shelleyhanveywriter

'Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences'

Posts Tagged ‘Country

Getting lovingly reacquainted with some old favourites

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I am loving Apple’s new music streaming service: Apple Music, which is initially available on a three month free trial basis before introducing membership fees from ÂŁ9.99 per month for individual users.

I tired of Spotify a while ago and only occasionally listen to user playlists, mainly due to the complicated navigation required to access your favourite genres or albums. This is the best feature of Apple Music in my opinion – you’re asked for your favourite genres and artists and your ‘For You’ tab is customised on a daily basis with albums which fit in with your preferences.

Unsurprisingly I have fitted firmly in to the country-pop-rock category and have been getting lovingly reacquainted with some old favourites : Carrie Underwood’s ‘Some Hearts’ (2005), Alicia Keys’ ‘The Element of Freedom'(2009) and Bon Iver’s ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’ (2008) to name but a few. I also love that Apple compiles playlists of notable songwriters and producers such as Max Martin and Xenomania.

Pop is unashamedly my greatest passion; artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Janet Jackson, Backstreet Boys, Madonna, Christina Aguilera and of course, Britney Spears, just sound better with each passing year. 1998 to 2005 has to be the amongst the best seven years of music to date, surely?

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

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Written by shelleyhanveywriter

August 5, 2015 at 3:34 pm

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2010’s success story, Lissie, returns with new track ‘Shameless’

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Illinois native and folk rock artist Lissie has given us a taste of the follow-up to her 2010 debut album, ‘Catching a Tiger’; new track ‘Shameless’ has been given the lyric video treatment this month and it would appear that the wait has definitely been worthwhile.

‘Catching a Tiger’ was one of my favourite albums of 2010 and Lissie’s performance at the Cambridge Folk Festival in the same year was equally memorable. Released tracks from her debut album included, ‘When I’m Alone’, ‘In Sleep’ and ‘Cuckoo’. Lissie has an instantly recognisable and gutsy tone to her voice, helping her to sit comfortably between the genres of country and rock music. I would hasten to add that Lissie is probably one of the best-selling female artists of the latter genre, in the UK over recent years. No mean feat and hopefully a precursor of what is to come with her second album.

 

www.lissie.com / @lissiemusic

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

April 15, 2013 at 2:41 pm

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Lipstick, the male Lana, Little Boots and Lucy

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It would be fair to say that I am engaged in a rather intense and quite beautiful love affair with Taylor Swift at the moment, so much so that I would be utterly miffed if I were not the subject of her next country-infused love ballad.

As a writer, I am quite in awe of Swift’s natural skills as a lyricist; at 14, she was the youngest songwriter ever hired by Sony/ATV Music publishing and has since gone on to be honoured by the Nashville Songwriters Association and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. But putting all that aside – her songs are just so catchy, she wears great lipstick and she seems really cool!

Taylor Swift ‘s fourth studio album, ‘Red’,  is out now.

 

 

Josef Salvat is an Australian singer-songwriter, who has been described as the male Lana Del Rey. I can definitely see the similarities in melancholic delivery and sepia-prone music video backdrops, but I think that Salvat has a more ironic, almost comical in part, demeanour which appears lighter in shade than Del Rey. I would define Salvat as classic soul-tinged pop and I look forward to hearing more from this artist.

‘This Life’ is released on March 25th, 2013.

 

‘Motorway’ is the first track taken from Little Boots’ second studio album, ‘Nocturnes’ (set for release on May 5th, 2013) and is available now as a free download from her website. I really like this track, which has a darker electro-dance feel than previous releases from the platinum-haired Blackpool native. I’ve always likened Little Boots to Kylie, particularly during the ‘Light Years’ era and the similarities are especially evident on this track. ‘Nocturnes’ is said to celebrate “90s house, seventies disco and futuristic electronics” (Hesketh) – sounds good to me.

