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I’ve always had an eclectic taste in music…

I was heavily influenced by my mum’s taste in music as I used to play her 45’s on her radiogram from the moment I knew how to make them play!!

Some of those artists I have been lifelong fans of… bread, early Rod Stewart, faces, James taylor, Don McLean and loads more. I’ve never been genre driven. To my mind, music is a sound that invokes a feeling and it doesn’t much matter to me which label you choose to put on it if I like the feeling it gives me.

I’m as likely to have Depeche mode or Nik Kershaw on my playlist as I am Nat King cole, T Tex, or Cutting Crew (thank you Nick Van Eede for supporting us, you’re amazing!)

So, excuse my complete random choices of albums. It’s representative of my view of music and has heavily influenced the music I create behind Tony’s melodies.

American Pie – Don McLean

I was introduced to this album, like most people, through the title track, but it’s by no means my favourite song from the album. For me, winter wood is an absolute gem and it amazes me that even people that know Don McLeans music, have never heard this song.

The birds like leaves on Winterwood
Sing hopeful songs on dismal days
They’ve learned to live life as they should
They are at peace with Nature’s ways

And of course, Vincent is a masterclass in songwriting.

The sentimentality of Don’s lyrics just touch my heart and glue is a real visual lyricist painting pictures in your mind, rather like James Taylor.

Stars – Simply Red

By far their biggest commercial success, so a little cliche as a choice from them, but for me, this was an album that encapsulates a period in my life. I listened to this album on repeat, daily. I know it inside out.

The combination of soul / R&B with the jazz funk rhythm section is just perfect and makes me want to move to it. I think my favourites are how could I fall, wonderland and she’s got it bad, particularly love the cycling outdo of she’s got it bad and the beautiful sax solo in the intro of how could I Fall.

Sowing the seeds of love – Teats For Fears

This album was five years in the making, which always amazes me when you consider we created This Hame in one month during a national lockdown!! Still, it was so worth the wait.

The title track is the obvious hook, with its blatant nod to later work by The Beatles, but that’s just the reason to pay a visit, not why you end up staying years!

Woman in Chains is one of my all time favourite songs. If you haven’t ever heard it, please take a listen. It’s stunning on every level. Bad mans song is another beautiful production with incredibly talented musicians showing their wares throughout.

I’ve never stopped listening to this album since it’s release, decades ago!

Bridge over troubled water – Simon and Garfunkel

Wow! What a Masterpiece!

The title track doesn’t need any comments from me. Instead, I’m going to talk about the only living boy in New York. Again, one of my all time favourite songs. I always come back to this song. I love the melodic bass line played with plectrum to give it a percussive sharper edge. I dream of chord progressions like this. Can I steel it? Probably shouldn’t!

And then there’s song for the asking. Like Don McLean, they have a wonderful sentimentality to there lyrics, but adding to that the blend of there voices in harmony (clearly influenced by the Everly Brothers who came before them) takes to to another level.

They say that soul music speaks to the heart and soul, well I think that this kind of folk music hits you somewhere between your heart and your brain. So clever lyrically. And then there’s the brass work in keep the customer satisfied. Heavey, over-bearing, loud and beautiful!

Hourglass – James Taylor

As well as Billy Joel, musically, I’ve been obsessed with James Taylor from the moment I first heard Handyman as the outdo music to a film (can’t remember the name of the film)

I missed the name in the credits and spent the next week or so trying g to sing it to people to see if I could find out who it was.

When found out it was JT, I realised that I already knew his more obvious songs like You’ve got a friend and up on the roof. I went through his music like I had to pass an exam on it and when I came across Something in the way she moves, Carolina in my mind and fire and rain, I was sold, for life! I have seen this man play live many times and he’s the only artist I’ve seen that members of the audience randomly get up and take gifts down to the stage for him. This man has made people’s lives better through music. He really has. He’s touched hundreds of thousands of people loves and made them feel better even if only for a minute. What a gift! He made me fall in love with songwriting. Thank you James. I’d love to meet him one day and thank him k. Person.

I could have chosen any album of his and it may have been cooler to choose an earlier album, but I’ve gone for Hourglass, simply because this album saves me at a time when I was very low.

Enough to be on your way and another day bring tears to my eyes every time I hear them. I’m not even listening to them while I’m writing this and just thinking about these songs are filling g me with emotion. Now that’s powerful songwriting! How does he do that?

Thank you James

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