Sounds Around Town : 14th – 20th June

12111930_1683865851881044_3972085343232098947_nOne of the great things about the diverse and eclectic nature of the Swindon live circuit is that it has something for everyone. Take this week for example, everything from international swing bands, rock legends, national tribute acts, local covers and grassroots jobbing musicians can be found somewhere along the line. Not bad for a town which is usually seen as playing second fiddle to the more established music scenes of Oxford and Bristol. Personally, I’m a big fan of those ever touring, solo guitar acts, it’s a real reminder that once you strip away the glitz and glamour, musical hi-jinx and technological enhancements, it all comes down to two things. Good songs and personal charisma. Two great purveyors of such an approach can be found in town tonight.

You may have caught Chris Webb in any number of guises, gigging with Lonely Tourist, Gentleman Nick Parker or that Gaz Brookfield fellow, or as part of Plume of Feathers, but tonight at The Tuppenny you can catch him in solo mode delivering up-tempo, finger style, modern acoustic folk songs filled with wit and wisdom.

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Sounds Around Town : 7th – 13th June

9280Apparently there is some sort of soccer tournament on (right, that’s another local demographic alienated) but whilst a few of the regular musical haunts have given themselves over to big screen TV coverage and people shouting “go on my son” …I assume, I’m not an expert, there is still plenty of live music to catch around and about.

One of the more interesting musical visitors to these parts can be found at The Tuppenny tonight. Grant Sharkey is on a one man mission to record and release forty albums in twenty years and he is out and about playing songs from album number eleven, Thoughts and Prayers. He not only does strange things to an upright bass but threads social commentary, environmentalism, avant-garde view points, wit, wisdom, warmth and humour through his songs. Support is from Kitchen Sink Dramas who come from a very similar place and I don’t mean Southampton.

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Don’t Be Alarmed  –  Olivia Awbrey (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

546499e7-45f7-4b18-b796-61e0a4b7686b.jpgThe real charm of Olivia Awbrey’s music is the multi-tasking that goes on. It is enough that she deftly hops genres – alt-rock, psychedelia and punked up folk all going into the mix as well is shouty gang vocals, pop infectiousness, indie cool and college rock wonkiness – but lyrically she is typically mercurial too. Don’t be Alarmed mixes wit, wisdom and whimsy taking in everything from political machinations, climate change, social commentary, particularly the creeping gentrification of her Portland base, not to mention bacon…all in just over five minutes. That’s quite a full itinerary.

Long associated with a more folk sound, this single is the perfect stepping stone between those more considered sonics and what next year’s sophomore album promises to be about. Over the next few months she will be playing both the  Pacific North-West as well as a run of shows in Colorado before heading to the UK in September.

As for local shows you can catch her at The Lamb in Devizes on 14th September.

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Sounds Around Town : 31st May – 6th June

22050281_1509919725735598_1001761715661952264_nStuck as we are between the recent Bank Holiday glut of live gigs, heading into the heart of the summer sporting diary and with festival season about to go into full swing, not to mention having a rare run of good weather that means that people are opting for pub garden and home barbecue’s rather than heating for the hot and claustrophobic gig environment, has resulted in not a great deal to report on this week from the live music trenches. There is also the small matter of pubs gearing up for that World Cup that seems to be all the rage these days. But to make up for the lack of choice, the options you do have dictate that it is a week where quality, not quantity, is the order of the day.

Like The Sarah C. Ryan Band at The Victoria tonight. Just as often found performing in solo mode, her blend of rootsy pop is taken to new levels when she has both the additional nuance and extra drive wielded by a full band. Expect a mix of her own deft creations writ sonically large and a few pre-loved classics along the way.

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New Model Army’s Justin Sullivan to play Swindon

28809005430_90f3c4af09_cJustin Sullivan, singer, frontman, song writer, protagonist and only consistent member of New Model Army since their inception in 1980, will play an incredibly rare & completely one off, intimate solo show at Swindon’s Victoria on Thursday 16th August as a warm up to his bands performance at Beautiful Days Festival the following evening.

 

Justin will draw from his back catalogue, perhaps including some of his solo work as well as drawing from his canon including many other side projects along his 37-odd year career, as well as all the classic NMA material.

It’s safe to say this is a spectacularly special show, following in Sheer Music’s strong recent form having already racked up shows for Frank Turner and Ginger Wildheart in Swindon this year.

