Music is Love: One Love Manchester

Benefit concert ‘One Love Manchester’ proves that music brings people together in the wake of recent terror attacks in the UK.

Hey everyone,

I’ve been a little bit quiet lately, but if you follow me on my social media then you’ll know that I, like many others, tuned into BBC One’s coverage of the ‘One Love Manchester’ benefit concert on Sunday June 4th. Held at Old Trafford Cricket Ground, thousands of fans gathered at the charity event organised by pop singer Ariana Grande, to honour and raise funds for victims of the recent terror attack which took place after one of her shows in the city, killing 22 people and injuring hundreds more.

Being a music lover, I find solace and comfort in my favourite songs and will never be able to describe the feeling that can only come from truly connecting with a track, and being able to relate to someone else’s words on such a deep level. By extension, going to gigs is a way of celebrating and experiencing the joy and atmosphere that only a live show can bring. As I sat watching ‘One Love Manchester’ the poignancy of the whole event really hit me, even through my TV screen – and you’d only have to glance at Twitter to see that I wasn’t the only one.

I see concerts as a place of magic, of community, of belonging. There’s always the sense that, whatever you’re going through is left at the door and for those few hours, nothing else matters. Nothing but the music and the atmosphere that surrounds you. Coming together with total strangers but being united in the fact that you all believe in something, you all believe in this. ‘One Love Manchester’ really embodied that spirit, and showed that hate and fear will never overpower it.

Katy Perry’s words at One Love Manchester

There was a sense of strength and resilience at the core of the whole show; the artists playing tracks with powerful, inspirational vibes. From Robbie Williams’ moving renditions of ‘Strong’ and classic track ‘Angels’, to Katy Perry’s sassy performance of ‘Part of Me’, the message was clear: we will not be beaten. We will not be afraid.

Headliner Ariana Grande shared the stage with many of the other acts involved, including coming together with Miley Cyrus for a duet of Crowded House track ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’, as well as joining forces with Coldplay to wow the audience with a heartfelt cover of popular Oasis number, ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger.’

The 23 year old starlet also joined The Black Eyed Peas onstage for a performance of their 2003 number one single ‘Where Is The Love’. Upon its release the song topped the charts in 13 countries – including the UK where it occupied the number one spot for seven weeks – and is the epitome of the reason for the entire event. Lyrically, it addresses mindless acts of terrorism and asks, where is the love and compassion we should have for each other as human beings; making it as relevant now as it was back then.

Throughout every single act – including the likes of Little Mix, Niall Horan, Pharrell Williams, and Liam Gallagher – the 50,000 strong crowd sang, danced, and cried along to every single word. Many of the artists gave heartfelt speeches and were also overcome with emotion during their sets, none more so than Grande herself. As the night drew to a close, the young talent welcomed all the artists to the stage and thanked them for being involved, before launching into a heart-wrenching performance of her track ‘One Last Time’ – giving a goosebumps-inducing meaning to the song.

I have a huge amount of respect for Ariana Grande for organising the event and to all the artists who took part in some way, the entire concert overflowed with emotion and the love hung thick in the air – whether you were there or watching at home. Grande ended the night with a powerful version of ‘Over The Rainbow’, a beautiful moment that saw her become tearful. As she thanked and told the audience she loved them, it was evident that she herself is still deeply affected by what happened two weeks ago, but her spirit in organising the show and carrying on in spite of that is undisputedly endearing.

There is absolutely no denying the poignancy of the show as a whole, and of live music in general. To be so wrapped up in a song, to be able to scream the words at the top of your lungs because it means so much to you; and then to hear hundreds of other people doing the exact same thing, for the same reason is an amazingly moving feeling. The beautifully haunting sound of all the voices blending into one is truly something to be experienced and, in this particular incidence, knowing the reasons behind One Love Manchester: paying tribute to those who were lost or injured in the attack, you couldn’t not be moved by it.

Did you catch ‘One Love Manchester’ on BBC One last Sunday? What did you think of the show? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. 🙂

Christmas Music: Is It Ever Too Early?

Season’s greetings readers,

Christmas is definitely upon us; twinkling fairy-lights adorn every tree, the mince pies are out in force, and there’s an excitable atmosphere in the air because it’s actually not that long of a wait until the big day itself. Some of my friends have even had their decorations up since before Bonfire Night, relentlessly counting down the days. As such, I thought I’d share something with you that comes to light every year. Something that inspires debate among myself, my family, and my friends – and that is Christmas music.

xmas-music-blog-post

I wasn’t aware of how much Christmas music – in particular when it’s acceptable to be played – divides people. It definitely seems to be a hot topic, at least with people I know, at this time of year. Personally, I have nothing against Christmas music; I enjoy the novelty of it and I think it’s a great way to get into the festive spirit. I’m willing to bet that even Scrooge had his favourite Christmas song that he played when no one was listening – there are just some absolute classics that you can’t not play. However, what I dislike about it, is how it starts to be played earlier and earlier each year.

