Hot
Music
Live
The magazine for local live music
Coventry, Kenilworth, Leamington Spa, Rugby, Solihull, Warwick, Stratford and Warwickshire

The magazine - news, reviews and interviews for the local scene

Fresh and funky

Leamington Assembly Memories

Feature

With the return of the Leamington Assembly it seems a good time to take a look back over my years covering gigs at this excellent venue and look at some of my highlights from before my time with Hot Music Live, along with a set of my photographic memories.

Johnny Winter - 2009

My first visit to the venue was in 2009 for legendary blues man Johnny Winter, a short set as he was not in the best of health but what a privilege to see one of the greats on stage and the room erupted for his take on Hendrix classic ‘Red House'.
The support set was my first look at a now favourite of mine Joanne Shaw Taylor and interviewing her several years later she told me how she was living in Leamington at the time of the show and remembers walking to the venue.
This was my early days at the venue, no photo/pit pass but snuck in my compact.

Nazareth - 2010

Into 2010 and now with passes arranged by Get Ready To Rock, I was all set to take photos and make my notes to help with my review when the bands manager asks me what time I wanted to interview the band, a little thrown (never interviewed before, not scheduled this time either) so I thought what the hell just go for it and said "whenever the band is ready".
So after writing down a few sensible questions (to me anyway, I did not want to go down the Alan Partridge root with the likes of what's your favourite colour of guitar) I found myself backstage with founder members Dan MaCafferty and Pete Agnew sharing a beer (while they knocked back the neat brandy) trying to bluff my way through an interview.
I think I got away with it with a set of around 10 hastily written questions but have to admit I was a little unprofessional having a photo taken with the guys after.
A cracking set with hits including ‘My White Bicycle' and ‘Broken Down Angel' along with a bag pipe solo celebrating the bands Scottish heritage.
Another fab support set this time by the lovely Deborah Bonham and her power packed soulful vocals, the sister of legendary Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham she insisted on giving me a complimentary brace of her CD's when discovering I was covering the show along with a hug.


Blackfield - 2011

A slice of prog rock next with the Steven Wilson and Aviv Geffen project Backfield, clever lyrics (as you expect from prog!) and fine harmonies with a set balancing up-tempo guitar driven rockers and delicate ballads.
While in ‘Once' they have one of the best live numbers I have heard in my many years at the venue, I just stood there in complete awe (if you have never heard the number check it out on the streaming services).
The Pineapple Thief opened proceedings with a 40 minute set of powerful power prog including a storming ‘3000' days.


Beth Hart - 2011

Surely one of the finest singers to ever grace the Assembly stage, a voice full of emotion and wonderful song writing along with a friendly rapport with the audience.
Her first number performed solo on the piano was the beautiful tribute to her mother ‘Mama This One's For You' she also included in her set several of the numbers she recorded with Joe Bonamassa including the quirky ‘Chocolate Jesus' and the funky blues of ‘Well, Well'.
She really went down a storm in Leamington.


The Doors Alive - 2012

The Doors Alive one of the finest tribute bands around (still fab now with a new line-up) really rolled back the years with the likes of ‘L.A. Woman','Break On Through' and ‘Riders On The Storm' with all the Morrison moves.
Yet another fab support in Voodoo Vegas, the third time I had seen this top rock and roll band from Bournemouth in action and once again I found myself backstage thanks to these guys, taking shots of them in and around the venues famous touring caravan that I believe was used in the past by country artist Tammy Wynett.
Voodoo Vegas also invited myself Julie and our doggie at the time Buster later that year to join them at the legendary Rockfield studio in Wales during the recording of their debut album, where I sat at the very piano used during Queens recording of Bohemian Rhapsody and looked through the guest book signed by the like of Oasis, Sabbath and so many greats.

Fish - 2013

2013 and now getting my passes curtesy of The Classic Rock Society.
An artist I had seen many times both at this venue and many others, this one was something special though with an excellent new critically album A Feast Of Consequences recently released and here brought to life by stirring performances and back screen projections by artist Mark Wilkinson.
The epic, multi-section, beating heart of the new album 'High Wood' was represented by three parts of this truly amazing piece of music introduced as he sat on the lip of the stage by a spell binding World War One based monologue, simply amazing as well as very moving.
The Marillion fans in attendance were not forgotten with the likes of ‘Assassing', 'Freaks' and a real surprise with ‘White Feather'.

