History of the 11th Hour

11th hour at prayer?
11th hour at prayer?

1991 After several years as a rock music fan, Paul Jackson buys a guitar and tries to emulate his musical heroes. Tries to record a Beatles song on a cassette machine and pens a few (thankfully) long-forgotten songs.

Paul playing guitar 1992
Paul playing guitar 1992

1992 With help from a guitarist friend called Alan, masters the guitar further and writes another song, Private State. Not too good, but playing and singing coming on well.

1993 Becomes a born-again Christian – still interested in music, but begins to write songs about his new-found faith.

1994 Paul meets Russell Dyer at Grove Free Evangelical Church, Oxfordshire. Russell is also a guitar player and songwriter. The two hit it off immediately and begin playing and writing together. ‘Spirit From Above’ is first significant effort. Paul buys a Fostex 4 track cassette machine and gets stuck into making demo recordings.

1995 Paul & Russell write and record more songs. They meet guitarist and songwriter Steve Gascoyne whilst the duo are leading a service at Hanney Mission. It is nearly a year before all three work together. ‘Don’t Throw Your Love Away’ written this year.

Paul in the 'studio' 1995
Paul in the ‘studio’ 1995
Russell recording 1995
Russell recording 1995

1996 Paul, Russell and Steve start to work together with various jamming sessions. Paul makes more demos at home. Not so many new songs this year, but the threesome are gelling well. Band work on each member’s strongest material.

Russell, Paul & Steve 1996
Russell, Paul & Steve 1996

1997 Jez Fernandez joins as drummer upon returning to Wantage from university. First gig, as the ‘Jesus Loves You Free Electric Band’ in Abbey Meadow, Abingdon. Pretty hot – weather wasn’t bad either!

Abbey Meadow gig 1997
Abbey Meadow gig 1997
Russell at Abbey Meadow gig 1997
Russell at Abbey Meadow gig 1997
Jez at Abbey Meadow gig 1997
Jez at Abbey Meadow gig 1997
Steve at Abbey Meadow gig 1997
Steve at Abbey Meadow gig 1997

Later in the year, Paul buys an 8 track tape machine and a decent mixer – the sky’s the limit! They play at roadie Dave Owsnett’s engagement party at Abingdon school in December. Paul prefers to forget his attempt at ‘Everybody Needs Somebody to Love’ singalong with Afican gospel choir. Cue stoney faces and silence in the hall!

1998 Band plays at a youth event in Garford as ‘11th Hour’, a name coined by David Henderson from church. Many of the songs have evolved well and the band seems to be getting more and more proficient. In December band start recording three songs in two days at ‘Stanford Sound’. Project actually finishes at end of May 99!

Stanford Sound

Jez & Russell recording at Stanford Sound 1999
Jez & Russell recording at Stanford Sound 1999

1999 Big Christmas gig for friends and family in Grove village hall. Quite good actually – even if ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ will never be the same again! Paul Hazell joins band as keyboardist. Paul J writes ‘Marred’ (about Northern Ireland) and ‘My Inspiration’.

Grove December 1999
Grove December 1999

2000 Year begins with the ‘Calling Earth EP’. Recorded with help from Mike Parsons at Grace Baptist Mission studio, Abingdon. Three songs are attempted, and finished off at ‘Stanford Sound’. EP is a bit of a mixed bag but certainly the most professional sound yet achieved. Copies of the EP are sent out to various organisations. Band plays UCB ‘Cross Rhythms’ festival in July (how did we land that gig??) and youth events in Faringdon (Sept) and Littlehampton (Nov).

Cross Rhythms 2000
Cross Rhythms 2000
Cross Rhythms, Okehampton, July 2000
Cross Rhythms, Okehampton, July 2000

Russ’s ‘Hope In The Saviour’ helps give the gigs a very direct focus on the Gospel. The 11th Hour’s star is rising and there is talk of it fast becoming Wantage’s best contemporary Christian band! 😉

2001 Unbeknown to them, band plays last gig at the Q Gundersen’s ‘Impulse’ event in Faringdon in February. Also performs four songs ‘live to air’ at UCB Cross Rhythms radio station in Stoke, the day before final gig.

Outside UCB, Feb 2001
Outside UCB, Feb 2001

The band can now go in a new direction, but not all are keen to pursue the commercial route via Cross Rhythms. By now the band is taking up a lot of time and, with wives and babies on the way, the band goes into hibernation….

2004 After a large investment in the facilities at Stanford Sound, band begins to record semi-live album Milestone, a collection of their best tracks so far. They attempt to record the songs as live as possible in an attempt to recreate the songs as they were performed on stage. However, some of the songs evolve during practice sessions and the band decide to record these more interesting versions for posterity.

Seck mixing desk, Stanford Sound, 2005
Seck mixing desk, Stanford Sound, 2005
Andy & Russell, Stanford Sound, 2005
Andy & Russell, Stanford Sound, 2005
Let there be drums! Stanford Sound, 2004
Let there be drums! Stanford Sound, 2004

2005 Recording continues at Stanford Sound, spurred on by the fact that Paul will be getting married early 2006!

2006 Milestone released on limited edition CD in February.

March 25th 2006 – Photo opportunity at Paul & Liz’s wedding.

Paul & Liz's wedding, 2006
Paul & Liz’s wedding, 2006