Single Review: Andrew Combs – Blood Hunters

andrew-combs

Released: 3rd March 2017
Label: Loose (Europe)

He’s become known as the ‘modern, east Nashville Troubadour’; Andrew Combs is fast becoming the new face and sound of the Country/ Americana scene in the UK and the States.

The new single Blood Hunters is the leading track from his forthcoming album Canyons Of My Mind released April 2017 and is an insight into his finely crafted brand of alternative country.

Blood Hunters is a song about losing your mind. It is subtly dark in its lyrics but melodic and catchy in its delivery; an interesting and effective juxtaposition, which makes the sentiment all the more effective.

Combs said: “It came out in a haze of post tour blues; this being the 24-72 hours after you get home from tour in which you find yourself restless and somewhat deranged. The 180 degree flip in movement, conditions, and sleep patterns does this to me every time. Anyways, I lost it during one of these episodes. I thought everyone and their mother was out to get me, including myself.”

The accompanying video is a glorious short film set to Combs’ music… a sci-fi inspired tale with echoes of Stranger Things and War Of The Worlds. Directed by Ry Cox, the beautifully shot piece has a grand cinematic feel to it and delivers a brilliant twist at the end.

You could say that it’s the full package; thought-provoking songwriting, easy to digest with gripping visuals.

Combs is due to start his US tour in April and UK tour in May. Here’s a chance to catch this burgeoning songwriter at the start of what will be a very promising career.

– Charlie Barker

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Hayseed Dixie’s New Album & Tour Comes To Sheffield

Bluegrass rockers, Hayseed Dixie are set to tour the UK in April/ May 2017 with the release of their latest album ‘Free Your Mind… And Your Grass Will Follow’.

Since forming back in the summer of 2000, John Wheeler and Mike Daly the group have got fourteen albums under their belts already. Their forthcoming release takes them up to fifteen! You could say they’ve come a long way since starting playing those first acoustic AC/DC covers.

There’s not many who can say they’ve given birth to a whole new musical genre, but it is fair to say Hayseed Dixie are the undisputed kings of ‘Rockgrass’.

Expect to hear fun twists on rock, RnB and soul classics along with their original material when they stop off at Sheffield’s Plug on May 11th following the release of their new album on April 14th.

Ministry of Sound’s Louis Berry heads to South Yorkshire

Louis BerryThe Ministry of Sound label’s latest signing, Louis Berry is supporting Saint Raymond at the Plug in Sheffield on 27th November 2015.

Louis has picked up support from the likes of Annie Mac and Phil Taggart at Radio 1 alongs with wowing festival crowds over the course of the year, having performed at The Great Escape, Dot-to-Dot and Barn On The Farm festivals and own his debut headline tour of the UK back in September.

With the sound of his soul-infused vocals and raucous, blues-tinged rock’n’roll. This lad channels the energy of legends including Johnny Cash and modern day songwriters such as Alex Turner.

Sheffield’s Charlie Barker supports the national launch of the Women’s Equality Party

Sheffield singer/ songwriter Charlie Barker is set to play the national policy launch of the Women’s Equality Party in Sheffield on 20th October 2015, at The Workstation on Paternoster Row from 6pm.

Founded by journalists Sandi Toksvig and Catherine Mayer and lead by Sophie Walker, Women’s Equality is a new British political party which is uniting people of all genders, diverse ages, backgrounds, ethnicities, beliefs and experiences in the shared determination to see women enjoy the same rights and opportunities as men so that all can flourish.

The party is launching its national policies on 20th October and in turn all regional branches of the party are joining together in celebration, inviting current members and the public to show their support and discover more about the party.

Charlie BarkerCharlie Barker is a young, female musician and business owner from Sheffield who has been working in the music industry for 15 years, has been a BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards semi-finalist, appeared on BBC1’s The Next Big Thing and released two albums on independent label, Rootbeat Records.

She is a supporter of gender equality and now a founder member of the Women’s Equality Party.

Charlie will be performing at the event with new material prepared especially for WE, along with speakers from the party and a film showing of the London launch.

Charlie said: “I have always been passionate about politics since before I was old enough to vote. Sadly, I have recently felt very frustrated with Britain’s mainstream political parties.

I made contact with the Women’s Equality Party through Jillian Creasey of the Sheffield Green Party and found myself very excited about their stance on equality within society today.

I became a Founding Member and am very pleased to be supporting them on their historic launch day.

Equality isn’t just a women’s issue. I’m pleased to say that I am supporting a party where both male and female members are welcome, involved and working towards a unified cause.”

Womens-Equality-Party-Logo-square-copy-2More information about Women’s Equality can be found at the official website www.womensequality.org and the Sheffield branch of WE www.facebook.com/WomensEqualityPartySheffield.

Charlie Barker’s official website is www.charliebarkermusic.com and can be found on the following social networks:http://twitter.com/charliebarker & www.facebook.com/1charliebarker.

Live Review: Good Lovelies in Sheffield, 25/06/15

Date: 25th June 2015
Venue: The Backroom, Greystones

Canadian songbirds, the Good Lovelies stopped by Sheffield’s intimate, The Backroom venue on the second night of their UK leg of their European Tour, playing to a full house much to their surprise.

