SINGLES BAR 32 A round-up of recent EPs and singles

Singles Bar 32Named for the Virginia city, but based in Nashville, ROANOKE are a rising Folk Americana five-piece led by guitarist Joey Beesley and Taylor Dupuis, alongside fellow band members Zach Nowak on mandolin, acoustic guitarist John Fiorentino and drummer Kyle Breese. Following on from their self-titled 2016 debut, the songs written in a remote Michigan cabin, Where I Roam is a self-released five-track EP that augments the band’s instrumentation with pedal steel, violin, lap steel, bass and keyboards, opening with the Fleetwood Mac-like Tennessee Stone, Dupois playing Nicks to Beesley’s Buckingham. Dupois again on lead, ‘Don’t Let Me Leave The Road’ is more of a keening country persuasion while Beesley steps upfront for slow waltzer ‘Ghost Of Love’.

Their pop sensibilities can be heard to good effect on the harmonies sung violin-emboldened wistful ballad ‘Silent Films’, the collection closing on another ballad note, Breese’s harmonica providing backdrop flourishes as Beesley and Dupois, at her best Southern country soulfulness, trade verses on the organ-backed weary of the road ‘I’m Coming Home’, their harmonies showcased in the build up to the climax. A few UK dates would help spread the word.

My Home In ArgyllYou won’t be surprised to learn that ELIS MACFADYEN comes from Argyll even though he’s now a well-known figure around Inverness. My Home In Argyll is his debut EP on which he’s accompanied by multi-instrumentalist producer Marc Clement and, on the title track, by Michael J MacMillan. These four songs are all Macfadyen originals, frequently employing a country style that so often suits Scottish songwriters. In fact, ‘The Girl From The Rodeo’ was written for a local country band.

‘Too Young To Settle Down’ is a clever tale of misadventure over the rhythm of a train rattling across the country and initially you think you understand why the young man is in such a hurry only to realize that the situation is quite the reverse. Finally, ‘She Smiled For Me’ abandons the country style for that of a big pop ballad, perhaps a little overdone but it shows off Elis’ musical ambitions.

The Road BookBorn and bred in the south of Belgium (in an area called Gaume to be precise) NICO G now lives near Stirling, Scotland, where he continues to make music. He is an instrumentalist; a guitar player and a very good one at that. His most recent offering of songs is in the form of a five track EP, titled The Road Book. The format is simple, one man and his guitar – and it works wonderfully.

Four of the five tracks are originals, with the exception of an intriguing arrangement of Rolling Stones’ classic, ‘Paint it Black’ which opens the disc. It’s not overbearing or forced, in fact, it fits the record’s mood perfectly, as similar shades and approaches continue to be found in the folkily fingerpicked ‘From The Beginning’ and its equally folkie companion, ‘No More Questions’. Written in Austria, this is quite possibly the most beautiful track on the disc. It has a wandering, bitter-sweet summer feeling to it, created through its simple melody…that isn’t actually all that simple at all. It has the flowing qualities of classical guitar techniques, as well as those of the folk revivalists. Bowing out on some lovely harmonics, we are gently ushered into the twists and twangles of the penultimate ‘Jour 100’, before Piedmont-esque styled ‘The Wee Blether’ concludes the recording.

It is ironic that a ‘blether’ should end a collection of instrumentals, and indeed a collection of instrumentals might not appeal to everyone, but believe me, this is simply beautiful. Nico’s talent is obvious and this taster of his work only leaves you wanting a little bit more of the uplifting melodies, pitch-perfect harmonics and beautiful guitar playing which make up The Road Book.

ConsilienceTHE Nth DEGREE are a trio from Cardiff – Will Christofides, Tim Johnston and Sarah Johnston – making their debut with a four-track download EP, Consilience. It opens with the logic-twisting ‘Things’ which has a simple guitar based arrangement until Tim breaks in on cello with Sarah on whistle. Sarah takes over the lead vocals for ‘Summer Night’ while the two chaps enjoy interplaying guitar parts. ‘Broken Earth’ expands the arrangement a little with Tim’s synthesiser – it’s a song protesting the damage done to the land by industry but the lyrics could be clearer. There’s a real twist at the end with ‘Never Weather Beaten Sail’ by Thomas Campion and Charles Hubert Parry. The Nth Degree perform it like a folk trio tackling a hymn with cello for gravitas and harmony vocals. Good as their original songs are, this could be the track that makes them.

WoodsA CHOIR OF GHOSTS is the secret identity of Swedish singer James Auger, whose debut EP, Woods, was released at the end of June. James doesn’t sound very Swedish either stylistically or vocally but the title track was inspired by the sound of tree-felling in the north of the country – timber is a major source of Sweden’s revenue. This isn’t a song of ecological protest however, the sound merely sparked his imagination. ‘Ester’ and ‘Morning Light’ have already been released as singles but it’s worth going for the full set.

