Showing posts with label pop. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pop. Show all posts

Sunday 31 July 2022

MUSIC 2022

Fergus McGreadie 

 Good to see the songs, the good riff – are still wooing audiences!


*Glastonbury 2022


Wet Leg, Wolf Alice, Arlo Parkes,


80s bands, Supergrass, crowded house, Metronomy,


Headliners – Billie Elish, Paul McCartney


Emerging talent winner – Scots singer songwriter Lewis McLaughlin

Paolo Nutini

*TRSMT festival Glasgow– Return of Paolo Nutini, (back after an 8 year break), Sam Fender, Lewis Capaldi, 

Rab Noakes - Birthday, special gig Milngavie folk club.

Connect Music festival Edinburgh - 

Jon Hopkins, Idles, John Grant, Jessie Buckley & Bernard Butler, Lyra, joesef, Optima, 

MERCURY prize shortlist 2022

With the usual eclectic mix and encourages diversity. –  from big name pop stars, to jazz musician.


Scots jazz pianist – Fergus McGreadie - Influenced by both jazz and folk for his new album Forrest floor


PLUS Givenno, Joy Crookes, Little Simz, Kojey Radical, Jessie Buckley and Bernard Butler, Sam Fender, Wet Leg, Harry Styles.



For all the days that tear the Heart -


Jessie Buckley and Bernard Butler

Friday 9 March 2018

BRIT Awards 2018

 Has England lost its identity in a London melting pot?
MMmmm, not sure what to say here. I’ve watched these types shows over many years .
The show stated with Justin Timberlake – isn’t he American?   In recent years the show has become more and more Americanized.

But is it more that the mega super cities are now a globalized culture unto themselves – this show might have been in New York, Monaco, or Tokyo? The music would sound more or less the same in any major world city – some retro Ed Sherran  (he reminds me of Tracey Chapman), some rap, some dancers in sexy outfits, one rock band and spattered with a few reality TV show winners.
Where is any unique indigenous culture then? Perhaps the major cities don’t have any anymore – with their AirB&Bs, over done Xmas lights, major chain stores.  

Those of us who don’t live in a huge world super cities lost touch with what these places are about? Do we really want to visit Rome to find it is the same as New York? Or that Paris is the same as London?  Don’t we want to have unique cultures, arts and heritage and yes music, that we care about?

These 'cultural shifts' are important also for our present day political confusions. Many of us are confused. The mainstream supposedly ‘free press’ feeds us gossip rather than any authentic investigative journalism. (while there are pockets of enlightened journalism). Meanwhile the old tabloid foreign owned press feeds the older generations lies.

I live north of Glasgow, which is also a major cosmopolitan city, and I have access to some of the most beautiufl countryside – Loch Lomond, Campsies, Trossachs.
Glasgow is rather unique – it has an abundance of small, mid and large venues for all kinds for musicians to meet and play. And there continues a healthy grassroots music scene. Each January Glasgow hosts the world's largest folk, roots and world music festival, which brings together American, traditional. Gaelic, Celtic  (Quebec, Basque, Brittany) Irish, Shetland and Orkney islands – with pipers, singers, guitarists, songwriters, composers. Celtic Connections mixes contemporary influences long with oral and musical traditions.

We want to collaborate with different places and offer unique work – but not at the expense of loosing individuality and difference, because that only leads to blandness and a homogenised world. To produce quality in the arts we must know our own stories.

These major labels reject indigenous, organic heritage and culture unique to different regions. 

The Irish and Scots took their music over to America’s Smokey mountains, new Orleans – where it missed with ragtime blues, sea shanties, French Cajun, slave work songs and cowboy songs.

“You hear all the finer points and you learn the details. “ Bob Dylan.
‘I had all the vernacular down. I knew the rhetoric. None of it went over my head – the devices, the techniques, the secrets, the mysteries – I knew all the deserted roads that I travelled in too. I could make it all connect and move with the current of the day.’

Understand the finer details
Dig deep, to understand the stories.

We must not ‘break into smaller pieces’ – it has to be about balance though between being international and looking outward, but in order to do this well we must first know and understand our own stories. We must be national in order to be also international. The most successful artists know this instinctively.

