What Else Is Out There? #6: The Fontana Instincts

Four with nature from left to right: Widdop, Campbell, Komorowska and Kelly

Four with nature from left to right: Widdop, Campbell, Komorowska and Kelly

Back to Derby for our next order of What Else Is Out There with an Americana act that is 3/4 British Midland and 1/4 Polish! Fractions are nothing here though as we’re going with our Fontana Instincts!

Tom Campbell (guitar, lead vocals), Jim Widdop (lead guitar, backing vocals), Magdalena Komorowska (bass) and Alex Kelly (drums) make up this Derby-based four piece that definitely don’t sound like a band that would come from this area of the country, or even this country in general!

From their start at the end of the noughties to their current incarnation that has been on a brief hiatus of late, The Fontana Instincts have been bringing their sound to the rest of the UK that brings you their sound which reflects the best in Americana.

Maybe not THAT 'Murican, but something!

Maybe not THAT ‘Murican, but something!

To start, Campbell was doing the whole singer-songwriter routine for a few years before meeting Widdop in 2008, each of them performing with different acts at the time. Widdop playing dobro and steel pedal in particular caught Campbell’s attention and both of them hit it off very well which resulted in them having a good ole’ jam!

After that jam and a subsequent six months of gigging starting from December 2008, they started working on an EP which would be known as The Chilka Sessions, but they weren’t satisfied with it so it never saw an official release.

The EP contained five tracks, some of which would end up on a certain future release such as Miss Muldoon, Night and Day and Millie Come and Get Me although later on it would be shortened down to just Millie.

Here’s Miss Muldoon as a primer.

The genesis of Fontana came about in 2009 with two more people added to the mix. The first was Tom Kitchen, a former bassist of heavy rock act LostAlone also knew how to play drums and was brought in after meeting Campbell at the Rockhouse in Derby and Luke Wynne, a good mate of Campbell’s who filled in the position of bassist for a few gigs.

After this new quartet met up with Birmingham musicians and producers Brian Nordhoff and Rob Cimarosti, they recorded four songs in one 16 hour session in a Moseley studio. The result was four good takes and Nordhoff encouraged Campbell to carry on writing and he would help them record an album in the future.

During the Summer of 2010, Campbell busked around Australia for inspiration and the wallabies no doubt, before being put in touch with a Polish girl who Kitchen knew (Komorowska) and wanted to join a band. A few drinks and a joyful jam later, the group was whole again.

Want more band sex appeal? Woman with bass guitar...BOOM!

Want more band sex appeal? Woman with bass guitar…BOOM!

Their first performance as a group was on the Main Stage at the 2010 Out the Box Festival in August but their first booked gig was in September at the Grapes bar in Sheffield. They would continue to perform for four months before going to back to Birmingham to start recording an album.

The recording process would start at the start of 2011 and would continue throughout the year. One of the gigs to stem the tides till then was a gig in April at the reliant Wetmore Whistle on the card with Tilted Smile and Lady and the Tramp.

Another big April gig came at the Bodega Social in Nottingham supporting Glasgow-based alternative rock act Kassidy who went on to tour with Lana del Rey in 2013!

Still, let us remember the REAL stars now!

In May, they were announced by BBC Introducing that they would be playing on the Allotment stage at YNot of that year! That particular stage would be headlined by beatboxing extraordinaire Beardyman and the festival as a whole would host big names like Maximo Park and local names like Max Raptor (cos we didn’t hear ENOUGH about them being at YNot!)

After a return to Out The Box Festival, the first Burtfest at Burton Rugby Club and their stint at YNot, they brought Benjamin Edmonds, formerly of Tilted Smile and Son of Eagle in to the studio to provide backing vocals as the finishing touch to their album.

Two big Midlands gigs came in October with a headliner at the Derby Assembly Rooms as part of the Evolution Derby College Talent Showcase and Burton promoter Loaded’s launch night at the Star and Garter.

Prizes for guessing what the hell the words are!

Two more great gigs for them that closed out the year were a support slot for Riding the Low at Sheffield’s Leadmill in October and being on the card with Son on Eagle and Boat to Row for a sold out show at the Derby Guildhall in December.

A rousing goodbye started off 2012 with the Fontana brigade supporting veteran power pop four piece The Souvenirs at the Victoria Inn to another sold out crowd.

Act who would support them in the coming months would be 5 Days of November and Lucida Scroll in Burton and at Derby’s Ryan’s Bar with London psych rock band West of the Sun and Exile84 big shot Andy Crowe.

Well THIS guy thinks he is anyway!

Well THIS guy thinks he is anyway!

Huge news came in April as they would be announced they would be supporting American alternative giants The Lemonheads (known for their hit cover of Mrs Robinson) on their ‘Shame about Ray’ tour at the Venue in Derby!

More big news to follow as they announced in May that they would release their long-awaited debut album Carousel which was set to be released on July 2nd and to hype up interest, they released a video for their song Our David on May 2nd.

In June, they rounded off the huge Burtfest weekend at the Arch Creations stage on Sunday 17th. Sure enough, this hyped up more interest, at least in Burton, for the album release, sure enough on July 2nd.

Ooo shiny!

Ooo shiny!

A member departure came in August when Kitchen left the group amicably for university which left the band without a drummer for Osfest in Longford. Campbell also did a solo outing at YNot to stem the tide before a new drummer could be brought in.

On summer transfer deadline day, or August 31st, the band did find their new drummer Alex Kelly formerly of Midlands Brit rockers The Iron Door Club who have supported the likes of Pete Doherty and Underground Heroes.

After a huge Liverpool O2 Academy performance, they returned to Burton twice at the end of the year with one even being Exile84‘s first hometown gig in November at the Whistle and also playing at the Tower Brewery for a Christmassy gig in December.

More Exile84...oh puh-lease!

More Exile84…this is OUR blog post matey!

2013 was the last year we saw of the guys for a while but still, they made the most of it, with six of the year’s gigs being throughout February and March including a supporting slot for Turin Brakes at the Venue and a Jam Café performance in Nottingham.

Though not on the card for it, Campbell helped out with the sound and stage set-up for The Sunni Mae Festival in Willington, an event to raise money for cancer charity and in aid of Lily Mae Morrison, a young girl diagnosed with stage 4 Neuroblastoma.

A return to OsFest in July and their last gig (for now) at the Flowerpot in Derby supported by Tilted Smile and West of the Sun rounded off a brief summer for the guys and have since been on hiatus.

Still though, savour the last show...SAVOUR IT!!