When radio stations start to play Christmas songs before Halloween, or even before Bonfire Night, I just think ‘chill, it’s not even December yet’ – at least get those out of the way first. Similarly, someone posted a graphic on Twitter in August (yes, August!) saying that it was 18 Fridays until Christmas. Now, I’m all for being festive, but I immediately rolled my eyes and thought ‘really?!’ I can barely stand Xmas songs before Dec 1st, but starting the count-down in August is a bit ridiculous.

Personally, I think Christmas music should be unleashed from December 1st onwards – not before. My reason for this is that December is the month of Christmas, and I think anything before then runs the risk of quickly becoming overkill; by the time it gets to Christmas the novelty wears off and you’re bored of it before the season has even begun. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way and, when it happens, I think it’s such a shame because Christmas music is universal. Everyone knows the old classics and, if you’re anything like me, you can’t help but have a cheesy sing along with your family and friends.

Whatever your stand-point – whether it’s a case of the earlier the better, or if you roll your eyes and groan when you hear a Christmas song in November – it’s undeniable that some tracks you just can’t help but love, no matter how much you resist. I feel like everyone has their favourite festive song that just gets them in the mood for Christmas; whether that’s bringing back good memories of Christmases past or igniting the anticipation for the day ahead.

Personally, I just think Christmas – and everything that goes with it – should start in December. I’m not as rigid as to say that there should only be The 12 days of Christmas (six days before, six days after) but anything before the beginning of the month, and by the time Christmas Day rolls around you may have just had enough.

Each to their own, as they say, eh? Merry Christmas. 🙂

 

What do you think of Christmas music? Do you think it can become overkill by the time Christmas day actually comes, or are you totally Christmas crazy?

 

As always, thank you for reading. What’s your favourite Christmas song? Click here to see the review of mine. 🙂

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Tattoo Time: Getting Inked by Sketch at Reppin Ink

Hola readers,

As you can probably tell by the title, today’s post is going to be a little bit of a different one. If you’re no stranger to my little corner of the internet, then you’ll know that I’m a fan of E4’s hugely popular show Tattoo Fixers – and tattoos in general. You may also know that, outside of his work in tattooing, resident ink-slinger Sketch is also a singer-songwriter. Teaming up with friend and fellow artist Stevie P, the duo have released a few tracks online – which I have also previously featured on this very blog. Needless to say, I’m a fan of Sketch’s work, both in tattooing and music. If you follow me on Twitter then you may have seen that I actually got tattooed by the man himself recently at his south-east London studio, Reppin Ink.

TattooDay_Lightbox

Initially I was going to vlog parts of the day, but I hadn’t been tattooed since 2012 so I was really nervous going in. I also didn’t necessarily think about the practicality of filming, being that I was getting a rib tattoo so I was quite ‘exposed’, let’s say.

My friend and I got to the shop and, despite having ventured there a few times previously, were again both struck by how cool the inside of the studio looks. The walls are a deep purple – which also happens to be my favourite colour so maybe I’m a little biased – and the featured artwork is nothing short of beautiful. Displayed proudly behind the desk is a picture of the Tattoo Fixers cast, and there are also certificates from various tattoo conventions dotted around.

reppin-ink-wall-art

Reppin Ink wall art (I want this in my house!)

After a little while, Sketch came in and asked if I had any reference images for the piece I was having done – a dream catcher on my ribs – which I then gave to him. We had a bit of a chat about design specifics, and off he went into the back to draw everything up. My friend and I stayed out front and, once I’d signed the consent form with her nudging me excitedly, I made a tongue-in-cheek comment that I was scared. At which point, Sketch popped his head around the corner and asked “are you scared?” I told him I was, mainly because I hadn’t been tattooed in a while, before the appointment everybody kept telling me that rib tattoos really hurt, and I generally have anxiety anyway. Thankfully he was a total sweetheart about it, saying that he gets anxiety too sometimes, and that we could take our time. He also said that I may feel like I’m going to pass out at the beginning because you realise it’s not that bad, and your body has all this adrenaline that it doesn’t need so it just gets rid of it. This really reassured me and made me feel better. Then, off he went to continue drawing and, shortly after, Bring Me The Horizon’s newest single ‘Oh No’ started blaring from the back room – needless to say we had a bit of a sing along while we waited, my nerves well and truly calmed.

