Tag: folk

New Music Friday: Josh Wylie

Northants singer-songwriter Josh Wylie creates catchy melodies that mix folk with indie-pop. His latest single ‘Rockets In Your Mind’ is his best yet, so New Boots took the time to…

Northants singer-songwriter Josh Wylie creates catchy melodies that mix folk with indie-pop. His latest single ‘Rockets In Your Mind’ is his best yet, so New Boots took the time to get some background from him.

How did you start writing and performing?
I began performing from an early age treading the boards at my local theatre in Finedon, Northamptonshire. When I was in my teenage years I began to write down lyrics that came to me and I’d record the melody on my phone and experiment with that. After pursuing a career in theatre and performing on the West End Stage I decided to follow my singer-songwriter roots. I picked up the guitar late, when I was twenty-one, at university, following a handful of lessons with a mate and a few beers – and self-taught myself from there. I’m by no means a Jimi Hendrix, but the acoustic guitar has helped me to forge my melodies and fuse them with my vocals; providing a new way of expressing myself.

How would you describe your sound?
Indie acoustic pop with a folky edge. I don’t really think about what genre I’m creating when I do it, it just sort of falls into that category I guess. Having an open mind to what you’re about to create is the secret I’d say. I never set out to ‘create a folk song’. I think I’d be limiting myself. Influence wise the main artist that I would go as far to say is my ‘idol’ [and I don’t use that term very often] is Frank Sinatra. The man had it all. The voice. The charisma. The stage presence. [I’ve released a swing covers album too, I like to be versatile].

What have you put out so far? What has been the reaction like?
I released my first major music video ‘Waiting Game’ in 2015 whilst at uni. I never expected the reaction it got. It’s hit over 30 thousand views to date. I don’t really know how it happened, but I’ll take it! University was a big social hub at the time. It was a massive creative community at the London College of Music and I think all the students really took note of each other’s work and there was a massive respect for ‘new music’.

Tell us everything about this new single, ‘Rockets In Your Mind’.
‘Rockets In Your Mind’ has been in my back catalogue for years! I think I actually wrote it way back in 2012 when I split with my ex-girlfriend. Breakups always make successful songs. It sounds cliche, but it’s true! It tells the story of a relationship that has reached breaking point. “Seems I’ve woke the rocket’s in your mind” is used metaphorically speaking to describe rocket-propelled missiles. These missiles are representative of the sheer destructive power of one’s mind, and the deadly damage it can cause. I’ve written a lot of songs but there’s just something about this song that makes it my favourite. It’s everything I’m about when it comes to music. It’s catchy, relatable and it make you want to grab the nearest chair, table or box and use it as a drum.

What are your live shows like?
My live shows vary. Acoustically speaking I often play small and intimate gigs. This year I’m focusing more on the studio and developing my songwriting. I want to have enough fresh music for the next decade! Last year was a really cool breakthrough year for me. Having performed my first so called ‘mini tour’ across Northamptonshire it was great to hit the scene sharing my music, but also to listen to the diverse talent that’s out there. Certain festivals that stood out for me were the likes of ‘Bardic Picnic’ in Northampton and ‘The Music Barn’ in Cranford. I’d definitely recommend either to any festival goer!

A proud moment was when I did a show at the Old Nag’s Head in Wollaston, now the Wollaston Inn. During the 60s and 70s it was famous for showcasing progressive bands of that era. Performing at any venue like that with such rich music history is an absolute blessing.

What has been your favourite Wylie musical moment of the past year?
Can I be cheeky and say two? I think having the opportunity to be a support act to Musical Youth has to be up there! Secondly, working with ‘Live in The Woods’ to film the music video to ‘Girl from Rosario’ was so much fun! Nature and music is just the best combination. I dare anyone to name a better one…

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
‘Hounds of Love’ by Kate Bush. One of the first artists I remember listening to, as my dad used to play all the concert and music videos. I think ‘Cloudbusting’ has to be my favourite from her. Anytime I play her music there’s a big feeling of nostalgia.

