Catherine J Campbell

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Next up in the ‘Inspirational Women in Music’ interview series is Scottish promoter extraordinaire Catherine J Campbell. I first connected with her on Facebook and loved her energy and passion for music as well as her enthusiastic and positive attitude. She’s super supportive and encouraging of everyone and its her sunny outlook on life as well as the daily motivational posts that make her such a big inspiration!


Can you briefly introduce yourself and tell us what you do?

I’m Catherine J Campbell. I’m a music promoter who presently lives near Aberdeen but spends a lot of time in Perth & Glasgow. I have many names given to me by ‘my’ bands including Rock Chick, The Boss, Doricana Girl and a new one is Catherine ‘multitasking’ Campbell. Lol.

Is working in the music industry something you always wanted to do?

I never dreamed of working in the music industry and went the usual route of college (getting qualifications in accounting, Spanish, biology and psychology) then temping in a range of places from oil companies to Universities.

Tell us about CJC Promotions and what your hopes and dreams are for it?

CJC Promotions was a wee idea I had but was brought to life by my very good friend, Nick J Townsend, lead singer with Birmingham band ‘Weak13’, actor, director…his list of talents is endless. Nick helped me with the name and setting up the actual CJC promotions fb page and a twitter page. In the last 16 months, the music promotion I do has snowballed into an avalanche and the respect and love I have from so many folk totally stuns me. As for CJC Promotions, I aim to carry on doing as much as I can to help bands & artists to get their music ‘out there’ with 100% determination and dedication.

I know you have some challenging health issues, do these hinder your career in any way?

Since I was 18, yes I’ve had serious health issues but I get on with my life the best I can. I guess many folk would be surprised to learn I am hard of hearing but the only thing I cannot do is use the phone. I hear music and as you know, love having my music LOUD especially in my car. In fact, all the serious health issues I do have which led me 16 months ago to change my life and just go for it, although still there…well being 100% positive and keeping busy seems to have had a hugely beneficial effect on my health.

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Walk us through a typical day in the life of Catherine, if there is such a thing.

A typical day…hmmm…I guess there’s a pattern of sourcing radio stations, keeping in contact with ‘my’ bands and radio presenters but there’s also the continuous posting on Facebook and twitter, keeping an eye on ‘my’ bands posts and sharing on my own page, listening to new music that I get sent from ‘my’ bands but also from many other folk who contact me for help. Wi-Fi allowing, I like to listen in to radio stations, especially when ‘my’ bands are on. I also, try to set up interviews for them, either live guesting at radio stations or doing a phone interview. I’ve had the awesome Naked Sunday from Stafford …Laura Stanyer, Martin Stanyer & Craig Stanley on Canadian radio several times and Martin did an hour long live radio interview. I’ve had Fools on the Frontline on New York radio and also in Texas several times, The Swamp Born Assassins on New York radio several times and Michael Forsyth & The Amber Haze on Texan radio and over in New Zealand. Oh, and I’ve had Des Horsfall on New Zealand radio with his stunning track ‘Chameleon’ which featured Pete Townsend. Yes, and The New Madrids have been on Canadian radio.

You guest on quite a few radio shows, is having your own show something you aspire to?

The radio guesting that I do started when I created ‘The Interview Tour’ with Robert Woodside & Brian Lawlor of The Artisans. The guys made the stunning ‘Trilogy of the Somme’ in dedication to the millions of brave men who fought in WW1, including Robert’s own Grandfather, also called Robert. So far we’ve visited Oban FM & Radio North Angus in Arbroath with visits to Celtic Music Radio in Glasgow and Dunoon Community Radio coming up in November. I’ve done several solo visits to radio stations plugging ‘Trilogy’ and getting airplay. After we had been to these stations I started to get invited onto radio stations myself to talk about what I do and it’s been amazing, totally amazing the feedback I’m getting on these guesting stints. It’s actually gone crazy with invites but I love it. I love talking about ‘my’ bands with all the info, gig details, tracks & album launches etc. It’s incredible getting so much support with airplay and plugs from radio stations and presenters. I love guesting, it’s a lot of fun and I have great banter with the presenters. Its never been my ambition to have my own show, in the past I have been offered a slot by several stations however time-wise it wasn’t realistic…… but last week Heartland FM, a station I really love, offered me my own show to showcase new music as well as my own bands, that was an offer I just couldn’t refuse and I’m soooooo excited!!

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Who are some of the bands and singers you want everyone to know about?

Gosh…so many bands…where do I start?? Ok….

The Swamp Born Assassins from Glasgow

Fools on the Frontline from the Falkirk area

Stevie Wood & Cousin Halifax from Helensburgh

Michael Forsyth & the Amber Haze from Huntly

Lonehead from Glasgow

Naked Sunday from Stafford

Weak13 from Birmingham

DEVILS from Birmingham

The New Madrids from Perth

The Carloways from Perth

Grand Cane from Perth

Kristian Clezy of Larbert

Sugarpill from Milton Keynes

Cain Rising from Milton Keynes

Magik River from Stratford on Avon

Matt Partridge & Soley Mourning of Dudley

Des Horsfall from Yorkshire

Michael Morrow from USA

Joe Matera of Australia

I’d also like to give a big ‘shout out’ to Sean Ty Dell of Auxiliary Studios and WFDUK (Worlds Fastest Drummer UK)

Music PR isn’t a 9-5 job, how do you balance other aspects of your life with it?

Other aspects of my life….Lol. Well I’ll be totally honest, music promotions takes up so much of my life that the things i used to do like swimming regularly, walking etc are kind of non existent these days but my life of today is one i love so much. I love tearing around the country on road trips, going to radio stations and gigs. I just love it. It makes me feel alive.

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We went to Midstock Festival a few months ago and you commented this was the first outdoor music festival you’d been to, how was it and what did you love about it?

Yes…Midstock blew me away with the amazing family atmosphere, everyone having so much fun. It was just heart-warming to finally meet up with so many friends in ‘real life’ like yourself, Sherrene, Mr H of Channel radio in Kent, Marion and THE Airport Impressions guys!! I couldn’t believe we were there hanging out with these famous faces who were just so lovely. Midstock marked the start of a crazy buy week for me, following the guys round Scotland as they toured the UK. I was so lucky to be in Shereen’s, Mr H’s and the guys company so much that week. What a joy delivering amps from Perth to Dundee and ha ha, getting lost over the Tay Bridge.

Where do you want to be career wise this time next year?

As Del Boy said…’This time next year’…….yes, you can see I have a quirky sense of humour. But seriously, I just see myself continuing helping bands and artists purely because I love music and I think there are so many absol amazing bands etc. out there. I can’t help them all but I’ll do my absol best to help as many as I can. I don’t do it for money but for the love of music. I’ve built up a huge following and folk know me as being 100% dedicated, determined and everything is confidential. Everything.

Finally, you’re such a positive, caring and inspirational woman, what’s your best motivational quote for life?

Wow…to be seen as inspirational just blows me away totally!! A huge honour. It really, truly is!! I have 2 motivational quotes really. One is ‘Onwards & upwards’ and the other is ‘Grabbing life amigos’. You see, we have this one precious life and it goes so quickly. It isn’t a practice and you know that I’ve changed every aspect of my life over the last year. I want to look back and think ‘Wow. That was amazing’ not ‘Oh gosh. I wish I had done that’. One life so grab it with both hands!!