Not long after, in-house piercer Victoria came out with the initial design on an IPad (or some sort of tablet-looking thing) and after a few small tweaks we were called through to the back. Sketch very courteously asked me if I wanted any help with my bag, and he also took an instant liking to the waistcoat I was wearing, almost immediately asking where I’d got it. Following this, it was a case of rearranging and taping my clothes in place so that my ribs were actually exposed, putting the stencil on, and going over to the mirror to check everything was 100% as I wanted it – que some hilarious wardrobe issues, tipping tattoo beds and awkward manoeuvres around the studio. But, to their credit, Sketch and fellow tattooist Jack took it all in good humour, which made me feel even more comfortable – I’m sure they’ve seen a lot worse!

Getting Tattooed by Sketch

Getting my rib piece was nowhere near as painful as I thought it would be; as soon as he started, it was like I instantly remembered the ‘pain’ of getting tattooed and wondered what I was worried about. I’ve always been pretty good at getting tattoos, in fact I’ve been known to say that I quite enjoy it (don’t give me that look.) My friend even kept saying that she couldn’t believe how well I sat and that my face showed no signs of discomfort at all – I’m sure it did! Halfway through my leg started twitching loads and Sketch tapped the top of it and was like, ‘now I can feel your leg going.’ But, honestly, even I was surprised by how little it hurt both during and after – I started dancing in front of my friend after it was done and she was like “how are you doing that already?”

It helped that we chatted our way through it though, chewing over past drunken antics, questionable tattoos, my blogging, the show, being in the public eye, and how he refuses to tattoo any direct copies. He also asked about my disability and of course we spoke about music; there was even talk of a possible interview with him and Stevie P at some point to drum up publicity ahead of their next single. So, Sketch if you’re reading this, be sure to hit me up :). It was a lot of fun – he even had to tell me to stop laughing at one point.

dreamcatcher-by-sketch

My dream-catcher tattoo (just done.)

When my ribs were done I couldn’t wait to get a look at it. But, I was pretty wary of moving because, as I said, when I tried to get up previously the tattoo bed ended up tipping over – with my natural reaction being to try and stop it – which resulted in a casual nip-slip. Sketch also said he wanted to let me get my bearings for five minutes because I was shaking – I’m sure he thought I was going to pass out. He took my hand and helped me over to the mirror, telling me to lean back on him so I could check it out properly, and as soon as I saw it I was totally blown away. He asked me if I liked it and I think my face said it all; it’s everything I’d said I wanted, having combined all the elements, and style, beautifully. It’s delicate, it’s ornate, and it’s pretty. All the detail in the dot-work mandala design is amazing, and the little pops of colour really lifts it, rather than it just being standard black and grey. I love it – photos really don’t do it justice.

Being the trooper that I am, that wasn’t the only tattoo I was getting done that day; I was also getting a rose added to some existing pieces already on my wrist. However, we took a break before moving on to that, so I could get dressed again properly and sort myself out. I was made to feel very comfortable walking around the studio and at no point did I feel awkward or restricted. Like before, it was a case of talking through reference images, getting a stencil drawn up and going from there. It didn’t take us long to get started and, again, we talked all the way through it, from anxiety issues to my interest in tattooing – over the course of the day I think we chatted about everything other than our mutual love of sloths, surprisingly!

Getting Tattooed by Sketch

If you can believe it, getting my wrist done actually hurt more than my ribs did; it seemed to bleed more as well because of all the shading involved. But the end result was totally worth it because, as I said to Sketch, it looks sick. As before, he took my hand and helped me over to the mirror so I could get a proper look at it, and again, I was ecstatic. It’s bold but still feminine, the white highlight throughout is beautiful and the shading on it is amazing – I’m so happy with it.

My Rose tattoo by Sketch

My rose tattoo

Throughout both of my tattoos Sketch was really attentive, taking my hand and helping me to the mirror, and asking me if I felt ok or if I felt sick, on numerous occasions. I felt so comfortable and looked-after throughout the day, and Sketch is an absolute sweetheart; he was very open to getting pictures with both of us – he even tried my waistcoat on at one point. There was just constant banter and chats the whole time and we hung out in the shop pretty much all day.

