Little Fire album launch – Oran Mor Glasgow 05 Dec 14

Everyone loves a celebration!
And whilst Christmas celebrations may have started for some, the Oran Mor played host to a very special birthday celebration on Friday night.
But it was really only very briefly a birthday celebration when the crowd that had gathered, burst into song to wish the evenings main event many happy returns.
Little Fire was two songs into the evenings set which celebrated the launch of his debut album High Hopes.
So, it was no surprise then, that the audience and Little Fire were all in the mood for a party.
Support acts  Katie Hitchen and Rebecca Herd set the mood perfectly with their sweet, melodic vocals leaving the stage set for Little Fire and his soulful, love filled, awesomely cool run through of album tracks, crowd requests and a few other gems.
He loves to sing, which shows in spates, both in the emotion expressed in his lyrics and his regular positive interactions with his fans.
‘How’s everyone doing?’ he smiled as telling everyone that ‘Singing is the just the best feeling ever.’
Title track of the album High Hopes sums this young man up. He’s full of positive energy, full of gratitude for those who have helped him along the way, he holds his head as high as his hopes and a nicer guy you could not meet. Oh, and he can sing a fair bit too. I overheard him being compared as the Lionel Richie of Ayrshire by a member of the audience and like everyone in attendance, I wish him as much success as the old commodore.
Whilst Little Fire took his bow, I picked up my own copy of his album and left  the Oran Mor, getting a little emotional myself as I listened on the journey home.
Thoughtful, warming, soulful and positively uplifting throughout, whilst an all rounded relaxing feel leaves us in no doubt.
Little Fire.. Surely a big flame of the future!
Check him out here…

Steve Cradock and The Gramotones – Oran Mor Glasgow 30 Oct

At 7.30 on gig night the Oran Mor in Glasgow is quiet. Doors opening around 7 means the bar, to the rear is always the busiest area at this time. Looking onto the gig area directly in front, it’s empty although the few dimly lit seated booths have been occupied. So too have the pillars on the edges of the dance floor, which with shelves for drinks, are amongst the premium spaces for early gig goers.
At a quarter to eight exactly, The Gramotones take to the stage.
‘Hello’, says Jake. ‘How you doin, we’ll be your support band tonight.’
And then they are straight into M62. They’re on form, their blend of indie guitar sounding pretty acoustic tonight. Drummer James clearly would rather be let loose on his full kit, but for tonight a cut down more laid back set means he has to make do with a single drum. With each song that passes a few more congregate in front of the stage, heads nodding and each song receiving increasing applause.
Both guitarists Sid and Jake take stints on harmonica and for anyone old enough to remember there’s an outing for the stylophone on Marjorie. Bassist Ryan has centre stage tonight and he, as with the rest of the band are clearly up for making their Glasgow debut a memorable one for the fans that have come out to see them.
Single Soldiers Kiss gets an airing tonight too, much to the growing crowds enjoyment.
Their only cover of the night comes at the end of the set, and as it comes in the form of The Band’s -The Weight nobody is complaining. It’s an apt song to close, summing up nicely a lot of the bands influences.
As they close their set, stage front has completely filled up and they leave the stage triumphantly, treated to a a well earned Glasgow cheer and a huge round of applause. This might have been the bands Glasgow debut, but on this performance it’s clear to see why Steve Cradock asked them to support him on tour and undoubtably won’t be the last Glasgow has heard of The Gramotones.

Shortly before 9.00 glass of wine in hand Steve Craddock whispers ‘Hello Glasgow’ and gets stuck in about opener Last days of the old world.
Next up R and R is dedicated to the late Lou Reed, a timely nod to the great man who sadly left us only days ago.
The Ocean Colour Scene man’s set comprises of old songs as well as more than just a smattering of his new material.
With each song from the new album though, comes another round of good natured banter from the Glasgow crowd.
By the time he finishes his set, they are whistling, cheering and calling him back by name (and perhaps more than a few shouts back for band member Sally too) for an encore. He reminds everyone just one more time there’s a new album out before leaving the stage, only to return to the merch stall to sign and chat the remainder of the evening away.
Travel Wild Travel Free is available now from

Daniel Meade – As Good As Bad Can Be

Ever wondered why it is often tricky to convince people to listen to country music? Perhaps you’re amongst those that don’t like it yourself.
Well, Bill Anderson’s words relayed to me by Glasgow singer Daniel Meade, helped me understand why it might be the case.
To those who would tell Bill that they once didn’t like country music, but now they did, he would tell them, “You didn’t not like it, you just hadn’t lived enough.”
After spending countless hours listening to the likes of Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Conway Twitty, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Gram Parsons and Bill Anderson himself, I think it’s a pretty fair analogy.
Sure, plenty folks will disagree and I daresay just as many who have lived full lives will say they don’t like country, but how many of them have given themselves time to go beyond the stigma attached to the genre..
Strip away some of the pre-conceptions you might have about Southern accents, rhinestones, rednecks and what your actually left with is raw emotion.
Forget the cheesy lyrics you might be associating with country. We’re talking lyrics about life; heartache, fear, love, loss, devotion, freedom, doubt and self belief are just a few of the feelings that you cannot help being struck by.

