Sunday, April 18, 2021

After ever happily...

Some of my songs might be a little on the serious side. This is not one of them.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

These things take time...

Needle in The Red had been around, in some form or another, for a couple of decades or so before it finally saw its release on Swallowing The Sun. I'd actually written it during my time with The Headlights; we'd even played it live a couple of times and recorded a demo of it at some point. For some reason, it never became a regular part of our setlist and I suppose I just filed it away for a rainy day.

One day, when Ed and I were assembling songs for our Cycle album, it happened to be pissing it down... so I decided to have another crack at recording the song. After basic tracks and vocals were done, I invited Dave Gregory to play on it to see if he might help breathe new life into it. He did. 

Frustratingly, the new recording was beset with all sorts of technical problems (probably all my fault) and a protracted period of trying to work around assorted glitches, time clock issues and other headache-inducing concerns pushed my co-producers, Ed Woltil and Brian Merrill, close to breaking point. So, the song was shelved. Filed away for a different rainy day, you might say.

I hated the fact that a song that we'd worked so hard on might never see the light of day, so when I began work on Swallowing The Sun, I always hoped that Needle in The Red might find a way to poke its head out from between the rain clouds and make a belated appearance. Since Ed was tasked with the bulk of the production duties, it fell on his shoulders to wade through old files, discarding problematic ones and insisting upon the re-recording of others. Despite coming perilously close to donning a straightjacket at one point, he somehow managed to get the song ship-shape, and on to the album it went. Now you know who to blame...

So is it a snarky song about religious beliefs, or is it perhaps my clunky effort at an anti-drug song? Buggered if I know; it's been way too long since it was written for me to recall. It's probably best just to ignore my plaintive bleating and simply languish in the glory that is Dave Gregory's guitar playing. 

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Swallowing The Fun...

An English writer living in Sventorp, Sweden, reviewing an album by an English songwriter from Scunthorpe, England, living in Western North Carolina, USA ... for a Scottish-based music site? Sounds like a set up for lame jokes aplenty doesn't it?

See if my album is funny (it isn't) right here: Pennyblack Music

Monday, March 29, 2021

Sorry Amsterdam

Because he's a clever swine who can do just about everything well, my mate Ed Woltil crafted this lovely lyric video for the opening track from my Swallowing The Sun record.

So, is the song an aural love letter to mildly morose Mancunians, Morrissey & Marr? Or is it simply a self-indulgent reflection on a personal musical journey in his adopted homeland? Maybe a bit of both...

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Make You Mine

Someone mentioned to me that Make You Mine from the new record reminded them of The Hollies. It caught me by surprise, but after thinking about it, I think I hear what they mean, in the melody, if not the instrumentation.

Yes, for those of us of a certain age, it's very dificult to hide from the melodic influence of the bands from that era isn't it? Whether it's The Stones, The Kinks, The Beatles or Bob Dylan, it's just an unavoidable fact of our musical lives.

Although I might be little more flattered at the mention of Andy Partridge or Richard Thompson, personally, I think it might be closer to Peter Noone and Herman's Hermits.

Good enough...

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

You may leave Scunthorpe, but Scunthorpe never leaves you, etc...


The latest review of the new record, courtesy of At The Barrier, contains the phrase, “Steve Robinson is an amiable, self-deprecating Scunthonian”. 

It goes without saying that "Self-Deprecating Scunthonians" makes for a hell of a band name, and I'm wondering if I should also print some business cards emblazoned with that very slogan.

Read the full review here: At The Barrier - Swallowing The Sun

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

I must not sleep in class, I must not sleep in class...etc

One of my French teachers at school would often get quite exasperated by my total lack of interest in learning the language he so dearly loved. The more he declared that it was a thing of unparalled beauty (often by pounding violently on the desk), and that I should really embrace it, the more my disdain for it grew. He once shook me from a deep classroom slumber to let me know that one day I'd come to deeply regret not learning this beautiful language and have it greatly enrich my life. That day is now. Maybe if I'd listened and not been such a loathsome little prat, I'd be able to fully appreciate this review written by Matthieu Grunfeld at Section 26:

Monday, March 01, 2021

Swallowing The Sun and Paper Boats

"Swallowing the Sun just gives me a good good feeling, like a snatch of warm sunshine somehow embedded in song", so says the lovely and talented writer, Dennis Pilon over at PopRock Record.