 

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Sherrene Ryan Wells

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The second interviewee in the ‘Inspirational Women in Music’ series is Sherrene Ryan Wells from the good old USA! I first connected with Sherrene on social media when she was promoting Malta rock band Airport Impressions who were playing Midstock Festival a few months ago.

I met her in person when she was over here on tour with them recently and she was everything I knew she’d be…. friendly, fun, supportive, feisty and an inspiring go-getter!!


Can you briefly introduce yourself and tell us what you do?

Hello All You Music Lovers –  Happy to introduce myself as promotions representative for the best indie record label in Scotland, Fat Hippy Records and for over 3 years have been part of an amazing team of passionate professionals showcasing indie bands/artists.  Fat Hippy Records represents over 10 bands from metal to country and my job is to publicize and promote all local upcoming or national events, concerts and news. In addition, I help organize events, book bands, handle press releases, radio airplay, design posters and plug album launches.  Fat Hippy Records is considered a geographically based label keeping independent music alive and delighted it has been growing strong in Aberdeen Scotland for over 12 years. I am also proud to be part of the team that promotes Live at Captain Toms” music TV show.  We are the best independent new music show in the UK and just wrapping up Season 4.  We showcase top unsigned bands/artist from all over the UK and touring bands and stream the show worldwide for free!  Subsequently I have become publicist for Fat Hippy Record’s award winning singer/songwriter, Colin Clyne going on 3 years and most recently publicist/tour manager for legendary band out of Malta, Airport Impressions. Needless to say, not enough time in the day, but so proud to work with these amazing folks who bring outstanding music to the masses. 

Is working in the music industry something you always wanted to do?

I was always passionate about music and knew it inspired me. As parents, we bought our kids the gift of a concert tickets vs stuff on birthday’s or special celebrations.  We have met Billy Joel, seen Cold Play, James Taylor, John Mellencamp, Bruce Springstein and so many epic bands.  However, how my career in the music industry began certainly falls into “you can’t make this stuff up” category.  My family was watching Season 3 of NBC The Voice and we caught the audition of the Scottish Rocker, Terry McDermott who perfectly belted out The Who “Baba O’Riley”   Jaw dropped and was an instant fan.   I joined the Facebook Fan Club and soon after was asked to head up and organize volunteer radio promotions as they knew my former career was in hotel sales and marketing. Once Terry launched his UK Tour as runner up of The Voice, I was introduced to his record label, Fat Hippy Records lead by the ever brilliant, “Captain Tom”.  The rest is history as they say…. Tom asked if I wanted to join the team and help promote bands on his label.  A lot more to the story, but from watching a TV show I I have one epic career in music and still feel blessed to wake up every day that I found this new career in this new chapter of my life.     

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Tell us about starting SRWells Music Promotions and what your hopes and dreams are for it?

Well, to be honest I created the SRWells Music Promotions Facebook page simply to have a separate format to promote Fat Hippy Records bands, Live at Captain Toms TV Show, Colin Clyne, and Airport Impressions. Right now it works as a great platform to reach music fans.  As for what are my hopes and dreams for SRWells Music Promotion…… to continue to love what I do each day and only represent bands/organizations I have a true belief or passion for. I get approached on a regular basis to represent bands for music promotion and as much as I appreciate the offer and validates I am doing a good job, I feel if you take on too much, then the personal touch, the details and the time management gets a hold of you and much impact is lost.   

Walk us through a typical day in the life of Sherrene?

Well, let’s be honest and the most fun part is how I end my day– A nice glass of red wine or a pink drink!  Albeit, the enjoyable part of my job is every day is a bit different.  Over my first cup of coffee, I typically spend the first hour going through my Facebook/Twitter feed to find leads and network. Again, depending on the focus of the week, it could be finding new radio leads, writing press releases, booking a tour, researching festival application for bands, designing a poster, promoting upcoming gig dates or managing the plethora of social media pages that I oversee. I can easily pull a 10-hour day as I could sit in front of my laptop for hours.  I am still learning to take breaks as I get into a zone and don’t want to stop. I still get excited when any of the bands lands a new radio station, magazine article, booking or notable press!  

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You’re not long back from touring Scotland with Airport Impressions as tour manager, considering you’re based in the US and the band live in Malta, how do you even begin to plan and organise something like that?

One of my favorite lines from Colin Clyne’s song “Pockets and Envelopes” is “…we are all connected by invisible lines…” Indeed crazy that little old me sitting in North Carolina USA is booking a band I never met from Malta in a foreign country of Scotland. The true beauty of this age of technology. 

We were excited when we landed Midstock Festival in November of last year which gave us ample time to properly build a tour around the festival date. And because of my years with Fat Hippy Records out of Scotland, I built a great network of folks in the industry who were amazing with their support for the band to book venues and radio play, including you PR Owls!!  For this tour, I wore many hats and spent countless hours behind the scenes calling venues, booking venues, promoting the tour, booking radio shows, writing press releases, properly advertising, coordinating with the band and building a fan base for Airport Impressions.  Although they are legendary in Malta playing to MTV Isle of Malta to 50k fans, in the UK they were virtually unknown. So in the end, we were all pleased we had such a successful week in Scotland and gained so many new fans! We cannot wait to return and are feverishly filling out applications for UK Festivals for 2017.   

It was a huge success, you and the band were loved everywhere you went, what were some of the highlights of the tour for you?

Hands down seeing the band performing at Midstock Festival was one of my highlights.  I was grateful to have the man who brought the band to my attention, Richard Alan Hubbard from Channel Radio by my side and I aint gonna lie… We both had a wee tear in our eye out of pure pride to being witness to the day. All our hard work came to fruition.  The second highlight was our final gig in Edinburgh at Stramash… outstanding crowd singing, dancing and loving the band’s show!!   When they broke out the cover song of Johnny Cash “Ring of Fire” and everyone was singing and dancing.. ( even me ) my heart was filled with joy!  Priceless moment I won’t forget.  All the long days of planning worthwhile. 

Other than the fantastic AI’s, who are some of the bands and singers you want everyone to know about?

Oh boy.. that is a loaded question for a PR person!  All of them!! Not sure there is enough attention span of your readers to hear about every band I promote. Please go check out www.fathippyrecord.co.uk for all the great bands!!!   But, I am excited that Fat Hippy Band, Ray Brower is the winner for the 2017 Hellfest MainStage!  Thrilled for the guys and cannot wait for one of top metal bands kicking butt in France next year.  

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I would be remiss not to highlight Mr. Colin Clyne as he holds a special place in building my career.  Colin is an award-winning singer/songwriter with Fat Hippy Records and asked me to be his publicist. When I read his credentials of 2x winner of Best Acoustic Act with San Diego Music awards, featured artist with NBC in a top 12 list of best singer songwriters associated with San Diego in amongst, Tom Waits, Jewel, and the late Jim Croce and finally his album “The Never Ending Pageant” was produced by Grammy Award Winning Engineer, Alan Sanderson, (The Stones, Elton John, Ryan Adams, Burt Bacharach) .. Ummm I was a bit nervous as new promoter in the business to take on this role.   But, I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished together and so happy he saw my passion, resourcefulness and tenacity to get something done regardless of my years in the music business!  Airplay on BBC Radio 2 with the legendary “Whispering” Bob Harris was a highlight for us.  For that special occasion we did a quick skype call and toasted each another for reaching that goal!  My three years as his publicist has offered me a great foundation to learn all facets of the music industry and proud that along with airplay on many great BBC stations, fabulous album reviews, song writing awards, magazine covers, Ireland tour, and so many wonderful gigs throughout the UK we have become dear friends.  Colin took a risk with a “newbie” in the business and so happy he did as I’ve met so many amazing people because of my role promoting his album. Heartfelt thank you goes out to Mr. Clyne. 

