Playing the Changes


The music, once lifeblood, is wallpaper now.

Distraction packaged to a T. No more introspection.  No more grand concepts to espouse. Where once we found a wellspring of honest communication, a power for true consciousness raising, an untainted form of collaborative self-expression, now we see these things collapsed and eclipsed by the weight of ego and braggadocio.

Somewhere, there was a change. The true talent of expression has given way to the vapid skill of claiming talent at expression. Have we gone so far down the rabbit hole that we are willing to accept this as our escape from the world? Does the call for shallow entertainment carry further than the call for meaning?

Deaf, dumb, and blind, the children dance to rhythm without reason, and rhyme to meet a word count. Futile exercises in formula. Mindlessness. It’s hard to speak wisdom when appealing to the masses. It’s hard to pull the weeds from the garden when you’re sitting on the fence. Still, what’s good to sell is good to buy, and what’s easier to sell than the surface?

We stand close enough to the canvas to see the finer strokes, but not the bigger picture.

The middlemen are multiplying. It’s getting harder to make out the voice of an artist among the others squabbling for position in his work. Platforms are sold according to expected outcomes, and advertisements bring more revenue than human beings.

It’s the coldest kind of war. The separation of life from life. And those who sell the mortar want to build the walls.

In consequence, only marketable beauty is allowed the privilege of generating art. So much for being made of star-stuff, as it turns out, you need to look the part. When you rely on the promotion of others, you need to play the game by their rules. No biting the hand that feeds you.

Short of some cultural revolution, it’s nothing more than a waiting game now. We’ll lack the means to fight the fight when there’s no one left to show us how. And one by one, the men and women who used to lead the way fade away.

When our daughters and our sons have been diluted, then maybe we’ll decide to make a difference. And even now we gamble on the fact that our hindsight will remain just good enough to remember how. To protect innocence.

Meanwhile, we continue to buy these lies. Cheap at the price of the true artist’s livelihood.

Stars are born. Hope dies.

The bottom line is the bottom line.



“Perhaps It’s Time…” New Song.

As some of you will know, I’m working on putting out a new album in the near future, once I’ve solved some equipment issues on my end. In the meantime, here’s one of the tracks, “Perhaps It’s Time…”


Pity the children left behind

born at the top of a steep incline

gifted the slagheap that we designed

told we were justified.

They’ll play on grass we paved as we tell them to act their age

but perhaps it’s us who need to change

Think of the leaders, through whose fingers

promise slipped when ego lingered

so content to leave the world

unbalanced and uncertain

Think of the chosen ones who stand

in wings and leave the stage unmanned

caught in history’s remand

beneath the velvet curtain

Pleasure is the game we close our eyes to play

So perhaps it’s time we make a change

We shake ourselves from childish stares

extolling the virtue of a world unfair

the cold of the cynic is all the rage

perhaps it’s time we make a change


To be content seems quaint when all of this remains

put distraction down and make a change.


My new album “Flowers” will be coming out shortly, and as the process nears an end, you can follow my Instagram page for some sneak peeks and updates. Not to mention a lot of other content to compliment the material on this blog.

30 Days, 30 Albums – The Challenge


I have recently begun a 30 days, 30 albums challenge, in the hope that somehow it will help me mix and master my new album, which I hope to complete in the same period.

I’m only a few days in, but I strongly recommend the challenge. It’s only by doing something like this that I remember just how little time I manage to devote to actually listening to music, and just how much I actually enjoy it. So if you feel like you need a similar epiphany, it’s an easy way  (I gather the rules don’t necessarily state that the days have to be consecutive).

I’m going to keep this site updated with the list as I go, and you can follow me on Instagram at if you want to keep track of what I’m listening to in a more visually appealing way… Maybe you’ll get some ideas of your own!

Finally, below is a sample of the pre-master copy of the first track from the new, upcoming album “Flowers”. Enjoy!

Lyric Spotlight: “The Last Leg” – Thomas Williams

We crawled our way up through the food chain, no man left behind.
But wanting more, we start to push some back, having changed our minds.
Is it too much to bear the weight of civilising us?
Have we reached a universal limit?
Must every species self-destruct?

We know from past experience that history has a lot to teach,.
But we find it’s hard to listen when we’ve got so much to preach.
We’re so good at finding differences our sense of family dulls.
There must be something more to life than splitting hairs and skulls.

So we make our demons real to lock away the flow of sentiment.
And we carve our names with steady hands on rifles, or on monuments.
Taking orders from the left, or from the right, or up above.
Proactive in our segregation from the people we’re afraid to love.
We build walls on the foundations of colour, faith or race.
Taking futures, taking innocence and idolising faces on the covers, on the airwaves, smiling blindly at the profit
engineered from facts and figures and the promises of false prophets.
Never thinking of the simple truth we cannot bear to face.
Overtaken by the mad desire to beat the rest at the human race.

Thomas Williams, 2015

Routing a Strat for humbuckers.

Last month, I posted a short entry talking about Andy Fairweather Low’s Humbucker Stratocasters, and frankly I’ve been more and more a fan of his work and in particular his extremely idiosyncratic guitar playing. So I thought a similar guitar would be an interesting project.


Earlier this week, I received the parts in the mail to complete the project and since the routing procedure I had to perform was a little out of the ordinary for a home job, I thought I’d do a short post on it.

To begin with, I had a black Jimmy Vaughan signature Strat, and a fitting tremolo hanging around, originally intended to take some gold lace sensors.


Needless to say, when I decided on humbuckers instead, the routing wasn’t exactly perfect to accommodate them, so a little woodwork was required.


I decided to use a small handheld belt sander, to get into the small cavity of the route, without risking any cosmetic damage to the rest of the body.


It’s easy enough to remove small ‘slices’ of wood from the center to the edge of the route (also possible to do it much more time-efficiently, but arguably with more risk using a chisel), and open up the entire section.



In the end, I opted for a ‘swimming-pool’ style route because the pickups were yet to arrive and I wasn’t sure of the exact spacing of the custom pickguard.



I installed the tremolo and the neck and finally, a couple of weeks later, the pickguard showed up in the post. Pre-wired and custom designed to my request by Sigler Music and their 920d custom shop*



One snag in the plan was the humbucker mounting.

These particular humbuckers are Seymour Duncan Antiquities, in my opinion, the most pleasant sounding (non-custom wound) humbuckers on the market, harking back to theose ideal vintage Les Paul tones.

That said, they’re designed to be mounted in a Les Paul, and a LP has a deeper route for the mounts than a standard Strat.


My solution, as you can see, was to clip off the deep screw-tips, which leaves the pickups at the perfect depth on the bottom of the route. Of course, If you were feeling brave, you could always drill some deeper holes in the body for the screws, but personally, I’d not be comfortable drilling that close to the tremolo cavity.

As it turns out, I ended up raising the pickups quite a lot anyway, so there remains a substantial portion of screw for adjustment.

Finally, all was mounted perfectly (humbuckers supplying the nice change of not having to attach the ground wires to the trem claw and shielding paint), and after some new strings, it was time for that all-important first photo!


And that all-important first song:


* You can find the ‘Sigler Music‘ page of loaded pickguard options at:
They’re a fantastic company, and have always been more than willing to accommodate any requests I’ve had at extremely affordable prices.