They say you shouldn’t meet your idols but, luckily, I’ve never had any problems and this day was no exception. Sketch is one of the most honest and genuine people you could ever hope to meet; he’s a very ‘what you see is what you get’ character, and I think a lot of people would quickly realise that he is just a normal, down-to-earth guy who happens to be on TV. You can also tell there’s a genuine passion for what he does; he cares very much about the customer and what they want, and that ultimately they’re happy with it. You can see this as he goes to the mirror with you to see your reaction to your new piece; he’s not just like, ‘Ok, I’ve done it…next!’

It’s definitely not about the money with him either; he asked me early on what I was quoted for the work, so I told him and also said I’d brought extra cash with me in case we did run over, to which he replied “nah I wouldn’t charge you any more for it.” When we were done Sketch handed me the stencil of the rose, which he also signed, and said “this is yours, if you ever want it added to take that in and they’ll have the right one.” To which I replied, if I ever wanted it added to I’d just come back to him.

My rose stencil_Sketch

We hung out in the front of the shop a little while after that, as my friend decided to also get a piercing that day, and I ended up speaking to Victoria about after-care. She advised me to wash them with water and re-wrap them that night, and then continue to wash them with clean water and apply Bepanthen, morning and night, from the following day onwards. I didn’t get any ink transfer on anything, they didn’t bobble/scab nearly as much as my others did, and they definitely weren’t as sore – itchy, yes. Sore, no. My tattoos stayed relatively smooth up until they were healed and, honestly, I wish I’d had her there for all my tattoos; her advice was great, and the healing process on both my tattoos was totally different to the three I already had.

Now, I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade so the shop shall remain nameless, but I couldn’t help but compare it where I’ve been tattooed before as it was a completely different experience. My usual tattoo studio is very ‘in and out’ – though that may be because all of my previous appointments were walk-ins and very small pieces. There’s not much of an atmosphere and as said, the aftercare advice wasn’t the same – a couple of my tattoos they didn’t even wrap, and one of my tattoos I was told to not even bother putting cream on.

Reppin Ink is totally different; there’s a jukebox in the back, there was music on the majority of the time, and it just generally had a warmer atmosphere overall – despite the back door being open. This may also have something to do with everyone who works there, as they’re all lovely people, very easy to chat to and, as said, they make you feel very comfortable and at home. It’s a very free and creative space, and I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else for my tattoos now – I’m already planning my next one. If I could tattoo, I’d want to work in there tomorrow.

A lot of people have a lot of different opinions on Sketch’s work – as they will with anyone who’s in the public eye – but in my experience, he does a fantastic job. He incorporated everything I wanted into each design resulting in tattoos that I absolutely love and couldn’t be happier with. He’s very warm, welcoming and caring of his customers, and this reflects in the overall atmosphere and vibe of the studio. Ultimately, I’m glad I went to him.

Emma-Sketch-Sophie

As always thank you for reading. Like I said at the beginning, I have featured Sketch in a few other blog posts so, if you’re interested in those, please see the list below and check them out if you’d like to. 🙂

Click here for my review of Sketch and Stevie P’s debut track ‘Everything Part 2’,
click here to see my review of their follow-up single ‘Street Lights’,
click here to find out why the duo are #3 on my ‘Top 10 Interviews Wish List’,
click here to read my original article on ‘Tattoo Fixers,
And click here for my follow-up article on spin-off show, ‘Tattoo Fixers On Holiday.’

 

I’m blogging every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday throughout November as its ‘National Blog Posting Month’. However, my schedule has gone a bit awry lately as I’ve had a lot going on. To keep up to date with my upcoming posts, come and join me on Facebook & Twitter, and to see what else is coming up throughout the rest of this month, click here. 🙂

 

We’re All Going on a Summer Holiday: Tattoo Fixers (On Holiday)

Our three favourite tattooists are back for another series of fixing terrible ink – and they’ve swapped grey and dreary London for the sunnier skies of the Mediterranean.

tattoo fixers hols

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, I’m pretty sure that you’ll know what ‘Tattoo Fixers’ is, or that you’ve at least heard of it. The UK based tattooing show that sets about righting the nation’s inking wrongs, fast became a favourite among audiences after debuting on E4 in June 2015 – trending third in the world on the night of its most recent season premiere.

