Jess Morgan – All Swell

I really wish I’d made notes of all the singers, bands, artists I’d seen over the years, both main and support. It’s only now I realise that I’m beginning to forget (well at least I remember I’m beginning to forget) A friend made a valid suggestion to me, he said always write the name of the support on your ticket, that way you’ve always got a note of them . . . . the only problem with that is, I forget to take a pen! Now here is one name I’ve not forgotten, Jess Morgan.

Jess is based out of East Anglia but really enjoys her visits to Bedfordshire, where she has a small but perfectly formed following. I first heard of her on an online radio station and then was surprised to see she was playing in Bedford that same night, but I’d already booked for another gig. The next opportunity was as an opening act for Eileen Rose at Danny’s Bar of The Esquires again in Bedford. There she played a far too short set of only three songs and left me wanting to hear more, but as I mentioned she keeps getting invited back to Bedford so now I get all the chances in the world Her first CD Crosses, a 4 track EP, received some critical acclaim and was a taster to what would be her full length CD. All Swell was recorded in Norway along with a few local musicians, who’s subtle accompaniment add to Jess’s emotive vocals and guitar playing without overpowering them. Lovers of a strong lyric will also be drawn to this album as Jess doesn’t hold back, though she can throw in a good hook that makes you want to tap your feet, try Pamela, the story of a war veteran but with an upbeat tune. This is another side to her writing, Jess can tell a good story Other stand out track include Let It Come, Onyx and Crosses though the whole collection blends together the British acoustic folk scene and Americana.

You can imagine a few good friends sitting in a pub around an open fire, with a pint of beer in your hand while listening to Jess pour out her soul. And this is what you get when seeing Jess playing live, an approachable, friendly and confident performance that belies the  nature of some of her writing.

Check out her website for her tour details and make sure you check her out, she’s worth travelling to see.

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Judie Tzuke Live Review

Judie Tzuke – The Stables 9th October 2010

For me this was probably the best gig I’ve seen this year and Judie’s voice was amazing and her vocals were faultless. By her own admission Judie get nervous on stage, talked very little and fears she’ll forget the words to her songs. She now has the words to hand, but never really looks at them and a glass of vodka (medicinal of course) she was so relaxed and happy to talk and introduce the songs. She was joined on stage by such a tight and young band as well as her two daughter Bailey and Talulah on backing vocal, and played for nearly two hours and the set list as I remember it.

enjoy the ride / under the angels / secret agent / faith / submarine boy / joan of arc / come hell or waters high / one minute / bring the rain / love me no more / i will / vivien / sukarita / stay with me till dawn / sportscar /  encore for you / if (when you go) / The choices you’ve made

They were all stand out tracks and proves she can rock out with the best of them and break your heart with the ballads. Bring the Rain with its lengthy guitar break was great, the song I Will, which actually had its very first outing at The Stables a few years ago on a Bob Harris presents show and sung at the time as an acoustic ballad with the then very young Bailey, has now turned into a full on rock tune. Judie also took up the challenge from her fans who posted on Facebook that she should finish the evening off with Sportscar, from her second CD of the same name. They thought she wouldn’t do it but she did and she looked so happy singing it, close your eye and you are transported back to 1981 when it first came out and her voice was perfect. Undoubtedly there would be an encore and as can be normal a few people take this opportunity to leave and get out of the car park before the mad rush, well they should have had the patience to stay and listen to a true musical experience of Judie and her two daughters singing For You, acapella, who says you need an instrument when you get a great harmony like this, an amazing experience as the whole audience listened in silence. Then a brand new song, If (When you go) quickly followed, which if picked up by a mainstream artist would be an instant number one. I’m not one for finishing on a ballad preferring something more uplifting to make you go out in the night with music still ringing in you ears, so what better way to end off a great evening with the opening line “When will I see you again” from Choices you’ve made, on this performance I hope it’s not too long before Judie goes out on the road again, one of best singer song writers going.

