Review of the album launch party on 21st August

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Our friends at Liverpool Acoustic have published a lovely piece reviewing the 21st August launch party.  Please click the link to read it.

http://liverpoolacoustic.co.uk/2013/08/live-review-ks-choice-album-launch-american-bar-and-grill-21813/

Here are just a few photos from a truly memorable and sparkling night!

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Chris Callander

Chris Callander

Caroline England

Caroline England

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The host introduces Dogstar Rose

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Dogstar Rose and Simon McKelvie

Dogstar Rose accompanied by Simon McKelvie on percussion

Gary Gardner

Gary Gardner

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Robert Vincent accompanied by Steph Kearley on cello

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Jo Bywater – a musical force!

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When I asked Jo Bywater on Facebook if she was ok to come into the studio today, she answered in Yoda-ese “ready am I,” which I assume was nothing more than a typo, but it spawned a series of Yoda puns on her wall, culminating in, “the force must you use, young Bywater!” (which is quite witty for me actually). But if there is such a thing as “the force” and it can be used by musicians, then singer-songwriter and music teacher Jo Bywater has it in spades. She lives and breathes her music, it’s not a hobby for her, it’s her life. I’ve watched her solo performances and have found myself wondering more than once, how on earth does she get the guitar to do that?

Yorkshire lass Jo has been in Liverpool about 12 years now. She came here originally to complete her degree in music at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, and, like many graduates, fell in love with Liverpool, and stayed. “I was gigging in Liverpool as a student and just loved the music scene here,” she says, “and it’s getting better all the time. One of the strengths is that there is so much variety and there is room for every musical genre and taste.”

The story of her finding music as a child is similar to stories that many rock musicians tell – some classical training at school, discovering an affinity with music, and finding their own musical direction in late teenage years. “I dabbled in violin and recorder at school,” she remembers, “but didn’t really enjoy them, and then I took up classical guitar at the age of 15. I found classical guitar a bit regimented and rigid I suppose, so I took up electric guitar and started learning Nirvana songs. Then I was off!” she smiles at the memory, “I was lead guitarist in a metal band when I was 18, we performed in the 6th Form common room first, and then spent a good couple of years gigging around.” She has now moved on from metal bands and has been performing as a solo artist for about 8 years. She also released her own solo album “Cycle Grace Pulse Break” in 2010, which continues to sell respectably well.

These days Jo is a music teacher with a studio at her home in Toxteth where she gives private lessons, and in her spare time she writes, records and performs. “Music is everything I do,” she tells us, “I love teaching, I teach such a range of ages from primary school children right up to people in their 60s taking up music in retirement.”

She feels that teaching music has helped her solo musical style to develop and mellow, and she contends that her knowledge of musical theory and classical training has helped to open her mind to all kinds of genres and styles of music. As a former lead guitarist she still has a love of bluesy guitar styles like Jimi Hendrix and numerous others, though she appreciates a wide range of songwriters, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder and Neil Young among her favourites. But she doesn’t write anything off and tries to enjoy everything that’s out there, though with her teacher’s ear she can’t help but find fault with some of the commercially produced dross which is constantly beamed at us. But Jo doesn’t just say, “oh that’s crap!” like a lot of people do, she can provide thoughtful and structured critiques about why it’s crap – this girl knows absolutely what she is talking about!

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We asked Jo a few more questions. To be truthful you could write a much longer piece about her and her views and opinions, but here are the edited highlights.

Q. What have you done today?

A. I’ve started filming a documentary advertisement at home in my flat for my new EP, which comes out soon. I’m doing a launch at the View Two Gallery in Mathew Street on 27th September with Liverpool Acoustic, which is all really exciting stuff.

Q. Which are your favourite Liverpool music venues?

A. I like playing all venues, from someone’s living room to festivals, but I think the Lomax and Mello Mello are very special. They are small enough to be intimate places and they have plenty of character and tend to attract crowds. But I also love the View Two Gallery, there is something very unique about performing upstairs at an art gallery!

