Katie Kittermaster releases her second single of the year on Friday, 22 January. ‘Lukewarm Lover’ is a song that, while staying true to the usual honesty of the artists lyrical style, takes a more mainstream pop approach. The contrast between lyrical content and melody offer the perfect imagery of putting on a brave face whilst under a breezy exterior there is often deep emotion and conflict.
Greg Price is a man on a mission. Also known as Layabout, the vocalist and bass guitarist from South London is making music for a new generation. With co songwriter Pharaoh Black and vocalist Robyn a new genre is being created in a place steeped in the history of some of the most famous Pirates. Punk Reggae is a genre that takes the legacy of Jamaica’s rich history of trade and anarchy and unleashes it in musical form. Not trying to be anything old but with respect of the past, not trying to be something other than a new music for an ever changing world but forged in the culture of Jamaica but with a hint of South London swagger. I was lucky enough to chat to bassist and co creator of Layabout Black about this new adventure and found him to be knowledgeable, hopeful and creative. A polite savage making music to transport you to a different place. Enjoy.
Katie Kittermaster, like so many young artists, had an amazing year planned last year. Signing with Revanche records in June 2020 she was booked to support The Crash Test Dummies in Germany and Holland in May, booked to play 17 UK festivals in the summer of 2020 along with opening for Kaiser Chiefs, Soul ll Soul, Scouting For Girls, Gabrielle and Rick Astley. But then came Covid 19 and, like countless artists the world over, everything was put on hold. Rather than bemoan the veritable loss of what could have been a breakthrough year she got to work on writing virtually, recording and looking to broaden her musical horizons.
The Mavericks, the Miami band famous for being able to cross so many boundaries between Americana, Country and Rock’n’Roll have this year added a new string to their multiple CMA and Grammy award winning bow. They have released a record entirely in Spanish. ‘En Español’ is quite simply The Mavericks in Spanish and is such a tour de force that it landed at #22 in the UK indie chart, #6 in the UK Americana chart as well as topping Billboard’s Latin Pop Album Chart. This incredible album is produced by the irrepressible lead singer Raul Malo with long time collaborator Niko Bolas, who has produced such greats as Neil Young, Prince and Sheryl Crow.
SKYE is probably best known as the lead singer of the iconic Morcheeba but recently she has embarked upon a new initiative. She has joined forces with a collection of incredible female vocalists on an album to accompany, or rather complement, the stories from the books ‘Goodnight Stories For Rebel Girls’. The books are a wonderful collection which highlight remarkable women and their extraordinary lives. Empowering, moving and inspirational stories are made all the more powerful by the addition of the incredible illustrations by sixty female artists from around the world.
Jack Conman is a 20 year old Manchester based singer-songwriter who has slowly been gathering plaudits from Huw Stevens on BBC Radio 1 as well as appearing at their Big Weekend music festival. He has well over a million streams on Spotify for his previous single Oxytocin and gathered a loyal following after appearing on the inspirational YouTube channel COLORS.
Chris Stapleton is a five time Grammy winner, ten time CMA award and seven time ACM award winner. So to say that a new album from him is a Country music event is an understatement. In fact, such is the respect that this Kentucky born artist is held in across the board, this is quite simply a music event.
I’m a self confessed lover of soundtrack music. The first vinyl I ever bought was the soundtrack from ‘A Fistful of Dollars’ and ‘For A Few Dollars More’ by Ennio Morricone. That led to ‘Great Western Film Themes Collection’, and ‘ The Good, The Bad & The Ugly’, and I was hooked. These days I have over 150 soundtracks on vinyl and a majority of these are Morricone. So, when I got the chance to chat with Sacha Puttnam: classical musician, soundtrack composer and rock keyboard playing son of legendary movie producer Lord David Puttnam, it’s hard to underestimate my excitement. Add to that the fact that he is just about to release a stunning collection of reimagined soundtrack music from some of his father’s greatest films, which unsurprisingly number among some of the greatest films ever, and you may still underestimate.
This Friday, the super talented Liv Austen will release a song that I think is very important to her in so many ways because it is born of this love. ‘Why Don’t You’ is a song that tells us we should be as generous to ourselves as we are with the outside world. It is a song that on first hearing sounds like advice but on repeated listening evolves into a mission statement from the singer to herself.
Without any doubt, Lucy Spraggan is one of our brighter stars. Anyone that can release 5 albums in the past 9 years with an exciting sixth on the way early next year, play world famous Glastonbury twice, with this year’s third appearance sadly postponed, has certainly stood the most important first test for any artist, the test of time. That she should be more excited now about the future than feasibly at any time before, looking forward to a record she thinks might just be her best proves she has so much to give.
What happens when two genre defying forces of nature come together for a common cause? The answer is that, on 27th October, an incredible collaboration of talent will come to fruition when we see the release of ‘Stand By Me’ on Under The Apple Tree Records. It will be released in aid of something this pandemic can only have made more important. It will raise funds for ‘Help Musicians’, a 99 year old charity, that continues to provide vital support to thousands of music creators during this unprecedented time.
The time is near. Are you Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly? Are you Wyatt Earp or Ike Clanton? Life is full of choices and no more than nowadays. Even since the launch of Pete Gardiner’s excellent new single it seems the whole of the country have been deciding whether you-know-who should have driven 260 miles. So, the time is now…
Dave Wakeling is probably best known as lead singer of The Beat. After a debut hit on 2 Tone Records with a cover of Smokey Robinson’s ‘Tears of a Clown’, he and his band went on to gain almost legendary status within the two tone and ska music genre and continued to have hits until they split in 1983.
This Sunday will see the release of a very personal tribute from Pete Gardiner to his mother. ‘A Mother Like You’ is a song that was written especially for his own Mum but its a song that will resonate with men everywhere as they struggle, like many men, to put into words what their mother means to them.