Thursday, 14 September 2017

Live in 2016: Austin Lucas & The Dreaming Spires at Acapela Studios, Pentyrch on Sunday 16th October 2016



A TOUGH DECISION HERE. I'VE JUST FOUND THIS POST THAT WAS DESTROYED BY SOMEONE THE FIRST 10 MINUTES I POSTED IT LAST YEAR. WHICH IS WHAT LED ME TO STOP BLOGGING FOR SOME TIME SINCE. UNFORTUNATELY THEY WIPED OUT ALL OF MY TEXT FOR THE EVENING'S PERFORMANCE. THAT WAS A CHANGE AS THEY NORMALLY REMOVED VIDEO OR PHOTOS. THAT MEANS I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT WAS PLAYED. BUT I'VE DECIDED THAT SOME OF THE PHOTOS AND PERFORMANCES WERE WORTHY ENOUGH TO BE SEEN.


IT WAS THE FIRST TIME AT ACAPELA FOR BOTH AUSTIN LUCAS AND THE DREAMING SPIRES. THE SPIRES FORMED AUSTIN'S BACKING BAND FOR THE EVENING. BUT BEFORE THAT, THEY PLAYED THEIR OWN SET.

THE GUYS WERE ON GREAT FROM AND THEY DESERVED A BIGGER AUDIENCE THAT NIGHT. BUT THEY GAVE IT THEIR ALL AND AS OTHER GIGS AROUND THE COUNTRY PROVED, THEY WERE WELL RECEIVED.

SO I WILL LEAVE THIS JUST AS IT WAS BEFORE THE WORDS WERE REMOVED. I HOPE YOU LIKE IT FOR WHAT IT IS.

Everything All The Time








The House On Elsinore



Dusty In Memphis



Searching For The Supertruth




unbroken hearts




Kristie Rae



wrong side of the dream


call the doctor









Alone In Memphis




Twitter - @AustinLucasIND

@dreaming_spires

















Live In 2017: Down By The River #10 - with Luke Tuchscherer, Jess Vincent & Blind River Scare on Saturday 9th September 2017

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Tim Manning - aka Blind River Scare continues in his mission to bring some of the best Singer/Songwriters and Americana/Country artists to the people of South Wales with his Down By The River sessions. He aims for about 3 or 4 shows a year and is now on show number 10.

The format is now firmly established where Tim plays a short first set and his two guest artists then follow with their set. With almost 3 hours of live music, it must surely be one of the best shows for less than a tenner you could attend.

Tonight's guests are Jess Vincent, returning for a second time and the soon to be New York resident, Luke Tuchsherer.

But first it was time for Tim to play his opening set. Tim has recently released his new album, Pastures New.


Tim opened his set with a track from the new album, Restless Soul.


Armed with his trusty Gibson, Tim gave us songs from his new album and also from his previous album Point Of No Return, the lovely Mother's Day.


Tim often uses these gigs to showcase some of his new songs and we were treated to a couple tonight. Usually Gone and the plaintive Do You Think I'm Pretty.

Also getting a play tonight was Something For The Pain.




This week saw the passing of Country Legend Don Williams and Tim took the opportunity to pay his own personal tribute to the great man with an absolutely gorgeous performance of My Best Friend to finish his set. And you could hear a pin drop.




It was a welcome return to Barnabas Arts House for Jess Vincent having played at a previous Down By The River show. But she was not alone tonight as she brought a couple of friends with her.
Tonight she was accompanied by her partner Jozeph Chowles on Guitars and Hannah Krawiec on backing vocals.


On her last visit, Jess was promoting her new album Shine. Since then, she has upped sticks and moved to Bulgaria where she has been working hard on her new album and growing a set of dreadlocks!


With the addition of Jozeph and Hannah the sounds of tonight are more akin to the sounds on the album. Tonight though, it is an opportunity for Jess to run through a lot of new songs destined for her new album.


With songs such as Into The lions Den, Time and Ghosts, Jess showed her command of a good tune and the new album promises to be a step forward from Shine if tonight's performances were anything to go by.




But there was still some time for an older song or two like the title track from her current album release, Shine.






So, a welcome and triumphant return for Jess Vincent and the promise of a lovely new album to come made for an entertaining and thoughtful set.


