Greig Stewart from Guillemots EXCLUSIVE interview (Red album)

Guillemots - Red

Guillemots (pictured: Aristazabal Hawkes, Fyfe Dangerfield, Greig Stewart and MC Lord Magrao) return with their second studio album, ‘Red’, released March 24, 2008. Read the interview! …

Guillemots - Red

Guillemots (pictured: Aristazabal Hawkes, Fyfe Dangerfield, Greig Stewart and MC Lord Magrao) return with their second studio album, ‘Red’, released March 24, 2008.

It’s too difficult for me to compare Guillemots’ ‘Red’ album to any other CD that I’ve listened to, which is a great accomplishment for a band. The songs are lush and varied. There’s high energy pop, R&B, interesting changes within songs and sultry, intimate ballads, that when listening, my imagination takes me to a dark, smoke filled room.

The instrumentation on ‘Red’ is daring and experimental – which could have been a concern for all involved, however, old and new fans alike will be introduced to a brilliant Guillemots album, complete with talented musicians, excellent songwriting along with soulful vocals and smooth harmonies. Highly recommended. – Jenny May

Dave Tommo from BandWeblogs.com had some questions for Guillemots drummer Greig Stewart, in our second series of questions with Greig.

(Read the first exclusive interview with Greig Stewart)

Dave Tommo: What are you looking forward to the most with the release of your new album, ‘Red’?

Greig Stewart: I like playing festivals. It’s not like touring where you are out for a few months at a time. You can be at home through the week and weekends are party time. Then you get the rest of the week to recover. Also I have an 8-month-old baby which means I’m home through the week with her.

How did you come up with the name ‘Red’ for the album?

Fyfe came up with it. He felt Red can mean a lot of different things.

Does Arista play the drums on one of the tracks? Which one and how did that come about?

The song is “Take me home”, it’s the last song on the album. Arista and Fyfe just started playing together in the studio. It sounded really good. So there was no need to do it again. She plays very well.

Are there any strange percussion instruments used on the album?

A few. There are bats. Fyfe has a bat detector, which picks up their sound, which human ears cannot hear. It was really strange as it was in the right tempo and pitch for that song (Big Dog). Also on “Big Dog” there is a tour bus engine that has been processed into a beat. Two silver platter trays that have been dropped from a high stairwell to get a double crash (on Last Kiss).

Who does your hair?

Funny one, Dave.

Can we expect anything different on your next tour?

We only start rehearsals next week. So no massive thoughts on that one yet.

What’s the story behind the masks that you use on stage occasionally?

They were used for a show my wife was in a few years ago. Mc found them pretty fascinating. He also used them in a short film he made last summer.

How else have you been involved in the making of ‘Red’?

When we were demoing songs, the band would record onto our laptops. A drum track from these sessions made it on to the album, which I’m quite proud of. Adam Noble who is a very good, experienced engineer asked how we got such a good drum sound. So we took great interest on how to mic things up. Also I made a few big meals for everyone. Think the best was: cumberland sausage and garlic mash. That went down well but then the session kinda finished as everyone ate too much and couldn’t really play. The rest of involvement would be my imagination as with everyone else involved in the making of Red. The imagination runs riot which can be a blessing but also hinderance.

Have you experienced any ghostly weirdness while recording the LP in your studio?

No ghostly encounters. Just a few whack out moments when we’ve been in the studio too long. Then you slightly lose touch with what’s going on outside.

We asked you before what your favourite song is to play live and you had answered “Big Dog” and “Standing on the Last Star”. Has that changed?

Not sure yet as we only start rehearsals next week. At the moment its probably “She’s Evil” sung and written by Mc. Its got an Electronic beat which I can weave in and out of. Great fun to play and we all get to shout.

Which festivals are you playing at this year?

Not sure yet. I guess most of the ones we didn’t play last year.

In your opinion, what is the best song ever written?

“No End” by Sandy Denny.

Are there any guest musicians on your next tour?

We are looking to replace our sax player Alex Ward as he is busy with his solo stuff. ‘Alex Ward and the dead ends’ and ‘Dead days beyond help’. We are looking for a girl who can sing backing vox and play sax also.

What’s the best way to get to sleep on the tour bus?

I-Pod after a hot shower.

