KEITH ELFORD & THE WEEKEND KINGS — Land of the Living

KEITH ELFORD AND THE WEEKEND KINGS has become the name of a project to create an album of guitarist & singer-songwriter Keith’s original songs.

Doug Lip
7 of 10 original songs that Keith wrote with his pal, the much missed local guitar-hero Doug Lipinski (Doug Lip)…

The album, “Land of the Living” launched on 28th June 2019 features 7 of 10 original songs that Keith wrote with his pal and the much missed local guitar-hero Doug Lipinski (Doug Lip) who passed away unexpectedly in 2016.

The band also includes all members of his band, Thunderhead (Russell Ayres, John Hiles, Stuart Sollors) plus Simon Davies and Stuart Picton, with the participation of Major Baldini and Mick Rogers.

The album is produced by Major Baldini and Simon Davies.

We had a listen:

The album begins with the thumping basser “Mojo Back” and perhaps a cynical acknowledgment of the stumbles and pitfalls of making music. Although the blues tone and riffwork on this number are quite simple, there is an acid guitar that cuts through the piece to bring a portion of world-weary skepticism.

KEITH ELFORD AND THE WEEKEND KINGS
KEITH ELFORD AND THE WEEKEND KINGS – dark energy and smoky genius…

Everybody’s Doing It” is a rock and roll jangler with a touch of darkness around the generous edges, although it also incorporates a lot of enthusiasm. This has a West Coast feel, like something from the Steve Miller band of the 70s.

Mr Charming” is perhaps one of the most successful songs on the album. Certainly, it contains dark energy and smoky genius. The ginger root ‘n’ cookie-glue voice is remonstrative and persuasive, while the convincing twists of guitar add drama and compulsion. This reminds us of the sad grandeur of Tom Petty’s compositions.

Keith Elford
Keith Elford – “Afghanistan” is based upon the real-life experiences of his stepson…

English rock guitarist Mick Rogers (Manfred Mann’s Earth Band) plays the guitar on “Afghanistan” a song that’s based upon the real-life experiences of Keith’s stepson James’ first tour.

With its hearty and cheerful choral introduction, this is like a good bar song that’s overheard as you pass a tavern, but in reality it is a study about the futility of a war that can’t be won and, ultimately, the denunciation of unfathomable junkets.

Guitars froth and boil and the percussion is punctilious. This swings like a Bagram incense burner in an exedra. But when the smoulder dies away — it leaves a bitter taste.

It may not be surprising that there are consignment songs on this album that sound reconciled. So, aptly, “Dust and Water” spirals  earthbound and is suitably melancholic. The voice is poignant and dark as walnut smoke. There is a persuasive guitar solo and finesse  achieved in the detailed composition. This song symbolizes the mortality and elevation of this fine album.

Thank you to Keith and pals for their continued stewardship of Doug’s memory — this is an album to be proud of and it deserves a place alongside your collection that probably already includes discs from: The Traveling Wilburys, The Cars and Jackson Browne.

Land of the Living by Keith Elford and the Weekend Kings is OUT NOW

Link: https://www.facebook.com/KeithElfordWeekendKings/

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THE NASHVILLE TEENS — Live in Staines

What to say about the NASHVILLE TEENS? They had a top ten hit in 1964 with Tobacco Road. They backed Jerry Lee Lewis when he went live in Hamburg that same year. They toured with Chuck Berry. They were picked-up by Mickie Most and produced by Andrew Loog Oldham [The Rolling Stones] and Shel Talmy [the Who].

And, probably, they’re the most famous band you’ve never heard of…

The “youngster” of the group Ken Osborn [he joined late 1980s] playing stunning lead guitar in Staines… Picture @neilmach 2019 ©
We saw their live show in Staines this week at the excellent Riverside Club. The place was filled to capacity for what was probably the most anticipated concert in a long time.

With the original vocalist Ray Phillips still in the front, the lineup now includes the Manfred Mann Earth band musician, Colin Pattenden on bass, the “youngster” of the group Ken Osborn [he joined late 1980s] playing stunning lead guitar, with Adrian “Spud” Metcalfe on thumping percussion and Simon Spratley on liquid keys [both these joined the Teens in 1983].

In Staines the band played a great selection of loud rhythm & blues numbers, rock ‘n’ roll hits and garage-rock/blues-rock wonders.

Right from their launch number, “Let It Rock/Rocking On The Railroad” with furious keys and intoxicating bass-stomp plus those unmistakable shake-rattle-and-roll rhythms, we knew we were in for a mega-dance party of epic proportions.

