Stealers Wheel is one of those folk rock bands that just won’t settle in the past. Back in the mid 70’s two young Scottish school mates Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan forged their talents to produce the original Stealers Wheel signatory sound. It was a raw edged country rock mix made up essentially of vocals, acoustic guitar and digital piano. The duo added harmonica, kazoo and woodblock for their single ‘Star’ that as to shine a light on their time as Stealers Wheel. ‘Stuck In The Middle With You’ was another 3-minute wonder from this dewy-eyed twosome and although the band did eventually split and reform to is present state – there will always be that respectful nod to the original two; namely Rafferty and Egan. Continue reading “Stealers Wheel – Stuck In The Middle”
The Faces are back with their 70’s sound ‘Ooh La La’. From small to tall, this rock band has gone through numerous changes to get to their present form including several variants of members, height and sound. With vocals, guitar, digital piano, bass and drums intact The Faces are now ready to face the world as their re-recorded ‘Ooh La La’ hits the TV screen via the latest campaign by Britain’s Beer Alliance. So whether it’s ‘’sharing a burger with your labra-doodle’’ or ‘’treating yourself to cakes and strudel’’; let’s raise a glass to the new look of an old face. ‘’Ooh La La’’ – there’s a beer for that. Continue reading “The Faces – There’s A Beer For That”
Little Violet is the latest craze in electro-swing. Our vintage diva from Teesside likes to harp back to the jazz swing era of the 30’s and 40’s and her debut single ‘’Don’t Stop’’ is one hot-footed frenzy in real time. Little Violet stems from a musical family and was brought up surrounded by the digital piano, guitar and a variety of sounds that range from the Queen of jazz Ella Fitzgerald to the more feisty rock sound of Alice Cooper and everything in between. Little Violet likes to mix her swing with a peppering of pop to produce a final track that appeals to both seasoned jazz lovers and the next generation alike. Her line-up of instrumentalists inspire a retro sound from clarinet, brass, guitar, digital piano, upright bass and percussion, as the Little Violet melodies weave their authentic magic. Meanwhile Scottish fashion chain M&Co has crossed the border to get in on the act as Little Violet accompanies a wardrobe of retro wears with her ‘’Don’t Stop’’ debut. Continue reading “Little Violet – Don’t’ Stop”
Postmodern Jukebox is a vintage band of musicians who are known for mining original pop songs and cover them in styles of jazz, ragtime and swing. The variable group of some forty-two musicians is the brain-child of digital piano player and arranger Scott Bradlee who keeps a tight lid on this explosive new bent. From vocalists to woodwind, brass, strings and percussion players, Postmodern Jukebox encompasses all sections of the traditional orchestra with its streamlined selection of hand-picked and dextrous performers hat make up ensembles of a hand full of players. Musical arrangements are slick, seamless affairs that span the decades of celebrity ‘biggies’ from Elvis to George Michael to Miley Cyrus.
As the Christmas season approaches the Postmodern Jukebox arrangement of Elvis’ ‘’Blue Christmas’’ will no doubt go down well as a tongue-in-cheek act where the doubling of double basses lead this Yuletide smoothie through its paces. With Kate Davis fronting on double bass and vocals this vintage swipe at all things blue also features Adam Kubota twinning with an upright of his own. Scott Bradlee accompanies on the digital piano with an overstated ragtime rendition backed by a more sensitive offering by Chip Thomas on drums. ‘’Duelling Basses’’ may be the title though the three wise performing it could have perhaps improved on its less than imaginative title. Continue reading “Postmodern Jukebox – Blue-tiful Bassline”
Gabrielle Aplin is one of the UK’s best as she as quietly mines away at the works of others. Her acoustic covers are safely moulded into an indie folk style lead by soft feminine whispers that no-one could ever object to. As a singer-songwriter Gabrielle Aplin likes to accompany her renditions on guitar, digital piano or drums and can be seen doing the same in her entourage of videos. From covers that include the work of celebrity artists Kate Perry, Paramour and Cold Play, Gabrielle Aplin also has a mind of her own as her revered original ‘Home’ testifies to. So whilst one half of Britain’s best is making records the other half is making soup by way of Cross & Blackwell and their latest TV ad. The sourcing of their soup ingredients takes us deep into the countryside where ‘Home’ becomes part of the pastoral setting and Gabrielle Aplin sets out her musical stall. This girl knows her onions. Continue reading “Gabrielle Aplin – A Mind Of Her Own”