Still though, savour the last show…SAVOUR IT!!

Now though, let’s savour and look at the music. Like I said at the start, for a band that is made up of three lads from the British Midlands and a Polish woman, the Americana sound rings true in their music, sometimes doing it better than American bands!

The country-folk influences are strong in their tunes with songs ranging from calm country ballads (Room For Me), to rousing stompers (Forgotten Almost) that can transport you to the Snakeskin Inn in Georgia listening to them (I am SO sorry for that!)

Campbell’s smoky voice and Komorowska’s backing give each song a Brit rock spin on these Americana songs and Widdop’s ever-reliant guitar playing whether on a regular axe or a steel pedal gives these songs their uniquely sturdy American-British charm (would you expect anymore from a guy who had his head bloodied before a show but still carried on?)

Two songs I’ll give attention to are Carousel favourites Our David and Miss Muldoon. The first of which showing a good deal of their upbeat side to a story that doesn’t sound as upbeat, in fact it almost sounds quite distressing!

It tells the story of a man (called David I assume) who’s family members are worried about him being out for so long and just want him to get home safely. Aww!

The twang in the guitar and southern drawl vocals from Campbell are very much present in this song and while it won’t make you wanna go “Yee-haw!”, it will probably get you up dancing and singing along to the chorus.

If our David isn’t home

We will never be alone…

…We will stand to watch the phone until we

know that everything’s OK…OK!

Secondly, Miss Muldoon provides that same up-tempo feel as Our David, but feels much raunchier with it’s subject matter of just wanting to impress that one woman that you’re eyeing up, but are just to intoxicated by pressure or drugs possibly to do so.

More specifically, the woman (who I assume is one Miss Millie Muldoon) is seen just browsing the merchandise at the record shop when the singer’s character is trying to go with the flow and ask her out, but is just not able to get the words out due to…whatever circumstances or certain substances!

Musically, it sounds like that dirty hard rock sound that you’d hear later on in the night at the Snakeskin when everyone’s had one too many whisky shots! Interested in dirty bar rock? Check this out!

MISS MULDOON

In conclusion, The Fontana Instincts give a Western take on Brit rock that is very much welcomed. Derby have definitely struck gold with these guys so to speak and it would be nice to see some new material from them. Until we see that triumphant return, a rip-roaring serving of Brewtown tunes to you, from Burton and beyond!

Fontana Instincts’ stuff

Official Website (currently down): http://fontanainstincts.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fontanainstincts

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/fontanainstincts

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCW4KiP_fT1lnw0rcw5PnxTQ

Tumblr: http://thefontanainstincts.tumblr.com/

FI logo

fontana_instincts happy

 

What Else Is Out There #5: Just James

Just jamming from left to right: Kerridge, Anthony, Reeves, Child, Young and Mehew

Just jamming from left to right: Kerridge, Anthony, Reeves, Child, Young and Mehew

For the fifth edition of What Else Is Out There, we’re off to Nottingham to greet a dance act who aren’t entirely what you’d expect from the genre, especially when performing live! Though there’s six of them, it’s Just James.

Alex ‘Motormouf’ Young (rapping vocals), Ella Reeves (singing vocals), Ben Kerridge (guitar), James Child (bass), Jake Mehew (keys) and Joseph Anthony (drums) form what is quite a unique combination; the sounds of live rock music and house/drum n bass tunes brought together to make a storming impact on the Midlands music scene.

Since their own formation in 2010, they have stopped by Burton a number of times to deliver their brand of electronic/dubstep/rock/hip-hop/soul/zydeco/leetcore/whatever the hell else music (they dubbed themselves ‘science fiction rock and roll’ if that’s easier) and that is why they are featured on Brewtown Music!

That and Motormouf's pits here give Jack Poxon's a run for his money!

That and Motormouf’s pits here give Jack Poxon’s a run for their money!

But the tale here begins before all that though, we have to go back to 2008, where the public performing days of a young lad called Alex Young began and developed into being an instrumental (pardon the pun) part of the urban music scene of Nottingham with his style of human beatboxing that was looking to emulate the likes of Beardyman and Dub FX.

His main inspiration though was American beatboxer Rahzel, former member of The Roots and known for his vocal work on SSX and SSX Tricky. So much like a lot of musicians, Young’s beatboxing was self-taught…not that I know of many beatbox teachers anyway!

The big solo highlight came when Young entered into the Midlands heat of the Vauxhall UK Beatbox Championships in 2010 where, after some very impressive and funny beatboxing, got to the heat final but unfortunately lost to LucasTheBeatbox. I think my thoughts on his loss are summed up here.

Oh well, 3:42 will let that news go down easier!

Towards the end of that year, Young was invited to watch his college buddy’s (Child) band Just James play at a Christmas party in the Stealth club in Nottingham. He was very impressed with the band’s unique sound and after Anthony invited him for a jam to see what it would sound like to have a rapper in the group, he impressed so much that they decided to have him on as the sixth member of the band.

Just James themselves formed in October 2010 and Young had his first gig with them in April 2011 (the same month as a gig at the  after a shining first few months of performing that earned them a spot on the shortlist for the 2011 YNot Festival (Dammit how many more times do we have to hear about that one?!). Unfortunately though, they didn’t make the final cut.

After a good few months of recording, the band put out their first EP Keep Calm and Rave On Vol 1 on June 24th which they would promote at festivals they were performing at that Summer which were Ripley Music Festival in June and the Nottingham Waterfront in August.

Keep Calm and Rave On: Zack Ryder approved!

Keep Calm and Rave On Vol 1: Zack Ryder approved!

In September, they would headline at The Maze music bar in Nottingham with Notts ska giants The Breadchasers and post punk indie band Tribal Suns. Being a Nottingham based act, they would be frequent performers at The Maze throughout their run as an act with their first gig there being in May.

In October, they had two very important gigs, in the context of this article of course, as they performed at battle of the bands competition in Derby for a chance at a record deal and their very first gig in Burton at the good ole Wetmore Whistle! Everyone goes there!

Just as a way to plug another Midlands music lover, Nottingham live music promoters Nusic had the band on their show also in October to promote them as well as perform an Invaders Must Die-like number called The Bassment.

We are the Just James!

The band began 2012 with some very good news. Through their shows in Derby and their battle of the bands competition, they were signed to Belper-based independent record label and music production team Sound Hub! Other bands signed to this label are Derby-based independent rock acts Whitemoor and James Warner Prophecies.