Their version of Wille Dixon’sHoochie Coochie Man” was stuffed with hoodoo sex-appeal as Ray provided vivid vocals, his arm often extended over the microphone, thus bestowing drama and intrigue. This was when we realized what a musical powerhouse Ken could be: his guitar yielded a furious tangle of oxidized notes and harmonics in a constant state of expansion.

Each recognizable hit hotfooting it after the other… Photo @neilmach 2019 ©

Their neatest trick was to run headlong into a motley medley of well-connected numbers, with each recognizable hit hotfooting it after the other: So, in the first half we had Keep on Running / Somebody Help Me / Gimme Me Some Lovin.  And in the second half we had a similar set of overlapping rock ‘n’ roll numbers. It’s a pity that the keyboards were not stronger in the first medley, but the sound was soon sorted out.

During the sensational Staines show we had Rolling Stones favorites, Chuck Berry sing-alongs, and songs taken from a back catalogue which, to be fair, comes from 1964-1969. Yet these durable songs have been energetically played and re-played by these genuinely talented musicians for over fifty years.

Tobacco Road” starts with a tribal thumping that is said to have inspired Sweet’s “Blockbuster.” And although the song began as an unpretentious folkloric number [written by John D. Loudermilk, 1960] the Teens interpret it as an elaborate, yet unrestrained, blues-rock spectacular. The curious mythology of this song is that it was the last number to be recorded by Jimi Hendrix. He laid it down at Ronnie Scotts, on the 16th September, 1970. He died in Lansdowne Crescent, Notting Hill early on September 18th.

Although the band finished their show with the famous “Tobacco Road” their encore was Steppenwolf‘s “Born to Be Wild” — a curious choice, with lyrics about “heavy metal thunder…” and an association with biker gangs and Easy Rider.

But that’s the best thing about this fine band. They play exactly what you want, when you want it. And when they play — their renditions are thunderous and thrilling. In fact, this was the most perfect end-piece to the “Wild Angels” spirit of the early songs on the set: it was unswerving, with robust guitar riffs, aerated vocals and rough rhythms …

Yes, the place was on fire…. we’re so glad [we] made it!

Link: http://www.nashville-teens.com/
Words & Pictures: @neilmach 2019 ©

METROPOLIS BLUE Launch

Last night, in the precious and incomparable BOILEROOM music venue in Guildford, Surrey a brand new record label was launched in style. The famous Metropolis Studios have joined the The Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) to launch an exclusive record label named METROPOLIS BLUE. It is a project led by ACM students for ACM students, with guidance from industry professionals with experience in ACM and Metropolis

LKJ – a deep and bold song style & sharp confidence…

By joining ACM’s unrivaled creative industry education with the world-class status of Metropolis, ACM students will gain the exclusive experience that they need to get ahead in this competitive industry.

Chairman of ACM and Owner of Metropolis Studios Kainne Clements said: “We promised more industry-based learning and connected opportunity than any other provider and I am both excited and proud to deliver on this by launching the new record label, specific to ACM, powered by Metropolis.

And Richard Connell CEO at Metropolis Studios said: “Metropolis is renowned for sonic excellence, customer service and placing the artist at the centre of everything. We don’t just represent what the industry does, we are what the industry is doing, here and now, and I see it as a privilege to share this with the emerging talent that are the ACM students, from day 1.

The launch-night on Monday 4th March 2019 was enthusiastically attended — not solely because the first few punters through the door were promised free headphones (if they decided to join a long line) — but largely because of the incredible musical talent on offer.

Bethany – energetic…

After a wholehearted introduction from Neon Islands front-man Carlos de los Santos we heard from the amazingly talented indie singer/songwriter Leoni Jane Kennedy [LKJ] — the ACM Freddie Mercury Scholarship Recipient of 2018 — whose combinations of folk, pop, power balladry and blues united with her deep and bold song style and sharp confidence reminded us of Jefferson Starship era Grace Slick.

If you can imagine a finger-picking Melissa Etheridge, young and passionate, playing songs of desire and deception, you will be close to understanding the phenomenal talent of LKJ.

We also enjoyed Bethany Davey – whose “No Time To Lose” [shared below] is an energetic RnB number with work-rhythm patterns and massive wobbles slung around its waist… suggesting this is destined for dance-floor’s around Europe. File alongside Kele Le Roc.

Big queue for headphones…
Congratulations to all the recording artists who venture onto this exciting new student-inspired label. Wishing everyone success and achievement!

The event was sponsored by Monster.

