A Scotsman, An Italian, a Frenchman and Two Tap Dancing Sax Players Walk into a Bar…

Having settled across the waters by a remote region in the shadow of the Pyrenees Mountains, Fergus McKay and his band, Nothing Concrete have fought to escape the furore of high living and encapsulated a lifestyle that epitomises the unconventional. In terms of their songwriting, their self imposed isolation – rejecting technology in favour of home-grown living – has transcended into a philosophy of inclusion; a sanctuary of community that encourages creative space and freedom.

While busking his way across Europe solo for many years, Fergus has absorbed the experiences on many and has woven them in neatly as source material into his songs. In times that followed, and several personnel changes later, the line up now sounds akin to the set up of a bad joke including; a Scotsman, an Italian, a Jewish percussionist, a Frenchman and a brace of tap-dancing saxophone players.

This music comes from a place where cabaret isn’t a novelty, and live music is a focal point for entertainment. The vibration of each note that emanates is as organic as where they were created. With the track recorded in an abandoned barn, and each member balancing the life of touring with raising their children, they embody a self-affirming lifestyle. This has yielded a synergy of acoustic led folk with 1930’s jazz that hybridizes both freedom and struggle.

The story of the track itself details the vantage of an ‘Old Black Crow‘, surveying a group of renegades on the run. This, in turn, feels awkwardly familiar to the vantage of the listener. From this perspective, the make-up of the numbers seems as bohemian and unconventional as the instruments they play.

 

Soundcloud: www.soundcloud.com/fergus-mckay

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/3TpvO9BbsFcP0MOJAO0Cwg

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Urs0Moqiq-s

Facebook: www.facebook.com/nothingconcrete1      

Twitter: @bandolinofergus

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fergusmckay/   

Website: www.nothing-concrete.com         

“The Revolution Will Be Live!” – Malik & The O.G.’s come to Cambridge.

The revolution will not be televised… but it will be at Cambridge Jazz Festival this upcoming weekend as Malik & the O.G.’s prepare a run of events at the festival celebrating the work of Gil Scott-Heron.

The upcoming appearance at Cambridge Jazz Festival include multiple seminars, talks and performance by Malik Al Nasir, showcasing why Gil Scott-Heron is still relevant to artists  as well as social politics today.

Gil Scott-Herons most notable work comes in the form of “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”, a spoken word track released in 1971 – it’s free form style and spoken-word, poetic approach to lyricism within music is an example of breaking down the wall between music and art, the song is not only musically but literarily insightful.

“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” holds lyrical significance even by today’s musical standards, whilst contemporary lyricism is more explicit and straight forward. The message it gave was a public one and that if there was going to be a revolution within 1970s America is not going to be televised; it was going to stare you in the face and it was going to be real.

“The Revolution will be not be re-run, the revolution will be live.” Are the final words of the iconic track that Gil Scott-Heron is most notable for – it’s a message that still holds strong within the current socio-political climate within America.

Malik Al Nasir who was Gil Scott-Heron’s protégé is currently following in his footsteps, delivering a message that is direct, insightful as well as artistic.

Malik Al Nasir is a Guyanese activist, poet and filmmaker from Liverpool, following in his mentors footsteps; Malik’s work Malik discusses how colonialism and slavery destroys identity, he also establishes the significance of genealogy, anthropology and DNA as an insight into “who we actually are” as well celebrating our inherited roots and cultural identity without anyone else dictating otherwise – using his Guyanese roots as an example of claiming his heritage and being self-aware of one’s cultural inheritance.

“My own journey back to Guyana to re-connect with my South American roots, was actually both a quest for lost family ties and a search for historical truth. Discovering I had an indigenous Amerindian grandmother, further complicated an already convoluted sense of self and the discovery of my Scottish aristocratic slave-owner ancestry, will offer the basis of a paradigm shift in how we view Transatlantic slavery – as it was practiced in Demerera South America.”

Malik will also explore the significance of the “Black Arts Movement” in America and how he contributes to that via Gil Scott-Heron and the Last Poets – with his role as an activist in breaking down colonialism and its control over identity.

Malik will be running an “Artist as Activists seminar” at the University of Cambridge, Centre of Latin American studies at 5pm on the 17th of November. “The Revolution Will Be Live!” will take place on the 18th of November at 8:30pm, Cambridge Wine Merchants. Finally Classic Album Sundays event; a tribute to Gil Scott-Heron will be running two events on the 19th of November at 2pm, Hidden Rooms, and 8pm Arts Picture house.

