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    Album of the week

    Album of the Week: Robbie Williams - Swings Both Ways

    This weeks Album of the week is Robbie Williams Swings Both Ways and here is what Natalie Palmer had to say...When it comes to British solo stars Robbie Williams is one that stands out from the crowd. Never in fear of offending anyone he takes risks (we all remember Rudebox) and nine times out of ten they pay off.

    Robbie first released a swing album over ten years ago, and now he is at it again, revealing: “First of all, I wanted to do a Swing album because I wanted to do a Swing album. I always knew I’d do another and I think now is the perfect time to do it,” and with the help of a few great showbiz pals he’s hit the nail on the head once more.

    Shine My Shoes

    The opening track is written by Robbie himself and his old pal Guy Chambers and it’s a great opener to the album. It starts with the typical swing click and then grows with the sound of trumpets and a full blown brass band. It’s very much a big band track and shows signs of a new Robbie as he refrains from swearing as he says ‘happy as a pig in shhhhh.’

    Go Gentle

    This track was performed by Robbie on last week’s X Factor and is his new single. A song that is quite clearly directed at his little girl Teddy as he sings of dancing with boys but not having to kiss them and stating he will always be there for her. A song most dads out there would be able to relate to about, a sweet and charming look at fatherhood.

    I Wanna Be Like You Ft Olly Murs

    Here we see two artists who are often compared joining forces on a classic Disney hit. Does Olly want to be just Like Robbie? He is definitely heading that way. Both stars are known for their cheeky chappy personalities so putting this into a fun light hearted song has worked really well and you can hear in the recording that they had a ball doing it.

    Swing Supreme

    A slower track that unfolds into Robbie classic ‘Love Supreme’ but as a swing version. This is a genre he has mastered but taking a track many fans know and love and changing it into a big band number could be a risk but his voice is so smooth and it becomes a really good listen. A little bit of old school RW regenerated into something new.

    Swings Both Ways Ft Rufus Wainwright

    Rufus who is potentially unknown in the UK makes a welcome appearance on this track which he also co wrote. Their voices are very similar and the song is a little tongue in cheek which is something everybody is used to with Mr Williams as he sings: ‘And after I’ve done her’ to which Rufus replies: ‘You can do me.’

    Dream A Little Dream Ft Lily Allen

    First John Lewis, then ‘Hard Out Here,’ now dreaming a dream with Robbie. It’s nice to see Lilly back on the music scene in a selection of different styles. This song is sung beautifully and it sounds incredibly classy and romantic as the two sing it together. An unexpected but gorgeous rendition of a classic love song.

    Soda Pop Ft Michael Buble

    It’s instantly clear from the first note that this is going to be a fun, upbeat song. You can hear the jazzy piano and the trumpets are a wonderful big addition throughout the entire song. Buble’s vocal is flawless as always and to see them do this together on a stage with a huge band would be a real treat.


    From fun with Buble to a calming song written by Guy Chambers and Williams himself. Jazzy piano gone and twinkly sounds brought in; maybe Robbie has become a softy at heart now. A song about love and relationships is made more magical as the strings echo in towards the end. As it is a ballad type song the vocal isn’t mind blowing but it still sounds lovely.

    Puttin On The Ritz

    The album then goes back to some more toe tapping swing with ‘Putting On The Ritz.’ It’s hard not to imagine him swinging around the stage and putting on a fabulous show when you hear this track. It’s one that really oozes the swing genre with lengthy musical interludes that make you want to chuck on a flapper dress and go dancing in a big jazz hall.

    Little Green Apples Ft Kelly Clarkson

    Here we see Williams join forces with one of world’s most loved female vocalists, newly married Kelly Clarkson is a surprise collaboration but his big personality and her big voice makes for an endearing musical moment.