As such, this show is likely to sell out well in advance! Support for the gig comes in the shape of long standing Sheer & Swindon regular Jake Martin, who gets a killer show, his gigs and performances deserve, and we have no doubt you’ll love him if you’re not already familiar.

We had been asking for this show for 5 years, since New Model Army performed for us at Devizes Festival, and finally it made sense & Justin relented to our asking and approached us as it’s on route to Beautiful Days. We’re delighted to bring him to Swindon, and continue to put some great shows in a great town.

Tickets are priced just £15 from WeGotTickets, or direct from venue. In the event there are any left, they will be more expensive on the door.

 

Thursday 16th August 2018
@ The Victoria, Swindon
Doors 8pm.
Sheer Music & The Colour of Vinyl present…

8.45 – 9.15 – Jake Martin
9.30 – 11pm – Justin Sullivan
18+

 

**** PHOTO CREDIT – Ken Harrison Photograhy ****

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Sounds Around Town : 24th – 30th May

30440996_1777185609007161_522701509947817984_oAnother fairly quiet week around town, musically speaking, unless I’m missing something and if I am then please let me know, this column is only as relevant as the information that is readily available, so feel free to get in touch. It does, however, leave me room to wish happy birthday to the most excellent Rosanne Cash, eldest daughter of American music icon Johnny and herself an award winning musician and writer. If your record collection doesn’t contain a copy of her fantastic album Interiors, then your life will be all the poor for it until you rectify that situation.

And talking of splendid Americans, Keegan McInroe is back in town tonight. A true wandering minstrel, he weaves old country sounds, bluesy vibes and timeless folk heritage into songs which are as poetic as they are poignant. Catch him and usually a few familiar faces from the great and good of local music, or failing that the adequate and available, at The Beehive tonight.

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Black Sheep Apprentice – Born To Walk Alone  (reviewed by T. Bebedor)

151612241.jpg.galleryI’ve been listening to this album on and off for the last week trying to formulate a way of starting off this review but never really feeling like I have enough information to give a review befitting what occurs within the 10+ tracks of this collection of songs from Swindon’s ‘grown-up Country’ specialists, so I find myself returning to the album to try and kick my ears into instructing my hands what to write.

And it’s proving difficult.

I think maybe the best place to start is with the warning; don’t get comfortable. This is not a generic album by any means and is happy to make you tap your feet and slap your thighs as it is in giving you a dizzying moment of “well where the hell are we going now!?”.

I’ve made no secret in previous reviews that I like opening tracks and this album’s opener starts in moody, Sergio Leone territory, a land of squawking buzzards overhead, dusty plains, creaking salon doors and a lone church bell ringing, it’s quite cinematic, it’s dramatic and you settle down for a dip into country music but no, this isn’t that kind of a show cowboy, after 35-40 secs we’re replacing that atmosphere with a bouncy opening track called ‘Let It Go’ which almost acts as a piece of advice because if you had any preconceptions about what to expect from this band, forget it, let it go because what you can expect – other than well written songs and more than a nod to the macabre – is the unexpected.

Tread carefully because this path isn’t familiar to most.

 

The music runs a deftly course between the dark ‘deal-with-the-Devil’ country music through the blues of the whiskey joints of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana where ghosts sit on the shoulders of wandering strangers, into rock and maybe even a little indie-rock. It wears it’s heart on it’s sleeve and the songs are songs of regret, often loneliness but definitely of experience the running order of the songs at times feels like they are going through certain emotions from loss (in Let it Go, Thrown Away, Water) to acceptance (Born to Walk Alone) to resolve (in Pheonix, I Curse Your Name and the demented but crowd roaring Black Sheep Apprentice) and they are all delivered with a voice sounding closer to Geddy Lee of Rush than the storytelling voice of Johnny Cash. Another leftfield twist.

I would have liked to have heard more growl on the bass at times and a few of the songs could have been shaved here and there but one man’s snack is another man’s feast and this is a big album, an album that gives you a lot of bang for your buck and doesn’t skimp on what’s included, which seems to be the band’s heart, blood, sweat, tears and balls!

After hearing what the band can do I’ll be catching them live very soon, there seems to be energy in spades on offer here that can only be best experienced live, so give the album a listen and catch a gig or two.

 

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