Saturday, 21 August 2010

Tara Craig CD Review

Poetic lyrics and amazing vocals bring this album to life
Tara Craig is an amazingly talented singer/songwriter. Tara burst onto the Austin music scene in 2007. Her vocal skills mesmerised audiences and her lyrics cut straight to the chase. Tara’s songs speak of love, longing and freedom. Effortlessly Tara can sing a bold song with meaningful lyrics one minute and a gentle love song the next. Her songs are filled with poetic lyrics that are organic and grow on listeners like a plant encased in soil waiting to burst into the light. Tara has been influenced musically by major artists such as Patty Griffin, Joni Mitchell and Fiona Apple. Her music is also influenced by books, the world and what is going on around her and society as a whole. Tara’s songs are inspirational and have a life all of their own. AS THE LEAVES WERE CHANGING features eleven original songs that blend many musical genres together. The album begins with Until Our Voices Give Out a pop/modern folk song. Tara’s vocals are filled with passion and enthusiasm. The instrumentation never intrudes on Tara’s vocals. Resolution has more of a country feel. Tara’s vocals sound raw and instantly reel you in for a closer listen. Broadway is a delicate song. Tara’s vocals are almost angelic and earthy; the overall sound is very wholesome. City Of Sorrows is definitely a stand out song. This song has a very dramatic feel about it echoed in the instrumentation and Tara’s vocal style. Be Thou My Vision has an alt-country/modern folk feel. Tara’s vocals seem a little hushed on this song giving it added atmosphere. The Worry Song has some interesting lyrics and a really strong country vibe. Wish On You is a slow delicate song. This is a lovely song worthy of several plays. Tara’s vocals seem lighter and more alive/free. Letters And Photographs and Wishful Thinking are both great songs with outstanding glorious lyrics. Listening to this album is a bit like reading a really emotional and well written book. This is song writing of the highest quality. This Weight really allows Tara’s vocal talents to shine. Here her voice is both gravely and earthy. Letting Go is the final song on the album. This is another slow song with limited backing. Tara’s vocals enhance this stunning final song giving it added depth. This is an album of pure class – outstanding lyrics perfectly brought to life by Tara’s charismatic vocals.

Amy Estrada EP Review

A nice collection of songs from this new artist
Amy Estrada’s debut EP features five wonderful songs about life, love and happiness. Amy’s music blends together country and pop with astounding ease. Amy has been working extremely hard to make her dream of becoming a recording artist come true and finally after many years and a bit of good fortune her dream has become a reality. Amy’s musical influences include a whole host of modern female country singers. Amy’s music has a distinct uniqueness although thoroughly modern in sound her voice carries with it a touch of a more traditional country sound. As a youngster Amy could sing songs by any named artist with ease and precision. This talent has helped her get where she is today. Brand New Love is a classy country song blended with a dash of pop. Amy’s vocals are clear and crisp, sounding confident and classy. There are hints of Sara Evans within Amy’s vocal style and sound. So Take That is a modern country song with an up-tempo beat. Here again Sara Evans comes to mind upon listening to this song. How You Feel is a more traditional country song. The pace is slowed down allowing Amy’s vocals to take centre stage and really shine. Amy’s vocals are really well suited to country songs. He’s Still Mine is a faster song with a strong country feel. Butterflies is the final offering on this EP. Amy’s vocals are once again allowed to really shine on this song. This is an uplifting song, which will leave listeners feeling good and wanting more.

Mandi Leachman CD Review

Some real gems bring this album to life
Mandi Leachman’s music blends rock/pop with country. Mandi is a talented singer/songwriter hailing from Maryland. Singing has always been her passion right from an early age. Mandi has been in and out of a recording studio since the age of fifteen. RISK IT ALL is Mandi’s second solo album; her first was called BREAKTHROUGH, and features six brand new songs. All of the songs on the album are written about personal experiences and every day life. Mandi has a strong powerful voice that really commands attention. Her influences include Jewel, Tori Amos and Sheryl Crow. You Could Try has a distinct pop/rock feel about it. Mandi’s vocals are punchy and polished. This song has plenty going for it and gets better with every listen. Risk It All is a glorious slow ballad. Mandi’s vocals are delicate and dreamy on this distinctly country flavoured song. This song has a really natural earthy vibe running through it. I Just Can’t Have You is an upbeat rocky country/pop song backed with some jazzy instrumentation. It sounds a weird combination but it works and gives the song a real edge. Reach Out is a soulful country/pop ballad. Mandi’s vocals are stunning, full of emotion and tenderness. Tomorrow is another slow song with a strong country feel. Mandi’s vocals shine once again on this heartfelt number. Let Me Out is the final offering on the album. Mandi ends the album on a high note with another fantastic ballad. There are hints of Carrie Underwood when Mandi sings a slow ballad. Although this album is quite short it contains some real gems.

Shelby Horner CD Review

Beautiful ballads and quality fast paced songs
Shelby Horner’s music appears on first listen to blend together a touch of James Taylor with a big dash of George Strait, the end result is some amazing music, succulent ballads and high quality songs that really deserve to be heard more than once. Shelby’s music is modern country but with a pure feel to it. Shelby has been skirting with success for many years with many critics saying 2010 will be his year, the year he finally makes it big. The album starts off with the title number Keep Me Off The Street. This is a pleasant ballad, pleasing on the ear. Shelby’s vocals are strong and interesting packed with plenty of character and emotion. There is a certain charm in Shelby’s vocal style. Faith And Farmin' is a faster rockier song with a strong message. Baby I Bet is a delicious slow song. The lyrics are perfectly written and worth a close listen. Shelby’s vocals are spot on. None Of The Above is an upbeat modern county song, which has a touch of Garth Brooks about it. Can We Dance is a magical ballad. Shelby’s vocals take on a wonderful velvety quality and definitely remind me of James Taylor. Northern Born Southern Bred is a rousing rock/country song. Shelby’s vocals remind me of Waylon Jennings, thoroughly modern but with a distinct old country twist. Take A Chance is a dreamy slow ballad. You Won’t Be Lonely Long is a strong modern country song with a catchy vibe. This is definitely a radio friendly number. Hellbent On Havin' Fun is a punchy modern country song. Two Souls is an infectious ballad. Once again Shelby sounds a little like James Taylor. Shelby sings with a lot of passion and emotion really bringing the song to life and giving it a life all of its own. The album ends with I’m No Pushover Now. This is a strong up-tempo song with great vocals. This album is a real joy to listen to. The ballads, of which there are many, are delicate and soulful. The upbeat rock/country songs are all done well and merit a place on the album.

Matt Bailie CD Review

Ballads galore make this a gorgeous album
Matt Bailie was born in June 1987, talented and obsessed with music. Matt’s childhood was ripped apart when his father, entertainer David Bailie, died in a plane crash leaving his wife Catherine to bring up their son on her own. Matt now has a daughter of his own to take care of. Already Matt’s music has made an impact on the Floria Country Music charts. Matt’s self-titled album is packed full of contemporary country songs. Man Behind These Eyes kicks the album off. Matt’s vocals instantly remind me of Gary Allan. There is a richness in his voice; you can tell that he is singing from the heart. There is a gritty determination echoing throughout Matt’s words. Send Me A Butterfly is a lovely slow country ballad. Matt’s vocals are tender and passion filled. Feels Like Freedom is a slightly faster country song. Matt’s vocals are superb, constantly engaging and intoxicating. The Getaway has more of a true country feel. This is another slow song enhanced by Matt’s rough vocal style. Cadillac Dreams is a great modern country song. Matt sounds a lot older vocally on this number. Nothing Left For Me is a delightful ballad. Listening to Matt’s music I am heavily reminded of Brad Paisley and Kenny Chesney. Where Are You Now is a sensitive ballad with memorable lyrics. This’ll Be A Memory is a gorgeous ballad in the style of Collin Raye. The Road That Leads To You sees Matt’s vocals take on an added maturity. This album is littered with amazing ballads all begging to be heard over and over again! Great To Be Alive is an upbeat rocky country song that reached number one on the Floria Country Music Charts in 2009. Listening to it you can quickly see why it did so well. All too soon the final song arrives and believe me it is way too soon. Only God Knows Why is an emotional song about soldiers who go off to fight for their country and never make it back home and how even in these tough times you should never lose sight of your faith. This is quite a patriotic song to end the album on and also a very special song. Matt’s words are sung with sincerity and great emotion. This album is of a consistent high standard, every song deserves its place here.

Ken Domash CD Review

Definitely charge your batteries before listening to this rocky country album
Ken Domash is a singer/songwriter from St. Louis, Missouri. Ken made a name for himself playing at a local pub for several years before heading off to Nashville with his dream of recording an album. Ken’s style of country is thoroughly modern, very rocky and upbeat. Ken has a strong voice and a distinctive edgy sound. Ken’s influences come from all kinds of musical genres not just country. The album kicks off with the title track Countrified, an upbeat song with a catchy foot stomping vibe running through it. Ken’s vocal style reminds me of a cross between Richie McDonald and Collin Raye but with a rousing rocky twist. Countrified is Ken’s debut single on country radio. Ding Dang Darn It is a typical modern country song with Ken’s great vocal style bringing it to life. The second single to be released from the album. I Been There is a good quality rousing country song. Lie With Me is more of a ballad. This is a lovely song with laid back instrumentation and gentle vocals. She Drove is a bluesy rock/country song. This is an enjoyable song that deserves to be heard on country radio everywhere. Pull The Trigger is a very rock orientated country song. Saddle Up is another heavy song with a typical modern country/rock vibe running through it. It Doesn’t Matter allows Ken to show off his vocal skills. This is an extremely fast paced rock/country song. I am reminded here of some of Garth Brooks’ rocky/rodeo country songs. Push Me is a glorious song, the mood changes completely here. Suddenly the fast pace grinds to almost a sudden halt. A welcome breather some might say! Ken’s vocals slip effortlessly between rousing rocky fast paced songs and slow delicate ballads. Moonbeam is a charming country song. This song sees the pace picked up again but not to full throttle. Until The Pain’s All Gone is a rocky country song with some great lyrics. The final song is a slow ballad entitled Thank You. Once again Ken’s vocals are allowed to shine. If you like your country modern and rocky then this album is a must for you.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Spike Flynn - It's Alright CD Review

