Thursday 9 January 2014

The NEW female Piano singer songwriters

Back in the 70s there were so many wonderful piano singer songwriters. There is something quite special about piano melodies as opposed to guitar composed songs.
There was Paul Simon's Bridge over Troubled Water (while he composed mostly on guitar), McCartney's Long and Winding Road, Elton John's Your Song, Carole King's Tomorrow and of course Joni Mitchell's songs.
But today, while there are many top guitar carrying singer songwriters I struggle to find any quality piano singer songwriters ... where are they? 
The only high quality younger piano singer songwriters I can think of are all female - Adele, who had to fight to have ONLY piano on her massive hit Someone Like You; Emeli Sande and her lovely Clown and River songs; and Canadian singer songwriter the irrepressible Sarah McLachlan and her very moving piano song Answer (new album next year).  She sings songs of understanding that are haunting and questioning. 

The only guy I can think of is Chris Martin's piano songs with his Coldplay band (Fix You).
Here's the irrepressible piano singer songwriter Sarah McLachlan. I listened to her Afterglow album quite often a few years back and I went to check on her and she has a great YouTube clip with a great band too here -    

Sarah McLachlan, is a Canadian musician, singer, and songwriter. Known for her emotional ballads and mezzo-soprano vocal range, as of 2009, she has sold over 40 million albums worldwide. McLachlan's best-selling album to date is Surfacing, for which she won two Grammy Awards (out of four nominations) and four Juno Awards.

The Right Arrangements
I watched Lana del Ray’s 'National Anthem' video trailer with its' strong black and whites and it moves at just the right pace. I also watched Lana's gig at Hackney weekend where the crowd was singing along and clearly into the music. This was very good and touching too her joy of the crowd and lovely to see after the poor reviews for her Saturday Night Live performance - when the rock band backing her didn't work with the style of her music and I posted that she needed simply 'strings and piano.' So why do label people always think 'to be cool' the artists needs a rock band when it all depends on the type of music.


I really like the theme music for the American HBO Tv series Newsroom – it evokes all those past B & W news stories when news seemed to be real and hard hitting, individual, and on the ground rather than the smooth over versions we seem to get now.
So I checked to see who the composer was and discovered it was a Thomas Newman who has also composed the music for films such as American Beauty, Shawshank Redemption, Skyfall and others.

I often switch off the news because it is so bland and gets blogged down in minute details rather than really telling us the story. HBO has the freedom to be creative with its writers and it seems these days that the DVD tv series are often of higher quality than most movies screened at the cinema.

Tuesday 31 December 2013


Quote TS Eliot 
"Last year’s words belong to last year’s language,
And next year’s words await another voice."
"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring/ Will be to arrive where we started/ And to know the place for the first time." 

We play out our lives in real time, one day, one place, one heart, hoping to reach others.

Life is not linear
And Art is about mystery.  P. Keightley

Thomas Eliot (1888 – 1965) was an essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic and "one of the twentieth century's major poets." Born in St. Louis, Missouri in the United States, he moved to the United Kingdom in 1914 and was naturalised as a British subject in 1927.  He attracted widespread attention for his poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1915), which is seen as a masterpiece of the Modernist movement. It was followed by some of the best-known poems in the English language, including The Waste Land (1922), The Hollow Men (1925), Ash Wednesday (1930) and Four Quartets (1945).[2] He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948.

Music photography 2013

Miles Kane
Music photography 2013 
I have had some fun gigs this year. Miles Kane had so much energy at the O2, Kris Drever and Eamon Coyle provided first rate folk tunes, Neil Young was memorable, Finlay MacDonald and Chris Stout played fine jigs and reels at Celtic Connections, LA female rock band Haim had strong vocal harmonies and great fun rock tunes at SW3, and best of all Peter Gabriel with his mesmerising voice and meaningful songs at the new Glasgow Hydro.

Django Django
Kris Drever and Eamon Coyle provided first rate folk tunes, 

Music Photography

Sometimes at gigs something magic happens…. the audience is really up for it, as are the musicians on the stage. It is as if it all comes together in that one time and place. And it is at these rare gigs that I am able to get a good position and shot unobtrusively for the entire gig – and I am not restricted to those ridiculous 3 songs grab (which I know matter for the bigger stages). The trouble with restrictions is it creates a ‘manic’ grab for photographers while it can be an adrenaline rush. It means all a photographer can capture is those head shots, perhaps more if they are lucky. .

 I am not sure it’s the best situation for portfolio images or a quality photoshoot. 


 I took some photos at a gig several years back and realised I had a talent for capturing the right moments and occasionally even an image with something a little bit magic. Music is my motivation - from Mozart to pop to folk and shades inbetween!  I grew playing Joni Mitchell and Bach.

In recent years I have attended some magic gigs and I have posted here about my top ever gigs.

Finlay MacDonald and Chris Stout played fine jigs and reels at Celtic Connections, 

Pauline Keightley Photography
Music and Portrait Photography
Emeli Sande, Celtic Connections, Edinburgh Festival,