The third in these excellent Songwriters nights was hosted by Leamington Spa songwriter/vocal coach Shanade, at Wildes Wine Bar in Leamington Spa this week. An expectance group was ready to hear some more local talent, as well as the online Facebook followers who were linked into the Live Facebook feed.
The line-up was Shanade, Matty Rock N Coles, Rosa Francesca, Nicky Ager, Joe Dolman and Harvey Wallbanger
Shanade, after welcoming the gathered throng, kicked off the evening with a new song “Trying to Make it Right” which is about making decisions and gaining acceptance, and then followed it with her classic catchy song “Lion”. Both were sung with her normal passion.
It’s great to see Shanade getting regular radio plays on both BBC Radio 1 Huw Stephens show and BBC Coventry and Warwickshire, and just recently was the guest act to publicise Coventry’s bid for City of Culture in 2020. She also appeared at the BBC Music Introducing Latitude Festival last July.
Next we had on stage Warwick’s Matty Rock N Coles with his strong Rock singing and melodic singing with “Bad Ship” with its
echoy vocals followed by a more folk style song “I want to Get High” with its strong powerful singing and great guitar work. Then he played “Whisky on the Go” with its strong lyrics in an Elvis Presley style and finished with “Hanging Around” which was a slower rock number with more mellow singing style. His style has been compared to Stereophonics and Richard Ashcroft.
His 2012 album “Three Chords and the Truth” was a very personal album as he commented “This group of songs is a very personal album regarding my
own situation in life with my own personal relationships. The music also brings anti-war songs about Iraq and Afghanistan, the twin towers and London 7/7. Upheaval and war in the middle east, terrorist devastation in our own countries, it brings a message of peace to the world.”
After a short break, we had a change of style with Nicky Ager from Coventry (originally Dagenham) taking to the stage with his strong powerful soulful singing and strong guitar style. He had the room excited with his passionate renditions. He only contacted Shanade earlier that day, so was a great addition.
His first song was “If I Could Go Back” which is about his father and his generation. A generation of men who saw a seismic change in the social order of things, women’s equality, the younger generation etc, and seemed to me to have a puzzled view of things. Their fathers knew exactly what their position was and where they sat within the family frame but after the war everything changed. As Nicky commented “This song represents a sudden realisation that things changed for the better and subsequently having a longing to go back and change things.”
This was followed by “The Miracle” which was inspired by the Mail on Sunday newspaper interview of comedian Billy Connolly, where he was talking about his abusive father, but who he had forgiven. Next up was “Amy you are wasting that Spark” which was a slower number but again sung with passion, about the life of Amy Winehouse. He finished with “Let the stars Align” which was about not procrastinating and finished with “Ready or Not” which was a song inspired by watching a Saturday dad meet his ex-wife at Coventry station and taking his young kids out for the day, something they looked like they were not looking forward to.
As Nicky commented “So I started to think how hard that must be for thousands of dads and the reasons why so many dads lose contact with there children. The song is about what an estranged father might say to his daughter in later life. In the song I use the children’s game of hide and seek to symbolise a reconciliation about being there for you.”
“A lot of my songs are about regret and self-loathing. As Willy Nelson said “Over 50% of people think they married the wrong person so that’s why the juke box keeps on a turning” or words to that effect.”
Then next up on stage we had Rosa Francesca and she gave us a smooth singing style on her own songs “Red and Green”, “Stay There”, “This Way Down”,
and lastly “All Day and All of the Night” (The Kinks).
As Rosa commented “I am a Music graduate (Lancaster University) and I spent a lot of time performing whilst in Lancaster, and have only recently returned to Leamington. So I am working on getting back into the local scene and writing new material. I have been performing for about ten years now and play a variety of instruments such as piano, guitar, and harp. Outside of performing I also do some volunteering work in the field of Music”
After a break to get another drink etc.. we had Joe Dolman take to the stage. Joe is in his final year at the British & Irish modern Music Institute (BIMM) in Hove, East Sussex, and had the biggest opportunity of his life when in late 2015 he was selected as the BIMM Breaking act at the RADAR event, run by the UK’s music industry “bible”, Music Week.
Drawing on the skills he’d polished at BIMM Brighton, Joe seized his chance with both hands, invigorating the select crowd of music industry professionals with his well-crafted, emotionally-engaging songs. RADAR was held in Chelsea’s Under the Bridge venue. He also appeared on stage at the Lost at Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park event in 2014.
He played his own songs “Close to home”, “Learning to Fly”, “Addicted to you” and “Nervous” and a cover of his friend Hannah Woof’s song “Sleepless Night”.
As Joe explained “I guess I write songs as therapy to get something off my mind, whether that’s because I’m writing about something I’m going through or have gone through or might be just something I want to speak about!”
To end the evening Harvey Wallbanger stepped up on stage to sing three songs “Billy Bones”, “Beasts in the Night” and “Hip
Shaker” played on his historic Godin 5th Avenue guitar, which Harvey said was an “Awesome instrument”
Harvey will be appearing at the Træna music festival in Norway and commented “It’s the first time we’re throwing this festival. Originally it was a local-
one-nighter that has been going for decades (at least 30 years), but this year we thought we’d make it a bit bigger. 100 sailing students are stopping off at the island on their way north. It’s now a 2+1 day party with music, local food, art exhibitions. 10 years ago, a Norwegian TV series started filming on the island, and it made it quite big. (Series was called Himmelblå). Since then, there’s been lots of tourism and the island has kind of bloomed and made its way on the map.”
The full set of copyright images can be viewed on my Flickr Album
The next event is on Tuesday May 2nd at Wildes Wine Bar