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have?
To just bring a smile to many people’s faces. Wherever I play and wherever I go. Playing abroad in Argentina was pretty cool. I have family in Australia and South Africa. They’re itching for me to play a show in their parts. Maybe it’ll happen one day!

‘Rockets In Your Mind’ is out now on the usual digital platforms

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New Music Friday: Joe B. Humbled

When he’s not furiously lashing at his guitar and spitting into a microphone [in firstly The Mobbs and latterly GoGo Loco] Joe Martin likes to show off his softer side with…

When he’s not furiously lashing at his guitar and spitting into a microphone [in firstly The Mobbs and latterly GoGo Loco] Joe Martin likes to show off his softer side with his Joe B. Humbled solo project. His new single might be his best song yet, the melancholy widescreen retro-pop of ‘To Be True’. New Boots gets the lowdown on the Northamptonians latest movements.

Please give us a bit of background to your solo project.
Playing as a solo artist came way before The Mobbs. I have a wide musical taste, so my solo projects have usually been an aside to experiment with lots of different styles. I started writing, playing and recording folk acoustic songs in my bedroom in 2003. From there I became obsessed with perfecting a finger-picking style. I was very interested in keeping everything as basic as possible. I’d try to write songs that wouldn’t need any other instruments or musicians – just my acoustic guitar and my voice. It remained like this for a long time. The Mobbs became the real backbone for my songwriting, but I continued to perform and record occasionally as an acoustic act. Right now I am in a sort of songwriting haven. I suddenly have the technology to multi-track properly, and can record and perform everything myself. I have been on quite a personal musical journey since The Mobbs finished last year. I’ve gone back to the music I grew up listening to, and have also opened myself up to a lot of contemporary music.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences for this solo work?
I’ve found myself back in love with 1960s soul and the funkier side of rock ‘n’ roll. I’ve also been highly influenced by the work of Dan Auerbach [The Black Keys] and his record label Easy Eye Sound. Due to my love of analogue recorded sounds I’ve got into artists on Daptone Records, and most recently a label called Big Crown. Traditional and contemporary American roots music has always been something that I get excited about. I’m digging everything from Sam Cooke to Alabama Shakes at the moment. My new experiments in sound are quite soulful, I would say, and there is still a blues influence in some of the songs too. I’m perhaps showing off my ability to sing and do harmonies as oppose making a two minute rock ‘n’ roll noise. Although I still have that outlet with GoGo Loco.

What was the reaction like to the Ten Odes LP of 2015, and also the more recent EP from last year?
Ten Odes was a quick demo collection of the acoustic folk/blues songs I had been performing from 2010 to 2015. It was just a stage in time where I thought I’d better record something. It was nice working with Nick Ellison (on fiddle) and doing a vocal duet with Leila Jane. I didn’t push Ten Odes too much so the reaction was as small, as I intended it to be. This was also the case with the How Did The Folly Begin EP. It was just a point where I needed to make a record of the songs I had been working on. I lost interest pretty quickly with that EP to be honest.

Tell us about this new song, ‘To Be True’.
‘To Be True’ is quite an old song that I hadn’t been able to use for anything previously. This was the first thing I recorded toward the end of last year. When I had finished recording ‘To Be True’ I kept on writing and recording fresher material spurred on by the success of how it had turned out.

Any plans for Joe B. Humbled shows?
I am hoping to put a Joe B. Humbled band together this year. I can just say [at the moment] I have some very talented musicians interested – which is very exciting. We shall see what happens!

Any favourite bands and/or venues in Northamptonshire?
I’ve had a lot of fun playing percussion and knocking about with The Keepers. Those guys have the lust for music that I had at that age and it’s a tonic to be around them and feel inspired by their enthusiasm for it all. For this reason as well as their brilliant songs these guys are probably my favourite band at the moment. I do also like seeing Kilamojo live. The thing about Northampton music is that there has always been a sea of genres and something for everyone, everywhere – long may it continue. I like The Pomfret Arms as a venue, and The Lab. There’s masses of positivity around and plenty of support for Northampton music – same as ever. There’s always new music popping up all the time too!

