The Music Minds three CD set is home to 50 different artists, many of whom appeared at the O2 Academy event on October 10th. Find your favourites and click on the ‘+’ icon for further information and web links…
THE ARTISTS - CD 1
Christopher Henry Difford was born 4 November 1954.
He is an English singer, musician, songwriter, and record producer.
He is a founding member and songwriter of the British group Squeeze.
According to Difford, he stole 50p from his mother’s purse to put a card in a local sweetshop window advertising for a guitarist to join his band, although he didn’t actually have one at the time. Glenn Tilbrook was the only person who responded to the advert and they met for the first time shortly afterwards. The rest is rock’n’roll history.
As well as their many hits songs with Squeeze, Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook have written songs for artists such as Jools Holland, Helen Shapiro, Billy Bremner and Elvis Costello. Chris has also written lyrics for music by Jools Holland, Elton John, Wet Wet Wet, Marti Pellow and others.
Chris first learned to stand on his own when he wrote the lyrics for the fictional band Strange Fruit in the 1998 British comedy film ‘Still Crazy’, for which he won his first Ivor Novello award. The film soundtrack was also nominated for a Grammy.
In 2017 Chris published his autobiography ‘Some Fantastic Place: My Life In and Out of Squeeze’
Squeeze remains Chris’s main focus in 2018, with a collection of summer festival dates.
Matt Deighton has been releasing music since the mid-80’s with bands Wolfhounds and Mother Earth as well solo releases.
He was also guitarist for Paul Weller’s heavy Soul tour and joined Oasis for their word tour after the departure of Noel Gallaher.
Matt & Chris released the album “Kids Steal Feelings” in 2016 and played a number of intimate gigs around the UK with Dr. John in 2017
Graham Gouldman & Beth Nielsen Chapman
Both albums are the sound of a man who’s seen the music world explode from punk (his band Yachts supported the Sex Pistols in ’77, and The Whoon European Tour in ‘79) via pop (three million albums with The Christians; a top five single for Mark Owen) through to the digital age (soundtracks for James Bond/Xbox, BBC’s Wildlife on One, Natural World), writing/production duties with the likes of singer/songwriters Amy Wadge, Lotte Mullan and 10cc’s Graham Gouldman (3 co-writes with Graham on his latest “Love and Work” album) and still has something worth singing about
Thomas Lang is a Liverpool based singer-songwriter, best known for the jazz-tinged song “The Happy Man”, which spent 3 weeks in the UK top 100 singles chart in January 1988.
He released his debut album, Scallywag Jaz in 1987.
Live tours throughout the early 90’s included several residencies at London’s Ronnie Scott’s and shows with the legendary Nina Simone.
His last album release was “The German Alphabet” released in September 2016.
Thomas still lives and works in Liverpool, and is co-owner and Director of Parr Street Recording Studios and Director of the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.
John J. O’Sullivan
John opens the concert performing his own composition ‘May You Find Peace’
The Cray Twins
From his original UK band The Winkies which influenced The Clash, to his collaborations with Kirsty MacColl, Brian Eno, Mick Ronson, Ellen Foley, Philip’s carreer has been an eclectic and exciting musical journey.
His new album “Whatever Happened to Phil Rambow?” reflects today’s issues, in a unique and personal way.
Brand New Zeros
Their first release as a 4-piece band has received critical acclaim with songs covered a wide range of emotions from the soulful cries of Need A Little Poison to the bar room stomp of Double Whisky Single Woman.
Over the years, Pete has built a solid reputation as a performer and siner-songwriter.
Pete has been writing/recording and producing with many different artistes worldwide. These include Edwin McCain (USA) Narada Michael Walden (USA) John Beck (UK) Steve Crisanthou (UK) Maia Sharp (UK) Angie Aparo (USA) Kevn Kinney (USA) Henry Priestman (UK) Garry Christian (UK) (The Christians), Deadmono (Sweden) Tia McGraff (Canada) and most recently Amy Wadge (UK)
Artist, Poet, Musician + Philanthropist
Daphne has worked across many mediums including music, photography, art and literature. Her support of new and undiscovered talent in fashion has been widely documented. She’s been a fixture in the contemporary art world, an Oscar nominated film producer and a muse to so many creative people. There was always the music. The poetry that filled her notebooks throughout the years and the melodies she heard from within. Following the release of her first collections of songs, ‘Optimist In Black’ produced by famed record producer Tony Visconti, Daphne’s second album, Daphne & The Golden Chord is available now
Tom Robinson (b.1950) is a songwriter and broadcaster who hosts three shows a week on BBC 6 Music. His latest album ‘Only The Now’ is out now
At 14 he began to write his own songs on guitar and piano. He started a band with his friends at 17, ‘Lost Sons of Davros’. From the ‘Lost Sons’ came ‘Boa’ they created two great albums – their first single ‘Duvet’ was the title track to the Japanese multi award- winning animation series Manga ‘Lain – Serial Xperiments’. They toured the States, the UK and after much enjoyment, Steve decided to follow his own path.
