Though their name would suggest otherwise, the link between Hayley and Ben Williams is nothing but musical. Son Of William is a collaboration between Hayley and Ben which seems to have been lifted straight from a film script. Having forged individually hugely successful solo careers, they found themselves as tutors to each other – Hayley guiding Ben through singing lessons; Ben teaching Hayley guitar. The common ground they found is where Son Of William find themselves today, already one of the hottest live acts in their resident Manchester – with the almost Chris Montez lounge of Ben’s vocals wrapped around Hayley’s Stevie Nicks-like shimmer, delivering an experience which rivals Civil Wars and Iron And Wine.
Ben Williams’ previous musical life saw him wielding his guitar, sharing stages with the likes of Simply Red and Chic, whilst also receiving plaudits from Grammy Award-winning producer (Coldplay) Ken Nelson and go-to drummer, Steve White (The Who; Paul Weller). Hayley has forged her own path to success, achieving platinum sales in both Sweden and Norway. Their chance meeting when exchanging their respective musical skills swiftly lead to writing together and the formation of Son Of William, giving them the opportunity to develop their passion for folk music, using sparse instrumentation and the Simon and Garfunkel-esque symbiosis of their harmonies to bring an authentic but entirely modern approach to the genre.
Son of William will be launching their EP, Colour Of Love, at Manchester’s The Whiskey Jar on the 27th June, entirely appropriately given their reputation on the city’s acoustic scene. Like Civil Wars before them, Son Of William have taken the age-old tenets of the art of song-writing and stripped it bare, leaving nothing but the beauty of the music to shine through and enchant audiences.
On Wednesday, 6th June, the singer-songwriter Ian W Brown will play an intimate date at the Green Note venue in Camden.
The last time Ian topped the bill in London was 1986, a year which saw a Royal Wedding (Andrew and Fergie), noxious Russia poison in the air (Chernobyl) and Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ knocked England out of the World Cup.
Fast-forward 32 years and Ian’s headlining in London, there’s been another royal wedding, Russian poison in the air and, well, you get the picture…
In between, Ian decided he stood a better chance of making a living farming pigs in Hampshire than saving the world with a song, although he kept his hand in writing songs and playing folk clubs when he could. But as farming became almost as precarious as the record business, he answered the call for Britain’s farmers to diversify by going into the music industry full time with his own record label and artist management company.
In his day job, Ian has since sold ten million albums worldwide, with another four million sales as a songwriter. As well as co-writing the lead song in the West End musical Dreamboats And Petticoats and Sandi Thom’s number one ‘I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker’, Ian has penned songs for Fisherman’s Friends and Show of Hands; D-Side, Simon Webbe and Pixie Lott; Drumsound & Bassline Smith and Don Diablo; and for various films.
As an artist in his own right, Ian has supported 10cc, Steve Harley, Rita Coolidge, Julie Felix, Martin Simpson and Martin Cathy and has played many festivals, including Glastonbury, Cornbury, Purbeck and Greenwich.
However, his proudest moment was being able to perform his anthem to his wife ‘The Five Foot Two Inch Giant’ on the model village stage at the Wimborne Minster Folk Festival – you could make it up, but Ian really doesn’t have to!
This summer Ian returns to the road to play a few of his songs that have graced the charts and so many more that haven’t. His finely-honed everyman tales and self-deprecating musical outings are interspersed with tall tales from the music business, life, love and the universe.
Ian W Brown is the only known pig farmer to be nominated for an Ivor Novello Award.
Boo Hewerdine is well known as one of the greatest (and busiest) songwriter performers in the business, but incredibly, it’s been seven years since Boo released his last studio album of original material God Bless The Pretty Things (Reveal Records 2009). Not that Hewerdine has been inactive, far from it, the period has been the most productive of his career.
Boo wrote Radio Ballads for the BBC’s Olympic and recent Child Migration series. Elsewhere new songs were commissioned for art galleries and museums, including the Beneath The Dark Cloth project at the Met in New York. There has been a huge array of writing and producing with both established and upcoming artists and ‘passing something on’ to budding writers via his much loved songwriting workshops.
Boo spent three years writing a daily blog (http://boohewerdinesblogthing.blogspot.co.uk) which lead to podcast fun with that staff of The Word (RIP) and invitations to join Radio broadcasts such as The Verb (BBC Radio 3) and a moment of personal satisfaction when his work was included in the radio round up Pick Of The Week on BBC Radio 4.
A chance meeting with American guitarist Brooks Williams one snowy night in Ely lead the pair to form State Of The Union (a duo who’s sound is simple, vibrant and alive, contemporary songs wrapped up in old time blues and country soul. State of The Union have recorded and released two albums and an EP, in quick succession, live in the studio with engineer Mark Freegard, the duo appeared on BBC1 TV Andrew Marr show performing their cover of Pet Shop Boys’ ‘Rent’.
