The second K’s Choice City of Music Album
So who’s on it this time?
This time, dear listener, we present for your delectation, no less than 34 tracks from 34 artists who have been associated in some way with the phenomenon that is K’s Choice. Acoustic music is surprisingly versatile – it’s not all Bob Dylan and Donovan! (though what’s wrong with that?). In an age where professional quality recording facilities has never been more accessible, these 34 musicians have allowed their limitless imaginations and remarkable talents to soar.
That this quality of musician plays regularly in small venues around Liverpool simply for the joy of performing – the performance fee is usually just a free drink, sometimes not even that – is astounding. (At K’s Choice gigs we try to pay musicians’ expenses but this depends upon the policy of the venue we are using and isn’t always possible. Part of the motivation behind compiling K’s Choice albums therefore is to give a little something back to the musicians who have given us so much.)
So where do I start to tell you about the myriad of musical wondrousness on this new album?
Well let’s start with the established artists. These are folks that you will come across playing somewhere almost any week of the year. They are the backbone of the music scene in Liverpool and the surrounding areas.
Singer-songwriter and host of the “Fresh Sessions” regular gig at Penny Lane’s Schmooze wine bar and the “Acoustic Sessions” at Studio 2, Thom Morecroft is one such individual. Originally coming to Liverpool as a student, Thom has now graduated and it was not a difficult decision for him to stay in the city that, in his words, “welcomed and embraced him”.
Thom is a regular and enthusiastic performer at many a Liverpool venue, sometimes alone and sometimes with his “Full Moon Band”. His stripped back acoustic style and truly unique voice shine through in his recently released album “Moon Moon Shake It”, which has received a some encouraging critical acclaim. He won himself three Liverpool Musicians’ awards on the back of it!
Thom’s songs have been featured on BBC radio a fair few times and he is now establishing himself more widely outside of Liverpool, recently he played a support slot for up-and-coming, Surrey based singer-songwriter, Emma Stevens on her UK tour. His song “Daisy”, taken from the “Moon Moon Shake It” album appears on disc 1 of this collection, at track 9, Thom’s favourite spot!
Another established artist that has graced the K’s Choice stage on a few occasions is Wirral songstress Caroline England. In lighter moments Caroline describes herself as “obsessively ginger” – fans of the first K’s Choice album will recall her wonderful ode to ginger-ness, entitled simply “Ginger”.
But she is so much more than this! A well-respected artist, Caroline has performed regularly for many years in the North West and throughout the UK, and eighteen years after recording her first track she feels that that her music is finally coming of age, proving the theory that determination is the key to success. BBC Introducing’s host Tom Robinson recently chose her newest song “Crashing Down” to close his Sunday evening show and Caroline was naturally delighted: “I’m absolutely thrilled to finally get some national radio play,” she says, “it has been a dream of mine for such a long time. I’m really grateful to all the people who believed in me and encouraged me.”
The K’s Choice compilation features Caroline’s haunting ballad, “On Reserve” which commences with a lone acoustic guitar and plaintive vocal and builds gradually to an orchestral crescendo before resolving back to the lone vocal and guitar. Breathtaking stuff!
Out of a slightly different mould is Liverpool duo, the Southbound Attic Band. With Barry Jones on acoustic guitar, harmonica and lead vocal, and Ronnie Clark on bass and backing vocal, the Southbound Attic Band’s style incorporates skilfully woven lyrics that relate stories to a modern folk soundtrack.
Often they tell touching and poignant tales – their contribution to this album “The Ballad of George and Maude” is one such example – sometimes their songs are historical or topical, while occasionally they are downright hilarious! Listen for example to the boys’ tale about the perils of swearing, “Hide the Sausage” (warning, explicit lyrics!)
Barry and Ronnie are regular performers at and supporters of all sorts of events around Liverpool, and they host the regular Acoustic Dustbowl gig at the View Two Gallery in Liverpool’s Mathew Street.
Another musician who tirelessly supports open mics and acoustic events around Liverpool is Simon McKelvie. There seems to be very rarely an acoustic event in the city where Simon is not either playing a selection of his own acoustic guitar based songs or accompanying other artists on his djembe (a West African bongo type drum), often he does both.
In his day job Simon is actually a genuine real life professional musician. His day job, would you believe, involves impersonating Bjorn from ABBA – I’m not making this up, honestly! – in the ABBA tribute band “Voulez Vous”. He loves it. “Playing with the band keeps my performing skills tightly honed,” he enthuses, “and, although I know some people regard it as a bit of a joke, it is a job that has taken me all over the world and paid me well.”
Simon is also a very accomplished and versatile songwriter, who I might place in the “adult contemporary” bracket if I had to categorise him. He has several professionally produced albums on the Bandcamp website available for free download. On the first K’s Choice album he gave us “The Deep”, this time he offers “When I Am With You” which you can find on disc 2, track 5.
Well, these are just four of the artists featured on this collection, we will do our very best to promote more over the coming days and weeks.