Q. Tell us about your song “Wave” on the album, what’s it about? Where did the inspiration come from?

A. I wrote most of that song in about half hour, which is unusual for me actually, they usually take much longer. I was with a good friend on New Year’s Eve and it’s been a tradition for the last few years that we name the new year after something. That particular year we named the “year of fulfilment”, and the first line in “Wave” is “A wave of fulfilment.” It’s a song about cycles, how things come around and go around.

Q. How does your song writing process normally work? Typically how long does it take you to write a song?

A. They don’t usually happen as quickly as “Wave” did. Songs need to be cooked for a while in my opinion, although you can come up with a good idea very quickly, you need to let it simmer for while, sit on it, tweak it, play around with it. I can’t force a song, I’m too fussy and I have to be patient and let it grow before I can consider it as finished.

Q. Do you ever work with other musicians when recording or performing? Are there any musicians you’d like to work with?

A. I’ve played with bands and with other musicians all my life. I’ve got some friends giving guest performances on my EP and they will be playing with me at the launch. I think as a songwriter when you work with other musicians you have to be quite strong to keep the song true to what you intended, but you also want to give the other musicians enough latitude so that you can make good use of their creative talents. It’s always a balancing act.

Q. Musically, what is your proudest moment ever?

A. Getting my album together a couple of years ago. It felt like such an achievement and it’s still something of which I am really proud.

Q. How do you feel about performing a song? Do you ever feel nervous about revealing yourself to the world?

A. Yes, every single time! The first few times I play them I can feel really self conscious, but eventually the song gets its own life and I can concentrate more on the performance than on the context of the song.

Jo’s song “Wave” features on the K’s Choice City of Music 2013 compilation album as track 9 on disc 2 and it is also on her 2010 solo album “Cycle Grace Pulse Break”.

Find out more about Jo Bywater and links to her other work at http://www.jobywater.com/

Get a copy of the K’s Choice City of Music 2013 compilation album here.

A chat with Chris Callander – a deep thinker who howls at the moon!

First impressions of Chris Callander are of a thoughtful, fairly reserved, courteous and very pleasant person; he doesn’t seem to be the type who would go in for exaggeration or hyperbole.  Yet when you experience his musical performances, he exudes a strange power over his audience: he has a stage presence that gets people on his side instantly, draws them in and gets them to work with him. Performers almost always have to work hard to get the audience on side, but Chris seems to do it effortlessly. I’ve watched him perform his end of set anthem “Howl at the Moon” on several occasions, and every time, without fail, he actually persuades otherwise rational and right minded people in the audience to howl at the moon along with him!

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On the day we talked, Chris had spent a very busy, though enjoyable day at work, with just a 10 minute lunch break. In his day job he is a senior training practitioner in a company that uses actors in the training courses it delivers, so this involves him writing scripts, researching, delivering the training courses and doing some acting himself too.  Because it is a small firm he finds himself carrying out several roles himself, though he finds it very rewarding, not least because he gets to travel around the country quite a lot.

Chris is one of those rare people who thinks before he starts to talk, and he spent a lot of time in between my questions contemplating his replies.  When chatting quite casually about what it is that makes human beings love music, he presented some quite astounding and profound pieces of wisdom. “People want to be moved by music,” he tells me, “We invest three minutes of our lives listening to a piece of music, and if it’s a good piece of music it can change our mood or even change our life. Human beings are hard wired to appreciate music, it’s why we sing to babies in the crib. I’ve recently been doing some work with a nursing home for people suffering with dementia; when the staff find it difficult to get residents to co-operate with something like, say for example, going to the bathroom, they sing to them – and it works!  It’s remarkable how much power music has.”

When he travels he is enthusiastic about experiencing what the other great cities in Britain have to offer, and he particularly enjoys visiting London. “But I always love to come home, because Liverpool is such a special place,” he smiles, “did you know that you can buy miniature purple wheelie bins now as a souvenir of Liverpool? I think they’re somehow supposed to go with the lamb bananas!”