I’m also sure, that we viewers have lost count of how many times a customer has come into the pop-up parlour with the opening line, “I was on holiday in Magaluf” (in fact it wouldn’t be a bad idea for a drinking game: every time someone says ‘Magaluf’ – take a shot, every time someone says “I was drunk” – down in one.) It would appear that this trend hasn’t gone unnoticed by show bosses either, who’ve endeavoured to get to the root of the problem, taking the show and it’s highly skilled artists straight to the source: the (drunken) holiday.

tattoo fixers hols sign

Now set in Greece for a special summer season, resident ink-slingers Jay, Sketch, and Alice get stuck into tackling more terrible tattoos, along with a healthy dose of sassiness from receptionist Paisley – standard. They may have swapped drizzly London for the blue skies of the Med, but the dodgy body art just keeps on coming. From a guy with an eternal VPL, to someone’s rather unique tribute to their best friend, the artists are on hand to sort out these horrible “holiday regrets”.

You know the drill: it’s summer, you’re on holiday and (after one too many glasses of vino) you find yourself at a tattoo shop. Whether it’s being egged on by friends, being too obliterated to know better, or somehow thinking it was a good idea at the time, you find yourself left with a painful – not to mention permanent – souvenir. Que the hilariously cheeky in-studio banter among the artists, as they compete to cover the clients’ undesirable reminders of things they’re ready to forget. Or in some cases not, as a familiar face makes a return. 26 year-old Sam ‘I’m on me holidays’ Robinson comes in with his memorable catchphrase back on his forearm (no, I’m not kidding!)

The show’s format is much the same as the London based version, with added snippets of the fixers’ fun in the sun – waterslide race anyone? And, as we’ve established, there’s certainly no shortage of dire inking disasters either…but let’s face it, it wouldn’t be much fun otherwise would it?

The show is now on the fourth episode of its eight week run, so if you’re intrigued (or you’re already a fan) you can check it out now on 4OD.

 

If you (somehow) have no idea what I’ve been talking about this whole time, click here to take a look at my original Tattoo Fixers article from back when the show premiered in 2015, to get up to speed.

Also, he may be an award-winning tattooist but, did you know South London lad Sketch also makes music? Coming together with fellow singer-songwriter Stevie P, the duo have released a few songs online. Click here to take a look at my review of their debut offering ‘Everything Part 2’, and click here to read my thoughts on their newest track ‘Street Lights’. I also included the pair in my ‘Top 10 Interviews Wish List’, click here to find out why.

 

As always, thanks for reading, if you want to keep up to date with my upcoming posts come and join me on:

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WaltzzUK: PMP 31|31

“He is well and truly out of his mind.” Emerging rapper WaltzzUK releases brand new videos everyday throughout the month of August.

Waltzz PMP Calendar Full

31 videos in 31 days, who does that?! WaltzzUK that’s who. Hot on the heels of his ‘#I2IWednesdays YouTube series, the young talent has recently unveiled new project ‘Practice Makes Perfect 31|31’, releasing 31 self-produced videos in as many days throughout the month of August.

Originally planning to promote the material as three separate mixtapes, but subsequently fearing that they may not reflect him as an artist by the time they could all be released, Waltzz followed the sage advice of friend Camile Reid. It was suggested that the rapper could use the pieces as the basis for 31|31, and the series was born.

Waltzz PMP Profile Photo1 by Daydream Exposure

Waltzz – real name Liam Stewart – writes, records and engineers the entirety of his material from his bedroom, as well as filming, editing and releasing everything independently. He also performs regularly across his hometown of Ipswich, as well as London, promoting his material online via social media. The emerging artist has even gone so far as to take to the streets fully decked out in a Santa suit – adopting the character #SantaCrizzle – which resulted in him scoring some radio play on BBC Radio Suffolk.

After quitting his job as a chef, Waltzz left the creature comforts of home behind too; going on numerous music related courses, sofa surfing at friend’s houses, sleeping at Tower Bridge, and even ‘borrowing’ McDonald’s electricity in the early hours of the morning to re-charge equipment – all in the name of music. In keeping with his nomadic lifestyle, he has since been trekking around the streets of London armed with a camera, a tripod, his computer and (a friend’s) IPhone, capturing concept ideas to incorporate into the current video thread.

One thing’s for sure, his efforts did not go to waste. Taking full advantage of what the capital has to offer, Waltzz captures the picturesque side of the city, including a number of London’s iconic landmarks such as St Paul’s Cathedral, The London Eye, and even Buckingham Palace – utilising each setting lyrically as well as visually.

Waltzz also pays visits to the likes of Warner Music, UMG and Universal (the last of which he even gets into a little bit of trouble at, after trying to leave a promo sticker on their door.) He also cheekily pens a note to Warner Music asking them to “stop signing rubbish rappers”, and showers the elevator of a posh hotel in sweets wrappers, in the same video. Certainly makes you wonder how much trouble he got into that day.

