We catch up with Holly Hewitt
HML: Can you tell us about what you're up to on behalf of the Alzheimers Society? Why is this cause important to you and how can people help?
Holly: I do freelance music sessions in some of their day clubs for people who have dementia. Music is a great way to connect to feelings and events from the past. The charity does a great deal of vital work to improve the quality of life for everyone living in a family with this condition. We did an event in Coventry and raised some funds for them as well as putting on a great night and wanted to do the same in Leamington. Every bit of money raised is well spent. https://billetto.co.uk/en/events/honky-tonk-rosehttps://www.alzheimers.org.uk
HML: Tell me a bit about the acts you're working with these days.
Holly: My main job is performing as my alter ego Gloria Sunset in a retro duo with guitarist Dave Page, playing well loved blues, jazz and rock n roll. We get to travel all over the country. From time to time we perform locally at Morgan's Bar, Bedford Street, Wildes, Bar Catalan and Pomeroy's. All are great venues known for putting on quality acts and are supportive of the local music scene. Becoming full time performers has taken time. The right moment only came around recently and we have great support from our families. I'm in my 40's and Dave is in his 50's. It's hard work that we throughly enjoy and have spent years working towards. We appreciate every moment and take nothing for granted. Gloria Sunset
Honky Tonk Rose is a dream of a project and I feel very lucky to be part of it. A 6 piece country covers band that Horace Panter (The Specials) brought together. Every gig has been received with great enthusiasm. We only started performing in February and have played at some great venues, including The Jamhouse and The 100 Club (although they had a powercut and it didn't happen) Our next gig will be 'Red Hot Chilli and Country' in Leamington on 13th May with any money we raise going to The Alzheimer's Society. The Folly Brothers will be our special guests. We promise a fabulous night of bluegrass, country, Americana and of course chilli. Get your tickets while you can! https://www.facebook.com/honkytonkrose/
HML: What's happening with the Larks of Leamington?
Holly: The Larks of Leamington Spa is a singing group I run on Monday nights at The Band Factory. It's always open to absolutely anyone who enjoys singing. It's key purpose is fun, making friends and developing confidence. The group are sounding great! We end each term with some kind of performance and hope to do another one at Foundry Wood, a really special place to perform. https://www.facebook.com/The-Larks-of-Leamington-Spa-333483310180461/
HML: What's your view on the state of local live music in Warwickshire?
It feels like there has never been a better time. There is so much going on, such a high quantity of quality musicianship and a wonderfully supportive network within the community. There are only ever one or two degrees of separation and you find everyone knows, has been in either a relationship or band or both with everyone else. Lots of us are making a career out of it. It's bloody hard work, but possible. Local business, bars and restaurants are realising how great it is to have a such a pool of talent to choose from on their doorstep and there is a better understanding of what the fees should be. Venues are really seeing the benefits of having live music and there are more opportunities to play locally than a few years ago.
HML: What other local acts should people be checking out?
Holly: Where do I begin.. ? The Wap Waps, The Peas, The Pips, Shanade of course The Folly Brothers, Stein's a great front man, The Jack O Bones. The Wednesday Jazz Jam at Bedford Street is a great place to hear some of the best Warwickshire locals. Depends what you're into, this magazine is great for bringing the best info into one place.
HML: Do you have any advice for other local musicians?
Not really advice, everyone finds their own way and has different aims. However, It's become clear to me that music as a career means you approach it like any business. Also, Working with musicians you really like, with similar goals and commitment helps your success hugely.