Such a nice looking morning, went to vacuum the car. Frozen fingertips; the cruel-but-gentle reminder we’re not in spring yet, then it started with the damn hailstones.
So much to look forward to when summer arrives, without a Glastonbury other festivals are sure to be upping their game. We rapped about the second Saddleback Festival at Devizes Sports Club on 14th July, but here’s a reminder that this Saturday, 17th February, the Sports Club are holding a Battle of the Bands contest which will warm us up better than vacuuming any old motor.
Now, should you get the opportunity, I’d highly recommend any of these home-grown talents: George Wilding, Clair, Tamsin Quin, Jamie R Hawkins, Michael J Barham, Sally Dobson, The Hound On The Mountain, Alex Cash or Jack Moore. Yes, catch any of these playing live around or about and you’re sure for a good evening, but witnessing all of them, in one big do, battling for a place at the Saddleback Festival, totally and utterly FREE……. Well, not to be sniffed at.
Avebury’s George Wilding is one I’ve been advised to watch, self-taught guitarist and writing his own songs, which he describes as “abstract stories,” from age twelve. Rather reserved he shied away from talent shows, favouring open mic nights. Nick Harper asked him to perform at Avebury Rocks in 2011. This brought him to the attention of musician and songwriter Gary Saunders; producing George’s celebrated EP “Being Ragdollian.”
Now Devizes based Tamsin Quin we’ve talked a lot about on Devizine, but I can’t hype her enough. Such an exultant and charismatic singer-songwriter, Tamsin is squeezing in a highly anticipated forthcoming album between plentiful gigs; I understand she’s also supporting Lindsay Lou at the Long Street Blues Club prior to dropping in here.
Critically acclaimed around the world, but right here in the Vizes, Jamie R Hawkins is an award winning singer songwriter and one I’ve been meaning to catch live. Poignant and witty, he’s described as “a powerful mixture of storyteller, philosopher and poet”, with “emotive and captivating” lyrics.
The mighty Mike Barham, renowned for wit and charm behind the mic, booms vocally diverse rocky influences with inescapable pop references, with grating bluesy overdrive or ridiculous falsetto sparkles. Again from Devizes, Mike draws influence from artists like City and Colour, Frank Turner and Corey Taylor. He’s supported brilliant performers, Jonah Matranga, Dave McPherson, Danny and the Champions of the World, Gaz Brookfield and Nick Parker, and has an EP, “Attitude with Attitude,” recorded and mastered by Guy Britton of Riverbank Studios in Chippenham.
Melksham’s alternative rock project, The Hound on the Mountain, distort sounds and fantasy lyrics to blend a miss-match of influences, from Talking Heads to The White Stripes. Currently recording an album, “Cernunnos,” since the success of their EP, “Ghosts of Your Past,” these Hounds played the local circuit, including the Village Pump Festival and Bradford Roots Festival, and the EP got plugged by Steve Lamacq on Radio 6.
One of Wiltshire’s most promising young musicians, Jack Moore from Calne, a multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter is a versatile and ‘out-of-the-box’ performer. Striving to create music which is fresh and free from the shackles and influence of trend, Jack has a charming stage demeanour, unique and on-the-edge-of-awkward, but he’s keen to add, friendly.
Acoustic eccentricity in a punk baroque fashion is the best way to describe Pewsey’s Sally Dobson, aka Salamander. She combines simple strumming with sweeping melodies and lyrical intrigue.
A chance meeting with great musicians from Calne, and being encouraged to share his song ideas, Alex Cash helped form blues/rock band One Last Stand. This is first solo venture. “It’s all about rhythm,” he stated, “if you’re tapping your foot then it’s mission accomplished!” Influenced from a variety from Fink to The Clash. “I write songs that just come to me, and don’t force it,” Alex continued, “they are what they are. I’m always hopeful that someone else might like them too!”
Unfortunately, I’ve no info on neither Clair, at this stage, but you’ve got to have some surprises or it wouldn’t be Devizes now would it?
This awesome show of Wiltshire’s crème of upcoming legends will be put before a panel of judges on the night, not in a Simon Cowell fashion I’d wager. All in all, I’ll see this evening as a sampler for all these talented musicians. Whoever wins I’m sure it doesn’t matter, I know there’s a close network here and everyone are friends and assist each other; making this event so special.
Now, let me get on with vacuuming the car, if you please, there’s rock hard leftover chips lodged in-between the seats and sticky sweets stuck on the upholstery.