For those already convinced and indeed those who still might need a little more convincing, here’s a recommendation for you.
Daniel Meade is a singer songwriter from Glasgow. I don’t think he’d argue with me saying he’s already lived an interesting life. But don’t take my word for it, listen to what he had to say when I interviewed him before a recent gig.

He’s a pretty humble chap, arguably one of the reasons you may not have heard of him. Check out albums by The Basement Boogie Men or The Meatmen and you’ll hear for yourself the standard of his songwriting and playing abilities. He’d definitely be forgiven were he a little more self promoting.
BBC’s Ricky Ross has featured him on his “Another Country” radio show and says of Daniel, “He’s very good indeed.”
Keep your ears peeled for more appearances on Ricky’s show for Daniel.
In the meantime, Daniel has a brand new album out. It’s called “As Good As Bad Can Be” and it’s a cracker. Tracks like Long Way to Fall, Homegrown Hank and title track As Good As Bad Can be simply ooze the kind of emotion I spoke about above and it’s pretty clear to see where he has drawn much of his inspiration. But, it’s on “If It’s Not Your Fault” (I Guess iIt’s Mine) that the relevance in todays society for country music is never more apparent. A little bit more of this attitude and we might all get along a little better.
Bold words? Perhaps! This may still not be a commercially heralded musical genre.. but if you choose to listen to what todays mass musical marketing machine tells you is the widely accepted view of popular music, you might just lose out on something very special.

Those lucky enough, headed along the The State Bar in Glasgow last Friday (27 Sep) for the album launch party.
Daniel was supported by another local act Les Johnson and Me, who warmed the crowd up nicely with his very own blend of country tunes. With an unmistakeable voice himself, Les showed flashes of the man in black himself as he confidently put his talents on show. Check him out here.

Daniel Meade came on as understated as he is when talking about his talents, getting straight down to business with songs, old and new, ranging from his solo work to songs from The Basement Boogie Men and The Meatmen. Former Meatmen compadre Richard Anderson was on hand too, with Lloyd Reid on guitar completing Daniel’s line-up for the evening.
There was also a guest appearance from The River 68’s guitarist Christian McCabe, who played some outstanding harmonica towards the end of Daniel’s set.
A thoroughly enjoyable evening, a fantastic debut solo album and a very bright new talent in the form of Daniel Meade.
You can find pretty much all of the country artists mentioned in the post on Spotify, iTunes and the like.

Here’s a taster of Daniel’s album, the opening track Maggie Blue.
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If you want to just go buy the album, it’s here.
And in Mr Meade’s own words… Keep it Country.

The Velveteen Saints – Nice n Sleazy

Chalk and cheese? Right and wrong? Black and White? Och no!
Perhaps more like my Ying and yang kind of a day. The mother in law is visiting this week and we had promised her a trip to the Royal Yacht Britannia as a birthday treat earlier in the year. As with many best laid plans, it never quite came to fruition. We decided that we would take her along today and the heavens blessed us with calm seas and bright skies. Ok, many of you know that the yacht was retired a number of years ago and it is now in dock at Leith Ocean Terminal. But it certainly made for a great day. The tour is worth making time for. The contrasts experienced above and below deck are quite something… A real look at how the other half live. Oh, and the Royal tea room does cracking scones. Mother in law highly recommends the Victoria sponge too.
Ah yes, contrasts! So, that was my day. The evening, somewhat in contrast and definitely more my thing. Off to Glasgow’s Nice n Sleazy I ventured to see local band The Velveteen Saints.
Changed days from rocking up at gigs five minutes before the main act is on stage.
We were in Nice n Sleazy promptly, at 2015. The first pleasant surprise was bumping into Mr Nick Fraser. I seem to be making a habit of that lately. What a gent! During our catch up, I find, as I am, he’s excited about the lineup.