As Canadian Folk Music award and Juno award winners, the delightful trio appears to be surprised and overwhelmed they can bring their own brand of roots music to another country and receive such a warm welcome. Sitting in the audience it’s not hard to see why they’ve made friends around the world.

The night is opened up by Rutland’s musical answer to Jack Dee. Paul McClure warms up the audience with his dry, witty humor. Not adverse to self-deprecating humor, McClure wins over the audience joking about his slow-tempo material; categorizing himself as a miserable country/ folk singer.

He delivers an entertaining set of his own material, telling stories through his songs, dedicating one in particular to his wife and another with an anecdote of how he became known as the ‘Rutland Troubadour’. What better way to start the night?

They’ve come a long way from home, having played previously around Western Europe before reaching the UK. Caroline Brooks, Kerri Ough and Sue Passmore take to the stage fresh faced and overwhelmed by their enthusiastic audience, also accompanied by their touring double bassist.

Burn The Plan is the new album and after a couple of years in the making the record is ready to unveil, with lots of new tracks airing tonight with several favorites thrown in for good measure.

Instantly reminiscent of the Dixie Chicks, their close three-part harmony is blows you away with precision and such beautiful timbre. Whilst they hold their own as modern folk/ country musicians, there are hints of old tradition in there too, with some lines and harmonies with a hint of the Andrews Sisters.

Fans may have had to wait for their latest release, but it was well worth it. Performances of Into The Dark, a song about jumping into the challenge of parenthood, gained lots of audience participation joining in with the catchy hook.

The upbeat, electronic feel of In The Morning was a definite parting of ways from their more traditional material, but executed in a subtle manner it successfully blended their core sound with something new. Kerri also brought out the Autoharp, a very traditional instrument used to give beautiful flourishes throughout the song.

As the band seamlessly switched instruments it was evident that their unique sound was homegrown, demonstrated on the track Waiting For You. Sue swapped her mandolin for a series of percussive instruments to give this track a crucial extra boost, replicating the sound on their latest recording.

When The City Settles, was a soothing interlude featuring rich lead vocals from Sue, with Kerri and Caroline providing the soulful and sweet close harmony.

Whilst the audience, were enjoying the new material, we were treated to an unaccompanied song, where instruments were left on the stage whilst the trio stepped down to the front row and delivered a Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris number.

Rounding up the night the band left the stage following a two-song encore, performing another unaccompanied, foot-stomping version of Johnny Cash’s God’s Gonna Cut You Down and Mrs T, a song written for an ex Mother-in-Law, who was loved more than her son!

The Good Lovelies could have carried on all night, the audience still wanted more. What a comeback and what a great new sound. We’ll eagerly await their next UK visit!

– Charlie Barker

View full set of live gig images: click here.

Live Review: Hudson Taylor in Sheffield, 05/02/15

Date: 5th February 2015
Venue: The Plug, Sheffield

Sheffield’s Plug was treated to an intimate night of pop/ rock with Ireland’s upcoming sibling duos, Hudson Taylor and friends.

Feeling somewhat older than the masses of youngsters there, mainly students and school kids, I was slightly unsure as to how I would fit in and relate to the music on offer tonight. My student years have passed nearly a decade ago though the only others in the crowd, vaguely my age appeared to be parents escorting their offspring to the gig.

First on stage to get the crowd warmed up was Irish, solo singer and guitarist, Jack Morris. It’s a hard job being the first support act, opening up as the crowds are still arriving and talking though Morris seemed un-phased by this confidently playing a mixture of originals and a very brave cover of Lou Reid’s classic, Walk On The Wild Side. Commenting on his friendship with the headline act, he was in good spirits though the crowd somewhat unresponsive unfairly gave him a rough deal. I can only assume the talents of Jack Morris would have been appreciated better in a totally different setting.

As the second act, Southern took to the stage, a Belfast born, brother/ sister fronted group I was starting to see a family theme emerge for tonight’s music. Playing their own wave of pop/ rock and blues, the crowd instantly lit up with their catchy riffs and driving rhythm. Taking tracks from their recent releases Where I Want To Be and Where The Wild Ones Are, Thom and Lucy Southern are definitely ones to watch.

The crowd broke out into cheers and applause as brothers, Hudson Taylor entered the stage. There was no mistaking them for anything other than the main attraction.

Their stylish, retro image and guitars, harking back to Elvis Presley’s quiff and Buddy Holly’s black-rimmed glasses, perfectly set the tone for what was to follow.

There’s something very special in the vocals of two people who know each other so well whether they be siblings, parents/ children or couples. Hudson Taylor’s voices blended and complimented each other so well it was a joy to listen to every single harmony they sang and reminiscent of acts such as the Everly Brothers. Playing songs with a pop/ rock and folk vibe the young audience lapped it up, the brothers had us in the palm of their hands.

Featuring material from their forthcoming debut album Singing For Strangers; the singles Weapons, Battles and Chasing Rubies the boys chose a varied set of material, which showed their capabilities as quality songwriters and performers.

Close vocal harmony, a great backing band, varied material and two great frontmen; what more could you ask for?

– Charlie Barker

View full set of live gig images: click here.