Paul Lamb & The Kingsnakes @ Artrix 04/04
The Artrix played Host to Paul Lamb and the Kingsnakes for an evening of blues. Supporting Paul was Jacksboro Highway, an acoustic blues trio from Northampton. The lead and rhythm guitars of Martin Fitzhugh and Steve Smith, joined Kev Buxton on harmonica, for some classic blues standards from the likes of Jimmy Reed, Sony Boy Williamson, and Robert Johnson. They also gave a nod to more recent artists like Taj Mahal, JJ Cale and notably a song by Brian Protheroe. ‘No Snow Blues’, with, apparently, lyrics taken poet Sydney Keyes, the wonderful ‘Pinball’ came to mind. All present seemed very comfortable with the offering, and Jacksboro Highway were applauded warmly.
Paul Lamb, strode onto the centre stage, a solo intro on the harp led to the arrival of The Kingsnakes, guitarist Chad Strentz, bass Rod Demick, percussion Dino Coccia, and ‘new born ‘ Lamb, Ryan also on guitar.
Straight into Ray Charles ‘Good To Me’, then Johnny Cash is given breath with ‘Folsom Prison Blues’, which seems to fit very nicely into Paul and the bands style of country blues. As you would expect Paul is mesmerising on his harmonicas, played with such subtlety. Chad takes care of most of the vocals, with a few exceptions, Rod and Dino, keeping the whole sound tightly together, without overpowering. Then there is Ryan, who obviously enjoys using the stage, his face reflects the energy of his style, a perfect target for my lens!
Paul takes on the vocals, mixed with his harp, for ‘Ya Ya Blues’ accompanied by Chad, the audience, really got behind this fun bit of music, played with a bit of bite, crocodile shoes tapping out the rhythm.
More superb vocals from Chad, as Paul goes chromatic, and Ryan gets into serious mood with Ray Charles, ‘Black Jack Game’, excellent. Sad to say, there was only a moderate turnout, no matter, the band gave there all and those fortunate to have made the effort were richly rewarded. All joined in for ‘Midnight Special’, as Chad and Ryan, put aside their guitars to share a mike, whilst Rod was joined by Dino at the other, Paul breathed into his harp and led the vocals for this finale. Well not quite, 2 days later, I found my way to the Prince Of Wales at Ledbury, a lovely little pub that is a magnet to some fantastic blues artists. So no surprise to find Paul and Chad galvanising the crowded bar. I joined for Gershwin’s, ‘Summertyne’! played beautifully, as it deserves to be, found a tight spot to sup my Ledbury Dark ale, and enjoy an hour of the harmonica maestro, accompanied by Chad on guitar and vocals. Paul is ‘Hootin & Tootin’, in style, the songs taken from ‘Going Down the Road’, an album release featuring the two in acoustic mode, a perfect fit for this venue. An altogether superbly entertaining few days.
Words And photos Graham Munn
Ward Thomas are a pop tinged country duo hailing from the unlikely location of Hampshire, a twin sister act who grew up on a rural live-stock farm from a family line of authors and artists. The sisters embraced rural lifestyle and along with it the rustic sounds of American mainstays Johnny Cash, Dixie Chicks and Carrie Underwood among others.
The duo were heard by renowned Nashville session musician Bobby Blazier, who embraced their sound and encouraged them to record over in the country state with a number of country’s top musicians as well as Grammy winning superstar Vince Gill, resulting in an album set to be released later on in the year as well as this, their debut EP, Footnotes.
Now if you like radio friendly country with pop hooks, Ward Thomas are the band for you, this four-track affair serves as a nice introduction to the stunning close harmonies and obvious pop hooks.
The EP opens with the rowdiest number, The Good & The Right, a blustery country rock number that’s simply hand built for day time radio with it’s instant hook, infectious vocal and long lasting swagger, that does bring to mind the aforementioned Dixie Chicks or perhaps The Wailin’ Jennys. From their the band strip back their sound, turn up the country influence and deliver the harmony enriched twanging title track, Footnotes. Take That Train is a true story based on love lost and redemption inspired by a chance encounter on a train, that once again showcases that sisterly bound with, it’s touching harmonies and rich melodies.
Ward Thomas finish up with a nod to their influences with a heartfelt and passionate rendition of Dougie MacLeans classic, Caledonia, that see’s the girls majestically cooing, making the often covered number very much their own.
Footnotes is a lovely showcase of the many attributes of Ward Thomas, from their close knit harmonies and intelligent instrumentation to their radio friendly pop hooks and heartfelt lyrics, the sisterly duo have certainly whetted the appetite for their forthcoming full length album.
Rhythm & Booze Rating 7
Label: Sharp Attack Records
Release Period: July 2014
* THINK DARK FOLK STORIES AND DREAM-POP ALLOYED TO LEONARD COHEN, JOHNNY CASH, BRIAN ENO, NICK CAVE WITH PJ HARVEY AND YOU’LL BE GETTING A SENSE OF SIX YEARS AURAL MANIFESTO *
“Ever wish The xx had a bit more bite? Then you’ll love the sultry undertones of indie pop duo Six Years;. They mix a Raveonettes feel with the work of the aforementioned Mercury Award winning band to create a layered yet intense atmosphere that actually goes somewhere” - Drunken Werewolf
“Quite the fantastic, raw indie rock duet, think Mark E.Smith dueting with PJ Harvey” - Deadly Music.