Perfect‘Perfect’ is the first single from Welcome To The Batlands, the debut album from Belfast singer ETHAN HANNA. It catches you out at first, opening with a thoughtful acoustic guitar before the band crashes in and once you get over that you’re grooving to a gravel-voiced rocker with a song that’s full of compelling images: “did you want to ink your arms to say ‘look at the mistakes I made’”; “Here’s a tape I made/it follows all the mistakes I made” and “I miss you now that we’re twenty-three/I think we might have lost our fight”. The track peters out with a sad acoustic guitar, a few notes that spell desolation. Excellent stuff.

WeightJOSH McGOVERN growls his idiosyncratic way through his new single, ‘Weight’ describing, in a very bleak style, the end of a relationship and the state of his mental health. You might think from that description that it’s going to be hard work but far from it. It opens with a stunning line; “On a cold early morning on the hill all my best man fell” – a battle, real or emotional, with the singer as the loser? You can go where you want with that idea.

Billy LockettSinger-songwriter BILLY LOCKETT has released a double A-side single in advance of his summer/autumn tour. ‘Fading Into Grey’ is a big heartfelt song about a relationship dragging on beyond its use-by date. ‘My Only Soul’ is equally powerful but slightly off-the-wall as the singer wishes that he believed in ghosts so he could see his loved one – his only soul – again.

High TideVELVET & STONE have released a rather lovely single, ‘High Tide’ with all the profits going to Cancer Research. It opens with a gentle but insistent acoustic guitar with a few notes of electric guitar before Lara Snowden’s vocals come in and Kathryn Tremlett’s violin lifts the song to another level before her piano leads it away.

Billy Lockett releases new EP

Billy Lockett releases new EP

Northampton singer/songwriter Billy Lockett has announced his stirring new track ‘Burn It Down’. The single is the title track of his upcoming EP released on November 13th through Selfish Records.

Lead by rich luscious keys, Billy Lockett puts his heart on the line in a brutally honest reflection on relationships. “Sometimes it’s good to forget the past,” croons Billy in his irresistible, hushed vocals on this delectable first taste of the brand new EP.

Billy Lockett is riding the success of a phenomenal 18 months, which featured three separate sold-out headline tours of the UK, support slots for the likes of Lana Del Rey, Nina Nesbitt and Birdy and support from Radio 1 and XFM for his previous singles, ‘Old Man’ and ‘Never Let You Go’. He also celebrated the Old Man EP hitting the Top 5 of the iTunes singer/songwriter chart and going Top 40 in the main chart, becoming the only unsigned artist in the Top 100 that week in the UK Top 40.

Billy has spent the last eight months working hard on the songs he wants to take forward and with the release of ‘Burn It Down’, he is setting the stage for the release of his debut album in 2016.

Billy returns to the Zermatt Unplugged Festival, Zurich on October 23rd as a major headliner following his sold-out intimate show there last year. UK live dates surrounding the release of the Burn It Down EP will be announced very shortly.

Artist’s website:

Live At The Lodge – Billy Lockett performs three new songs:

“A beautiful elegiac singer/songwriter” – The Telegraph

“You’ll love Billy Lockett” – MTV

“Soulful voice and sincere lyricism” Winq

Billy Lockett – new single, video and tour

Billy Lockett Main

Billy Lockett has revealed the dark brooding video for his new single ‘Never Let You Go’. The video premiered at TMRW who said,

Tugging at the heartstrings with a tale of broken love, Billy Lockett’s emotive story is brought to life in an artistic installation of grey-scale passion and mesmeric body illusions. Armed with a voice that has the ability to purvey incredible emotion, ‘Never Let You Go’ is a beautiful track displaying Billy at the most honest we’ve seen him to date.

‘Never Let You Go’ is the second single to be taken from the Old Man EP which entered the Top 40 iTunes Album Chart when it was released last year and also became a Top 5 hit in the Singer/Songwriter chart. In fact Billy Lockett was the only self-released artist to enter the Top 100 that week.

‘Never Let You Go’ had its national radio premiere on Danielle Perry’s show at XFM following previous support from Radio 1, with past singles spun by the likes of Fearne Cotton, Greg James, Dev, Scott Mills, Huw Stephens and Gemma Cairney.

Alongside ‘Never Let You Go’, Billy Lockett has also announced a UK headline tour in March. The four-date tour will see him headline his biggest shows so far, finishing at Bush Hall, London on March 26th.

Artist’s website:

“A beautiful elegiac singer/songwriter” – The Telegraph

“A truly mesmeric voice with Joe Cocker soul” – Loaded

“You’ll love Billy Lockett” – MTV