Music PR isn’t a 9-5 job, how do you balance other aspects of your life with it?

Well, I am sure my husband and son would say I worked too much, but I simply lose track of time as I love what I do!  However, I am still learning to balance my time as my first priority is to my family until my son is off to college.  Although I do not have to set this schedule, the 4am-5am wake alarm due to the time difference because I am located in USA and bands in UK and Malta certainly makes for an early start.  However, with my last tour with Airport Impressions to Scotland, it sure made adjusting jet-lag much easier.   As with any career, it’s all about balance, but when you love what you do, again, it doesn’t feel like “work” per say, but a taking a break is always healthy.    

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What was the first record you bought and what was it you loved about it?

Oh man, to be honest I have fond memories of my Walt Disney records that I used to sit and listen to for hours as a toddler… but my first record… perhaps The Beatles.  I loved every song and have a special memory of laying the floor with my brother for hours just listening and singing. But, if you want true confessions… my favorite vinyl was my Shaun Cassidy record — I kissed that cover over and over!!!

What’s the best piece of PR advice you’d give to young singers or bands just starting out in music.

Don’t suck!  

But besides that… UTILIZE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS.   In this 24 news cycle you need to stay relevant and hopefully catch fans eyes in the social media stream.  Drives me nuts when bands do not promote their gig dates, music or engage with their fans!  Why be on social media?  Even if you are a support band for a concert, promote the gig!!!  It only benefits everyone involved!

Where do you want to be career wise this time next year?

As happy as I am today.  I always said if I am not enjoying what I do, feeling passion for the artists I represent or feeling full-filled then I will stop.   I hope I am blessed to continue in this great field of music promotion, meeting so many extraordinary people and building my music library of some killer independent/unsigned bands!  LET’S KEEP INDIE MUSIC ALIVE!!

 

The Low Down: Hinks – Icarus (EP Review)

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Hinks are an Edinburgh based 6 piece alternative rock band fronted by singer-songwriter Jack Hinks ‘combining the raw hearfelt songs of Jack’s solo work with the grit of a six piece rock band’. The band ‘create a dynamic style with a compelling line-up. Using a behemoth rhythm section, 2 violins, piano, guitar and powerful vocal harmonies, the band blend genres such as rock, blues, jazz and prog to create an eclectic genre of their own’.

Jack Hinks describes the 4 track EP as being about exploring the story of Icarus. Sharing the themes of descent and regret across all 4 tracks, using the band to covey his interpretations as well as his experiences. You can listen to the whole EP at this link:

ICARUS – HINKS

Quotes about Jack Hinks:

“Huge sounds from a natural performer. Jack’s passion for song-writing is matched by his talent”. – Freddie Egan, Farmhouse Sessions Director
“Hinks mixes and balances the introspection of James Taylor, the raunch of Neil Young, and the ingenuity of Jon Gomm”. – Rookie Music
“Spellbinding!” – John Riley, Biggar Little Festival
“Jack Hinks isn’t just a musician, he’s a creative entity” – Bizzare Magazine

 


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ICARUS – REVIEW
No One – Is a song which first and foremost I acknowledged the great sound created by the stirring combination of the violins, the guitar and drums. It has a nice intro and Jack’s stark low vocal adds to the serious, deep lyrics. I felt that listening to this song after all that’s gone on in 2016 globally ‘No One’ has some lyrics that you could almost call prophetic (depending on your political view) including the line ‘world run by bigots and fools’.  I liked the dramatic middle section with the strings, drums and guitar coming together. There is a particularly good haunting electric guitar solo at this point. Lyrics such as ‘no one makes you feel that safe’ fit in well with the melancholy sound created by the arrangement. All in all it’s a dramatic, sweeping and heartfelt song.
Scars – I like the lovely lilting Celtic sounding start to this track created by the gentle combination of violin and guitar, and then with Jack’s vocal. It starts with a stripped back sound and then a sudden change as the vocals and the instrumentation become more powerful, creating a bigger sound. The addition of the backing vocals add to the interesting layers. ‘Scars’ has a a folk sound to it, very Celtic. All the elements added together build up to what seems like a powerful ending before fading away as a more gentle instrumental in the same vein as the start of the track.
Icarus – The title track has a gently melodic, acoustic intro. Jack’s low voice combines harmoniously with the backing vocal. He builds up to louder, pleading vocals with the equally powerful electric guitar, strings and drums kicking in. ‘Icarus’ is a tune with a folk/rock feel for me with lyrics that speak directly to someone they care about in an empathic way. ‘There’s only air between love and pain’ and ‘And you can’t fight where you belong’. It seems like a warning and reassurance are being given in the lines ‘Don’t lose yourself’ and ‘I will weep for you’.The finish is atmospheric and dramatic with loud guitars, strings and drums which then quieten to haunting strings at the very end.
The Fall – this is the final track and a purely instrumental one. For me this would make a great addition to a horror film or suspense thriller! I can imagine it playing at a dramatic and tense moment when the main character is in a nightmarish situation. It begins deceptively with a gentle guitar before a sinister sounding violin comes in making it sound very gothic. Add to this the drums and it’s very powerful and atmospheric. There is a creepy and menacing feel to the ending of ‘The Fall’ for me as it tails off in a dramatic echo. It’s a short, snappy track which is full of intent and feeling.
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All in all I would say I enjoyed listening to Icarus. It certainly is a bit different to the norm with it’s powerful and emotional feel. It is greatly entertaining because of a quite theatrical sound in part too, and can be quite jarring on the ear in a striking and interesting way. This makes you listen closely to hear every layer to the song in question. In other parts it’s vey easy on the ear, gentle and melodic. The instrumentation on each track is impressive, the instruments blend together in the main in a beautiful way. Jack’s assured and distinctive voice is great, and I really liked the backing vocals which were in beautiful harmony with Jack’s vocals.It’s a unique and fresh sounding EP that I recommend you check out. It’s good to hear something a bit different sometimes.
Shoony 
PR Owls

Acknowledgements
Good luck with the EP to Jack and the band. Thanks for sharing your music.
Media
Photography
Hinks

Inspirational women in Music – Gail Friel

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This is the first in an interview series featuring women I know and respect who are involved in the music industry in one way or another. They have been, and continue to be, a big inspiration to not only me but each other too! They are super supportive, excellent at what they do and are all about sharing artists they love and their music…. so I think they deserve a bit of recognition and to be in the spotlight for who they are and what they do.


 

Can you briefly introduce yourself and tell us what you do?