Songs everyone listening can resonate with
If you like music that really means something and comes from the heart then you will love IT’S ALRIGHT by Spike Flynn. Spike is a singer/songwriter who grew up in New South Wales, Australia. His music blends country with traditional folk. There are echoes of Bob Dylan in Spike’s style of music, which is emotional and rich in depth and texture. The songs on this debut album give an insight into Spike’s life and the experiences he has had to go through to get to this point in time. This is an album that deserves to be listened to closely as his words are like wonderful poetry set to music. The album opens with the title track It’s Alright. Spike’s vocals are earthy and raw. The instrumentation blends folk/country with a dash of jazz. Falling Rain Blues is a blues infused country/folk song. There is a very traditional feel to this thoroughly modern song. Silver Nitrate Serenade is a slow really organic song brought to life by Spike’s charismatic vocals. The saxophone adds more depth and character to the song giving the instrumentation a jazzy feel. Falling Into Love (Out of Self Defense) has a more old time country feel. Spike’s gravely vocals make listeners feel like they are slipping backwards into a time gone by. The content of this song is perhaps more positive than many of the others on the album, a small chink of sunshine bursting through the darkness. Hard Times is an extremely sad song, which Spike brings to life with his evocative vocals. This is a wonderful song that really brings the album to life. Runaway Train is a faster paced country/folk song again with a more positive edge. The Penny Whistle Lament sees the mood slow once again. This is a breath taking song with interesting lyrics that hopefully we as listeners can all resonate with. That’s The Way It Goes is a simple country/folk song brought to life by Spike’s vocals. The lyrics speak of the ups and downs in life and the choices we are all forced to make at some point in our lives. All too soon the album comes to an end with a fantastic song called Hold On. This song suggests through its lyrics that whatever you have been through in life keep holding on. A positive message to end this beautiful album on! This album contains everything you want an album to contain – memorable lyrics that come straight from the heart and songs you will be eager to play over and over again.

Briana Hardyman Gig Review July 2010

Following her successful previous visits to The Beehive the brilliantly talented singer/songwriter Briana Hardyman returned on the 21st of July. It was another excellent night, which saw Briana accompanied by talented guitarist Doug Sies. Briana made time before the show to talk to people she had met at The Beehive previously. She started off the show with the John Prine song Angel From Montgomery, a great favourite with the audience. It is a song she likes to start her shows off with as it always goes down so well. Angel From Montgomery is featured on Briana’s current album PEOPLE LIKE ME. She continued with other songs from her CD including the Fred Elgersma song Alcohol and Pills. This song perfectly suits her strong voice. Briana went on to perform the Jennifer Nettles song Stay. Briana’s version of this smash hit is almost better than the original. Briana makes this song her own with her passion filled vocals. She could certainly give Jennifer Nettles a run for her money! The show continued with a brilliant version of the song Hurt and Love Doesn’t Die also from her current CD. Once again this went well with the audience. Briana is a firm favourite with the Swindon crowd and she proved this again with the support she got for her latest performance in the town. Briana performed the 1960’s hit Runaway, adding her own character and emotion to the song. The evening continued with the Bob Dylan song To Make You Feel My Love. Briana spent two and a half hours singing solidly with no intervals, something that not many artists do nowadays. The evening came to rousing conclusion with the old spiritual song I’ll Fly Away, which had the audience joining in, as well as a great version of the popular Sheryl Crow song My Favourite Mistake. Briana certainly entertained the audience with her non-stop music. Hopefully it will not be too long before she returns to the town.

Courtney Yasmineh Gig Review

The last time Courtney Yasmineh appeared at The Beehive she went down a storm and had people begging her to return soon. Courtney’s latest show was as good if not better than her first in Swindon. Courtney brought along her new band as well as the talented singer/songwriter and producer Jeff Arundel to open the show for her. Jeff opened the show for Courtney on her last visit. His James Taylor soulful/blues vocals mesmerising the audience. This time around Jeff played his guitar accompanied by Courtney’s band. His set was up-tempo and thoroughly enjoyable. Plenty of excellent guitar playing really brought Jeff’s songs to life. Courtney joined Jeff on vocals for a fun packed version of the Bill Withers classic song Ain’ No Sunshine. Although impromptu and unrehearsed both artists sounded amazing and got a lot of applause. Jeff is working on a new album, which promises to be a real treat for music fans everywhere. A short interval and Courtney and her band were in full swing. Courtney’s music is hard to pigeon hole, sounding a cross between Fiona Apple/Paula Cole and Nanci Griffith, with on her slower songs, a touch of Victoria Williams. Performing most of the songs from her latest album BEAUTIFUL LONELY plus a few older songs from previous albums Courtney excited the audience and really gave them a night to remember. Pleasant banter with the audience in-between songs gave a chance for a few laughs and anecdotal stories. Courtney performed a wonderful version of Stones, which is a really beautiful song brought to life by a rousing verse about three quarters of the way through. As always Daydrunk went down a treat. This is a lively song that really engaged the audience. Courtney performed her catchy song Part I Like, the rousing rocky song Luna Moth and the beautiful Stars. Stars is one of those of those songs you cannot help but fall in love with. Slow vocals and moody music creating a very alt-country sound and dark Jace Everett style vibe. A lot of Courtney’s music has that vibe, which is maybe why she is so popular. Courtney’s new lead guitarist Casey Smith provided some blistering guitar work throughout the evening, taking centre stage on several of the songs. He also provided harmony vocals. Courtney performed a stunning version of the title song from her current album Beautiful Lonely. Another highlight of the evening was an upbeat rendition of Hurt A Girl, also from Courtney’s latest album. The evening ended with Courtney performing two songs alone – just her and her guitar. Courtney has an amazingly powerful voice that booms out across the room. Her final offering of the evening was an emotional rendition of the Nanci Griffith classic Hard Life. Courtney promises to return next year hopefully bringing with her a new album.

Joshua Thomas Song Review - New Songs

What Did I Do is a magnificent song bursting with drama and atmosphere. A gorgeous rock/alt-country song with a dark, ghostly vibe running through it, echoed nicely in the backing music. This sound would not sound out of place on the sound track to the television show True Blood. Joshua’s vocals are haunting and edgy, never too forceful. This is one of those songs you cannot wait to hear again and again.

My My My is a blues infused rock song. Joshua’s vocals are intense, full of texture and passion. This song as a very earthy feel about it. Although quite a simple song it still leaves a lasting impression on the listener.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Jordyn Mallory CD Review

A young singer with bags of vocal talent
Jordyn Mallory completed the vocals for her stunning debut album TELL ME A STORY just a few weeks before her thirteenth birthday. Jordyn wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on the album. Jordyn isn’t your average teenager as her heartfelt vocals packed full of emotion and passion prove. Jordyn has a voice way beyond her young years. Music has always been in Jordyn’s blood. From the age of ten she was writing songs. Since the release of TELL ME A STORY she has opened concerts for Crystal Gayle, Emerson Drive and Jake Owen. Jordyn hails from Chickasaw County, Mississippi. A lot of the songs on this album reflect her upbringing in the country. This album blends together modern country with country of a more traditional sound. The title song Tell Me A Story starts off the album. Jordyn’s vocals are soulful and engaging. Listening to this opening song it is hard to believe that you are listening to someone so young. Tell Me A Story is a slow song with a strong traditional country feel. Come Back Home is a more up-beat song with a western swing vibe running through it. Once again Jordyn’s voice is strong. That’s How It Works is a classy ballad, highly polished and filled with passion and power. Nashville’s Cryin’ is a more modern country song, which shows off a different side to Jordyn’s vocal style. There are definite hints of LeAnn Rimes here. What About The People is a powerful song about the people who live in the community Jordyn grew up in. The songs lyrics look at how these people are losing their jobs to overseas manufacturers. Don’t Look At Your Feet blends modern country with a slight blues sound. It’s Ok To Be Different is a song that a lot of people will be able to relate to. The lyrics of this song are certainly worth a close listen. My Own blends modern and traditional country effortlessly. Jordyn’s voice is captivating and a real pleasure to listen to. This song was inspired by Jordyn’s childhood. Paradise is another great country song, backed by some wonderful traditional instrumentation. The final song on the album Buttercup Hill was also inspired by Jordyn’s childhood. This song has a strong country vibe running through it. This album is one of those albums you won’t be able to stop playing once you put it on. It is a really amazing album packed full of glorious songs. Jordyn is currently working on her second album, if this album is anything to go by then that is sure to be a real winner.

Evie Woods Song Review

Evie Woods is a classy and highly talented singer/songwriter who currently records all her material at home. Evie has a distinct voice that is gravely and quite captivating. Her music blends pop with folk. Evie’s songs are delightful to listen to, magical and carefully constructed. Her influences include Laura Marling, Florence and the Machine and Joanna Newson. There are hints of all of these esteemed artists in Evie’s music and songs.

You’re A Fool Too is an upbeat song with a pop/modern folk sound. Evie’s vocals make the song come alive. It has a certain rawness about it. With little backing Evie’s voice really shines and stands tall. This song is catchy with many vocal changes.

Torn In Two is a gentle song with a strong folk feel. Evie’s vocals are haunting and ghostly, quite evocative in style. I am reminded here of Julee Cruise and her sublime stripped bare music.

The Feathers Waltz has a more dramatic sound. The backing music is pronounced echoing the dramatic ness of the song. Evie’s voice is sweeping and very versatile as this song more than illustrates. This is a gorgeous song that deserves more than one play. It is hard to categorise this song as it crosses so many genres. There are hints of pop, modern folk and more traditional folk but there is also a touch of jazz thrown in for good measure. Stunning, mesmerising and breathtaking!

Walk Away is a light folk infused song. Evie’s voice is breezy and uplifting. Here again there is a slight touch of jazz blended into the song. This is echoed in the backing music.

Oh No! has a strong pop vibe running through it, although it remains predominately folk in sound. Evie’s vocals are enchanting and intoxicating. This is a catchy song with a fast beat and an engaging chorus.

Become Unlocked is one of the best songs I have heard in ages. The first time I heard this song I was literally riveted to the spot absorbing Evie’s stunning vocals and the whole atmosphere of the song. This song defines what music should be about. The music is limited, the vocals quite amazing and so haunting. Evie really excels herself on this glorious number. The chorus with its overlapping harmonies really blows you away as a listener.