Links to tickets for these events can be found here;

https://www.cambridgejazzfestival.info/malik-the-o-g-s – “The Revolution Will Be Live!” tickets.

http://skiddle.com/e/13023561 – “Classic Album Sundays” @ Hidden Rooms

Free – “Artists as Activists”

You can keep up to date with the events at Malik’s social network links found below;

https://www.facebook.com/Malik-The-OGs-171722166201820/

https://twitter.com/MalikAndTheOGs?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

http://malikandtheogs.blogspot.co.uk/

Lawrence Preston has ‘Something For You’ in funky single.

What do you get when you combine the immaculate harmonies of the Ohio Players and the easy-listening soul of Lionel Richie? Lawrence Preston.

San Francisco Bassist and vocalist Lawrence Preston delves into a throwback of the funk and soul peaks with his single ‘Something For You.’

The track features a combination of influences and styles that will be sure to catch anybodies ear and peak interest, from smooth gospel-like harmonies, to jazz flavorings on the bass (in the same way contemporaries such as Thundercat) the song is a fresh and modern take on a cemented genre.

An artist can take a genre and reinvent it by putting their own mark on it, but where ‘Something For You’ shines is the authenticity to modern music, it deserves in place alongside the contemporaries – with influences from the original days of funk with the guitar licks, all the way to early 2000’s soulful RnB love croon, the track is a collective of Lawrence’s influence and proves that he has honed his craft.

However, whilst the track stands alongside contemporaries, it’s also a very familiar sound, for right and wrong reasons – it’s not going to alienate fans of the genre, the sound or Lawrence’s music anytime soon, yet I feel like I’ve heard it all before, it doesn’t achieve much in terms of shock and awe, bar a few tasty bass licks thrown in every now and then, which shows off some of Lawrence’s virtuoso tendencies.

‘Something For You’ is a track that not only shares passion that Lawrence has for his craft, but also shows the skill that Lawrence has as a musician; a man of influence.

‘Something For You’ is available now, you can grab the track on the links below as well as keep up to date with Lawrence Preston on his social network links;

iTunes: http://apple.co/1kHFv9T

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Wk0mMj

https://twitter.com/@law_preston

https://www.facebook.com/lawrence.preston.37

 

 

 

 

Lisa Richards blends folk and jazz in new album

A Light From The Other Side is Lisa Richards’ new album set for release on 21st April, and the Australian singer-songwriter has formed the new record from a base of folk and jazz that create an almost unheard of sound for modern audiences.

Lisa suffered during her childhood, with a difficult upbringing that included her mother being involved in a car crash and a lot of substance abuse, even from a young age. Yet it is these memories and experiences that allow her to write her introspective songs in her own unique style,

Taken from the new album, ‘Frank Sinatra’ is an upbeat tune full of delicate shuffling guitar and Lisa’s incredible vocals that occupy their very own private estate in the world of singing voices; you’ve honestly never heard anyone quite like her.

A Light From The Other Side exhibits Lisa Richard’s fascinating and turbulent life story, which is weaved throughout her songs. Set for release in April of this year, the record was also put together with the help of internationally renowned producer-singer-songwriter, Greg J Walker.

 

 

Links:

http://www.lisarichardsmusic.com

http://www.twitter.com/mymadmusic

https://soundcloud.com/lisarichardsmusic

http://www.facebook.com/lisarichardssongs

https://www.youtube.com/user/lisamrichards

Lateefah release new Reggae Single!

Neo Soul Sensation Lateefah Reveals ‘This is Who I Am’
Lateefah - Publicit photo
James Nettey Photography
A fresh beat from the Soul Singer set to make a second music hit!
“This is who I am” brings a bass fueled, revival to the soul scene. Produced by talented young producer KING for Lateko Records, it will be released July 14th. Lateefah’s debut single “Here I am” held the number one spot for three weeks on the Reverbnation Christian chart for St. Lucia and also for a period of one week was number one on all genres chart. The single also reached #27 on the National Airplay Top 50 Gospel Chart (US) in December 2013 sharing the spotlight with notable artists such as Mary Mary, William McDowell, Donnie McClurkin and others. Her second single release “Love Me Through” was well received by the media and already performing live sessions with some of the top radio stations such as Premier Radio and top venues such as The Vortex, she is one to follow.
Listen to ‘This is Who I Am’ here: https://soundcloud.com/lateefahsings/this-is-who-i-am
London Born musician, Lateefah is a neo soul artist who after returning to the UK from her parent’s native country of St Lucia, is now working on further developing her gift for making music. Her new single releasing this year, will hope to demonstrate the talent and efforts of this young neo soul artist.
The cool Caribbean Artist started out singing in church at a young age, and gathers a lot of the inspiration for her work, from her own personal diaries from her childhood. Adapting these written records of her past, Lateefah has been able to create moving and soulful songs that entertain and educate her listeners about her colorful past.
Lateefah developed her passion for singing from early on as 3 years of age! Her earliest memory of being driven by the art, was trying to hit the right notes in the song “The Lord is my Shepherd”. Rehearsing relentlessly, until she hit it with pitch perfect precision. After that success and a great deal of extra practice, the music industry became a second home for the young superstar. The music blood has been in Lateefah’s family since her father founded the 70’s Reggae band, Cygnus.
Along with the Single, you can also get a FREE download of the track “Here I am”: http://latekorecords.com/lat-s-music
Links
www.facebook.com/thereallateefah
www.reverbnation.com/lateefahsings
www.soundcloud.com/lateefahsings
www.twitter.com/lateefahsings

