Saturday 10 March 2012

*Composers 'The Bee Gees'

Quotes from the brothers Barry, Robin and Maurice. 
'We have two careers as composers and artists, the two go together but are separate as well. We are composers firstly. There is no greater thrill than to write a song for someone you love in mind and then to hear them sing it. Pop and country are very close – Islands in the Stream became a country record.'

For me Islands in the Stream is one of the greatest love songs ever – along with Massachusetts which holds special memories for me. 
'People are lazy – harmony and melodies require work!.'
Harmony and melody is a big part of their music, when siblings sing together there is such a special subtle blend. 

The Bee Gees are a musical group which originally comprised three brothers: Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb. The trio were successful for most of their 40-plus years of recording music, but they had two distinct periods of exceptional success: as a pop act in the late 1960s and early 1970s and as prominent performers of the disco music era in the late 1970s. The group sang three-part tight harmonies that were instantly recognisable; Robin's clear vibrato lead was a hallmark of their earlier hits, while Barry's R&B falsetto became their signature sound during the late 1970s and 1980s. The brothers co-wrote all of their own hits, as well as writing and producing several major hits for other artists.
It has been estimated that the Bee Gees' career record sales total more than 220 million, making them one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Only Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Michael Jackson and Paul McCarney have outsold the Bee Gees.

Jim Byrne and the Blackwoods and Dinny at Bar Brel Feb 2012

On a wet Glasgow night Jim Byrne and his band brought colour to the dull February days with enriching and soothing sounds..

The Bar Brel was full and cosy and I took a seat near the front in the hope of getting some good shots. This was the CD launch for Jim’s new set of tunes for his album The Innocent and he was accompanied by the Blackwood’s which consisted of Graham MacKintosh (banjo, violin), Elanor Gunn (violin) Dinny (guitar, harp and vocals), and Peter Bryne (bass, percussion, backing vocals). The band all did a very good job of backing Jim’s deep soothing bluesman vocals.

Stand out songs were requested - Two Empty Chairs, Sand in Our Shoes, and cover song Thirteen. I enjoyed the gypsy guitar vibe of Down by the Wildwood, after which Bryne took the temperature down with the comforting Sweeter than a Rose and the earthy Sand in Our Shoes.  He sang the covers Thinking Tonight Of My Blue Eyes, Satisfied Mind ( Joe "Red" Hayes), There Stands The Glass (Russ Hull, Mary Jean Shurtz and Audrey Greisham) and a fun Make Me a Pallet on the Floor. His cover songs are well thought out as are his own songs which show his obvious love of music.

Jim’s music has a warm nostalgic feel and their set was very much in Jim’s chilled out late night groove style.
I am impressed with the way Jim maintains his Scottishness while taking on his American folk and blues influences. His sound draws on diverse influences such as Johnny Cash and Tom Waits, as well as other lesser known folk artists. Jim Byrne is a singer songwriter influenced by Americana, folk, alt-country and blues music. 
Byrne has an expressive voice and slightly eccentric songs making for a distinctive sound. He steered a calm ship with his quiet relaxed manner and smile which filters through his mellow country tunes and quality guitar playing. 

His new album has a cover by Susanne McGreevy and is called The Innocent. It has more atmosphere and is a step on from his well received previous album "Every Day is Sunshine.” The Innocent has an earthy sound and his songs have quirky and unexpected lyrics. The backing musicians play a wide variety of instruments on the record which adds a rootsy sound with a richer depth and with more fluid soundscapes.

A highly enjoyable night and I recommend checking out Jim's latest offerings.
Dinny sang a few of her own songs as the support slot and she has a very good voice with a pure quality to it as well as being a talented guitarist.
 As on Jim's previous album, he's joined by some of Glasgow's best musicians, notably Yvonne Lyon (delicate piano on Sleepy Head) and virtuoso guitarist and banjo picker Graham Mackintosh (Satisfied Mind, Thirteen). Jim’s brother, Peter Byrne, adds harmonic richness on backing vocals (check the chorus on Sand in your Shoes) as does Glasgow singer songwriter Dinny (Two Empty Chairs, You Are A Good Friend Of Mine).   

Set List Fancy Wooden Box
Tell Me You Love Me Again
Down By The Wildwood
Thinking Tonight Of My Blue Eyes
Satisfied Mind (cover song by Joe "Red" Hayes)

Sweeter Than A Rose
Sand In Our Shoes

You Dont know
There Stands The Glass
Two Empty Chairs
When You Bit Into That Apple
Make Me down A Pallette On Your Floor
The Handle's Broken On my Cup
Daddy's Car

Monday 5 March 2012

Carly Connor King Tuts 26th Feb 2012

Petite fireball Carly lifted her soul voice seemingly from the tips of her toes. Her performance was well groomed and well thought out. 

She made her entrance and engrossed the crowd at King Tuts with her impassioned soul voice reminiscent of early 70s Motown soul, some Aretha and with a little bit of Cream blues guitars added to the mix. Carly sometimes performs on her toes in her bare feet and in her floating black dress she seems to dance through her set…Her songs have titles such as Back to Business, Heartbreak Hotel, NightCreeper, and Into the Fire.