    Minnie The Moocher

    Opening with some big notes that prepare you for a strong swing vocal, Robbie's voice has a huskier tone and he is joined by some manly backing vocalists. There would be a lot of crowd interaction at a live show with this one, his voice gets, dare we say it sexier as the song goes on and takes on a faster pace as it comes to an end.

    If I Only Had a Brain

    A song from the ever popular Wizard Of Oz is the penultimate track on Robbie’s second swing album and it’s songs like this that show his voice for what it is capable of. Not a huge ballad but a sweet sentimental song that requires heart. However we all know he has a brain because he’s mastered making millions out of a genre that many current artists approach anymore.

    No One Likes A Fat Popstar

    “I come from a land of kebabs and curries,” isn’t an opening line anyone would expect to hear, but that’s what happens here. He also sings of how showbiz is a single chin game, and munching on a thimble of self esteem. He’s then joined by an operatic choir who sing about how no one likes a fat popstar. It’s great to see someone (especially a bloke) having a go at the industry as it is one that can be so fickle and shallow when it comes to looks.

    Our Verdict

    It’s rare to see an artist poke fun at themselves and others whilst still remaining respectful but Robbie Williams does just that. It’s clear to see people want to work with him and his songwriting efforts with Guy Chambers are fantastic. His vocals, although not always flawless are charming and listenable. This album has the swoon factor and proves once again that Robbie is one of our best entertainers.

    ALBUM OF THE WEEK: David Burke - Where Colours Swim

    David Burke is delighted to announce that his debut album ‘Where Colours Swim’ is now available to pre-order on iTunes for €4.99. The album will be officially released on November 1st.
    The first 2 releases taken from the album – ‘Love Hate’ (Single) & ‘Clothes on the Floor’ (EP) both went in at No.1 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter charts.
    Beautiful Mind (track 8) is the lead single to accompany the album. David wrote the song 10 years ago after being inspired by the movie of the same name.

    Write & record debut album – Check
    Busk in L.A. & New York’s Central Park - Check
    Guest artist to Declan O’Rourke, Wallis Bird, Mundy, Kila, Paddy Casey, Alabama 3 & Hothouse Flowers amongst others – Check
    Record with Chris Elliott – string orchestrator on Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back to Black’ – Check
    Record on Freddie Mercury’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ piano – Check
    Run the original marathon course in Athens – Check
    Climb Carrauntoohil & Croagh Patrick (barefoot) – Check
    Law degree – Check

    To Do:
    Keep making the music I love
    Climb Ben Nevis (Scotland), Mount Kilimanjaro (Africa).........Everest??
    Run another marathon
    Positive living & positive people

    Watch the video for 'Beautiful Mind' here.

    Watch the video for "Clothes on the Floor" here.

    Watch the video for "Love Hate" here.




    ALBUM OF THE WEEK: Zervas and Pepper: Lifebringer


    This Weeks album of the week is Zervas and Pepper: Lifebringer

    and here is what Nick Dent Robinson had to say: 

    Zervas & Pepper are attracting a lot of interest in the music press and on radio with their exquisite vocal harmonies, interesting arrangements and highly original songs.

    Paul Zervas and Kathryn Pepper are about to release their second album, 'Lifebringer', following the success of their debut release 'Somewhere in the City' which they recorded in 2011.

    The pair first met in the Toucan Club, Cardiff in their native Wales and soon decided to write and perform their own original songs as a duo. “That was a very exciting time for us,” Paul Zervas recalls. “We were still finding our feet as songwriters, pushing each other and digging ever deeper musically, determined not to be constrained by current trends in musical style. We realised we'd found our ultimate soul mates in each other. As our romance blossomed, the harmony in our music increasingly reflected the harmony in our lives – at times it felt almost otherworldly to us. And our audiences picked up on that.”

    BBC Radio 2's Janice Long and Terry Wogan have heaped praise on the pair.