Uriah Heep - 2015

For some reason Uriah Heep are one of the few classic British rock bands I had previously missed in the live setting, plenty of golden oldies in the set including with a huge roar from the audience ‘The Magician's Birthday' and ‘Stealin' along with more recent material and also great to see the see the bands original guitarist Mick Box in action.
Only disappointment was being a Sunday night gig I had to miss the encore getting the last train home as living in Hatton by this time.

LIVE/WIRE - 2016

Always try and catch these boys when they are in town, in fact one of my first shows with my DSLR was the bands show in St Ives in Cornwall in 2008 while on holiday and since then they usual invite me personally when they in Leamington.
One of the few tribute bands for me who give The Doors Alive a run for their money in the tribute band game they really do put on the AC/DC experience along with bells, cannons and school uniforms.
With two singers one portraying Bonn Scott and the other Brian Johnson you really get the best of both worlds, the early years classics including ‘Shot Down In Flames' and ‘Sin City' and the Johnson years with the likes of ‘Shoot to Thrill', and ‘Rock n Roll Train'.


IN CLOSING

There it just a few of my standout Leamington Assembly gigs, have loads more have not even mentioned Marillion, Mostly Autumn or Dr. Feelgood yet.
Maybe a Part 2 to come.

The photos represent all of these memories and many are unpublished.

Andrew Lock

Share


"Train" by Stone Bear

Review

I do hope you enjoyed the Stone Bear song "Bring A Little Love" which appeared on ‘Hot Music Live Presents Volume One'? Now Jeff Dennis (drums) and David John (guitar & vocals) after a busy time, playing festivals in the summer & Jeff becoming a father, they have a new record (available on Spotify), "Train", paired with "Long Gone"

Over the last year, their music has to some extent explored a more acoustic & intimate style than previously. "Train" fits into this trend, at least in terms of instrumentation. The raw power of their work which is their calling card & the core of their appeal to audiences & respect among their peers remains as potent as ever.

Another of their many songs with a definite pre-war blues feel & another which emulates & could snugly fit within the repertoire of the great pioneers of the form, the song as always features great playing, both in terms of technique & an authentic feel, with that hallmark of good musicians of sounding simple while being  far from it. Add to that their performance commitment & you have a great, timeless, song which will fit really well into their live set & enhance their standing still further.

Its companion piece, "Long Gone" showcases David's superb slide playing in this brooding & powerful song. In this one, not only does it sound like it was written in 1920 but David sounds like he has been tramping the highway & riding the rails for the intervening period or its equivalent: he really conveys the sense of burden & endurance thereof.

 

Here's something I've never before done: I'm going to add to a review mention of another track not on the record under examination: another new one which Stone Bear had played on BBC Introducing in Coventry & Warwickshire last week: "Blues in A minor" which certainly lives up to its name but differs in sound from either of the above tunes, being in much more of a post-war, urban style, smoother & electric with a prominent swinging bassline in addition to voice, guitar & drums.

I'm assuming that from the evidence of these three songs, the Stone Bear concerts I've attended in recent months & conversations with them that the indications for their musical direction for the time being is a little away from the searing Howlin' Wolf type material towards various aspects of more laid back blues, whether it be via switching to acoustic or by a greater emphasis on swing. However some things do not seem likely to change: the musicianship, the integrity & the commitment.

Social media   

Share


Thomas Truax Announces 'New Music Machines' UK Tour

Feature

SonicPR promotion ...

Merging a fevered imagination and solid songwriting with a mad scientist's brain for weird gadgets, true one-off American singer THOMAS TRUAX has confirmed a run of UK live shows throughout March and April for his ‘New Music Machines' tour.