Also check out here current definitive collection, Moon on a Mirrorball

www.tzuke.com
www.myspace.com/tzuke

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Crooked Still – Bedford Civic Theatre, 23rd October 8pm

Crooked Still – Bedford Civic Theatre, 23rd October 8pm

This is one I’ve been waiting for some. I’ve long enjoyed listening to Crooked Still but always appear to miss them on their travels, but I now have my ticket and will be there, with what potentially could be a big crowd.

Crooked Still are a five piece band who hail from Boston Massachusetts and play Americana music for the past, present and future and a cross between nu-folk and bluegrass and they are on a short UK tour to promote their new CD Some Strange Country

For their fourth effort, Crooked Still were snowed into the studio with Grammy award winning producer and engineer Gary Paczosa (Alison Krauss and Union Station, Tim O’Brien, Dolly Parton) in Charlottesville, Virginia. The isolation left little room for distraction and fuelled more ambitious collaboration – quasi-orchestral string arrangements, and unique vocal distortion techniques. Special guest vocalists include Ricky Skaggs, Tim O’Brien, Sarah Jarosz, and Annalisa Tornfelt.

So this looks like it could be another great night in Bedford for
East West Promotions.

www.myspace.com/crookedstill
www.crookedstill.com

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Gurf Morlix – Tingewick Village Hall

Gurf Morlix, Friday 22nd October 8pm – Tingewick Village Hall.

This latest visit by the legendary figure who was last year crowned Musician of The Year at the prestigious Americana Music Association awards in Nashville, is a piece of prefect timing. For a music documentary on the life and times of one of his closest pals in the business, Blaze Foley, gets its UK premiere at the Glasgow Film Theatre during the city’s annual Americana Festival, when he will introduce the film and perform some of Foley’s material.

Morlix has appeared on some of the world’s biggest stages and played alongside some of the best-known names in the game. He recently made a name for himself when he stepped out of the producer’s chair which made his name, to emerge as a singer-songwriter and prove to the world that he was as good as many of those he had formerly worked alongside.

In an illustrious career, he had produced, recorded with, or performed alongside a veritable “Who’s Who” of the music business, including Warren Zevon, Mary Gauthier, Slaid Cleaves, Eliza Gilkyson, Jerry Lee Lewis, Peter Case, Steve Earle, Harry Dean Stanton, Billy Swan, Victoria Williams and many more.

He had worked with Lucinda Williams for eleven years, serving as guitarist, vocalist and bandleader, as well as producing her critically acclaimed albums ‘Lucinda Williams’ and ‘Sweet Old World’.

And, there’s a strong Lucinda Williams link in the Blaze Foley story too, as she penned “Drunken Angel” for her 1998 album ‘Car Wheels on a Gravel Road’, as a tribute to the man.

Details and tickets can be found at www.empty-rooms.com

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Rue Royale

I’m currently listening a group called Rue Royale www.myspace.com/rueroyale The Anglo-American husband and wife acoustic duo of Brooklyn Dekker and Ruth Dekker, whose musical influences include Midlake, John Martyn, Sufjan Stevens, Jose Gonzalez, Nick Drake, Doves, Elbow among others, play a blend of hypnotic songs with the minimum amount of instrumentation but with some wonderfully flowing harmonies. They moved from Brooklyn’s hometown of Chicago, from where they got their name, to their current base in Nottingham. Though they don’t seem to stay in the East Midlands town too long, preferring to tour constantly through England, Europe and the US.

They are touring through Europe during September 2010, popping back to the UK for a few shows and then off to the US during October. I see they are playing a gig in Bedford on 24th November, www.myspace.com/bedfordlivepresents where I first saw them play earlier this year, with support from local favourites De Winter,  so make sure you don’t miss your chance to see them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLinQFLCeSQ

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A New Beginning

Well what can I say, I started this blog months ago with the hope of enhancing my website www.djhimaging.com The problem with a static site is, it’s just not quick to update when something takes my fancy, but as will everything in life things get in the way to stop you. In my case the loss of a job and a parent in hospital put pay to a lot of what I wanted to do. Yes being out of work should mean I have more time on my hands, but I didn’t realise how busy I can make myself.

So although I started with a few posts it soon got neglected, hence A New Beginning. Who knows this too might go by the way side and abandoned, in which case I’ll have A New New Beginning.

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