Rising stars Row Z get set for ‘Green Penny’ EP

Much anticipated 3 track release out through GHOSTNOTE Records, June 9th
Tapping into the recent boom in British funk music, Row Z are a Liverpool based five piece with a taste for moody blues. Their new EP, ‘Green Penny’  is due June 9th and is currently one of the most eagerly awaited releases in the world of new UK Blues.
Led by the incredible Richard James Smith, the band specialise in sprawling jazz spiced funk tracks, full of intricate rhythms and virtuoso musical performance throughout.
For a taste, check out the EP’s lead single/title track ‘Green Penny’ – complete with a raw sound reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXvo0OdIslY
Row Z first made a splash with Ska/Jazz single ‘Stalemate’ in 2006, released to universally good reviews and – improbably – a huge chart success in Germany.
Now though, this new material sees them hitting new heights with great crossover potential, pulling together their roots sensibilities with sound that is instantly accessible. It’s the kind of music that can (and has) turned small, impromptu gigs into full on dance parties, bringing in elements from breakdance to swing.
It comes as no surprise to learn that Richard James Smith comes with something of a reputation. After receiving Masterclasses from Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits), Joan Armatrading, Steve Morse (Deep Purple), Yngwie Malmsteen and José Feliciano, Richard had the honour of being awarded his degree by Sir Paul McCartney; but this was just the start.
Since then, Richard has featured as a finalist in ‘Young Jazz Musician of the Year’ and ‘Acoustic Guitarist of the Year’, and featured on Oscar winner Jared Leto’s 30 Seconds To Mars track ‘Up in the Air’ (Remix). Fans include Jools Holland, who swapped numbers with Guitarist Richard after a performance for ITV.
However, Smith isn’t the only band member with pedigree.  Drummer Jay Irving has toured with Tony Christie/The Christians,  while Keyboard player John has toured with the Seahorses, John Squire, DJ Vadim, Cinematic Orchestra,  and played and composed for Lily Allen hits ‘Smile’ and LDN. He also played on the acclaimed debut album from Corinne Bailey Rae.
Meanwhile, Alto sax player Alex Harris has performed for Richard Branson, Prince Charles and Kate Middleton, as well as numerous television shows, radio shows and short films including BBC’s Call the Midwife and BBC Radio London. He has also performed with Kevin Spacey at Ronnie Scott’s, London.
Row Z’s killer combination of skill and experience is what makes their music so brilliant and their EP so highly sought after. And when The Beatles’ first manager Allan Williams asks to book your band for parties after watching them at the Cavern Club, it’s clear you’re doing something right.
You can listen to the other two tracks from the ‘Green Penny’ EP here –
Arthur: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HibIVgB7Ow
Blues for Buddah: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6luu4Fon4k
Links:
Row Z Official website: http://www.rowz.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rowzmusic
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Row_Z_Music
YouTube:  www.youtube.com/user/rowzmusic1
Reverbnation:  http://www.reverbnation.com/rowz
Soundcloud:  https://soundcloud.com/rowzmusic