Main Image: Presenter Carlos de los Santos of Neon Islands

Photos by @neilmach 2019 ©

Link: https://www.facebook.com/metropolisblue/

Notes: Since its opening in 1995, ACM has represented every corner of the creative industries. Metropolis Blue will act not only as a springboard for ACM students’ careers as artists, producers, managers, and entrepreneurs, but will also teach them the vital skills they need to make informed decisions about their futures.

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HAIRSPRAY — The Magna Carta Arts Centre

The successful Broadway musical HAIRSPRAY — with music by Marc Shaiman, the lyrics of Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman, and book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan — came to the Magna Carta Arts Centre this week.

It was presented by The Performance Academy. The dance school that was established more than 35 years ago as the Lynne Davis dance school. In 2001, Lynne’s daughter, Annelly [James] took over the school and it became officially known as “The Performance Academy.” The show was directed by the talented local actor TJ Lloyd with lighting by Andy James, sound by Dave Gates and stage management by Nigel Martin.

We saw the show at the exceptional Magna Carta theater on Thursday.

The story follows the curvy teenager Tracy Turnblad’s dream to dance on The Corny Collins Show, and is based on the true history of the “Buddy Deane Show” broadcast by WJZ-TV Baltimore, and taken off-air mid-season due to problems relating to integrating black and white dancers. The theatrical show addresses issues of size and racism, as well as focusing on the love-life of adolescents and living in the big city in the 1960s.

Liezel Abrahams played the upbeat, pollyannaish principal female Tracey with style and gusto. The drag-role of mother Edna was played by George Hedges in the show we saw, and we thought George perfectly captured the part’s self-effacing and diffident nature. Callum Reynolds as the optimistic joke-store Dad/Husband was also noteworthy.

With an ensemble of more than forty talented showsters, often all on stage at the same time, this presentation was a hugely exciting event from start to finish. The cast handled the numbers with aplomb, style and spirit.

impressive drama, extravagant costumes, enthusiastic dances & sincere vocal performances…

Villainess Velma (played by Neve Crossley) and daughter Amber (played by the Cilla-esque Fay Etson on Thursday) had some of the most ambitious songs to perform … but they pulled them off successfully. Aaron Hutton — wearing his Dad’s drapes & drainpipes as Corny Collins and Daniel Hann (Link Larkin) played the dapper male heart-throbs.

Worthy of special mention were: the the mega-talented and much-in-demand Helen Roper (who played by Penny Pingleton in the show we saw on Thursday with dynamic and zippy energy.) We were also captivated by the prepossessing Kola-Olukotan girls: Aliyyah (Motormouth) Ameerah (a member of the singing group “The Dynamites” alongside Leah Warmington and Katerina Saragoudas) and little dancer  Aishah (ensemble).

The show was full of impressive drama, extravagant costumes, enthusiastic dances and sincere vocal performances.

The Magna Carta Hairspray Show was exhilarating from start to finish with enthusiastic support from all … and let’s not forget: You can’t stop the beat once it starts!

Tickets are still available for Hairspray The Broadway Musical at the Magna Carta Arts Centre Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd February (inc matinée on Sat.)

ACM Thursdays at Jamie’s Italian

ACM  has announced an exciting new proposition — students will be working with Jamie’s Italian, Guildford, to put on the first ever live music event at the restaurant.

JAKE MELLES

Headed up by ACM student JAKE MELLES, every week will see the acoustic singer-songwriter host an evening of acoustic music with two new guest artists featured each Thursday from 7pm.

Combining original and acoustic music, Jake expects to put on an unrivaled evening of musical entertainment which will, of course, be complemented by marvelous food and drink.

Jake said: “I’m so pleased to be working with Jamie’s Italian on this project. It’s exciting to be working in such a unique venue and to bring new music to Guildford through their platform is a very exciting prospect. I can’t wait until the launch event on 7th February – it’s going to be a fantastic show and it will be great to see the local community enjoying brilliant music and top food.”

Jamie’s Italian, Guildford, are proud to be supporting the local music scene and are excited to be working with ACM who work with the next generation of the music industry, many of them based in its Guildford campus.

General Manager, Dino Manganaro said “We cannot wait to showcase some of the amazing local talent in our restaurant and we look forward to welcoming new and old guests in to enjoy the atmosphere and try our special £13 set menu offer on the night too.”

ACM operate a ‘learning by doing’ ethos means that students don’t wait until graduation to get real-world experience, Opportunities like this, to be held at Jamie’s Italian, Guildford, are an important part of the student experience at ACM, and the Academy feels incredibly proud of Jake for the hard work he’s put into making this a success.

With many ACM acts set to be showcased by this fantastic new event, ACM and Jamie’s Italian are excited to welcome the Guildford community to see some of the amazing talent coming out of the Academy.

