Monday 30 April 2012

*Greatest Covers

John Lennon- Stand By Me

Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah

Willie Nelson - Always On My Mind

Dick Gaughan - Both Sides The Tweed

Rab Noakes - Moonlight and Gold

Adele -   Make You Feel My Love

Chrissie Hyde - Angel of the Morning

Rolling Stones - Like A Rolling Stone

Frank Sinatra - Send in the Clowns

Greatest Singers (for me)
Oddly the above! 
I might add Dylan - for his questioning voice. 

I enjoy voices that are real and have substance.
Listen to some of the greatest recorded singers – singers that use the magnetism, the tones, and the soft and harder edged subtleties of voice...Billie Holliday, Sinatra, Otis Redding, Johnny Cash, Joni Mitchell, Dylan, Buckley, Lennon – and one thing is clear, great art is about character.

The voice is one of the best instruments when used well, while beautiful songs matter too….
Mostly I love the voices of singer songwriters and the passion and edge in singers like Otis Redding or Dylan. It is not simply about perfect technique of voice. Some use inspired phrasing and subtle tones and interpretations of the song. A hypnotic voice means you can be lost in the moment. Some voices simply grab our attention with a magnetism of voice – they make it all seem effortless yet full of passions, moving edge and depth.

QUOTES Jeff Buckley -
‘Music comes from a primal place…
I’ve always felt that the quality of the voice is where the real content of a song lies. Words only suggest an experience, but the voice is that experience.’

Saturday 21 April 2012

Emeli Sande Photos 2012

 Emeli Sande BLOGS  -

*Emeli Sande Olympic Torch Relay

*Emeli Sande Old Fruitmarket Glasgow 2012

*Emeli Sande wins the Brits Critics' Choice award -

*Emeli Sande Old Fruitmarket Glasgow 2012

She sings with conviction and hope. What is so cool with Sande is that she keeps it real and old fashioned and about heart and the song. 
Emeli Sande held court at the old worldly Old Fruitmarket Glasgow in April. She is from Aberdeen and previously studied medicine at Glasgow university.

Emily Sande headlined her return gig to Glasgow and she performed songs from her Platinum number one selling debut album, Our Version of Events, which was released in February 2012. Sandé has had two number-one UK charts singles “Read All About It” and “Next To Me” and released her debut single “Heaven” in 2011 which made No 2 in the UK Singles Chart and was also a worldwide hit. Sande has been writing songs for other singers the past years and she has also performed as a guest singer on other artist's albums.
There appeared to be an agenda for big uplifted hairstyles at this gig – re the support acts Seye and Manchester singer Daley! 
Sande owned the stage and she moved around so much when she performed with her band it was hard going for the press photographers to keep up with her!  The excitement before the gig waiting in the pit was palpable and it is intense work at this kind of gig – I have to let my camera do the work....I hope.

She began the set with her forte the 'power ballad with a message' and the song Daddy, followed by dramatic thoughtful songs with Tiger, Suitcase and This Is Where I Sleep. After which Emeli took to piano where her journey began to take the set down for the moving song Clown, followed by Breaking The Law which was also acoustically performed with backing guitar and gave her the chance to express her voice clearly.  Before singing Mountains she said this song was written for her parents. She then took the pace up again with surging new single My Kind of Love.

Her new song Wonder struck many chords with one of those singable choruses she does so well, there were some shades of Coldplay in the chorus and this new songs is surely another hit for her. 'We are all wonderfulpeople/ Why are we so fearful/ Finally finding our voices' - she sang in her hit song with Professor Green. Sande states that her songs are about world peace and political issues.  Emeli finished her gig with a flourish and many in the lively crowd sang along to her songs Wonder, Heaven and Next To Me.  

The strongest parts of the concert were Read all About It, her latest single My Kind of Love and new song Wonder.  One tip - She has a band of excellent musicians with her and one might have wished for them to have been given more opportunities to add to the music.  She has a powerhouse emotional voice that smashes her memorable songs. All in all a most heartfelt, warm and enjoyable feel good gig.

She sings with conviction and hope. In a world full of shallow celebrities, here is a woman of some character and substance. There are not so many strong singers these days who can also write quality songs. What is so cool with Sande is that she keeps it real and old fashioned and about heart and the song.  

It was good to meet her very proud parents. I have met Sande too and she has a warm sincere smile and she spoke of her musical influences with great earnestness. She said she also missed her days in the library, and it cannot have been an easy decision for her to take the risks of pursuing music and to forsake the more regular career path of medicine.  Sande will again be supporting Coldplay on tour. Her next single My Kind of Love will have a tear jerker video. Her album is due for release in America in June and I’d expect her to get good vibes there. Emeli Sandé is a Scottish R and B and soul artist and songwriter.  Sande won the 'Brits Critics' Choice award 2012.