He has ‘guested’ at Wembley for Bad Company, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry and the Robert Randolph Band. Tours have included support slots for Bad Company in the UK and Japan and his own headline dates in the UK and Canada. Steve has also supported The Deborah Bonham Band and Midge Ure on their respective tours in the UK and Europe. In 2014 he supported Bad Company again with Lynyrd Skynyrd for their coast to coast US tour and in September 2015 he joined Stackridge for a three month tour of the UK. To coincide with his album release this year he will be touring again with Bad Company and Joe Walsh in the US and UK over four months
Sense of Sound Singers
THE ARTISTS - CD 2
Man Without Country
I write my own songs, hopefully you will play them
WITH A MORBID LONGING FOR THE PICTURESQUE AT ALL COSTS – ARE YOU READY TO EXPLORE A LIFE NO ONE THOUGHT COULD EXIST OUTSIDE LITERATURE?
My Autumn Empire
Simon Raymonde played tracks from the 2014 album ‘The Visitation’ on Amazing Radio. As well as being played by BBC 6 music’s Gideon Coe and Tom Ravenscroft that same year, more recently in 2016 by Lauren Laverne and receiving continued support with radio-play by the BBC’s Stephen McCauley.
An early incarnation of My Autumn Empire, first played live in Japan, while on tour in 2008. Other notable live performances have taken place at Rock-o-Rama, Toulon and Union Chapel, London and A Carefully Planned Festival #5, Manchester
THE ARTISTS - CD 3
Andy Fairweather Low and The Low Riders
Andrew Fairweather Low was born 2 August 1948
He is a Welsh guitarist, songwriter, producer and vocalist.
He was a founder member of 1960s British pop band Amen Corner, and in recent years has toured extensively with Roger Waters, Eric Clapton and Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings.
Amen Corner had four successive Top 10 hits in the UK Singles Chart, including the #1 single “(If Paradise Is) Half as Nice” in 1969.
The overnight success and Fairweather Low’s teen idol looks, as music journalist William Ruhlmann noted at Allmusic; “… put his attractive face on the bedroom walls of teenage girls all over Britain”.
For the last decade he’s been recording and touring with his band The Low Riders.
So he’s 70-years old and been in the business almost 50 years!
He has a healthy love of all styles of music, from Hank Williams to Motorhead and an unhealthy love of 70’s Pop. Les can often be heard incorporating an interesting cover or two into his live performances.
Having a very dynamic approach to playing, Les applies his unique style to his own original compositions. His new album ‘The Love Terrorist’ contains twelve tracks, covering a variety of subjects; from bitter sweet observations with hints of poignancy and humour, to life affirming, joyous rants, aimed at people who are old of mind but young at heart, or vice versa! The title track, looks at life through the sympathetic eyes of a man in his mid fifties, trying to come to terms with the injustices of a crazy world by offering a simple solution
Paul Young’s Los Pacaminos featuring Drew Barfield
Originally a six-piece, guitarist Jamie Moses, accordion/keyboard player Matt Irving, songwriter Drew Barfield, bassist Steve Greetham and drummer Mark Pinder began rehearsals in that summer, and in November played their first gig at the White Horse pub in Richmond, Matt’s local watering-hole.
Fully expecting that the band would fall apart when something more important came along, instead the band played better and the friendship got tighter with each show.
The hats and the band name were there mainly to make it as clear as possible that it wasn’t a Paul Young show: yet as they started writing their own songs it became more & more obvious that this wasn’t going to be a short-term project.
In the year 1997 Jamie called Paul regarding a pedal steel player he’d worked with called Melvin Duffy, and suggested he play on a few songs at the next show. As Paul remembers, “as soon as he took the first solo, we all melted! He had to be in the band, the decision wasn’t his to make”.
