The "Hombres" are back in town! And it's the first time I've recorded an acoustic drumkit for a couple of years. It was freezing cold down in the garage for poor old Wayne. I was glad to be up in the studio with Andy. Drums, bass and most of the guitar parts are recorded so now it's mostly vocals once the snow has cleared.

Adrian's album is coming along nicely. Four done and probably another six to go.

We're well into the last GSG track. Drums and guitars are done, vocals next weather permitting.

Last week Terry Phillips (Tom Crow) came over to do some pre-production recordings ready for the follow-up to "Faultlines". He's written plenty of songs, we just need to sort the wheat from the chaff before we get going in earnest. A much simpler earthier sound is envisaged.


Mark Purnell's excellent album "Memories" is now available from all the usual places. He's been having lots of very positive feedback and I must say I'm proud of the end result.

With "Ocean" finished we're likely to be moving onto the last track of the GSG album. Geoff is thinking up something completely different for this one so stand by!

In between working with GSG, Adrian Wilding has been recording his own guitar based blues-rock songs. Lovely guitar and harmonies on these.


Tom Crow's "Faultlines" is finally finished and nicely packaged. (see opposite)

The GSG track, "Forsaken" has been mixed and we've just started work on the next epic called "Ocean" which should give us the opportunity to use some nice sound effects!

Mark Purnell's album has been mixed so it shouldn't be long before it's available. I think Mark and his son have almost finished the artwork so I just need to do the mastering and send it off to the duplicators.

Geoff Smith's guitarist and right-hand man, Adrian Wilding has started recording his own collection of songs recently. We've been working on the first two songs which I would describe as blues/rock.



GSG's "Chasing Time" is finished and we've started on the next track called "Forsaken". Unfortunately, Ade has been away on holiday and Geoff has been quite ill so progress has stumbled slightly.

Leila has done her bit and the final mixes have been made for Tom Crow's "Faultlines" album. Just the mastering and artwork to sort out now.

The last month or so has seen real progress with Mark Purnell's album. Georgia Paterson is the latest artist to make an excellent contribution.



Mark Purnell


After a long hiatus we're finally heading towards the finishing line with the Tom Crow project. The last couple of songs have been troubling Terry so we've done a bit of editing and are hoping that Leila will add a few more backing vocals to polish the whole thing off.

Mark Purnell's album is coming along nicely. We're at an early stage but things are definitely moving in the right direction.

GSG's latest song is another 10 minute epic consisting of lots of different sections with different sounds, tempos and time signatures. It's a slow process but we're progressing well!

Arranging and recording a guide track with GSG


The new Blind River Scare cd "Pastures New" is now available from all the usual places. The excellent cover design and photos were done by Nick Fowler.

We've just started on the next GSG track (more time and tempo changes)!

Mark Purnell's original plan for a 5 track cd has now expanded to what will probably end up being a full length album! Plenty to be getting on with.



Andy Gibbon has been back to do bass on the second GSG epic, this time it's more prog and less psychedelic!

The Tom Crow project is nearing completion: Leila Dee has been doing some lovely backing vocals. One more session should wrap things up and then it's down to me and my mixer!

Finally, I've started work on a new project for country singer-songwriter, Mark Purnell. It's early days yet but it looks like being a 5 track cd with a full band sound.



Leila Dee praying
for inspiration!



I've had a very busy month, even Nick Smith has finally returned with a view to finishing his long delayed album.

We've done the final mix for Tim's CD, hoping to master it very shortly as the artwork is almost ready.

Richard Barlow has been in to record some fiddle for the Tom Crow project which is getting close to being finished.

The bass track on the GSG song, "Special" was played by the very experienced Andy Gibbon. With that track being complete, we've started work on the next song called "I See You". Loads of time signature and tempo changes on this one!


Andy Gibbon with bass and reserve bass!


Tim Manning (Blind River Scare) has been the main protagonist for the last couple of months. This latest 6 track CD will feature mostly acoustic guitar, resonator guitar, double bass (Stuart Loosemore) and, of course, vocals. We've also added a few other instruments to spice things up such as harmonica and mandolin but the idea is to keep it sounding real and organic.

The Tom Crow project is back on the move. Guest vocalist, Mark Purnell did some work on one track the other day and we're hoping to do more backing vocals and fiddle on a couple of other tracks soon.

The first GSG track "Special" is all done except for bass. This week we'll be starting on the next psychedelic adventure!



Tim Manning checking his tuning


I've done a few sessions lately with Geoff and Ade (GSG). The latest was when Ade used his new guitar pedal which made his guitar sound remarkably like a sitar. This first song also features tablas and harmonium - very late 60's!

