Monthly Archives: December 2015

Nell Bryden’s triumphant return to Auld Reekie

Nell Bryden – 04/11/2015 – The Caves, Edinburgh – In association with “Fake Frown Acoustic Sessions“.

Nell Bryden - Photo by Joe

Nell Bryden – Photo by Joe

The head-line act of a night of fantastic female performances was from the wonderful Nell Bryden who was accompanied by her three piece male band.  They walked onstage and Nell began by going straight into her first song “Tonight” taken from the album “What does it take“. This wonderful catchy and upbeat song echoed through the vaulted ceilings of the venue and proved to be a great indicator of what was to come from the fantastic foursome. After rapturous applause, a beaming Nell thanked the crowd and spoke of her delight of returning to Scotland to perform. She informed us she was spotted on the street earlier that day by a fan and jokingly told us she felt very famous. “Buildings and treetops” was next up, a beautiful acoustic number from the 2012 album “Shake the tree“.

Nell Bryden - Photo by Joe

Nell Bryden – Photo by Joe

Feels so good to cry” had a slight Joni Mitchell style with powerful and emotional lyrics which for me were a personal favorite, on which Nell played a 1964 Gibson 12 string guitar (very impressive). Each song was unique and different from the previous, taking the audience on a journey through her impressive back catalogue along with some new numbers. “All you had” from the Wayferer album also struck a note beginning as a slow number before halfway through changing direction into a faster upbeat tempo song, its seemed like it shouldn’t work but it did.

Nell Bryden - Photo by Joe

Nell Bryden – Photo by Joe

She invited Judith Owen back on stage to join her for “Holes in my shoes”, a song they composed in Nashville with Kimmie Rhodes, both their vocals singing harmoniously together and the audience showed their appreciation for the music.

Judith Owen & Nell Bryden - Photo by Joe

Judith Owen & Nell Bryden – Photo by Joe

Nell is such a charismatic and dedicated performer, her enjoyment of doing so evident to see by anyone lucky enough to catch her live. She took the audience on a journey through a tunnel of emotions which seemed to pass in the blink of an eye. In what felt like only a minute of being on stage, she announced her final song “Second time around“, another track from 2009’sWhat does it take”.

Nell Bryden - Photo by Joe

Nell Bryden – Photo by Joe

Nell Bryden is a strong and powerful singer songwriter, unafraid to try new things and who certainly doesn’t focus on the past. She has successfully managed to make a name for herself in an industry which can often be superficial and often hung up on fitting into what is deemed the “norm“. Nell Bryden is certainly not someone that I would place in this category and I have an unending admiration for her as a result. She knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to put in the hard work to achieve it, as clearly seen by the self financing of her first album or doing tours for the troops abroad.

Nell Bryden - Photo by Joe

Nell Bryden – Photo by Joe

Big things are happening for Nell in 2016. She will be performing a radio show every Monday night during January on BBC Radio 2 entitled “Nell’s Angels“. Each week she will be examining the great female artists of various musical genres which has influenced music and song writing. She already has a UK tour lined up in the coming year. Between juggling motherhood, being a wife and building upon an already successful career, things are shaping up well for this star who seems to have an endless supply of energy. I shall be tuning in to Radio 2 every Monday in January to be taken once again on a musical journey with this  impressive singer and songwriter.

For information about Nell Bryden, upcoming tour dates, music releases, store & social media links, visit her website.

Stephen.

Judith Owen – The Caves, Edinburgh

In Association with Fake Frown Acoustic Sessions live at The Caves, Edinburgh 4/11/2015

Judith Owen - Photo by Joe

Judith Owen – Photo by Joe

Judith Owen took her place on stage behind her keyboard and was joined by Leland Sklar on bass. Both of these enormously talented musicians have a vast experience in the musical industry and this was clearly demonstrated to an awestruck audience as they made their way through a song list of both original and cover versions of some well known songs. Judith has a wonderful wit and rapport with her audience which began with the introduction of her first song ‘Train out of Hollywood‘ which she declared with a cheeky grin was about the nasty people who live there, herself included. Next was ‘I would give anything’ from her 2014 album Ebb and Flow, an emotional number about missing those who are gone and a yearning for more time with them..

Judith Owen & Leyland Sklar - Photo by Joe

Judith Owen & Leyland Skylar – Photo by Joe

Each song went down with rapturous applause, Leland remaining a man of few words except for the occasional one liner in response to Judith. She informed us that the Scottish have ‘great heart’ and that she hailed from Wales who were ‘similar to the Irish except without the fun’. Her humour and playful nature shone between each song whilst her vocals echoed against the thick walls of The Caves. Her version of  ‘In the Summertime‘ was made with her own unique style and she cleverly made it her own. The two musicians played beautifully together and I have to admit that we at BeardedRadio had beard envy at Leland’s majestic white facial hair( that does not happen very often).