My name is Gail Friel, I’m 37 years old and I co-own Purple Orange Arts Venue with my partner Michael Mathieson and own pr@purpleorangecentralscotland. I have 2 beautiful daughters, Abbie who is 13 and Eva who is 7….Michael has 2 sons Denholm (8) and Brandon (6)

How did you find yourself in the music industry?

I found myself involved with the music industry from the day i met Michael. He has been a guitar teacher for 12 years and regularly put artists on at a pub local to us. Michael had just opened a music shop from where he based his teaching and also offered guitar repair services and started to sell guitars.  As a regular visitor to his shop I was drawn to his passion for the live music scene. His dream was to own his own venue and give the youngsters he was teaching, a stage to play on whether it be at that point or in the future. A few months after we had met, the lease for the hall behind Michael’s music shop came up for lease, he asked if he should go for it to make his dream come true to have his own venue…I said of course!! And we threw ourselves in right at the deep end the Purple Orange was born.

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Tell us about Purple Orange and what your hopes and dreams are for it?

*Purple Orange Arts venue in Bathgate has been running for 3 years now. Owner and License Holder is Mr Michael Mathieson. Michael has been a music teacher for 13 years and teaches both adults and children on weekday evenings. The aim of the owners and the venue was to be a grass roots music hub for local singer/songwriters and give them a platform to give them the confidence and exposure to become gigging musicians on the circuit around Glasgow/Edinburgh. We have succeeded massively in this venture and now the venue has merited a fantastic name for itself and the owners throughout Central Scotland. Purple Orange Arts Venue are at the top of NHC’s “most trusted” list of venues, having gained credibility for the shows put on and the treatment of artists who play there.

The venue in the past year has hosted Kyle Falconer, Nick Mercer Jr and is welcoming Tom Hingley and Adam Ficek in the next few weeks. The vision of the venue is to continue bringing household names into the venue and allowing the local talented musicians to share the bill by being on the support.

The venue is a major advocator of promoting Under 18’s events and hold 2 monthly.  One is named Purple Tangerines and is organised and ran by Gail. The other is organised and ran by one of our under 18 artists who has been coming to the venue regularly.

What’s the best part of your job?

The absolute best part of my job is when i have believed in someone so strongly from very early stages of them gigging and then to see them getting the recognition they deserve from people who are more experienced or higher up in the industry than I am.

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Describe a typical day in the life of Gail

The thing I love most about what I do is that there is no typical day, apart from one thing…i always start off with a massive to do list that is the only thing that is consistent and somehow always manage to get through it. My days vary from sitting in my office contacting venues, promoters etc. to actually going out and physically meeting them. I spend a lot of time listening to links that artists send me who wish to play at our venue. I handle all the bookings for the venue and create the events.

 

Who are some of the bands and singers you want everyone to know about?

The 3 bands i want everyone to know about are FIREBUGS, THE BACKBEATS and THE ALAN CROOKSTON CEILIDH BAND…3 very different bands genre wise. The artists I represent are ROBBIE HUTTON, DECLAN MILNE, MEGAN BLACK

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Music PR isn’t a 9-5 job; how do you balance other aspects of your life with it?

It definitely isn’t a 9-5 job, I’ve seen me still sitting up at 2am because I’m trying to get something finished, or I’m brainstorming ideas. Hobby, if I didn’t love it as much and have the passion I do, i couldn’t possibly give all that i do to it…Because I believe so strongly in what we are doing and because of the joy our venue brings to other people, it is not a job that ever gets boring or I get fed up with.  Luckily my job is also my hobby, I have always had a strong passion for music. I don’t sing or play myself but this is my way of fulfilling my dreams of being involved in music. Michael and I have 4 children between us, when we have the children around work basically comes to a halt.. We try to make every single minute we have with them count, our lives with them are full of fun, and they are at an age where they understand what our job is and how hard we work. Often on the Under 18’s evenings you will find either my 2 daughters or Michaels 2 sons behind the bar serving the juice. One dream that we do share is that we would love our children, if they have the same passion that we have in music, is to pass the business onto them in the future.

Most memorable gig to date and what made it special for you?

The most memorable gig to date would probably be a gig that happened just recently. A couple of weeks ago we had Mark Morriss booked to play at the Purple Orange..i was of course excited about seeing him play, but the support line up was just absolutely amazing. We had Robbie Hutton, Andy Swift, The backbeats (all artists I work with) and then Luke Gibson, Aaron Wright, Greg James, Billy Mitchell and the amazing Carly Connor (who had been on my wish list for the venue for a good couple of years) For me, to have all that amazing talent under our wee roof was just mind-blowing and it’s a night that will go down in history with everyone who was there.

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Where do you want to be career wise this time next year?

This time next year, I’m hoping career wise that I am still running the Purple Orange Arts Venue with Michael, I hope that a lot more of our artists will have played at festivals and I’m hoping we have possibly had a few festival stages of our own. I hope that my PR agency continues to go from strength to strength and my wee craft gift boutique is still going strong!

 

 

A year of highs for Sean C Kennedy

 

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Since I last interviewed singer songwriter Sean C Kennedy he’s done and achieved so much so I thought it was the perfect time for an update on him and his music…..


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It’s been a year since our last interview, can you give a brief update of what you’ve been doing?

Its been a great year so far. Christmas last year 2015 I wrote a couple new songs since the album was released Oct 2015. The turn of the New Year felt like a fresh new start of inspiration. Early on I released the single and video, filmed in NYC, for The Girl on Christopher Street.

I’ve been writing new songs and expressing myself more in my work. 2 trips to America and Ibiza performing and writing. It’s been a busy year. I don’t think I’ve written as many songs in a year as much as 2016.

Do you think your style of music or singing has changed since you released 77? If so what’s influenced the changes?

I’ve definitely grown that’s for sure and I’ve been challenging myself when performing and singing. I’m not going for the easy simple route, I want to be able to adapt to any style. My music has definitely taken a turn in style but not miles away. I’m writing the way I’ve always thought but been too afraid to say it. I’m not just saying what I feel.

You’ve been to the US a few times in the last 12 months, what were some the highlights from those trips?

The 1st trip was a dream come true to be honest. Meeting Paul McCartney in NYC and him being cool with signing my guitar. Then meeting my hero Bonnie Raitt in Philadelphia. Also sitting next to Jack White of The Whitestripes and Steve Tyler of Aerosmith…..talk about being on the right path! My recent trip has been a different trip altogether. It was a job to get the work done. Before it was to do the work, be there, to get involved in the scene and expose my talent and what I do. I worked with some great writers and I’ve really enjoyed improving my artistry. The new songs have been an exciting process.

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Having been writing quite a bit lately with various people you must have a fair few new songs amassed, which ones are you most excited about letting people hear?

Well I absolutely love performing Legacy live with the band. Easier is another I’m enjoying. Got a couple more but you’ll have to wait till they’re ready ; )

If you’re stuck for inspiration where do you normally turn? 

I’m never stuck! It’s always right in front of me, I just never opened up as much as now. I don’t think I’ll ever get writers block now.

When can we expect a new album and can you talk us through a couple of tracks you plan to include on it?

2017 for sure! I’m getting a long list together first then I’ll make a move. I won’t know for sure what song’s will be on there but I’m excited about them all. It’s a new direction for me, I want these songs to relate to us all. Everyone!

Legacy is your latest release, for those who don’t know, what’s the story behind this song?