Described by UNCUT magazine as "shaping up nicely as one of the great rock eccentrics" while Splendid magazine called him "one of the five or ten best singer/songwriters in the world that you've never heard of...an exceptional talent.", he is also known for his unique self-made instruments including a motorized drum machine made of bike wheels, spoons and other found items called 'Mother Superior' and a souped up Gramophone called 'The Hornicator'

After riding the album/tour/album/tour cycle perpetually over nearly two decades with these ‘band mates', Thomas decided it was due time to dedicate himself to expanding the menagerie with some new musical contraptions. 

Bolstered by his Bandcamp supporters and some Arts Council England funding, he devoted much of last year to dreaming up and building these special new musical inventions which, alongside his familiar friends, will be previewed on this tour.

Notable Truax supporters and collaborators include Jarvis Cocker, Duke Special, Gemma Ray, Richard Hawley, Amanda Palmer, Brian Viglione (Dresden Dolls/Violent Femmes) Bob Log III and the late author Terry Pratchett.

Most recently drummer Budgie (of Siouxsie and the Banshees/Creatures/Slits) collaborated with Thomas in Berlin on some new tracks, with a single set to be released in conjunction with the tour.
 

THOMAS TRUAX - NEW MUSIC MACHINES UK TOUR 2020

  • 19 March, Ramsgate Music Hall
  • 20 March, London, Lexington
  • 27 March, Oxford, Port Mahon
  • 28 March, Birmingham, Centrala (w/ Kate Arnold)  
  • 3 April, Brighton, Green Door Store
  • 4 April, Southend-on-Sea, Railway Hotel
  • 11 April, Liverpool: 81 Renshaw
  • 16 April, Leeds, Hyde Park Book Club
  • 18 April, Coventry, The Tin
  • 23 April, Sheffield, Greystones
  • 24 April, York, York Cemetery Chapel
  • 25 April, Hull, Adelphi
  • 26 April, Stockton-On-Tees, Waiting Room

"Endlessly inventive and creative… A show not to be missed!" - Oxford Times

"His gigs are extraordinary, fizzing with showmanship." - Q

"When he performs, it is a spectacle - the originality and seeming impossibility of what he does is much of the appeal." -The Guardian


 Audio

Web    Social media   

Share


"Sky Blue Pink" by Daffod'i'll

Review

When recently I reviewed no fewer than three Daffod'i'll albums in one fell swoop in a catch up exercise, if you looked at the photos you'd notice both that Dill numbers each album & that I had not included number 7.

Well here then is my review of his seventh solo album, namely 2019's ‘Sky Blue Pink' (not to be confused with his eighth, ‘Pink Blue Sky' which I did review last time). I'm glad to be doing it this way as obviously four in one go would have asked a lot of me as a writer & you as a reader but also because ‘Sky Blue Pink' deserves to stand alone in the spotlight.

As with his other work under the "Daffod'i'll" banner, this album is totally idiosyncratic for the reasons outlined in my other reviews. Stylistic comparisons may well be made (I know I do this in trying to describe the songs to you) but really they defy rational comparisons.

It's all here again: humour, spirituality, word play, humanity, massed & varying voices and a general danceability. The only regular feature not present is a bit of dub.

I thought opener  "MASS , Everything OK" is one of the strongest lead tracks in this series of records: poppy, catchy & caring in its lyrics with the vocal overlaying present but not as overwhelming as can be the case on some of Dill's other arrangements: definitely one of the most commercial of his songs.

"Jump" which follows it is again fairly uncluttered & its spiritual message is set against a pleasing backing with both rock & dance elements.  On the other hand, "1 2wo 3hree 4our" is somewhat denser in sound with words tripping over each other playfully over a more synthetic beat: the former might be enjoyed for meaning but the latter leaves a more impressionistic imprint.

"Flowers" is a good example of why I believe this to be one of Dill's strongest albums as it's one of his best solo tracks. A prowling exotic song (it reminded me slightly of Fleetwood Mac's "Tusk") again it benefits from a clear central vocal & is embellished attractively with interesting instrumental passages.

"Work" is another strong & distinctive song: funk based with another good & clear vocal. A good example of Dill's enduring interest in dance musical forms. Next up is "Small , Tall , All." which to my ears forms something of a trilogy with "Love Is.." which appeared on this album's predecessor ‘Purrrfection' and "Love Is All" on its successor  ‘Pink Blue Sky', being meditations on the nature & scope of love.