Originally from the Wirral, Chris has been a proud resident of Toxteth for some 12 years. “If you picked up the street where I live and moved it to London, you’d pay millions to live there. The Princes Road area is beautiful; it’s leafy, and it has so much character, big high ceilings and sash windows – I’ve even got a sky-lawn on my balcony! Plus it’s close enough to the city centre so I can walk to gigs. It suits me perfectly. Holly Johnson wrote ‘Relax’ while walking down my street so I’m in good musical company.”

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Q. Tell us something random about yourself….

A. Hmmm, well I once lived in a car for 4 months! I was with a friend, we were both 18 and were travelling around in the United States, we had no money so we just travelled round and lived in the car. Eventually we met some people who gave us a job selling vacuum cleaners door to door so we were able to afford some digs.

Q. How long have you been performing as a musician? What are your earliest memories?

A. I remember playing “Little Donkey” on chime bars when I was in primary school. I was very partial to the chime bars! We weren’t a musical family really, we had a knackered old piano in the back room, we were always going to get it tuned and I was going to get lessons, but we never did either. I got this guitar when I was 15 or 16, it was a homemade electric guitar, someone’s DIY project that they never finished. It was an awful thing to play! But I plugged away at it until I could afford something decent, spent about £100 on a guitar and then I was away.

I kept up guitar until I was about 28 or so and then kind of stopped for no reason at ll really. It started to forget about me and I forgot about it. Then I got back into it 4 or 5 years ago and ended up taking it much more seriously than I’d ever done before. I’ve been self-teaching myself classical guitar, an hour each day before I go to work, and have worked my way through the grade books, though I don’t do the exams.

Q. What do you think about Liverpool’s music scene? Which venues have you played at? Which are your favourites?

A. All the bars & venues have a different feel to them, the Monday Club, the Lomax, Heebies on a Saturday afternoon. The acoustic scene here is amazing; the emphasis on original music is something special that gives it all so much vitality and life. There are so many young performers playing at such a high standard, it’s one of the things that motivated me to try and improve my technique.

Q. Tell us about your song on the album, what’s it about? Where did the inspiration come from?

A. “Howl at the moon” was inspired by Tom Waits really, like a lot of my music is. Creatively I took quite a lot of risks, but I think I came up with something quite original and I’m pleased with it.

Q. How does your song writing process normally work? Typically how long does it take you to write a song?

A. I usually have one on the go at any one time, usually I start with a bit of guitar, usually a couple of lines of lyric come pretty quickly and then I find more music. Then the rest of the lyrics take ages because I have to decide on the direction the song has to take. I’m patient with it.

Q. Do you ever work with other musicians when recording or performing?

A. I’ve got a couple of friends who help me to flesh out some of my recordings; they put some drums and bass in the songs. I tend to gig on my own though, because I can organise that, I can pick up my guitar and get out and perform without having to plan or consider anyone else.

Q. What are your music influences? Do you have a favourite decade? Or genre? Do you have a role model?

A. Tom Waits is right at the top for me. He is the whole package; his songwriting is sublime, he tells wonderful stories full of rich characters, his use of lyrics and melody are amazing, and so are the sounds he generates from the various instruments. He gets me emotionally too. People want to be moved by music and Tom Waits does that for me.

Q. What for you makes you listen to a song? Lyrics or melody?

A. Usually I suppose the melody and music draw you into the lyric. Hopefully, if it does its job properly the lyric should then be something worth getting into.  Though sometimes it’s the opening lyric that grabs you, a powerful opening gambit can make you to listen to the rest of the song.

Q. Are there any songs that make you emotional? Laugh or cry?

A. It has to be Glasvegas’ first album, I’m an emotional wreck all the way through!

Q. What is your proudest moment ever?

A. Musically, what makes me proud and happy is when I play a ballad and the room goes quiet and everyone listens, or when I get the whole room howling to “Howl at the Moon”!

When the City of Music collection was compiled we thought “Howl at the Moon” should be the end of set anthem, so it appears as track 13 on disc 2, to get all you listeners howling!  Howl here https://soundcloud.com/chris-callander-1/howl-at-the-moon-mixed

To find out more about Chris Callander and his other work click here https://www.facebook.com/ChrisCallanderAcoustic

To get your copy of the K’s Choice City of Music 2013 Compilation click here https://kschoiceacoustic.wordpress.com/the-city-of-music-2013-compilation-album/

Dogstar Rose – a lesson in astronomy, lorry driving and getting into the cupboard!