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
American Love Call by Durand Jones & The Indicators

What is your burning desire for this project in the future? What plans do you have?
I want to perfect some aspects of the recording side of it. I’m always working hard to get the right drum sound. Now that I am a drummer and obsessed with rhythm I realise that the drumming is really the most important part! My desires and plan is to have a fully rehearsed and tight backing group so I can perform my new songs to an audience with a full band. There are more songs ready and I will be releasing these online over the next couple of months.

To Be True is out now via Bandcamp [see below]

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Record review: Paul Weller ‘True Meanings’

PAUL WELLER True Meanings [Parlophone] He’s always been a hard worker, but still: these feel like prolific times for Weller. Working in continuous collaboration seems to fire him up, as…

PAUL WELLER
True Meanings [Parlophone]

He’s always been a hard worker, but still: these feel like prolific times for Weller. Working in continuous collaboration seems to fire him up, as this is his third album in 20 months. It’s a song from the first of those, ‘The Ballad Of Jimmy McCabe’ from his Jawbone soundtrack, which revealed a slight return to Weller’s folk balladeer side, after years of experimenting with the cutting up of rock this way and that. 

It was composing, a few years back, ‘Gravity’ – the lush, orchestrated, melancholic centre of True Meanings – that gave Weller the determination to construct an album in a far more bucolic style. ‘Gravity’ truly is a stunning, delicate 150 seconds of music, with an immaculate and precise string arrangement courtesy of decade-long sideman Andy Crofts. This sideman/woman influence is repeatedly important to this, his 14th solo album, as fairly demonstrated on bubbling opener ‘The Soul Searchers’: a modern string arrangement by the avant-garde musician Hannah Peel, multiple contributions from Villagers’ Conor O’ Brien, and an old-school Hammond solo by Rod Argent.

The album settles in well. Jazzer ‘Mayfly’ has a deft bluesy guitar solo from the former Jam guitarist Steve Brookes to enliven proceedings, whilst ‘Old Castles’ has a soul-stirring strings-assisted group arrangement that recalls his Heliocentric days back in the year 2000. ‘What Would He Say?’ is a lounge-shuffler that seems directed at the importance of keeping positive when bitterness is the easier option. It’s also the sole “The Moons track” on the album, as it unites bassist Crofts with Ben Gordelier on drums and Tom Heel on his Rhodes piano. Though the flugel horn solo means you aren’t mistaken who’s in charge!

‘Aspects’ is a serious piece of rumination, a Buddhist-like realisation of beauty/God coming from within. It’s a nod to Leonard Cohen and Cat Stevens, minor-chord patterns facing off with choral harmonies and swooping string lines. It also is, to put it bluntly, gorgeous, and worth the entry price alone. As the second half of the album begins there’s a couple of Erland Cooper [of prog-folkies Erland and the Carnival] collaborations that don’t quite hit the mark, and the album briefly drifts. Nothing to worry about though: here’s folk royalty Danny Thompson and Martin Carthy to breathe life into the ornate melody of ‘Come Along’, with Peel producing a fine Robert Kirby-style orchestral adjunction to some already heavily emotive moments in sound.

The last section of the album is a full of discovery, too. ‘Books’ adds sitar, Tampoura and Noel Gallagher on, er, pump organ to send us eastwards on a kaleidoscopic journey, whilst ‘Movin On’ has a lovely soaring vocal performance from the main man, who clearly still cares about what he has to deliver. ‘May Love Travel With You’ brings things around again: voice, guitar, and some widescreen Disney orchestration. Weller soundtracking your kids bedtime? Why not, he knows quite a bit about parenting. Closer ‘White Horses’ brings back Cooper, Argent and Gallagher for a finale that seals the deal: a fable about generosity directed at a younger audience, it’s a touching finish to an album that surprises throughout.

It was interesting to hear Weller dismiss last year’s well-received A Kind Revolution as merely “alright” in a recent issue of Mojo. Perhaps he knew how good the follow-up was going to be, and felt a moment of guilt. Maybe he was right though: whilst everyone has a different take on what the best Weller album/period is, True Meanings makes a robust case for being his best since his last 22 Dreams/Wake Up The Nation-era highpoint. Certainly there’s little doubt it will score high in many end of year polls.

Phil Moore

Live photo of Weller/Crofts by David Jackson

 

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Album review: Gerald Claridge

GERALD CLARIDGE Frisson [self-released] Claridge is a prominent face of the Northants folk scene, who has played with many cohorts in many guises over the years. A cursory glance around…

GERALD CLARIDGE
Frisson [self-released]

Claridge is a prominent face of the Northants folk scene, who has played with many cohorts in many guises over the years. A cursory glance around Discogs shows how he once made a folk-rock album way back in 1975 [with Nick Salomon, no less] as Oddsocks, makes reference to a private press solo album from 1990, and shows him as part of Tickled Pink during the noughties. He plays in a professional Ceilidh band as of now, and has seen fit to release another solo album of his own songs.

It is fortunate enough for us that he has recorded and released Frisson, for the Northampton singer has a deft touch with melody and arrangement that has not withered with age. Yes this is a ‘thin’ record [low production values, keyboard strings, some drum machines in place of actual drums] but it matter not a tot when you’re listening in. On Frisson we witness Claridge’s joie de vivre writ large; his folk spirit of bonhomie rising above any restrictions of time and finance. ‘So Far So Good’ sets off on the path of optimism, that continues on ‘Upside Down’, and indeed is rarely deviated from. 

‘Plain Clothes’ pays homage to McCartney-esque melody and guitar-picking, whilst ‘Rainy Day’ shows off his celtic soul/Kevin Rowland lilt to maximum effect. The middle of the album brings some light relief, with the nursery rhyme style of ‘Ten A Penny’, and an oompah ode to drinking and farting in a ‘Hot Tub’! Later still we get a tribute to the Beach Boys [‘Sound Of The Ocean’], which is a very un-Northampton thing to do, so much respect for that, Gerald. Squelching keys and clomping hooves introduce the lounge goodness of ‘Good Night’, and Frisson is completed with an instrumental ‘Wedding March’, hauntingly played on church organ by John Miller.

There’s a nice touch in the CD liner notes where Claridge gives a little explanation of the song, making the project feel intimate, the warm comfort blanket to accompany a glass of whiskey at the end of the day. For folk fans this is a “must investigate”.

Phil Moore

Frisson is out now on CD, available from Spiral Archive and Claridge directly

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Record review: Lew Bear ‘Love Light Dark And Death’

LEW BEAR Love Light Dark and Death [self-released] If there’s one thing that’s important to Daventry-based singer-songwriter Lew Bear, it’s returning to nature as often as he can. So much…

LEW BEAR
Love Light Dark and Death [self-released]

If there’s one thing that’s important to Daventry-based singer-songwriter Lew Bear, it’s returning to nature as often as he can. So much so, in fact, that several of his previous albums have been recorded in fields, or by streams. But now, with fifth album Love Light Dark And Death, he has decided that it’s time to return back to the studio.

Opening track ‘Devil You Know’ introduces the mood of the whole album with bouncing, crisp guitar strumming, while Lew Bear’s warm vocals are not too different to the cosy blanket you wrapped yourself in as a kid.

‘Going Home’ captures summer in a song, with lyrics such as “I won’t be there alone/in my mind/when I’m going home” bringing imagery of sunny days spent with your closest friends, whilst ‘Rumpelstiltskin’ hits upon a darker target. With acoustic guitars that sound foreboding and ominous, the song is eerily reminiscent of ’40s blues.

Songs like ‘The Wanderer’ and ‘Follow The River’ showcase Lew Bear’s jazz-styled vocals in a lower key, making him sound gloomy and encompassing. The guitar riffs also follow suit with simplistic strumming that boosts the singer’s voice to an even more powerful level. ‘Oh Death’, on the other hand, is deep and haunting, with echoing gongs punctuating the first hand story, from death’s point of view, of what happens to us when we reach the end.

‘Return To The Sea’ and ‘The End Is Never Near’ are album’s highlights, with their slow, calming melodies and soft vocals. ‘Return To The Sea’ is, musically, the perfect mixture of acoustic guitar and poetic lyrics, whilst ‘The End Is Never Near’ documents a love story to last for the ages.

Overall, Love Light Dark And Death is an album that couples folk music with a modern twist, resulting in a clear-cut sound that is neither dated nor out of place within the genre. Lew Bear has talent by the bucket load and he isn’t afraid to use it. This record is unique and warm, with a folk-blues sound that fits perfectly for those sunny Sunday afternoons spent in the countryside with the people you love.

Lucy Wenham

Love Light Dark and Death is out now for streaming, download or on CD

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Apr 4th – Apr 10th 2018

ADY JOHNSON + WHALE + SKYFLOOD Wednesday April 4th Rooftop Arts Centre, Corby Acoustic night from Kontra Roots, headlined by a Colchester singer-songwriter with rave-reviewed albums and national radio airplay. Support…

ADY JOHNSON + WHALE + SKYFLOOD
Wednesday April 4th
Rooftop Arts Centre, Corby
Acoustic night from Kontra Roots, headlined by a Colchester singer-songwriter with rave-reviewed albums and national radio airplay. Support from Market Harborough trio and local indie/alt-rock openers doing something a bit different from their usual set. Doors 7.30pm, free entry

EX-PETS + GOODNIGHT VENICE
Wednesday April 4th
The King Billy, Northampton
The regular Wednesday night original band night at the Billy: this week with local punks headlining and Bedford rockers also in action. Doors 8.30pm, free entry

CHRIS RONALD TRIO + LAB COLLAB ACOUSTIC
Thursday April 5th
The Lab, Northampton
A special appearance from the Chris Ronald Trio playing folk, all the way from Canada, packaged by the magical Clan Hannigan. Support from familiar faces from The Lab music crowd, but this time stripped bare and playing solo. Doors 7.30pm, donation requested on the door

THE SHARPEEZ
Thursday April 5th
The Black Prince, Northampton
Powerful original R&B from London in a Rory Gallagher/Dr. Feelgood stylee. Doors 8pm, free entry

SISTERAY + KARL PHILLIPS & THE REJECTS + THE MODERN AGE + PEACHES
Friday April 6th
The Black Prince, Northampton
”Butt-kickin’ new punk” say BBC 6 Music, Londoners Sisteray came together out of their shared love for bands such as The Smiths, Velvet Underground, The Clash and The Replacements. Support from well-travelled ShoeTown rap rockers, Corby indie upstarts, and local slacker pop to open proceedings. Expect mayhem of the best variety. Doors 7.30pm, £4.50 advance tickets

WISHING WOLF + LAST CHANCE + BLOOD-VISIONS + THE TOUCH
Friday April 6th
The White Hart, Corby
Road to the Hootenanny gig #1. Free Entry shows across April showcasing the best live original acts in the county, with a crowd vote at the end of the evening to decide who goes through to one final bout on June 22nd with the chance to win the opportunity of playing the main stage at our festival. Doors 8pm

BROOKE SHARKEY + THE BREWERS DAUGHTER + J KELLS
Friday April 6th
The Lab, Northampton
A candle-lit showcase of the warmest, most striking variety, Sharkey is compared with the likes of Kate Bush, Ane Brun and Cat Power. Meanwhile The Brewer’s Daughter are “a perfectly balanced brew of traditional and original folk music, featuring gutsy female vocals, an antique fiddle and a vintage 12-string guitar”. Doors 7pm, £4 on entry /£3 members

IRON BASTARDS + MOLOTOV SOULS
Sunday April 8th
The King Billy Rock Bar, Northampton
Fast rock’n’roll from Strasbourg France, plus metal/punk/ska from Coventry! Doors 4pm, free entry

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New Music Friday: Keiron Farrow

Northampton singer-songwriter Keiron Farrow today releases his new EP, Roundabout Queen Eleanor. Have a listen to it below.  New Boots speaks to him about the journey to here. What did…

Northampton singer-songwriter Keiron Farrow today releases his new EP, Roundabout Queen Eleanor. Have a listen to it below.  New Boots speaks to him about the journey to here.

What did you grow up listening to?
Well, my folks were really into soul and also ska and reggae. My dad was a collector, so mainly their records; lots of Stevie Wonder, Jr Walker – The Temptations were an astonishing group to me. I was also a massive Glen Miller fan and I loved The Beach Boys. I was heavily into James Brown at 14, but it was my aunt lending me Sgt. Pepper when I was 16 that really opened up the world of music making for me.

Give us a bit of background to your musical adventures that led you to now…
I started playing guitar two months before I turned 17, so quite late. But then I played pretty much every day for the next two years – even taking my guitar to work. I got a lot of stick from my mates and whatnot, who where mainly into rave music; whilst I was devouring everything I could get hold of in Daventry Library: from Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters, to Led Zeppelin, Bert Jansch and Bob Dylan. Then I played in local bands, started writing my own songs and kinda meandered along. I’d become quite jaded with playing in a band, trying to ‘make it.’ I’d started getting very serious about acoustic guitar after becoming obsessed with Nick Drake. I figured that playing solo would be the best way forward for me. I managed to establish myself fairly well in Northampton in the noughties as ‘The Bugs’ and played some great gigs, did some radio. Then other things – children, poetry, work – started to pull me in other directions. I got the urge again once my lad started school. I started a band, played some gigs, got frustrated with having to organise everything and everyone and decided to go out on my own again, so I guess I’ve come full circle.

This Brit folk/folk baroque style of music has fallen from favour, but it’s hard to imagine why. What led you to it?
Honestly, I don’t know what’s ‘trending’, as the kids might say! So whilst there are certainly influences I just sit down with my guitar as much as possible and enjoy doing whatever I want musically. To paraphrase Charles Mingus ‘Its the place I’m most free’. My style is basically me not being good enough to play or sing like the musicians I admire!

What’s the most personal song of the collection? Danny is about your boy, yes…? And the famous Eleanor Cross statue in town inspired you too?
I would say they all are really. I was going through a lot when they were written: ‘Danny’ is about my son and I dealing with being apart from each other after his mum and I separated. ‘What Lurks’ – mental illness. ‘No Harm’ about the trials of a 20th Century bloke trying to connect in the social media age. ‘The Quickening’ – falling in love again and being real. The title track, ‘Roundabout Queen Eleanor’, was really just a guitar motif that I nicked from Bert Jansch and developed. I used to live near the Cross and being a Northampton native wanted to tie in some way with the landscape. I think its a travesty that Northampton’s historical and cultural impact has been neglected so badly since, in many ways, the English Civil War.

How was playing at the Marburg edition of Twinfest?
It was magical – the town scenery itself is straight out of a fairy tale – apt as ‘The Bothers Grimm’ were denizens. I met so many fascinating, talented, warm-hearted people. There was definitely a vibe that permeated the whole week – love and friendship basically, and the crowds and venues were so supportive – no studied cool whatsoever. I still feel very humbled that I was considered worthy of a place on the bill. The only drawback was not being able to see some of the other artists I wanted to, because I was already on stage somewhere else! Having said that, seeing Sarpa Salpa play to 1500 people at KFZ was brilliant. Like an old-school Roadmender gig!

Do you enjoy playing live? What’s your take on the Northants singer-songwriter scene?
I love nothing more than playing live. This EP was recorded live in my dining room, all first takes; Ben Jennings did his bass afterwards as he was really buzzing to add some lines. The majority of music I listen to was recorded with all the players together on the floor going for it – Blue Note Jazz, for example. I just want to play live as much as possible. In terms of the Northants scene, there are some ridiculously talented people. I love what Charlotte Carpenter is doing. Only last week, I saw a guy – Blood Moon at The Garibaldi. Corrine Lucy – she’s such a beautiful singer, a great writer and a lovely down to earth human being. Her drive to create music is on a par with William Blake’s illuminated works and epic poetry. What Northants seems to lack are venues which are receptive to what I would call the ‘roots’ side of things: folk, jazz, blues and singer-songwriters. Despite being able to spin 360 and fall into a coffee shop in Northampton we do not have a ‘coffee shop culture’, where traditionally players of our ilk congregate.

Tell us your upcoming gigs. What you up to for the rest of 2018?
I’m doing a turn as part of a triple header called ‘Music in Rugby’ tonight [March 30th], which will be ace. Then the Harmonics Collective night in Corby on April 27th , followed by Vintage Retreat’s third Vegan Festival on April 28th. As for the rest of 2018, I’d like to build on what I’ve achieved over the last year and hopefully connect with more listeners. I’d like to put on gigs locally and bring together more solo performers – see where that goes.

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EP preview: Ellie McCann

Ellie McCann is an acoustic folk artist from Bedfordshire, working with third year students at the University of Northampton to record and release her first EP, entitled Long Way From…

Ellie McCann is an acoustic folk artist from Bedfordshire, working with third year students at the University of Northampton to record and release her first EP, entitled Long Way From Home. Her EP is being released in April, including songs ‘Elephant In The Room’ and ‘Long Way From Home’, both with hauntingly brilliant vocals. Some of her inspirations include Kate Rusby, Show of Hands, Fleet Foxes, Joni Mitchell, Crosby Stills &  Nash, and Hunter Hayes.

The first track on the EP, ‘Elephant In The Room’, has superb vocals, beautifully played guitar, and peaceful calming tones throughout. The lyrics are truly remarkable. ‘Ghost Train’ has a certain twang to her vocals bringing a real folk vibe to the song, with some breathtaking backing vocals [also performed by McCann]. ‘Long Way From Home’ includes palm-muting, giving it a real ‘get your lighters out and sway’ vibe. This track also includes powerful, relatable lyrics. The last track is ‘Pickup Truck’, a catchy love song, is sung in such a passionate way you almost feel as if it were you.

She is now in the finals of a competition called New Roots, showcasing young folk artists, and then will go on to perform at folk venues around the UK. She is also participating in Royston Folk clubs showcase.

The Long Way From Home EP is out on Spotify next month; in the meantime you can find her music on her Facebook page.

Report: Katie Montford

 

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live review: Jen Dobson

JEN DOBSON Club 43, Northampton March 5th A Northampton university graduate, Jen Dobson is a folk artist that has been playing now for seven years. I first saw her perform…

JEN DOBSON
Club 43, Northampton
March 5th

A Northampton university graduate, Jen Dobson is a folk artist that has been playing now for seven years. I first saw her perform before I started university on an open day, giving me great inspiration. Here she performs a heart-wrenching and emotional four songs; ‘A14’, ‘I Got You’, ‘Mess’ and ‘Jesus Loves My Girlfriend’. All four songs talk about real life matters such as friendship, religion and the issues faced in modern day. She speaks out strongly about LBGTQ+ subjects. This performance incorporates great audience participation, getting everyone to sing along and have themselves a lively and entertaining night.