"Love Ever After" is a gentle further set of similar thoughts leading into a very distinctive Dillsong namely "Scotland The Rave" wherein we get a whole host of his characteristic tropes: punning lyrics set over a very retro synth sound & heavily treated vocals. That however is more than matched for originality by the following song "Who Ray?" (yes it's a pun) which can best be described as what might have happened had Giorgio Moroder decided to set "What Shall We Do With A Drunken Sailor" to one of his trademark electro disco beats. Words alone can't do justice to this example of Dill's commitment to humour in music.

"Stick Your Head Where The Sun Don't Shine" on the face of it sounds very unlike Dill whose philosophy is usually wholly positive: but don't worry: it's not an insult as much as his reflections on people who bury their heads in life's sand.

"AKA Pop" is another piece of evidence for why I think this is perhaps his best record: something of an echo of his pop sensibilities of his early career, again, it's one of his strongest individual songs.

Album closer "Hey Wedding Day" follows the precedent of earlier albums in setting religious texts partially or wholly to music: in this case a verse from Genesis leads off a gentle song about marriage.

As I said, "Sky Blue Pink" deserved a review to itself & I'm glad it has ended up having one.

Web    Social media   

Share


 

'All Pretty Real' by The Old Number 7 Band

Review

When I saw the Old Number 7 Band at the Railway Inn in Leamington on Saturday, while they were not playing, the venue piped music was some of the best too (it was a jukebox so credit both to the selections on it & the people feeding it). At one point, "Safe European Home" filled the pub & I mentioned to someone that you don't hear that on jukeboxes often.

It reminded me of the adrenaline rush I got/get from putting on albums like "Give ‘Em Enough Rope" & again I don't experience that enough these days. As I'm now going into my review (belatedly: sorry) of TON7B's ‘All Pretty Real' album, I expect you can guess that I felt such a buzz with it.

Bearing in mind how much I like the band and their writing & how often I've been playing "Indiana Jane" in particular on a driving mixtape, I have no reasonable explanation at taking so long, so I'll apologise & get on with it.

Exciting performances, great songs . What more could you ask for?

As noted in the live review of two days ago, the band (Ritchie Hunt-King  on vocals, Sam Smith on lead guitar/double bass, Rob Nixon  on drums, Tim Healey on bass and Sean Pearce on rhythm guitar) bring so much to the party. They can play superbly but what elevates them above even the super-competent is attitude: an obvious love of & enjoyment in what they do and more than a fair share of what Don Letts calls "punk attitude" which is all about what you do & how you do it rather than just three chords & a covering of safety pins & Mohicans.

There are two excellent covers on the album, namely "Boxcars" by Joe Ely (a country artist who collaborated with The Clash)  & Matumbi's "(Can't Get Enough of That) Reggae Stuff", so you have a glimpse of their range & influence already before hearing their originals. Though both are played through garage punk filters, it is remarkable that the latter is actually more dubby than the original version....

 

As I said in my previous review, this band build up from the solid foundation of a perfect rhythm section, but both Tim & Rob provide much more than just a solid beat. Both elements are important parts of the arrangements & sinuous grooves & patterns ensure that songs have five equally contributing parts: and that's counting vocals as one: in reality the interplay of the voices & vocal parts is another key element. The one thing which probably distinguishes the recorded versions from the live is that you can hear the subtleties & little moments of wonder more clearly without the overwhelming effect of the performance blending them as much, though the mix on Saturday actually separated the parts out pretty effectively..

The album kicks off with an immediate impact with "You Come Along": totally infectious: this is just damned great songwriting & if this doesn't hook you to the band then you have a heart of stone & don't deserve people writing music for you. It's actually quite a poppy track, albeit that weird twisted sort of thing that US garage bands did in the ‘Nuggets' era: trying to write pop songs and coming up with melodic yet grungy classics.

"The Day After" is just as catchy if not even more so: I lost count of the styles going on here: a sort of hybrid creation from the country end of rockabilly?? One minute it sounded like Buddy Holly might have sung it & then it might have been on an early Undertones album...