1Get ready for understatement of the year folks, if not understatement of the decade…..

Ready….?

Here it is then:  Dogstar Rose is quite a character!

Alicia “Dogstar” Rose is one of those people not content to just live life, she takes life by the scruff of the neck, she has it large and loud, she embraces new experiences, loves learning new things, seems up for almost any challenge, and she seems never to sit still or take a back seat.  Her persona is almost larger than life – and no, she’s not just acting up because she wants to seem like an interesting musician in this interview – in no time at all you realise that this is the real Alicia talking!

And you can’t help but be carried along by her gusto for life and boundless sense of fun.  And she makes good sense about quite a lot of things too.

So, first the basics, where does the handle Dogstar Rose come from?  Dogstar seems, after all, a peculiar kind of moniker.  “Well,” she explains, “the star, Sirius in the constellation Canis Major is the brightest star in the night sky, and its nickname is the ‘dog star’.  A good friend said to me a few years ago that I was such a bright and wonderful thing in his life,” she laughs uproariously at the suggestion, “that I should call myself the Dogstar too.  And it kind of stuck.  I keep my surname Rose as that softens the stage name a bit.”  There is also the association with the Dogstar music venue in Brixton, South London, and she quite likes the connection with her London roots.

Dogstar speaks with a broad London accent, having grown up in North London.  “My first job was as a waitress for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club,” she smiles, “It was a great job for a young girl, I met lots of celebrities and got to travel around quite a lot too.  That was back when Alan Sugar was chairman at Spurs, and contrary to what some people say about him, he’s actually a very nice bloke.”

Dogstar’s twenties were spent doing various jobs, though she became skilled as a photographer, and spent many a photo shoot rubbing shoulders with celebrities from the worlds of sport, music, television and cinema.

In her early 30s Dogstar came to Liverpool to, in her words, “Start a new life”.  When I ask why, she counters with, “Well why not?!  I just fancied a change and Liverpool seemed like a great place to come and start again!”  Since coming to Liverpool Dogstar has firmly rooted herself into the music and media scene of the city, you see her name turning up in all kinds of places in all kinds of roles.

“I’ve always enjoyed singing,” she says, “I think my earliest memory of singing in public was when I was about 14 in the Hop Poles pub in Enfield.”  She smiles at the memory.  “I only took up guitar about 7 years ago though.  When I was first in Liverpool a friend took me to the Jacaranda pub in Slater Street, and we went downstairs and there was all this live acoustic music going on there, and the whole vibe was just wonderful.  I swore to myself at that moment that I would be playing at the Jacaranda myself within a year – and I was!”  And, as the saying goes, she has never looked back since.

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What else is there to know about Dogstar Rose – read on….!

Q. What have you done today?

A. Today I’ve walked my dogs and have spent some time organising my event at Stanley park tomorrow, it’s part of the Liverpool International Music Festival, I’m running an event at the Stanley Park bandstand under the umbrella of the Futurejack Academy of Music Enterprise (F.A.M.E).

Q. Tell us something random about yourself….

A. I’m a qualified lorry driver – I’ve got an HGV licence.  Also I take videos of people in the cupboard in “Winifred Kitchen” and put them up on YouTube!  I’m sure we could get you in the cupboard you know…..

Q. What do you think about Liverpool?  Do you like the city?

A. I love the place, and I feel blessed that I found it.  I sometimes despair of the ignorance of some people who’ve never been here and trot out the same old stereotypical rubbish about the city. It’s a fantastic city with its own unmistakeable identity, and it has real heart and soul.

Q. What do you think about Liverpool’s music scene?

Musically I think you have to acknowledge that Liverpool really is the birthplace of popular music, but I feel there is so much talent in and around the city that it’s become saturated, which is unfortunate in some ways.  There are so many wonderful performers playing in Liverpool and they can’t shine through because there is just too much good stuff.  I think sometimes you need to take your music out of the city to see if it works somewhere else.  You need something really different to stand out.