Nothing Else Matters sees Evie blend jazz and folk together once more. When Evie is in folk mode there are definite hints of Rachel Unthank. Evie’s vocals take on a distinct rock edge as this song progresses.

Jealousy has an old-fashioned sound. This is another blissful song with luscious vocals. Evie is a real joy to listen to on this pop/folk song. During the verses Evie’s vocals remind me a little of Mary Hopkin but they soon slip into something more harsh and rock like.

Friday I’m In Love sees Evie cover The Cure’s smash hit song. Evie puts her own spin on this classic song. Evie’s vocals give this version of the song a brighter feel. Evie makes this song her own with her blend of pop/folk.

Evie is a hugely talented young singer who seems to effortlessly combine folk – modern and traditional with pop and jazz, the end result is something dazzling and quite brilliant.

Waiting For The Tide - Luke Jackson New Song

Waiting For The Tide is the latest offering from Luke Jackson. Luke writes the most wonderful songs, all lyrically perfect and so atmospheric. Here once again Luke creates great imagery through his lyrics. This song has a very organic and acoustic sound. Luke’s vocals take centre stage sounding poised and clear. Luke sings with a certain amount of tenderness and heartfelt passion in his voice. The combination of Luke’s vocals and the wonderful lyrics in this song give it a very emotional and evocative feel.

Briana Hardyman Gig Review

Following her successful previous visits to The Beehive the brilliantly talented singer/songwriter Briana Hardyman returned on the 21st of July. It was another excellent night, which saw Briana accompanied by talented guitarist Doug Sies. Briana made time before the show to talk to people she had met at The Beehive previously. She started off the show with the John Prine song Angel From Montgomery, a great favourite with the audience. It is a song she likes to start her shows off with as it always goes down so well. Angel From Montgomery is featured on Briana’s current album PEOPLE LIKE ME. She continued with other songs from her CD including the Fred Elgersma song Alcohol and Pills. This song perfectly suits her strong voice. Briana went on to perform the Jennifer Nettles song Stay. Briana’s version of this smash hit is almost better than the original. Briana makes this song her own with her passion filled vocals. She could certainly give Jennifer Nettles a run for her money! The show continued with a brilliant version of the song Hurt and Love Doesn’t Die also from her current CD. Once again this went well with the audience. Briana is a firm favourite with the Swindon crowd and she proved this again with the support she got for her latest performance in the town. Briana performed the 1960’s hit Runaway, adding her own character and emotion to the song. The evening continued with the Bob Dylan song To Make You Feel My Love. Briana spent two and a half hours singing solidly with no intervals, something that not many artists do nowadays. The evening came to rousing conclusion with the old spiritual song I’ll Fly Away, which had the audience joining in, as well as a great version of the popular Sheryl Crow song My Favourite Mistake. Briana certainly entertained the audience with her non-stop music. Hopefully it will not be too long before she returns to the town.

Beth Whitney CD Review - Yellow

An amazing collection of emotional songs
American singer/songwriter Beth Whitney is certainly a name to note for the future as her new mini album YELLOW demonstrates in abundance. From a young age it was obvious that Beth was a talented young lady. She had both musical and poetic talents. At the age of sixteen Beth was given a classical guitar, from that moment on Beth fused her two talents together and the song writer in her was born. Beth started creating music with Aaron Fishburn in 2004 when the pair met at Whitworth College. The pair were soon winning competitions with their music. In 2007 LEAVE YOUR SHOES was recorded at the Malamute Studios in Seattle. Beth and Aaron toured across the northwest before parting ways with Malamute Records. Beth and Aaron decided to follow the independent route. This year the pair, eager to release a new album, decided to search out a studio/producer. They settled upon Brandon Bee, a multi-talented artist and producer – the end result Beth’s new CD YELLOW. Beth’s main musical influences include Mindy Smith and Jennifer Knapp. Beth’s music blends together acoustic, folk and country to create something classy, quirky and most definitely interesting. Fallin’ is a vibrant country/folk song packed full of wonderful instrumentation. It is the instrumentation that brings the song to life and gives it an energy all of its own. Let’s Pretend is a more dramatic folk song infused with a heavy dash of rocky/pop. Beth’s vocals are clear and crisp throughout adding plenty of character to the song. Drove Home Slow is one of the highlights of this album. This song has a dramatic feel about it, emphasised by the heavy backing music and Beth’s forceful vocals. David is a slightly more upbeat song with a catchy hook. Beth’s vocals are vibrant on this charming number. Mary Lou is a lovely folk/acoustic song. There is a real singer/songwriter feel about this top class song. Dust and Moses has a raw organic feel. This song feels really earthy, with Beth’s vocals appearing a little more delicate than on previous numbers. The final offering Get Better is a quirky folk/country song with a charming sound. Beth’s vocals seem to transcend genres touching on both modern and more traditional styles of folk/country music. All the songs on this album were written from the heart and have a lot of emotion – both joy and sorrow interwoven within them. It is this richness of emotions that makes this collection of songs sound so amazing.

Joshua Thomas Song Review

Every so often you come across an artist who just blows you away with their musical talents. Manchester based singer/songwriter Joshua Thomas has been making music for five years. His music blends together many styles including acoustic, folk and blues. Joshua’s vocals are quite refreshing to listen to. They are edgy and very organic in sound. Joshua’s songs are varied in style, mind blowingly addictive and quite brilliant.

Devil Outta Me is a rocky blues number. This song has it all – great vocals, amazing instrumentation and plenty of atmosphere. The instrumentation on this song gives it a dramatic feel but Joshua’s vocals make it feel laid back.

Demons In The Shadows has a really rocky vibe running through it. A heavier number this song reminds me a little of T-Rex. Once again Joshua’s vocals bring the song to life.

My Kingdom has a real indie sound blended with alt-country. I am reminded here of Jace Everett and his really atmospheric dark music. This song sounds like it comes from a film or television soundtrack. Striking and dramatic this song really gets under the listeners skin. Certainly the kind of song you want to here again and again as with each listen you gain a new perspective on the song.

Outlaw (Version 1) has a definite country feel. Joshua’s vocals are gravely and quite raw on this song. The backing music is laid back allowing Joshua to take centre stage.

Devils Streetlights starts off with a real blues sound. This is an up-tempo song with a punchy beat. The guitar work on this song is stylish and gives the song a distinct edge. Joshua gives the song plenty of atmosphere with his gentle yet strong vocals. Joshua’s music has a thoroughly modern sound yet it also sounds quite old-fashioned.

Not All True is a rocky alt-country/blues song. Once again it is Joshua’s vocals that give the song its life and energy. Listening to this particular song makes me long to see Joshua perform live. His music has such depth and character. Each song creates such a stunning atmosphere and image in my mind.

Well Well Honey is filled with Joshua’s dreamy vocals. This is a lovely laid back acoustic song with a slightly more pop feel than Joshua’s other songs. Once again Joshua engages the listener with his enthralling vocals. Joshua’s songs appear to be more than just songs. They have a life all of their own.

Oh New York is a gorgeous acoustic song with a slightly modern folk feel. I am reminded here of the Fleet Foxes. Listening to Joshua’s music is like diving head first into a box of your favourite chocolates. This song is delicate and dreamy. A lovely song to listen to on a hot summer’s day.

Wanna Be Loved gets off to a vibrant start. This is an up-tempo song with a strong acoustic vibe. Joshua’s vocals are crisp and refreshing on this rocky blues number. This song has quite a catchy hook.

Need Your Love is a quieter simple song with limited backing music. Joshua’s vocals are perfect and once again pleasurable to listen to. This song has a strong organic feel about it.

Fall For is a gorgeous rock based acoustic song. The instrumentation brings this song to life and really gives it a life of its own. There are touches of Led Zeppelin within the music of this song. This song has a lot of energy running through it. Joshua’s vocals are toned down and quite beautiful. They have a velvety quality on this particular number. Although this song is quite heavy it still manages to convey a wonderful dreaminess. This is the kind of song you can imagine listening to in your open top car with the volume turned up high.

Joshua and his music are still evolving but with song as amazing as these it is already obvious that Joshua is highly talented and has a wonderful musical gift.

Lindsey Gail Little Loaded Pistol CD Review

Ten songs that will blow you away
If you like your country a little bit rocky and with a dash of blues then look no further than Lindsey Gail from East Texas. Lindsey realised from an early age that she had a great voice for singing country music auditioning at the age of fourteen for the local opry in front of four hundred people. Lindsey has already released several albums; her latest release sees her combine modern and old style country together. Lindsey has been inspired by many top country music artists including The Judds, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood and Patsy Cline. Lindsey’s new album kicks off with a rousing country song called Bring Back. This opening song is soulful with bold powerful vocals. I am reminded a little here of Reba McEntire. Break Away is a slower song with gorgeous passion filled vocals. Lindsey’s voice is breathtaking to listen to on this lovely ballad. Houdini is a fast paced rocky song with a really modern country feel. My Man is another slow ballad that blends modern and old style country together effortlessly. There are touches of Lorrie Morgan and LeAnn Rimes here within this number. You’re Mine is a wonderful soul infused song. Lindsey fills this song with a lot of emotion. The title song Little Loaded Pistol is a rocky blues/country song. This is a heavy song on which Lindsey gives a blistering performance. It is easy to see why this song was chosen as the title number. It really does stand out. Summer Days is an intoxicating ballad and one of the best songs on the album. Lindsey’s vocals are infectious and soulful on this really amazing pure country song. You Can’t Handle Me sees the mood switch up a gear once more. This is yet another rocky and thoroughly modern country song. Hard To Hold once again reminds me of Reba McEntire. Lindsey has such a delightful voice. It suits all ranges and styles as this album clearly demonstrates. Guilty Cowboy is a bluesy country song. Lindsey really pulls out all the stops on this the final song on the album. The ten songs on this album are all impressive for different reasons. There is a nice mix of fast and slow songs on the album. It flows nicely and is a real treat to listen to.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Nicky Swann CD Review

