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singer, songwriter, guitarist, Aotearoa/New Zealand
and Mark Laurent.
I have lived and breathed music. My dad was a professional jazz pianist and both my brothers play guitar. I'm the oldest, so I feel that's at least one good influence I had on them!
My grandparents sang in choirs. Grandpa and several of his brothers (who were all blind - I have very poor eyesight myself) were piano tuners. Grandma played music-hall piano in pubs, and several of my uncles play as well. When our parents had parties, other musos would turn up with their instruments and a full-on jam session would develop. They were mostly professional players, so the standard was very high. Our holidays would often include going to jazz festivals - I have fond memories of sliding around on freshly talcum powdered dance floors. Music was all around me as a kid and I just took it for granted...
...(M)uch of my writing over the last 25 years (I've recorded 11 albums, and written over 250 songs) has been drawn from my relationship with Jesus and the inspiration I got from reading what He has to say. However, my writing's by no means all 'religious', and I hope that my craft now displays more depth and subtlety. Sometimes we use our art as propaganda, and that's usually not good for the music or our message. These days I mostly write 'secular' material, but I think my values find their way into my writing, either openly or by inference.
In addition to playing electric and acoustic guitars, I play bass, mouth harps, rowan lute, and percussion, and dabble with keyboards and other odds and ends. I've worked as a recording engineer and producer, done a fair bit of session work, and performed a number of times on television and radio.
I've also published a book of poetry, and written articles for various magazines.
I've written poetry for longer than I've written songs, but I never expected to publish any of it. I guess I mostly thought of writing as a cathartic release. I started using one or two poems as part of my concerts, and people kept coming up afterwards and asking if they could get copies, so eventually I decided to put a collection together. It's called
...For the last ten years I've mainly played music with my wife, Brenda Liddiard. Brenda is a fine songwriter and mandolin player, and we make a complimentary team. We've gigged extensively throughout New Zealand, Australia and England and recorded three collaborations, as well as supporting each other on our various projects. As a matter of interest, in 1999 we did 126 gigs, and - in the course of three tours - slept in 58 beds (not counting our own). We play at festivals, churches, folk clubs, house concerts, cafes ... all sorts. Whenever it's practical, we work unplugged (no mics), as intimate as possible.
The Proverb says that "two are better than one" and Brenda and I have been enriched and had our fields of influence and have ended up with a wider audience. This has, for instance, brought more ecology awareness (a strongpoint of Brenda's) into Christian circles and a spiritual perspective into the
At the moment I have no regular work but am doing bits of lots of things - gigging, guitar teaching, writing, organising tours, house-husbanding, study. All these things are interesting and worthwhile, although most don't pay well. But we always get looked after!
Excerpts from Arts Dialogue, October 2000, pages 5 - 9.
We currently have two albums available (CD only): "Heart Attack" (1996) and "Millennium Hippies" (1999). Both cost NZ$26 within New Zealand or NZ$30 overseas.
I'm currently working on a solo album.
Arts Dialogue, Dintel 20, NL 7333 MC, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands