This song was written by Big Country mainman Stuart Adamson in the latter part of his life (with help from Jerry Boonstra).
It featured on an album called Supernatural, credited to his Nashville-based band The Raphaels (which also featured Marcus Hummon).
Shattered Cross escaped my attention until mid-December 2016, when it was suggested by a fellow Big Country fan that I should make a version of it.
So I figured out how to play it, then recorded a plethora of live drums and percussion, over which I layered a barrage of electric and acoustic guitars.
The lead vocal emerged at 3am on a cold winter night. The resultant song has a Western feel, which is not my familiar territory.
The final mix was created and published on Boxing Day, 2016.
Hey What Ya Got?
I taped a drum loop during a Medicine Show rehearsal. Within hours I'd built this rough and ready song around it.
I then set about making a video for the track. I managed to write and record the music and complete the video all in one week. Made in February 2015.
Vocals & Instruments: Jason Allen
Composer: Jason Allen
Camera & Edit: Jason Allen
Jason Allen - Fieldwork (2015)
I escaped to the country. It had been a long time coming. It felt like the town was blotting out my sense of creativity.
The rural lifestyle inspired my guitar playing. A new wave of musical ideas emerged, each captured as voice memos on my iPhone.
Using my laptop and a cheap classical guitar, I began to arrange, record and expand the ideas into songs, painting layers of music and texture on top. The words were either stream-of-consciousness improvisations and/or developed as I went along.
I recorded a lot of tracks during this 18-month process. It was a very relaxed gestation period. There are no electric guitars, only nylon-stringed acoustics. I played every instrument, sung every note, did it all by myself.
Eleven of the songs from this time span make up Fieldwork. The ones that got away will live to see the light of another day.
To download the album free of charge, and for lyrics and further information, visit the Fieldwork website.
My take on Inwards by Big Country, with a vaguely mid-period Snow Patrol production, self-recorded at home, December 2016.
The video is an array of layered mosaic clips, rather than one of my usual 'walking in a field looking forlorn' efforts.
Instruments & Vocals: Jason Allen
Composers: Big Country
Video Edit: Jason Allen
I originally intended my fifth 'solo' CD to be an album called Keep The Peace, which I'd worked on during 2006 and early 2007. It proved to be a tough project to finish, so I shelved it and 'retired' from music.
Then my Brother died suddenly while I was in Slovenia, not long after the death of my beloved Nan. I sought solace in music once again, wrote a whole new batch of songs and slowly crafted what would become known as Ghosting.
I took a very lo-fi approach to the recording, often using some of the cheapest equipment I could muster. Looking back, I think I was attempting to return to the simple ways of old, similar in approach to my original 4-track recording days.
The final push was a marathon 8-week session at the end of 2008. My laptop died on the very last day of recording. Luckily I managed to salvage the files and complete the album.
A Barn Owl flew inches above my head just after I bagged the cover image at 10pm on a cold and wintery February night. My work, it seemed, was done.
You can download the album free of charge, read the lyrics and digest further information/trivia by visiting the Ghosting website.
Jason Allen & Roy Harrill
Running To Stand Still
In May 2013, on the eve of The Medicine Show's launch in Spain, we attempted a tune we'd never played before.
I knew the lyrics and arrangement, and Roy improvised using his newly-acquired lapsteel skills. We decided to set up a camera and film the resulting live jam.
Guitar & Vocals: Jason Allen
Dobro: Roy Harrill
Camera & Edit: Jason Allen
This collection of 15 songs was compiled and remastered in November 2016. It represents the best of a very prolific period in my musical history.
Following the death of Big Country mainman Stuart Adamson in December 2001, I began writing guitar-based songs once again. I'd spent the preceding three years making electronic-based music as Bluebottlegreen.
I wrote and recorded five albums in as many years, four of which were published. The fifth (Keep The Peace) was shelved after completion in 2007, though the song Gentle Folly originates from this 'lost' album.
All my albums are self-produced and self-recorded. I also play and sing everything.
I was the singer, guitarist and principal songwriter with Chances R during the first half of the 90s. Alongside me were Roy Harrill (guitar & vocals), Paul Jolliffe (bass), John Bidder (drums) and, eventually, Pete Jennings (keyboards).
We began as a Green Day-style power trio and ended up sounding like Marillion, via a brief spell where we turned into The Wonderstuff. The full story can be found on the website, along with songs, videos, information and photographs.
After the demise of Chances R in 1994, I started drumming with The Chill, Crank, Guy Charles and other bands. I also continued writing a lot of guitar-based tunes which failed to make any impact. Eventually I opted to immerse myself in studio work.
Bluebottlegreen became a pseudonym for my electronic-based musical doodles. I made several albums of non-songs, some of which made it to Televisionland. Eventually I went back to making 'proper' music under my own name.