Classy country –emotional and heartfelt
Influenced by Carole King, Janis Joplin and Paul Weller, Devon born singer/songwriter Nicky Swann is a devoted performer who blends together folk, country and blues to create poignant songs about a range of emotions. Nicky has supported many top acts including Corrine West and Megson and is a regular performer at the Dartmouth Music Festival. Nicky’s new album features eleven original songs, one cover and a new arrangement of a Welsh poem All Through The Night. The album was recorded in Cornwall and features Bethany Porter on cello and steel player Alan Cook. The songs on this album have a particular theme – love and death, hence the title MATCHES AND DISPATCHES. The album gets off to an amazing start with the classy song Little Bird. Nicky has a very traditional sound and style; this is echoed in the range of instruments used to accompany Nicky’s vocals. Hold On has a slight jazz/blues feel. This is an up-tempo song with a delightful summery vibe. Crash And Burn is a rocky country/pop song in the style of KT Tunstall. Nicky’s vocals seem to suit all kinds of musical styles as this album demonstrates perfectly. Long Time is a gentle slow song. Angelic vocals, limited backing and carefully crafted lyrics make this song sound magical. You Got Me Boy sees Nicky joined by Rick Foot on double bass and Bethany Porter on the cello. This song drifts along nicely. A lovely blend of country/pop. I Wanna Hold Your Hand is a terrific cover of The Beatles classic song. Nicky turns a once up-tempo lively sing-a-long song into a dreamy country/folk song completely different from the original. Tuesday’s Lament is a slow song with emotive lyrics. A sad song sung brilliantly. Everything is a slow pop infused song. Amy’s Waltz is a classic country/folk song featuring Olivia Dunn on violin. Striking and evocative, this is a truly wondrous song. One Step Up is a rousing country song with a catchy beat whilst In Too Deep is a glorious slow country song. Wheels Keep Turning has a touch of Mary Chapin Carpenter about it. A lovely slow country song, which again features Olivia Dunn on violin. Every so often upon listening to Nicky’s varied vocal range Rosanne Cash comes to mind. All Through The Night really allows Nicky’s vocals to shine. It is a slow moving song, which once again has a strong country feel. This album is really classy and jam packed full of sublime songs. A must for all music fans!

Check out these reviews (by me) on the Maverick Magazine Website

Check out these reviews (by me) on the Maverick Magazine Website:

Bobby Kirl – Bobby Live

EB Reece – Big Time Stuff

Mandi Layne & The Lost Highway – Drunk In Love

John Nathaniel – Overdrive

Jodi James – This Fire

Good Lovelies – Good Lovelies

Michelle Turley – Dance With Me Tonight

Vicky Emerson – Long Ride

Doghouse Roses – How’ve You Been (All This Time)

Tami Rene Ghost Town CD Review

A great album if you like country music infused with a big dash of pop/easy listening
Tami Renè’s debut album GHOST TOWN mixes a range of musical styles and sounds together – the end result is a striking highly polished album featuring twelve enjoyable tracks. All of the songs on the album were arranged and produced by Randy Thorderson. The CD’s cover shot is stunning as are Tami’s vocals throughout the album. Tami’s musical influences include Mary Chapin Carpenter, The Beatles, John Denver and Dan Fogelberg. The album gets off to a flying start with a breezy pop/easy listening song Aqua Eyes. Tami’s vocals are strong and captivating. There are touches of Olivia Newton John in Tami’s vocals. Taboo is a rockier song with heavier instrumentation and a slightly modern country vibe running through the chorus. Randy Thorderson joins Tami on backing vocals. Fountain sees the mood slow slightly. This is a highly polished pop infused song. Artists such as Sarah Sadler and Linda Ronstadt come to mind here. Witch Doctor has quite heavy musical backing. This song blends jazz with pop/easy listening. New Moon Night is a slow ballad. This song is about love and Tami’s vocals reflect that in the way that they ooze passion and romance. Faith Hill would not be out of place singing this song. This is the first of the really amazing stand out songs on this album. Right On Track is a punchy country/pop song with a fast beat. Shania Twain comes to mind on hearing this song. This is one of those songs that makes you want to get up and dance. What If is a song about forgiveness and love based around the events of 9/11. An upbeat song with a catchy hook. The lyrics are simple but effective. This song has a pop/country flavour. The title song Ghost Town isn’t a cover of the old hit by The Specials. This is a modern upbeat song with great lyrics, which are worth a close listen. Spring Fever has a Latin feel provided by the lovely guitar work. Lovin’ This is the second amazing song on the album. A slow ballad with luscious vocals. Tami’s vocals and the style of song bring to mind Charlene and her hit song Never Been To Me. Dirt Road has an old style country jazz feel. Paint Me brings the album to a close and is the final outstanding offering of the album and perhaps the best. This is a gorgeous ballad that really gets under the listeners skin. Tami has a seductive voice, which begs to be listened to. This is a great album if you like pop/easy listening flavoured music with more than a hint of country thrown in for good measure.

Vanessa Peters Gig Review

Vanessa Peters kick started the UK leg of her current tour with an amazing show at The Beehive in Swindon. Vanessa was joined on guitar and backing/harmony vocals by Manuel Schicchi from her group Ice Cream On Mondays. It was a real race against time for Vanessa and Manuel who had travelled from Italy that morning. Vanessa performed songs from her latest album as well as songs from her back catalogue of albums. Vanessa had never performed in Swindon before but following the warm reception she received from locals she seemed keen to return next year all being well. Vanessa mixed new songs from her album SWEETHEART, KEEP YOUR CHIN UP with older songs from her albums LITTLE FILMS and THIN THREAD .She also threw in a few classic covers including a stunning version of the Dolly Parton song Jolene. Vanessa put her own stamp on the song, giving it a deeper, darker feel. Vanessa’s performance of the title song from the new album Keep You Chin Up was breath taking and really allowed Vanessa’s delicate vocals to shine. Vanessa and Manuel performed a rousing version of Good News from the new album along with The War, The Next Big Bang, Medals and Austin I Made A Mess, also from the new album. Other highlights included a stunning version of Little Films, from the album of the same name and Fireworks also from the LITTLE FILMS album. Vanessa was asked to sing something from the THIN THREAD album and picked Gone, a lovely slow song with splendid lyrics. Vanessa chatted in between the songs telling the audience what the songs meant to her and the inspiration behind them. Vanessa and Manuel did two sets and then due to the eager applause from the audience two encores, which went down a storm. Vanessa is a warm, friendly person and this was echoed throughout the evening. The evening ended on a real high with Vanessa performing a cover of the Travelling Wilburys song Handle With Care. The audience got involved singing along with the chorus. It was one of those nights that you just did not want to end.

Gig Review Stephanie Lambring and Morgan Myles

The audience at The Beehive in Swindon on Wednesday, 11th March were treated to not one but two attractive and very talented female singer/song writers. Stephanie Lambring with her soft yet strong vocals, perfect for sad beautifully written songs, and Morgan Myles with her powerful voice ideal for singing Americana/blues infused songs went down a real treat with regulars at The Beehive. Morgan’s powerful vocals could easily lend themselves to a large venue but she seemed happy enough playing in a small public house. Stephanie had a good write up in Maverick magazine and as a result I was keen to see her perform live. Stephanie and Morgan took it in turns to take to the floor, with each doing twenty minute sessions before swapping over. This went on throughout the night keeping the audience highly entertained. Morgan started off the evening with a set of songs including Just Lost Me, the first track off of her excellent album Milestone. Stephanie who has a quiet voice, which makes you want to sit up and listen, delivered a polished rendition of the opening track from her 2008 album release Lonely To Alone entitled If I Know. Later in the evening Stephanie performed the title track from her album, which Bob Harris played on his country radio show last year. After listening to her performance of this song and others she performed on the evening it is easy to see why Bob Harris is so enamoured with her. Stephanie’s delicate vocals lend themselves well to emotional/emotive songs and this was reflected in the songs she entertained The Beehive audience with. Stephanie sang other songs from her album including Tonight and If I Could. Morgan performed more of her own songs as the evening wore on. Blending the two styles of singing together worked perfectly and allowed both singers to showcase their singing and song writing talents. Stephanie did a lovely rendition of the Sara Evans hit Suds In The Bucket, which went down a treat with the audience. Morgan covered the Janis Joplin song Take Another Piece Of My Heart and Kris Kristofferson’s Me And Bobby McGee. Both singers were friendly and mingled with the audience chatting and signing autographs. Morgan’s mother had come over with them – she was in charge of selling their CD’s, which she seemed to be doing an excellent job of and at a reasonable price. At the end of the evening both ladies shared vocals on their version of Sweet Home Alabama. A fitting end to a lovely evening where two new talents were discovered and enjoyed. So after listening to an evening of fine music it was time to head home with my two freshly purchased CD’s in my pocket. I really hope that both girls get the chance to return to the UK soon.

State Of Undress Gig Review

From the first song of the evening Ain’t Nothin’, from their album - CAUGHT IN THE ACT, the good crowd at The Beehive new they were going to be well entertained by State Of Undress. Hailing from Dorset, State Of Undress is a country/folk band who are hugely popular in the UK. The band consists of Alan Rose on guitar, Malcolm Windett on bass, Keith Fletcher on drums and two young ladies – Samantha Jane on fiddle and backing vocals and Charlie Rose on main vocals. Charlie gave an energetic performance throughout the evening, going down well with the crowd that steadily increased in numbers as the evening wore on. By the end of the evening the pub was jam packed full of people. Throughout the evening the band sang songs from their forthcoming EP, which is out in July, including a song entitled Mudeford Mood. The band did an excellent cover of the popular Waterboys hit song Whole of the Moon, which had the crowd singing along. Most of the songs performed were written by the band including Red Waters, Ghosts and One More Shot. The band told the crowd that One More Shot will be released as a single in June. They performed a rousing version of Morning Glory, which featured Keith on African drums, some nice guitar work from Alan, some excellent bass from Malcolm and fiddle from Samantha. The band certainly had a knack for working the crowd and was thoroughly entertaining for the whole of the show. During the first half of the show they performed a song written by Malcolm Windett called Love Detectives. This saw the band members getting into character to act out the song. The band are big fans of The Waterboys and performed another cover of one of their songs called Fisherman’s in the second half of the evening. Towards the end of the second half the band handed most of the crowd shaky eggs, hence the bands nickname The Shaky Egg Band, or tambourines so that there could be a certain amount of audience participation. Making as much noise as possible the evening was rounded off with something of a party atmosphere. Ideal as it was St George’s Day! The band was well received at The Beehive and was encouraged to perform a couple of encores. Everyone left the pub happy and on something of a high, looking forward to the bands next visit to the pub hopefully in September. The band is due to perform in the area again in June at The Fox and Hounds in Wroughton.