Now a 7-piece, in 2002 the Pacs reacted to supporters of the band and recorded their first album. A collection of 12 original songs that ran through their influences of the Texas Tornados, Doug Sahm, Flaco Jimenez, Roy Orbison, The Band, Chuck Berry, Ry Cooder and Calexico, the album pulled in an impressive array of positive reviews.
In 2015, the band lost their dear friend and founder member Matt Irving after a long battle with cancer. In 2016, Steve “Woody” Oakman stepped in as the new accordionist.
Los Pacaminos are now past their 25th year and show no signs of stopping. With an unmatched live reputation, two acclaimed studio albums and two live albums under their belts they continue to explore the music of the Southwest
Michael Weston King
He cut his teeth in bands on the fringes of the Liverpool post punk, new wave and power pop scene of the early 80’s until he discovered a deep-rooted love of Country and American folk music along with the jangle and twang of bands such as R.E.M. Green On Red and the new country sounds of Dwight Yoakham and Lye Lovett.
Aiming to try and fuse the Texan songwriting style of the likes of John Prine and Guy Clarke with the burgeoning No Depression sound of Uncle Tupelo and The Jayhawks he formed The Good Sons, who, from 1992-1999, made 4 critically acclaimed albums recording for Glitterhouse Records in Europe and Watermelon Records in Austin, Texas. They toured with, amongst many others, Joe Ely, Steve Earle, Joe Henry and Son Volt.
During this time Michael also met, toured and collaborated with Townes Van Zandt. The great songwriter who was to prove something of a mentor to him. Townes duetted with Michael on the bands debut album Singing The Glory Down and later recording Michael’s song Riding The Range
Nick’s career started out as keyboard player and session musician.
He has gone on to play with many great UK blues and rock bands including The Frankie Miller Band, The Andy Fraser Band and Sharks, who recently reformed since Andy Fraser’s death with original members Chris Spedding and Steve Parsons.
Nick performs at the gig with his two sons
Originally from Derry, Northern Ireland Niall has lived and worked as a professional musician in London for eleven years. Some of the songs on the album date back to his early days in the city, but the majority were written in the period immediately following the birth of his first child. The title ‘Not Sleeping’ is an apt one on several levels; in a literal sense the sleeplessness of a new parent, creatively a desire to move forward and progress, and ideologically a realisation that we live in a world where we cannot afford to close our eyes for too long.
Guesting with Niall on three tracks is the legendary pedal steel player BJ Cole, rightly acclaimed for his work with REM and Elton John among many others. He provides a direct link to the era which ‘Not Sleeping’ evokes; a time when the human heartbeats of musicians in a room triumphed over technology
My Darling Clementine
For what began life as something of a side project for Michael Weston King & Lou Dalgleish, a labour of love, a homage to the classic country duets of the 60’s and 70’s , My Darling Clementine is now very much part of the country and Americana landscape. 3 critically acclaimed albums, over 400 shows across Europe and N. America, numerous accolades and awards has placed the band at the forefront of the burgeoning Americana scene
The debut “How Do You Plead?” was produced by Neil Brockbank (Nick Lowe, Jim Lauderdale,Tift Merritt) and featured some of London’s finest musicians from the 70’s pub rock era. Players who understood ‘classic country’. Released in 2011, it was immediately acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic. Country Music People called it; “The greatest British country record ever made” while American Songwriter stated “this is as authentic as anything out of Nashville or Texas…A batch of superb C&W corkers.”
Such praise led to a US record deal and invitations to appear at the Americana Music Association in Nashville and SXSW in Austin in 2013
2013s follow-up, “The Reconciliation,” produced by Colin Eliot (Richard Hawley, Duane Eddy) and featuring guest appearances from Kinky Freidman and The Brodsky Quartet only enhanced the bands growing reputation and received a similar critical response. Uncut exclaimed; “The husband-and-wife duo serve up more countrified duet thrills…on this form, it’s a winning formula that looks set to run and run,” while in the States the New York Daily News choose it as album of the week while Popmatters put it in their Top 10 Country Albums of 2013.
