Tag Archive: fieldfare

1507006_695008400533647_1848950265_nAt a time when acoustic based music sessions seem to be in a state of flux, either moving locations or packing up altogether as pubs decide that music has no business currency anymore, it is pleasing to know that one of the longest established sessions is still going strong. The Lazy Sunday Afternoon Sessions at The Arts Centre Café not only seems to be weathering the storm well, it is also managing to retain an amazingly high standard of bookings as this, their second  compilation will attest to.


The music ranges from the delicate and wonderfully understated pop roots piano of Alice Offley, whose Save Me is a gorgeous journey through the fragility of music and a heart felt lyric to the fuller and more sumptuous folk harmonies of Fieldfare’s Forget About Me.


Bands are well represented by auralcandy doing a neat line in mellow, late night bluesy balladry and soulful reflection, The Portraits, a string driven folk sound layered with choir like vocals and of course the session hosts, Mr Love and Justice with their trade mark mix of sharp acoustica and historical content.


Usually known for a more driven delivery, Bateleurs are represented by one of their more mellow moments, The Hurricane, a song that offers up old time Americana imagery and a tune that The Band would have loved to get their hands on.


The Solo acts found here prove that acoustic players don’t automatically have to sound like Ellie Goulding or Ed Sheeran. Minnie Birch for example uses imagery on Settled akin to the more fanciful end of Suzanne Vega and a lovelorn, melancholic delivery that is mesmerising. There is something elemental about Drew Bryant’s music both in form and message, a classic example being Singing Love at The Wind, Pete Taylor’s picked fret work and crystal clear vocal style is both elegant and eloquent and one of my favourite local artists, Nick Felix, provides the usual mix of world weariness and total positivity, as always a total joy to listen to.


As an advertisement for the standard and style of the monthly sessions, this is a brilliant calling card. So buy the album from http://homegroundrecords.com (and at £5 it is 50p per track – cheaper than most downloads!) and get along to one of their shows and experience it in all its glory.





Library - 91Had Good King Wenceslas looked out of my window, far from seeing snow that was deep and crisp and even, he would have seen un-gritted roads and snow sculptures that either look like something out of a Tim Burton movie or designs that are too unsavoury to be discussed here. And looking at the snow it got me thinking that unlike the cheesy results when Christmas is used as the subject of a song, the topic of snow has generated some wonderful results. Underground classics such as Driven Like The Snow by obtuse grumps The Sisters of Mercy, the hauntingly beautiful Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow by Nick Cave (although the underlying message is about something far darker of course) and in typical humour Frank Zappa’s, Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow.


Well hopefully the snow related chaos that has caused so many gig cancellations over the last week are behind us, especially as one of the bands playing Songs of Praise at The Victoria tonight are coming all the way up from Cardiff. Spyglass mix up heavy alt-rock grooves with a melodic grunge density and will be playing the support slot to SkyBurnsRed, a band who incorporate classical grandeur, raw, dark and emotive rock, sensuous violin and an aggressive delivery. Also taking their chosen genre to new heights is opener Adepto Futui, a band that captures the feeling, vibe and voice of traditional blues but who manage to twist it into interesting, Byzantine heavy and original shapes.


Meanwhile down at The Beehive an interesting local proposition is taking place. Having grown out of the Lazy Sunday Afternoon Sessions at the Art Centre, Fieldfare is the combined acoustic guitar and vocal arrangements of local stalwarts, Steve Cox, Paul Griffiths and Tim Sawyer reworking each other’s songs.


There are a few big shows at The Furnace this week; the first comes in the form of Cheltenham’s Young Kato on Friday. Pop may be a dirty word these days but along with LAB label mate Portia Conn, they will be proving that there is a lot more to the genre than dance routines and auto-tuners. Pop beats, warm atmospherics and infectious melodies collide with confident guitar-work to re-establish the credibility of the genre. Also on the bill Old Colours continue to ply their trade of fragile, cinematic, otherworldly indie creations and Salute the Magpie open the show. If something more raw, lewd and beardy is to your taste then check out The Hamsters From Hell in The Rolleston next door.


Back at The Beehive and another Cheltenham band, Stressecho indulge the venue with a wonderful angst-folk set, beautiful, understated music to accompany poignant and open story telling.


More big noises at The Furnace on Saturday, this time taking a much more aggressive format with hard edged pop-punk from south coast trio, Hold The Fight and local, upbeat, post-hardcore champions When Words Fail. Back upstairs in The Rolleston there is a bit of a paradox. Metal Gods claim to “try and bring something fresh to the scene” which is obviously commendable but then state that they play classic rock covers from the 80’s/90’s. Not sure what to make of that, still that’s not to say it won’t be a good night out for those still proudly holding on to their patched denim jackets and Let It Rain tour shirts.



Riffs Bar play the acoustic card and have a collection of acts both local and otherwise  playing in a very stripped down fashion, including the 50’s rock and roll vibe of Josie and The Outlaw, the wonderful harmonies and intricate guitar blends of Ethemia and the joyous and upbeat creations of The Real Raj.


Missin’ Rosie seem determined to invoke the wrath of the folk police (they do exist, I checked with the Home Office) by taking folk music and rocking it up to a point where those people who denounced Dylan for going electric in ’66 would be jumping off of tall buildings. Catch their mix of standards and originals at The Sun Inn on Sunday.


And so we end in our usual mid week oasis of music and two options. If you haven’t had enough of the loud and shouty, then Teenage Kicks at The Furnace has a Headbanger Special on Wednesday with music and neck ache courtesy of Twisted State of Mind, Dissolute, Wreckoning and Stands To Reason.  A more mellow listening experience can be had at The Running Horse with the wonderful Rosellys whose British-American ranges from acoustic country to stomping bluegrass, from gentle balladry to barn dance hoedowns. Not what you expect from the M4 corridor on a chilly midweek evening.