 

Lucy Rose is a folk singer-songwriter from Surrey, UK, who I first saw live in March, 2012 when she supported Noah & The Whale on their UK tour. Rose’s debut album, ‘Like I Used To’, is out now and ‘Shiver’ is the latest track to be released from the record. The combination of Rose’s delicate, emotive vocals playing out over the romantic reminiscences of the video is quite touching and works really well. Plus, any video with a beach location is always a winner for me; the song ‘I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside’ could well have been written about me.

www.taylorswift.com / www.josefsalvat.com / www.littlebootsmusic.co.uk / www.lucyrosemusic.com /

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

February 26, 2013 at 1:26 pm

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Laura Marling’s new single ‘Sophia’; a track worthy to be premiered amongst divine surroundings

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Brit award-winning folk wonder Laura Marling has premiered the first single to be released from her third solo album. The track, ‘Sophia‘  will be available to download instantly (in the UK), to those who pre-order the album on iTunes from July 26th, 2011, as well as an individual download. The 4:54-second track begins gently with Marling’s unmistakably reflective and hushed vocals, before she is complemented and accompanied on her journey by acoustic strings and ethereal background vocals. When the bell tolls 3:00, the track takes a marked shift towards a perhaps more  traditional folk sound, with definite country elements creeping through. ‘Sophia‘  could be described as a musical antonym to the terms, ‘repetitive’ and ‘predictable’. It would be fair to say that I am somewhat in love with this track at the moment.

The track is taken from upcoming album, ‘A Creature I Don’t Know which is released on September 12th, 2011 in the UK and September 13th, 2011 in the US.

Marling has also announced a new Autumn 2011 tour to support the album. The ‘When The Bell Tolls Tour’ kicks off in the US and Canada, as follows:

  • September 17 – San Francisco, Bimbo’s 365 Club
  • September 18 – Los Angeles, Masonic Temple
  • September 20 – Los Angeles, Troubadour
  • September 22 – Chicago, Lincoln Hall
  • September 23 – Toronto, The Great Hall
  • September 24 – Montreal, Corona
  • September 25 – Boston Brighton Music Hall
  • September 27 – Washington DC, Sixth & I Historic Synagogue
  • September 28 – New York, Webster Hall

The UK tour is as follows:

  • October 14 – Exeter, Exeter Cathedral
  • October 15 – Winchester, Winchester Cathedral
  • October 17 – Guildford, Guildford Cathedral
  • October 18 – Gloucester, Gloucester Cathedral
  • October 21 – York, York Minster
  • October 22 – Sheffield, Sheffield Cathedral
  • October 24 – Manchester, Manchester Cathedral
  • October 25 – Bristol, Bristol Cathedral
  • October 26 – London, Westminster Central Hall
  • October 28 – Liverpool, Liverpool Anglican Cathedral
  • October 29 – Birmingham, Birmingham Cathedral

I reviewed Noah and the Whale at Manchester Cathedral last year and it will probably go down as one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to; the venue was sublime as was to be expected, but the atmosphere and reaction to the band were just as heavenly. I can’t wait to see Marling perform tracks from what I’m sure will be her equally as successful third album, in such peaceful and serene surroundings.

Tickets for the tour go on general sale at 10am local time on Friday, July 29th, 2011 at www.seetickets.com

www.lauramarling.com / www.twitter.com @lauramarlinghq

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

July 26, 2011 at 11:31 am

From Bombay to Louisiana, via Manchester; my top music picks of the week

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In honour of my favourite season: that of the summer holiday,  I have compiled a selection of hot and hazy tracks worthy of inclusion in any First Class music lounge…so sit back,  put on your fuzzy felt eye mask and allow yourself to be whisked away from Bombay to Louisiana, via Manchester.

