I really don’t think my voice has changed that much, but I certainly am using a different voice for the music I write and play with Blue Horizon.
My vocal delivery with Tudor Lodge is much the same now as it was back in the ‘70s. I didn’t really work at the voice, I just sang the songs. The music didn’t seem to require anything else. Since 1980, Lynne has largely been the lead vocal and songwriter for Tudor Lodge, so a natural vocal style (with no strong embellished character) has been ideal for a harmony blend. So again, there has never been a need to develop the vocal style.
Then in 2011 I wrote a blues song, and at much the same time, learned a bluesy song written by Gary Fletcher (Blues Band) called that’s my way. (He later kindly contributed guitar and bass to the track on my CD “The DoobDoo Album”)
I tried out these songs at my local folk club. The feel of the songs seemed to need a different vocal approach. At first it wasn’t there. It was a bit like the blues trying to be folk – or maybe folk trying to be blues. But after a few attempts, and approaching the songs in a blues frame of mind, the songs led the vocal delivery into a different approach so that slowly, the voice began to meld with the songs.
It probably started out a little too English for the blues. Then for a while, there was a danger of it being a little too American. I wasn’t really comfortable with that mid Atlantic twang. I think I have now found a middle road that seems to work – described in the ROCK’n’REEL review as “…a very English nod to the blues.” I’m happy with that.
The idea of “putting on a voice” for a song seemed odd to me at first. But it’s a performance – acting with music. The only thing that really matters is putting the song across with the greatest impact. Keeping it appropriate.
This vocal journey has definitely been song led, and I am aware of differences between songs.
No, the voice hasn’t changed; I just have more voices at my disposal. Interestingly, improving the delivery also makes the process much more rewarding. I am also discovering that I can apply some of these newly acquired techniques to my work with Tudor Lodge.
I wonder what would happen if I wrote something vaguely operatic – no, maybe I shouldn’t go there…
Information about Tudor Lodge at www.tudorlodge.com
And my own solo work at www.johnceestannard.co.uk.
Both albums can be bought from our label web site; www.castironrecordings.co.uk .