Two more notable gigs in Spring included a charity performance for Oxfam that also included Derby MC Eyez in April that raised £430 and a big performance at the Nottingham Royal Concert Hall on June 1st for the Queen’s Jubilee that was more of a play on the word queen for a Gay Pride concert!

But in a major highlight in June, they became a part of the 2012 Burtfest (redundancy is redundant I know!) performing on the Arch Stage on Saturday 16th June that also featured Great Scott, The Vibe and Riding the Low.

But we all know who the stars are…the band nobody there had heard of!

They would end up returning to Burton, to the Star and Garter specifically, later in the month to attempt to save the Wetmore Whistle after Burtfest left the former Whistle owner Ben Brettell in massive debt with a fundraising gig along with The Vibe, Get Cubs and Kitten Pyramid.

To build towards an album release, they released a single on July 16th called Red Light Means Go which is notable for climbing all the way to #11 on the iTunes Electronic charts! That’s not like Reverbnation’s country/county divisions either, that’s official!

Arguably, one of the biggest crowds they have ever played to came towards the end of July with their performance at the Nottingham Pride Festival where they played on the main stage in front of 20,000 people and supported Basshunter of all people!

Suddenly Burtfest feels pretty small right now!

Suddenly Burtfest feels pretty small right now!

Two more big gigs in November closed out 2012 for them with the first on Nov 2nd at Nottingham Rock City supporting Follow You Home and Sonic Boom Six and on Nov 22nd headlining at the Nottingham Bodega along with support from Great Scott and The Afterdark Movement. These also promoted a new free downloadable song See It Through released on the 27th.

2013 gave them a mini-festival at the Derby Assembly Rooms in January that had House of Thieves and Kitten Pyramid on the card…but due to heavy snow, it was re-scheduled for March 23rd where Jamie Joseph and Get Cubs were added to the mix! It even snowed THAT day too but it didn’t deter the willing!

On April 14th, they released their new single Limitless which when released also made a pretty good push up the iTunes Electronic Chart making it #29 this time and had it’s own music video released on the 21st.

Wherever they are, The Prodigy are not far behind, or in front...eh whatever!

Wherever they are, The Prodigy are not far behind, or in front…eh!

After performing again at the Whistle with The Sixth Letter at the start of June, they ended the month being a part of XStatic Festival in Swadlincote which also featured Get Cubs, Raptorial and We Were Ghosts.

But that was not the biggest festival announcement they had, as their already exciting announcement of them performing at Strawberry Fields Festival wasn’t big enough, they were told they would be opening the Festival on Friday on the Main Stage! Get Cubs were at this festival too as well as more mainstream acts The View and The Enemy.

After a big summer of festivals, they were set to perform what they said was their ‘biggest gig of the year’ at the OxJam Soiree set for 29th October which was promoted with a humorous little Youtube ad.

Though I don’t know what gave me more whiplash, the camera pans or Young’s line delivery!

With new songs in the pipeline, a gig supporting the legendary Dub Mafia at the Maze and a summer festival season announcement of Bearded Theory to come, who knows what else is set for Just James in 2014?

Buggered if I know, so let’s just look at the music itself now! Midlands Music Maniacs described them as the ‘Who needs class A’s when you’ve got these lot’ lot! Yep, I’d say that sounds about right!

Just James‘s sound has a massive presence whether being performed on stage or simply being blasted through your headphones. With influences from The Prodigy (of course!) and Pendulum spurring their sound on, their music commands your attention whether it be the rock base sound, the electronica buzzings, Young’s lyrical drops or Reeves’ soulful singing.

One song to listen to is their first single Red Light Means Go which already seems like something the high guy meme would say and that contradiction forms a good basis for song and immediately hits you full-on with the bass blares at Young’s furious rhymes!

Young’s lyrics, which I’m not even going to list they’re going by so fast, are delivered in a way that makes you think that this guy is not going to let anyone tell him to stop what he’s doing since he’s going by at such a pace, it’d be like an OAP kindly asking a truck from Maximum Overdrive to slow down!

The instrumentation is just as hard as the vocal performance from Young, but Reeves’ singing give it an almost calming quality despite the fury still remaining!

I can lose half my beard to this!

I can lose half my beard to this!

Another track to look at is Limitless which judging by that title is already going to be as ‘full-on’ as the previous track and the JJ lot don’t disappoint! Drum and bass are officially approved on Brewtown Music!

The keys riff at the start provides a steady flow to the energy to follow which the band provides in spades and can be seen done in the music video. Dan Lowe, the producer and mixer at SoundHub also needs recognition for providing their music as well as this one with great care and consideration to make the most hard-hitting track possible!

With Young’s flawless flow providing the verses and Reeves’ chorus line of “To know no bounds, is a merry-go-round”, the vocal work does give the band’s rock/dance sound it’s own unique identity and prove that EDM is not the only option for those who want to mosh to dance music! Still though, check them out and judge for yourself!

In closing, Just James give rock and dance another great union and have graced Burton with their presence a good number of times along the way! With more tracks and big festivals on the way, they’ll be sure to get everyone moving and opportunities could be limitless! A hardcore serving of Brewtown tunes to you, from Burton and beyond!

 

Just James’ Stuff

Official Website: http://www.wearejustjames.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WeAreJustJames

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/wearejustjames

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/WeAreJustJames

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WeAreJustJames

Just James logo

What Else Is Out There #4: Alex Blood

In this piece, there will be Blood!

In this piece, there will be Blood!

There is a big market out there for both hip hop and ska so why not fuse the two? Clearly this guy had the right idea since he has become one of the most recognised and celebrated musicians in Derby. Digging for gold, it’s Alex Blood!

The Midlands scallywag Alex Blood can boast a career in music that spans over a decade with many influences behind his sound and many gigs performed all over the country. Sure you could say that about many acts out there, but Blood has built a large enough following and punchy enough sound to cement himself as a local (in Derby) music legend.

Blending rock, hip hop, funk and reggae with a no-nonsense Midlands sensibility, Blood with his band The Diggers have just as complex a interesting story as their sound so let’s dive right into it.

They're more than just the Derby Chili Peppers, but that would be pretty cool too!

They’re more than just the Red Hot Derby Peppers, but that would be pretty cool too!

Born in 1982 in Derby, Blood set his sights on becoming a musician/producer in the same vein of Jamie Beau with his experiences stretching as far back as May 2001! But we need to go back even further to see how Blood got into the sordid world of the hippity hop as far as the mid 90s when an impressionable young Blood got into rap music.