The Mercury nominated Guillemots are set to play three must see ‘taster’ shows in March 2008 – Ritz, Manchester (March 9th), Academy, Oxford (March 10th) and London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire (March 11th).

Guillemots Official Website
Guillemots on Myspace

Kathryn Williams and Neill McColl ‘Two’ review – simply superb

Kathryn Williams and Neill McColl - studio

Listening to Kathryn Williams and Neill McColl is like lying on your back outside on a sunny day, watching the clouds go by. The music is so tranquil that I couldn’t concentrate on the work I was trying to do – and instead, gave up and am now writing this review …

Kathryn Williams and Neill McColl - studio

Listening to Kathryn Williams and Neill McColl is like lying on your back outside on a sunny day, watching the clouds go by. The music is so tranquil that I couldn’t concentrate on the work I was trying to do – and instead, gave up and am now writing this review.

Their new album, ‘Two’ is out in March 2008, but I’m lucky to have it early and am happy to tell the world about it. The harmonies and musicianship throughout ‘Two’ is superb – it’s the most hypnotic and relaxing music that I’ve heard in a long time. Kathryn’s voice is gentle, and seems to float in amongst the chords of the acoustic guitar.

‘Two’ is a generous album, with 13 songs, most of them co-written by Kathryn and Neill. It was recorded in an intimate setting, and the album was unbelievably written, recorded and mixed in just over two weeks.

Opening track, “6am Corner” features Neill’s subtle vocal harmonies – just enough to add ‘a little color’ to Kathyrn’s lead. The instrumentation is tight – albeit at times the melody reminds me of the Beatles’ “Let It Be”, but only briefly. On the quaint “Innocent When You Dream” (Tom Waits), Neill and Kathryn harmonize throughout, and apparently, the song was recorded in just one take.

“Come With Me” is the first single release off of ‘Two’. The lyrics are enchanting, and the song as a whole draws me in with each note. Like some sort of spell is being cast. A brilliant choice for the first release.

“Frame” is one of my favorites, a clever song, and is the one song on the album that makes me think, “Joni Mitchell”. Maybe it’s Kathryn’s vocal phrasing, or the lyrics that include, “look at that painting on a hotel wall, seen by lonely eyes. Don’t go into hotels lookin’ for dreams, don’t go into them with thoughts of your life” – either way, it’s a stand out track. I love the story – very touching and unique.

The rustic feel of “Armchair” could be a number straight out of Gram Parson’s repertoire. Perfect around a campfire at night – and surprisingly includes a particular swear word. Excellent!

Kathryn Williams and Neill McColl’s album, ‘Two’ is highly recommended, to be consumed in it’s entirety. One of my favorite albums of the year.

Read more about Kathryn Williams and Neill McColl on Band Weblogs.

Kathryn Williams and Neill McColl Official Website

By: Jenny May – BandWeblogs.com

Tjoon webcam stars via 4 split screens and a microphone!

Tjoon

I’ve been checking out Tjoon.com, a new site where you can jam with other musicians by using a webcam to record and create short, split screen videos. Some of the videos are pretty funny …

Tjoon

I’ve been checking out Tjoon.com, a new site where you can jam with other musicians by using a webcam to record and create short, split screen videos.

Some of the videos are pretty funny. There are quite a few people recording themselves onto 4 split screens. Some are singing with themselves, others talking.

One of the more creative videos is of a guy playing trumpet with himself.

The Tjoon Weblog is good at spotting some of the talent on the site, where I’m sure potential “Tjoon webcam stars” are getting inspiration for their ideas.

I wonder, though, for musicians looking for other musicians to play with, if someone has laid down a guitar part and then another person adds bass – what do you do if someone comes along and adds a piano part or drums etc. and ruins the song?! On the other hand, this is a great way to collaborate, meet other musicians and form virtual bands.

You can keep up to date with the latest Tjoon additions by subscribing to their RSS feed, or just logging on to the website and going to the “Fresh Jams” section.

Here’s some more info. about Tjoon:

Tjoon.com is all about having online jam sessions and creating split screen videos. This new initiative is aimed at musicians, bands and other creative people, who like to record spontaneous songs with the rest of the world.

