voice and style.

This is why I love the art of songwriting so much and it feels to me that just to gain entry onto the ground floor in the Tower of Song means spending time, having patience, and feeding on your influences. For me, this list is endless but some of the many people whose work I admire would be Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Elvis Costello, Kate Bush, Stevie Wonder, and Nick Cave.

For me music is rarely for its own sake but a means to communicate. I love to write about songwriting, projects, collaborations, music and education over on the blog.
Read more on the blog