The switch from Ethnic Nationalism to Civic nationalism 
States in Europe are no longer about ‘ethnic bases’ controlled centrally – now they are more about citizens rights to speak their regional languages  This is a long switch from ethnic to civic nationalism, which has been happening in Scotland too. This is causing tensions. Europe hundreds of years ago had large empires  (such as the Habsburg empire, the holy Roman empire) – Europe is now a place of numerous nation states.  

Thursday 30 April 2015

Clare Maguire

I saw a fun very young singer songwriter Clare Maguire supporting the pop duo Hurts at the Oran Mor in 2011. She was wearing quite an outlandish scarlett outfit and head dress and sang with a big voice. She is now being touted as the new Adele. In a recent article in the Sunday Times magazine, Clare says she was unhappy with the ‘image’ the Label gave her  - of an emo power ballad singer - now she sings her own style of soul, pop and funk and has her own brand of indie style.  

My 2011 blog -

So many young singers can get Label attention and then nothing happens. Interesting to hear she now at 27 gaining attention at Burberry Fashion shows no less, via Christopher Bailey who likes to showcase new musical talent.

Saturday 7 June 2014

Summer Festivals

The summer festivals circuits aim at every taste and style of music fan and range from -
Radio One listeners - T in The Park, Benicassim ;  Radio Two fans -  V festival, Staffordshire, Hyde Park ;  Indie music fans - Bestival, Latitude (Isle of Wight), Primavera Sound Barcelona (with headliners Arcade Fire, The National). Rockness Inverness for the scenery and eclectic line up  
Rock and metal fans - Download ;  Dance and club - Sonar, Barcelona, international festival of advanced music and media art ;  Folk music at Green Man and Latitude.
Classic rock and pop for everyone at one of the best – Glastonbury and its biggest headline acts. 

Sunday 7 July 2013

Music Styles 2013

Willy Moon
Music Styles 2013
There is so much fun retro style these days!

From the crisply suited smooth operators (Willy Moon, Hurts) to the rough edged wanderers (Tom Waits, Jake Bugg), the soul divas (Adele, Emeli Sande), the pop icons (Rhianna, Elton, Kylie), the club music players (Calvin Harris) the casual indie kids (Radiohead, The National), the guitar singer songwriters (Paul Simon, Jake Bugg), to the fantasy icons (Madonna, Lady Gaga), the glorious emo kids, the glum rockers, the earthy folk blues singers…... more!

I was flicking through music reviews and I notice today in music (as in fashion) so many individual styles. This is a good thing! Back in the 50s,70s and 80s there was often one main look – the mop top mods, the rock n rollers, the spiky haired punks. 

‘Style’ today is more all encompassing, freer, diverse and more expressive.

Hurts cool 80s style
New Music 2013
New Albums – Biffy Clyro (Opposites), NOAH & THE Whale (Heart of Nowhere),
Laura Marling (Once I Was an Eagle), James Blake (Overgrown), Bonny Rait (Slipstream), Foals (Holy Fire),

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Emeli Sande WINS Mastercard Album of the Year at The Brits Tonight!

Emeli Sande King Tuts 2010
Emeli Sande is nominated for several Brit Awards tonight- Best Female, Best Album, Best Single,  Break through Act -  Good Luck Emeli!
Her debut album ‘Our Version Of Events’  became the UK’s biggest selling debut album of 2012 and she sang at the Olympic Opening ceremonies in London July 2012. She also found the time to get married in 2012, its been quite a year for her! 

** Emeli won Best British Female 2013.
Emeli Sande says after winning Mastercard Album of the Year Award 2013 ' I'm an unlikely Popstar'  - she is such a genuine person : )

I have been following Emeli since her Oran Mor gig here in Glasgow December 2007.  I got come nice shots there that were used for her promotions in the following years. I first took shots of Emeli at the Oran Mor 2007 and she was attracting attention then for her big soul voice. Since then she has had several chart hit singles. 

