Gary Miller Songs

"As a song poet there are few in the world today to match him"
Green Man Review, USA

 

From Coalfield to Battlefield

 

'From Coalfield to Battlefield' is a collection of songs based on true stories of The Durham Light Infantry.

 

Illustration by Helen Temperley © 2018

 

Background

In October 2017, Gary was approached by the DLI Research and Study Centre at Seven Hills, Spennymoor, County Durham, England, asking for permission to use his song 'The Durham Light Infantry' in 'When the Bugle Calls', a travelling exhibition about the music of The Durham Light Infantry.


‘The Durham Light Infantry’ was only the second song Gary ever wrote for The Whisky Priests, back in 1985. it was eventually recorded and released as the final track on the band’s debut album ‘Nee Gud Luck’ in 1989.


Gary made the important decision to revisit this old song and bring it more up-to-date with revised lyrics and a brand new arrangement for brass. Working with his regular producer Iain Petrie at Awake Music!, a brass arrangement was created and a complete score, written by Iain and professional music scorer Sam Lord. The finished score was then presented by Gary to Ferryhill Town Band, who took up the challenge of performing and recording the piece specially for the project.

 

The original version of 'The Durham Light Infantry'
written by Gary in 1985 and recorded by The Whisky Priests
for the band's debut album 'Nee Gud Luck' in 1989.

The score for the brass band arrangement of the
new version of 'The Durham Light Infantry'
(Arranged by Iain Petrie and scored by Sam Lord).

 

In the meantime, Gary presented another song, 'Euphonium and Cornet', to the DLI Research and Study Centre for consideration, which led to two further songs being commissioned.


This initial batch of songs was recorded in November 2017 at Awake Music!, produced by Iain Petrie.

'The Durham Light Infantry' and 'Euphoium and Cornet' were included in the exhibition, as stories, images and sound files.

Meanwhile, all four songs were performed at the 'When the Bugle Calls' launch event at Bishop Auckland Town Hall on 5th December 2017 (see below).

In addition, Gary's creative partner, artist, illustrator and graphic designer Helen Temperley (Helen Temperley Illustration) was commissioned to produce artwork for each of the songs and some of these were also featured as part of the exhibition.
 

Development

Following the theme of true stories of individuals connected with the Durham Light Infantry, as presented in the above songs, Gary and Helen gave themselves the challenge of expanding the project into a full album and deluxe book of illustrations, lyrics and accompanying text (in a similar vein to 'Mad Martins'), drawing on further personal stories of their own family members, friends' family histories and other stories that chart the history of the DLI to create a further batch of songs (see below for some examples of these), throwing themselves passionately into the project throughout 2018.

Meanwhile, the project was further expanded by the DLI Research and Study Centre, in partnership with Beamish Museum, with Gary & Helen being commissioned to deliver a series of songwriting and art workshops for schools throughout the County Durham region in late-2018/early-2019. 

 

DLI EP

The four initial songs were released as Download Singles throughout 2017 and 2018, with 'The Durham Light Infantry' [Vocal Version] b/w 'The Durham Light Infantry' [Instrumental Version] also receiving a limited release on CD (Whippet Records WPTCD26) of 200 copies which quickly sold out.


In 2019, Whippet Records finally released all four songs together as the 'DLI EP', a strictly limited edition CD of only 100 copies (WPTCD28), also available as a Digital Download.


Track listing:

The Final Letter of Jimmy Durham

Ballad of Lance-Sergeant William Stones

Euphonium and Cornet

The Durham Light Infantry

Illustration and Design by Helen Temperley © 2019

 
 

The Songs

 

'The Durham Light Infantry'

Illustration and Design by Helen Temperley © 2018

Originally written in 1985 for The Whisky Priests and recorded for the band's debut album 'Nee Gud Luck in 1989, this new version features revised lyrics and a full brass band arrangement.


Lyrics and further information : - HERE


The backing track, performed by Ferryhill Town Band was recorded live at Mainsforth and District Institute, Ferryhill, on 28th November 2017. Gary added lead vocals at Awake Music! Studio, Spittal, on 30th November. The sessions were engineered and produced by Gary's regular producer Iain Petrie.

 

'The Durham Light Infantry' was originally released as the first advance CD and Download Single from 'From Coalfiled to Battlefield' and later as part of the 'DLI EP'.

Gary Miller & Ferryhill Town Band 'The Durham Light Infantry'
official promotional video with lyrics.

Ferryhill Town Band running through 'The Durham Light Infantry'
at the backing track recording session
at Mainsforth and District Institute, Ferryhill, on 28th November 2017.