I started out playing in a venue in Ayr called Su Casa where I briefly met Mark Price. Years went by and the weekend of my album release Mark showed up at a show. I came off stage, hadn’t even packed my guitar away and Mark said can I show you a card trick. I said sure, and he blew my mind. We then got talking and we had so much in common growing up as kids, our thoughts and views on life. Mark had contributed to a kick-starter project for The Girl on Christopher street. He was looking for some opening music to his show. Mark performs card trickery and illusion. The chats we had just inspired me.  Myself and my engineer created a 30 second music clip for Mark. I then continued to grow the music and write, turning it into a song. I really found my artistry in writing with this song. Really being myself, writing the way I always thought but had been too afraid to put the thoughts into my song.

Legacy is all about stepping out the comfort zone and leave your own mark here. Challenge yourself and inspire others to express themselves and just be you. Don’t think about what want. Go do or go get what you want. As soon as we arrive here, we’re already gonna die. Remember that! So make your time count in whatever way you want it too.

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I love you’re playing with a full band more often now and that seems to work really well with the new songs you’ve been performing, can you introduce the band to us?

I have a fantastic bunch of guys playing alongside me and it’s a pleasure having them. Conor Smith & Josh Fraser on guitars. They compliment each other so well and it suits what I do. Aidan branch and Ewan Laing play drums for me. The guys play for the song. Alan Langdon on bass. Solid as a rock, plays simple keeps the song in check and always a guy to turn to for any advice. John Blakely on keys, guitars and backing vocals. He’s a machine when it comes to backing vocals. I call him bv King! He also has the best attitude towards music. Love having these guys around.

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You’re a bit of a mentor to a few young up and coming singers / musicians… what one piece of invaluable advice would you give to someone just starting out in music?

We’re all inspired by someone or a band. Take what you can from your Hero’s but be yourself. Don’t copy but be inspired. There are no rules!!! Ive found a way to write about my feelings and personal views to inspire as many people as I can. With 10 people in the room I don’t want to just relate my song to 3 of them. I want it to move them all in some way so that my lyrics really make a difference.

What are the 2 most important things you want to have achieve by this time next year?

Write more songs than I did this year.

Play more shows than I did this year.

I very much look forward to both, thanks Sean!


Read previous interview with Sean here – https://shoonycarro.wordpress.com/2015/09/21/1011/

Luke Potter – Something More – Review

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Luke Potter from Somerset in England is an accomplished singer songwriter who is armed with the talent, ambition, big dreams and determination to make it huge in music. His songs are meaningful, passionate and sincere about the trials of growing up that we can all relate to and connect with.

I was lucky enough to get a listen to Luke’s new track ahead of its release…..

Lyrically this is heart on your sleeve stuff. To me it’s a tale of uncertainty, looking at everything you have in your life, evaluating it and questioning if you’re on the right path…. then asking yourself if in fact maybe there’s something more you should or could be doing. It’s about wanting to be the best you can be and believing that you will do just that. Most will easily relate to this scenario as I’m sure we’ve all questioned at one point in our lives what we’re doing and where we’re going!

Something More‘ starts off with a ridiculously infectious guitar riff, a riff that runs throughout the whole track….. and believe me once that’s crawled its way into your brain it’s never coming out! The song amps up nicely in the middle section with some tuneful electric guitar which works well in adding another texture. Luke’s laid back vocals are rich, soulful, emotive and elevate the passion in relaying the message of the song.

Although it’s a fairly chilled out relaxed song there’s a pulsating beat throughout so you’ll find yourself tapping those toes and nodding your head along to it. I love the song for its simplicity and the fact it leaves me with a warm and happy vibe. As for the video…. all I’ll say about that is its pretty genius and fits the song perfectly!

There is no doubt this is a very personal, deep and meaningful track to Luke and he certainly puts himself out there and gives the listener an intimate peek into his life…. and for me that’s what great songwriting is all about.

I honestly can’t recommend it enough!

Preview & pre-order it here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/something-more-single/id1160118525


Connect with Luke – Facebook    Twitter    YouTube    Website

The Low Down: Midstock Festival 2016 (Review)

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Yet again this year Midstock Festival was a truly family friendly, diverse music lovers festival held as usual in the beautiful surroundings of Dalkeith Country Park just outside Edinburgh. This was the 3rd year of Midstock Festival. I have been every year and, can honestly say each year has been great quality, but Scott Gunn and Wullie Slight are constantly looking at how they can improve it to make it bigger and better – and they are definitely succeeding. The stage has improved year on year and the numbers are growing. All good signs!

The festival was fantastic fun with some top quality artists playing throughout the day and evening. Scouting For Girls were the headliners but unfortutately their van broke down on the way to Dalkeith. I felt for the Midstock founders as I know how hard they have worked for the past year to make Midstock a festival that appeals to everyone.It was outwith their control and Arlene from Forth One who was compering the festival with Katie G from Radio Saltire did a great job of giving the waiting crowd the bad news. She was a pair of safe hands delivering the bad news, and handling the surprised and disappointed audience.

Kicking off proceedings were a couple of very talented young local singers. Caitlyn Vanbeck was at the time competing in the X Factor. She made it as far as Simon’s judge’s house and was a favourite to win. Unfortunately Simon didn’t choose her for the live shows which a lot of people disagreed with.

As well as Caitlyn the crowd were treated to the music of another young and super talented singer Jack Robertson. Jack in recent months gained attention from his cover of Sam Smith’s ‘Writing’s On The Wall’. Jack is signed to Universal Music and released his first single ‘Set It Alight‘ in July. Alongside these great singers the audience was treated to some amazing dancing from Edinburgh’s professional dance troupe Fierce Pro Dancers. I did manage to interview Jack who impressed me with how lovely and friendly he is. Check out our short interview after Jack’s set:

Jack Robertson Interview

 

After Caitlyn and Jack who’s performances I sadly missed as I was delayed getting to the festival, came Animals and Friends. This band hailing from Newcastle Upon Tyne orginally started life as the legendary 60’s group The Animals and has undergone a few name changes in the intervening years as well as changing members too. They played some of their classic songs such as House Of The Rising Sun. I managed to catch the last couple of songs from their set and thought they sounded pretty good.

After this came one of the highlights for me. Curtis T Johns is a published singer-songwriter from Leeds who I know quite well. At Rockathon our charity marathon of music that PR Owls held in partnership with Midstock Festival, we managed to persuade Curtis to sing one song which impressed the Midstock founders – Wullie and Scott – enough for them to decide to offer Curtis a slot at the festival. I know how sublime his vocals are so I knew that Curtis would not disappoint and he didn’t. He performed a flawless 4 song set which included his original song ‘Where Love Lies’ and a spine tingling version of Emelie Sande’s ‘Read All About It’. The crowd seemed to be very impressed by Curtis’s performance. After his superb set I caught up with Curtis to ask him a few questions about his music and Midstock. Here is our short interview:

Hi Curtis, for those who don’t know how did you get involved with the Festival?

So I went did an event at Stramash which was like a little impromptu performance. Wullie was listening (Midstock founder), the wonderful PR Owls were like ‘Come on do a song!’ , so I did and he was really impressed,so he gave me a little guest slot on the Midstock which I’m really grateful for, because there are some amazing performers. It’s really really fun, I’m enjoying it!

