...being the observations and navigational extracts
from the ongoing expeditions of San Francisco Piano Pop trio
True Margrit

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Freebird in Oxford

A musician must do what a musician must do for the spirit of rock n' roll--even if it's a hazardous photo session in front of Abbey Road Studios (it gets dicey with that key issue that the traffic is coming from the opposite direction an American expects...eek). But all so worth it-- to get to tread in THE FAMOUS CROSSWALK~~~think of all the Fab Four did mere meters away from this spot... YEAH YEAH YEAH.

And also:
As y'all get your copies of THE JUGGLER's PROGRESS, and read the lyrics, and so on, the various themes of the album will rear their lovely (not ugly) heads--one of which is a strand that weaves in some threads of Shakespearean references. So natch, it has been particularly poignant on this, practically the eve of the release, to go to William Shakespeare's birthplace (and incidentally, deathplace too) Stratford-upon-Avon. We even saw a SUPERCOOL production of Winter's Tale (the one with the stage direction that famously says : "exit pursued by a bear"). Oh, and the bear was SPECTACULAR.

But after all, it's William Shakespeare's world--we just live in it.

We also went to Warwick Castle which (for reals!) housed so many actual Henrys & Richards from the War of the Roses--the notorious feud between the houses of Lancaster & York that elevated many of England's most memorable monarchs. Much of what I know about this Tudor genealogy is gleaned from Shakepeare's historical plays-- which led me ( as a true science fiction aficionado) to imagine this archeology in reverse: based on all that we leave behind, what will be gleaned about our culture in 500 years?? ( a rumination that is can be enjoyed in our tune, "500 Years" on THE JUGGLER's PROGRESS-)

Back in the 21st century we went to London's Tate Modern museum & checked out Jill Magid's show about censorship (and related topics of power abuse & secrecy): AUTHORITY TO REMOVE. Apparently, she was commissioned to do a series of pieces for the Dutch Secret Service who then tried to control & censor her work--so uncool. Although, compared to the climate 500 years ago when one was in hot water with, say, the Spanish Inquisition, Jill Magid's situation was less dire...to say the least...

Meanwhile, in the 1100's this church near Oxford was built. Oxford as you can see, is ridiculously picturesque. Just think: USA east coast university town meets Hogwarts & you're pretty much there. My first night in town I tried to get on the list for the at the local event called Catweazle Club ( an open mic) but I missed the signup. I've really really been increasingly itching to play some tunes ( where's my piano??) so I wandered about the pretty pretty town a wee bit dejectedly. I ended up in a rather tonily appointed Moroccan restaurant & snacked on some tasty treats whilst, of all things, FREEBIRD by Lynyrd Skynrd played. I had to laugh--I had my first band (HQ!) in college in Knoxville, TN-- the homeland of the rowdy drunken guys who yell for FREEBIRD ( unironically) . And here I was in the planet's ultimate college town-- Oxford, England-- listening to FREEBIRD. Whoa...

The Thames is referred to as the ISIS by some of the locals here.

The geese have blue eyes.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Of Albums, Jet Lag, and Tuppence

As you folks hear about Gary recuperating bravely from knee surgery and about Andrew slaving over a hot radio & press promo campaign for True Margrit's imminent release (THE JUGGLER's PROGRESS) you might ask: where the hell is Margrit? Why, I'm in England! I've been here about 36 hours (I think...jet lag is no joke, friends) . Don't worry though-- before I left I did my part for the launch, too: I booked a big ol' chunk of the upcoming tour ( some fifteen shows, roughly). No no no, I 'm not bailing--just taking a wee break in Great Britain before the big plunge into the mad rock tour! But I sure am one lucky singer songwriter to be part of such a great team. YOW! The show goes on because we are all, each of us, completely FIRED UP about the new album. And ALBUM it is--not just 13 songs we happened to record for some tally on an archival document--nay, naysayers! We all played our little hearts out for each song. Then, each song was given special attention, wined, dined & overdubbed upon ( or not) as was required. And the loving care that went into the actual recording process would be difficult to articulate, calculate, tabulate, or emulate. Gary toiled tirelessly with all the mad skills he brings to the table as a veteran recording genius to make all our performances and groovy overdubbed trinkets shine in the best possible light. Seriously. The results you will hear and must judge for yourselves, But you may find it sounds/ feels/ tastes / even looks like we made... an ALBUM! ( ESPECIALLY when you listen to REAL AUDIO--and not just mp3s--and hold the artwork in your hot big/ or little hands). Just saying.

Anyhoo. Back to England.

After arriving on English soil, Sarah & I were whisked to Milton Keynes area where her relatives reside and where we crashed into that special kind of slumber only a transatlantic flight can bring on. We awoke vaguely refreshed and guess what? I went and sang at Wolverton's Craufurd Arms Monday night open mic!! Unfortunately we didn't have the camera last night, but we went back today just to get some pix to show you the location. If I play at any more pubs or other types of venues I will bring the camera and get some shots or video next time. But the night was one for the ages with all kinds of colorful ( or should I say colourful) characters, tunes, beer, and British camraderie ( and even some drama--some very drunk blokes came and interrupted the open mic, but were dealt with fairly handily by the regulars of this nice little scene). Why, I even ran the sound for the open mic host's set (his name is Gary--a different Gary of course). They didn't have a piano or keyboard, so I was forced to play guitar --an instrument upon which I'm not the most proficient (but I did my best). IN my jet laggedness my guitar songs came out kind of slowly mournful. Interesting. But I really enjoyed hearing live local tunes. I especially was affected by a fellow named Peter and his sorrowful lament about the untimely demise of his cat, Tuppence. There really aren't tunes by that name in the USA. I'm glad I dropped by.

ps the Feroglobin ad is included to amuse TRUE BLOOD fans. Cheers! oxox