It works like this: someone records drums as a track with his or her webcam. After this: somebody else sees it and records guitar. That track appears next to the first track, up to 4 tracks can be recorded. In this way not only songs can be created online, but complete bands can be formed or just “one man bands”.

In other words creative entertaining videos: a video contains 4 tracks, that means 4 times more to watch than a normal video.

To record the videos, only a webcam is needed. No software has to be installed and it’s completely free. Tjoon was created by musicians and has been “live” for about 3 months. In this short period, hundreds of Tjoons have been recorded and lots of musicians have registered.

Tjoon was created by: Jaap van der Meer, Nico Langeveld, Rinde van Lon, Gido Tervooren, Gert-Jan van der Wel and Jeroen Bekkers.

For more information or to record your own Tjoon, go to:

Tjoon Official Website

By: Jenny May – BandWeblogs.com

Yo-Yo Ma plays Antonin Dvorak – Silent Woods ‘Klid’ (Waldesruhe) – watch video

Yo-Yo Ma - The Dvorak Album

Every now and then when listening to classical music, I wonder if I might have been better off had I continued with the clarinet? I was pretty good in school – and the way the music industry is going, playing classical music seems like it would have been a decent choice …

Yo-Yo Ma - The Dvorak Album

Every now and then when listening to classical music, I wonder if I might have been better off had I continued with the clarinet? I was pretty good in school – and the way the music industry is going, playing classical music seems like it would have been a decent choice.

Maybe with my recent birthday, one year older and all that jazz, classical music has been appealing more and more to me. I’ve been spending quite a bit of time listening to Play Classical UK, and that station and has been turning me on to so many brilliant classical pieces.

Antonin Dvorak’s “Silent Woods ‘Klid’ (Waldesruhe)” came on last night and it simply blew me away. I quickly looked it up on Google and have found a video on YouTube of Yo-Yo Ma playing “Silent Woods” on his cello. I really hope that the video stays up there. The more people that can see and hear such magnificence the better.

Yo-Yo Ma’s performance is beautiful, but it’s the last note that sends chills down my spine. If you watch the video you have to see Yo-Yo Ma’s expression at the end. It’s almost as though he wakes up from a trance. So much passion.

Watch video Yo-Yo Ma – “Silent Woods” (A. Dvorak):

The Dvorak Album (Yo-Yo Ma) on amazon.com

Antonin Dvorak on Wikipedia

Yo-Yo Ma Official Website

By: Jenny May – BandWeblogs.com

Gary Allan ‘Living Hard’ album review – highly recommended

Gary Allan - Living Hard

I’ve been listening to country singer Gary Allan’s latest album, ‘Living Hard’ the last couple of days. He has a cool voice and the songwriting and musicianship on the album is superb …

Gary Allan - Living Hard

I’ve been listening to country singer Gary Allan’s latest album, ‘Living Hard’ the last couple of days. He has a cool voice and the songwriting and musicianship on the album is superb.

The ‘Living Hard’ CD is actually my first introduction to Gary Allan and his music. For some reason, I had never known too much about him before. You would think that I would have, considering that he’s been on the country music scene since 1996, when he released his first studio album, ‘Used Heart For Sale’ through Decca Records. Since then he’s released seven studio albums – with three of them going platinum as well as #1 hit singles under his belt.

There’s obviously quite a few Gary Allan fans out there, but with all that he’s done with his career, I wonder why he wasn’t high on my country music radar like other male singers in his genre? Does he not get as much attention in the media because he’s considered an outsider, as he’s originally from California? Also, his music has more of a rock edge to it than your ‘typical’ country sound – but that’s not really a new thing in modern country music.

That rock edge to Gary Allan’s music does appeal to me and he’s a bit of a chameleon – and seems to have an open mind, musically. Like the way he’s singing on “We Touched The Sun”. Makes me think that Elvis could have done that song justice as well. Then there’s “She’s So California”, with a Tom Petty vibe.

“Watching Airplanes” was the obvious right pick for the opening track and first single release off of ‘Living Hard’. It’s a great song and is most certainly worthy of a Country Music Award.

