Getting ready for a swim: ep launch review

By Carla Jenkins

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Getting ready for a swim requires quite a bit of thought. There are so many options, things to take into consideration. One needs to pack a bag, find a place. The sea? Or a swimming pool? What about goggles, a swimming cap, a towel? Are you going to exercise? Or just float? Is it going to be cold? Do you mind it? The cold?

You get there. Maybe you’re outside. And it is cold - its freezing. You thought you were prepared, but you weren’t really, because no one can ever really prepare you for that initial shock of how cold the North sea is. But you get in anyway, because you wanted to, and you know you’ll enjoy it when you’re there. Then you’re in. And it is cold, like you knew it was, and the tide is coming in, like you knew it would, and in the water the choices you made feel so small and insignificant that you forget it was a culmination of those choices that led you all the way down to that beach in the first place. It is both strange and familiar. You are in the water, you are swimming, you are there. You and the water. That’s all there is. You. The water. 

The album launch of Amy Hill & Cameron Newell’s debut EP, ‘Getting Ready for a Swim’ in the Barron Theatre on the 21st of April was a little like getting ready for a swim. There were so many choices made; so many different counterparts. There was the recording, the decorating of the venue, the support acts, the different instruments, and different people who all came for different reasons: to see a great friend play, to see a great musician play, to support music in St. Andrews, to justify the excitement that was surrounding the launch. There were choices made and things to consider. 


You got there, and it was a little like getting into the water.

There was the initial shock of seeing so many people in a small place, of the heat, of the beautiful seashells and ferns and trees that decorated the usually black and bare room. There was the shock of seeing older musicians who used to frequent St. Andrews streets, Josh Fuchs and Chris Andrews - how much they’ve changed, what they’ve done, and how they’re still the same. And then there was the familiarity of it: a beautiful new suite of songs with new instruments and new arrangements, all meshed with a voice so familiar as Amy’s to anyone who listens to the music of this town. The strange and the familiar, the choices that culminated into the one record. And then you get the CD, and you read the booklet and feel the design, then the music started and you were in the water. You and the music. The water. The music. You. 

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That’s what Amy Hill & Cameron Newell’s record, played live, made you feel: like you were at one with the water of St. Andrews, the music that reverberates in the waters of this town. That you were swimming, and you didn’t have anywhere else that you wanted to be. 

I wrote for Hearing Aid a couple of years back about Music is Love, and I said two notable things. The first was this: “St. Andrews, as a town, is a place that on the surface appears consistent but is, in fact, ever evolving. One can walk along its edges, right down by The Scores, by those jagged cliff-like rocks that jut out over the water of Castle Sands, and muse upon the fact that it looks exactly the same as it did when you first walked there, years back. But, in reality, taking into account what we know about precipitation, climate change, and the gradual crumbling of the edges of those rocks into the sea that is creeping ever higher, one is forced to admit that the spot they are standing in is never the same as it was; in a couple of years when they come back and stand again, in that same spot, it will be completely different once again”. The second was that “it is an exciting time to be in love with music”. The launch of Getting Ready for a Swim proved to me that both sentiments, although years on, are still right and proper. No matter what changes, or whoever leaves and returns, or leaves and doesn’t return, or who remains - thanks to Amy Hill & Cameron Newell, it is still an exciting time to be in love with music.