Tim Manning has now recorded 6 songs for his latest cd. He's recently aquired a Gretch resonator guitar which gives a nice contrast to his main Gibson. Stu has done double bass on 4 of the songs and his hoping to come back soon to complete the set.


Marc has been back to do more bass tracks and Aled Rhys (pictured) has done a number of keyboard parts on the Tom Crow project.

Tim Manning started the next "Blind River Scare" CD last week and we're just preparing the ground for a new "GSG" album, destined to be quite psychedelic!


Again, mostly working on the Tom Crow project. All tracks now well advanced and waiting input from various guests.
Nothing more to report, so tune in next month for more exciting news!


The cd "Omega Man" by the Geoff Smith Group is finally back from the duplicators and also available online from the usual places. As is "Rope and Rags", the latest offering from prolific songwriter, Jon Airdrie.

Meanwhile I've been concentrating my efforts on the Tom Crow project by adding various instruments, real and virtual, to Terry and Marc's guitar and bass.
Things are coming on very nicely, I hope we can keep up the momentum through the busy summer period.

Tom Crow

I had a very interesting session last week recording bass with Marc Smith for the Tom Crow project.
For the first couple of songs Marc used a customised fretless Fender Jazz. For the next song, a more traditional country sounding ballad, he played his acoustic double bass which we DIed and miced with an AKG 414 as shown in the picture. The DI gave us a lot of depth and roundness while the mic picked up more resonance and finger noise. Finally for the last rockier song he used his Fender Precision.


Marc Smith

I have been informed by Jon that his new album, Rope and Rags, is back from the duplicators. Unfortunately, I'll have to wait for a copy until he returns from a holiday in eastern europe.

Nick Smith has been back in the studio adding a few final touches (mostly string sounds on the chorus to a couple of songs).
It's been quite timely as I upgraded to Garritan Personal Orchestra5 only a couple of weeks ago and this gives me a good chance to get to grips with it.


Jon Airdrie's new album is ready for a final mix, just a few more tweaks before it's ready for mastering.
All the vocals are now done for Nick Smith. Only a few things left to add before the final mix.
I've started work on a new project for Tom Crow. We've done some basic drum and guitar tracks to make sure the arrangements are right before the other musicians come in to do their parts.

Even though "Omega Man" by the Geoff Smith Group (pictured opposite enjoying a pint) was finished by Christmas, the artwork for the album has still not yet been finalised!
Not long now though-"Be prepared"!


Happy New Year!

Thanks to all the people who have recorded at Towpath in the last 12 months:-
The Geoff Smith Group, Tom Crow, Jon Airdrie (and friends), Paul Lloyd Nicholas, Nick Smith, Richard Hobday, Phil Jones, Allan Horton, Wynford Jones, The Fortunate Few and Blind River Scare.

Nigel Hodge

Very busy at the moment.
Doing the finishing touches for the Geoff Smith Group, recording drums and bass for Nick Smith and various things for Jon Airdrie.
Sioned has been in to do some vocals and last week, after a long absence, Nigel Hodge returned to add some lovely sax solos to a few of Jon's compositions.





Sioned behind the glass of the vocal booth



This 3 month update thing is becoming a habit!

The main project at the moment is a new album for Jon Airdrie. As usual, he's recorded a lot of it at home and sent me the files which I've imported into Reaper.
Jem has done some drum tracks, Jon Mathews has done some guitar and vocals, and I've added some vocals and started mixing the songs that are almost finished.

I'm slowly getting to grips with Reaper, it's so customisable I'm continually adding new shortcuts and changing things to the way I like to work. It's a brilliant program but does take a bit of getting used to especially after years of using Cubase!

Because of a lack of decent studio photos I've had to comply with internet protocol and post a picture of our cat curled up in an unfeasibly small case!


I'm afraid this is the first update for 3 months due to illness and laziness!

We're currently working on the last (of the album) epic song for GSB.
I've started on, what will probably be, a 6 track cd for Phil Jones. It's likely to be only acoustic guitar and vocals so shouldn't take too long to complete.

Only yesterday I finished mastering a cd for folk-rockers Dennis Remme using the latest version of T Racks using my new 23" monitor (so much easier to see what I'm doing compared to a laptop screen!)

It's that time of the year again- Folk on the Lawn is on next weekend 10th, 11th and 12th.


My new monitor with a screen showing Reaper,now my DAW of choice.


The latest GSB song "The King" is almost finished. Wayne Morgan (pictured opposite) lays down the bass closely watched by Adrian Wilding.

I've finally finished my own 10 track album, "The Blackleg Miner". All but 2 of the tracks are traditional folk re-workings. The front cover is a cross-stitch by my daughter-in-law, Maria.