The first song ‘A14’ starts off with spoken lines, which really puts you in the song and makes it easy to relate to. The way the song is presented feels very intimate, the vocals making it feel like you’re having a heart to heart with your friend. As the song hits the chorus it speeds up and Jen began to encourage the audience to sing “get me on the A14 with you in my passenger seat” and used this to ad-lib for the rest of the song that got everyone to join in and have a good time. Second song ‘I Got You’ shows real emotion and heartbreak as the lyrics come across again as very personal and intimate. The song content talks about being there for friends and gives a strong message. ‘Mess’ talks about serious issues but has an upbeat, fun sound – though the lyrical content talks about self-destructive behaviour. Closing song ‘Jesus Loves My Girlfriend’ talks about being both religious and being part of the LBGTQ+ community, confronting people’s opinions on that. The lyrics “Jesus loves my girlfriend just as much as your son” shows the negative affect people opinions may have and how it is unfair to discriminate based on sexuality.

Dobson’s songs are very touching and emotional; they make you feel like she is personally talking to you and contains a lot of feeling. If you have ever felt that you are going through a rough patch these songs are definitely relatable.

Katie Montford

https://www.facebook.com/jendobsonmusic
https://bandcamp.com/jendobsonmusic

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New Music Friday: Harry Pane

Brackley-born Harry Pane releases his new – and perhaps best – single today. ‘Beautiful Life’ is a meditative folk-ballad that can’t fail to produce an emotional shiver or two. Over…

Brackley-born Harry Pane releases his new – and perhaps best – single today. ‘Beautiful Life’ is a meditative folk-ballad that can’t fail to produce an emotional shiver or two. Over the past three years Pane has wowed the wider world with his raw skills of voice and guitar.  New Boots spoke to Pane about life in 2018.

Tell us a little about your journey from a boy in Brackley to the person now in Walthamstow, north London.
I was playing ‘the circuit’ in that area for a while just earning some pennies & it came to a point where I realised I needed to spread my wings a little.

Who encouraged you to begin making music?
I was influenced growing up on a farm watching my Dad jamming with friends as well as going to watch live music from a young age and it was a heavy influence on me.

Was there a eureka moment, an influence that pulled you in this direction?
When I first performed live at school aged 15, in front of a small assembly, it gave me buzz and I carried on doing it.

Did the move to London come from you or were you encouraged to relocate?
I had some friends down there so it made it easy to make the move.

Who are your main influences in music? The Celtic bits presumably come from John Martyn and some Richard Thompson.
That’s dead right, I love those two artists and their style of songwriting.  It goes across the board; from Damien Rice and Glen Hansard and Christy Moore to the likes of Bob Dylan, Tracy Chapman & Justin Vernon.

How do the words come to you; in fragments, a story to be told..?
Sometimes it can happen all at once and other times I have instrumental parts and no lyrics and vice versa.  I guess it’s just the artistic process.

An obvious question: what’s ‘Beautiful Life’ about?
I wrote it about the support I had around me through a difficult time, and that support helping you to make peace with it all.

We’re constantly told these days acts don’t even need a traditional label. In light of that could you tell us what Island are doing for you and your development?
Island gave me a development fund which I used for The Wild Winds EP, but now I’m an independent artist with AWAL, who I really love working with and I’m enjoying the adventure.

What is an “Official Showcasing Artist” at SXSW? Are you looking forward to the trip?
It’s the term that they use for the artists invited to play on the line up, there are hundreds of unofficial showcases going on around it which are also lots of fun, and I’m doing those too.  I played there in 2016, so it’ll be nice to be back having made more progress and learning a bit more. Austin is a great city.

What’s your favourite sort of show: intimate jazz house, pub with a fire, big festival crowd…?
I enjoy playing in all scenarios for different reasons, it’s nice to do a mix.

Do you always play solo, or do you ever have cohorts?
At the moment I have a double bassist in tow. I’m also looking out for other members as a side project.

What’s been the highlight of your music career so far?
I would say there’s been a bundle of positives that have made a difference to my career and given me the boost that I needed: successful crowdfunding, good relationships within the industry, great festival spots and more recently a publishing deal.

What is your burning desire for the future? What plans do you have?
To keep writing and co-writing and keep strengthening my material. The general goal is to grow a loyal and steady fan base whilst staying true to my love for the music.

Beautiful Life is out now to download/stream

 

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