World Leaders in Music Industry Education. The Academy of Contemporary Music have campuses in London, Guildford & Birmingham and offer music courses in Performance, Music Production, Songwriting & Music Business.

Links: https://www.acm.ac.uk/
https://www.jamieoliver.com/italian/restaurants/guildford/

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACM Skunk Anansie Scholarship 2018

The Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) together with the iconic band SKUNK ANANSIE has announced that NICOLE CANNONIER is the exclusive winner of their 2018 Scholarship.

Since Skin has just received the Music Week Women In Music Award for Inspirational Artist,it is fitting that she transmits her legacy to Nicole, who now begins her own musical journey into the industry via the reputable ACM.

Nicole Cannonier – “I felt to overwhelmed…”

Nicole said: “I didn’t expect to win the Scholarship, I just thought I’d enter it. When I found out that I’d won it was like oh my gosh – I felt to overwhelmed – I didn’t expect it, it was a good feeling. I just feel so grateful.

Worth £27,000, the Skunk Anansie Scholarship is exclusively ran by ACM as part of its £130,000 Scholarship programme.

Awarded based on talent, passion, dedication and commitment to building a long-lasting and sustainable career in the creative industries, Skunk Anansie chose Nicole because of the pure drive displayed in her application.

Skin said: “For me, Nicole’s video really stood out because especially in this industry nowadays, you have to have everything – all of it put together, very good visuals and a musical viewpoint of your whole career. For me what stood out was how fresh and contemporary she was and I thought she was a really good representation of what I think is really cool in the music industry right now. The styling of the video was great, the lighting, the imagery, and the angles.”

Known for its unique approach to education in the creative industries, ACM promotes a “learn by doing” ethos with valuable links to real-world industry professionals and impressive state-of-the-art facilities.

ACM is thrilled that Nicole will be joining its London campus to study vocals at degree level, and hope to be able to support her as she embarks on her career in the creative industries.

Ace, Director of Creative Industry Development at ACM and guitarist in Skunk Anansie said: “I’m really excited to start working with Nicole at ACM, her application was outstanding – it’s great to see such passion, dedication and talent! Our Scholarship is now in its third year and it’s fantastic to partner with ACM on this to give back to the next generation of the creative industries and champion new talent. We are also super proud of Skin for winning the Music Week, Women In Music award for Inspirational Artist – I know she is going to be such a good role model not only to Nicole but all of our student body at ACM.

Link: https://www.acm.ac.uk/

FREDDIE MERCURY SCHOLARSHIP 2018

Each year, as part of a £130,000 program, ACM is pleased to award the exclusive FREDDIE MERCURY SCHOLARSHIP to a talented student, allowing him or her to study in a funded undergraduate course at one of its three campuses, Guildford, London or Birmingham.

This year’s Freddie Mercury Scholarship winner… Picture Credit: Lizzie Cooley

Both the ACM and the Queen are proud to announce LEONI KENNEDY as the winner of the iconic 2018 award. Leoni said: “I’ve recently found out that I am this year’s Freddie Mercury Scholarship winner and to me it means the world, it makes me feel appreciated and that I can actually do what I want to do for the rest of my life”.

A panel of ACM tutors chooses a shortlist before the last ones are shown to Queen’s drummer, Roger Taylor ( a Patron of ACM) and Queen guitarist Brian May. After much discussion, this year’s winner was chosen as Leoni Kennedy for her beautiful rendering and remarkable artistry that both Roger and Brian felt was a perfect fit .

Kieron Pepper, Director of Artistic Development and Creative Production of ACM, said: “After sifting through an incredible amount of outstanding talent, passion and evidence of drive and dedication, I’m pleased to say that the winner of this year’s Freddie Mercury Scholarship is Leoni Kennedy – a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and budding producer. She very clearly has her sights set on creating some amazing work as an artist and as a professional. I’m looking forward very much to working with her, and introducing her to the talent in the ACM student network.”

To celebrate the three years of this reputable award, and the anniversary of Queen’s classic “The Show Must Go On” (October 14), last year’s winner Daisy Phillips and this year’s winner Leoni Kennedy recorded a version at Metropolis Studios [also a campus of ACM]. The informal cover features the two girls on guitar & vocals accompanied by ACM Student Harry Leo on the piano.

As a result of this fantastic version of the Queen’s song, Leoni, Daisy and Harry have been invited to celebrate the release of the Queen’s movie ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by performing their cover in association with YouTube at a busking event. Check the video below.

Link: https://www.facebook.com/acmuk/

 

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