"Always Be Coventry" by AvidfanReview
If you do not yet know the name of Simon Ward as well as you might do, then you could do worse than check out the credits on the various ‘Hot Music Live Presents' volumes as no-one else has appeared in the series as often as he has: with his current band King of the Alps plus former groups, Some Kinda Earthquake, Big Decision & Eight Miles High. You may also have seen him play with other bands not on those albums, perhaps most notably ska band Special Brew. In addition to his record role as a performer in the series to date, I find it hard to think of too many people as enthusiastic for supporting the project nor for supporting fellow musicians at gigs: you are as likely to find him in a local audience as you are on stage: so here's a chance to express my gratitude at least.
It's also a chance to recognise a landmark for him, as he has created his first solo single "Always Be Coventry", released today under the name of what he tells me has been his musical persona for many years without hitherto having had the occasion to use it for a release: Avidfan.
Not only did Simon create everything you hear, but he's also produced its accompanying video which you can see at:
An unashamed paean in words, music and images to his native city, Simon's motivation is very pure: to celebrate what he appreciates about Coventry and to inspire others to adopt his template in order to do the same from their own perspectives: in fact he is planning to work with his local school to produce their own to get the ball rolling: what an excellent example of true, passionate & grassroots culture and one I applaud.
It seems almost inappropriate to try to dissect the musicality of the single given what I've just said, but "Always Be Coventry" stands up as a piece of music. Simon is a bass player and there are few players of that instrument who issue solo singles which centre on their weapon of choice: most I can think of either swap for six strings themselves or bring in plenty of other players. The only other example which springs readily to mind is Horace Panter's solo "Goa Blues"/"Depleted Uranium Dub". However Simon plays to his strength and while you are watching his city travelogue and hearing him recite his "alphabetical ode", it's to a classy & groovy bass (and drum) tune: and it works really nicely. Simon is a tasteful player whose playing of ska, rockabilly, psychedelia and underpinning Paul Ingram's genre ignoring King of the Alps songs etc bear testament to his range: here he has free rein to indulge himself in something on the jazzier side of the dubwise, yet true to form it's not self indulgent: it serves the piece rather than showing off. Frankly Coventry is fortunate to have someone who loves it sufficiently to craft such a touching and tasteful tribute.