Phil Newton | The Album (Before It's Too Late)

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The Album (Before It's Too Late)

by Phil Newton

These songs have been kicking around for years in my live shows but, after I turned 60, I decided to get them properly recorded, as the title says, 'Before It's Too Late'! So here's a cross-section of my songwriting output, ranging from country to blues.
Genre: Pop: Beatles-pop
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Set Me Free
3:04 $0.99
2. Non-Stick Blues
4:12 $0.99
3. Diamonds for a Dime
4:55 $0.99
4. Long Gone
3:12 $0.99
5. Heroes at Forty
3:32 $0.99
6. Shining Light
4:08 $0.99
7. Before It's Too Late
4:38 $0.99
8. Wendy
3:15 $0.99
9. The World Is New
3:41 $0.99
10. Crab
4:41 $0.99
11. Love and Understanding
3:16 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
After years of wondering which studio to record my songs in and who to do them with and wondering how to pay for it all and waiting for the perfect moment and procrastinating and going round in further circles, I finally reached the point where I decided to do it myself, NOW!

The plan was to make one complete album with material I had written and composed myself.

The songs were recorded mainly at my very own Shabby Road Studios. There are some rough edges but I hope you will agree that the music I have ended up with has an intimate and human feel to it.

I have been fortunate enough to be able to feature some of the brilliant musicians and friends I have worked with over the years on the various tracks and I would like to thank them all here for their inspired contributions.

Of course, it didn’t all quite work out like I had planned . . .

My original intention had been to write about the various steps and recording sessions involved in making my album - photos, video clips etc - on my blog Neutron News (which you can google).

Unfortunately, after a post in May 2017, I did three or four sessions which were really productive and interesting but, during which, I completely forgot to take photos or make videos; this was compounded by the fatal mistake of thinking, ‘ok, I’ll get round to blogging about all this later . . .’

I read somewhere that there is a Korean proverb about procrastination which goes something like, ‘saying you will do it tomorrow means you will do it in ten years’. I’ve just been looking for it on Google but I can only find:

오늘 걷지 않으면, 내일 뛰어야 한다
This translates as, ‘if you don’t walk today, you must run tomorrow’.

And this one:
오늘 한 시간이 내일 두 시간 보다 가치있다
‘One hour today is worth more than two hours tomorrow.’

Or, as it says on the paperweight which Renate Dienersberger (who plays some beautiful piano on the track ‘Before It’s Too Late’) gave me, ‘Übermorgen ist auch ein Tag’ – the day after tomorrow is also a day.

Anyway, you get the point . . .

Then there were also lots of almost never-ending sessions which involved me, sitting all alone in front of the computer, just working on a few bars here, a couple of notes there, a guitar part somewhere else. Highly absorbing and satisfying for me, but really difficult to photograph or describe in a way that would not bore you, dear reader, to distraction. This is the nitty-gritty work you have to do to make sure the recording is as ‘correct’ as possible (and I am always surprised by how much I enjoy doing it) – correcting little bits of timing you missed in the recording session, cleaning vocal tracks of nervous throat clearing or coughs and sneezes, taking out extraneous noises which the sensitive microphones pick up if you are recording in a living room – DHL ringing the doorbell insistently to deliver a package for a neighbour, a dog barking outside at the bloody DHL guy, irritated DHL guy slamming the door of his truck, etc etc.

However, there were great sessions with Gabe and Hector where they played some amazing fiddle and mandolin on ‘Set Me Free’. Then Paul came along and did the critical harmonica for the same track.

I did backing vocal sessions with the highly talented Tanja-Maria for ‘Wendy’ and Love and Understanding.

There were sessions with Katie who played the most moving viola parts on ‘Before It’s Too Late’ and some more aggressive strings on ‘Wendy’.

I went to the Express Brass Band’s practice room to record amazing brass parts with Teresa, Michael and Simon under the conductorship of my old mate Neil; extra trombone was recorded at Neil and Angelika’s, played with the perfect emotional tone by Teresa.

Then it was again down to me . . .

I did lead and backing vocals, completely redid the bass on Wendy, re-recorded from scratch part of Diamonds for a Dime (ARGHHHH), put on guitar fills for ‘Crab’ . . .

Then I set myself a two-week deadline to have the final mixes ready to send off to Ruairi in LA for mastering. The deadline was a deliberate tactic on my part to force myself to do all the last little bits I had been leaving till ‘tomorrow’ (see above). That turned into a week of pre-procrastination, where I hadn’t even started procrastinating, four days of medium, rising gradually to pathological procrastination, followed by three days of panic-fuelled intensive work during which I repaired and altered much more than I’d expected (and I think for the better) and in a strange way discovered all these songs anew.

And so, I sent them off to LA – and found that I was utterly unable to even contemplate listening to them again. I had a physical aversion, a stomach-churning dread of having to listen to the final mixes again. This, I am told, happens a lot and it is a very valuable process because it means when you finally get back the mastered tracks, they come as a complete surprise (in my case, thanks to the amazing work Ruairi did on the mixes, a very positive surprise).

Finally, with my highly gifted daughter Katherine doing the cover design, we were all done and the result is here for you to enjoy!



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