The Shires are probably our most successful Country artists and just before lockdown last March, they released album number four ‘Good Years’ but had to put their tour on hold. The tour has been put back to 2022 but they are going to treat their fans, and hopefully some new fans, to an exclusive live gig to be streamed on Saturday, April 10th via Stabal. You can find out more here.
If you’ve been living under a rock then you’ll probably not have noticed that Jedward have been in the news a lot. If it’s not for their music, and their incredible banger of an album, ‘Voice Of A Rebel’, with their 22 self-written and produced songs, it’s for their astute political commentary on social media, and, more recently, the shaving of their trademark quiff hairstyles, in order to raise money for the Irish Cancer Society.
Julia Zahra was born in Indianapolis USA but raised in The Netherlands. At 25, she has achieved many things as she has won ‘The Voice of Holland’ at just 18, the youngest singer to ever audition for and win the show, and then in 2015 winning a show called ‘The Best Singers of Holland’.
Now, it’s time to find her own direction and try to find recognition outside of Holland. She has, since those shows, released critically acclaimed music of her own and toured extensively in Oceania where she’s garnered quite a following. Julia was speaking with Steve Holley.
Imelda May is surely one of our best songwriters. Having been born and raised in Dublin, she began her career at 16 performing locally. Now, on the eve of releasing her sixth studio album ‘11 Past the Hour’, she is known worldwide and critically acclaimed. She has worked with some of the world’s greatest producers and artists and when releasing the debut single from this new album was able to call upon friends Noel Gallagher and Ronnie Wood to collaborate. She really is that rare thing of being an artist’s artist.
Cha:dy is a Parisian alt-jazz singer who, last week, released new single ‘Lazy’. Taken from a forthcoming EP, it shines a light on young people suffering with mental health. Having suffered herself, Cha:dy was able to tap into her innermost emotions to write a song that is as honest as it is moving. Steve Holley had the chance to speak with Cha:dy.
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.
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.
Katie Kittermaster is a singer songwriter from Kent who has recently been making real waves. This year would have been a very busy one with live dates a plenty in her own right and as a supporting act for some substantiated names in the industry. She toured with a recent interviewee of mine, Lucy Spraggan, and is about to release her new single, a cover of the classic ‘Every Breath You Take’. I was lucky enough to be able to ask her a few questions about what she’s been up to, the single and the sumptuous backdrop of the video to accompany it. Katie’s version of the song comes from a different place to the original and works beautifully.
Wild Youth are, in their own words, “one of the hottest Irish bands to emerge in recent times” and they’ve certainly established themselves as a name in their homeland, and are making great strides across the globe, with a view to world domination. Their most recent single, ‘Through The Phone’, was released earlier this month, and comes with a pastel-coloured music video, where they get creative with paint on an 80s era rotary phone.
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.
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.