    'Lifebringer', the new album, includes some of Wales's finest musicians. The material – which Zervas & Pepper describe as “sunny, cosmic, retro folk rock music” - is “more of an escape from reality” than the band's previous work, Paul Zervas says. Critics have been very positive, calling it “perfect festival music” with “an exquisite sound”. Comparisons have been made with Fleetwood Mac and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. But this may be misleading as it downplays the originality and beauty of the best of Zervas & Pepper's work. 'Lifebringer' is a very satisfying listen. It is well worth making the effort to see Zervas & Pepper perform live with their highly versatile and impressive current line-up including Andrew Brown on bass, Jack Egglestone on drums and Simon Kingman on lead guitar.

    The sounds of Laurel Canyon permeate deeply an album of original songs that draw inspiration from their travels, Kathryn says about the album “There are times when our music is a reflection of our lives but mostly we like to create an escape from reality. We wrote the bulk of this album whilst staying in LA last year, taking as much inspiration from art, music and characters we ran into as we could” and Paul adds “We’ve been somewhat selfish when it comes to the song writing for this album, certainly when it comes to subject matter, there aren’t many Welsh singer-songwriters writing material about round-eyed cult leaders, dystopian futures or mystic Indian shamans! So while not intentionally we do tend to write music that flies in the face of our everyday surroundings and lives”



    ALBUM OF THE WEEK: Paul McCartney - New

    This weeks album of the week is 'New' by Paul McCartney

    Here’s a review from Michael Gallucci on ultimateclassicrock.com 

    None of the four producers who worked on Paul McCartney‘s 16th album, ‘New,’ were even around when he was making music with the Beatles that would shape both his career and the past 50 years of pop culture. And that’s a key factor to the success of McCartney’s first album of new material in six years.

    Working with secondhand knowledge, or remembrances formed after the fact, of McCartney’s storied career, Paul Epworth, Mark Ronson, Ethan Johns and Giles Martin (son of Beatles producer George Martin) don’t try to re-create the legend’s legacy so much as they piece it together by their individual perceptions of it. The results make up McCartney’s best album in 30 years.
    And McCartney, doing his part, takes a cue from his forward-thinking producers and cooks up a batch of songs that sounds very much part of the 21st century while still rooted in the nostalgia that has driven his career from the start. ‘Early Days’ may sound like it stems from any one of the acoustic ballads McCartney has written since ‘Yesterday’ — and it does, make no mistake. But the subtle production touches by Johns (whose father, Glyn, mixed the Beatles’ troubled ‘Get Back’ sessions before they were shelved and later resurrected by Phil Spector as ‘Let It Be’) also lend it a spark of modern-day electricity.

    ‘New”s best songs expand on McCartney’s pop and rock pasts without ripping them off: the opening fuzz-drenched rocker ‘Save Us,’ the late-Beatles bass-and-drums bounce of ‘Queenie Eye,’ the bubbly harpsichord-graced title track. They, along with a handful of other songs on the album that glide along similar paths, make the obvious Beatles/Wings connections without hanging onto them like a crutch.

    But they don’t try to completely reinvent McCartney either, which is a credit to the producers’ willingness to step back and let a master do his thing from time to time while consistently nudging him out of his comfort zone. After spending the past few years getting reflective on records like the 2007 album ‘Memory Almost Full’ and the 2012 standard collection ‘Kisses on the Bottom,’ McCartney sounds revitalized on ‘New,’ ready for a future he helped pave all those years ago. 




    Album of the Week - Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors - Good Light

     This weeks album of the week is Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors - Good Light and here is what newstown.com had to say about it....

    For Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors, their fourth studio album, "Good Light, represents their highly underrated understanding of emotion rather than their growth as a group over the past year.

    If these guys are strangers to you, consider jumping right in and hitting play to get acclimated to their full-hearted sound. It's just that easy.

    Needing little introduction, Holcomb’s voice is very full and heartwarmingly tender, but equal amounts of time are spent listening to his Tennessean accent click into action. “Another Man’s Shoes” best illustrates his innate ability as he draws, “If you ain’t learn that by now/Go ahead, walk another mile.” With the help of his wife, Ellie, this track is destined for a coffeehouse playlist. Feel free to add it to yours.