The final artist of this evening's show was Clubhouse Records artist, Luke Tuchscherer,

Luke has recently emerged as a solo artist following his stint as drummer and vocalist in the Rock n Roll band, The Whybirds.


In fact, The Whybirds played their last gig this August.

Luke is about to move to New York City with his family and tonight was one of the last gigs he was going to play in the UK for some time, so it was a bit of a Hello/Goodbye moment for this Welsh audience. But, he left us on a high.



Luke has just released his second solo album, Always Be True - the Electronic Press Kit can be seen below.


Tonight we were treated to songs from throughout Luke's career so far, his work with the Whybirds, Solo Albums, Covers and even a brand new song about his move to New York.

Luke kicked off with the first track from his latest album, the uplifting Waiting For My Day To Come.


It was a great opening song and the first of many highlights and Luke's personality shone through as his engaging banter between him and the audience provided several laughs throughout the evening.

Next up were three more songs from the new album, the gently rocking These Lonesome Blues, the smouldering Outside Looking In and When The Dream Dies, the three tracks follow each other on the album. The new album is a mighty fine record indeed and shows Luke is not a one trick pony when it comes to songwriting as he switches from Americana, Blues, Country and some Rock N Roll.


For the next two songs, Luke turns to his debut solo album, the catchily titled, You Get So Alone  At Times It Just Makes Sense.

First up is To Make It Worse I'm Falling In Love Again, a killer plaintive ballad that Johnny Cash would've done proud if he was around now quickly followed by the jauntily downbeat, country tinged One Of Us. As always, a solo performance with just a guitar, shines a different light on these songs, showing pretty much how they were written, I'm guessing.


Something Beautiful This Way Comes from the album Cold Blue Sky is the first Whybirds song of the evening and it's rockin' chorus lifted the gig even higher.

After this rocker, Luke brought us back down to earth with a stunning version of Dear Samantha from his debut album. Solo Luke is a great chance to hear the words to the songs sung plainly and from the heart. His heroes are Steve Earle, Neil Young, Tom Petty and Springsteen and you can hear these influences in his songs. 

I'm so looking forward to seeing what Luke comes up with when he's really living in America and absorbing the influences and culture first hand.


The next song up is one of the highlights from Always Be True and it's based on a real life experience that Luke had relatively recently.
A Song For Jack Browne closes the album and is another gorgeous story ballad. There's always been something about a man and his guitar playing music. And Luke is up there with the best.


It was the final Whybirds song of the evening next with If You Stay With Me, also from the Cold Blue Sky album.

As I stated earlier, Luke and his wife are moving to New York City for a fantastic work opportunity and the final song of tonight's set was written recently about his excitement of moving to New York. The title comes from the fire station in New York in which the Ghostbusters were housed in the Ghostbusters movie. One of the first places that Luke wants to visit in New York City.


There was no way that the audience was going to let Luke off the hook that easily and he began his encore with a choice of two songs, in the end, he played both.


Firstly, singing at the limit of his register, (that'll teach him to do a Neil Young cover), we were treated to a great version of Rockin' In The Free World completed with audience participation.


Next, we had a cover of Steve Earle's I'm Never Satisfied. And neither was the crowd as the curfew was pushed to it's limit ( and over slightly) as Luke launched into I Go Crazy.

It was a great performance by Luke and you could tell from the smile on his face at the end that the man enjoyed himself.

So it was Goodbye and Good Luck to Luke as he sets off on his American adventure. He promised to come back soon. I for one can't wait to see what America brings out of the man. And I don't think he'll disappoint us.
Soon can't come quick enough.


TWITTER

@luketuchscherer

@JessVincent01

@BlindRiverScare






Monday, 11 September 2017

Live in 2017: Harriet at Acapela Studios, Pentyrch on Saturday 1st July 2017


I just love it when I discover a fabulous voice. And Harriet has got one fabulous voice.
So, let's address the obvious. Harriet's vocal is very similar to that of my favourite all time vocalist, Karen Carpenter. That same rich timbre and vocal delivery. Singing songs that the late Karen would be delighted to sing. And the Acapela is the perfect venue for such a voice. With the added attraction of being a talented songwriter as well as a fabulous vocalist.