Highly anticipated Fjokra EP ‘Thoughtsteps’ arrives June 9th

Versatile Irish songwriter looks to build on a growing reputation with brand new release
Influenced by a list of genres and artists taking in classical, metal, funk, jazz and more, Fjokra is an artist who is nigh on impossible to pigeonhole.
Born in Dublin and now living in London, he is a multi-instrumentalist whose music takes in so many different ideas and angles that to tie him down to one genre or style is a fool’s errand – just as it seems you have his sound sussed, a new idea will come and slap you in the face. And that’s just the way Fjokra likes it.
You can see the video for EP track ‘Infinite Loops’ here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5FrW1UyVyY
‘Thoughtsteps’ is an EP that tantalises and astounds. With the album name, artwork and musical content designed to demonstrate alternative, free and independent forms of thinking, the varied style is all tied together by the consistent high quality of the recordings. Even more impressively, the EP is primarily self-produced but for one track from producer Donald Clark (Guns ‘n’ Roses, Muse).
It’s little wonder that Fjokra counts Mick Jones (The Clash), Duran Duran, and Beardyman amongst his fans – and this range of musicians gives you a glimpse into the wide audience demographics the music is connecting with. Peanut Baines of the Kaiser Chiefs put it his own way, labelling Fjokra ‘sex music for metallers’.
With a fan base that is widening thanks to a unique live show (performed with his eponymous band), Fjokra has already graced the stage at Beach Break Festival and Liverpool Sound City. They also performed at a very special concert which saw Tyondai Braxton (of Battles) premiere his new orchestral piece ‘Central Market’ – a truly inspiring experience for the band. And now, with ‘Thoughtsteps’ only a few weeks away and a slot at the Isle of Wight Festival this summer, he is using that inspiration to fuel his forward momentum.
And if you’re still not convinced that this is an artist with a unique approach, then perhaps his unusual approach to promoting the EP will help. In addition to releasing the songs and music videos, Fjokra has also recorded for each track a cookery show, punning on the song titles from the EP. Due to be posted on YouTube and fjokra.com shortly after the songs themselves are released, the tasty teasers will make this EP a truly multi-sensory experience.
Also, keep your eyes peeled for acoustic versions of the EP tracks, recorded in a guitar shop and due on the Fjokra YouTube channel soon.
‘Thoughtsteps’ will be available from June 9th.
Links:
www.facebook.com/fjokraofficial
www.twitter.com/fjokra
Instagram: fjokra
www.youtube.com/fjokra
www.soundcloud.com/fjokra

Phil Collins, Alan Sillitoe and jazz; new album from jazz composer and musician John Aram

John Aram to release single ‘EDT (Envie de Toi)’ on 20th May ahead of album ‘You and I’ to be released on 3rd June. 
Listen here: https://soundcloud.com/johnaram/sets/edt-envie-de-toi-new-single
Background
John Aram is a well known name among jazz musicians. He has worked extensively with legends like Tim Garland, Kenny Wheeler and Scott Stroman along with huge names in funk like Bob Babbit and the Funk Brothers Band. In addition, Aram is Musical Director at the International School of Geneva, where he now lives, and also regularly conducts the Swiss Jazz Orchestra.
Probably his closest collaborator is Phil Collins. John worked closely with him on Collins’ album ‘Going Back’ (2010), writing many arrangements, booking musicians, supervising recording and going on tour. Daryl Stuermer, also of Genesis, plays guitar on ‘Stuck on You’ from Aram’s forthcoming album ‘You and I’. Aram and Phil Collins are in fact close friends and Collins has contributed to many of his musical projects over the years.
It is a busy spring period for Aram. Aside from his album (see below) he is also due to release “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning’ Suite’; his ode to Alan Sillitoe’s post war classic novel of the same name, featuring Kenny Wheeler.  Aram, hailing from Nottingham like Sillitoe, was in close contact with the author during his writing of the jazz suite in 2010. Tragically, Sillitoe died in the same year just before it was finished so never heard it, as a result Aram decided not to release ‘The Suite’ as a physical disc. He had now taken the decision to release it on vinyl with artwork from Video artist Joss Sessions.
You can listen here: https://soundcloud.com/johnaram/sets/saturday-night-and-sunday
‘You and I’
Aram therefore has a huge wealth of experience in the worlds of jazz and funk, which he has used brilliantly in his new single ‘EDT (Envie de Toi); due to, be released 20th May. The track takes his jazz influences and puts them in a funk / disco context giving the track popular potential beyond its appeal to 70s soul connoisseurs. In has the feeling of a Chic comeback track, a Bruno Mars disco revival number of even of a latter day Michael Jackson. Half way through, however, we get a taste of Aram’s jazz background with a hefty Rhodes solo played by Jason Rebello. It’s a solo reminiscent of Roy Ayers on the vibes or a George Benson guitar solo on one of his funkier numbers.
The rest of ‘You and I’ follows similar themes whilst trying to stretch them in different directions. Very much a concept album, all music is heavily influenced by Stevie Wonder, even down to the artwork used for the album. Tracks like ‘Stronger’ and ‘Stuck on you’ follow the soul disco revival route featuring some brilliant vocals and irresistible solos on each. ‘In the Air’ and ‘You and I’ slow the pace down and move closer to a soul ballad in the mould of Earth, Wind and Fire or even Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. ‘In the Air’ features beautiful vocals from Amy Keys  and from cult Swiss hip-hop artist Rootwords. ‘In the Air’ is particularly close to Aram’s heart as it was written for his wife who was suffering from breast cancer at the time.
There is a great feeling of fun and spontaneity in the album, which reflects the way it was made and thought up in the first place. It wasn’t originally planned at all. Aram and his band were on tour in the UK (London in fact)  and had a gig cancelled so, realising he was still paying them, decided they might as well have some fun and make an album! Not all jazz quintets are this productive. They decided to make music which they loved but didn’t always get a chance to play: funk, soul, Motown, Stevie Wonder, which you will find on the bonus tracks of the album; material Aram had played with Phil Collins before and not had the chance to make himself. The full album did, however, take over a year to complete in recording studios all over the world, from New York to Switzerland, ensuring only the very best musicians were to be featured that fit the style of music that Aram wanted to create.
Website http://www.johnaram.com/
Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/johnaram
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JohnAram
YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/johnrogeraram