Emeli Sande Oran Mor 2012
I met her at her sound check King Tuts back in 2010, and was pleased she gave me time to discuss her music. She said then she hoped to do edgy or rockier soul pop and was influenced by American soul artists such as Nina Simone. Emeli described her sound as 'soul with a rockier edge.' She told me her musical influences came from a diverse range of artists such as rock bands Massive Attack and Portishead, as well as from folk singer songwriters such as Joni Mitchell.  I thought then that Emeli had substance and heart and a big future ahead of her. I enjoyed the positive messages of her songs which compare well to some of the rather raunchy or even questionable lyrics of many pop songs out there. Sande sings of Wonder, Next to Me and My Kind of Love.  

Sande plays piano and clarinet, and sang in the school choir (where her Zambian father was a music teacher). She was born in Sunderland and moved to Alford Aberdeenshire when she was four. She was previously a student at Glasgow Medical school. After attaining her inter-collated degree, she decided to pursue her dream in music and signed a publishing deal in 2009.

Since then she has written with artists in London and America over the past few years, and has co-written songs with well known American soul singer Alicia Keys.  
Emeli Sande Oran Mor 2007
I first saw Emeli perform at her CD launch Oran Mor in 2007 and back then her influences were mainly soul, and singer songwriters such a singer Nina Simone. Her new songs for her debut album our Version of Events had more character and rhythm, structure and vibe around them and a broader range of influences.

In many ways it seems unbelievable to me her successes this past year and her singing Abide With Me at the Olympic ceremonies in London July 2012.
Royal Albert Hall
The highlight was my trip to see her live at the Royal Albert Hall in November 2012 – one of the most incredible experiences for me and a day I will never forget.  I will always remember ascending the narrow steps right into the venue where the lights shimmered above us and the anticipation of the concert was palpable…

Emeli said she missed the intense studying in the university library then at King Tuts, but I expect now that she is glad and proud of her decision to move to London in 2009 and pursue her music career!  Thank you Emeli for signing some of my prints. 

When I got the email to say I would have a pass for the Albert hall concert it is hard to describe the feelings. I put myself out there and it can be scary – sometimes I hear nothing… I guess it is best to try then not try at all!  And thank you Emeli for all the exciting concerts, for hearing your voice and wonderful songs live at the intimacy of the Oran Mor in 2011, and for the overwhelming Albert hall stage concert. Memories to treasure.  I can only imagine what 2012 has meant for you  : ).
Olympic Torch Relay Glasgow July 2012
 Emeli Sande Albert Hall November 2012
Emeli Sande says – we don’t express ourselves in music but rather that the music expresses us. 

Friday 11 January 2013

Scottish Music 2012

Emeli Sande Albert Hall
There is a vibrant and creative vibe in Scottish music right now as it mixes Celtic traditions with innovative and challenging newer styles of musical rhythms and structures and recording techniques. There are healthy ground roots in its major city’s with many city centre small venues for live music.

There are also several major music festivals held in Scotland each year -
T in the Park, Celtic Connections, Rockness, Belladrum, Edinburgh, (plus many folk festivals

Scottish music is in a very good place. I attend Celtic each year where they have three weeks of open mic sessions and competitions and the festival has many interesting collaborations and musicians attending worldwide. I saw Rachel Sermanni there a few years back.  

Emeli Sande. The biggest breakthrough artist in the UK in 2012 was Scottish singer songwriter Emeli Sande. Emeli Sandé is a Scottish recording artist and songwriter. Sandé first became known to the public eye after she featured on rapper Chipmunk’s, “Diamond Rings” which entered the UK top Ten Singles chart. Also a top ten hit with Wiley’s “Never Be Your Woman. Simon Cowell called Sandé "his favourite songwriter at the minute". In 2012 she received the Brit Awards Critics' Choice Award. She has written for a number of artists, including Susan Boyle, Rihanna, Gabriella, Leona Lewis, Alesha Dixon, Tinie Tempah, Cheryl Cole. In 2010, she signed a publishing deal with EMI. She later announced that Virgin had given her a record deal. Sandé released her first solo single "Heaven" in August 2011. Sandé has had three number-one singles across the UK and Ireland with "Read All About It" with Professor Green, "Next To Me" and "Beneath Your Beautiful" a collaboration with Labrinth.
Her album Our Version of Events made number one in the UK in February 2012 and became the best-selling album of 2012 in the UK, with over 1m sales. 

