Photo by Dash Jones

Simon playing his debut Sydney show at the Petersham Bowling Club on Sunday 17th March TIX HERE

Simon and the Harmonic Sun Travellers

The release of Simon and the Harmonic Sun Travellers Every Day in The Sun on Half a Cow Records is the fulfilment of a long-held dream for the records creator, singer and guitar player Simon McLean.

“I’ve been playing the majority of these songs with children for years and always hoped one day to collect them together on a record, presenting them as a journey through the seasons”.

Music has been a lifelong passion for Simon, starting back in early childhood himself, sitting in front of his grandparents’ record player in the 1970s, totally entranced by a Patsy Biscoe record!

Simon joined his first band Jupiter, at 18, playing on the Sydney music scene, with a few EPs released on the Summershine label in the early 90s. Moving to the UK, he eventually formed another band January, who were signed in 2000 to Alan McGee’s Poptones label, releasing their debut album “I Heard Myself In You” internationally in 2001.

Fast forward into another lifetime, Simon found himself living in the Northern Rivers of NSW. While working as an early childhood teacher, ideas for arrangements and how the album could sound started to form. In spring 2022 the timing was finally right and the sessions for Every Day in The Sun took place at Golden Tone Studios in South Golden Beach, north of Byron Bay. The studio’s owner Diego Zaragoza recorded the album, also adding percussion, banjo and backing vocals.

“I was keen for the record to have the warmth and ‘live’ feel of a classic record from the 70s. We worked quickly, getting the songs down over four days, recording onto tape and using some beautiful vintage gear”.

“We recorded my vocals and guitar together without headphones, just as I would if sitting and playing to children”.

Simon was also joined by a rhythm section consisting of Rod Coe on double bass and Ben Cox on drums, his daughter Sylvie playing violin on two songs and singing on several others, Bella Vita also playing violin, Seraph Hrubos on piano and a small children’s choir on several songs. Backing vocals were added by Eryn Wright, a friend and former preschool colleague of Simons. Pedal steel and dobro were added by Brisbane based musician and songwriter Danny Widdicombe.

As well as including several well-known children’s songs such as “Puff the Magic Dragon” and “Skip to My Lou” there are several songs Simon has learned over the years while teaching, such as “Shake Shake the Apple Tree”, “Old Man Winter” and “All the Birds Have Come Again”. Also included are several cover versions by artists from the 60s and 70s: “It’s a Beautiful Day Today” by Moby Grape, “Lily Pond” by Vashti Bunyan and “Thank You” by Tully. Songs with themes of wonder, joy and gratitude, all of which are a perfect fit for the record.

Two of Simons original songs can also be found, “Chicky Chicky Chick Bok Bok” (released as a single with accompanying video), a fun and catchy song that children take great delight in. Also, the title track “Everyday in The Sun” which is a simple message for children about universal love.

“Making this record has been one of the happiest experiences of my life and I hope the love and thought that has gone into it comes across and that it will bring joy to children for a long time”.

*****

“Chicky Chicky Chick Bok Bok” is the first (digital only) single to be released on Half a Cow Records from Simon and the Harmonic Sun Travellers debut album Every day in the sun.

A catchy song that children take great delight in; it came to life spontaneously one evening when trying to encourage Simon’s dachshund pup Harry to eat his chicken dinner.

With Simon clucking the tune and doing a chicken dance, the family found to their great hilarity that it worked – and Harry ate all his dinner up! Simon grabbed his guitar, and the tune was complete.

When playing it to children soon after, Simon found that it became an instant hit and number one requested song, the children often inspired to get up to do some free-style chicken dancing of their own.

To capture this, a video was made in Byron Bay where Simon lives, by a young resident film-maker Dash Jones and featuring many local children, some of whom Simon has worked with in the past when they were at preschool.

Also appearing is Simon’s daughter Sylvie, who sings and plays violin on the record, along with dancing chicken Eryn Wright who also sings on many of the songs.

“It’s a light-hearted song and purely intended to be fun. I really enjoy playing it for children and I think that adds to its appeal. They really live into the joy of it, so I wanted to share that for children as far and wide as possible!”

Video

Director of Photography and Edit – Dash Jones: interlude-wrld.com

“We acknowledge the Bundjalung people, the traditional custodians of the Country on which this was created”

Chicky Chicky Chick Bok Bok
released 8th September 2023

Every Day In The Sun
released 22nd September 2023

Discography


Every Day In The Sun (hac264)
released on cd by Half A Cow September 2023

Over in the bush
Shake shake the apple tree
My little rooster
Puff the magic dragon (Peter Paul & Mary cover)
There’s a worm at the bottom of my garden
Old man winter
This little light
Growing song
Chicky chicky chick bok bok
The garden song
All the birds have come again
Skip to my lou
It’s a beautiful day today (Moby Grape cover)
Lily pond (Vashti Bunyan cover)
Thank you (Tully cover)
Every day in the sun

Simon McLean: singing, acoustic and electric guitar

Sylvie McLean: singing, violin (songs 1 & 11)

Eryn Wright: singing

Diego Zaragoza: percussion, banjo, harmonica, singing

Bella Vita: violin

Rod Coe: double bass

Ben Cox: drums

Danny Widdicombe: dobro and pedal steel

Seraph Hrubos: piano

Children singing: Malia Barron, Rosie Barron, Seraph Hrubos, Autumn Manu-Gorman, Sylvie McLean, Leia Zaragoza, Levi Zaragoza

Recorded and mixed by Diego Zaragoza at Golden Tone Studios, South Golden Beach NSW Australia. Mastered by Adam Dempsey. Artwork and design by Anouk Smith.

P & C 2023 Simon McLean. Licensed to Half A Cow Records


Chicky Chicky Chick Bok Bok (hac264a)
released by Half A Cow, August 2023

online release from Every Day In The Sun