Gig Review Southern Tenant Folk Union

Thursday, 10th April 2008 saw a return visit to The Beehive in Swindon for the Southern Tenant Folk Union. Having seen the band on their last visit to Swindon I new that I was in for a real treat and I, like the rest of their fans, was not to be disappointed, in fact this show surpassed any expectations I had. The band really seems to be on the up at the moment and is finally getting the recognition it so rightly deserves.

The band gathered themselves around the old fire place in The Beehive and settled themselves in for a long night of music. A large crowd of fans, who had come from far and wide to see the band perform an unplugged set featuring songs from their two albums, packed the small venue. Although The Beehive is quite a small venue it attracts a wide range of artists from all fields of music and from all corners of the globe to play there.

Until the very end of the show the only amplification the band used was for the microphones but by the end of the show microphones were abandoned – giving the crowd a well deserved treat. Live music at its best – one hundred percent unplugged, completely raw and fresh.

The Southern Tennant Folk Union’s latest offering – Revivals, Rituals and Union Songs is already receiving high acclaim in magazines and is rising fast in the specialist album charts. After performing several songs from this new album on the night it is easy to see why. Two songs from the new album that stood out for me were – Back To Front and Changeling Child. The later was written by Frances Vaux about a relation in Australia and as she described the story behind the song it took on a whole new meaning for me.

The band performed All You Need To Know from their self-titled first album to rousing applause from the audience. The audience were also treated to a fine version of Uncle Pen. Throughout the night fans witnessed some outstanding banjo and fiddle playing.

The band was keen to involve the crowd and to make them part of the whole occasion. All members of the band are warm, friendly and approachable – signing autographs and stopping for a chat.

The evening raced by and all too soon it was time to go home. It was a delight to see the band again and to be treated to such an entertaining show. I look forward to seeing them again and hope their latest album continues getting the attention and praise it so rightly deserves. It would be great if the Southern Tennant Folk Union band could become a house hold name!

Sarah MacDougall Gig Review

Sarah MacDougall last appeared in Swindon as part of the Atlantic Crossing tour. Sarah went down a storm when she performed her solo set, so much so the people of Swindon were keen to get her back to perform once again. Many people turned out to see Sarah perform at The Beehive this time around and she did not disappoint her eager fans. The audience were treated to a fine evening’s entertainment. Sarah was accompanied by Timothy Tweedale, who is a fine Dobro and trumpet player. The sound of the Dobro worked well with Sarah’s slow songs and blended in with her guitar playing. She sang songs from her new album ACROSS THE ATLANTIC. Sarah performed the title track from that album, which worked well with the soft trumpet playing of Timothy Tweedale. Sarah also performed Cry Wolf from her new album as well as Ramblin’ and Hundred Dollar Bills, which is a song about the poor on the streets of Vancouver. Sarah involved the audience as much as possible throughout the evening. Sarah blended in a few songs from her previous album HEADED FOR THE HILLS including the catchy song Pain Reliever, My Old One Speed Bicycle and the very popular Cold Night. Cold Night is a beautiful song that really shows what a fine singer/songwriter Sarah MacDougall is. Sarah was friendly throughout the evening, chatting with members of the audience. Her current tour is taking her all over the place from Devon to Glasgow. She is also doing some shows as the support act for Po’ Girl. All in all it was another fine evening from an extremely talented and pleasant lady.

Sam Holmes and Phil King Gig Review

Regulars at The Beehive in Swindon were given a real treat on the 17th of September when not one but two local artists performed there. Sam Holmes from Cheltenham and Phil King from Bristol literally blew the regular Beehive crowd away with their collection of songs.

With her soft delicate voice, reminiscent of Jewel, Sam Holmes performed a number of self penned songs some freshly written and hot off the press and others which feature on her self titled demo album. Sam sang songs written about her parents as well as a song called Charlie which was written about ‘a lady of the night’ and how unhappy she looked when Sam first came across her. Sam effortlessly weaves together a clever blend of folk, pop and modern country giving her a unique and quite beautiful sound. Sam gave a rousing performance of a new song called Parade, a definite hit for the future as well as a superb rendition of a quirky number called Fool For Love. Sam’s voice has a wonderful dreamy quality about it yet she still manages to get the message contained in her songs across to the audience. Sam performed a fantastic folk song based on a traditional playhouse song, called The Drowned Lover. Her singing talents really shone out whilst singing this sad yet rather lovely number. Sam gave the song plenty of emotion and a style all of her own. There were echoes of Kate Rusby or Bill Jones in the room when Sam performed this song.

As the evening wore on more and more people appeared at The Beehive all anxious to hear Sam and Phil. With both artists receiving plenty of rapturous applause.

Phil King was outstanding vocally and in his ability to play the guitar. A truly wondrous man! Phil’s music is hard to pigeon hole as it covers such a vast array of styles. On his quieter heart felt numbers he sounded similar to James Morrison yet on his rowdy foot tapping numbers comparisons could be made to Hal Ketchum or Delbert McClinton and on his blues/jazz numbers I felt I was listening to a guitar wielding Jamie Cullum. It was this exciting mix of styles and sounds that made Phil’s music both thrilling to listen to and so memorable because you never know what is coming next. Phil performed a number of tracks from his debut album Leaves as well as some new material. He gave a brilliant performance of a song entitled – Orion as well as a heart felt performance of a slower number entitled Smiling Eyes. Phil has real charisma and it oozes out of every pore when he is on stage performing. On completion of his second set of numbers The Beehive crowd begged wildly for more and more they got in the form of another loud foot taping number.

Both artists have yet to make the big time but surely with quality songs and performances like this it cannot be long before someone out there spots them and propels them into the limelight. Both artists have bags of talent and sound great live. Definitely worth catching if you get the chance!

Amy Wadge Gig Review

Amy Wadge was back at The Beehive in Swindon on the 30th September after a long hiatus. Amy thought that it was at least six years since she last played at the pub, but she has been back to Swindon during that time playing at The Arts Centre on three or four occasions. The audience gave Amy a warm welcome as soon as she kicked off her opening set with the song These Are The Days from her album BUMP. There was a real buzz in The Beehive and the enthusiastic audience that had gathered to see Amy play clapped and cheered throughout both sets. Amy played a mixture of songs throughout the first set including Always and USA? We’ll Wait and See, from her excellent album NO SUDDEN MOVES. Amy has such a strong and powerful voice for someone so small. Amy switched between guitar and keyboards during both sets. One highlight of the first set was a song called Tell Her from the album BUMP. A short break and Amy was back with the second set and her amazing song Free Fall, which is one of Amy’s trademark songs and a hit with her fans. The rest of the evening saw Amy perform songs from her previous albums as well as new songs from her forthcoming album. Amy performed a great song, which relates to the work she does with prisoners called Clean as well as her forthcoming single Hold Me, which will be out on the 2nd of November. This was an excellent song that should do well for Amy as a single. Amy performed Breathe from her first album release WOJ. A lovely song that went down a treat with the audience. Amy also covered a song by The Smiths that was well received by The Beehive audience, then after just a few more songs it was sadly time for the evening to come to an end. Amy’s fans in the audience were not going to let Amy escape the stage that easily so after a lot of clapping, cheering and shouting they were treated to a few more of Amy’s songs. After the show Amy was only too happy to sign posters and CD’s and chat to members of the audience. Everyone at The Beehive was thrilled to see Amy back there playing so it wasn’t long before Amy was being given an open invitation to return there and play any time she wants to. All in all this was an excellent evening of music and entertainment from a very talented singer/songwriter and really nice person.

Karen Pendley and Lonnie Spiker Gig Review

The Beehive in Swindon was more like I imagined a Texas bar might be when Pennsylvania born singer/songwriter Lonnie Spiker and North Carolina native and veteran fiddle player Karen Pendley played there on the 16th of October. Their excellent blend of western swing and honky tonk songs really brought The Beehive to life. Lonnie and Karen performed a selection of Bob Wills’s songs including a fantastic version of Faded Love, which allowed Karen to do a lovely solo on the fiddle. Lonnie’s style of singing reminded me of the late Faron Young. As the evening progressed Karen and Lonnie mixed together songs of their own with songs by more well known and established artists. Highlights of the evening were a fine version of Ian Tyson’s Some Day Soon and the old Elvis Presley hit Fool Such As I. Lonnie was enthusiastic and extremely funny throughout the evening and both artists were keen to oblige the audience with any requests. Lonnie and Karen performed an amusing version of Merle Haggard’s Working Mans Blues, blending in new words to suit the occasion. The audience appeared to really enjoy Karen and Lonnie’s style of singing as by the end of the night people were up dancing and singing along. Lonnie and Karen continued on until eleven forty-five, mainly due to the fact that they had received so many requests for songs and were trying franticly to fit them all in. The audience were having a wonderful time and really getting into the spirit of things, not wanting the evening to end at all. Overall it was a highly entertaining evening full of fun and good music. I would recommend you catch these two amazing artists if they come to a venue near you.

David Celia Gig Review

David Celia made a welcome return to The Beehive in Swindon on Tuesday the 2nd of December. David, who has played at The Beehive on numerous occasions, entertained the audience with his own unique blend of roots, rock and jazz flavoured music. For his latest visit David brought a long a three piece band, which, added an extra dimension to his set. The evening began with a rendition of a song called Dry Spell, which went down really well with the audience. David performed songs old and new on the night including Faker Baker, from one of his earlier releases and Cactus and Best Thing Ever from his latest album. David Headon provided excellent arrangements for these songs. One new song David performed was called I Tried, which featured Joan Besen on keyboard and vocals. I Tired was a pleasant song that is likely to be featured on David’s next album. The evening continued with some more songs from David’s previous albums. Throughout the evening the audience were treated to some great rocky guitar playing as well as some brilliant harmonising on vocals. It is hard to fit David Celia’s music into any one pigeon hole as his music is so varied in style. David always gets a good audience whenever he performs in Swindon and this visit was no different, even though it was bitterly cold outside. David appreciated the warm and enthusiastic welcome he received and so to reward those who had gathered at The Beehive to see him he played for three hours before being forced due to time to bring the evening to a close.