“I’d moved from an outer-city school to an inner-city and just got into the whole inner-city culture and was exposed to more Hip Hop.” This love of rap was explained in this interview with BBC Derby news in 2004 which was one of his first known interviews to the public. Not a bad start eh?

This soon hyped up the release of his first full EP simply known as The Alex Blood EP under Deprogrammed Productions, the same production he was under when he produced the Deprogrammed Presents, a hip hop collaboration with multiple underground MCs across the UK.

Over the next few years, Blood would soon start gaining ground towards becoming a very well-known recording artist/producer with his next few records. These were the Blood Makes Noise EP from 2005 and The Preface 23 track mixtape released in 2006 featuring guest spots from Reggiimental and MC Rukus.

Youtube video of theirs from 2006! 240p we meet again!

From 2007 onwards, Blood’s profile was boosted even further when, at the beginning of 2007, became the Creative Facilitator & Workshop Leader at Baby People Studios in Derby. The jobs involved in this position are to deliver year long schemes of work to young people who are usually hard to reach and try to engage them and help improve their lives.

This form of community service is something that he does not only with Baby People, but also with BBC Blast that same year until 2009, Kingsmead School in Derby, Positive Activities for Young People at Derby Connexions and The Derby Youth Offending Services. He has also travelled to Chesterfield and Corby to deliver his music workshops.

But it was also in 2007 when Blood, Baby J and a few other Derby MCs worked together on a remix of Mark Ronson’s version of Valerie which was played on MTV Base! Yes, TV exposure as opposed to the usual radio exposure which we will get onto of course!

Music on MTV? Sorcery!

A major highlight from 2008 came when Blood was able to tour with the one and only Jay-Z! HE needed to watch his throne cos I’m sure Blood would have taken it!

After he released a ten track album in 2009 The Unlucky Winner is… , he decided he wanted to expand the sound he had even further and develop some of the tracks he’d made previously into more of a band feel. Enter…The Diggers!

On September 2010, Blood released the first Diggers EP It’s a Free Country which developed some of the songs off The Unlucky Winner is such as Scallywag, Tired of Workin’ and Sticky Song.

The Diggers current line-up consists of Blood himself, Gregoir Dominic Jackson, Chevy-jordan Thompson, Nathan Rickards (who has helped produce Blood’s EPs) and Duane Acton.

And Cow and Chicken's Dad here on top a bin!

And Cow and Chicken’s Dad here on top of a bin!

The next release for the band would come on April 1st 2011 with The Manifesto EP. No Alex, what you do is you say you release it on April 1st but release in on another day because…never mind!

The Diggers would score two big festival gigs in May and August with Glastonbudget and YNot, the latter having Tilted Smile, Max Raptor and Crushing Blows on the cards with them on The Allotment stage.

The Diggers would close out 2011 with a set on Radio Derby on December 21st and also Alex would give us quite an impassioned spoken word piece about the state of the country all in the name of slagging off reality TV. Gwarn!

WARNING: Contains politics

Doomsday year started off very well for Blood and The Diggers with some BBC Radio 6 Music airplay presented by Steve Lamacq with their song Living in the Red off the Manifesto EP. They would also make a YNot return come August because why not? (Ducks flaming pitchfork)

Come 2013, Blood, already having a big profile as a soloist and producer was getting even more publicity with The Diggers, with the release of two singles in February. These were Say Hello and Wake Up, both of which were supported by Radio 1 with the latter getting its own remix done at Maida Vale BBC. These releases were also there to hype up Baby J’s upcoming Baby People album.

A massive gig came for The Diggers on June 1st as they would perform at Party in the Car Park in Canterbury supporting the likes of Mista Jam, Chase & Status and Labrinth!

Over the rest of the Summer, Blood would be working, both on and off the stage a few times with both Derby-based R&B artist Jamie Joseph and good ole’ rap duo Great Scott. All three acts jammed together in July in preparation for a massive Radar Love event which would also feature all three acts and serve as Blood’s Derby comeback and as a single launch/record label launch for his new label Sheepskin Beats.

Best visual representation possible!

Best visual representation possible!

The gig was very well received and gave not only Blood a triumphant comeback but some good publicity for the release of his new single The Way I Do which was also featured alongside Great Scott‘s Let Me Down Easy and Jamie Joseph‘s Hit the Ground Running.

Before aired on BBC Radio 6 again in October, this time by Tom Robinson and for The Way I Do, the band officially announced they would spend the rest of the year recording for a proper album which they will look to release in Spring 2014.

Whoo! Quite the history, but it’s time to look at the music itself. There are certainly a lot of things here with Blood and The Diggers and Blood is able to pull a lot of musical ideas of very well.

And the flatcap, he pulls that off well an' all!

And the flatcap, he pulls that off well an’ all!

Even as far back as his solo MC days, he’s always been one to slip acoustic instruments into the mix like on his first ever EP on tracks like on Freedom (Man Bleedin’) and this blend of genres has been a staple of his music for over a decade of writing and producing music for himself and others.

So with such a massive discography like this, it was hard to narrow it down to a few recommended tracks. If I were to ultimately, I’d suggest two of his Diggers songs Scallywag and The Way I Do.

The former Scallywag is a cool and confident ska track with Blood singing the whole time rather than rapping. He cockily introduces himself which fits since it is the first track off his first Diggers release (though the original is on The Unlucky Winner is...) and shows that you can either like him or lump him and you can take him for what he is instead of what you think he is or want him to be:

I said Hello! How do you do?

My name is Alex Blood it’s scallywag to you! (2x)

You don’t know me, you see you think you do

So I must do my best to show my face to you

You’re so phony, you think that it’s the truth…

The latter The Way I Do is my personal favourite of the two and despite it being another song about personal identity, it is much more brutally honest about how he lives his life and what the state is about the place that he lives in.

This fiery, yet still laid back political anthem tackles a lot of those problems oop North such as unemployment, trying to make ends meet, local shops closing down and just overall barely being able to make it through a day.

When he talks about ‘burying me head’ it serves as quite an apt expression for how we are reluctant to deal with our problems and always talk about finding solutions but never do or follow through with the ideas we have to make things better. Either way, if you feel this way about modern times, check out the song below! You can also catch a Great Scott cameo!

In conclusion, Blood is an artist hard to pinpoint and I think that’s a good thing. Someone who’s not going to be pigeonholed and try everything he can get his hands on and it pays off very well due to his poetic and musical talents. I’d definitely recommend him in time for his new album coming out this year. Go on you scallywag and thanks for stopping by for some Brewtown tunes, from Burton and beyond!