“Like It’s a Bad Thing” is ‘in the pocket’ with a rocking groove. “Learning How To Bend” could easily be a contender for a Country Music Charts hit. “Wrecking Ball” is a fun song with heavy guitar riffs, high quality musicianship, with lyrics about a guy who can’t get enough: “she blows into town, loves me up and down just to watch me fall. She picks me up and then knocks me down again I’m a wreck y’all, she’s a wreckin’ ball”.

“Yesterday’s Rain” is an outstanding ballad, and closing track “Living Hard” captures the energy of a live band playing to a packed to the rafters bar, but with the polished Nashville sound that you would expect from Gary Allan.

‘Living Hard’ – highly recommended.

Track listing with songwriting credits:

1. Watching Airplanes (Jim Beavers, Jonathan Singleton)
2. We Touched the Sun (Gary Allan, Odie Blackmon, Jim Lauderdale)
3. She’s So California (Gary Allan, Jon Randall, Jaime Hanna)
4. Like It’s a Bad Thing (Neil Thrasher, Tony Martin, Wendell Mobley)
5. Learning How to Bend (Gary Allan, Matt Warren, James LeBlanc)
6. As Long As You’re Looking Back (Scotty Emerick, Dean Dillon, Aaron Barker)
7. Wrecking Ball (Keith Gattis, Audley Freed)
8. Yesterday’s Rain (Gary Allan, Matt Warren, James LeBlanc)
9. Trying to Matter (Gary Allan, Odie Blackmon, Casey Beathard)
10. Half of My Mistakes (Radney Foster, Bobby Houck)
11. Living Hard (Gary Allan, Odie Blackmon, Bob DiPiero)

Living Hard on amazon.com

For music, the latest news and tour dates go to:

Gary Allan on Myspace
Gary Allan Official Website

By: Jenny May – BandWeblogs.com

Newton Faulkner “Teardrop” review, watch video + tour dates (highly recommended)

Newton Faulkner

Newton Faulkner is set to release his cover of Massive Attack’s “Teardrop”, off of debut album, ‘Hand Built By Robots’ on December 10, 2007. The first time that I heard the name Newton Faulkner, for some reason I pictured …

Newton Faulkner

Newton Faulkner is set to release his cover of Massive Attack’s “Teardrop”, off of his debut album, ‘Hand Built By Robots’ on December 10, 2007.

The first time that I heard the name Newton Faulkner, for some reason I pictured an older conservative type with short hair, playing music that wouldn’t excite.

I was way off. Newton Faulkner is a young, twenty-something with dreads, soulful vocals, catchy tunes and is a brilliant guitarist. That’s what I found out when I first watched the video for his single, “UFO”.

Newton Faulkner is indeed making a name for himself, with a steadily growing fan base, a #1 platinum album and sell-out UK tours. It’s interesting that he would choose to go for a cover of someone else’s song, after the success he’s had with his own original releases. Some might say it’s a daring move, and loyal Massive Attack fans may not be as receptive to Newton’s “Teardrop” – at first.

I’ve been listening to Newton’s version for the last few days. He’s done such a good rendition of the song, that I found it difficult remembering the original, and actually think it sounds more like a Crosby, Stills and Nash song with a modern twist, than Massive Attack’s own version from 1998.

Watch Newton Faulkner – “Teardrop” video:

It’s amazing what Newton has done with the song. He’s given it a rustic feel and great harmonies.

If you played his acoustic version from his live shows for someone who wasn’t familiar with it (there are quite a few live “Teardrop” performances on YouTube), I bet they would find it easy to believe that it could be something from the late 60’s, Woodstock era.

Newton Faulkner – Teardrop on amazon.co.uk

Newton’s live shows are highly recommended!

Shows for 2008 are already beginning to sell out, so if you want to go, book early!

Newton Faulkner 2008 tour dates:

Dates and information could change! Go to Newton Faulkner’s Official Website for the latest tour dates and information.