Set List -  Daddy/ Tiger/ Suitcase/ This Is Where I Sleep/ Clown(piano)/ Breaking The Law/ Mountains/ My Kind of love/ Read all About It (Professor Green)/ Maybe/ River(piano)/ Hope/ Wonder/ Heaven/ Next To Me.   

Thursday 19 April 2012

Katie Sutherland at the Oran Mor

I took photos of Katie Sutherland at the Oran Mor Glasgow in April 2012. She was with a band called Pearl and the Puppets who played several big support slots and had songs picked up with commercials and films. I've taken photos of Pearl since 2009 and she is fun to take photos of with her expressive doe eyes.

I took photos of Katie Sutherland last week at the Oran Mor Glasgow in April 2012. She was with a band called Pearl and the Puppets who played several big support slots and had songs picked up with commercials and films. I've taken photos of Pearl since 2009 and she is fun to take photos of with her expressive voice.

Katie and her band gave us an entertaining set of quality songs. Singer songwriter Katie Sutherland introduced her band as now simply her ‘band’ and not the ‘Puppets’ anymore – they consist of Blair McMillan (drums), Gordon Turner (guitar), Scott Clark (bass) and Michael Abubakar (keyboard).
Set List: I hope you like It, I Can Drive, Complicated, I Love You So Much, I Do Like You, This Is What Its all About, How lucky I Am, Sinner, Let It In, 

Katie supplies the lead vocal and also plays guitar and mandolin. Her voice is engaging, natural and soothing.
She thanked all those who have pledged for her new album – and she sang several songs from the album including Sinner, That’s What It’s all About and more, and she said she would be recording the album in June. Several of her songs have positive themes with titles such as "Because I Do" and "Make Me Smile"
In 2009 she drew attention for her music and was signed by Universal. She played some big gigs that included the BBC One Scotland Hogmanay Live, supporting Elton John and The Hoosiers and main stages at music festivals Rockness and Wickerman. 

Pearl and the Puppets were a band led by singer songwriter Katie Sutherland (vocals/guitar), Blair McMillan (drums), Gordon Turner (guitar), Scott Clark (bass) and Michael Abubakar (keyboard). In 2008, the band's song "Because I Do" was featured on a Vodaphone advertisement. Their song "Make Me Smile" was featured in a Victoria Secret advertisement in the USA and an Orange advertisement in Romania. 

*The LA sound - The Byrds to The Eagles

Crosby, Stills and Nash; Neil Young; Joni Mitchell; David Geffen. And The Laid back acoustic sound of Laurel Canyon - All about the SONG

In the early 70s LA became the centre of the music business as young artists moved there rather than to New York city. Artists came to play the well renowned LA Troubadour venue.

The artist was the centre of the business, which was driven by the songwriter and by self publishing singer songwriters. Crosby, Stills and Nash were known for their beautiful 3 part harmonies and exquisitely roving melodies. Then we had flower power and hippies.

Carole King and James Taylor moved there from New York and King’s Tapestry album spent15 weeks at no 1. 

Ambition and idealism ‘counter culture' was the name of the game.
However.....eventually the business men moved in and it became more about managers and lawyers - more about business and less about the music. The Corporation of Rock.

Recently I thought... where are the great songs of today? 
And so I begin to wonder about the cheap club nights and that's what ears get used to.... and that it is it simply not about THE SONG anymore?
In my view the cheapening of music has led to some kind of diluted commodity with no thought about quality anymore.

Unbelievable clip  -
John Lennon and Paul Simon present the Best Song Award 1975 at the Grammy's when Olivia Newton John beats icons - Elton John, Joni Mitchell and Roberta Flack!!
The Industry never ceases to amaze me! 

 Most amazing CLIP of Judy Blue Eyes ( Joni mitchell) 

Sunday 15 April 2012

Keyboard player Michael Abubakar

PHOTOS OF musician Michael Abubakar playing keys with Katie Sutherland’s band at the Oran Mor Glasgow.

Saturday 14 April 2012

Jo Nesbo's 'Headhunters'

I saw Jo Nesbo's 'Headhunters' movie last night. I thought it was a very good thriller - well written with good pacing. Good cinematography and photography too. I recommend the film.

Thursday 12 April 2012

Kevin Barry wins short story award

I took this photo of Barry at Edinburgh Book Festival 2011. Some of the characters there are so strong and simply wonderful for photographing. It is as if they express their stories through the lens.  Barry was certainly one of them and he fixed you with his Irish eyes.

Barry won the Sunday Times Short Story Award 2012 for his story Beer Trip to Llandudno.
He says that he writes best early in the morning when he is ‘half asleep and half awake. You are less self conscious and your not afraid to embarrass yourself, and that’s the good stuff.‘ He writes the first draft longhand, ‘It’s to slow down the rate at which the sentences are emerging. It is easy to mistake fluency for inspiration.’