Blood’s Stuff

Official Website: http://www.alexblood.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alexbloodmusic

Bandcamp: http://alexblood.bandcamp.com/

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/alexblood

Twitter: https://twitter.com/alexblood

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/alexblooduk

End of the line

What Else Is Out There? #3: Ash Mandrake

A man of many funny hats, Ash Mandrake.

A man of many funny hats, Ash Mandrake.

A good eccentric is hard to find and in a medium where many acts can sound the same, here’s one act that trumps so many in terms of stage presence, image and musical ability. With mutant instruments in his possession, he will take you on a ride that no amount of Frank Zappa will prepare you for! Grasp it tight, it’s Ash Mandrake!

The mental minstrel Mandrake comes with an assortment of creative (and at times over-compensating) headgear, out-there songs and some interesting instrument combinations to make one of the most unique live experiences you’ll ever see. He’s brought said live experience to Burton before so that’s why he’s here!

His act encompasses many different genres and performing styles ranging from world theatre to blues rock and the costumes that he has in his trunk are…well they’re something I’ll tell you that!

I'm sure your nightmares will agree!

I’m sure your nightmares will agree! (Photo by Krystyna FitzGerald-Morris)

The story of Ash Mandrake, real name Mark Ashley, begins in Manchester where he was born and raised. He first picked up the guitar at 14 and this sparked his interest in becoming a musician through his high school and university days playing in a variety of bands where he did enjoy himself, but always wanted to excel beyond just being in a band or be a regular solo artist with an acoustic guitar.

After graduating university, having studied fields such as science, humanities, management, he started work all over the world, in industry and different universities; as a computer programmer, a teacher, examiner and manager which would prove to be a preview of how diverse and eclectic he could be in terms of what he did, for business and for pleasure.

Business and pleasure quite literally in some senses because even though he spent his time outside of music studying fine art part-time and eventually began making music and his fancy hats for a living in 2005, he worked as a stripper/kissogram at a point!

This hat is a reminder of those dark times!

A subliminal reminder of those dark times!

In his first year, he created the first of his alter-egos that he would become during his shows called Gusto Barbit. This loud, foreign character was born through Mandrake’s own experiences of teaching English around the world and “a tramp in Bath, with a high voice who always said hello and seemed to have inexhaustible mirth” according to Mandrake’s website.

Barbit and other characters such as Shake and Flake the Bardic twins created in 2006 would frequently pop up in his shows to coincide with certain songs he would perform or to go on an anecdotal tangent to add comedy into the mix.

600 Hobnobs?! How many gallons of dipping tea do we need?

Towards the end of 2006, Mandrake would show that not only were his creative talents in hat and music-making (among other things), he unveiled his new instrument creation: a sixteen string guitar based on a customised Yamaha APX 12 string turned into a ten string instrument that has its lowest string sound an octave lower than that of the deepest note on a standard bass guitar! Well that’s my crappy abridged explanation, so here’s the real explanation!

During this time, he also won the Bard of Bath competition and became the 11th person to do so on December 7th. He was officially the best poet/storyteller of 2006…in Bath. Get in!

In 2007, he took his new Bard title and 16 string (suck it Bryan Adams!) and kept on developing his live act and recorded an EP or two which included Meditations, a six track studio recording with a recording of Flake’s Theme from 2006 and 2 tracks from his band The Mandrake Project recorded that year.

He also made Pink Floyd’s Shine on you Crazy Diamond even crazier. Just listen!

Another element of his act that became a staple was his loop machine (that Roz Bruce used in her solo days), a Boss RC-20XL Loop Station to be exact. This would make the act and music feel so much more grand and larger even though it’s one guy with Renaissance Fair garb on stage.

In 2008, he started to gain some major ground with two new reveals. The first was a big UK tour that he would go on from during the latter half of the year. Some of the places he would be stopping at along the way would be Wales, Bath (of course), a few Midlands towns and Glastonbury. Wait what?!

Not the festival (He already did that in this year AND in 2007) but in the Assembly Rooms which would bring on his second reveal. A new double-necked monster with a partially defretted baritone and a 12 string. As if he wasn’t already noticeable enough!

Behold! My deformed creature...I mean instrument!

Behold! My nuclear music room accident!

In 2009, he would return to Glastonbury to take part in the big festival once again which gave him an even bigger national push as not just the Bard of Bath but the Bard of Britain! Not that it’s a real competition but he would be close to it if there was!

In January 2011 (yes I know it seems like I’m storming through, but if I listed everything, it’d be 100000 words long! He toured a lot in 2010 let’s put it that way!), he stopped off in a certain brewing town we all know and love (tumbleweeds) and was on the same card as Roz Bruce at the Star and Garter for a rather LOOPY gig! (Tumbleweeds again)

To counter-balance that awful pun, here's Roz with Ash's beast. Better? OK.

To counter-balance that awful pun, here’s Roz with Ash’s beast. Better? OK.

Also in 2011, he released a whopping SIX albums to show off more creative content and some recorded radio airtime. The first being the live album and radio interview album as part of the Van Appeal 2011 package which were said not to be available at gigs, but this was soon remedied with the release of a three disc EP (I don’t know how you’d do that, but he did!) called Hybrid which featured Disc A’s stories and touring collection along with radio interviews, disc B’s guitar and song highlights and disc C’s Hats, loops and pumpkins showcase (oh yeah, he liked to grow pumpkins as well, on top of EVERYTHING ELSE!)

The sixth EP of this collection was the Shake and Flake EP released in November 2011 which became a preview for his upcoming full album release in late 2012, Footprints of a Tribal Id. But before this release, in the middle of another round of travelling and touring, Ash stopped off in Lichfield during the Summer to take part in the free Fuse Festival, in which he would not only take part as a performer on the card but would also travel round the festival site as a travelling minstrel to perform to passers-by.

November 2012 saw the release of six new alter-egos including a groovy looking one called Baron von Petal and the album launch, taking place in West Yorkshire, of the Tribal Id album which would be a ten track odyssey revolving around the changing of seasons throwing out the usual verse-chorus spiel for a half-spoken, half-sung narrative in front of guitar, a chorus and light percussion.

How could anyone say no that? Or THIS for that matter?

How could anyone say no that? Or THIS for that matter?

2013 saw new costumes, hats and characters being brought into the mix as usual but many other details have been added into the mix too such as multiple modern loop stations being used in a large theatrical setting like an auditorium to reach at least six different parts to almost make it seem like you’re listening to a surround sound gig!