 

'Ballad of Lance-Sergeant William Stones'

Illustration and Design by Helen Temperley © 2018

This details the tragic story of Joseph William Stones, a previously-decorated DLI soldier from Crook who was executed in WW1 for alleged cowardice.


Lyrics and further information : - HERE


The song, featuring Gary solo on vocal and acoustic guitar, was recorded live at Awake Music! Studio, Spittal, in October 2017. The session was engineered and produced by Gary's regular producer Iain Petrie.

 

'Ballad of Lance-Sergeant William Stones' was originally released as the second advance Download Single from 'From Coalfiled to Battlefield and later as part of the 'DLI EP'.

Gary Miller 'Ballad of Lance-Sergeant William Stones'
official promotional video with lyrics.

 

'Euphonium and Cornet'

Illustration and Design by Helen Temperley © 2018

A personal tale, telling the fascinating true story of Gary’s great-uncles Joseph (Joe) and George Mains, Colliery Bandsmen as well as DLI Bandsman during WW2.


Lyrics and further information : - HERE


The song was recorded at Awake Music! Studio, Spittal, in October 2017. The session was engineered and produced by Gary's regular producer Iain Petrie.

 

'Euphonium and Cornet' was originally released as the third advance Download Single from 'From Coalfiled to Battlefield and later as part of the 'DLI EP'.

Illustration by Helen Temperley © 2017

             Illustration by Helen Temperley © 2017

 

'The Final Letter of Jimmy Durham'

Illustration and Design by Helen Temperley © 2018

Delicately chronicles the incredible story of James Francis Durham, DLI Bandsman and the first regular black soldier in the British Army.

Lyrics and further information : - HERE

The song was recorded at Awake Music! Studio, Spittal, in October 2017. The session was engineered and produced by Gary's regular producer Iain Petrie.

 

'The Final Lettter of Jimmy Durham' was originally released as the fourth advance Download Single from 'From Coalfiled to Battlefield' and later as part of the 'DLI EP'.

 

'Night Terrors'

Illustration by Helen Temperley © 2018

The true story of Helen's grandfather, Sergeant Wilfred 'Pip' Temperley, who served in the 2nd DLI Regiment during World War 2, taking part in the forgotten yet decisive Battle of Kohima (aka the 'Stalingrad of the East'), including the part famously known as the 'Battle of the Tennis Court'.


 

'Miss Nightingale's Man'

The true story of drummer-boy Robert Robinson who became Florence Nightingale's errand boy, and later protege, during the Crimean War.


Lyrics and further information : - HERE

Gary performing 'Miss Nightingale's Man' 
at Whippet Records HQ, Ferryhill, County Durham, England, 5th December 2017.

 

'When the Bugle Sounds'

The true story of John Green, a Private in the 68th through Wellington's Penninsula Campaign during the Napoleonic Wars, whose memoirs The Vicissitudes of a Soldier's Life describe his experiences with the regimant throughout the campaign.

 

'Across the Counter'

The true story of Whisky Priests bass player Michael Stephenson's grandparents, Rita and James Stephenson, who first met and fell in love at Swiss-Italian girl Rita's parents' restaurant in Lachen in German-speaking Switzerland, after James, a veteran of the North African campaign with the Durham Light Infantry, escapsed from an Italain Prisoner of War camp and made his way over the Alps into Switzerland.

 
 

'When the Bugle Calls' - The Exhibition

'When the Bugle Calls' was a year-long touring exhibition, featuring sounds and objects from the DLI Collection, starting at Bishop Auckland Town Hall in December 2017. After 4 months there, the exhibition went on to visit several other venues throughout different parts of the County Durham region.


Telling the story of the Music of the Durham Light Infantry, a section of the exhibtion was devoted to The Whisky Priests alongside Gary and Helen's own contributions to the project. Furthermore, recordings of two of Gary's songs, 'The Durham Light Infantry' (featuring Ferryhill Town Band) and 'Euphonium and Cornet', were chosen to be included on listening posts at the exhibition.

 
 

'When the Bugle Calls' - Launch Event

The launch event for 'When the Bugle Calls' was held at Bishop Auckland Town Hall on 5th December 2017. Accompanied by musician friends Mick Tyas on bouzouki and backing vocals, Iain Petrie on bass and backing vocals and Jake Lucas on drums, Gary performed the four songs he had written for the project to date, as well as a fifth song, 'The Boys of Durham' (a pub song written by a soldier of the DLI during World War 1) featuring Mick on lead vocals, to an invited audience of V.I.P. guests. Two members of Ferryhill Town Band, Steven King (euphonium) and Andrew Potts (cornet) also joined Gary on stage for 'Euphonium and Cornet'.