"Reason" again has so much going on in another deceptively simple song.... a bit "harder" in edge than its predecessors, the guitars snarl for the first time on the album & riffs which sit in some strange territory somewhere between rockabilly & the ones Paul Weller wrote for later period Jam (in fact the bassline also was redolent of that era).

"XVIII" ups the sonic stakes yet further  & now we are into serious psychobilly.  The pop sensibility now has become sinister vocalisations, with screaming alternating with menacing...... These guys don't just know how to write totally unique songs in various styles but how to sequence an album.

And that is another general point of interest: few if any songs actually fit neatly into a single genre template but draw variously from their presumed interests & enthusiasms to create new artefacts of their own imagination & creation. All of which reek of integrity.

"Indiana Jane" as previously mentioned might have been on any list of earworms of last year if I could bring myself to put things into arbitrary order (sorry I can't) and it still sounds as fresh today to me. If you want to get people into your song then catch them at the top with a top class riff & this certainly does (the band offer us riffs of the highest class throughout & the lyrics match them for ear catching power)..... I suppose you might call this a ska sound which certainly doesn't hinder the fact that it is almost impossible to prevent oneself dancing to it (be careful when playing in the car), but in reality given the guitar stylings it is probably the nearest thing to a Skabilly song outside the work of that genre's creator Roddy "Radiation" Byers and probably owes a lot to the close connection between TON7B and the Skabilly Rebels including shared membership. This song should be a hit single. But then the same could be said of others on here.

I loved "Interlude" as it confounded all expectations: what a stroke of genius & demonstration of humour to insert a track like this half way through the album after such high octane preceding tracks: a largely acoustic number (with double bass) of a form of skiffle with absolutely minimal lyrics (one word or possibly two repeated), it allows us to catch our breath & again emphasises their versatility & breadth of interest.

"Pigtail" reintroduces electric instruments and is the first real all out rock track: the pedal is trodden on good & hard here and the stakes raised again after the intermission. Back to beers after the ice cream.

 

Next up, "Hunny Blue" positively struts its considerable stuff in a manner not unreminiscent of Dr Feelgood, complete with another shot of menace which certainly reflects that band's inability to write even the tenderest song without such a quality. "she shakes like jelly & she tastes like honey" indeed. Prison or hospital seem to be the only options for her lover(s).

The final original number, "St Catherines", ironically (or perhaps not) shows that if Dr Feelgood couldn't write a tender song sans menace, TON7B certainly can... Sounding like absolutely nothing else on the record, it showcases yet another of their remarkable array of facets but yet like pretty much all the others, also demonstrates their taste & skill in not playing as much as playing. Throughout the album there is excellent use of space & drop out & if it's most noticeable on this track, it certainly isn't restricted to it.

Sometimes when faced with an album this damn good, people (me included I suspect) trot out the "all killer no filler" line: maybe it's overused but it certainly applies here. The bottom line? I didn't just appreciate this album I genuinely enjoyed every bar of it & it got my pulse racing. This is a truly skilled band but better than that they possess imagination, taste & above all a joy in music making. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did. Which is to say "hugely".

Web    Social media   

Share


The Old Number 7 Band at the Railway Inn

Review

What a great way to start off 2020. The Old Number 7 Band gig at the Railway Inn in Leamington has set a very high bar already in so many respects.

I salute the venue (which I believe is part of a newly acquired & expanding chain which will host similar events in its other pubs) for putting on this excellent band. I had intended to see the Voodoo Kings there the previous week but had been diverted by health issues so am delighted to post my first review of an event here.

The band are powerful & frankly loud: a lot of other venues are not suitable & it would divest the TON7B of much of their essence to go acoustic, so it's great news that places can accommodate that thing that they do so well.

Which is you ask? Well the group, (Ritchie Hunt-King  on vocals, Sam Smith on lead guitar, Rob Nixon  on drums, Tim Healey on bass and Sean Pearce on rhythm guitar) are perhaps best described by how they do music rather than what they do. They play (superbly) high energy music which you can apply labels to if you want: garage, punk, rockabilly, R&B, reggae for some numbers etc: just pure excitement & total commitment to the material & their performance.