Speaking of theatres, the act had more theatrical elements added to it, almost becoming a full on play at times with scenes, stage props and lighting. A new instrument has been added to the act too with one of the new characters Magpie The Jesterly Corvid having a double necked Uke so the act will have more mutants than the Shredder would be able to handle!

These new elements debuted at the Fell Edge show in November which took place in a centrally heated barn which seemed to be the perfect place for a new fashioned old-fashioned guy like Mandrake. This would culminate in the release in his newest (to this date) hybrid CD featuring Pumpkins and Hermits and Kings, a five or six track E.P. of song, and poetry over soundscapes and A History For “Paupers” being a three track EP on the history of jesters.

I don't think jesters had instruments like this though, unless they had a damn good carpenter and magician!

I don’t think jesters had instruments like this though, unless they had a damn good carpenter and magician! (Which HE probably is!)

Time to look at the music after all that! It should be no surprise that I think Mandrake’s music is great what with giving you this history of his work and how much work he’s put into his act. He sounds as crazy and as awesome as he looks!

Mandrake creates a great clash of the new and the old in his act which puts modern advances such as loop stations, hybrid guitars and his love of rock music with a traditional, medieval theatrical style with authentic-looking costumes and characters that look like they’ve stepped out of the most extravagant LARP ever!

Folk, rock, roots, world, jazz, prog and some new genres probably invented by him make it into his show with some very unique interpretations of pop/rock classics such as Don McLean’s Vincent, Tim Buckley’s Song to the Siren and Unchained Melody (the latter asking for audiences to make bird and fire engine noises!)

But to illustrate the best of his work (which’ll be tough to choose), it’s best to look at his originals which range from goofy and comedic (Drinker’s Meme) to scary and sinister (Pumpkin Brains). I’ve decided to look at a song featured on the Tribal Id album but is a long time favourite for anyone who knows of him: Rolling Down Hill To The Bright Summer Sun.

Though not the full version in the video, the song here is the perfect example of Mandrake’s skills being shown off all in one effort with soaring lead vocals, double simultaneous guitar work with haunting reverb and glorious vocal looping to create a choir that sounds like joy incarnate.

Naturally I will be biased towards this song since it was my first exposure to Mandrake after seeing him perform in Burton but I do feel justified in viewing this as some of his best work since it showcases his performing abilities and storytelling abilities. Speaking of, I should probably tell you what the song is about.

It’s based around the celebration of the rising sun and the Vernal Equinox (The start of Spring) which is shown in the lyrics with Mandrake speaking of the passing of Winter and welcoming a warmer and brighter time and season:

And I fought with the frost that was cruel to the bone

I danced on a lake that was harder than stone

Through darkness I mourned the longest of nights

And now with your waking my world becomes bright

It seems like THE song to listen to first thing in the morning to leave that cold night behind and welcome the (slightly given the time) warmer dawning of day. It’s a beautiful and poignant song in the middle of all the insanity of Mandrake’s act that I’m sure will help me, help you appreciate his work. Check it all out in the links below.

Ash Mandrake is a musical marvel. He sounds unlike anything else out there whilst still showing some familiar touches in his music to still be accessible to casual listeners. Whether it’s in his music, hats or freak guitars, he is one of the most exciting performers you will ever see come out of Bath (maybe next to Tears for Fears) and is always welcome to return to Brewtown should he desire to do so. A Happy holiday serving of Brewtown tunes to you, from Burton and beyond!

Mandrake’s stuff

Official Website: http://ashmandrake.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ash-Mandrake

Reverbnation: http://www.reverbnation.com/ashmandrake

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/ashmandrake

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ashmandrake

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What Else Is Out There? #2: The Offbeat

The Young Folks from top to bottom: Boyd, Tunley, Rose and Clark

The Young Folks from top to bottom: Boyd, Tunley, Rose and Clark

When you think of folk music, you don’t normally think of four fresh-faced teens from Lichfield with beat pedals do you? But here they are, to show you what else is out there, they are The Offbeat.

Bryony Rose/Simcox (Violin, Vocals), Daniel Clark  (Guitar, Ukulele, Banjo, Vocals), Hannah Boyd (Violin, Viola, Vocals) and Rosie Tunley (Cajon, Percussion, Synth, Vocals) make up this multi-talented group of Midlands youngsters who like many indie roots acts set out to put a contemporary spin on folk music, a genre that this writer has a soft spot for.

Although I couldn't commit to growing a folk beard like this!

But I couldn’t commit to growing a beard like this!

With so many instruments being played between them and such a professional attitude towards their performance, it’s no wonder that The Offbeat have become a highly sought after group all over the Midlands whilst keeping a happy disposition and cranking out catchy and energetic tunes.

The story of The Offbeat officially began in 2010, but two years before when a young folk collective amounting to 20 members (Looks like Kitten Pyramid have rivals then!) formed known as Wildfire Folk. This ensemble came about as part of the Lichfield Arts organisation and wanted to play folk “as it should be played – with enthusiasm, energy and style.” But more on them another time.

It was and has always been in this ensemble that two long-time friends (Tunley and Rose) would team up with fellow musician Boyd and Rose’s boyfriend Clark to form their own band that would look to combine roots, indie, folk and pop music to create enjoyable music that would be as fun for them to play as it would be for the audience to listen.

Well it get’s more fun after this, trust me!

In 2011, they would be performing in any building that can put on music from the offie down the road to the local church hall. It would also be the year of two big festival performances that really got people’s attention. One was in July at the annual free festival, Lichfield Fuse, where they played in the acoustic tent where they got such a good response they ended up returning there in 2013 with a lot more material. Once again though, more on that later.

Another of these performances occurred at Shrewsbury Folk Festival in August where they ended up receiving a very positive review of “Simply breath-taking – absolutely gorgeous vocals.”

Why didn't their interpretive dance clearly about pregnancy get rave reviews too?

Why didn’t their interpretive dance, clearly from Clark’s stance, about pregnancy get rave reviews too?

It was during this time that they were in the process of recording their first, self-titled EP which was released in November 2011. Also during November, they would start a tradition of performing at the all-day weekly festival The Free Love Club in Birmingham which they continue to do on and off to this day. The Free Love Club has also had on the likes of Roz Bruce, Sam Garrett, Kitten Pyramid and Call-Me-Unique.