Bombay Bicycle Club, Shuffle

A Different Kind of Fix‘ is the upcoming third album from London-based alternative folk-rock band Bombay Bicycle Club. ‘Shuffle is the first track to be released from the album, which follows on August 29th, 2011. Following the acoustic and accolade-laden offering of second album, ‘Flaws‘, the four-piece have returned to their electric-stringed roots, whilst never straying too far from their trademark blissful electronic- folk leanings. The soaring and atmospheric synth sounds of ‘Shuffle‘ are the perfect soundtrack to a lazy day on a sundrenched beach, or indeed a lazy afternoon indoors after getting drenched down your local high street…this is the ‘great British summer’ after all.

Michelle Branch, Loud Music

My love for Michelle Branch all started in Season 6, Episode 8 of one of my favourite TV series, ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘. Branch makes an appearance at the end of the highly emotive episode, to perform her track ‘Goodbye to You‘ as Giles leaves for England, Tara leaves Willow and Buffy leaves her senses, embarking on a doomed affair with resident badboy vamp Spike. I loved the track and Branch’s raspy and powerful country-tinged vocals, so I set about researching the artist and have never looked back. After two top selling albums, ‘The Spirit Room‘ and ‘Hotel Paper‘, Branch moved in a more defined country direction to form a duo with friend and fellow musician, Jessica Harp; The Wreckers. But now, fresh from putting down roots both family and home, she is back with the perfect summertime roadtrip track ‘Loud Music.’

The track documents the history of a relationship, starting with the first meeting and going through all of the highs and occasional lows, all the while using artists such as Hendrix and Zeppelin as flags or pinpoints throughout the narrative. Branch has always managed to successfully translate her great love of music through her own lyrics and regularly cites her influences through this medium. So if a destination only reachable via a trip down a few dusty highways is more your idea of a perfect holiday, then be sure to wind the windows down and blast out this perfect slice of American pop-rock.

The Travelling Band, Sundial

I recently reviewed Friends of Mine Festival for eFestivals.co.uk and had the pleasure of catching a performance by The Travelling Band whilst I was there. Cited as the best folk band to emerge from Manchester, the five-piece performed their upcoming single ‘Sundial‘ which was definitely a hit with the somewhat windswept and watery crowd. The orchestral splendour of this track cannot be underestimated and is truly addictive; I think this band will be filling headline slots on the folk circuit very soon. It’s nice to see some local folkies flying the flag for the genre up North.

Patrick Wolf, House

Patrick Wolf intrigues me; he is an intriguing character, one that you could listen to and watch for hours almost as if in a daze. His vocals intrigue me; the depth of his tone commands that you listen and his lyrics command that you hear. He cites poets and speaks romantic declarations and all of this set against an epic and enticing melody. I’ve said enough, I implore you listen and you start with ‘House.’

Friendly Fires, Hawaiian Air

Pala‘ is the recently released second album from alternative dance trio, Friendly Fires. ‘Hawaiian Air‘ is the second track to be released from the album. This band just keep going from strength to strength and have just this week released more dates on their biggest headlining tour of the UK, coming in the autumn. With its holiday flight-inspired music video, ‘Hawaiian Air‘ is all set to be the scorching hit of the summer radio waves. The rest of the album is just as good I might add, so I’d definitely recommend that it feature on your holiday pool-side playlist.

Britney Spears, I Wanna Go

Ah, Britney. Where do I start…well, I’m a huge fan and have loved every track that the Louisiana popstrel has ever released so I’m just putting it out there – if you’re looking for an unbiased review of the artist, scroll up and scroll out! ‘I Wanna Go‘ is genuinely one of my favourites off Spears’ new album ‘Femme Fatale‘, my other pop pick being the Will.I.Am penned track ‘Big Fat Bass.’ The video to accompany this track has just been released on Spears’ official website and on YouTube/Vevo and is a lot of fun. I think Spears has reached the point – perhaps understandably – were she just wants to enjoy herself in her career and this translates in her work; the videos aren’t meant to be groundbreaking, they’re meant to highlight the light-hearted, cheeky and self-depracating character of the performer and that they do. The new album is a dancer’s dream, filled with huge basslines, biting beats and catchy choruses. I’ve just secured myself tickets to see Spears in Manchester on her upcoming UK Tour…needless to say, I am just a little excited!