And how does it feel to perform to a Scottish crowd?

Interesting, it’s new. I don’t know if they’ll understand me ( his Yorkshire accent!) or get my jokes but the weather is fine, it’s still t-shirt worthy so it’s ok!

Tell us a bit about yourself, for those who don’t know Curtis T Johns?

I’m a singer – songwriter. I take my songwriting very seriously. I love to write meaningful, varied things. I’m just venturing into the artistry thing over the next few years, exploring styles, things like that until I find something I’m comfortable with!

And where can people find out more about your music?

You can find out on my website, which is back! You can find it on ctjmusic.co.uk and on there it links to eveything else, all the different fanbases and things like that. And yeah it’s going to be a slow build, we’ll see where it goes!

Thank you!

After the beautiful simplicity of Curtis’s set featuring just him and a keyboard came quite a contrast. Jamie and Shoony are loud, fun, charming and energetic with a real talent for engaging a crowd and getting the best out of them. This performance was no exception, as I later remarked to them I could feel the vibrations from the music going right through me from where I was standing! In typical rock n roll style Jamie K decided to climb a barrier and then walk about in the crowd at the front. He also threw cd’s and t-shirts into the crowd, and Jamie H joined in throwing his drumsticks too! After their barn stormer of a set I got the chance to interview the boys and it was fun. Here’s the link to the entertaining interview:

Jamie & Shoony at Midstock

Arlene Stewart from Forth One and Katie G from Radio Saltire were doing a smooth and entertaining job of keeping things flowing on the main stage and providing great banter in between bands. Next up came the legendary DJ and producer Dave Pearce. His set was full of classic dance tunes with his production making them sound fantastic and current. He played amongst others N Trance – ‘Set You Free’, Robin S ‘Show Me Love’ and a dance version of Adele’s ‘Hello’ and he encouraged lots of audience participation – which resulted in some classic hands in the air moments that are an integral part of any festival/gig.

After Dave Pearce came the brilliant Airport Impressions from Malta who are making waves wherever they go; just before Midstock they appeared at the Isle of MTV Malta music event. Airport Impressions are a talented 4 piece rock band who blew the Midstock crowd away with the sheer quality of their musicianship and Errol’s stunning vocals. Their own songs were superb and Errol’s vocals on their cover of ‘Ring Of Fire’ were jaw droppingly good. I got a chance to interview Errol after the band’s set and he is such a nice guy.Here’s the link to the interview:

Airport Impressions at Midstock

Next up was The Pigeon Detectives, a well known indie rock band from one of my favourite cities, Leeds. They have just finished their 5th studio album. The band played their hits with a swagger in a classic rock n roll style. Matt Bowman is the quintessential showman and entertained the crowd with his antics mainly involving classic poses like jumping onto speakers! An entertaining band who I thought were very good.

After this came one of my favourite acts of the day Reverend And The Makers. They were yet another excellent act from Yorkshire on the bill along with Curtis T Johns and The Pigeon Detectives. The band is fronted by Jon McClure a.k.a. “The Reverend”. His wife Laura is the keyboard player in this rock band who I warmed to instantly with their catchy songs.

There was anticipation in the air as everyone waited for signs that Europop group Vengaboys were ready to perform onstage.They came bounding on stage in a dazzle of brightly coloured, sparkly costumes and were immediately welcomed loudly by the enthusiastic crowd. They tore through a blistering set which included all their old hits and I was impressed by the amount of times they all interacted with the crowd. In fact at their encore they came back and all 4 of them ended up singing standing on the speakers. They specialise in cheesy, happy, positive tunes with energetic dance routines which the crowd loved.

After their glitzy set there was a short break, and then Arlene and Katie introduced to the stage a brilliant piper who played ‘Flower Of Scotland’ beautifully. It’s always stirring to hear it played by a great piper and the pipes are usuallly appreciated by a Scottish crowd.

After this Arlene had to come back out and confirm for us that the headline act Scouting For Girls had had to cancel due to their van breaking down twice. The crowd were a bit annoyed at this understandably, but seemed to accept it was the end of the festival, and eventually some of them made their way to the usual festival rides while others left the park. It was an unfortunate end to what had been a top quality festival. But those of us in the crowd couldn’t complain because the quality of the acts who did perform proved yet again that Midstock Festival knows how to put on a good show. In part through introducing people to some brilliant new music artists, blended in with artists who are familiar names, and the end result being something created for a wide ranging audience.

I will definitely be back at Midstock Festival next year. The acts are slowly being announced and again it looks like there will be something for everyone! Well done on another fantastic year Scott and Wullie. Thinking about next year’s review now …….

Acknowledgements

Thank you to Scott and Wullie for another great year as I mentioned, and for inviting me along. Thanks to GeeGee for being my videographer for the day, much appreciated! Finally thank you to all the amazingly talented and friendly artists who let me quiz them after their brilliant sets.

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Anna Pancaldi keeps on keeping on

With her sultry acoustic sound getting the recognition it justly deserves it’s only a matter to time before everyone knows the name of London based singer songwriter Anna Pancaldi.

Her debut EP, ‘Dear Joey’, released in April 2016, charted at No. 3 in the singer-songwriter iTunes chart while her debut single ‘Black Tears’ charted at No. 6 in the same chart! ‘Promise We’ll Never Grow Old’ was added to 6 Music’s ‘Fresh Faves’ list curated by Tom Robinson and Radio 2’s Dermot O’Leary described Anna as “really polished…she doesn’t need our help, we need hers” and she’s achieved all this as an unsigned, independent artist.

Fresh from her first US tour this summer, Anna completed a double-headliner tour with Bryde playing to enthralled crowds at iconic music venues like Rockwood Music Hall in NYC and Hotel Cafe in LA.  Anna also made her US TV debut, being interviewed and performing live on CBS TV in LA.

He new single, ‘Keep On Keeping On’ is out now and available via Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and SoundCloud.

Anna was lovely enough to take time out to answer a few questions….


What or who was the biggest influence in you choosing to become a singer / songwriter and was there ever any other career choice before you decided on music?

Ohh do you know what, I never questioned it. I never entertained any other options or career path. Well, when I was young I wanted to work on a check out because I liked all the buttons, but that’s as far as it goes. Haha I feel very privileged to be able to do something I’m so passionate about.

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Keep on Keeping on has just been released, what was the inspiration for this song?

I wrote it about the most strange juxtaposition of going back to the old places you lived, standing on those streets looking at your old home where everything looks identical to when you lived there as a young child, but about the sadness in that my life’s reflection showing no similarity. Growing up can be hard depending on what road you have walked.

 

Your third EP, Sweet Charity, is due for release in March 2017, what track on it are you most excited or nervous about letting people hear?

I have this one track on it called ‘Brother’, it’s the first time I have played and written on the piano. I wrote the song at midnight in the studio in August and it just kind of fell out, like it needed to be written. I love the intimacy of just piano and voice and hope it pulls you in. So that’s the one for me, something I was nervous of doing, but I like to challenge myself!

You’ve not long completed your first US tour with gigs in New York, Nashville and LA, as well as performing on live TV, how was your music received there and do you have any plans to return in the near future?