Now on day 10 of ‘PMP 31|31’, Waltzz has already dropped a stack of videos, including dreamy, summer hit ‘Those Were The Days’, ‘Celebrate’ (which also coincided with his 20th birthday), cheeky track ‘Test Drive’, and an acoustic remix of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Photograph’ featuring fellow singer-songwriter Luca Martellotti.

It has been said that Waltzz is first and foremost a lyricist, and you can definitely see his flair for song-writing in tracks like ‘Those Were The Days’, with lyrics such as: “get some vision ‘coz you’re different, don’t fit in but it’s fine/ you’re just meant for different things you’ve got a different mind.” As a whole though, every piece is undeniably well-crafted. From the lyrics and arrangements, to production and the accompanying visual elements, you can see that a lot of thought and effort has gone into each track, individually and as a package.

There’s more to come before the month’s out too, with Waltzz premiering a brand new video on his YouTube channel at 8pm daily. I, for one, am definitely intrigued to see what else he has lined up throughout the rest of the series.

 

Favourite tracks (so far) :
Those Were The Days
Celebrate
Test Drive
Tired

If you’re interested in checking out ‘#PMP 31|31’ head over to WaltzzUK’s YouTube channel, or if you’ve got no idea who Waltzz is, click here to check out my introductory ‘One to watch’ and get up to speed.

 

If you’d like to hear more from WaltzzUK, all of his released material is available for free download, or to stream, through his official website. You can also keep up to date with everything on:

Facebook / Twitter / YouTube / Instagram

 

As always, thank you reading, if you’d like to keep up to date with my posts feel free to come and join me on:

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Curtain Call for Nashville?

A few months ago American TV Network ABC announced the cancellation of a selection of shows, among the casualties? Popular musical drama Nashville.

If you’re a fan of popular American musical drama Nashville, you may remember a little while ago it was announced that the show would not be returning to screens after the finale of its fourth season. However, don’t put dirt on their grave just yet, as this didn’t go down well with ‘Nashies’ around the world who promptly began circulating an online petition in a bid to get the show re-instated.

NashvillePetitionTweet

Thankfully, they got their wish as Lionsgate shopped the series to other networks and, after a nail-biting minute, Nashville was picked up by CMT in partnership with Hulu – breathes huge sigh of relief.

The show follows the trials and tribulations of a group of fictitious friends-turned-country-singers, all at different stages of their lives and careers, plus a whole heap of drama to fill your (cowgirl) boots. As a result of its musical theme the show has generated multiple CD releases, distributed by none other than country music frontrunner Big Machine Records, and even live performances – most recently with the cast crossing the pond for a UK tour.

Over the years, the series has produced some great music and continually highlighted the musical talents of its actors. Characters including Rayna James (played by 24’s Connie Briton), Deacon Claybourne (played by husky-voiced hunk Charles Esten), Gunnar Scott (played by Sam Palladio), honey-voiced sweetheart Scarlett O’Connor (played by Clare Bowen), and Juliette Barnes (played by Hayden Panettiere), among others, shine in their respective roles. It’s not surprising then, that some are even going on to release their own material.

Alongside the great voices are the chart-worthy songs they sing; songs with passion, honesty, emotional depth and the power to captivate an audience. Some tracks included in the show were written by highly acclaimed artists such as, Elvis Costello and the Civil Wars’ John Paul White. Charles Esten also made his song-writing debut with poignant, romantic track ‘I Know How To Love You Now’, which featured in the live opening episode of season three.

As with music, no two singers are exactly the same, and Nashville has done a great job of finding voices that complement each other, whilst being distinct enough to stand out in their own right. For example, Clare Bowen’s uniquely addictive vocals work brilliantly with Sam Palladio’s on songs like ‘If I Didn’t Know Better’ and ‘When The Right One Comes Along’ – resulting in something that sounds incredibly intimate – whereas solo song ‘Black Roses’ beautifully demonstrates that her understated vocals are just as mesmerising on their own.

Similarly, Hayden Panettiere shines as troubled character Juliet Barnes. Injecting a healthy dose of sassiness with pop-crossover tracks like ‘Tell That Devil’, and the defiantly ballsy ‘Don’t Put Dirt on My Grave’, all the while showcasing her powerhouse vocals. Connie Britton also stars as country music icon Rayna James, bringing effortless authenticity in tracks like ‘This Time’, and the stadium-worthy ‘Wrong Song’ (a duet with Panettiere.)