That’s all for now, happy holidays! 🙂

I’m a little bit country and I’m a little bit rock ‘n roll…

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Doris Day as the ultimate Cowgirl, Calamity Jane

I can’t remember the specific scenario or circumstance that led to me watching my first Doris Day film; nor can I remember my exact age. What I can remember however, is that I was hooked after the first few lines of the opening song ‘The Deadwood Stage.’ That would be my first introduction to the genre of country music and for me; both actress and artform have never lost their sparkle and style.

I’m not sure whether it’s the romantic notion of feeling so passionate about your heritage or homestead that you’re compelled to compose, or just the “peaceful, easy feeling of a laid-back country song” (to quote the aforementioned Osmonds favourite) that seduces me most; either way, it would appear that the genre has been steadily garnering its skills in this most lustful of arts, as just this week both academies and worldwide audiences fell victim to its allure. The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards took place this week in Los Angeles, with Nashville country trio Lady Antebellum achieving nominations in no less than six categories; going on to win Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Best Country Song, Best Country Album and Best Country Performance By A Duo or Group With Vocals. The critically-lauded song in question; ‘Need You Now.’

The trio (Charles Kelley-lead and background vocals, Dave Haywood-background vocals, guitar, piano, mandolin and Hillary Scott-lead and background vocals) have been recording together since 2006, and have been a pretty much permanent fixture on the Country Music charts in America ever since. Their self-titled debut album also spawned hit tracks ‘Love Don’t Live Here‘, ‘Lookin’ for a Good Time‘ and ‘I Run to You.’ The album has since been certified platinum in the U.S. ‘Need You Now‘ is taken from the band’s second album of the same name and was also their first number one single. I have always been fascinated by the fact that America has a music chart for almost every genre and sub-genre of music that you could imagine; to think of the level of diversity on offer must be mind-blowing, of course history teaches us that such a fact doesn’t necessarily guarantee that the music-buying public ever get to hear all of these said artists over their radio waves or on their TV screens. Commercialism will always, unfortunately, play its part…albeit on a much lesser scale over the pond when it comes to this particular genre.

Fellow American Idol fans will be familiar with Season Four (2005) winner and Grand Ole Opry favourite Carrie Underwood. Underwood wowed Cowell and co with her raspy range and strong sense of self; that self strived to be the next big country singer-songwriter and in six short years I think it would be fair to say that she has surpassed that dream. Underwood has since become a multi-platinum selling recording artist, a multiple Grammy winner and a Grand Ole Opry inductee (basically, the Mecca of country music performers). ‘Wasted‘ is my favourite song from her debut album ‘Some Hearts‘, which is the best-selling solo female debut album in country music history…I imagine she’s quite chuffed with that. It would take far too long to mention all her other accolades and awards in this piece, but I would recommend that you give the album a listen if you’re partial to a few heartfelt ballads against the backdrop of the black hills. I only wish her management company would succomb to the power of fandom and schedule a short tour of the UK sometime soon.

I have always had a particular soft spot for a LeAnn Rimes big, belting country ballad too. I have so many favourite individual tracks, but my favourite album would probably be ‘Twisted Angel.’ Ironically, or perhaps a sign of my liking to stray from the common path; this album (her seventh) received mainly negative reviews and was said to be in danger of alienating her from her original fan base. Is this really a danger or just an opportunity to try something different and distinguish yourself from the one-trick ponys? Personally, I love to hear new sounds from an artist; it shows that they are not getting complacent and if it doesn’t reach the number one slot and the majority don’t get it, so what? As long as they’re happy with the release and there was genuine passion behind it. ‘One Way Ticket‘ is one of my favourite tracks from the ‘Twisted Angel‘ album. I like the message behind it that so typifies the genre as a whole; strong-willed, independent and fearless.