Setting out their manifesto by opening with "Misirlou" and "Brand New Cadillac",  it is a bit misleading to define their set by the covers within it (though an honourable mention perhaps for Joe Ely's "Boxcars" which appears on their album  ‘All Pretty Real') as one of the many glories of this band is their capacity for writing originals of the highest quality: all falling within the ambit of their various enthusiasms & influences but none sounding like each other nor being just stylish pastiches. Some are really fast (though none as rapid as their version of Elvis' "Mystery Dance") and others slow burning scorchers. "Indiana Jane" implanted itself in my brain from the first time I heard it, I suppose about eighteen months ago & was a fixture on my car mixtape.

The sound was immaculate: remarkable for what is effectively a bar with no dedicated stage area & a limited space: again a great harbinger for gigs there. I could hear all elements crystal clear, which again considering the volume & attack was commendable. The twin (tremolo arm) guitar sound was exhilarating and although I have long admired Sam's playing, which I had always thought of as a rockabilly centred one, I am deeply indebted to Tim & to band manager Helen Howard who pointed out the comparison of his playing to Daniel Ash of Bauhaus: not one I'd ever remotely made but it's down to tritones apparently.

Although clearly the guitar playing & Ritchie's charismatic lead vocals catch the immediate attention, I was struck by the excellence of the rhythm section. Not only was it as tight as you can imagine, providing a solid underscore of the whole sound, again you could distinctly hear the drum tones which provided another texture in the mix & even more so Tim's superb pulsing basslines which wove through the arrangements with agile fluidity & again a perfectly judged tone.

Above all, what made the gig one of the most exciting & adrenaline pumping I've attended in a long while was the sheer panache of the playing & the enjoyment the band exhibited: it really communicate itself to the audience. Their commitment is also to be applauded: Sean had rushed from an international flight straight up the motorway to be there, must have been tired but you really couldn't tell.

If you & I see a more exciting band in 2020 (unless we see TON7B again of course), we'll be doing extremely well.

In the meantime, watch out please for my belated review of ‘All Pretty Real@ coming to "Hot Music Live" soon...

Web    Social media   

Share


"Satellites" by Danny Ansell & Co

Review

‘Satellites'   is the most recent single by Danny Ansell & Co (Danny Ansell on vocals and guitars, Roger Greasby on drums and Patrick Beard on bass guitar), was produced by Roger at ‘Born in a Barn' studios in Ansty and is a taster for their album due out in March.

 

A typically passionate song & one which makes its mark instantly upon your consciousness & memory, like other skilled & tasteful writers, Danny does a couple of things so well here that in enjoying the song you don't consciously notice them. One is that the lyrics are actually quite complex in terms of the ideas he is trying to get across. Yes the imagery of satellites & the metaphor of love etc being an elevated emotion are both in there, but the point is not laboured: it just drifts into the song every so often like an orbiting body circling the earth regularly. Otherwise the song tackles all sorts of things from romantic love to more general interpersonal relationships & ways of living your life.

 

Similarly, the music is deceptively simple which sharpens its impact. The instrumental licks are introduced with subtlety & enhance rather than distract from the core song. And this in a nutshell is what I find so appealing about Danny. Yes, like the rest of you I respond very favourably to his powerful live performances: his songs always work up a storm & that's why he is deservedly a "go to" choice for promoters, especially of festivals (where he is a great headliner) and a perennial favourite of audiences. On the other hand, listening to the songs at home reveals both the subtleties of performance & of composition: he is experience enough to do this & sensitive enough to be as interested in exploring his interior life & thoughts as well as whipping up a live storm.

You can't cut it live & you can't produce subtlety on record without having high quality collaborators & Danny always finds these. However, although I named the "& Co" earlier, to me the single is as much about who isn't on it as who is. Throughout listening to it, I was constantly thinking of Stephen Madden, so long part of Danny's band quite apart from his own work & who you'd expect to be on this record. This is my first review of Danny since Stephen's passing & the last time I saw either of them live, they were playing together last summer. Hence I'd like to take the opportunity of this review to salute a man who is not playing on it physically but probably is in inspiration & spirit.