Hewerdine wrote lyrics and played on over thirty new recordings by and with other artists during the period including the acclaimed 2014 album (Vagabond) and 2015 EP (Back The Dogs) with Scottish singer Eddi Reader, Last Man Standing EP (2015) with Kris Drever of Lau and Duke Special. Reveal Records compiled the first document of his career to date with a fine Best of compilation My Name In Brackets and swiftly followed that with an album of lost recordings found in a box! This album was Open which received five star reviews and was number five in the Telegraph Albums of The Year 2015. Last year was spent writing and producing an ambitious new double album and theatrical show for Chris Difford of Squeeze, details of which are soon to be announced. All that and Boo toured with Eddi Reader in Europe, Asia and played a series of sell out headline shows in the UK and an invite to host Boo Hewerdine & Friends songwriters circle at London’s Kings Place. There has not been a moment when Boo Hewerdine has not been working on something creative. His every day continues to be full of music and he has waited patiently to tell some older personal stories that will feature on his new May 2016 released Born EP and forthcoming Swimming In Mercury album.
“I felt like I had to wait for the right time to tell some old stories, working on the Best of compilation My Name In Brackets and finding the Open recordings took me back a little, each song a placed me in a memory. I soon realised I had to go further and revisit the time when I was first making music. Taking the bus down to Rough Trade in London with my demo tape Julia, playing cheap guitars with broken strings.
For Swimming In Mercury and Born I have used instruments I’ve not used for years. The process has been more akin to when I was starting out in an indie band. I used my father’s old beat up piano and I wrote some songs with my son, Ben which was great. The lyrics came fast, I trusting my pen.
It blows my mind that I still have the opportunity to make music, that I have a voice and that there are people who want to hear and release it. Time is precious and this is the music that I needed to make.”
Released, on download, at midnight on Saturday, 19th May
To help with fundraising for a permanent memorial to Eilidh MacLeod from Barra who was killed in the Manchester Arena Bombing, trad band Skipinnish are releasing a new version their song ‘Wishing Well’. The song was originally written about Eilidh, but it is only recently, after meeting Eilidh’s family that it was decided to make the background of the song known to the public.
Originally composed with a winter theme, a verse has been added and some lyrics changed to give it a year-round theme.
The release of this new version of the song will coincide with the first anniversary of the bombing and with the main fundraising weekend of the group “Team Eilidh” led by Suzanne Whyte, a first cousin of Eilidh’s father. As well as the song release, some of the band are running the Edinburgh Half Marathon on the 27th of May and are joining Suzanne and Team Eilidh to run the Manchester 10K, the week before, to add to the fundraising.
Angus MacPhail, accordionist and founder member of the band who wrote the song said:
“The very first summer that we started the band we spent most of it on Barra and from then on we’ve had huge support over the years from the people of Barra and Vatersay. This is a very small gesture of just doing what we can to help in these terrible circumstances.”
Having stormed to the top of Scotland’s music scene in 2017, selling out every show they played and being named Live Act of the Year at the Trad Awards, Skipinnish are heading for their best year and biggest gig ever. A concert on the 18th of May in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall will mark a milestone in the band’s history and it is at this gig that they will perform the new version of ‘Wishing Well’ for the first time. They will be joined on stage for this piece by World Champion pipers, Inveraray and District Pipe Band and Gaelic Song super-group Cruinn. Angus added:
“Memory is one of the most powerful means of dealing with tragedy and a memorial will hopefully help the family and the island heal together. If the song ‘Wishing Well’ will also help this bright, talented piper and Highland Dancer be remembered, then I’ll be very glad.”
All proceeds from downloads will go to the “Team Eilidh” fundraising group.
London-based singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Olivia Chaney follows up her 2015 Nonesuch debut, The Longest River, with Shelter on June 15th 2018. The album was produced by Thomas Bartlett (David Byrne, the Magnetic Fields, Sufjan Stevens, The National, St. Vincent, Florence Welch, Father John Misty, et al.) and features eight original songs, along with Chaney’s interpretations of Henry Purcell’s ‘O Solitude’ and Frank Harford and Tex Ritter’s ‘Long Time Gone’, first recorded by the Everly Brothers; the full track list is below.
Chaney describes her time writing songs for Shelter: “I had been on the road a lot and was struggling with the grit and loneliness of urban life. I think I’d been questioning what home, belonging, a sense of purpose, and my own culture even meant. I’d been craving wilderness and a return to essentials for a long time. Then, while touring in the US, I realized the place I needed was already in my life. It was ancient, barely habitable, and remote.
“Thus a crumbling eighteenth-century cottage in the austere but magical hills of the North Yorkshire Moors—a family retreat since my teens, with no electricity or plumbing, where the only water comes from a spring—became the home for my work on Shelter,” she continues. “We brought out an Arts and Crafts Bechstein piano and an old wood burner to the house; and as summer’s end turned to autumn’s shorter, colder days, the room with the upright and stove fueled my stay.”