For the last month I've mostly been working on Allan Horton's new album, "Angle of Inclination".
This time Allan recorded his parts (guitars and vocals) at home using Garage Band on his laptop and gave me the files so I could import them into Cubase. He'd used various percussion loops to play over, some I used and some I replaced. I then added bass guitar and anything else I thought would suit the particular song before getting down to the nitty-gritty of mixing.
All went well, Allan was very pleased and now we're only waiting for the artwork to be finalised before it's let loose on the unsuspecting public!


Lots of planning going on at the moment for new albums by Tom Crow, Paul Nicholas, Allan Horton and Nick Smith (seen in the pic opposite recording some guide tracks).


I've just finished "The Blackleg Miner" which I've added to my Soundcloud collection. (See link below).


I'm not quite sure what happened to December, it seemed to disappear in a flash!
Anyway, Happy New Year to one and all, let's hope we all have a good one!

Over the Christmas period I managed to find time to record another track, destined for my album of traditional folk songs, called "The Ladies Go Dancing At Whitsun". So far I've uploaded 8 un-mastered tracks to Soundcloud. The links don't seem to work from my site so, if you'd like to listen, copy the following into your browser:



Quite a few Towpath recordings have been given an airing lately on BBC Radio Wales' Frank Henessey's "Celtic Heartbeat". He's been playing tracks from Tom Crow's "Lifelines" and did a special section on last weeks show featuring the Chartists in which he interviewed Wynford.
The Chartists are currently playing a number of venues to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the chartist uprising in Newport.

In the studio, the Geoff Smith Band have been keeping me busy with another 7 minute opus!
We've changed the arrangement around a couple of times before deciding on a keeper and are now hoping to get it finished within the next few weeks.

I'm almost ready to do a final mix of another traditional song called "Dark Eyed Sailor" which I will post on the site shortly.

Geoff giving it some wellie!


Tom Crow's "Lifelines" album is back from the duplicators (Direct CDs). It contains the 6 tracks we did two years ago, remixed, and 6 new tracks.

Wynford Jones' album "Bark and Tree" has also been duplicated by Direct CDs and is available to purchase at any of The Chartists gigs.

I've been busy doing another traditional song. This time I've had a go at the "Gaol Song".


I spent the early part of August doing the final mixes and mastering the 12 track "Lifelines" album by Tom Crow. We're trying to get the artwork sorted out ready for duplication at the moment.

The next track for Geoff Smith, "Bridge too Far", is coming along nicely. Geoff has done the main vocal track and Adrian has added extra guitars to beef it up. Just the BVs to do now!

When things have been quiet this year I've managed to do a couple of tracks of my own.
You can listen to "Cold, Haily, Windy Night" and "As I Lay on my Bed" here.

Yours truly on the dulcimer


Not a lot going on this July, partly because the weather has been so hot the studio has been unbearable!
The Folk on the Lawn Festival went well helped by the glorious weather and, as usual, it's taken me a couple of weeks to recover! There are some photos that I took here or you can go to the website where you should find more.

Andy Berry and Johnny Morris have been back as part of 5 piece country/rock band the Fortunate Few recording a 6 track cd.




times are hard so John and Andy have to share headphones


I've been tying up a few projects lately that were started a long time ago and were held up for various reasons.
Wynford Jones of the Chartists has put together a solo album that was originally supposed to be a new album for the band. We did the final adjustments to the recording last week so now the 11 tracks can be mixed and mastered.
I've just done a similar thing with Tom Crow, adding Ebow and Hammond to couple of his tracks before they are mixed and mastered.


Two new Towpath albums have just been released.

"Ariel", named after his handmade Fylde guitar, features Paul doing a mixture of covers and originals in his inimitable style.

"Point of No Return" is Tim Mannings' latest incarnation of his band Blind River Scare doing six of Tim's songs. The line-up is- Tim (acoustic guitar and vocals), Chris Tweed (lap and pedal steel), Stuart Loosemore (bass) and Keith Boast (drums).

Both cds have already enjoyed a fair bit of airplay on various radio stations!


The new Blind River Scare cd has been duplicated and I believe the launch date is June1st.

We're just finalising the artwork for Paul Nicholas' album "Hold The Line". Paul will be playing a spotlight session at Newport Folk Club (Lyceum Tavern) to launch the album very soon.

The Tres Hombres cd has been mixed and is now ready for mastering.


Just finished mixing the "Blind River Scare" tracks. I'm hoping to run them through the mastering processor tomorrow as Tim is sorting out the artwork ready for duplication.

Paul Nicolas' ten track cd is also almost ready for mastering. One track has already been played on BBC Radio Wales' Celtic Heartbeat!

We've just started work on the third track for Geoff Smith. The second track (all 8 minutes of it) had it's final mix this week.