Q. Tell us about your song, “Strange Enough” which features on the album, what’s it about?  Where did the inspiration come from?

A. It was 6.00 am and I was sitting on my sofa at home, just after the ending of a relationship the night before.  The song just all came out at once, it was all there almost on the first play through.  It was an odd experience; I actually felt it coming into my right frontal lobe!

Q. Do your songs always come that quickly or do you normally follow some other writing process?

A. Some of them take a while, but quite often they just “happen” really quickly.  I think it’s because I didn’t start writing songs until I was in my 30s, and there seem to be loads of them inside me that have been there for years trying to get out!

Q. Do you ever work with other musicians when recording or performing?  Are there any musicians you’d like to work with?

A. I play regularly in the band Futurejack of course, but the answer to this is that I am active musically every single day with all kinds of people.  I’m part of a circle of musician friends and we all collaborate on different projects from time to time, people come and go, it’s all a bit fluid really.  There is nobody I would ever say that I won’t work with – the only proviso is that massive egos absolutely don’t fit.

Q. What are your music influences?

A. My musical tastes span decades and are so varied – as a girl I used to like Barbra Streisand and Randy Crawford, who are both amazing artists.  Later I got into P J Harvey, Bjork, and I love Sonja Kristina from the band Curved Air, also Jefferson Airplane, Patti Smith and Jarvis Cocker.  It’s difficult to pick a favourite, but I’m a real Sonja Kristina fan.

Q. How do you feel about performing or releasing a song?  Do you ever feel shy about revealing yourself to the world?

A. No, I don’t worry at all, that’s what song-writing is all about.  The soul of art only exists if it is out there for others to experience.

Q. Are there any songs that make you emotional?  Laugh or cry?

A. I already mentioned Curved Air didn’t I? “It Happened Today” and “Easy” by Curved Air do it for me every time.

Q. What is your proudest moment ever?

A. I don’t do pride!  I’ll tell you about an exciting experience though.  I was involved in a photo shoot for “Party in the Park” for the Prince’s trust in 2001 and got to photograph and meet all kinds of famous people and celebrities, and I threw a pair of knickers at Tom Jones.  When he was performing I’d found a little pair of knickers with a label on them that said “throw me” so that’s exactly what I did.  I got in trouble with the security people for that, they wanted to chuck me out!

Q. Would you like to be signed and compromise your musical principles a bit, or would you rather be an untainted amateur?

A. Simple answer – I’d like to be signed and keep my principles.  It is possible!  If you know your mind and understand your art you can stay true to yourself and make a living from it.

Dogstar Rose’s haunting ballad “Strange Enough” features as track 7 on disc 1 on the K’s Choice City of Music 2013 compilation album https://soundcloud.com/iamdogstar/strange-enough

To learn more about Dogstar Rose and find links to her other work please click here https://www.facebook.com/DogstarRoseMusic

Get hold of a copy of the album here https://kschoiceacoustic.wordpress.com/the-city-of-music-2013-compilation-album/

A conversation with the mild mannered and unassuming Gary Gardner

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Gary Gardner is such a nice guy – he is instantly friendly and personable, and there is just a hint of a quite endearing shyness about him.  He had a lot to tell me, he is a really interesting man, all his stories delivered diffidently and with the most self-effacing and unassuming of smiles.

Gary is a native of Liverpool and spent his younger adult years living around the Lark Lane, Picton and Kensington areas, though these days he is Lancashire based, just a short drive from the 2008 Capital of Culture.  We caught Gary after a busy day’s work – he is an IT consultant in his day job – but we were more interested in the roots of his music.

Coming from a musical family, Gary started to learn classical piano at the age of 8, “but once I turned 18 I switched to guitar,” he tells us, “I started playing at the Everyman youth theatre and loved it, and I ended up working there, helping out with the music in shows and that sort of thing.  There was a group of us and we used to go abroad to Germany and Spain and other places with shows.”  He clearly remembers this as a golden chapter in his life.