Judith Owen - Photo by Joe

Judith Owen – Photo by Joe

Judith and Leland provided an excellent show full of wonderful songs, charm and a warmth that was well received evident when announcing her final song, she received a loud ahhhhhhhhhhh twinged in sadness. ‘Blackbird‘ finished her set on a high and I must say i thoroughly enjoyed the Welsh star. She currently has on release  the EP Christmas Without Tears” in collaboration with her husband Harry Shearer. All proceeds from this EP go towards the very worthy Elton John AIDS Foundation  This innovative and creative group of songs may not fit into the Christmas “song norm”, yet prove once again that Judith is one of those rare, hidden and under rated artists.

For information about Judith Owen, upcoming tour dates, music releases and store or social media links, visit her website. 

Stephen.

The Lewis Hamilton Band – The Caves – Edinburgh

The Lewis Hamilton Band6th December 2015The Caves, Edinburgh.

The Lewis Hamilton Band - Photo by Cat

The Lewis Hamilton Band – Photo by Cat

Few people enjoy every day at the office; less are able to say they love their job and fewer do it well – The Lewis Hamilton Band talk the talk and walk the walk. Touring Europe as working musicians, with their sights firmly set on the States – award-winning singer songwriter Lewis, drummer Ben and bassist Nick supported Aynsley Lister and his band at The Caves in Edinburgh this month bringing their rocking brand of Blues back to the Capital.
Arriving to the venue, Lewis was already onstage commanding attention seconds into a hair-raising rendition of “All Along The Watchtower“.
For a man with four studio albums under his belt an appropriation of such a timeless classic is entirely unnecessary but shows both his love for musical heritage and a refereshing self effacing attitude.

The Lewis Hamilton Band - Photo by Cat

The Lewis Hamilton Band – Photo by Cat

With nothing to prove, his deft mastery of the Dylan number alayed any doubts of his incredible pool of talent as a player and a grave singer.
Dynamic range is quite often forgotten by performers amid the adrenaline of a stage show – not so with Lewis and company who (several times) took the room from an absolute thunder to a pin-drop silence, stepping off the gas and stepping back from the mikes utilising the inherent reverb in the arched exposed stone. Fully engaging everyone in the room simultaneously by laying down a crescendo of tsunami size proportions before wrong footing the crowd with a four to the floor kick which bolstered several rapid medleys and unassailable “stand-up-and-take-notice” solos, reminiscent of Rory Gallagher and his band.

The Lewis Hamilton Band - Photo by Cat

The Lewis Hamilton Band – Photo by Cat

To say this band are tight is a gross understatement. Walking basslines, rockhard grooves and funky licks from the adept rhythm section provided the crowd with something tangible to hold onto as Lewis vocally rode his thourghbred riffs away, punctuating each line with verve, running the fretboard with his eyes tightly closed. “Down to the river” and other self-penned titles go down to applause and with each passing song cementing the bands capabilities and affirming their peer status to the elite rhythm and blues realm. I surely was not the only one in the room who became one of their newest fans.

The Lewis Hamilton Band - Photo by Cat

The Lewis Hamilton Band – Photo by Cat

Cat and I caught up with Lewis during the intermission. We talk of homes, holidays and life on the road, hair-care routines, work and the legendary delta bluesmen. When asked why he sings the blues his reply was “I guess it is because it feels so natural… It seems like the right thing to do.”
Lewis tells me he grew up listening to Led Zeppelin, with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant influencing him in his formative years; bands like The Red Hot Chili Peppers holding his interest as a teenager – we briefly discuss the Chili’s “One Hot Minute” album then unfortunately it’s time and to pack up and go as the band have at least a hundred miles to drive that evening. I congratulate him on a fantastic show and complement him on his great range and ask if he has any forthcoming material we should look out for, I’m told we should expect the five track “Cellar Door EP” anytime soon which will be available from all major download sites on Lewis Hamilton Music – a move away from their regular Clapton-esqe driven electric sound to a fully acoustic offering from this humble and versatile outfit.

The Lewis Hamilton Band - Photo by Cat

The Lewis Hamilton Band – Photo by Cat

For upcoming gig dates visit: The Lewis Hamilton Band at Facebook, to listen to and buy the music visit the website.

Andy.

Amanda St John – ‘You Blew It’.

Amanda St John

Amanda St John

Earlier this year one of the shiniest jewels in the crown of the Northern Irish music scene, Amanda St John accompanied by Dean Stevens on guitar blew us away with a selection of stripped back acoustic performances of her songs at the 11th Annual Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival. Since then along with maintaining her live performance profile,  Amanda St John has been putting an album together entitled “Grow”, unsurprisingly this has been met with huge interest resulting in a very successful Pledge Music campaign and due for release in February 2016.

Click image to purchase 'You Blew It' by Amanda St John

Click image to stream ‘You Blew It’ by Amanda St John on Spotify

The first single, “You Blew It” released 4th December 2015 is a catchy ‘post-breakup’ tale co-written in Nashville with the legendary Joe Tiven. Singing of moving on and knowing when ‘enough is enough’. Amanda has an instantly recognisable soulful voice, combined with the ‘big band’ arrangement on this track make astounding results, together actually recreating a live music sound at home (especially if you turn the volume up good and loud), just ask my neighbours.

Roll on February, this has made me even more excited for the release of “Grow”. In the meantime “You Blew It” by Amanda St John is available now on Spotify, iTunes and Amazon.

Joe.