    Holcomb’s wife, who shares vocal responsibilities, has a certain warming quality herself. Now and again, her voice is faintly heard but as a buttery echo to her husband’s ever-softening tone.

    “Good Light” is clearly the album’s most captivating effort. “Hey there’s a good light/Shining through/And I need it tonight,” Holcomb sings on Good Light’s second glimpse of the bands personality. Feelings of compassion and wonder arise, as Holcomb, now, more than ever, illuminates some very uplifting themes of open-mindedness and cheerfulness in times of despair.

    Further down, “Wine We Drink” is about as vulnerable as Drew Holcomb gets. Forgetting the words to songs and laughing at the wrong time are touched upon in this fragile track that lightly crumbles with its tenderness. Holcomb has never seemed more human, though. If you're in the mood, this one is an effortless listen.

    This year is definitely going to be Holcomb’s, as "Good Light" is destined to grab the attention it deserves. Is it in my album of the year conversation? Probably not. It could creep into my top 10 if it avoids the dreaded pit radio created for folk-rock artists. And don’t act like I’m the only music critic in the country to ever throw those words on a page. I don’t have the numbers to back this up, but plenty of folk-rock bands have lost more than just their appeal after taking the plunge into the icy radio controlled waters. I’m glancing slyly out of the corner of my eye at you, Lumineers…

    This album is now available on iTunes, so pick up a copy today.

    4/5 stars



    Album of The Week: The Whileaways - The Whileaways

    From Siobhan Long in the Irish Times:

    Americana has always found firm purchase round these parts, and this newly hewn trio mine a rich seam that owes something to Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell. But mostly The Whileaways deal a hand all of their own making. With a seven original songs and a refreshingly spirited take on the hoary old The Banks of the Ohio, Noriana Kennedy, Nicola Joyce and Noelie McDonnell cut a confident trail through the undergrowth of roots music. Kennedy’s songwriting is the highlight of this set piece, with opener Dear My Maker managing to both set and steal the scene in a few short minutes. Kennedy and Joyce harmonise with sibling-like ease, while McDonnell adds a six stringed backbone to the mix. This is an audacious debut (which hollers for a chance to be heard in a live setting, so rich is its lyrical tapestry) from musicians whose experience pays ample dividends here.



    Album of The Week: Madeleine Peyroux - The Blue Room

    This weeks Album of the week is Madeleine Peyroux - The Blue Room

    Here is what independent.co.uk

    Begun as a tribute to Ray Charles, The Blue Room expanded to include more modern songs by Leonard Cohen and Warren Zevon, among others, all treated in Madeleine Peyroux's distinctive languid jazz style. Her covers of Charles's Modern Sounds material are engaging, with the sleek strings and muted trumpet of “Born to Lose” more perfectly perched on the cusp of blues and country than the ungainly “Bye Bye Love”.

    Peyroux replaces Charles's gospelly yearning on “Take These Chains” and “I Can't Stop Loving You” with a more resigned tone that's actually better suited to some of the newer material, particularly “Gentle on My Mind” and a sublime version of Randy Newman's “Guilty”.



    Album of the Week: Masters of Their Craft - Various Artists

    This weeks album of the week is Masters of Their Craft, a compilation of various artists including Clannad, Planxty, Shaun Davey, Stockton’s Wing, Christy Moore, Moving Hearts and many more.