Dennis is a fine and cultured gentleman from Toronto, Canada, and apparently he wrote that (of his own volition no less!) about this distinctly uncultured layabout from Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, which pleases me to no end. He also had understandably complimentary things to say about my friend and musical partner, Ed Woltil. You can read the article right here:

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Quiet One...

On Cycle, my duo album with Ed Woltil, we'd been fortunate enough to have XTC guitargonaut, Dave Gregory, on board for a trio of songs. On one of them (Elastic Man), Dave had sent over a lovely slide guitar track that made me think of George Harrison. 

I've always loved George's slide playing, and I suppose there was something in both Dave's tone and the way he was playing, that to my ears, was reminiscent of the quiet Beatle. So, while working on the song, Quiet One - a fairly obvious nod to George - I knew I had to ask Dave if he might be interested in lending his formidable talents to it. 

Thankfully, he was on board, and I have no qualms about admitting that when I first heard his playing on it, I got a little emotional*, choked up, even. I mean, I was chopping onions at the time, so who knows? (Ahem). Either way though, it sounds like he's channeling George to me, and it just makes me so happy.

* Yes, I do understand that admitting to getting emotional is akin to renouncing my British citizenship. So be it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Big down under? (oof!)


Nice early review of Swallowing The Sun, from Andres Kabel at Read Listen Watch, by way of Melbourne, Australia. 

You can read it here:

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

It's not rocket science...or is it?


Well, it may have taken the better part of four years (five), but I’ve finally managed to put the finishing touches to my latest long player. 

Swallowing The Sun began its long and torturous life in my old hometown of St Petersburg, FL, was interrupted by an out-of-state family relocation, and finally came to fruition here in my new hometown of Hendersonville, NC, in the Blue Ridge mountains. It wasn’t actually recorded in the mountains, of course; it was recorded in my house. I mean, I’m not John Denver.

Truth be told, I’d still be working on the bloody thing for another couple of excuse-filled years if not for the heroic efforts of my arse-kicking friend and co-producer, Ed Woltil. Aside from producing, mixing and musical hand holding, Ed’s instrumental prowess plays a major part in the proceedings and I'm perpetually indebted to him, both for his friendship, and for the fabulous and tasteful playing he contributed to this project. 


So, what does it sound like? Well, it has a dizzy love song (Dizzy Love Song); an earnest love song (Proud of Our Love); a song about being in love with family and treasuring those times when you manage to just catch yourself living in the moment with them (Mr Empty Head); as well as a gentle Beatle-ish ode to quietism (Quiet One) that features a stunning George Harrisonesque slide guitar cameo from XTC's Dave Gregory that would probably elicit a wry smile from the quiet Beatle himself


So it’s a sappy and contentedly happy album then? Er, not so fast...there are also morose lyrical references to drug addiction (Needle in The Red), a stinging rebuke of religious pretenders and fiery demagogues alike (Wild God) as well as sneering metaphorical allusions to overindulgence and feelings of disillusionment, depression and mental exhaustion (Skinful) just to even things out. Sounds like fun, right?


What? None of the usual sentimental and nostalgic hazy memory lane trips? Don’t be daft; of course there are... fish & chips, Gilbert O’Sullivan, Robertson’s jam jars, and the word, radiogramme are all included in just one song written about growing up in a northern English town in the 1970s (Milk & a Dash).


Parental Advisory: The aforementioned song features the phrase, “the smell of baked beans & spam”. A tough one to explain to the kids. Or anyone, come to that. Gluttons for punishment can listen to, and read more about the new record here at


NoteSwallowing The Sun can also be streamed at Spotify, iTunes, Apple, Amazon, and all of the usual streaming sites that continue to pay a royalty rate that has been known to cause feelings of disillusionment, depression and mental exhaustion. Side effects also include depression, irregular heartbeat, fever, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, fear of heights, fear of plumbing emotional depths, unexplained rashes, the occasional gnashing of teeth, and an irrational fear of releasing records.