"Thank you very much for your contribution and the work of Helen, Iain and the rest of the team. The performance was fantastic and we were very pleased to include your story in our exhibition and document your story as part of our DLI history." (Gillian Kirkbride, Museums, Heritage and Collections Manager - Growing and Learning)

 

Gary performing 'Ballad of Lance-Sergeant William Stones'
live at the 'When the Bugle Calls' Launch Event,
Bishop Auckland Town Hall, County Durham, England, 5th December 2017.

Gary Miller & Friends performing 'Euphonium and Cornet'
live at the 'When the live at the 'When the Bugle Calls' Launch Event,
Bishop Auckland Town Hall, County Durham, England, 5th December 2017.

 
  • left-right : - Mick Tyas, Gary Miller, Iain Petrie
    left-right : - Mick Tyas, Gary Miller, Iain Petrie
  • left-right : - Mick Tyas, Gary Miller, Iain Petrie
    left-right : - Mick Tyas, Gary Miller, Iain Petrie
  • left-right : - Mick Tyas, Gary Miller, Iain Petrie
    left-right : - Mick Tyas, Gary Miller, Iain Petrie
  • left-right : - Mick Tyas, Gary Miller, Iain Petrie
    left-right : - Mick Tyas, Gary Miller, Iain Petrie
  • left-right : - Mick Tyas, Gary Miller, Iain Petrie
    left-right : - Mick Tyas, Gary Miller, Iain Petrie
  • left-right : - Mick Tyas, Gary Miller, Iain Petrie
    left-right : - Mick Tyas, Gary Miller, Iain Petrie
  • left-right : - Mick Tyas, Gary Miller, Iain Petrie
    left-right : - Mick Tyas, Gary Miller, Iain Petrie
  • left-right : - Mick Tyas, Gary Miller, Iain Petrie, Jake Lucas
    left-right : - Mick Tyas, Gary Miller, Iain Petrie, Jake Lucas
  • left-right : - Mick Tyas, Gary Miller, Jake Lucas, Iain Petrie
    left-right : - Mick Tyas, Gary Miller, Jake Lucas, Iain Petrie
  • left-right : - Mick Tyas, Gary Miller, Jake Lucas, Iain Petrie
    left-right : - Mick Tyas, Gary Miller, Jake Lucas, Iain Petrie
  • left-right : - Mick Tyas, Gary Miller, Jake Lucas, Iain Petrie
    left-right : - Mick Tyas, Gary Miller, Jake Lucas, Iain Petrie
  • left-right : - Mick Tyas, Gary Miller, Jake Lucas, Iain Petrie
    left-right : - Mick Tyas, Gary Miller, Jake Lucas, Iain Petrie
  • left-right : - Mick Tyas, Gary Miller, Jake Lucas, Iain Petrie
    left-right : - Mick Tyas, Gary Miller, Jake Lucas, Iain Petrie
  • left-right : - Mick Tyas, Gary Miller, Jake Lucas, Iain Petrie
    left-right : - Mick Tyas, Gary Miller, Jake Lucas, Iain Petrie
  • left-right : - Mick Tyas, Gary Miller, Jake Lucas, Iain Petrie
    left-right : - Mick Tyas, Gary Miller, Jake Lucas, Iain Petrie
  • Gary Miller
    Gary Miller
  • Gary Miller
    Gary Miller
  • left-right : - Andrew Potts, Gareth Sykes
    left-right : - Andrew Potts, Gareth Sykes
  • left-right : - Gareth Sykes, Andrew Potts, Steven King
    left-right : - Gareth Sykes, Andrew Potts, Steven King
  • left-right : - Gareth Sykes, Andrew Potts, Gary Miller, Steven King, Iain Petrie
    left-right : - Gareth Sykes, Andrew Potts, Gary Miller, Steven King, Iain Petrie
  • left-right : - Gareth Sykes, Andrew Potts, Gary Miller, Steven King, Iain Petrie
    left-right : - Gareth Sykes, Andrew Potts, Gary Miller, Steven King, Iain Petrie
  • left-right : - Gareth Sykes, Andrew Potts, Gary Miller, Steven King, Iain Petrie, Jake Lucas
    left-right : - Gareth Sykes, Andrew Potts, Gary Miller, Steven King, Iain Petrie, Jake Lucas
  • left-right : - Gareth Sykes, Andrew Potts, Gary Miller, Steven King, Iain Petrie, Jake Lucas
    left-right : - Gareth Sykes, Andrew Potts, Gary Miller, Steven King, Iain Petrie, Jake Lucas
left-right : - Mick Tyas, Gary Miller, Iain Petrie
left-right : - Mick Tyas, Gary Miller, Iain Petrie