In the first month of 2013 there will be new album releases from Scottish rock bands Frightened Rabbit and Biffy Clyro.
Karine Polwart
New Scottish albums 2012 
Karine Polwart (Traces ) Lau (Race the Loser) Admiral Fallow (Tree Bursts in Snow)
Plus album releases from Errors, Twilight Sad, Rachel Sermanni, Kassidy, Unwinding Hours.

Scottish record labels
Chemikal Underground, Greentrax, Electric Honey, Optimo,

Wednesday 12 December 2012

Emeli Sande at Royal Albert Hall

Some days are ordinary grey days, but yesterday was an extraordinary day.
There was a glorious blue sky and those small fluffy white clouds as I headed to South Kensington via bus and tube and for a late lunch at the V & A café, where the pianist played under the ornate Victorian rooftops. 

2012 has been a big year for Sande, not only did she get married, her debut album Our Version of Events was the top selling album and went triple platinum in the UK. She has a glowing warm stage presence with her large smile and her sincerity. I have seen her perform at several of Glasgow's top venues - the Oran Mor, King Tuts and the Old Fruitmarket. 

It felt very strange to be in such an iconic venue. I entered the hall via its Stage Door entrance for my Pass, where we waited. Professor Green came in shortly after!  I shook his hand and said how much I enjoyed his big hit song with Emeli - Read All About It. Green had a beautiful girl with him who looked  like a model. I took in the images on the walls – in particular one memorable image of Frank Sinatra as he waved to his enthralled audience taken from the stage by photographer David Redfern, I was in awe!. I thought how hard it is now to get those kind of images with all the restrictions imposed on photographers these days – only the first three songs, no moving about etc. etc.  I wished to savour every moment knowing these were moments I would never forget.    

I will never forget ascending the narrow steps that entered the arena the theatre’s red and gold lights shimmered above us, where there were the shadow outlines of people on the tiered circle galleries as spotlights hovered and I feel I have now entered a realm of fantasy, folklore, mystique and hidden memories.

Another Emily, from New York – an Emily King played as the support.

When Emeli appeared in the shadows at the top of the dark steps we know she is a star in the making. She savoured the experience, as she paused to take in the atmosphere and those moments as she arrived on the iconic stage.  The halls doomed arena offer perfect acoustics for voices to reverberate and bounce into the air. 

Sande began with her distinctive song Daddy, which was followed by Tiger and Where I Sleep. Then the backing singers and band got a chance to shine with the refrain I Left My Heart in Pluto.
In the middle of her set Emeli sat at the piano centre stage and said, 'This is where I know myself and where I am raw.’ She started with the emotional Clown and she said sometimes we all need to show the Clown in us.  Next she sang her well loved song River. She said she’d had emotional responses to this song and that one young girl who’d never been to a music concert before had said to her that Emeli was 'her river of music.'  Then she sang a song by one of her main musical influences, Nina Simone, ‘I Wish I Knew How It Feels to Be Free’ which drew positive audience reactions.

‘We should all speak up and use our voices.’ Emeli said when she sang Read All About It: and the audience was delighted when Professor Green came on stage to perform for this number one hit song. Emeli returned to the stage in a red dress and with her song Wonder: a song full of light when she got the audience on their feet
Anything can be achieved if you have love, when she spoke of the support of her parents. Then she sang her hit song Heaven that has that danceable drum beat and soaring vocal. Labrinth then appeared to sing their chart song Underneath Your Beautiful. And for her encore she sang her touching Maybe, followed by her rousing Next To Me.

Emeli makes the dream her own, but she also takes us with her. This was one of my best days too.
Having followed Emeli's career for five years since 2007, it is both strange and wonderful to see her now on the Big Stage and called the Voice of 2012. I remember the intimacy of her Oran Mor gig and how moving her voice was there.

THE SET:  Daddy, Tiger, This is Where I Sleep, Breaking the Law, ( two new songs)  My Kind of Love, Abide With Me, Clown, River, Nina Simone’s How It feels to be Free, Read all About It, Wonder, Mountains, Heaven, Maybe, Next to Me,
Proceeds to the Princes Trust. The concert was being filmed for a DVD, photography was restricted, but the colours and vibe were awesome. 

Music 2012

Music 2012 
It’s been a year of weddings, nostalgia, resolutions and it has been an interesting hectic year.  