“sounding like a dark hearted Serge and Brigitte performing a psychedelicised spell craft over Animotion’s ’obsession’ this honey just smoulders with intent”- The Sunday Experience
Six Years is Marc Makarov and Vanessa Anne Redd. Their debut album ‘Rivers’ came from a request from Sean McLusky (1234 Records owner)to record a duet of Kris Kristofferson’s song “Help Me Make It Through the Night” for a feature film. Six Years is the side project of the critically acclaimed band Rubicks, and is a much more grown up affair which captures raw performance, intimacy and mood over production.
Self recorded in the back of 1234 Studios, an art gallery in Redchurch street, Shoreditch, a black room with nothing but some reverb and delay, a drum machine and their instruments , Vanessa on organ/guitar and Marc bass/synth. In the spirit of old recording studios like Sun records they recorded takes as live.
They ran into producer/engineer MPEG winner Al O’Connell who had his studio in the basement of the same building and he proceeded to mix and put the finishing touches to the record.
Rivers is a dialogue of lovers glimpsed through the shadows of stories influenced by writers, Kris Kristofferson, Tennyson , Murakami , Walt Whitman, William Golding, Greek/African myths / Native American influenced stories, Aldous Huxley.
Set in magical realities the thread of stories and myth run through like the Lady of Shallots’ cursed weaving and the thread of Anansi the spiders’ web. The lovers speak, tease, abandon, love, lust and long for one another. Intertwined with reflections on wild abandon, thoughts on death, the afterlife, heaven and hell, angels and demons and out of the doors of perception experience the artist deals with imagination and the creative process.
River of Dark
This is the story of two lovers entwined asking each other to stay the night pleading for salvation in each other’s arms. Hoping their love will cure all ills.
The struggle of creativity. The idea that being lost in imagination is a good thing. Embracing the chaos.
This Is The Day
Hopeful, wishing that the perfect moment would stay frozen forever. Influenced by Tennyson’s story of the Lady of Shallot and the African myth of Anansi the trickster spider-god of all stories.
Inspired by the strange hotel and lift in Haruki Murakami’s book ‘Dance Dance Dance’ when the protagonist goes into the lift and ends up in a different magical world, and Aldous Huxley’s the Doors of Perception.
I Go Fast, We Go faster
The excitement and realisation of the need to move through life quickly, making the most of every moment.
This is the story of a soldier going off to war and leaving the lover at home. A tragic end to a love story. The phrase ‘war’s perfume’ is taken from Walt Whitman’s novel ‘Leaves of Grass’.
The image of Crazy Horse riding across the hills in the first light of morning.
This song encapsulates the idea of the femme fatale. The idea of seduction. A reference to Pincher Martin drowning chained to the rocks in William Golding’s novel. Seduction, capture and tease.
Help Me Make It Trough the Night
A Kris Kristofferson cover. The ballad of two lovers not wanting to spend the night alone.
The story idea was influenced by Carol Carpenter / Sonic Youth track ‘Super Star’. The tragic tale of unrequited love, an imagined life between two people.
Influenced by the story of the Greek myth, ‘halcyon’ Overcoming all odds. The passage of time.Not being afraid of death or the future.
This is the lullaby of rest.
THE GREAT ESCAPE FESTIVAL + ARTROCKER NEW BLOOD SHOWS
“…they put the angular into the grungealist revival allowing their riffs to trip and stutter over the beat, it’s spiky but utterly slacker faithful…with a bit of luck in the right places, these guys should be going even more places next year .” Artrocker
“Francobollo will rock your world!” – John Kennedy – Xfm
After the release of ‘Steven Hawkins‘ and its mental video in March, FRANCOBOLLO are now making the single’s B-side ‘Hot Cars’ available for free:
GET ‘HOT CARS’ MP3 FOR FREE : https://soundcloud.com/francobollo/hot-cars
Breaking their tradition of directing their own videos, for ‘Hot Cars’ FRANCOBOLLO asked their friend of the band Opera Goodwin to make it, on the condition that she’d do it without letting them see any part of it from conception to delivery. Here are the results:
‘HOT CARS’ VIDEO: http://youtu.be/niifYpcB1yg
FRANCOBOLLO, made up of Simon Nilsson, Sean Bean and Petter Grevelius, hit the shores of the UK from Sweden in 2009. Picking up Londoner Sam Bailey and more recently fellow Swede Wiya Ngeh on their journey, they’ve honed their raucous own brand of wonky grungy pop, slowly picking up a growing legion of dedicated pit-filling Francophiles along the way. Combining dashes of Beck, Pavement and Nirvana, they create a unique cacophony of melody infused guitar-pop with twinges of electronics picking up the energy.
FRANCOBOLLO have announced they’ll be playing The Great Escape Festival and Artrocker New Blood Festival:
08/05/14 (daytime): Dr. Martens Stage @ The Great Escape Festival – Brighton, UK
08/05/14 (evening): The Bunker @ The Alternative Great Escape, Brighton, UK
13/06/14 – Artrocker New Blood Festival @ Hoxton Bar & Kitchen, London, UK
- Paul Lamb & The Kingsnakes Live @ The Artrix, Bromsgrove 4/4/14
- Ward Thomas-Footnotes EP
- Six Years Release Rivers
- Francobollo Offer Free Download
- Yellow Ostrich Release New Single
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