5 Songs That Inspired My New Album 'Rolling Down The Road'

Photo by Mark Howe.

Photo by Mark Howe.

On August 23 2019, my new album Rolling Down The Road is going to be released into the world…
This will be my third album for families and when making this record I really wanted to push myself and try new things. I thought it would be fun to share some of the music that inspired me in the making of this album and, in doing so, give you a taste of what’s to come!

Below are five videos of songs that have in someway inspired or influenced the making of Rolling Down The Road. As you’ll see, it’s a fairly eclectic mix… I hope you enjoy listening/reading!


#1 Once In A Lifetime - Talking Heads

I’ve always loved the Talking Heads and admired the way they make music that’s eclectic and sophisticated without sacrificing brilliant, uplifting and catchy melodies. I was listening to a lot of their music when I was writing this new album, and I was really inspired to try and replicate their use of layers of rhythms and melodies. You can really hear it in the song above ‘Once In A Life Time’. I don’t think I’d ever be able to match David Byrne for sheer charisma though…

#2 Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? - The Shirelles

I wrote at least four songs for Rolling Down The Road inspired by the music of those early 60s girls groups, two of which made it onto the album.

About two years ago I caught a BBC 6 Music documentary all about the 60s girl groups. Groups like The Supremes, The Shirelles, The Marvelettes and Martha Reeves and The Vandellas, who’s music bridged that gap between British Invasion rock ‘n’ roll and bubblegum pop. There’s such a charming innocence and beauty to these songs, sung by groups who were often teenagers themselves. I think I wrote at least four songs for Rolling Down The Road inspired by the music of those early 60s girls groups, two of which made it onto the album. The song above, written by Carole King and performed by The Shirelles is one of my all time favourites.

#3 Have You Seen My Baby? - Randy Newman

His song writing has such a swagger to it and I just can’t get enough of it.

To be honest every record I’ve made has been inspired by the music of Randy Newman (see ‘The Cat Came Too’ on Climb That Tree, and ‘Monkey See Monkey Dream’ on Letters Through Your Door). His music is very special to me, and my partner Ellie has had to get used to hearing his albums and film soundtracks played at regular intervals in the car and round the house. With this record I wanted to try and capture that rock and roll feel he does so well. His song writing has such a swagger to it and I just can’t get enough of it. The track above is a perfect example.

#4 My Perfect Cousin - The Undertones

I’ve always tried to avoid worrying about genre when I’m writings songs. If it feels good then it probably is good is what I’ve found in the past (see Teddy At The Disco). Anyway after watching a (not spectacular) film about Good Vibrations, the record label that discovered The Undertones, I has a bit of a binge through their back catalogue. There’s a freedom and joy in punk rock that I think is missing from music these days. It doesn’t have to be clever it just has to feel good and come from an honest place. At least one track on Rolling Down The Road was directly inspired by that punk rock sound and ethos.

#5 Spring Spring Spring - Seven Brides For Seven Brothers

I wanted to go all out with a track on this new record and create a song that’s all jazz hands and tap shoes

I’m a big fan of musical theatre, particularly the old MGM films and the classics. You can hear little glimpses of this in my song writing, but I wanted to go all out with a track on this new record and create a song that’s all jazz hands and tap shoes. Seven Brides For Seven Brothers has some of the finest songs ever written and, whilst these days not remotely in any way politically correct (kidnapped women who eventually fall in love and marry their captors… just no!), is still a beautiful, hilarious and moving piece of cinema. It’s always been an ambition of mine to write a musical for families. Watch this space.


So there you are! Don’t forget you can order my new album Rolling Down The Road below, and see if you can spot all these influences when you’re listening. I really hope you enjoyed reading!

Rolling Down The Road CD Album (pre order)
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5 Reasons Why You Should Start Making Music For Families...

To any fellow musicians out there feeling a bit disenchanted with the rat race, here’s 5 reasons why you should start making music for families.

1. It's liberating!

Kids don’t have any real concept of genre. They don’t care if it’s punk rock, gypsy jazz or hip hop. This means that as a songwriter you can write in any genre and any style you want without someone saying “but I thought you were an ‘insert genre here’ artist?

2. Your audience will always be honest.

If children like your songs they’ll tell you by dancing like crazy, or sitting at the front and singing along to every single word. They haven’t learnt all the rubbish stuff about being cool which goes with ‘grown up’ music.

3. Your music will have a lasting impact!

Know that warm fuzzy feeling you get when as an adult you revisit your favourite book as a child? That’s the same feeling children will have when they hear your songs as an adult and, if you’re lucky play them to their own children too.

4. Your fans will be grateful.

I’ve lost count of the amount of times parents have said that my albums have saved them on a long a car journey! In the UK there’s really not much children’s music out there but there is a huge appetite for quality music for families.

5. It’s inspiring.

So many of my songs have come from things that children have said to me in workshops and gigs (such as this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KZroKtezdk). Children’s minds lack that boring grown-up filter we all acquire and I regularly feel humbled to be able to make music for an audience with such a huge imagination and inspiring outlook on the world.


So there you are. If you’re looking for great music for families I’d highly recommend (and this is just scratching the surface!) Brady Rymer and the Little Band That CouldThe Okee Dokee BrothersDog on Fleas,Andrew & Polly and in the UK nick copeMrs H and the Sing-along Band and Johnny and the Raindrops.

New video: TIFFY TAFFY TOFFEE

I’m delighted to reveal a brand new music video! I’ve always been a huge fan of poet, author and all round smarty pants Michael Rosen, so I was delighted when he gave me permission to turn one of his brilliant poems into a song!

The poem is called Tiffy Taffy Toffee and is a wonderful bit of nonsense word play to get your tongue around. We had a lot of fun making the video and finding all sorts of strange things to appear behind me whilst I performed the song.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel if you enjoy it!