Complete with a solid band and backing vocalists, Harriet delivered a set of two halves. Very much the vogue these days. With only her debut album behind her, Harriet gave us a mixture of songs from that album and a varied selection of covers designed to highlight her glorious voice.

She kicked off with the smooth FM sheen of What's Mine Is Yours.



With her voice suitably warmed up, Harriet moved on to Whoever You Are. It's a brave choice to open an album with a ballad but if it's the quality of her album opener, Afterglow, which comes up next, then you're on very solid ground. It's the slower songs that really showcase her beautiful voice. It's also a pleasure to find out that Harriet can perform live as well as she does on record. (cd)


Harriet's eponymous debut does not only contain ballads but also a selection of uptempo numbers that fit well into the BBC Radio 2 schedules, which is surely where the majority of her audience must reside.


You can usually guage an artist by their choice of covers and Harriet, whether in consultation with her musical advisers or of her own volition has shown tremendous taste in her selection of covers in the show.

Fleetwood Mac's Dreams may come as no surprise but maybe people weren't expecting a version of Keane's Everybody's Changing, which she pulls off beautifully. 


But the real highlight for me of Part One of the show was Harriet's performance of the George Michael song, You Have Been Loved, which was a real show stopper and garnered rapturous applause from an appreciative audience.




Choosing to end Part One with one of her strongest self penned numbers was a wise move and First And Last completed an excellent first half performance.

A special mention too for Harriet's band tonight who brought the songs to life and where beautifully supportive in every aspect of their performance.





Part Two began with Harriet and solo piano and two absolutely stunning songs in The Best Is Yet To Come and Eagles Desperado. And this is where you could really hear the richness and tone of Harriet's gorgeous vocal delivery.



The band then took to the stage for Never Not Remember and the uptempo loveliness of Permission To Kiss from the album.




It was now the final part of the show and time to kick off those shoes as we are treated to three more uptempo numbers which proved that Harriet is NOT only a ballad singer.
We had interpretations of S Club 7's Reach and a lovely version of the Andrew Gold classic, Lonely Boy.


We are the treated to Fly from the album which closes the show.

Harriet returned for a two song encore. Beginning with a killer version of the ballad Unlove You with just a piano accompaniment. The band then return as Harriet closes with Broken For You.

I'm so glad I was able to catch Harriet early in her career as I think she has great things ahead and will be venues much larger than the Acapela by the end of  2017.

Harriet is about to release a deluxe version of her debut - which is a great place to get to know this lovely singer and talented songwriter who is very much bathed in old school attention to detail and emotion which is lacking in so much of today's processed pop.




Twitter
@HarrietsMusic





Sunday, 12 March 2017

Live In 2017: Down By The River #8 - featuring Hannah Rose Platt, Christopher Rees & Blind River Scare at Barnabas Arts House on Saturday 4th March 2017


Tim Manning aka Blind River Scare is quietly building an extremely beautiful portfolio of gigs down at the Barnabas Arts House in Newport, South Wales. He calls them Down By The River. Now on gig number 8, his Down By The River presentations continue to bring quality singer songwriters from the UK and USA to the cosy basement of Barnabas Arts House.
It's a 'bring your own drinks' (and nibbles) evening and for the price of admission, is an absolute steal to hear almost 3 hours of quality music.

Tonight, Tim welcomed Welsh Singer Songwriter Christopher Rees and Liverpool Singer Songwriter Hannah Rose Platt.

The Down By The River evenings always kick off with Tim playing a small selection of his songs. An excellent songwriter himself, Tim picks up his Gibson acoustic and launches into Pastures New.


Tim is currently putting the finishing touches to his latest album - this time on his own. 

But Tim would rather give the stage time to his guests on these evenings so we are only treated to another three songs - Restless Soul, Straight & true and No Remorse, Guilt & Shame.


Here is The Straight and True from tonight's performance.


Remorse, Guilt & Shame



It was my first time to see Christopher Rees live. And I must say I was mightily impressed.
Christopher has been ploughing the musical furrow since his first trip to the USA in 1994. Now a seasoned performer of  quality Americana, Country & Country/Soul he dipped into his 6 released albums and his imminent No7 album for tonight's performance.