Daniel Goodman Gig Review

Sometimes you listen to an album and love it but when you see the artist live they are a grave disappointment, not living up to expectations. I fell in love with the music of Daniel Goodman after hearing his self-released album and was really looking forward to seeing him perform live at The Beehive. It was Daniel’s second appearance at the pub, having gone down a storm on his first visit at the end of 2008. I, like Daniel’s other fans, was not to be disappointed. The evening was filled with deep meaningful music that begged to be listened to. Daniel’s songs are like poems set to music, each one captivating and enthralling. His voice gravely and strangely seductive seduces the listener making them want to hear more. Daniel performed all bar one song off of his acclaimed debut album Such a Fine Day and Other Days as well as slipping into the mix a couple of covers by artists such as the great Richard Thompson. Daniel’s opening set consisted of twelve songs. Although numbers were not great at the start of the evening by quarter to twelve when the gig ended the pub was packed full of people clamouring to hear him sing. Daniel played his trusty guitar throughout the evening as well as the harmonica. It was a very acoustic evening! Daniel performed a rousing version of his blues infused song The Super Superficial Man. Lively and entertaining the song went down well with regulars at the pub. Other songs performed by Daniel included Such a Fine Day, the title track from his album, Free to Love, The Lady and The Ship and Nightwatch. It was interesting to hear Daniel’s songs live; it gave them a new dimension. They seemed to come alive when performed unplugged in a public house setting. There was high praise for Daniel and his music from listeners at the gig. Most commented on his style of music and his extraordinary talents as a singer/songwriter. Daniel has gained a devout fan base in Swindon. Other songs performed on the night included a heart rendering performance of Keep a Place for Me. This is a really sentimental song that tugs at the heart strings. Daniel said that he doesn’t often play the song live as people say it is too sad. Personally it is my favourite off the album and with the current climate – soldiers fighting all over the world, I think it is very fitting. Daniel sang a song entitled Steps, not on his album. A great song with superb lyrics. He rounded off the evening with Miner’s Tale. This is another song he doesn’t perform live that often but his Swindon fans requested it so he willingly obliged. All in all a wonderful evening of top quality music performed by a delightful man who is busy trying to make a name for himself in the world of music.

Daniel Goodman and Adam Levy Gig Review

Daniel Goodman’s latest gig in Swindon was a real show stopper. It was Daniel’s third trip to The Beehive and most definitely his best to date. Daniel was accompanied by acclaimed musician Adam Levy, who is best known for his work with Norah Jones. It was Adam’s first trip to Swindon but hopefully not his last. The pair dazzled the crowd with a mix of fine songs and brilliant guitar work. Daniel performed songs from his album SUCH A FINE DAY AND OTHER DAYS as well as a selection of new songs, which are to be featured on his forthcoming album. Daniel performed a rousing version of his blues infused song The Super Superficial Man, which went down a real treat with the music fans who had come a long to see Daniel and Adam perform. This song gave Adam a real chance to show off his musical skills. Adam’s guitar work was breathtaking and really brought the whole show to life. The pair performed a stunning version of Nightwatch, a popular song from Daniel’s first album. The pair also performed one of Adam’s songs –Washing Day, with both Adam and Daniel taking turns on lead vocals. Adam and Daniel’s vocals worked perfectly together; the end result was a lovely collaboration between the two men. The whole evening was jam packed with beautiful lyrics and delightful music. This was an evening for real music lovers who like high quality songs written from the heart. Daniel introduced some of his newer songs to the audience including True Loves Eyes, a slow but still lyrically powerful song. He treated the audience to a glorious version of The Golden Road, a song that starts off slow and builds up into something rousing and powerful. Adam’s guitar work on this song was just exquisite. Daniel also introduced another new song called Turner’s Tale. Turner’s Tale is a powerful song about Nat Turner, an American slave who brought about the rebellion in Virginia in 1831. It was obvious from Daniel’s performance of the song that it is a subject very close to his heart and a song he is very fond of. It is clear from watching Daniel live that he puts his heart and soul into everything he performs. Daniel treated the audience to a cover of a Bob Dylan classic Girl From The North Country. There are so many similarities between the vocals of Bob Dylan and Daniel Goodman; it was kind of eerie listening to Daniel covering this song. Regulars at the pub encouraged the pair to sing a song by Simon and Garfunkel, with one lady commenting that the pair’s voices had much in common with the famous duo. Time seemed to rush by and before long it was time to call it a night and sadly head off out into the cold.

Jeff Arundel and Courtney Yasmineh Gig Review

Swindon music lovers were given a real treat when Jeff Arundel and Courtney Yasmineh came to play at The Beehive. It was the first time either artist had played in Swindon but both went down a storm with the crowd that had gathered to see them perform. Jeff Arundel opened for Courtney Yasmineh doing a half hour set of amazing songs. Jeff’s music was captivating and really engaged the audience. His music blended blues with an organic/acoustic sound. One song Jeff sang, Elmwood Place from his 1993 album release COMPASS, really stood out from the crowd – it was about going to back to the house you were brought up in many years later. The lyrics were so poetic and the song was just beautiful. Jeff may have been the opening act but I think the people of Swindon could have easily listened to his music all night! By the time Courtney took to the stage the Swindon audience were really fired up. Courtney was joined by Rob Genadek on drums and John Lehmkuhl on electric guitar. Courtney performed songs from her 2009 album release BEAUTIFUL LONELY as well as a couple of covers and one quirky new song. The audience loved Courtney’s vibrant up tempo music as well as her slower delicate songs. Courtney did a wonderful rendition of Beautiful Lonely really bringing the emotive song to life. She also did an amazing version of Stones, which starts off slow then explodes into quite a heavy number before slowing right down again. Courtney treated the audience to a blistering version of the popular Nanci Griffith song Hard Life. John Lehmkuhl’s guitar playing was stunning and so beautiful to listen to, at times he sounded like a one man version of The Shadows. Courtney performed other songs from her album including Stars (which featured a solo by John Lehmkuhl, which was out of this world), Seven Times As Lucky, Part I Like and Luna Moth. Early on in her first set Courtney performed the rousing song Daydrunk, the song went down brilliantly so much so that people were up dancing. To end the evening having had so much praise for the song Courtney performed Daydrunk once again. Courtney’s encore featured a thrilling version of the classic song I Don’t Wanna Talk About It. Courtney put her own stamp on this well known and much covered song. Courtney made a lot of new fans in Swindon after her polished performance at The Beehive. By the end of the evening there was already talk of a return visit next year.

Blackheart Gig Review 2

With a new album out later this year (hopefully late September/October) Chrissy Mostyn and Richard Pilkington, otherwise known as the British duo Blackheart made a welcome return to The Beehive in Swindon on the 3rd of September. A lively and extremely enthusiastic crowd braved the damp and rather windy weather to see the duo, giving the gig plenty of atmosphere and excitement.

Blackheart performed songs from their current album – Indigo, as well as new songs just written, whilst on tour in Ireland, and songs from their forthcoming album. Chrissy Mostyn’s voice is soft and gentle yet when she wants to she can belt out a song and give it plenty of power and rich emotion. Richard is an excellent guitar player and showed off his skills on several occasions throughout the night to rapturous applause from the audience. On one occasion Richard did a solo instrumental number, which had the audience going wild – clapping loudly and stamping their feet in time to the music. It was absolutely brilliant.

Blackheart performed a wonderful version of the title track of their current album Indigo as well as a highly charged performance of Unlike Water also off their current album. This song has some wonderful harmonising it in between Chrissy and Richard. In-between the songs Chrissy and Richard took it in turns to explain why the songs were written and the inspiration behind the lyrics. Although many of their songs are written about sad often depressing issues like bereavement and suicide they still seem to be uplifting and full of hope. The duo sang a new song about someone who had tried to end their life as well as a song written about their time in Ireland.

Chrissy and Richard performed a song written to mark the sad death of Chrissy’s niece. This was a beautiful tribute and a real tear jerker. They also performed a song, which has been specially written for a tour they are appearing on as special guests of Jared Osmond of the Osmond family. This is clearly something they are looking forward to. Several other new songs touched on the subject of faith in one way or another. The forthcoming album looks to be a big hit and a sure fire winner if these new songs are anything to go by.

The duo performed rousing versions of favourites like Wonderland and 0204, written about the duo’s home towns as well as a memorable performance to finish off the evening of 94 years – a song written about the passing of Richard’s father.
Overall this was an entertaining and highly charged evening of good quality music that saw Chrissy and Richard at their very best. It was just a shame that the evening had to come to an end as the audience would have loved to hear a few more hours of songs from the duo.

Blackheart Gig Review

On a bitterly cold December night a few days before Christmas, that might explain a smaller than usual crowd at The Beehive in Swindon, I ventured out to see Blackheart.

Blackheart are a duo from Lancashire duo – Chrissy Mostyn and Richard Pilkington.

Once the show started the cold weather outside was soon forgotten. They performed a good two hour set featuring songs off of their CD – Indigo and new songs from their forthcoming CD. Their music is a blend of folk, roots and Americana. Both were keen to chat and talk about their music. I found them friendly and appreciative of the support towards their music.

Chrissy has a lovely voice and with Richard on guitar, mandolin and vocals their voices harmonise perfectly together.

One of the new songs they performed was called ‘Thank God You Found Me’. I hope that appears on their new CD as it was a brilliant track. I purchased a copy of their Indigo CD on the night and it is great – full of brilliant tracks. My favourite track on the CD was the title track. Definitely worth a listen.

Once again it proves that we have some excellent singers and writers in this country, it is just a great shame that they do not get more air play on radio stations over here. Blackheart deserve to do well and deserve to have their music played on all radio stations in the UK – country and non-country alike.

Once the show was over it was sadly back out into the cold.

If Blackheart appear anywhere in your area I would recommend going to see them as I do not think that you would be disappointed. They are an excellent duo and highly talented.

