I decided that I wanted to travel the path of the musical entertainer when I was very young. The majority of those who, like me, find themselves on similar pathways will acknowledge that there is a kind of inevitability to the journey that they will have to make in order to achieve true musicianship. To undertake this journey is not easy and the prospect of fanfares and public adulation is unlikely. But we make the journey nonetheless.
Now don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that a musical journey made on a supersonic flight, flying first-class to instant fame and fortune is wrong. A performer arriving by this route samples the instantaneous highs of success, and what could be better than that? Obscurity to stardom in an instant! But then they will have to sustain their performances. Have they had time to build up the necessary stamina that comes from gigging venues such as working -men’s clubs and pubs that enables the grafting musician to acquire a substance that is gleaned from years of experience?
This experience is like an ‘ever-changing canvas’. You work back-street venues with audiences whose faces state ‘Well, go on then – entertain me!’ to more prestigious events where all that is required of you is to be a bit of background music. You perform anywhere, and to anyone who asks for you. You experience the lows that make you wonder why you bother – and then comes the rush…… when you win their attention, an expression on someone’s face that tells you you’ve touched a nerve, someone saying ‘thanks, that was great’ at the end of a gig. All these are like diamonds to be treasured, locked away in the emotional memory and brought out again when the going gets tough.
My journey has brought me to the point of realisation that I have done a kind of a musical apprenticeship over a period of years, in a variety of venues and worked alongside others who have made similar journeys. We have used our creativity to hone our craft, listened to our diverse audiences in order to perfect our musical skills and developed our abilities to entertain. And that’s why I’ve made this, my first album now – because I feel I can.
I am lucky enough to have worked with so many talented musicians over the years that there are just too many to acknowledge. I have shared stages with some of the best, have been inspired by and am still in awe of them all. To all of you – a sincere ‘thank you’ for the privilege and I look forward to seeing you at ‘the next one’.
Fragile has been include on this album as a tribute to musician Pat Crumly, a wonderful person who inspired me not only to appreciate the highs but to persevere and thus grow when being an entertainer wasn’t easy.
A special tribute is paid in the detail to Joyce Eleanor Oliver for all the support and encouragement she has given me.
Geoff Gascoyne: for your invaluable advice, your honesty and for finding and feeling the groove.
Gunther Kurmayr: for your musical inspiration, your boundless enthusiasm, your creativity and for performing pop with the same gusto as jazz.
Domonic Ashworth: for your continuing friendship, support and collaboration.
Nic France: for the funk, for the swing, for the whole percussion thing.
Chinara Sharshenova: for your beautiful, soulful playing, your lust for life and that fabulous laugh.
Francesca Payne: as singers we have travelled a long journey together on the entertainer’s path. The Queen of Harmony, you have honoured this album by providing superb backing vocals. I hope you will allow me to repay you, like for like, on your next album.
Gordon Mark Webber