Christopher, who also plays with a band, is solo this evening and takes to the stage armed with a gorgeous Chet Atkins Signature Gretsch Country Genleman electric guitar and launches into a spirited performance of What Walks Outside My Window? - you'll find this opening performance on the video below.



Christopher accompanies his songs tonight with engaging stories of how they came to be and the songwriters who have had an influence on his songwriting and career to date.


Christopher has spent time in Nashville both playing and writing and this can be seen in his songs tonight.

Christopher's set tonight included A Place For My Face and Dance With Desire.


Christopher also took the opportunity tonight to showcase a selection of his new songs from his as yet untitled forthcoming album  including A Familiar Road and Don't Fail Me Now.


Chris also uses a Gretsch acoustic and a selection of harmonicas tonight - not forgetting his splendid banjo playing



Chris performed many excellent songs in his set tonight proving what a particularly gifted songwriter he is - and the fact that he's homegrown makes it all the more pleasing. I'd like to see him with a full band although it's always nice to see how songs are actually written using the one instrument.





It's always a good bet when a musician tells you to check out another Musician. So it was at the beginning of 2006, Fin Kenny, the drummer from the band Society and occasionally The Dreaming Spires sent me a message and stated that I just HAD to check out this female singer/songwriter he had just seen called Hannah Rose Platt. Well, the first stop was Youtube to see if anyone had uploaded any videos. I clicked on one of a few called 1954. And I was just blown away.


I immediately sent off to Hannah for her debut album Portraits. And what a beautiful thing it is. 12 Beautiful little vignettes of life and love. So it was with eager anticipation that I awaited tonight to get my first taste of Hannah live. And she was certainly worth the wait. 

Her voice reminds me of the Country great Emmylou Harris in that high, clear register with a delicate vulnerability but a certain steeliness that provides the sour to the spice in her excellent songs.

Joining her tonight for a portion of her set was Multi-instrumentalist Tom Collinson, who has recently worked with The Dreaming Spires and American singer/songwriter Don Gallardo. Tom provides electric guitar, Steel guitar and keyboards to Hannah's acoustic six string.


Hannah is currently working on album number 2 which is due out later in the year and took the opportunity tonight of performing some of the new songs in the intimate atmosphere of The Barnabas.


Hannah starts her set alone by performing Dancer from her debut album - it's about one of her favourite cafes in London, where this Liverpool girl now lives. It's a lovely observational tale of the waitress.


Stripped of it's additional instrumentation from the album it still sounds passionate and dances around your ears.

Next, we have two new songs, the excellent Josephine, which it turns out is about Josephine Baker (don't be lazy - look it up) and Checkmate. 
The quality of her new songs is immediately recognisable and bodes well for album number 2.

Between these songs, Hannah slips in the opening tracks from Portraits, another observational track called Little Screws.

Another new song follows - this one is called Brooklyn and has been inspired by the film of the same name released last year (I think). I really can't get over how good the new songs are. I thought Portraits was a cracking record but the new one is REALLY going to something special.


And just to put the icing on the cake, Hannah plays another two new songs straight after - Chanel & Cigarettes, which really is a peach of a song and Sculptor.


Tom then comes to the stage and the duo play another new song Audrey.
With Tom on stage, the sound is given another dimension and it's amazing how by only adding another instrument to Hannah's guitar the songs sound different yet again.

Yellow Roses from Portraits comes next then another new song Your Way before the glorious final song called 1954.

1954 is a truly special song - I won't spoil the song by explaining it to you - just watch the video below which Hannah recorded for Bob Harris and listen to the words. If you don't get it's heartbreaking message - well, you haven't got a heart.




There was always going to be an encore and tonight it came in the form of Hello Central, Give Me Heaven, a very old song brought back to life by Hannah & Tom tonight.

Hannah is a very special artist indeed. You should seek her out and catch her before she goes stellar and you won't be able to get a seat!!!!



It was a privilege to be here for another very special evening and another successful Down By The River gig. If you haven't been there, you really need to get to the next one - sometime in June I believe. You won't be disappointed. Trust me.


TWITTER

@BlindRiverScare

@CReesMusic

@HannahRosePlatt





WEBSITES




Chris Rees can be found via his Facebook Page