NOW HEAR THIS (Music & Musicians you should know) Episode 1

now-hear-this-ep1

Back in October, I presented this idea.  Lots of life stuff has happened since then, and it’s been difficult for me to put something together for even the first post.  But, as there was some actual interest for this – and because I owe it to the musicians themselves – I better crack on. In this episode I will introduce you to three artists that I love.

Now, I know I told you I’d put people in categories, but I really do hate doing that. Categories suck.  I suppose you could stick these three under a sort of indie-folkiness category if you were shoving them in a pigeon hole, but I’d really love if people had more of an open mind and just forget the labels.

I’m going to begin with Tom Kane aka ‘No Man’s Heath’ – a singer/songwriter after my own bruised and broken heart. Tom packages raw personal truth in velvet metaphor, with an intricate, mesmerising guitar style and clean vocals. Every lyric is packed with meaning, every note is breathed through silver.  I challenge you to listen to this artist and not be touched and moved.  Here you will find longing and pain expressed in such a beautiful way, and – if you are at all the type of person like I am, who lives in a half-world of wishes and what-ifs – you will find yourself in Tom’s music.

Next, we have Melanie Page. The word ‘exquisite’ comes to mind when thinking of Melanie and her music. This woman’s artistry upon the classical guitar is a musical feast for the ears, while her lyrics paint very visual pictures. And, her voice! True sopranos are nearly as rare as true contraltos.  Melanie’s voice is a high, sweet, clarion call straight to the heart. Her songs are of love, loss, friendship, longing, hope, frustration and memories – the keepsakes of the heart. Her music is like starlight and thunderstorm, and can be likened to the musical equivalent of a good book that you get totally lost in; Mel’s music has the power to transport you to another realm.

Now, for Les Hayden.  This young man is ridiculously talented. I don’t think there is an instrument that he can’t play, and play well.  And, what I love about his songwriting is that it pulls no punches. This is life as it really is, minus the rose coloured scales and other nonsense people blind themselves with.  His musicianship is, as I say, totally outrageously good. Fellow musicians will appreciate the complexity of Les’s compositions, while everyone can appreciate the truth and power of the songs he writes. I recently got to see Les perform at The Musician (music venue) in Leicester, and knowing I was doing this series, I captured some video for this post (watch the video version of this post to see Les perform). Awesome stuff. Just awesome.

So, there you have it.  Now, GO HEAR IT! And, stay tuned for the next episode of NOW HEAR THIS!

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The Struggling Artist (Give Me A Chance)

The Struggling Artist (Give Me A Chance)

You get an eclectic mix in this blog, for sure. Because, I am an eclectic mix (and, those of you who follow my blog for pictures and/or witty quotes and/or thought-provoking messages, I ask you to forgive me for the shameless plugging; just wait a bit and I’m sure one or all of those things will make another appearance soon)… but, when it comes down to it, it all comes back to this here (and, so, I beg you to stay with me, please).

A couple of days ago, my husband decided to start a blog and begin posting some of his brilliant photography and artwork on WordPress because, he said, and I quote (hey, there’s your quote):

“There’s no point creating them if no one gets to see them.”

I feel that way about my music. And, in my struggle – and, in essence, my failure (I know, people dislike when I use that word, but get over it – call it what it is, dammit!) – to be heard, I have days when I just wonder why I continue to pay for a website that I really can’t afford if no one is discovering, enjoying and, yes, paying for my music. It is frustrating for the artist in me, and sometimes it’s downright so demoralising I cannot bear it. Today I stopped paying the $19.99 a month to ReverbNation for doing nothing for me (they’re supposed to promote me, distribute my music and gain me exposure…yeah). I still have my website (which I am loth to let go of at this time, but I wonder how long it will be… unless, oh, unless… sigh, it’s a dream, Autumn… no, Autumn, it’s not a dream, it’s a complete fantasyand yet, I still hope a fool’s hope). I know I’m not alone (not the only artist going through this). There is so much competition these days. It really isn’t anyone’s “fault” (or, if it is anyone’s, then it is everyone’s…); I am not placing blame and getting bitter (*twitch, twitch*), no, seriously and in complete honesty (having worked through those issues), I’m not trying to put a guilt trip on you (everyone) for not discovering my music and sharing it with the world (uh, yeah, more everyone).

So, this brings me to today and where I say with my husband, there’s no point in creating if we are not seen and heard. Ah, yes, notice I didn’t say, “if it isn’t seen and heard. For our art is the deepest expression of who WE ARE. To appreciate me is to appreciate my art; know me = know my music. And, so, I am giving people an opportunity to download one of my singles (Waterfall) and my album (Gloriously Autumnal) for FREE (that’s a whole album for free)! Now, when I say free, it is “name your price” – you can, if you choose, pay more than nothing for it (and, much appreciated if you do…it all goes to a good cause: paying my bills). Because, there they’ve been, just sitting on a virtual shelf, collecting virtual dust, and not being downloaded (and it breaks my heart and rips my soul to shreds…this is my very essence being ignored here). Why? Because people can’t be bothered and they are so spoiled for choice in the music world that my work gets completely lost in the mix. I’m asking for people to give it a chance. Like all music, it definitely won’t be EVERYONE’S cup of tea (I know and accept that). But, if you like it, you’ve discovered new music to speak to your heart. You have nothing to lose. And, we both have everything to gain. And, if you do like it, you may want to go ahead and purchase the single “Hope Breathing” (and, again, I would thank you muchly). So, over to you (everyone – and YOUI’m talking just to YOU – sitting there in front of your computer screen reading this, I see you); you can make a struggling artist’s day (week, month, year, really).  So, clickety-click that link at the top (which will take you to my Bandcamp site) and download some tunes. Thank you!

I now return you to your regularly scheduled blogdom (of pictures, witty and poetic nonsense, and everything from thought-provoking rants to inspirational devotions), already in progress.