Roll on the album....

Social media   

Share


Preview of "Don't Go Playing With A Young Girl's Heart" by Abz Winter

Review

Back when The Clash began, their manager, Bernie Rhodes, instructed them to "write about what you know", advice which took them along the route we now all know too.It's good advice: however well crafted a song may be, if it is simply an exercise in creating a generic piece with no emotional truth, somehow we instinctively sense it. I know I much prefer material I feel has such integrity & try to focus on it in my reviews.I don't know whether Abz Winter has consciously adopted such a course or whether she herself works on instinct, but I do like how she is on such an upwards trajectory with her writing by focusing on what she knows.Certainly I was hugely impressed at how at sixteen she could create something as true as "Incompatible Me" and now at seventeen she is releasing  "Don't Go Playing With A Young Girl's Heart" (on 6th February to be precise)In fact if you read my review of 14th December you'll be aware that her last single was actually the Christmas orientated "It's That Time Of Year", but I feel that it is the earlier "Incompatible Me" that the new song truly follows up, both being in the same personal style & each saying things in Abz's own authentic voice.

 

Frankly I think you will be stunned by the latest single. I felt that "Incompatible Me", which was a really effective dance orientated song (I have to be a bit careful at describing the musical sound: I felt it was a fresh contemporary one & that it was really appropriate for her: however Abz had, she says, crafted it with a ‘retro feel' in mind..... of course is "retro" to a sixteen year old is rather different from my perspective).  "Don't Go Playing With A Young Girl's Heart" sounds absolutely nothing like its predecessor at all. I admit I have high regard for Abz & her creativity & capacity to develop extremely quickly, but even I was blindsided by this beautiful stripped back jazz orientated tune.  Which is wonderful: as a reviewer & music lover I enjoy & appreciate being surprised: the last thing I want is "more of the same".

I suppose in hindsight this is compatible with what audiences experience with Abz: just her marvellous voice & an acoustic guitar (played originally by Ian Bourne & latterly by Will Ball): however I honestly wasn't expecting such a stylistic leap so soon in her career.

I think I had better be a little cautious with too many details at this stage: after all this is a preview & I have had the privilege of hearing the song three weeks before you can I'm afraid: I don't want to spoil the surprises & believe me I think you'll be surprised & delighted.

Lyrically we are back where I began: Abz writes & sings from her heart & consequently the words hit home as emotional true. She has a tremendous voice but what I love about her approach is that although she does things with it on this new track which I haven't previously heard her do (she clearly works as hard on her vocal technique as she does on everything else), there are none of those irritating tricks & pretensions some singers of this type of material use to show off (or cover up technical deficiencies): the singing is as truthful as what is being sung.

Abz had a cracking 2019 with a huge & growing amount of critical & popular acclaim, culminating in radio play, very prestigious gigs etc, and deservedly so. However if this song indicates what 2020 is going to be like, it will surely eclipse last year. And deservedly so again.

Web    Social media   

Share


Old and gold

"When I Went Away" by Ollie Bond

...

I find myself mentioning ‘artists on a roll' increasingly frequently these days: not every artist works to the same pace & lord knows many ...

1 photographs
More


"Learn To Grow" by Izzie Derry

...

It's odd: the more reviews you write, the more patterns emerge.

1 photographs
More


"In A Year" by Izzie Derry

...

December 12th is a date many people have possibly been looking forwards to or dreading for various reasons.

1 photographs
More


APE Night Returns!

...

Some excellent news for lovers of music which dares to be a bit different.

1 photographs
More


"Hot Music Live Presents" Volume Two - Review

...

Album review by Mae Simkin from Music, Drums and MeRead original article hereAlmost a year after the release of Volume One, Coventry & ...

6 photographs
More


A trio by Dill

...

Something which as a reviewer I am keenly aware of is that so many artists are releasing their material in the form of EPs currently.

3 photographs
More


"The Middle" by Joe Dolman

...

I think that we can all by now agree that Joe Dolman is one of the most talented & popular artists from Coventry & Warwickshire & to that ...