Atlantic Crossing Gig Review

Wednesday, 11th June saw an exciting show at The Beehive in Swindon. Atlantic Crossing saw three top young Canadian singer/songwriters performing solo tracks from their own back catalogues as well as playing guitar, harmonising and singing background vocals on each others songs. The trio consisted of Melisa Devost, Corbin Murdoch and Sarah MacDougall.

Corbin Murdoch had a voice reminiscent of the late Johnny Cash combined with the legendary Bruce Springsteen. His songs had a strong country feel tinged with a slight hint of blues. Great guitar work and powerful vocals proved that he is someone with enormous talent and a force to be reckoned with in future years. As the evening progressed Corbin’s vocals began to boom across the room.

It wasn’t a huge crowd that came to The Beehive to see the Atlantic Crossing show but it was certainly an appreciative crowd who clapped and cheered loudly at the end of each song.

Melisa Devost was on her second visit to The Beehive – a welcome return for her Swindon fans. Melisa’s voice is powerful and unique in sound infusing country, blues and gospel into her music. Melisa performed songs with her guitar and with no instrumental backing at all. The unplugged songs Melisa performed really stood out from the crowd stunning the audience into complete silence. Melisa has a great passion for music and this can be seen in abundance in her poignant lyrics. Melisa performed a touchingly beautiful song written for her friend who had suffered from cancer as well as a section of other songs from her album – Capacity.

Sarah MacDougall was mesmerising and gave a truly blinding performance. Her first visit to Swindon went down really well with the audience who raved over her magnificent vocals and delightful songs – many of which were full of quirky lyrics about life as it is today. Sarah sang a rather jolly song called Pain Reliever that had both Corbin and Melisa joining in on background vocals. Sarah sang songs from her 2005 album – Headed for the Hills including a touching performance of the albums title track. She also included songs from a new EP created especially for the Atlantic Crossing tour. Sarah’s songs mixed traditional country with a dash of folk resulting in a phenomenal sound.

The evening ended all too quickly with all three singers joining in with a rendition of an old Leonard Cohen song rearranged by another Canadian singer/songwriter called Kent McAlister. A rousing end to a truly remarkable evening. All three singer/songwriters were exciting and showed much potential and hope for the future of Canadian music. This was certainly one of the best shows I have seen in ages!

Ron Trueman-Border Gig Review

A less than usual crowd turned out to see folk, roots and blues singer Ron Trueman-Border at The Beehive on Wednesday, 28th April. Ron has a reputation as an excellent singer/songwriter creating beautiful songs that rake up a whole range of emotions. Ron’s talents as a songwriter and singer were most definitely on display as he performed with his guitar and harmonica. He started the first set with Romeo And Juliet a great song from his AMERICAN GHOSTS album. He continued with Whiskey And Beer, a song that went down well with the crowd and Tears Over My Bones from his 2004 album, with Felicity Greenland, called INNOCENTS ABROAD. The first set continued with two songs from Ron’s BREAKING HEARTS ALBUM - Black Eyed Sally and a nice slow song Old Man Of The Sea. Ron completed the first half of the evening with a protest song called Tearing My England Down and the very good Peter Green from his 1997 album UNREQUITED, which was reissued in 2000 with bonus tracks. Ron spent the interval chatting with the gathered crowd. The second half was even better than the first. Ron performed another selection of songs from his many albums including Drunk, the excellently written Angel Of Mercy and One Last Round. After two hours of fantastic music Ron brought the evening to a close with a bluegrass flavoured song called Diamonds (In My Own Backyard), which is featured on his 2002 live recording with Paul Sirman - GHOSTS LIVE – ROUGH & READY. The evening was a real treat for fans of acoustic music. Ron has been on the music scene for many years; after hearing him perform live it is easy to see why.

Luke Jackson - The Birds Don't Sing Around Here Song Review

Once again Luke Jackson has carefully crafted a lyrical masterpiece with his new song The Birds Don’t Sing Around Here. With each new song Luke manages to amaze me with his brilliance, a brilliance way beyond his years. This is a sentimental song about war and how even when it is over the mental and emotional costs are still great and long lasting. Luke conjures up a story, with his strong lyrics, that is bleak, emotional beyond words and heart breaking. As the lyrics play out Luke takes listeners on a roller coaster ride of emotions. This song contains sadness and misery, which Luke portrays with ease. Towards the end there is hope, it is as if the sun is finally bursting through the darkness. Luke’s vocals rise and fall throughout the song adding depth and atmosphere. This is a striking song worthy of a close listen.

Maslow's Songbook by Odi Album Review

Glorious vocals bring this stunning album to life
Claire Odlum better known as Odi is an Irish singer/songwriter whose music combines folk, acoustic, pop, rock and indie. Odi played her first gig three years a go, since that time she has supported Eleanor McEvoy, Brian Kennedy and Seth Lakeman as well as playing gigs in Ireland, the UK and Germany. Odi has already been tipped as one of the top five artists to watch in 2010 by MySpace/Vodafone. Dave Redfearn joins Odi on vocals, guitar and piano. Odi’s musical influences include Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Elbow. Odi’s debut album MASLOW’S SONGBOOK was recorded with producer Karl Odlum, who has worked with the likes of Fionn Regan. Odi’s vocals blend together an upbeat version of Dido with the strong vocals of Dolores O'Riordan. The album opens with Red Light an upbeat slightly rocky folk number. The vocals are strong and engaging and the melody is catchy. Something Beautiful is a forthcoming single. This is an enigmatic song full of magical vocals, which enthral. Odi effortlessly blends folk with pop; the end result is a really classy sound. Real To Me has a gentler more acoustic sound. The vocals here are haunting and packed full of emotion. Make It Better is a glorious song with delicious vocals. This song sees Odi in fine form with her vocals seamlessly blending a mixture of Tracy Chapman and Vanessa Carlton together. The backing music adds atmosphere and depth. Leaving My Love In New York sees the pace pick up a little. This is a more dramatic edgy folk/pop song. One In A Million has a very organic sound. I’m Done has a slight blues feel and an up-tempo beat. You Can’t Have It All is a vibrant folk/pop song backed with uplifting music. You Win But You Lose is a charming song with delicate vocals. Odi’s vocals have a slight touch of Carly Simon about them on this standout number. This is a striking folk infused song. Mariposa is another song, which really showcases Odi’s beautiful vocals. Here her vocals are warming and quite enthralling. This is a song that fans of good quality modern folk and country will enjoy. Lonely Ballerina leads nicely into the final song on the album Maslow’s Love Song, running at slightly over five minutes; this is a fantastic song to end the album on. Glorious haunting vocals, a little reminiscent of Tori Amos, give this song drama and character. This is an album bursting with top quality vocals and strong songs. One listen will never be quite enough!

A Superman EP by Odi

Intoxicating, haunting and gorgeous
Released in 2008 A SUPERMAN is a stunning five track EP from Irish singer/songwriter Odi. The title track, A Superman, is a rocky pop song with edgy vocals. Odi’s vocals remind me greatly of Sian Evans from Kosheen. This is a strong fiery song. The music is dramatic allowing the song to build and build until it reaches a haunting climax. This is one of those songs you will want to hear again and again. What You Deserve sees Odi in a quieter mood. The vocals here are gentle and haunting, reminiscent in style of Dido. There is a lot of passion and raw emotion oozing out through Odi’s velvety vocals. Tears And Wine is a slightly more upbeat song with a gorgeous acoustic sound running through it. Once again the vocals are the highlight. Crawl has more of a rock/pop feel. This is a catchy song with a really strong sound. Leaving My Love In New York is an intoxicating song with rich heartfelt vocals. This song is moody and delicate again with a touch of Dido about it. SH

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Amy Barbera CD Review

Amy Barbera is a singer with a truly angelic voice. Her songs are both uplifting and inspirational. Her music is rich in emotion. Amy uses her voice to paint a rainbow of glorious sounds. Amy’s music appeals to listeners of many styles of music. Amy is a deeply religious person and this is highlighted throughout her work. Amy’s music transcends many musical genres from spiritual to easy listening, pop to healing and ambient to classical. Compared to acclaimed artists like Celine Dion and Barbara Streisand it is obvious that Amy is a force to be reckoned with. Her music envelops listeners in a blanket of hope, joy and love. Passion radiates from Amy’s heart and soul as she sings each line of her songs. Amy is an accomplished performer and works extremely hard raising money for many different charities. Throughout this album Amy’s vocals shine brightly and the backing music is evocative and has a slightly magical feel about it. Amy’s own musical influences include Sarah Brightman, Norah Jones, Lisa Gerrard, Josh Groban and Tori Amos.

Amy’s 2008 release Beautiful Flower Of Life features some really beautiful passion filled songs that ooze beauty, love, passion and honesty. The albums cover photo shows Amy surrounded by beautiful purple butterflies. A glorious cover shot that just echoes the beauty of Amy’s music and the album as a whole.

The first song on the album is called Let Me Cry Lord. This song runs for over five minutes, but it is worth every second. Amy’s vocals are delicate and vibrant, almost haunting at times. The backing music enhances the mood of the song. There are definite similarities here between Celine Dion and Amy. Amy sounds polished throughout the song.

God’s Special Angel is a glorious ballad, which showcases Amy’s wonderful vocals. Amy’s voice reminds me of a bird soaring high into the blue sky. Amy’s songs and vocals would not seem out of place in a musical on Broadway.

We Will Fly is a delightful slow song. Once again Amy’s voice is the star of the show. Her vocals are mesmerising and a real joy to listen to.

Your Love Is So Real is a slightly heavier song. Amy’s vocals seem to gain an extra bit of power, her delicateness is gone replaced by purpose. Amy definitely wants to get her message across and that she certainly does with this catchy anthemic song.

Make Me A Butterfly is a lyrical gem. Listen to the words and soak up the magical lyrics. Amy’s words are powerful and uplifting. This song is one of the highlights of the album and worth listening to time and time again. There is a really spiritual feel about this number. I dare listeners not to fall head over heels in love with this beautiful song. The backing music is gentle at first reminding me of water running wild and free. As the song progresses the backing music becomes more prominent but it never overshadows Amy’s vocals.

One Day sees Amy in a gentler more thoughtful mood. Amy’s vocals are soft and wispy on this rather charming song.

Flowers In My Garden is more of an upbeat song. This song has a more modern pop feel.