The tour was wonderful, I went with a gut feeling and not a lot of promise, but it was a real sliding doors moment for me and think it may have just changed my life. The crowds were amazing, I was expecting no one to be there so the whole trip was quite overwhelming. I am excited that there’s a lot to continue building on there. I really am a firm believer in creating your own success.

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You used to suffer from stage fright, how do you cope with being nervous before a gig now?

That was a long old road to getting my confidence back but I am grateful for all it has taught me… and being out the other side. I still get nervous but just don’t cry!! Haha. I have channelled it into choosing to do a show I’m proud of!

You have plenty highs to choose from so what’s been your best musical moment or memory to date?

The first show in NYC, I was so teary. Having never played in that country, I couldn’t believe how many people came to see me and showed such love. A truly special moment.

What do you do for fun or to relax outside of music?

See my darling friends!!!

What do we have to look forward to from you in the next 12 months?

I have my full EP coming out in March, I really can’t wait for that, it’s the most proud I have been with anything I’ve made. And lot’s I can’t talk about….so keep watching this space 🙂

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Finally, congratulations on your double nomination (Best Songwriter and Best Female Solo Artist categories) in the Unsigned Music Awards! What would you say are the top plus points of being an unsigned artist?

I know, so exciting hey!! I like that I have learnt how the industry works, how to stand my ground and to graft for my career. Whatever happens, I know that at the start I launched what it became…that’s very important. I’ve been in PR, an agent, an events organiser and even a roadie! haha. I have learnt what hard work and sacrifice is….that’s a good test as to whether you want to be a part of this business!

 

 


Single Artwork by Leigh Tuckniss ¦¦  Anna photo credit Jake Milligan ¦¦  Live gig photo credit James Boardman


Connect with Anna – Website   Facebook   Twitter   YouTube   Soundcloud

Narrow Plains – UMA ‘Best Country / Folk Act’ nominees

 

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London based indie band Narrow Plains formed in early 2012. A band to watch, they’ve won numerous awards, notably Hard Rock Rising 2015 in London. They receive international acclaim and were winning finalists in ‘Live in your city’ contest of Uprising FM in Canada in 2014.

Last year after being selected as Judges Pick by a prestigious panel of music experts in US based ‘Bands4Good’ online contest they won a session with legendary recording engineer John Davenport (who’s worked with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, John Lennon, Rolling Stones) at his studio in North Carolina where they recorded a live single “Choices”. This track topped the Reverbnation Indie charts and John flew in especially for their sold out album launch.

A few months ago Rock on Radio added them to their playlist. This month it was announced they beat 1000’s of others to become one of 4 nominees in the ‘Best Country / Folk Act’ category at the Unsigned Music Awards, which take place at a live televised event in London.

They released their much heralded self-titled debut album in February of this year and having listened to it a good few times I can understand why five of the thirteen tracks on the album have been selected as “BBC Introducing ‘Track of The Day’ . Go check it out!

Narrow Plains are: Charlie Ferriday, guitar, vocals; Edd Simpson, guitar and keyboards; and brothers Stuart Connick, drums and back-up vocals, and Roger Connick, bass and back-up vocals.

They took time out their busy schedule to answer some questions….


 

narrow-plains-007Firstly huge congratulations on being nominees in the Best Country / Folk Act category in the upcoming Unsigned Music Awards, very exciting! What’s the best things about being an unsigned  band?

Thanks a lot! We are all really excited to have been nominated! There are obviously a lot of advantages and disadvantages about being unsigned but for us the best thing is being independent. This means that you always have a choice about the music you write, play and record. This is really important, as we like to write and play our songs the way that we feel they should be done.

You were all good friends (and some family) before forming Narrow Plains, is it hard to separate friendship from band stuff?

Sometimes, but mostly it’s a massive advantage as we find that we can be our own harshest critics without really offending each other. When we are writing and arranging our own songs together, we’ve got to have a high degree of honesty. Any one or other of us is capable of coming up with, say, an idea for a song or an arrangement that is truly awful. It really helps to be good mates when you have to be honest and say it’s rubbish!

Edd Simpson recently joined the band, why did you decide you needed a 4th member?

It’s more of a natural evolution. When we recorded our EP “Somewhere In Between”, we were writing and arranging songs that were easily played on an acoustic guitar, bass and drums. As we started to record our debut album though, we wanted to add some more layers to the tracks and so to recreate that live we needed another member. Edd is a great guitarist and keys player so we asked him to join us to play the songs live on stage. At our first gig together, we all knew immediately that our songs sounded much better as a four piece than as a trio. Since then, we have also started to write some different songs together that we would never have been able to do as a trio.

You name Jimmy Eat World, Foo Fighters, Mumford and Sons and Newton Faulkner as some of your musical influences, what was it about those bands that struck a chord with you?

Well, Mumford was at the vanguard of the acoustic folk/rock movement that really inspired us all as a band while we grew up in the same are as Newton Faulkner so we used to go and watch him play live. His acoustic slap guitar definitely inspired Charlie on some of our early songs. Jimmy Eat World and Foo Fighters were among the fantastic bands that inspired us individually to pick up our instruments in the first place.

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Self title debut album came out earlier this year and has had some well deserved first rate feedback from the industry. Which two songs from it give you the biggest buzz when you play them live?

Well, we always really enjoy playing “So Rewind’ live because the audience usually join in with the choruses and it gives you an amazing high to hear them all singing and see them dancing along with you.

Our favourite song to play live though is “Take Me Back” – we normally close our shows with it and it’s a slow builder that grows from a quiet acoustic start to a real crescendo of sound that ends the show on a high.

What was it like working with legendary John Davenport at his North Carolina studio and what invaluable lessons did you take away from the experience?

We had a great time and really learned a huge amount from John. Up until then, we had always self-recorded our songs at home on some recording software and had very little experience of studios generally. Deep River studio is amazing, state of the art but John chose to record a live song, “Choices” and simplify the arrangement. The main lesson was – less is more! It really is invaluable to know when to bring it back to basics instead of adding more and more.

Is there one venue or gig to date that stands out for you and if so why?

It has to be our launch gig for the album at the O2 Academy in Islington. The show was sold out and the venue was brilliant. It was a very special moment for us because we’d spent a year recording the album and we were so happy to get back on stage and show everyone the new tracks.

Do you get out often to see and support local bands yourselves? If so who’s music are you loving right now?

We are all music fans so it’s been brilliant to play on the same bill as some great artists like Edit/Select, Sophie DeBattista, The Stone Thieves, Chay Snowdon and the Hummingbirds.

We also try to go to a lot of gigs and festivals when we can and love artists like Bon Iver, New Found Glory, The Gaslight Anthem, Bright Eyes and Sufjian Stevens.

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What do you all do for fun or to relax outside of music?

We’re still at the stage where we all have full-time jobs outside of the band so we devote most of our free time to the band. When we are not together though, we all love different things – Charlie is really into American sports, especially NFL; Stu does rock climbing, Rog is into his cars, and Edd is a big cyclist.

What do fans have to look forward to you from you for the rest of 2016 and beyond?

Well, we are still playing quite a few gigs but we are really hoping to set some time aside to work on a lot of new song ideas. We seem to have a lot of rough edits and half-finished riffs and melodies that need to be worked on to get some new songs together. Hopefully, then we can put a new album together and tour it much more extensively than we have been able to so far.