    Heres what Tim Carroll had to say about it:

    Masters Of Their Craft’ pretty much sums up what you get with this compilation album from Various Artists on the Tara Music label. It’s is an anthology of 18 tracks from some iconic names and bands in Irish and roots music. In a lifespan of some 30 years Tara Music has recorded the work of music maestros such as Christy Moore, Moving Hearts, Rita Connolly, Clannad, Davy Spillane, Planxty, Shaun Davey and Liam O’Flynn - and this album showcases some of their best known work.
    So what do you get? Well from the rousing might of ‘The Storm’ by Moving Hearts and the cautionary tale of ‘Ripples In The Rockpools’ delivered by Rita Connolly, through the rabid Bulgarian dance frenzy of ‘Smeceno Horo’ from Planxty along with their definitive version of ‘The Good Ship Kangaroo’ to the haunting ‘Daire's Dream’ by Davy Spillane. There’s a live recording of Christy Moore singing the wonderful ‘The Crack Was Ninety In The Isle Of Man’, Clannad delivering the immortal ‘Mhórag's Na Horo Gheallaidh’ and the echoing simplicity of ‘Beautiful Affair’ from Stockton’s Wing. I could go on but if you know Irish music and Tara Music then you’ll already know these 'masters'.

    Will avid fans of Irish music have most of the tracks on ‘Masters Of Their Craft’ on the original albums? Undoubtedly. Then again, is it worth adding this group of gems to your collection? Possibly. And if you are new to the genre is it a good starting point? Probably. There’s also an added bonus of some comprehensive notes about the artists with details of the original albums.



    Album of the Week: John Fogarty - Wrote A Song For Everyone

     This weeks album of the week is John Forerty -  Wrote A Song For Everyone.

    Here is what allmusic.com had to say about it:

    For a good portion of his solo career, John Fogerty refused to play any of his old Creedence Clearwater Revival songs -- not because he hated them but because he was tied up in a nasty legal battle with Saul Zaentz, the head of his former record label Fantasy.

    After a few decades, Fogerty's position softened and he started playing the tunes in concert, then, after Concord purchased Fantasy in 2004, he celebrated CCR, first with a new hits compilation combining his old band and solo work, then eventually working his way around to Wrote a Song for Everyone, a 2013 album where he revisits many of his most popular songs with a little help from his superstar friends. Savvy guy that he is, Fogerty doesn't place all of his chips on one bet: he mixes up rock and country, old and new, dabbling just a bit in R&B and alternative folk, but preferring to stick to a tastefully weathered roots rock that suits him well. Curiously, there is very little swamp rock to be heard here -- Kid Rock yowls through "Born on the Bayou," but that only helps it sound like it's coming straight out of a trailer -- and the song choice, along with the guest list, skews toward country; with Bob Seger singing "Who'll Stop the Rain" and My Morning Jacket easing back on "Long as I Can See the Light," which leaves just the aforementioned son of Detroit stomping through the bayou, and the Foo Fighters lumbering through "Fortunate Son" as pure rock & roll. Heavy as they are -- and they are, substituting volume for swing -- they're overshadowed by never-ending country-rockers, some spirited enough to enliven familiar melodies, some so sober the whole proceeding winds up seeming a bit po-faced.

    At worst, this means Wrote a Song for Everyone is no better than generic -- it's hard to identify Keith Urban as the duet partner on a too-smooth "Almost Saturday Night" -- but a few of the guests stamp their own identity on the cover, whether it's Brad Paisley twisting "Hot Rod Heart" (the only cover here that can't be called a hit, as it's pulled off Fogerty's acclaimed 1997 LP Blue Moon Swamp) toward his twanging Telecaster territory, or Miranda Lambert stealing the title track from her host and guest guitarist Tom Morello.

    All of this is enjoyable but it's rarely compelling, as very few songs play with the original arrangement in any serious fashion (Zac Brown Band's untroubled "Bad Moon Rising" is the exception that proves the rule). It's telling that the lasting moments arrive either when Fogerty unveils two solid new solo songs -- "Mystic Highway" and "Train of Fools" -- or when he leads his sons through the terrific, bluesy choogle of "Lodi," turning the lament into a celebration. All three cuts prove that Fogerty, no matter how much fun he's having elsewhere on the record, doesn't need any guests to sound alive.



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