2012 was twice as eventful for The Offbeat starting off with the announcement that due to the high amount of votes they received after entering a competition called The Next Brit Thing the year prior, they were placed on the shortlist of the Midlands Final hosted by PRS for Music (Performing Rights Society) with the prize being a chance to record at Abbey Road! Although they didn’t win the whole Brit Thing, their song Don’t Make the Call was placed in the top 7 of the PRS Songwriters Competition!

Their profile was boosted even more when they supported The Musgraves, an already famous roots pop band who received radio play from Tom Robinson on BBC Radio 6 and their song Last of Me was played on Graham Norton’s Radio 2 show and they did end up playing on Norton’s national talk show in February of 2012.

Miranda July knitting a heart-shaped doily couldn't be as twee as that!

Miranda July knitting a heart-shaped doily couldn’t be as twee as that!

They would then go on to support another indie folk act in May in the award-winning and BBC folk award nominated Gilmore and Roberts in Birmingham. G & R themselves described The Offbeat as “sounding great and very inventive.” Later that month, they would get their own slice of radio play having their free single (If It’s No) Then Just Say No played on Harrow Community Radio.

The same single would then end up being reviewed by Lucy Onions of Born Music Online which pointed out the similarities to Charlie Simpson that the band had described themselves as.

Here’s a screen-cap, cos the link to the review itself is broken. Ah Internet!

Highlights from the Summer of 2012 included The Big Lunch in Lichfield Cathedral which had BBC coverage, a radio interview at Scratch FM (Birmingham Student Union Radio), a set performed around Burton at the Rosliston Forestry Centre as part of GladeFest and the announcement of their belated album launch for September 5th.

This debut album titled We Are The Offbeat was recorded and produced at both Mighty Atom Smashers in Kidderminster (co-founded by Robert Plant) and Monochrome Studios in Warwickshire. The launch took place at the Lichfield Guildhall which brought in a sell-out crowd for the eleven track LP. This album’s fourth track Running Backwards was played on BBC Radio Introducing in the West Midlands round this time too.

After a brief three-month hiatus due to Uni for both Clark and Rose, they set out to further promote their new album and new set material which brings them into 2013. With a new year came a new release in the form for a music video for Running Backwards in April.

Take the spotlights and glitter! TAKE THEM!

Along with another piece of radio play that month on Radio Warwickshire and various York and Newcastle radio stations, a chance to support Top 10 busting folk artist Gabrielle Aplin in Newcastle-under-Lyme came their way which they took full advantage of urging fans to give them enough votes to gain the opportunity. Unfortunately, this goal wasn’t achieved but the support they gained from the competition was encouragement enough.

During the Summer 2013, they performed at the Leamington Peace Festival, one of the UK’s longest running free festivals (since 1978) and in July, they went on a summer holiday (Play Cliff Richard and I’ll kill you!) travelling to a nice little cottage in Nefyn to take in the scenery, write some new songs, play some old ones and busk where and when they had the chance.

And perform a tight set (badum tch!) in the cottage kitchen. Relaxing!

Following their holiday, their new song Turn received some radio play on both Stafford Radio and BBC West Midlands Introducing (just GO AWAY already!) and the song itself was released as a free download by then band in light of their Facebook page reaching 1000 likes! Hint hint Brewtown fans!

Along with a brief stop off at the Rosliston Glade again with Wildfire Folk, the band announced they would be performing in London in November as part of the ‘A Few Friends’ exhibition in Battersea where they will perform throughout an evening of art, design and architecture in a one-night show curated by architect Will Alsop.

But here we go, that time again, how does the music itself hold up? As I said at the beginning of this article, I love folk music and am always into energetic, vibrant sounds so their music sounded right up my alley!

That and...can you blame me looking at this cover?!

That and…can you blame me looking at this cover?!

Some people might think that roots music is a bit too sweet and saccharine to get behind, but this band hits my sweet spot in just the right way. With a consummate attitude to their performances and recording, they show experience that might be seen from artists double their age, while they play some intensely catchy and happy tunes.

They remind me of the Corrs in this regard and not just because they are three women with folk instruments and one guy with a guitar! Influences from Noah and the Whale are pretty apparent too, especially with this cover of their hit song 5 Years Time.

The two songs of theirs I will pick out as favourites of mine are Running Backwards and Turn. The first of which (video posted earlier) is an upbeat number that gives you the perfect introduction to their repertoire. A jangly acoustic guitar opening, stompbox beat and catchy as hell violin riff are what gives this song its identity but the lyrics, sung by Tunley, show a more steady and reflective tone showing how samey a relationship can end up being and the only solution is just to move on from it:

“The sun sets In the east today,

I know I’m wrong, you know another way

But it’s so far, running backwards

in the shoes you gave to me…and so we go on.”

The second song Turn is more down tempo than the first song mentioned with a softly strummed guitar, tightly tapped drum beat (which almost sounds like the beginning to a Tilly and the Wall song) and beautiful violin work guiding the track along. Clark this time on lead vocal gives a very concerned yet frustrated voice to this song being worried for himself and his partner about her persistently odd behaviour:

“Whatever you say, I’ll just agree

It’s been a long time since you’ve made sense to me.

My dear, have you lost your mind?

You spend your dark days in the brightest light.”

It sounds like it has an undertone of not understanding someone with a mental illness but then again, it’s just my speculation. It’s all subjective with my stupid arse so you can check it out on your own time!

If you are a fan of Indie Folk artists, these guys are an essential listen. If you aren’t or the genre kind of grates on you, I still recommend them to show a side to the genre that although young, doesn’t mean inexperienced, unprofessional or overly sweet. For those of you who are indifferent, thanks for stopping by to see the history of a great band and hope you come by next time for the next serving of Brewtown tunes, in Burton and beyond!

The Offbeat’s Stuff

Official Website: http://www.theoffbeatmusic.co.uk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/officialoffthebeat

Bandcamp: http://theoffbeat.bandcamp.com/

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/theoffbeat

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wearetheoffbeat

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/theoffbeatmusic

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What Else Is Out There? #1: Call-Me-Unique

Rockin’ the pearls on Brewtown Music!

To start off this new section to Brewtown Music, which will look at musicians either in the outer reaches of the Midlands or those further afield who have performed in or close to Burton before, I thought I’d look at someone who’s a little of both. Originally from Manchester and now a mainstay in Birmingham’s music scene, I present Call-Me-Unique.

Performing with just an acoustic guitar, soulful vocals and a treble clef face tattoo, Unique (real name Natasha Brown) has made quite a name for herself in Birmingham her mix of jazz, soul and jazz scat-singing which is a tricky task since Birmingham is a city unlike Burton and there is a much bigger chance of being drowned out by an abundance of acts. But that task is accomplished with style by her, to the point where she has supported some world-famous names, but more on that later.