Finally, tell us something about yourselves that we wouldn’t find elsewhere. Maybe it’s your favourite type of cheese, holiday destination, your first CD…. or something even wackier.

Well, we have a slightly random collection of first albums. Rog’s was “Born To Do It” by Craig David; Stu’s was “Where We Belong” by Boyzone; and Edd’s was by Blue; Charlie is claiming that his first album was “Crossroads” by Bon Jovi but we have heard a rumour that it was actually Steps!

Thanks NP’s and fingers crossed for a win at the UMA’s! 


Connect with Narrow Plains –  Website   Facebook   Twitter  YouTube  Reverbnation  Soundcloud

Getting personal with Lucie Silvas

Tonight was kind of a homecoming gig for Lucie Silvas given she’s half Scottish, her mum being from Clydebank. Originally from London and grew up in New Zealand, Lucie finally re-located to the music hub of Nashville in 2012 having been going there on and off for the last 10 years.

The stunning venue ‘Oran Mor’ in Glasgow was almost at capacity as fans and relatives had come out in droves to see her play her first UK tour for a number of years. If she was nervous at all she certainly didn’t show it. For someone so petite her voice is big and powerful and she makes singing anything look effortless.

Lucie and her band wowed the crowd for a full hour and a half with songs old and new including ‘Happy’, the heavenly ‘Villain’, ‘Shame’ and of course the fabulous catchy title track from new UK album release ‘Letters to Ghosts’. This was one of my highlights of the night as it’s a song I love and predict it’ll be a huge hit! A couple of other highlights were the crowd enthusiastically singing along to the popular ‘Breath in’ and Lucie singing the very beautiful ‘Pull down the stars’ as a tribute to her Scottish aunts. Her outstanding performance made it a night to remember and I hope she tours in the UK again sooner rather than later!

I was lucky enough to have a chat with her before the gig and find out a bit more about her, the new album and life on the road….


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Letters to ghosts is your first album release in over 10 years, why has it been so long in the making?

I can’t actually believe that amount of time has passed you know! I think it was a number of factors, I was still making music the whole time, I was writing for other people and I was moving my life to another country. Time gets away from you but I suppose from the outside it looked like I wasn’t pursuing my career anymore, I guess with doing so many different things I didn’t really pay attention to how much time was going past. For me it’s always been about doing music that’s authentic and genuine, which has not always served me well doing it that way because I won’t do anything just because it’s expected, that’s not how I operate. I did Letters to Ghosts when it felt natural and when I really wanted to do it.

It’s always good get some insight so can you tell us a bit about the tracks you chose to include on it.

There was a few I wanted to include but didn’t so they’ll be on the fourth album. Letters to Ghosts was a song I wrote years back and at such a pivotal time in my life. I knew I wanted to call the album that and I wanted to make the concept of the album about letters to the past, you know talking to your past and the different chapters of it and all the ghosts that remain in your life that you don’t always want to let go of. Roots was a very personal song for me and was at a time that I knew letting go of pain would be easier but I didn’t want to because I thought I’d have nothing….and you feel guilty and feel a range of emotions and then feel guilty for not feeling guilt anymore so it was kind of that type of thing. Songs like ‘Happy’ are a bit tongue in cheek, talking to a past relationship of all the ins and outs that people don’t necessarily see. The whole album is very personal and there are special moments on it that were inspired by my husband john, you know we just got married last year! ‘Pull the stars down’ was very much a tribute to him so there’s a lot of happiness on the album too.

What was the most challenging song on the album for you to write?

I don’t know if anything was challenging…hmmm…maybe ‘Roots’ actually, I’ve talked a bit about that already. It wasn’t that it was challenging as such it was just it was very in-depth. I think creative people write themselves out of a storm and don’t even know they’re doing it. I’ll write something and look at it a few years later and think ‘wow I knew what was happening but couldn’t see it at the time… so how was I able to write those lyrics that were insightful in that way, and how was I not able to get out of that situation if I was able to make such sense of it…so yes, Roots, I can definitely hear the pain in that and feel when I sing it I can take myself back there.

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You started out in music at the tender age of 17, what’s the best advice you were ever given that’s helped you survive in it?

My dad….he said don’t ever get yourself into a position where you can’t afford to do what you love. That was his advice and it really narrowed it down for me because this is all I’ve ever wanted. It is very difficult to be an independent musician and stay afloat but I’ve managed to do that, I’ve never had to stop, I’ve never actually done anything else and have been extremely fortunate too but wherever my career takes me at the very least I know it’ll have been down to ambition and a lot of hard work.

Given you’re in the same tough industry how do you and husband John (of Brothers Osborne fame) balance your life together and keep things grounded?

We have to navigate a lot! It is an exciting life we lead and we’re in awe of this life we get to lead but we also try to remain two people who come home together, switch off and relate. We don’t want to talk about our careers the whole time, we want to be normal people. It’s a challenge because there’s a lot going on at times and the bigger things get mean you could easily forget the other person so we are very careful to not let that happen. We love to just hang out together and go on our date nights and honestly, other than perform on stage we don’t really put ourselves out there much, we’re not celebrities, we’re just not like that. We see non music friends all the time and in Nashville people are really supportive of you but they don’t care what you’re doing or not doing, they only really care that you’re fun to hang out with and that’s the kind of friends that we want.

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Your talents have led you to touring and writing with some of the biggest names in the business, Elton John, Tom Jones and James Bay to name a few, who would be top of your bucket list to collaborate with now?

Top of my bucket list….I think if I was standing next to Stevie Wonder and he was playing piano and we were singing together that would be the ultimate….. oh but also Bonnie Raitt! I’ve had this vision in my head where I was playing piano and singing and she’s up there playing electric guitar and we’re singing together, I mean, I would die, she’s my absolute favourite female singer so if I’m going to collaborate with anyone is going to be her.

You’re currently on tour in the UK and have a lot of upcoming US dates, how do you find life on the road and what’s the best part of performing live?

Life on the road, once you get used to it, is a lot of fun. Its tiring but fun. The schedules are strange, you have to get used to your body clock changing and you’re always on the go but its good. You have to live in the moment and I do because I know how lucky I am to get to go on a plane and go do a show somewhere. I was playing some festivals and I’m driving through Washington state looking at the most beautiful scenery and I’m like ‘This is amazing… I’m driving along looking at beautiful scenery and about to go sing… it just can’t get any better than that’ so I feel very fortunate. The being away from home is the hard part because I miss John, I miss my dog and I miss my bed! I also miss that normal routine. I get such an adrenaline buzz performing live and it still baffles me that people are willing to stand there listening to me sing! I think anyone that performs live gets such a kick out of it.

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What do you want fans, new and old, to know about you and your music?

I think the biggest thing I want them to see is that I’m somebody that’s persevered and someone that’s never given up on something they love. I’ll continue to change and my music will change as I’m growing up and living a different life but I’m true to myself. I want people to be uplifted by my music or be comforted by it and I want to reach as many people as possible and just hope to inspire something in them. I think doing what you love is a very hard task at times but you have to fight for it and fighting for an extraordinary life is always worth it.


Download Letters to Ghosts from all the usual places & check Lucie’s website for upcoming gigs

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