New Zealand's Julie Lamb is 'Trippin' the Light Fantastic'


This superb 70’s funk inflected tune is a real throwback number – an 11 piece band coming together to create a half-tempo treat that builds and fades expertly. It creates an ominous dynamic, helped by the minor jazz chords and the smooth vocal.

Guitar Sensation ‘Daryl Kellie’ to Release New Album ‘Wintersong’

To find your first guitar at the young age of eleven in the attic of your parent’s new house is a lucky find, but for Daryl Kellie, it can only be described as fate. Self taught for most of his life, he is undeniably one of the most talented fingerstyle guitar players in the UK, with influences ranging from Queen to Django Reinhardt. Daryl has combined his unique talent with his mesmerising vocals, and he will be releasing his highly anticipated album ‘Wintersong’ on 10th February 2014.
By the age of sixteen, Daryl was gigging every weekend, with his younger brother Nick on drums. He moved to London when he was nineteen to study music, and hasn’t looked back. Living in his van, with a bed, camp-stove and of course, a guitar in the back, this was when he really started to develop as an artist. He was even taught by Jazz guitar legend Martin Taylor. Despite attracting lots of attention from music managers, Daryl decided to remain completely independent and release his own music without the help of a label. Daryl’s message to others who may be in this predicament is “figure out what you really love and concentrate on that, if you try to do something else, your heart won’t be in it”. His ever-growing fan-base means he can also tour without the involvement of big promoters.
Daryl has toured constantly for the past 2 years and supported a massive range of acts, from Toploader to Carl Palmer of Emmerson Lake and Palmer fame, plus notorious American blogger Perez Hilton has also raved about him….”So clever! So good! And, the fact that he’s gorgeous doesn’t hurt either!”.
Here are just a couple of the many outstanding reviews he has received:
‘Daryl Kellie is a brilliant and exciting new musical talent’
– Richard Chapman, (Author of the million selling classic ‘The Complete Guitarist and ‘The New Complete Guitarist’)
‘To call Daryl a guitarist would be a bit of an over simplification. A million miles away from that guy who used to walk around college twanging his way through Green Day covers to anyone who’d listen, Daryl treats his guitar like a mix between a drum kit, a keyboard and a guitar. Utilizing an oft attempted (but rarely mastered) ‘tapping’ technique along with ‘body percussion’ as employed by fellow guitarists such as Eric Roche and Tommy Emanuel, Daryl dropped jaws with his cheeky cover of Beyonce’s omnipresent ‘Single Ladies’ and literally melted minds with an extended Michael Jackson medley. Anything that makes hearing ‘Single Ladies’ for the billionth time a little less ear-stabbingly repetitive deserves the highest praise imaginable.
–Sternberg Clarke
If you can’t wait to hear the album, Daryl is releasing a cover of the Beyonce hit ‘Single Ladies’ on December 16th.
Have a listen: https://soundcloud.com/daryl-kellie/single-ladies-put-a-ring-on-it
Or watch a live session: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1UnylkE-LI
He will also be releasing his own single ‘Would’ on January 20th 2014!
 
Social Networks:
https://www.facebook.com/darylkellie
https://twitter.com/darylkellie
https://soundcloud.com/daryl-kellie
 
Videos:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jn3p5_dotJc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fxbx0-O8kY