1 photographs
More


"Fool (Funk)" by Antonia Kirby

...

Déjà vu: again.

1 photographs
More


Preview of Rheo's upcoming EP

...

We live in exciting times! I have never known such a great time for local creativity and for some reason there has been a large number of gigs & ...

1 photographs
More


Brass Hip Flask live

...

It is always a challenge finding the right words for any review: trying to describe one medium in another is itself tricky & then if you review ...

2 photographs
More


"First Things First" by John Connearn

...

John Connearn will be a name already well known to the aficionados of the local music scene & as the new decade dawns, will become better known ...

1 photographs
More


"Christmas Brought You Here" by The Rising

...

A couple of thoughts occurred to me as I started this review.

1 photographs
More


"You Are Light" by The Silver Wye (Slight Return)

...

I'm sorry but I'm afraid I'm going to have to instil a touch of déjà vu in you.

1 photographs
More


"Layla's Wood" by Speak, Brother

...

I trust that you have, by now heard the last Speak, Brother single "Even Though We Are Strangers"   (reviewed in the magazine on 30th ...

1 photographs
More


"It's Christmas" by Dave Pepper

...

In terms of the tracks on ‘Hot Music Live Presents Volume One', some were great tracks from today & others rare & unreleased gems from ...

1 photographs
More


"Everlasting" by Free Galaxy

...

I do hope that you have checked out "Leave Me" on "Hot Music Live Presents Volume Two" by very fast rising Kenilworth band Free Galaxy? If not, you ...

1 photographs
More


"Fool" by Antonia Kirby

...

Today I have the opportunity to repair another omission in my reviewing history for "Hot Music Live":  to be precise until this moment, I have ...

1 photographs
More


"Just You & Me" by Bethany Dyson

...

My apologies to Bethany Dyson whose latest single "Just You & Me" has been out several weeks: I suppose one defence for my delay in reviewing it ...

1 photographs
More


Joe Dolman's Christmas Special at All Saints Church

...

Joe Dolman & band - Christmas Concert - All Saints Church, Leamington Spa, 6/12/2019Support act: Will NaisbittFriday, 6th Decemmber, a damp, cold ...

12 photographs
More


Tigermask live at The Town House

...

I have to admit from the start that I found writing a review which captures the essence of Tigermask adequately, having seen him play at the Town ...

1 photographs
More


"It's That Time Of Year" by Abz Winter

...

As 2019 winds down, it occurred to me that one of the names which has been cropping up very regularly during the year, namely Abz Winter, would never ...

1 photographs
More


The Mechanicals Band & Ellie Gowers

...

One of the final formal gigs I shall attend in 2019 was also one of the best: the highest possible levels of musicianship but even more importantly ...

2 photographs
More


"Safe With Me" by Ollie Bond

...

Hopefully, I do try to capture the best of Coventry & Warwickshire music (or at least such as I encounter) in my reviews but from time to time ...

1 photographs
More


"Winter Came Around Too Fast" by Sophie Hadlum

...

I hope that by now, many of you will have downloaded, played & enjoyed "Hot Music Live Presents Volume Two" (https://hotmusiclivepresents.

1 photographs
More


"Head Under Water" by Brass Hip Flask x White Rat Cult

...

There have been more "blues revivals" than there are blues standards (possibly.

1 photographs
More


Excited launch for Taylor-Louise's Black Heart EP

...

Leamington Spa based singer/songwriter Taylor-Louise launched her 4th EP Black Heart to an excited audience at St.

4 photographs
More


Taylor-Louise launches 'Black Heart'

...

What a fiesta of an evening on Friday at St Patrick's Club in Leamington.

3 photographs
More


"Fly" by Clemency

...

If several of my more recent reviews have been of songs previously unheard by me & some even caught me by surprise with their release, the new ...

1 photographs
More


TwoManTing

...

Watching TwoManTing last night at the Town House in Leamington, one of my immediate thoughts was "it's been too long" since I last saw them live.

1 photographs
More


The Will Ball Trio at the Town House

...

This review in some ways is able to address an omission among my pieces for "Hot Music Live": although I have alluded to Will Ball in respect of his ...

2 photographs
More