Monday, January 4, 2016

Many Delights of Great Music Year - A Look back at 2015

The latest from Pete Clemons, from Coventry Telegraph -

MANY DELIGHTS OF A GREAT MUSIC YEAR - Pete Clemons 4th jan 2016
2015 highlights
My final paragraph in my round up of 2014 contained the line ‘2015 is already shaping up to be memorable’. And so it was to be, by the bucket full.

In terms of album releases for this year I have really enjoyed the latest albums by familiar names such as Keith Richards, David Gilmour and Jeff Lynne’s ELO.

But scratch slightly under the surface and a whole host of other aural delights exist. Album releases by Steven WilsonHand.Cannot.Erase.’, Bruce Soord self-titled debut album, Tim BownessStupid Things That Mean the World’ and Polish band RiversideLove Fear and the Time Machine’ have all certainly fallen into that category. But one particular album that I have almost worn out is that by Swedish rock band Anekdoten titled ‘Until All the Ghosts Are Gone’.

I have always had a soft spot for what I can only describe as folk rock. For those who are into that kind of sound then you may realise that the original vocalist for Fairport Convention, Judy Dyble, has recently made a triumphant return to recording. She also released an ‘album of stuff’ called ‘Gathering the Threads'. This was a 3 CD set that covers her music from the beginnings in 1964 and through to present date. A couple of tracks also feature a guitarist and songwriter called Sand Snowman who is well worth investigating in his own right.

On the gig front I also got to see several bands from the above list play live, in fact most of them. But the one gig that stood apart was that by King Crimson at the Symphony Hall. This had been their first gig in Birmingham since 1973. Not a word was spoken by the performers, which included 3 drummers, during the concert but the music spoke volumes. King Crimson was not pushing any new music. Instead, this was a unique celebration of all that had gone before.

Closer to home and I bought two outstanding albums by local artists. The first was by Stone Foundation and titled ‘A Life Unlimited’. The album is crammed full of the bands trademark soul and funk sound. In fact, as I understand it, a single from the album ‘Beverley’ has been highly acclaimed and is up for an award. Next up was Steve Walwyn’s debut album ‘Instinct to Survive’. Steve of course needs little introduction but, for those who are not familiar, Steve has been lead guitarist for a number of years with Dr.Feelgood and before that The DT’s. And for Steve, this completed a lifelong ambition to release a quality blues album in his name. Neither of these albums releases will disappoint.

In addition to the albums we had a wonderful EP release by Luna Kiss called ‘Gravity’. Luna Kiss are a rock band and their own create original music. They have created their own sound by drawing on influences across the spectrum. If good honest guitar riffs combined with a rockabilly sound are your thing then the Skabilly Rebels are just for you. Led by the enigmatic Roddy Radiation the Skabilly Rebels released a noteworthy EP titled ‘Fallen Angel’ earlier in the year which contained a set of new and more familiar songs.

The above is far from exhaustive. I do appreciate that there has been other album and EP releases that I have not covered or even heard as yet.

I think all who attended will agree that this year’s Godiva Festival was another triumph. I really enjoyed the parts of it that I got to see. On the main stage I found Coventry bands King Phoenix and Callum Pickard and the Third Look particularly memorable. Going forward I really hope that this festival continues in some form or other. For Coventry bands like those mentioned it really is an important fixture.

I am already looking forward to 2016 which, yet again, is shaping up to be an exciting year.

King Crimson Live - Court of the Crimson King

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