Briony is about my age. My dad has some English friends – all of them are musicians – and Briony is the daughter of his friend, multi-instrumentalist, folk expert, singer and songwriter Mat Williams. She wrote an original album (‘Solstice’) at the age of 14. That was impressive. I still love listening to this particular album and I am very proud that I could contribute some drum parts. One of the tracks is going to be included on my ‘Chi Might’ album.
Audiotrailer of Briony’s album ‘Solstice’
Briony in her own words
I was born and grew up in the valleys of Derbyshire, amongst the green woodland and expanses of patchwork fields, in a small town called Belper. This stunning back-drop has always influenced my imagination and in my fourteenth year, inspired me to write a collection of poems. These poems reflect an important time of social and emotional change for me, a part of my adolescence that I hope is captured in this collection. My dad is a musician and my mum an artist, both of whom influenced my love of music from a very young age. I grew up with its warmth filling my home and shaping my views and knowledge of events throughout history. My fondness for 1960/70’s music grew from a close friend and during our last years of school we would stay up all night listening to old records and wail enthusiastically to vintage rock bands from America. It was here that my obsession with the Woodstock Festival and singers like Joni Mitchell and Jimi Hendrix began. These rosy memories inspired me to write Woodstock Dreamer and have influenced all my poems. I was having piano lessons around this time and I found I could use my poetry for song writing. I found chords and melodies that worked really well with the poems and this started a new and exciting chapter in my life.
Towards the end of secondary school I was offered an opportunity to travel to India, somewhere that had always appealed to me and was a sure contrast to my luscious green home. The trip was very expensive and everyone that wanted to go discussed ways of funding it. I had played some of my new songs to dad, who really loved them and he agreed to help make a demo CD that I could sell to family and friends as a way of making some money. So over the next few months we worked on the music, recorded and produced the CD’s. I played basic piano parts and dad added other instruments and adapted what I had into finished pieces of work. Two other people got involved when we decided that one song, Chasing Dragons, needed some drums. Dad sent the song to his friend Mike, a musician and producer he works with. Mike’s daughter Sina is a great drummer and they recorded the drum parts to complete the track. The demo album was called Indian Summer and along with a live session for radio Derby we sold enough copies to help me get to the Himalayas, which was amazing.
While I was gone my dad and Mike had discussed their enthusiasm for the album and began working to create a new and more professional version. Mike had a particular liking for the track Hiatus and he added his own parts to change it in to something new and different. Meanwhile I was working on new material, influenced by the huge gap in miles between me and my family and on my return I collaborated with dad to create two new songs and he and Mike worked together from there to complete the album, including recording my sisters for the backing vocals on Pride and Prejudice – the daftest of all songs.
I have had so much fun in the process of writing, composing and recording this album. The title is inspired by how my thoughts and feelings have changed since I first wrote those poems and is also a reflection on how the phases of the year have fascinated and been celebrated by people for centuries. I hope you enjoy this collection of songs and thank you for taking the time to read this.
Love Briony x