And finally, Tres Hombres are back in the studio doing a six track cd.



Geoff Smith and his trusty guitarist Adrian Wilding


Again a busy month with loads going on including recording drums for Blind River Scare.
I even recorded Kevin Meyrick playing banjo for the Tom Crow project on the weekend. I've never been a fan of the banjo but I must admit that what Kev played sounded really good and fitted perfectly with the feel of the song.




Keith and Tim (Blind River Scare)



Over the last few weeks I've had The Chartists, Tom Crow with Brett Green, Andy Berry, Geoff Smith with guitarist Adrian and Paul Nicolas in the studio.
Paul is a newcomer to Towpath and plays brilliant acoustic guitar in a classical style. We've just started work on his solo album that will hopefully feature other musicians such as Wynford (far right) and anyone else we can rope in!




Paul Nicolas & Wynford Jones


Christmas Eve- thank god the shopping is done, the presents are wrapped and it's time to relax and reflect on the past year!
I've been looking at my diary to see how much time I've actually spent in the studio this year.
In January I was recording Johnny Morris, Allan Horton and a young singer called Rhys. I also missed the launch of the Musicals DVD that I had done the audio for in 2012 because of all the snow!
February I mixed and mastered Johnny's album. Did a couple of tracks with Andy Berry in March and bought a cheap fiddle in April (watch out Swarbrick!)
May saw the start of the "Blind River Scare" project (still not finished) and some recording and mixing for Jon Airdrie's album, "Locks and Cogs".
Carried on with "Blind River Scare" and Allan for the next couple of months and at the end of October I started a new project for the "Chartists" which is on-going.

I started new projects with Geoff Smith and Tom Crow in November which are progressing well and will carry on into the new year.

Allan Horton's album Voyager has just come back from the duplicators. The brilliant cover was done by his daughter, Louise.

Happy Christmas!


After an extended break normal service has been resumed!

Tom Crow, Allan Horton and The Chartists are back in the studio. Looks like being a busy time between now and Christmas.
Tom Crow

Allan Horton

The "Blind River Scare" project is coming along nicely after a short break to recover from the Folk on the Lawn weeekend! Chris has made two trips to the studio, the first with his lap-steel and the second with his pedal-steel. The lovely sounds from both guitars have really filled out the space, so apart from the odd backing vocal etc, all that's left to do is some percussion tracks.


pedal power?

Stu from "Blind River Scare" has been to the studio to record the bass parts for their cd. As you can see from the photo opposite, his instrument comprises mostly of a double bass neck attached to a tripod! With Stu's accomplished playing it turned out to be a fairly relaxed session.
Note Tim's extremely layed-back camera work!

At the moment we're gearing up for the Folk on the Lawn Festival at Abbey Mill, Tintern.
It kicks off on Friday the 12th with an evening concert followed by 3 stages of music on Saturday (12.30-10pm) and Sunday (12-5.30).
More info and full line-up at the FotL website.


I've started recording a 5 track cd for a band called "Blind River Scare". Singer and songwriter, Tim Manning has done his acoustic guitar tracks and vocals. Next up is Stu on electric double bass and then we have to arrange some time for Chris and his pedal steel guitar.

Allan Horton has been back doing more of his quirky rock in his unique style. His album "Gyrator" is now available. Some of the tracks are here on YouTube.

I've also been very busy mixing 4 of Jon Airdrie's songs for a project he's been doing with members of the "Fuzzbirds" and "The Hittites" called "Locks and Cogs". I think most of the recording was done at Jon's and he's also mixed the other 7 tracks.
The cd should be ready for release shortly, more info can be found here.


Tim Manning

A singer-songwriter, originally from Belfast and known to everyone as "Irish" Tom, has just recorded a 3 track cd with me.
It's a very basic recording of acoustic guitar and vocals- something Tom can put on his Facebook page so people can hear the sort of material he does with a view to getting gigs.

Andy Berry has been doing a similar "back to basics" thing, recording his favourite songs that he can perform solo. We've done 7 so far and I think he's hoping to do a few more to make it up to a full cd's worth.
Andy is playing at the Cinderford Festival in the Forest of Dean on the bank holiday weekend 25th & 26th May.


I've recently finished mastering 2 albums, one for Allan Horton titled "Gyrator" and the other, which has just been returned from the duplicators, is "Chicken Today and Feathers Tomorrow" by John Morris.

"Outayamind" mp3
The Shelleys at The Druid, Goginan

Outside the studio, on April 6th I played with the band (Jon Airdrie and the Shelleys) at a packed Druid Inn, Goginan near Aberystwyth.
We were joined on a few songs by Jon and Daf of local band The Hittites and supported by a promising young act called Platform 1 based in Carmarthen.