‘If you can get how a character speaks, you get their soul.’ ..For me the imperative is to get characters speaking and to listen to what they are not saying as much as what they are.’
His literary heroes include VS Prichard ; ‘He worked form the ear, from the way people speak and I felt an affinity with that.’ 
Barry advocates keeping it real, ‘I’m old school. Never in my life have I attended a creative writing class, I kind of react against it. I think it’s a bit of an industry.’
‘I write 10 or so a year and only one or two that will be any cop at all.’  It’s an art form that takes a lot of work and a lot go practice. ‘    

Sunday 1 April 2012

*George Harrison, his Songs Brought the Sun and the Stars

‘Sense never gratified/ Only swelling like a tide/ That could drown me in the material world.’ 
' George didn’t see black and white, up and down as different things. He didn’t compartmentalize his moods or his life. People think he was this or that or really extreme, But these extremes are all within one circle.’ Olivia Harrison

Harrison, the often overlooked Beatle, wrote some of the most loved Beatles songs - 'Something', 'All Things Must Pass' and 'Here Comes the Sun'. His guitar playing was highly expressive and admired by other guitarists. He added more to the Beatles sound than many realized. And my guitar gently weeps.....
I’ve been curious about Harrison since my twenties when this rhythm guitarist to my surprise said he was the most talented of the Beatles. After all it was always Paul and John in the spotlight. I watched Scorsese’s documentary ‘Living in the Material World’ recently and I enjoyed the way he is able to get under the skin of artists that he portrays, as he did in his  documentary on Bob Dylan entitled 'No Direction Home'. 
From the start George was the little brother, brought in by John and Paul to play the guitar riffs. He didn’t enjoy the teen worship and out of control screaming hoards of girls swooning for the band, and after a bit it became over whelming to him.
However anyone who studies the Beatles back catalogue will discover that some of their best songs were written by Harrison. He gave the Beatles a ‘lyrical’ style of playing. He is listed at number 11 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of "100 Greatest Guitarist of All Time". He drew from the records of Carl Perkins, Duanne Eddy, Chat Atkins, Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran. There was his prominent rhythm guitar on 1966 Taxman, Love You Too on Revolver; This Is Love, When We Was Fab on Cloud Nine. Eventually Harrison developed his own skills and he submitted his songs for Let It Be and Abbey Road albums – songs such as All Things Must Pass. Then he wrote one of the best love songs ever written ‘Something’ which was Harrison's first Beatles single (a double A side with Come Together). 
George the Innovator.  He was an innovator, an observer who was endlessly curious.  He was a free agent and he didn’t like the rules yet he was also very much a team player.
Concert for Bangladesh(1971) – Held at Madison Square this was the first large scale concert by pop musicians to support a charity and led to Geldof's Live Aid. Even today sales of the CD raise money for UNICEF.
George the Mystic. His spiritual journey meant everything. He had money at an early age yet there was still something missing for him.  He married blond model Patti Boyd after filming Hard Days Night and she led him to an interest in Eastern philosophies.  Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar  became his mentor and he believed you needed to have direct experience of god in whatever form to believe. ‘ Look we’re not these bodies lets not get hung up on that.’  Patti inspired two of the greatest love songs ever written - Something by Harrison and Layla by Eric Clapton.  She later married Clapton and Harrison married Mexican Olivia Arias. 
 Post Beatles. All Things must Pass is considered to be the best post Beatles solo record with songs such as – Isn’t It a Pity, Beware of Darkness, My Sweet Lord, I’d Have You Anytime (co-written with Dylan) and the Dylan cover If Not for You.
George The Filmmaker. Handmade Films. He paid the largest price ever for a movie ticket when he had his house mortgaged to fund Monty Python’s The Life of Brian.
The Traveling Wilburys (1988). When recording for his album Cloud Nine Harrison so enjoyed  working with Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lyne and Tom Petty(no less!) that he later got them together to tour and record as a super group. 
 Songs. I Gave My Heart To You, If I Needed Someone, All Things Must Pass, Something, Here Comes the Sun, My Guitar Gently Weeps, Isn’t It A Pity, Within You Without You, What Is Life, 

Harrison had a compassionate, spiritual and caring voice that seemed to come from a deep sense of belief and certainly of love. His friend Eric Clapton told of them sitting in the garden at Friar Park one morning when the sun started to come out and suddenly inspired the song .. like a miracle..The Beatles were different they were the first big band of the early 60s and those years 1963 to 1966 transformed the musical landscape forever. 
‘Create and preserve the image of your choice.’
‘’You don’t build a garden for yourself right now – you build a garden for future generations.’
 He had both grace and humour. He searched for inner light and inner peace …and yes Harrison did make the sunset with his songs. 
 All Things Must Pass, Concert for Bangladesh, Living in the Material World, Handmade Films, Cloud Nine, Travelling Willburys. 
It has been a joy reading about Harrison for this blog and listening to his music.


Concert for Bangladesh

George's last concert