In 2015 Michael & Lou took something of an artistic departure, and collaborated with best-selling crime writer Mark Billingham on an audiobook, a stage play and album called The Other Half (www.theotherhalfshow.com) The song and story project, set in a run down bar in downtown Memphis, and told through the eyes of former Vegas show girl, now agin waitress Marcia featured a brand new Billingham story and 8 MDC songs. The album also featured guest appearances by the actor David Morrissey and iconic British singer songwriter Graham Parker. BBC Radio 4 Front Row described it as;
“A convincing world of barflies, peeling paint and characters on bar stools with very dark secrets” while America’s Americana bible No Depression wrote; “With The Other Half, My Darling Clementine reaffirms the fact that they are the UK’s strongest and most assured purveyors of authentic traditional Americana. A superb collection of stories and songs”
After 18 months of touring The Other Half – time for album number 4. Re-uniting with Neil Brockbank, the new album, Still Testifying, was recorded over the summer of 2016 and will be released in May 2017 Stylistically, it is a further shifting away from classic country to embrace gospel and country soul… ‘more Delaney & Bonnie than George & Tammy’.
But if the musical landscape has changed then the message and tone of the songs stay pretty constant. 2 adults, a man and woman, singing to each, about each other, for and against each other
Connie grew up in Liverpool and was singing in her church and school choirs from the age of 5 yrs. Singing was never a career option, nor did Connie wish to until she met and married Bass Player Terry Harris who persuaded Connie to step on stage. Since that first night, Connie decided she never wanted to leave. Together they have shared that stage since.
Connie burst onto the blues scene making her debut at the “Great British R&B Festival at Colne and never looked back.
Performing in over 30 countries, Connie has wowed audiences in Europe and from Moscow to LA. Some of the more memorable occasions included: In New York at the famous “Bitter End” Recording at “Cotton Row” Studios Memphis, with the great Teenie Hodges known for his work with Al Green, whom Connie later met at his church. And of course singing at BB Kings Club, Beale Street, not to mention singing on Hollywood Boulevard…….Then there was Glastonbury. But most of all for Connie has to be touring UK with the late, great BB king, culminating in a show at the world famous Royal Albert Hall London. Connie herself said “Nervous? I was both nervous and ecstatic at the same time! Not only was I on stage at the Albert Hall, but BB King was listening backstage!”
Connie is also known as a songwriter, DJ and unforgettable performer. Connie continues her love affair with audiences everywhere, bringing her enormous gusto for life and music wherever she goes! Blues is her business and business is good!
As BB King said “That woman makes my heart sing”
Her highly anticipated follow up EP, released in June 2017 titled The Next Chapter, did not disappoint. Lily sings with a voice which soars like Lucie Silvas, showing a technique reminiscent of her heroines in the Dixie Chicks (Your Life in a Song). The EP reached number 5 in the iTunes Country charts and held its own alongside the likes of Lady Antebellum and Shania Twain and Zac Brown Band.
Lily has performed all over the country and supported award winning artists such as Raintown and Thornhill. She has also been nominated for two UK Country Music Awards 2017, Female Singer of the Year and Artist of the Year.
In January 2018 Lily was awarded the coveted title of Best Solo Act in the Portsmouth Guide Awards, an award she holds very dear to her heart due to being acknowledge by her peers and fan as being worthy of the title.
Lily has radio airplay all over the UK, parts of Europe and the US and her fan base continues to grow worldwide
Jennifer John & Mike Neary
Whether as Business Woman of the Year for Arts and Culture, the co founder of award-winning music company Sense of Sound and manager of its namesake – Sense of Sound Singers, the stunning a cappella ensemble – her work is exemplary.
The beginnings of her musical life began as a child in the east end of London. As a member of Newham Academy of Music where she studied violin, piano and voice, she discovered a passion for classical music. When she migrated to Liverpool in 1983 she discovered jazz. She won a place at Mabel Fletcher college, and it was there that she discovered a natural ability to improvise vocally and also started to think of her voice more as a musical instrument. Her gradual transition from pop and jazz bands into the world of a cappella singing saw her as a member of various vocal ensembles, including The Descendants, whose appearance on iconic show TheTube earned her a reputation for being a distinctive singer.
There are no limits to Jennifer John’s talents. She is a singer/songwriter, performer, choir director, vocal arranger, teacher, workshop leader, mentor, manager and business woman.
She brings a contagious passion and energy to all of her work and believes strongly that singing is a universal language that encourages community cohesion and healthy collaborations.