First up was singer songwriter Daniel Meade.
Immediately it strikes me that his style of music is quite different to that of the band at the top of the bill. That’s encouraging though, it shows The Velveteen Saints are intent on giving tonight’s crowd as much variety as possible.
There’s a definite country vibe going on with Daniel, his guitar alternating between upbeat and soothing songs. The melodies are catchy and the mix makes for enjoyable listening.
Dressed in suit jacket, tie, red shirt and jeans, Daniel is a storyteller.
Initial thoughts are of.. I’m not quite sure…Dylan? A Glaswegian Cash? Gram Parsons?
All in there, but it’s probably Hank Williams who if,he’d popped in would have been tapping his cowboy boots in the same fashion as me, thinking…this guy is real good.
Lyrically, there’s a lot of thought gone into these tunes.
From “It’s hard hard hard, help me carry on, for the song” and
“Thank you for the good times and
“Headstone where her heart used to be”
Finishing with a bit of a country stomp, perfect for getting you in the mood for what was to come, and just right with Sleazy’s ceilings too. Just high enough that you won’t bang your head, low enough that you’ll catch your hands if aloft whilst jumping.
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Next up was The Minx. they’re from Manchester and have a sound that has been influenced by bands through the ages. They kick off with a heavily laden Buzzcocks sound. My eye caught bassist Stephen’s Specialsesque strap holding the guitar and I wondered what else we might expect.
What we got, was big keyboard, punky poppy boppy numbers that were effervescent and engaging.
As the sound of “I don’t like you, you don’t like me” began to catch in my brain I thought how perfectly it suited the Dr Martens and turned up jeans donned by a couple of members of the band.
Fusing genre upon genre there was something in here for everyone.
Just like one of the title’s…”I found my head”. It was rocking amidst more long keys and outros, which brought the set to a close….with a bang!
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Which brought us to The Velveteen Saints.
“I hope you’re feeling generous” the first words didn’t take long to receive a response.
As the lyrics “You need me” shot out across the crowd, I felt myself thinking that right now, the music business really does!
These guys give us Rock n Roll like it used to be… And yet not!
Mama didn’t raise no fools here, they began to sing.
Although many of their influences are clearly from the past, they combine that so sweetly with an attitude that could only be born of modern day Glasgow!
Wake me up..kicks it with style. We feel the drums, then Juliet.
Follow these guys and you certainly wont die alone!
They have character, charisma, on stage presence, tunes that rock and attitude.
Top marks Nice n Sleazy, a sterling nights music.
In short, If you are looking for something to put the oomph back in your record collection, check out The Velveteen Saints. They will not disappoint.
After a performance like tonight’s and with tunes like those, Rock n Roll is (most certainly not) dead!



Telling Stories Day Glasgow – Part 3 Gig Review

For the benefit of anyone who missed Part 1 or Part 2 this is a gig review of The Charlatans at Glasgow Barrowland Ballroom on 09 Jun 12.

We enter the Barras, searched because we’re here
Huv you anything you shouldnae huv, ooft, never fear.
Up one flight of stairs, yes we know that smell
Fat from greasy burgers, nostrils pinched a tell
Up again we go, it’s dark dirty and dingy
Glitter ball and our square tiles, the Barras haze hits me.
Stars wink from the ceiling, and internally we smile
Still the most atmospheric venue in town by miles.
Beer consumption and anticipation high
Sound systems thumping, band arrival draws nigh
Now on stage, velvet drop is looking fine
With no shoes arms out stretched, tambourine sublime.
A hair shake, a bow to crowd, North Country boy beams purple
& Blue criss cross jets of light and John Brookes cymbals thunder
Crash and, Tellin Stories, shout, then laserbeam
Sends shivers, this rendition, best we’ve ever seen?
Schweet edge, 97, a good year, Clean up Kid
Mark and Tony showing they’ve had fun dusting this one’s lid.
One to another, pleased to meet ya, bouncing, Tim gees crowd
Martin Blunt, I’m sure he’s dancing, is this sh1t allowed?
JB is a wild thing. Whistles and videos
Don’t need a gun, your a big girl now, come on folks, let’s go.
A quick guitar change for MC, lets everybody know.
Now he gives it laldi, a breather for JB.
It’s all sounding fresh on acoustic, Now, How can you leave
Us now, and tempo up again band well chuffed with new
Life that’s been breathed into this, drums are mental too.
Area 51, tambourine is back. Tim is jiving, Tony funky, Mark is far from slack.
How you all doing, good times, too good, here’s Title Fight
How High starts a pogo, the tempo’s good tonight.
Only Teethin, then Get on it, harmonicas sounding good
Tony Rogers organ, Martin Blunt, the bass is rude.
Hand claps take us higher, drums crash, piano’s sick.
I hear someone shout Tim’ll Fix it.
Tellin Stories tonight………….EPIC.

Then we have the encore, the hits rack up all night
More than we imagined, man it’s sounding tight
Forever is a treat, there’s Weirdos funky dancing.
Strobes and Vanity, all hands together chanting
Exuberant the crowd , it’s harmonica time
Impossible, a victory, without, would be a crime
Thinking Things over, homecoming is true
Everyone in the moment the lights strobe red and blue
Clapping, sweating, everyone, bonkers are we ravers?
Sunshine of my life and Here comes a soul saver.
Orange soft the mood, Beaming grins never perplex me
Blackened blue eyes strikes, we’re feeling kinda sexy!
A Charlatan band, noble and wild,
Your hustlin for tricks, leaves not a dry eye
You’re the only one we know, hands aloft it’s way too much.
As Sproston Green closes, no words required, we’re touched!