I may not be a tween and I may not have been personally defiled by Kanye’s stage storming, but I do find great joy and solace in a listen or three to Taylor Swift‘s ‘Love Story.’ It’s just so innocent and warm and wonderful, everything a teen romance should be. Saying that, my own teen romance was only one of those three; I don’t call standing on playing fields in the depths of winter, with a boy named Gez who had significantly questionable hygiene issues, neither warm nor wonderful. Gez was the best friend of the boyfriend I might add, I may have been fourteen but I wasn’t stupid!

Again and perhaps rather embarrassingly, another band that I learned of through American Idol, was Rascal Flatts. Contestants often cited this band as one of their favourites and chose to perform their tracks week on week. One of my favourite such tracks is  What Hurts The Most.’ The country-pop trio have been together since 2000 and have gone on to release eight studio albums. These albums have accounted for twenty-six single releases. All but one of these singles has made the top ten of the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts and eleven have made number one. It would be fair to say that the trio are something of an institution in the U.S. It is impossible not to feel the passion and emotion that has gone in to the composition of this track and that’s what makes it so compelling to listen to when it is performed, whether that be by the original artist or a cover version.

Anyone who has read my blog before will know that I am also a big fan of the Rock Island, Illinois native, Lissie. Lissie is a country and folk-rock singer-songwriter who moved over to London to pursue her dream. Her debut album ‘Catching A Tiger‘ (2010) captured the imagination and interest of critics in the UK and Europe and she has since gone on to release the record in her home country. Her track ‘When I’m Alone‘ was chosen as iTunes UK’s Song of the Year for 2010. ‘Cuckoo‘ would have to be my favourite track from the album, for much the same reasons as mentioned above with the other artists; I like the emotion and meaning behind country songs, the fact that the inspiration for the track came from a real experience or event, rather than something arbitrary. This is just such a track, as Lissie recounts her difficult adolescence and her sense of never truly fitting in anywhere; could there be a more poignant and easily relatable theme?

So in conclusion, I live to dream of a time or place in which all walks of life are represented in music and what’s more; that we all get to hear it.

Johnny Flynn, ‘Been Listening’ – album review

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You know that feeling that you get when you realise you’re in exactly the right place, at exactly the right time and even if given the chance; you wouldn’t change one single moment of it? I had that very feeling when  I visited the Cambridge Folk Festival for the first time this year…it happened, whilst I was watching Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit perform.

Being a relative newcomer to the expansive genre of folk music, I had done some research on a selection of the artists performing and made a most delightful discovery in the form of Flynn’s debut album ‘A Larum.’ The 14-track folk-rock recording was released in 2008 and features such superbly crafted tunes as ‘The Box’, ‘The Wrote And The Writ’, ‘Tickle Me Pink’,Shore to Shore’ and ‘Eyeless in Holloway.’ Unlike perhaps some of his current nu-folk contemporaries, Flynn could never be categorised as one-dimensional; with his debut album swaying sweetly in the summer Sussex breeze between ‘pure folk’, country, blues and rock. I like a bit of diversity on a record; which makes it all the more pleasing to hear on a daily basis and not at all repetitive. I do tend to get a bit obsessive with new discoveries; I will find an album that I really like and literally listen to it every day, from start to finish, till I’ve learnt every lyric, every key change, every hidden moral and then I’ll rest for a while. Then the process starts over. I am having just that love affair at the moment with Flynn’s second album ‘Been Listening.’