Unique started off young (of course!) as a performer having been singing since her Primary School days and writing songs since she was 11. But she didn’t get her start playing the guitar until she was 16 whilst homeless and living in hostels and having been surrounded by a mix of genres, she was spurred on to discover her more creative side and carve out her own niche as a legit artist.

Which one will YOU be lumped into against your will?

Which one will YOU be lumped into against your will?

She took a big step from writing songs about rice and peas with her childhood friends (she had to at least TRY and exceed those lofty heights of song writing expertise!) and made a new start as a serious musician in Birmingham, which is up there with Liverpool in terms of honing and creating the greatest musicians ever, most of them being of the heavy metal genre, but unfortunately for you metal heads, she never drifted into that category (Don’t worry metalheads, I’ll write about a metal band ONE day!)

Where does the name come from though? It does seem quite bold and brash to give yourself such a name as ‘Unique‘ when you are told you are so by self-help books and pick-me-up speeches so often. It all came from a conversation she had with a tattooist back in 2008 who said that she was quite unique after a question about what would be the best word to describe herself.

With this new moniker, Unique began developing her own style which is an amalgamation of jazz, soul, jazz scat-singing, modern rap and acoustic melodies which sounds like a hefty mixture but is known to blend together well. In fact, rap stems all the way back to jazz poetry from the 60s and 70s pioneered by the likes of Gil Scott Heron, so those styles historically have some convenient connections for modern musicians to make.

Young Money can keep their ‘swag’. This is class!

Back to Unique, she did the usual local artist think of playing at pubs and clubs showing off her new material with a cover here and there, like you do. One particular highlight of the early years for Unique was in 2010 when she performed at the Aston Pride Festival where over 3000 people attended, a good number of them I’m sure saw Unique play. DIDN’T YOU?!

It was amongst the other Birmingham-based artists that she was able to find constant inspiration from, with a keep-it-real approach to the scene of modern jazz, R&B and grime which were the genres that she wanted to break into. A frequent venue for her would be The Yardbird, a Birmingham jazz club where she has consistently performed at for the last three years.

Two gigs she performed in 2011 are quite relevant to this blog as a matter of fact as she performed at the Star and Garter in Burton with Roz Bruce and Liz Coleman and in May was on the card for The Acoustic Festival of Britain in Uttoxeter.

What? This is NORMAL by music festival standards!

What? This is NORMAL by music festival standards!

Even though she supported the likes of Wiley and So Solid Crew that year as well as working with other underground artists in London, it was the next two years when things really picked up!

She was announced the winner of Reggae Baby Lounge’s ‘Eck’s Factor’ competition in April after taking part in March, took part in Simmer Down Festival supporting Aswad and supported Nicki Minaj of all people at the LG Arena in October, just to name three highlights from that year!

If you ask me though, she surpassed the main event by miles!

In 2013, jeez what DIDN’T she do?! Performing at Glastonbury for Access to Music, headlining a show at Milton Keynes venue The Stables, placing 8th out of 300 contestants for Kerrang Radio’s Unsigned Lounge competition and supporting both Rihanna AND Beyoncé at two separate concerts at the LG Arena! You know, for someone who was homeless seven years prior, that’s some pretty good going! It has also recently been confirmed that she will be supporting Jessie J at the LG in the upcoming future!

But a big highlight from this year came back in April when she set off for a European tour! Well, it was Poland only but it lasted for a week from April 28th to May 6th which, by some strange turn of fate was the same time Tilted Smile were on THEIR tour of Poland! Just further proof Unique was meant to be written about on Brewtown Music!

She received such a good reception for this tour from the Poles that she went back there in both August and September featured alongside the Fortuna Quartet in Brzeg. Again, for someone formerly homeless, hell yeah!

WARNING: Rough recording! Blame the camera, not the musicians for those bleeding ears!

As always though, despite being a Birmingham artist who has done SO much over the last half decade, it’s time to look at the music itself. Without me giving too much away, even though some of you may be perturbed by the fact she has supported the likes of Rihanna and Nicki Minaj, her performances and material easily supersede them.

Described as a merger of “Lily Allen, Jill Scott and Billie Holiday with clever hints of idols Lisa Lopes, Lauren Hill and Ella Fitzgerald” which is just as eclectic as it sounds, Unique brings a performing style that is entertaining, sincere and engaging singing a beautiful melody one minute and dropping a sick rhyme the next. This mix allows her to stand out amongst her peers who more often stick to one genre of musical performance and gives her a chance to please an audience with different preferences.

Another highlight of her gig sets is to pick a number of words from the crowd and make a song out of it (a musical mad libs in a way) which Great Scott have done before but purely in rap. Both acts use their creative improv skills well, but Unique does have the added challenge of keeping a vocal melody so she wins this rap battle!

Yeah I couldn’t find any footage of Unique doing her version of it, so here’s Great Scott’s to give you an idea.

One song I’ll pick out from her line of work that I think sums up Unique as an artist is her signature song The Wife. The simple acoustic guitar backing a confident jazz scat vocal with meaningful lyrics. The original meaning of this song uses the metaphor of a pearl (which she wears around her neck as a signature style), which admittedly isn’t a new metaphor for a love which is hard to search for and even harder to find, but is delivered with conviction and class this time around.

The pearl is much preferred over any other type of rare material in this song as Unique sings:

I’m the type of girl who rocks the pearls

Diamonds and the gold don’t do it for me.”

It could mean searching for something even deeper than what you can find on this earth and what is shown in the shops to be bought for materialistic needs (pearls can be too I guess, but you know what I mean!) and seeing that there’s more than the plenty of other fish in the sea. Before I tire you with any more of my pseudo-understanding of poetry, here’s her song below to listen to yourself.

This song will be released in the Winter by the way. Last minute Christmas shopping sorted!

What else can I say but: THIS is Unique! A great mix of the old and the new coming together in a great package of jazzy vocals being backed up by just an acoustic guitar. She is a true standout in the Birmingham music scene and has brought that style and class to Burton when she has nipped round for a gig. Here’s to having her back here soon and you guys back on here soon for the next serving of Brewtown tunes, in Burton and beyond!

Call-Me-Unique’s stuff

Official Website: http://www.callmeunique.co.uk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/callmeeunique

Reverbnation: http://www.reverbnation.com/callmeeunique

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/callmeunique

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CALLmeeUNIQUE

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/tash2UNIQUE

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