Throughout the years the show has also seen cameos from some big names in the industry including, Kelly Clarkson, Kesha, Areosmith’s Steven Tyler, and Christina Aguilera as Jade St John.

This musical backdrop has also seen a host of undoubtedly gripping storylines including: Rayna and Deacon’s tumultuous relationship, Deacon’s personal struggle with sobriety and alcoholism, Scarlett’s nervous breakdown, Sadie Stone’s ordeal with domestic abuse, and Juliet’s transition from troubled childhood to motherhood and her subsequent struggle with postpartum depression. The arc of Juliet’s character see’s viewers watch her grow-up from spoiled, self-obsessed child star, to wife and mother (similar to the growth of Avery’s character throughout the series’.)

Personally, I’ve been a fan of Nashville since the first season premiered back in 2012. Having been continuously captivated by both the storylines and the music, I’m glad that it isn’t the final curtain for the show just yet – even if they did have us worried for a minute.

Check out my review of ‘The Music of Nashville: Original Soundtrack Season 1 Vol. 1’, which I wrote in 2013 for a university project, below:

From the American TV music-drama Nashville, the soundtrack – released through major label Big Machine Records, and produced by T-Bone Burnett (Counting Crows, Elvis Costello) – is thankfully not just a compilation of covers of hits. It includes original songs performed by several members of the cast, and there is absolutely no question when it comes to their musical talent. Hayden Panettiere (Heroes) shines in fun pop crossover track ‘Telescope’, and shows a sensitive side in duet ‘Undermine’. Connie Britton (24) injects effortless authenticity in tracks like ‘Buried Under’, and stadium-worthy ‘Wrong Song’ has hit written all over it. Though the star of the show here is undoubtedly Clare Bowen, whose understated vocals create atmosphere and intimacy in spades, which can be heard in twisted dark ballad ‘If I Didn’t Know Better’, and cosy love song ‘When The Right One Comes Along’; smooth, elegant and quietly powerful. All the songs on this album are ridiculously addictive; a mixture of tangled, intimate songs and big arena-filling sounds. With award-worthy lyrics, impeccable talent and the ability to capture an audience with a vibe that some artists only dream of, this could be a legit country album and not just an OST.  

I’ll leave you with a few of my favourite tracks (aside from the ones included in this post) :

Fade Into You / Twist of Barbed Wire / When The Right One Comes Along / Love Like Mine /Change Your Mind / What if I Was WillingA Life That’s Good / Tell That Devil / Gasoline and Matches

 

Are you a fan of Nashville? I’d love to know your thoughts on the show. I’d recommend it to anyone, even if you’re not a fan of country music, it’s still a great watch.

If you’ve never seen it and fancy giving it a go, catch up now 4OD.

 

I’m blogging every Monday and Thursday throughout July. To keep up to date with my upcoming posts, come and join me on Facebook & Twitter, and to see what else is coming up throughout the rest of this month, click here.

Artists You Should Know: The Cab (Music Is Love Throwback)

Hi everyone,

If you’ve ever come across my little corner of the internet before, then you’ll know that Las Vegas based rockers The Cab have been one of my favourite bands for years. I’ve posted numerous reviews of their music in the past, and I’ve met both Alex DeLeon and Alex Marshall; the former a number of times, which I have also relayed in blog posts.

Back in 2009 fans created an anniversary known as ‘The Cab Day’ to honour the release of the band’s debut album ‘Whisper War’, and next week – April 29th to be exact – marks the eighth anniversary of that same release. Over the years the band have undergone multiple line-up changes (vocalist Alex DeLeon being the only original member of the band left) and they’ve practically been silent on the music front since dropping their most recent EP, ‘Lock Me Up’, back in 2014. DeLeon has since premiered a brand new solo project under the moniker Bohnes, and there is a massive-question mark over the current status of the band, with no official statement having been released.

However, founding member Cash Colligan has expressed, via social media, that he’d be interested in a ten year reunion featuring the original line-up. Being that I’m from the UK and I’ve not had the chance to see the band live because they’ve never done a European tour, I’m in full support of this idea; and if they could bring it overseas to give fans like me the opportunity, not to just see them but the original line-up, that would be the icing on the cake.

So, in honour of ‘The Cab Day 2016’, I thought I’d share with you a short piece that I wrote on the band back in 2012, around the release of their second album Symphony Soldier. Originally this article was to feature on my other website, Music Is Love, as part of a university project. Since graduating MIL isn’t something I’ve continued with, as I already had this blog for three years by that point, so I thought it’d be cool to share the pieces, on this site, from time to time.