The album doesn’t care for easing you in gently, preferring to eyeball you with the brass-laden, calypso opening of ‘Kentucky Pill’, watching you shift  suspiciously in your seat, eyes darting and rising as you quickly reach the conclusion that there’s no point fighting it; you’re hooked and there’s no going back. ‘Lost And Found’ follows, allowing the listener to regain their composure with its soothing melody and emotive, maritime-referenced ode to the macabre. It would be fair to say that Flynn’s first album touched more than a little upon the subjects of death and funerals; but strangely enough, never in a morose, depressing sort of way. I am of the belief, to reference one of Flynn’s peers and another favourite wordsmith of mine; Charlie Fink (Noah and the Whale) that ‘…you don’t know how it feels to be alive. Until you know how it feels to die’ (‘Shape Of My Heart’).

I really enjoy the Take-Away Shows on Blogotheque; on which Flynn appears, performing three tracks from his debut album. The videos are shot on location in Buenos Aires and are a perfect introduction to the genius and vision of Vincent Moon. I’d definitely recommend a viewing at the link below:

http://www.blogotheque.net/Johnny-Flynn,4703

Next up is Flynn’s account of loves; past, present and future, throughout the seasons in the evergreen‘Churlish May.’ The album title track, ‘Been Listening’ follows, with some soulful electric-stringed inflections to reel you in, then Flynn’s deep and dark dulcet tones to keep you enthralled throughout. I am in a most enjoyable- albeit fantasy- position at the present moment in time, as I cannot decide which voice alone I would most prefer to hear for the rest of my life; that of Charlie Fink or that of Johnny Flynn…I may have to do some kind of practical experiment in the very near future, so I’ll let you know how I get on with that one. Restraining order permitting, of course.

The track that I remember most vividly from Cambridge would have to be ‘Barnacled Warship’, which is the next track on the album. Flynn showcased his musicality with this number to breathtaking reception, alternating between violin and acoustic guitar with empassioned ease, as he took festival-goers on a trip across the high seas fighting the waves, the enemy and the inner workings of his own mind. A duet, entitled ‘The Water’ with critics-favourite Laura Marling is another album highlight. Marling’s honeyed tones complement Flynn’s perfectly in this dedication to that most pure and essential, yet at times deadly substance; This track has just been confirmed as Flynn’s next single release, on November 1st, 2010.

I am reviewing Mumford and Sons this coming weekend in Manchester, for which Flynn has been confirmed as support. I can hardly contain my excitement at seeing both of these tremendous acts in one billing and have heard great things about Mumford’s live performance prowess. Should be a brilliant show, of which I will of course be reporting back in full on here.

‘Howl’ should be a great track to hear performed live, given the instrumentation and vocal skills on display. Listening to Flynn’s work, it is hard to come to terms with the fact that there are artists out there at the moment, enjoying huge success on an international scale, who could never hope to possess such talent as a lyricist, let alone be musically proficient on such a varied scale from brass to strings and beyond. To be fair though, I am pretty sure that international acclaim and everything that goes with it, however nice that would be, is not Flynn’s primary motivation. I know him you see; we’re like that (index and middle finger crossed…)

‘Amazon Love’ is simply beautiful; Flynn’s sister Lillie sings on this piano and cello-led ballad about that emotion which we all feel and all wish we sometimes didn’t. ‘The Prizefighter And The Heiress’ concludes the album with an initially gentle and sauntering take on the differences between two star-crossed lovers, which steadily rides in to a country-fused western number; a fitting note on which to close an album peppered with diverse influences and dramatic displays of musical wizardry.

Flynn embarks on a solo tour of the UK in December, 2010:

Saturday 4th – O2 Academy, Birmingham

Sunday 5th – Academy, Manchester

Tuesday 7th – The Liquidroom, Edinburgh

Thursday 9th – The Trinity Centre, Bristol

Friday 10th – O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London

Saturday 11th – St Georges Church, Brighton

Sunday 12th – Phoenix Arts Centre, Exeter

I would highly recommend paying him a visit at one of these shows. Tickets can be purchased from www.seetickets.com or via the links below:

www.johnny-flynn.com

www.myspace.com/johnnyflynn

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