Chaney says of working with Thomas Bartlett, “His close affiliation with such a varied and acclaimed group of artists was of enormous importance. His taste and sphere of understanding were as diverse as mine. He prioritized my compositions’ meaning and lyricism, rather than jumping on the bandwagon of noisy popularity. I wanted a recording as intimate as the songs and their form. The only other musicians are Thomas and Jordan Hunt, my longtime collaborator who adds strings and background vocals on select songs. It’s just the three of us playing every sound you hear, using our instrumental and compositional craft, and Thomas’ musician-producer’s ear extraordinaire.”
Born in Florence, Italy, Chaney grew up in Oxford, England, in a household whose intellectual and artistic engagement was complemented by an expansive musical soundscape. This included Billie Holiday, Mozart operas, Sandy Denny, Prince, Tracy Chapman, Bert Jansch, Michael Jackson, and Joni Mitchell. She studied at London’s Royal Academy of Music, where she took in everything the conservatory had to offer. Her curiosity led her further afield, from Ligeti to West African pop, Edith Piaf to Laurie Anderson, Mary Margaret O’Hara to Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Sonic Youth to Sappho, Kate Bush to old-time country music—all while finding her own voice.
The range of artists she’s shared a stage with includes Robert Plant, Zero 7, the Labeque Sisters, Martin and Eliza Carthy, and Kronos Quartet, with whom she also recorded two songs for the 2017 Nonesuch album Folk Songs.
Most recently she fronted a Grammy-nominated album, The Queen of Hearts, forming a new outfit, Offa Rex, with the Decemberists. The Guardian’s review of that album said that “Chaney has a magical voice, full of heft, soul and sunlight” and fRoots said, “Chaney has never sounded better,” while the Arts Desk said it was her “voice, with its clarity, power and emotional weight, that carries Offa Rex to the heights.” The Financial Times added that “Chaney’s singing makes ‘Willie O’ Winsbury’ one of the best versions ever.”
If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).
Live at The Slaughtered Lamb, 34 Great Sutton St, Clerkenwell, London EC1V 0DX
Saturday 28th April 2018
Hot on the heels of his critically acclaimed ‘partial’ autobiography Tales From The Tracks, knock out album Roll To The Left and sold out UK tour, Phil ‘Swill’ Odgers rides into town with the larger than life Bobby Valentino playing some mean violin alongside him.
Founder member and one half of the joint vocal strike force of the inimitable The Men They Couldn’t Hang, Phil “Swill” Odgers is a well loved and prolific solo artist in his own right. Audiences around the world from Cairo to Reykjavik, Brisbane to Tokyo, and Berlin to London have succumbed to his effervescent and heartfelt vocal style.
A fine acoustic guitarist, singer and songwriter, his influences are far-reaching, ranging from his Scottish roots, through 50’s/60’s rock ‘n’ roll, punk, folk and country. Phil Odgers is a sorely undervalued national treasure!
His latest solo album, the highly regarded Roll To The Left, brings his song writing prowess into sharp, bright, focus. Lyrically this is a collection of unique tales with cinematic imagery – from kitchen sink realism and social commentary to Technicolor splendour. The album was recorded in the studio built for Kirsty MacColl by Steve Lillywhite (where she recorded ‘Fairytale Of New York’). Phil was privileged to record the album using to 3 very special acoustic guitars – one previously owned by Kirsty MacColl, one by Joe Strummer and the limited black edition Martin Guitar from Johnny Cash’s personal collection. It’s no surprise then that these organic, passionate and spirited sessions resulted in a magical and deeply accomplished record.
At this very special performance at the extremely fine Slaughtered Lamb in London EC1 you will have the opportunity to hear songs from this album, along with favourites from Phil’s back catalogue and even some TMTCH classics.
To make the gig even more special Phil will be accompanied by renegade virtuoso Bobby Valentino on fiddle.
The man who co-wrote and played violin on The Bluebells ‘Young at Heart’, Bobby has played on records by Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, The Alabama 3 and Paul Weller to name but a few.
He has also contributed to many recordings by The Men They Couldn’t Hang as well as frequently appearing with them on stage.
Bobby’s vocal talents are demonstrated on his solo albums ‘This is Murder’ and ‘Pat-a-Cake, Pat-a-Cake’ both of which will be on sale on the night.
Phil ‘Swill’ Odgers and Bobby Valentino – what a combination!!
The Slaughtered Lamb
If you like your gigs acoustic, it doesn’t get much better than at the Slaughtered Lamb. The room’s big enough to create an atmosphere, but the corner stage, which places the performers at eye level with the audience, makes for one of the most intimate musical experiences in London. It’s why American musicians will travel here for a single gig, and why it’s a great place to meet and mingle with fellow folk-lovers. Sure, it’s a pain if you’re there on a night when it’s standing-room only and you can’t see much. But the opportunity to have a drink with the band upstairs after the gig – most musicians can be found there post-performance – more than makes up for it.