Then everything changed when he met the girl who is now his wife.  “I stopped playing for a long long while, my focus and priorities changed I suppose.”  He clearly doesn’t regret anything; setting up home and raising children changes most people’s focus and Gary is no exception.  “When we started seeing each other things moved very quickly, within a year we’d moved out to Burscough together.  We’ve lived there happily ever since.”

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Q.   Tell us something unusual about yourself….

A.   Well, I’ve been playing as a musician for well over 20 years but would you believe I’d never played a live solo gig until I did K’s Choice in April this year.  It’s all totally new to me, I didn’t think I’d ever do it actually to be honest, but I’m glad I did!  What motivated me was that at my 40th birthday last year Henry Priestman from the Christians came to my house and did a show.  I played some of his songs with him and he played some of mine, and it spurred me on to work harder at my music.

Q.   So how come he played at your birthday party?  Did someone organise it as a surprise or something?

No, I organised it myself.  I got in contact with him and asked him if he fancied playing at my birthday party, and he said yeah, he’d love to.  We’ve been in touch ever since, I’ve played again with him and with Pete Riley.  At the Liverpool Museum Pete was doing a talk on the history of music through the 70s and he asked me to get up and play a song with him. It was nice, that! (a master of understatement is Gary!)

Q.   What other Liverpool venues have you played?

A.   I played at Resurrection Festival along with Shannen Bamford, and at the Wirral Festival and Leyland Festival.  I’m playing at Oxjam later this year.  At the Leyland festival there was a couple sitting in front of me while I was performing and they joined in with one of my songs.  They’d obviously listened online, and learned the words.  That was nice and gave me loads of confidence.

Q.   As someone living just outside Liverpool, what do you think of the city?

A.   You can see how special the place is, it really shows.  The capital of culture bid was a real big turning point I think, and the city has gone from strength to strength ever since.  There is so much good music coming from the city, and it shows no sign of slowing.

Q.   What’s the inspiration behind your song on the compilation album?

A.   The short answer to that is there wasn’t any inspiration – which is rare for me!  I wrote it back while I was working at the Everyman Theatre.  One day I’d been given tasks on what I should write about, drug use, homelessness and stuff, and on that particular day I couldn’t think of anything, so I just started to write any words that came into my head.  The next day I did the same and eventually the song “Someone’s Looking Over Me” grew from it.

Q.   How do you write songs?  What process do you follow?

Normally I start and finish them very quickly, I’m quite disciplined like that.  If they take too long I tend to scrap the idea and move onto something else.  I’ve got folders at home full of stuff that I haven’t used.  Sometimes I go back and pick bits out and fit them in somewhere else, so nothing gets wasted really.  One of my songs “Humankind” is full of bits and pieces that didn’t fit into other songs.

Q.   Are there any musicians you’d like to work with?

There are loads!  There are lots of local people I’d love to collaborate with, who are working at a level higher than me at the moment (there is that self-deprecating persona again!), but now I’m up performing and gaining confidence, I’ll probably approach people soon to ask about collaborating.  Henry Priestman is releasing a new album next year and there’s a possibility of me doing some support slots for him when he plays locally, which is pretty exciting.

Q.   What are your musical influences?

A.   Many and varied!  In the late 70s I was into Genesis and then Peter Gabriel.  I loved the way those guys experimented with sound. Later on I got into Fleetwood Mac and Kate Bush.  In the late 80s I became a bit more selective, got into local bands, because I could go out and see them, the Christians, the La’s, Shed 7 were some of my favourites.  I love the Stereophics, I’ve seen them about 30 times now – perhaps that’s where the slightly morose feel in my songs comes from!

Q.   Do you ever get shy or nervous about performing your own songs?

A.   I do, yes.  I’m not very good with people saying negative things; I know it happens but I’d rather not hear it, see it or read it.  Up to now I’ve not heard a negative, but I’m sure there must be people out there thinking, ooh that’s not very good.  You can’t please everyone I know, but I do worry what people think.

Q.   What’s more important to you, lyrics or melody?

A.   Lyrics draw me in more than anything else.  The melody can pull you in if its a catchy tune I suppose, but I like slower kinds of music with well crafted lyrics that tell a story, and have some meaning.