Jimmy Durante has been making us happy for years with his gruff, rasping vocals, big ‘’schnoz’’ and digital piano skills that completed the comic act. From Herry Monster to ‘Frosty The Snowman’, Jimmy Durante fronted a career that spanned the decades and today we still tip our hat to his memory and artistic input. From a ragtime digital piano player to a vaudeville star, Jimmy Durante was known for his linguistic patter which still survives today as phrases like ’’Dat’s my boy!’’ ‘’Inka Dinka Doo’’ and ‘’Ha cha cha’’ grace the English language. Impressions of his big ‘’scnoz’’ nose still continue to be mimicked by wearers of a plastic cup on their nose whilst tickling the ivories of an imaginary digital piano. Keeping the Jimmy Durante image alive and glowing is the present re-kindling of the 1964 track ‘’Make Someone Happy’’ in the seasonal Coca-Cola promo as his gritty vocals and humble ragtime beginnings are replaced by grand orchestral scoring, bright lights and an excess of US showmanship. Continue reading “Jimmy Durante – Still Making Us Happy”
Beuys Toys are Very bright and shiny this Christmas as the electronic-age track goes head-to-head with all the best seasonal ads. The big store toppers have their usual sparkling releases backed by celebrity singers but this year Beuys Toys have an enchanting little offering named ‘Thimbles’ which has been specially commissioned by the Very.co.uk online store. This is a mesmerising composition led by a prominent harp motif played on the digital piano. The peppered-style riff embeds itself from the onset backed by strident vibes, synth strings and cute child-like vocal snatches that suggest the Borrowers may well be part of this Christmas magic. As a mini Fearne Cotton and chums explore a room of Christmas décor they discover there are girls as well as Beuys Toys a plenty. This Very clever ad illustrates Christmas unwrapped completed with a subtle nod to ‘Jingle Bells’ and a midnight strike of the clock. Continue reading “Beuys Toys – Thimble All The Way”
For Kate Davis it’s the bottom line or nothing. For her it’s all about that bass, bass and bass. Kate Davis has been fiddling with great dexterity for some time now both on her violin and double bass. The latter is a particular love of hers as she fronts her jazz ensemble complete with upright bass in hand; singing her soulful American songs. Kate Davis makes up an empathetic trio, and often quartet comprising of digital piano, guitar and drum kit who all watch her every beat, bow and sway. The Kate Davis repertoire embraces a wide variety of genres from the Classical to jazz, pop and rock. Her signatory sound scans the vocal spectrum but Kate is most comfortable in the alto register where tracks like ‘It’s All About That Bass’ can be heard with a vocal swoop and swoon whilst gracefully performing her finger acrobatics that don the bass line. Continue reading “Kate Davis – The Bass, The Bass And The Bass”
Whilst Elvis Costello may be busy ‘Pump It Up’, Save The Children may have just dropped a stitch – if not a clanger. Despite all the best intentions going into the campaign for ‘Christmas Jumper Day’ on December 12th you simply can’t pull the wool over the listener’s eyes as the ‘Pump It Up’ track seems less than appropriate. Though the Elvis Costello 70’s new wave track may have an ethereal organ riff played on the digital piano and doubled by an obedient lead guitar but the lyrical content is more than suggestive.
Meanwhile, the wonder woolly promo is set to raise money for the treatment of the Ebola epidemic; where people of all shapes and sizes will knit, decorate and don their woolly wears. But beyond Elvis Costello and his ‘Pump It Up’ aren’t there better song choices for Christmas Jumper Day? Baa Humbug! Continue reading “Elvis Costello – Pump It Up”
Carter Burwell knows that his music is made for sharing just as Sainsbury holds a promise of the same. Whilst seasonal ads galore tempt us with their superficial commercial pizazz, there’s one Christmas campaign that’s dug deeper with their message. Sainsbury’s ‘’Christmas Is For Sharing’’ is a stark, humanised story of Christmas Eve in the frontline trenches of WWI. As the guns fall silent on Christmas Eve the two opposing sides join together with a bar of chocolate and the carol Silent Night. With scenes of temporary conciliation that recount the smallest of detail, football is played and gifts such as tobacco and coffee are exchanged. Carter Burwell adds his empathetic touch with the backdrop sounds from the 2010 US Western film ’True Grit’ as digital piano and orchestra lead this temporary truce, and the extraordinary heroes of No Man’s Land share their music and their minds. Continue reading “Carter Burwell – Music Made For Sharing”