"I just want to lift you up..."
It was just after the millennium had rolled through and we were all still here. The world hadn't ended, despite the warnings of computer systems malfunctioning. It would be another 12 years before such paranoia would strike again and for the moment life had returned to normal... well...normalish.
I had been living in Wales for a few years playing with my band Little Gaia. We had trodden the coast road for many months playing bars, surf clubs and festivals.
I've always been drawn to music I don't understand and for the years running up to this point I had formed a great friendship with my drummer Justin. Our paths had joined at a mutual love of playing congas. We'd spent days learning rhythms in the kitchen of my tumbled down farmhouse in the foothills outside Aberystwyth. In its previous life it had been a cow shed. It was a huge room. The floor was concrete and congas sounded amazing in there.
Being an experienced drummer Justin was quick to learn new rhythms. I often struggled to keep up. Anyone who has ever picked up an instrument and tried to learn something new knows that feeling. You are forming new neural pathways, it takes time and it's hard but when you get it, it's all worth it. Despite my bruised hands and aching head the congas had sneaked their way to becoming a new obsession. Opening up a new way of writing and ushering in a new rhythm.
Years later, I had been suffering with shingles for a number of weeks. Justin had invited me to help out with his classes at a national percussion meet. I started the day in pain but at some point during the classes I couldn't feel it any more, by the time we were packing up the van and heading home for the night I felt great. It was the first time I had felt the pain disappear for weeks and I couldn't believe it. I don't confess to know exactly what happened, maybe it was the increase in circulation from hitting the skins with my hands all day? Perhaps it was something to do with our shared experience playing music. Or perhaps it could have been the sound itself. Whatever happened, it was another confirmation to me that music is wonderful.... literally, filled with wonder and I was grateful.
One of the hardest things I have ever had to do was to decide to stop playing with the band in Wales. I had found a group of like minded musicians and we were enjoying every moment of it. Despite riding high, wanderlust had crept in, the world beyond our patch was calling and I knew most of the band couldn't come with me.
Before I packed up and left the green hills of Wales for the last time and inspired by my time with Justin in my stinky old kitchen I sat down and wrote the outline for a song called lift. Five years later after traveling round the world I eventually returned to the sketch that I recorded with my friend and began to piece together a new album.
You can download the full version of Lift for free by clicking the button below and signing up to my mailing list. ( more info...FAQ )
If you like the track you might like to check out the rest of the album 'Hold on to the rhythm'
"Laid back grooves, sun soaked open roads and a healthy dose of wonder."
Justin Fellows currently lives in Bristol and is the percussive inspiration behind many successful Bristol bands. Be sure to look out for his long awaited project The Justin Fellows Trio.