Q.   Is there a song that makes you cry?

A.   There is one song, but I’m not sure if I should go on record with it!  No, I’ll keep quiet on this one.  But what stirs emotion in me is usually the context of the song and the story that it tells.

Q.   What is the proudest moment of your life?

A.   My wedding day, nothing can top that, we had such a brilliant day, just laughed all day.  It’s ten years ago this Thursday.

My proudest moment as a musician was when I played in Germany back in 1992 with the group from the Everyman theatre and we had a great time.  We played in this university, someone must have told people that we were famous or something, because we got filmed and interviewed and people queued for autographs.  It was magical!  We played 6 songs which I don’t think were very good actually, but people loved us!

Q.   What do you think of self published music?

A.   It’s a good thing in my opinion.  If not for the web and self publishing I’d never have got out there playing.  You’d have never heard of me and asked me to play K’s Choice would you?  People in all kinds of places, even overseas have heard my music through Soundcloud and it’s a great thing.

I was in a music shop in Hereford once looking at ukuleles and I heard some music playing and thought, hang on I recognise that – then I realised it was my song “Humankind”!  I asked the guy in the shop how come he was playing my song, and he told me it was an internet folk radio station.  It was a strange and surreal moment that wouldn’t have happened without self published music.

Gary Gardner’s acoustic modern folk song “Someone’s Watching Over Me” features as track 6 disc 2 on the K’s Choice City of Music 2013 compilation. https://soundcloud.com/gary-gardner-2/someones-watching-over-me

To find out more about Gary and links to his other work click https://www.facebook.com/garygardner33

To buy a copy of the album please click https://kschoiceacoustic.wordpress.com/the-city-of-music-2013-compilation-album/

K’s Choice review, 7th August 2013

7 august

Sterling performances all round on 7th August at K’s Choice and a decent sized audience too (lovely to see Hannah Kewn, Thom Morecroft and Stuart Todd in the audience supporting other musicians).

First up Barry Lawton, Crewe’s own crooner (sorry for the alliteration, I couldn’t resist) wowed us with a set of his self-penned tunes, many of which might be described as “ballads with attitude”, including “Grow Together”, which features on the K’s Choice City of Music compilation album. His finale was “Margaret Hilda Thatcher, I hope you rot in hell” which seemed to go down very well with the K’s Choice faithful!

Changing style and pace somewhat, was the vivacious, sparkling and very entertaining SheBeat, wearing her hat and a pair of very high shoes. Her songs have a lightness of touch to them, almost an element of frivolity sometimes, but her lyrics tell personal and heartfelt tales. It’s a lovely combination that draws you in. In amongst her set was her contribution to the K’s Choice compilation album “Supermoon Lover” and the wonderfully quirky “Freaky Crazy”.

SheBeat

SheBeat

A complete change of style now as Rae Clark took centre stage. Rae’s guitar technique is inventive and intricate, and his songs are gentle and lyrical, soaking slowly into your soul and making you wish you could lie back in a sun kissed garden (you get the picture) and listen all day long, and on into the warmth of a perfect summer evening…. Nice!

Rae Clark

Rae Clark

After Rae, our special guest was the very young and talented singer-songwriter Freya Wright. Freya told me she was nervous, although she had no need to be as she’d brought a lovely appreciative crowd with her, and she was after all among friends. It is magical to see and hear someone exude such effortless talent, yet at the same time to be so self-effacing – a genuinely nice person. Watch out for this young lady!

Freya Wright

Freya Wright

Where could we go from here? Well, we had arranged Irish band “Cobblestone” as the night’s finale, though three of the four had had to go back to Ireland for a few days. We weren’t short-changed though – K’s Choice was treated to one quarter of Cobblestone in the shape of David Keenan. David produced a wonderful performance for us all, his guitar work is inventive without being over-complicated and his voice just soars.

So, yet another belter at K’s Choice – how do we keep on doing it I hear you ask….. Chocolate, that’s how!

See you next week peeps xx

Musician Thom Morecroft enjoys the show

Musician Thom Morecroft enjoys the show