Carly had a drummer and guitarist on stage with her, and she also played guitar on a couple of songs. A bass player appeared for one song – while on the other songs there was a backing bass track, oddly. 

I first saw Carly when my son’s band backed her for a Glasgow gig way back in 2006. Brian McGee, the former drummer of 80s Scottish band Simple Minds was working with her and I think she was only about 15 then, making her 21 or 22 now. She has been working away on her music and sound ever since then in both London and Glasgow with producers and writers. 

She was great for photos with such a dynamic theatrical show!  I have so many fun ones it has been hard to select my top ones.   Certainly a Big Voice from such a tiny pretty blond!  

Thursday 1 March 2012

Geoff Ellis : Interview

Geoff Ellis and Vic Galloway
 Geoff Ellis at the Fruitmarket Glasgow February 2012 (Unesco Glasgow City of Music)
Ellis hails from Manchester. He went to study Building and then transferred to Middlesex to study Film and TV. He started writing music reviews for the student magazine, which unusually was covering music rather than politics. He also put in time working as security at the Student Union. He then got a position as Event Manager. Few will put themselves out and look for opportunities or to make their own opportunities, he stated. 
He then moved to run the Marquee Club in London which was known for heavy rock at that time and he tried to change it to include more Indie music. These were tough times then with the recession and some gigs didn’t sell well such as Radiohead on their first headline tour, where he made a loss and they hardly covered the door. There were always risks to take. He put on club nights with little advertising to help keep things going.

In the 80s he applied to run King Tuts in 1990 (when this now famous venue started) and moved to Glasgow. Ellis said it is about relationships, while still standing your ground and not being a soft touch so people will respect you. He said that he had made loads of mistakes and that it is important to learn from mistakes. There is no guidebook for concert promoters. He said it is important to have resilience, humility and don’t expect a pat on the back but do expect to put the hours in. That roles can shift.

T in the Park. He and his co-workers thought, why we don’t do a festival and at the time there was only Glastonbury and Reading and no outdoor festival in Scotland.  They lost money the first year and only had 5 acts. T now takes a year to plan. There is a huge adrenalin rush from the moment the gates open and its such a huge buzz to see everyone at the main sage having a great time. After the gigs finish and the City that is T in the Park is gone, there is a flat feeling. Attendance is between 25,000 to 85,000. Radio influences attendance at gigs.
DF Concerts. Ellis took the risk of putting Robbie Williams on at Hampden in 1998 when his song Angels came out, when others wondered would they possibly sell so many tickets. DF concerts is now the biggest promoters in Scotland with a team of 30.

Highs. Such as Kings of Leon at Murrayfield. He spoke of the conversation between promoter and agent – will the stadium sell out and the 50,000 tickets. It is about convincing agents that the event will sell and the hope that the organisation works out and also the costing,
Low. Failure of Connect festival, when we lost an enormous amount with the high level of delivery and over spend on bands.There can be long hours. Future Plans - A festival in China.
Advice for Promoters. Dealing with the council and Building control in order to help to make Glasgow an event friendly city. Back then public money mainly went to highbrow and not to rock n roll. Tenants were the only ones willing to back T.

Bands. Its important to build relationships with journalists, radio, and producers, it used to be Record shops that would say what was selling. Now all the research is done on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other online sharing sites. They ask the Labels who they are prioritising for the next 12 months. Get to know your audience – who buys the tickets. Experience is the key, and to have flair and creativity. Be bold and take risks.  He said it is necessary to love and have passion for this industry. 
Unesco and Creative Scotland offer Live Music initiative and are a resource for information and advice for new bands. Plus there is The BBC Introducing Stage. Ellis said that teenagers were the lifeblood of the Live Music industry. Vic Galloway talked about how radio was a selector from the billions of artists out there.
Support for New Artists. The booking team at DF Concerts has a commitment to discovering new talent, helped by the good relationships bookers have with artist agents, management and other promoters. As part of the infrastructure to support new talent, King Tut’s also has its own record label – King Tut’s Recordings and label bosses look to sign up the hottest grassroots talent.

T Break Stage – for the freshest unsigned talent in Scotland. Make sure you're the first to hear when the call for demos opens by checking out or visit
Ellis said it that it is not about goals, but that opportunities fall into place. 

Comment: T in the Park music festival has become more mainstream in recent years. I’d like to see a more creative and Indie tent also. The song writers seem ‘marginalised’ to studio work – or to produce what the mass market might dictate. As songwriter Richard Thompson put it, ‘People in large numbers don’t always have the best taste.’
Creativity is the lifeblood of the music industry! 
AND.. Are teenagers the life blood of the live music industry these days? Maybe back in the 60s they were. I attend many gigs and at many the average age appears more like 35 or even 60 than 15! My guess (without doing a survey) and with ticket prices so high (!) would be that the average age at T is more like 30 than 15!

T In the Park tickets went on sale this week 29th Febrary2012. .
2011 T in the Park saw in its 15th birthday in style with a whopping 180 acts taking to 12 stages. 
130 music events each week in Glasgow, more than any other Scottish city.