I continue to love music photography but I am much more selective these days about gigs I cover as I have many other priorities. This year was quiet for bigger artists for me – well in 2011 I saw Bob Dylan and Paul Simon and not much can compare with that! 

I’m so proud of the Scottish folk artists and contemporary ones too. Some have recently passed, sadly Michael Marra and there is a concert for him at Celtic 2013. It’s good to follow the new artists coming up such as Biffy Clyro and Karine Polwart. 

New Artists
Emeli Sande Our Version of Events, Lana Del Rey Born to Die, Jake Bugg Jake Bugg,  (the new Bob Dylan? Time will tell), Grizzly Bear Shields, Lucy Rose, Django Django (from Edinburgh). 
Biffy Clyro on Jools Holland stood out for me. They are from Ayrshire Scotland and I had heard of the band but had never seen them live – and what a good live band they are who have paid their dues and are more than ready for those bigger stadiums. Wow is all I can say. 

Older Artists –
Bob Dylan, Tempest, Leonard Cohen, Old Ideas, Muse, The 2nd Law. 
Folk Artists - Scottish Folk Concerts – Benny Gallagher, Rab Noakes,
Younger folk musicians - Kris Drever, Karine Polwart, Manran, Madison Violet,

Scottish Singer Songwriters
*Emeli Sande.  It’s hard to know what to say. I have followed Emeli’s career for five years and to be there to see her take over the Albert hall stage this November was quite emotional for me, so I can only imagine what this year has meant for her. She sang the most moving moment at the Olympic opening ceremony with a haunting refined and breath taking version of the Welsh song Abide With Me.  Her single Heaven was her first hit song – she also sings of Wonder, Next To Me, My Kind of Love. It certainly has been her path in life to sing for us.

There is Love in this world for everyone, Every precious smile you make, Be sure love is out there looking for you.' Michael Marra
*Respected songwriter Michael Marra died suddenly. He Paints With Words. Sadly quirky and humorous and sometimes poignant artist Michael Marra passed away in November 2912. I have seen him live several times and the last time at Milngavie Folk club in 2011. I wondered he didn’t look so well in the photos. At the sound check he set his keyboards on an ironing board. I will never forget his singing Robert Burn’s 'Green Grown the Rashes O' at his concert at Mugdock theatre in 2007. He returned again in 2008 when I was lucky enough to meet and chat with him and where he signed one of my prints. He said he enjoyed playing in the small theatre with its semi-circle of tiered seats and grand piano. He looked so frail when he first comes on stage but then he lit up the venue with his deep gravelly voice - with his endearing manner and ironic dry wit, Marra sang his medley of songs which are full of unforgettable characters and images of place and time. Mugdock was a perfect venue for him and he held the audience in the palm of his hands. I’m not sure I have ever been so engrossed at a live gig. Songs.Kelly's Visit to Dundee,' 'Muggie Shaw', 'Freda Kohl's Visit to the Tay Bridge Bar', and 'Lonesome Death of Francis Clarke', 'Schenectady Calling'.

Music gigs and Royal Albert Hall. I continue to shoot occasionally at my local folk club. Along side this bigger concerts. It was my delight and pleasure to take photos of Emeli Sande at the Albert hall London at her gig there in November. It’s a venue I never dreamed of going to never mind taking photos at.

Festivals. This year at Celtic the highlight was the Gerry Rafferty Remembered concert organised by Rab Noakes. Rafferty was a truly great Scottish singer songwriter (Stealers Wheel, Bakers Street, Stuck in the Middle With You and much more) who sadly died in 2011. As always the Transatlantic Session proved the value of a great band and excellent musicianship. Edinburgh Book festival, I particularly enjoyed Nile Rodgers talk as he strummed his guitar. Rodgers has written songs for some of the greats – Bowie, Madonna, Michael Jackson, and more.

It is fun to follow the older folk tunes and folk artists alongside the newer pop music songs. I begin to wish some of these older folk artists would collaborate more with the younger musicians. A two way street though - experience and wisdoms might be passed on and the energy and enthusiasms of the younger artists could inspire and innovate. Mumford have cleverly mixed dance rhythms with folk tunes to great success