This year we asked two of our artists with 2015-2016 releases to supply updates.
Tony Lowe Update:
ESP (symphonic prog) – The magic is building… coming in 2016.
ESP is a concept album featuring some incredible Musicians from the world of Prog and Rock. Written and Produced by Tony Lowe, it begins as an album and with Tony and Mark Brzezicki at the core, it will also be a live band, going on the road later next year TBC. This promises to be a ground-breaking album and live band with an emphasis on great musicianship.
Initially I worked in isolation on this music. The first six months were spent looking at ideas, recording basic versions… discarding a lot of it before re working some of the original ideas and melodies won’t see the light of day as they were replaced by much stronger, more evocative pieces. As usual with these kind of works, the music seems to know what it wants but it takes time for my human brain to realise what that is. Of course the beauty of trusting to instinct is that when it works it can be very powerful. The concept is one of a Man who’s searching his dreams and subconscious mind for another glimpse of the ‘one’ that he saw once… he was sure she was real and becomes taunted by the search to re-connect. Only when he goes into another state can he feel her there still. Was she an Angel? A long lost soulmate? Was she there for him only? Was he going mad??
I asked Alison Fleming to help with some the Lyrics and we now have a strange combination of both our writing styles which are very different. Alison has also added some ‘Ethereal voices’ to the proceedings in places.
After a year of writing and recording the ‘initial drafts’, we started to add the other musicians and singers. Pat Orchard was the first off the mark with his beautiful nylon strung guitar piece which became an integral part of the final section. In September 2015, John Beagley came into the studio to add vocals on some of the sections. These have also been changed and re worked and he has really got into the vibe of the lyrics, which are a little unusual in places. John sang the parts with great emotion and energy, marking the point where the words and ideas became real for the first time.
Next in, the inimitable David Jackson adding Saxes, Flutes and various whistles and we are still in that mode but the one track we have down is amazing. David Cross, played some wonderful Violin parts taking the music to new heights. It has been great to hear the acoustic instruments slowly building against the Keyboards and Elec Guitar.
Mark Brzezicki then added live drums to the entire project. In a studio environment his drumming is something else; uplifting us all with his energy and enthusiasm for the music. We managed to get most of it done but will add more drum tracks in January.
Once the drums are down the extremely talented John Young and Steve Gee will be adding some Synth and Bass respectively and Yumi Hara will add harp before its mixed, mastered and sent out into the universe… until it’s time to play it live!!! Join our Facebook Page! -Tony
Chris Gray Update:
I feel happy with all my music happenings this year, from playing at the first ever Butefest in Scotland to supporting Tristan Mackay in the beautiful St Pancras Old Church, London and Echo & The Bunnymen in IOM. April 2015 saw the release my debut album ‘Diamonds In Your Tree’, with a track played on BBC Radio 2 by Dermot O’Leary, as well as a live appearance on the Robert Elms Show, BBC Radio London 94.9, where I had a chat with Robert and played ‘She Loves The Morning’.
Since then I have been hosting the weekly Open Mic at The Bath & Bottle ‘Jam-tini’ and pop over to Liverpool to play when poss…phew! It’s been a busy year and truly enjoyable one too! My last gig of the year was a charity concert in aid of Manx Cancer Help, ‘Shave, Rattle & Roll’. MCH encouraged the lads to show off their facial hair and help raise money for a really great cause. MCH provides practical, emotional and psychological support to people whose lives are touched by cancer. Their free and confidential services are available not just to those with a cancer diagnosis, but to carers, families and friends who may also be affected, so it was good to be a part of the night, and a great way to end the year. The sold out event was compared by MCH patrons Katie Melua and James Toseland.
Looking forward to 2016 – In between the gigs I have been putting pen to paper and have written a good solid batch of new songs, I purposely decided to take my time rather than rush as I have done in the past and I think it has made a huge difference to enjoying writing, now I walk away and revisit as and when. ‘Leave A Light On’, ‘Flames In The Fire’ and ‘The Fighter’ are standing out for me at the min and I’m very excited at the thought of a new release in 2016, keep your eyes on my Facebook page or website for more info in the new year on this.
My calendar for next year is already starting to fill up nicely, which is brilliant – a couple of festivals, UK & IOM dates confirmed and I’ll be announcing these dates as soon as I can. As always, I’m looking forward to getting out there and playing live, gigging these new songs as well as seeing old and new faces too. The support and feedback I’ve had this year has been amazing and would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who came out to watch me live, bought a copy of the album, played me on their radio show, supported me on the likes of FB – you guys have all been fab!
This winter I have started a newsletter – if you fancy a chance at winning one of two CDs before Christmas – sign up here or if you would like to read it. To keep up with my events, shows, and releases visit my website!