Broken Father is another spiritually uplifting song. Amy’s vocals are light and airy. The backing music is pronounced giving this song a slightly heavier feel.

I Had A Dream has a strong classical feel. Amy’s voice shines on this number, which seems to blend several musical styles together. The end result is a beautiful and haunting song. Here again it is well worth listening to the lyrics.

I Need You is a strong uplifting song. Amy comes into her own on this song. Her vocals are invigorating, always inviting listeners to hear more.

Cries For Peace is another song that sounds like it belongs in a stage show. Amy’s voice is once again powerful as she tries to get her message across. The backing music is dramatic giving the feel of people marching in time.

Electric Church is a fast modern song with a catchy beat. This song is lively making you want to get up and dance. There are touches of Gloria Estefan here within Amy’s vocals.

The final song on the album is called The Healing Song. This is another slow song with a truly uplifting feel. Amy’s vocals are once again the highlight of this spiritual song.

At the end of this album listeners will feel cleansed and rejuvenated. The music and Amy’s shinning vocals take listeners on a journey that reignites their soul and kick starts their passion for life and living once more.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Soul Mates

Do you believe in soul mates, a person you are destined to be with? Someone you are connected to in ways you cannot imagine. Someone you may never even meet or be able to be with, yet they are still your soul mate. Someone who is the other half of you, the other part of the puzzle if you like. The person who makes you one, makes you whole.

We all have a soul mate out there in the big wide world, in some cases we have more than one soul mate. Some people can have three or four others just the one. We do not always get to meet our soul mate and in lots of occasions we do not get to be with our soul mate as they are already married, spoken for or circumstances do not pan out for one reason or another. If you believe in reincarnation then we could meet our soul mate in one of our previous lives not the life we are living now.

I met my soul mate about nine years a go now. We met by chance. As soon as we met we both knew there was something that extra bit special between us. There was a spark, an intensity between us that we could not explain. It was like we were two pieces of the same object. I was the hand he was the glove that fitted perfectly. We shared so many interests and had such a lot in common - it was scary. We made each other laugh and we could instantly talk with ease about anything from the weather to music, work to sex.

Sadly it was not destined to be. He had a girlfriend and I had someone in my life. We knew that there was a time limit on our acquaintance, the egg timer started off full but soon ran out. I think we knew one another for two months. Just two months. Not a lot of time. In that time however we made the most of every second we had together. I don't mean we were naughty or anything like that. We had partners so we could not act on our impulses although I certainly would have liked to and I think he felt the same way.

After the two months he went his way and me mine. We both said that if things had of been different then maybe we could have dated or got together but fate conspired against us and so we just had a few precious weeks together. It wasn't long but I wouldn't trade those weeks with anyone.

I never saw him again. As you can tell I have never ever forgotten him and never will!!!!

Why do we act like idiots?

Why is it that some people just do it for you? I mean they only have to walk in the room and you go to mush. One word from their mouth and you are like putty in their hands - all weak, heart racing, knees trembling etc etc. Ok I know those are the trademark signs of something we all know as fancying someone but why do those things happen when certain people walk into a room or for that matter speak to you on the phone? I had one of those stop you in your tracks moments earlier. Someone I wasn't expecting to ring called me up. I just looked at the phone in horror. How could I answer it? How could I talk to said person and hold a meaningful conversation? I wasn't going to answer the phone at all, just ignore it and hope the person went away but I had been texting that person so they knew I was in reach of the phone. I didn't want to appear rude so I had to answer it. Texting is ok as you don't have to speak just send words and symbols to one another - back and forth like a game of tennis. Speaking is an altogether more scary prospect. Having to formulate sentences when your mind has gone to mush and all you want to do is giggle is not at all easy. To appear grown up and normal when you feel anything but, not an easy task. So I pressed the green answer call button and tried and failed miserably to act like an adult who wasn't embarrassed or nervous or giggly or any of the other things I was feeling. Of course now I am on a high, floating on cloud nine. Better than taking some illegal drug!!!!! I feel amazing now, all thanks to one telephone conversation, which wasn't even that good a conversation. So my question to you out there in cyberspace is why do we act like idiots when someone comes into our lives that we like or fancy? What is it that makes sensible adults turn into silly idiots? Any ideas on that one?

Sunday, 4 April 2010

The Wrong Way Home - Luke Jackson Song Review

The Wrong Way Home is another lyrical gem from talented singer/songwriter Luke Jackson. I love how Luke has written a sensitive tale about teenage pregnancy, highlighting the dangers of growing up too soon. Luke captures everything perfectly here. This tale could relate to so many people. Luke’s vocals vary on this track from strong and powerful to gentle and intoxicating. Lyrically this could be Luke’s best song to date. Luke sings with passion and compassion throughout this song. This song highlights how easy it is to pick the wrong path in life and how easy it is to get burned by doing so. Luke Jackson has a maturity way beyond his years as this song shows.

Thomas Nash Song Review

Thomas Nash hails from Sweden. His music combines country with a touch of rock the end result is a truly original and atmospheric sound and style all of his own. Thomas has many musical influences all from the world of country music, these include: Hank Williams Senior, Willie Nelson, Neil Young. David Allan Coe, Gram Parsons and Billy Joe Shaver.

One For The Road is a fast paced modern country song with an old fashioned feel. The backing music would not be out of place on an old cowboy film. Listening to this song one artist instantly springs to mind – Jack White. This is an enjoyable song that sticks in your head long after the last chord has been struck.

18 Years is a truly fantastic song. Thomas creates an eerie atmosphere with this lyrically and vocally driven number. There are hints of the late Johnny Cash within this song. My one complaint about this song is that it ends way too soon; I just want to hear more. Throughout this song the vocals are gravely and sound quite raw.

Radio Sellout has a really old fashioned country sound. Thomas seems to create with relative ease songs that seem like a throw back to another era. Once again the vocals are the highlight here. They are a joy to listen to.

Lost Highway is a cover of the old Hank Williams song. A popular song in its day Thomas gives this song the once over and comes up with something that sounds fresh and new yet he still retains the songs old fashioned feel. The backing music is limited allowing the vocals to shine. This is a great cover of this classic song.

I Keep On Tumbling Down is a rockier number with a modern beat. Thomas comes up trumps with this thoroughly delightful country song. The chorus is catchy. David Allan Coe and other similar artists would not seem out of place singing this song.

Your Last Hope kicks off with some lovely instrumentation. This is a brilliant country song. Thomas reminds me of a cross between Johnny Cash, Jace Everett and Billy Bob Thornton on this song. This song is packed with dramatic atmosphere and a darkness that seems to echo throughout the song. Thomas really brings this song to life with his wonderful gravely vocals.

I Won’t Fail Hank (Like The Opry Do) is an upbeat song with a modern feel. This is something of a protest song as the title suggests. Here the vocals are more polished.

I Was Born A Free Born Livin Man is another song that sounds like it has been dug out of the archives. This song has a thoroughly old fashioned sound. Once again Thomas brings this song to life with his marvellous vocals, which really shine on this song.

I’m Gonna Be Movin’ On is a really great country song. This is an upbeat song with great vocals. Kris Kristofferson comes to mind on listening to this song.

Let The Good Times Roll is a rocky upbeat song with a strong country edge. The vocals are powerful and edgy. This song is much heavier than the other songs reviewed here. The beat is catchy and quite intoxicating.

Thomas Nash is a real joy to listen to. His music offers listeners a real mixed bag of sounds and styles from modern rocky country done really well to old fashioned country sung with a really traditional sound.

Review of Sam Holmes Demo Album

Review of Sam Holmes Demo Album

Artist – Sam Holmes
Title – Sam Holmes
Rating – 4 stars

Cheltenham based singer/songwriter Sam Holmes self-titled demo CD features seven glorious tracks, which showcase her obvious talents and superior singer/songwriter qualities.

Breathe In is a fresh dreamy song, great to listen to on a hot summer’s day. Sam’s vocals are soft and delicate reminiscent in style of the highly talented pop/country artist Jewel. This is a catchy number, which is easy on the ear.

Charlie is a heartfelt song about seeing people for what and who they are and that sometimes you have to look beyond the mask that people wear everyday to hide their real selves and feelings to really see who a person is. This song is filled with emotion - ‘wiping the dirt from her face Charlie leaves no trace’ and is based on a lady Sam came across whilst on her travels abroad. This is not a particularly happy song but you can tell from the passion in Sam’s voice that this is a song not only written but performed from the heart. This song illustrates just how good a songwriter Sam Holmes is.

Falling Down is a slightly heavier song where Sam’s vocals take on a much stronger tone. This self penned song is carefully crafted and has a country/pop feel to it.

Fool For Love is a brilliant song that really stands out from the crowd. Whereas most of the songs on this demo CD are slow and full of atmosphere this is a catchy, quirky number. As a listener as soon as you hear this song you will want to jump up and start dancing or at least tapping your foot in time to the beat. Listening to this song I am reminded of country singer Sarah MacDougall combined with pop/folk singers Sandi Thom/K T Tunstall. The use of the organ on this particular track makes it stand out from the crowd and gives it a touch of eccentricity and added quirkiness. This song would make a fantastic single.

Solid Ground is a much slower number full of emotion. This song features some great lyrics – ‘I’ve had my hands in roses all day, it is ok to touch roses as long as they are thorn less’. The use of the cello gives this song an added dimension. Again Sam sounds very much like Jewel on this track.

Spaces is definitely a stand out track that allows Sam Holmes to show off another side to her musical talents. This song is full of angst, tender not over done, and passion. Sam’s vocals have a distinct rawness about them. As a listener I was drawn to the emotion you can hear in Sam’s voice as she sings this song.

Stories To Tell is a simple song full of emotion and delicate vocals. This song has a strong folk feel to it. Sam’s vocals take centre stage, never overshadowed by the backing music. This song floats gently along and is a fantastic choice of track to end this short collection on.

This collection of songs proves that Sam Holmes is one seriously talented lady who has a wonderfully delicate voice that can express love and emotion easily. Her songs are carefully crafted and full of tender emotive lyrics. Her songs are not over done allowing her vocals to shine. This is one lady who deserves to be played on radio stations and heard by the masses as her haunting melodies will appeal to old and young alike and to people who like all different types and styles of music. This is pure quality!