7 January 2008 Paradiso – Amsterdam
8 January 2008 Doornroosje – Nijmegen
9 January 2008 Tivoli – Utrecht
14 January 2008 Uptown Bar – Minneapolis
15 January 2008 Horseshoe Tavern – Toronto
16 January 2008 Radio Radio – Indianapolis
21 January 2008 Soiled Dove – Denver, Colorado
24 January 2008 Joe’s Pub – New York
29 January 2008 Hotel Cafe – Los Angeles, California
21 February 2008 University SOLD OUT Exeter
22 February 2008 Guildhall – Portsmouth
23 February 2008 Corn Exchange SOLD OUT Cambridge
24 February 2008 Academy – Birmingham
26 February 2008 Academy – Newcastle
27 February 2008 Music Hall – Aberdeen
28 February 2008 Barrowlands – Glasgow
29 February 2008 University – Leeds
2 March 2008 Apollo – Manchester
3 March 2008 University – Liverpool
5 March 2008 Roundhouse SOLD OUT London
6 March 2008 Roundhouse – London
7 March 2008 Colston Hall – Bristol
9 March 2008 St Georges Hall – Belfast
10 March 2008 Dublin Olympia – Dublin

Newton Faulkner Official Website
Newton Faulkner on Myspace

By: Jenny May – Band Weblogs

Godsmack Good Times, Bad Times Greatest Hits, Sully Erna + watch video

Sully Erna from Godsmack - drawing by Milek

For years, I had heard of the band Godsmack, but never really knew much about them. A friend of mine here in England recently read Godsmack frontman/founder Sully Erna’s autobiography, The Paths We Choose – and it was funny to find out that Sully comes from Massachusetts and now lives in New Hampshire – my old state…

Sully Erna from Godsmack - drawing by Milek

For years, I had heard of the band Godsmack, but never really knew much about them. A friend of mine, here in England, recently read Godsmack frontman/founder Sully Erna’s autobiography, The Paths We Choose – and it was funny to find out that Sully comes from Massachusetts and now lives in New Hampshire – my old state. The band was pretty much in my backyard the whole time, but it took someone in England to turn me on to them.

Sully Erna seems like a cool guy. I watched a couple interviews with him on YouTube and I like his open mindedness towards life and music. When I listen to Godsmack I can’t help but think of Metallica and Alice In Chains, so I’m glad that Sully’s up front about them being his influences – along with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath.

Originally a drummer, there’s also footage on YouTube of Sully Erna and Godsmack drummer Shannon Larkin’s drum battle “Batalla De Los Tambores” from Godsmack’s DVD “Changes”. You’ve gotta love the way the drums slide onto the stage. They sound great – and it’s good to hear the Rush segment at the end. (You can also find that video on Shannon Larkin’s Yamaha page.)

Click here for more Godsmack videos

“I Stand Alone”, the first single off of Godsmack’s third studio album, ‘Faceless’ was featured on the soundtrack for The Scorpion King and is also in the video game, Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (Watch video), along with “Straight Out of Line”. They’ve had other songs in movies, and I think it’s always good to see bands getting their music in movie soundtracks. I wonder if Godsmack will do more with video games? I think they should.

Godsmack - Good Times, Bad Times

To celebrate 10 years as a band, Godsmack released their Greatest Hits album, ‘Good Times, Bad Times… Ten Years of Godsmack’ December 4th, 2007 on Universal.

The Greatest Hits album includes most of their commercially released singles along with a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times, Bad Times”. The video for it is fun to watch, but seeing the opening shots of Boston like the bridge, the infamous Citgo sign and the fan wearing the Red Sox shirt makes me feel a little homesick!

Watch Godsmack – “Good Times, Bad Times” video on Yahoo

Good Times, Bad Times – 10 Years Of Godsmack on amazon.com

Good Times Bad Times: + DVD on amazon.co.uk (UK release – December 10th, 2007)

Track listing:

1. Good Times, Bad Times
2. Whatever
3. Keep Away
4. Voodoo
5. Bad Religion
6. Awake
7. Greed
8. I Stand Alone
9. Straight Out of Line
10. Serenity
11. Re-Align
12. Running Blind
13. Touche
14. Speak
15. Shine Down
16. The Enemy

+ 75 minute DVD acoustic performance filmed in Las Vegas (check listings).

Musicians on album:

Sully Erna – vocals, guitar, drums
Tony Rombola – guitar, backing vocals
Robbie Merrill – bass, backing vocals
Tommy Stewart – drums
Shannon Larkin – drums

For more information, go to:

Godsmack on Myspace
Godsmack Official Website

Drawing of Sully Erna credit: Milek Jakubiec

By: Jenny May – Band Weblogs