Showing posts with label singer songwriters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label singer songwriters. Show all posts

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Scottish female singer songwriters

Julie Fowlis
Karen Matheson
Karine Polwart
Emeli Sande
Eddi Reader

Here are my favourite Scottish female singer songwriters - Eddi Reader, Emeli Sande, Karine Polwart, Karen Matheson, Julie Fowlis - all very different and very special in their own unique ways. I have been to several concerts by all of them. They are also successful in different areas of music.  I have also seen some young new female singer songwriters here - Kate Tough, Genesee, Rachel Sermanni, Katie Sutherland. 
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Tuesday 27 November 2012

Benny Gallagher Milngavie Folk Club 17th Nov 2012

Stay young with your rock n rolling, Stay young keep you wheels in motion because the best things in life are free.'
Benny Gallagher was part of the successful 70s partnership of Scottish singer songwriters
Gallagher and Lyle (Graham Lyle). They had hit songs with Heart On My Sleeve, I Wanna Stay With You and When I’m Dead and Gone, and they went on to write chart songs for other artists.

Gallagher had relaxed friendly banter and as he sang he also made his guitar sing for us.  Many of us at this concert were old enough to remember Gallagher and Lyle on Tops of the Pops singing their hit song Heart on my Sleeve. He enjoyed having the audience as his backing singers and encouraged us to sing along.  He spoke about the work for the ‘Great Tapestry of Scotland’ which will be the biggest in the world when it is done. 
Benny spoke of Gallagher and Lyle’s hit song Stay Young. He said that he was over in Nashville he had heard that a country singer Don Williams had made their song Stay Young no 1  US Country charts and with over a million radio airplays. The song had sat on the shelf for over eight years. He spoke of dunniing song writing workshops where he has told young writers that songs are like birds you release and you can never know where they might land. He said that songs come out of the air. 

Set: How Come, Stay Young, When I’m Dead and Gone, Take A Chance, blues Talking, The Last One, What You Meant To Me, Break Away, Run Away, Heart On My Sleeve, Stay With You, That’s All Right Mamma, When I’m Dead and Gone, I Believe in You.
Gallagher has a soothing tenor vocal as he sang songs from his back catalogue. They are songs full of optimistic words and blues-toned melodies. What I admire in the Scots is our ability to never take ourselves too seriously and Gallagher was a good example of this.

Glasgow singer songwriter and bluesman Jim Byrne supported with his character deep vocal and stunning songs. They were introduced as Jim and Dinny – Dinny sang with her moving country voice and played several instruments. Jim’s latest cd is called The Innocent and is worth checking out. I particularly enjoyed  his song, The Handles Broken on my Cup.
Gallagher and Lyle was the Scottish duo singer songwriters Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle. Their first recognition came in 1968, when they were signed by The Beatles to write for Apple Records’ artists. By 1970, they formed the band McGuinness Flint and wrote UK chart hit ‘When I’m Dead and Gone’. They formed the duo Gallagher and Lyle in 1972 and their fifth album, Breakaway charted and included the hit songs "Heart on My Sleeve" and "I Wanna Stay with You." Don Williams took their song‘Stay Young’ No. 1 on US Country charts. The duo split in 1979.  Gallagher and Lyle have worked, jointly and individually, on records with among others - Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend, Ronnie Lane, Ronnie Wood, Joan Armatrading, Ralph McTell, Sandy Denny, Fairport Convention and Jim Diamond. Artists who have released Gallagher and Lyle songs include: Bryan Ferry, Elkie Brooks, Fairport Convention, Joe Brown, and more.

Tuesday 4 October 2011

Great Singer Songwriters

Where are the great singer songwriters of today?  They are still here (I hope), they are simply hard to find these days and seem to be buried in a sea of 'commercialism' with over-hype, instant sound-bites, over-production and glossy videos. A telling moment on a recent BBC show was simply Simon and guitar on the Parkinson show. The creative genius behind great music, bands and orchestras is simply this and to find the heart of great art requires it is 'stripped back' to basics.  

What are the best songs of the past 2 decades that compare to the great songs of the 60s?  I was making myself a playlist of favourite songs and I was struggling to think of songs from the 90s and noughties that will last the tests of time...?  Names that came into my mind were Radiohead, Arcade Fire and Coldplay - all bands.  Many great singer songwriters started off in bands - Richard Thompson ( Fairport Convention),  Rafferty (Humbelbums), McCartney (the Beatles), Simon (Simon and Garfunkle)...more. Perhaps it is easier to find your artistic voice through collaborating. I know it can take years for classics to emerge.  

Culture has changed, the internet has given us access to instant media-music. In the 60s music was more of an investment of our time and money and involved a trip to the Record Shop!  I feel certain there are advantages to online streaming but drawbacks too.  It was a big deal for 50s artists when they were able to hear the blues legends on the radio. So the advancement of the new technologies means that all the arts can now develop at a much faster pace than ever before.  Yet the young people seem to crave nostalgia...

Does the proliferation of Talent Shows these days (both local and on tv) have a lot to answer for when they are mainly about producing musical performers and are not about the craft of the songwriter.  I guess there is still the folk scene for singer songwriters. Many say that their music is rooted in traditional folk music - for example Dylan drew on Woody Guthrie, and Elton on Leon Russell.

I worry though that the arts are loosing the 'heart' of what makes art or music truly great and unforgettable in their rush to pursue the business side of it all.  Reflecting on music and songs of recent times I began to wonder is there not much 'substance' or heart behind much of it, that tells me something new emotionally I've not heard a million times before? To quote Rab Noakes - ' a future with no past has no idea'. 

Singer-songwriting is about finding your own unique voice.  
Last week the BBC4 ran a show BBC Singer Songwriters.  On my list were many on this show  -  Joni, Rab Noakes, Rafferty, Paul Simon, Cohen.. all there. Those were simpler times back then. Great acoustic music is still here, it is just hard to find it these days : )

Last week the BBC4 ran a show BBC Singer Songwriters.  On my list were many on this show  -  Joni, Rab Noakes, Rafferty, Paul Simon, John Martyn, Cohen.. all there.  Those were simpler times back then. Great acoustic music is still here, it is just hard to find it these days : )

PS - Are older singer-songwriters doing enough to encourage and offer platforms for the younger artists?
I include a clip of Joni Mitchell on the BBC. Joni is probably my biggest inspiration for singer songwriters.