Enjoy.

 

What’s not to love about this Las Vegas based five piece?
Seriously, let us know if you find anything.

the cab pr shots

“The reason we are a band is the fans,” say Las Vegas based band The Cab. “Without them, we’d be sitting on the couch playing songs for each other. We still can’t believe it when people get tattoos or write letters about how the songs have helped them through hard times. It’s very humbling.” The pop/rock five piece, hailing from Las Vegas are, vocalist Alex DeLeon, guitarist/keyboardist Alex Marshall, bassist Joey Thunder, Chantry Johnson also on guitar and drummer Dave Briggs, and they’ve had their fair share of ups and downs over the years, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and it seems as though these boys are testament to that.

In 2008 the band, then a different line-up, released their debut album Whisper War through record label Fuelled by Ramen. The album is full of killer tracks, addictive choruses and an upbeat vibe that is more fun than a bathtub full of chocolate. But despite the pop-punk sound that would’ve been a perfect fit for the market of the time, and some collaborations with some pretty high profile artists in the rock world, namely, label mate, Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco, Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump and Hey Monday’s Cassadee Pope, the record failed to propel the boys to the heights of bands like Paramore.

Sadly the album didn’t get the exposure it deserved and the Cab remained pretty under the radar. When it came to making a second album, the guys took their sweet time. After a three year wait, during which time they went through multiple line-up changes and parted ways with Fuelled by Ramen. Symphony Soldier is an undoubtedly exceptional album, made by a band who wouldn’t compromise their artistic integrity at any cost, they persevered and after signing to new label Z-Entertainment records, in 2012 second album Symphony Soldier was released in both, the US and the UK.

“In the US, we were blown away with the initial response. We didn’t know what to expect really.” Say the band, “It’s amazing that people in countries we haven’t had the chance to visit yet are so passionate about the music. It’s support like that, that keeps us going. ” And the boys like to thank the fans for that in any way they can, like including things in Symphony Soldier pre-order packages like phone calls and handwritten lyrics. Still The Cab, and just as addictive as Whisper War, Symphony Soldier has less of the Fall Out Boy/Panic! At The Disco-esque influence, but still retains everything we’ve come to associate with The Cab; the lyrics are still as honest and beautiful, the melodies are still as catchy and dance-able, but there is definitely an increased air of maturity that shows how much the boys have grown. The guys also got to work with some well known artists in the industry for this record, such as Adam Levine (Maroon 5), Bruno Mars, and Pete Wentz (Ex-Fall Out Boy) some of whom, members of the band cite as major influences.

the cab press shots

Since the release, the band have been working hard to get their foot firmly on the ladder; releasing music videos for their first two singles ‘Bad’ and ‘Endlessly’, gaining national airplay in America and more recently on UK’s Capital FM, and after an intimate gig on The London Eye for a selection of competition winners, caught the attention of tabloid newspaper The Sun.

And it doesn’t stop there, the guys supported Maroon 5 on their ‘Overexposed’ tour in 2012, and are hard at work recording, as yet untitled, album number three. So despite all their struggles it seems that things are finally picking up speed. “We have had our fair share of obstacles as a band, but giving up was never an option. We love what we do.” This is a band that has everything: the polished sound, the amazing, meaningful, honest lyrics, and everything fits together complimenting each other. Each member is amazingly skilled at what they do, and they’re really nice guys …so why wouldn’t we love them?

But, being from the UK, the question on a lot of people’s lips is, are there any plans for a UK tour? “It’s been in the works for a long time, just need to have the right shows booked and make it all work. But it’s high on our priority. ” We’ll just have to keep everything crossed. But wherever you are in the world, if you can make it to a show I would. When asked what their live show is like, their cheeky reply will no doubt make you smile. “Joey may or may not be playing naked. You will just have to come and find out. ” So, that’s appreciative down-to-earth guys, amazing music and a possibly naked Joey Thunder… how can you resist that?

 

To see my review of The Cab’s most recent EP ‘Lock Me Up’, click here.

To see my interview with the band back in 2012 following the release of their second album ‘Symphony Soldier’, click here.

To see my ‘One to Watch’ on The Cab, click here.

To see my first ever (short) reviews of The Cab, click here.

To check out my countdown to the release of ‘Symphony Soldier’, known as ‘The Cab Week’, click here.

To check out my blog posts of the times I met Alex DeLeon and Alex Marshall, click here, here and here.

 

Happy The Cab Day 🙂