Gallery – Josh Harty, Tildon Krautz and Robert Chaney @green Note 06/04/16: wp.me/p1Yhtj-24I

Josh Harty @green Note A wonderful and varied collection of Americana… wp.me/p1Yhtj-23W

Josh ScrollerCome on London, you can do better than this. The lovely team at Green Note put on an eclectic bill of excellent Americana diaspora for a measly seven oncers and the room isn’t even half full; even I can do the maths on that one. Eighty people; that’s all it takes to fill the upstairs room at Green Note; sort yourself out London. To be fair, the audience was attentive, but it’s nice to have a full house. End of rant.

London-based Robert Chaney opened the show with a lovely set of introspective, off beat and melancholy songs. He has a superb voice which was offset perfectly by the harmonies of Laura Tenschert, who joined Robert three songs into the set. There wasn’t a bad song in the set, and “The Cyclist”, “Corazones Amarillos” and “(Broken) Beyond Repair” stood out as highlights.

Next up, string band Tildon Krautz injected some fun into the evening. With a traditional Appalachian line-up of double bass, mandolin and fiddle and guitar and banjo, the trio treated Green Note to some superb musicianship and lots of random gags between songs. “Adele Koslovsky” was a standout song and Gabi’s slap double bass playing was a joy to hear.

Josh Harty was touring in support of his new album “Holding On”, although the early part of the set focused mainly on older material, including “Round and Round”, “On my Mind” and the beautiful “Whisky and Morphine” and was laced with anecdotes about his hometown of Fargo and his preacher father. When the new material was introduced towards the end of the set, Josh’s picking and percussive guitar style added a power that the album, with its full band arrangements never quite achieved; “Holding On”, “The Kind” and “English Rain” all worked superbly in the one voice/one guitar format. And Josh did his tribute to Merle Haggard, whose death was announced that day, with his version of “Mama Tried”.

In just a few hours we were taken from surreal melancholy through manic multinational ensemble playing to a set of high octane acoustic songs. You couldn’t fault this line-up on quality or variety; shame about all those people who stayed at home and missed it. The great music’s still there, you just have to get off your butt and go out and find it.

“Holding On” – Josh Harty: Josh Harty; he’s a genuine, actual, one hundred per cent son of a preacher man … wp.me/p1Yhtj-23M

Josh Harty - 'Holding On' - cover (300dpi)Josh Harty; he’s a genuine, actual, one hundred per cent son of a preacher man. From the age of five, he performed in Lutheran churches around the Midwest with his father and he’s been a travelling evangelist ever since, only now, he’s spreading the word about his music across the USA and Europe. “Holding On” is Harty’s sixth album, following three solo albums and two collaborations with Blake Thomas and it’s full band effort with a core of Scott Beardsley (drums), Chris Boeger (bass), Chris Wagoner (guitar, mandolin and violin) and producer Blake Thomas (guitars and keys). The versatility of the line-up (and the quality of the players) allows the band to move seamlessly across the wide variety of Americana styles from the banjo, mandolin and Hammond-led title track to the high octane driving beat of “Shiver in the Dark”, pushed along by a pulsing rhythm section and a chugging guitar part.

The basic tracks were recorded live in the studio, giving the album a very immediate, cohesive feel despite the wide range of stylings. The playing’s relaxed and self-assured; there are plenty of nice licks and the arrangements fit together perfectly without any of the musicians ever hitting the loud pedal. “The Kind” is a perfect example, with delicate piano and guitar fills creating a beautiful backdrop before the uptempo chorus kicks in.

“Holding On” is a bunch of songs written on the road over the last few years, and that shows in the lyrics, with running or driving away as common themes and the centrepiece of the collection is the slow ballad, “Learn to Fight” which displays Harty’s laconic voice at its most powerful and vulnerable. “Holding On” works well as a self-contained unit, pulling in elements from across the Americana spectrum and sprinkling them across the ten songs to great effect.

“Holding On” is out on Friday April 8th and you can see Josh on his UK and Ireland tour over the next few weeks. You should make the effort; it’s worth it.

 

Well, after spending a morning trying to pick my five favourite photos of female artists this year, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m either very indecisive or a rampant egomaniac (answers on a postcard please). After a lot of soul searching, I managed to narrow it down to ten photos that I really like, so I’m going to split them over two days. I hope that doesn’t make me a bad person.

Gabi Swiatkowska (Tildon Krautz) @Green Note

01-gabi-swiatkowskaI’ve spent a fair amount of time at Green Note this year and I’ve now stopped moaning about the lighting. I know what it’s going to be and I’ve actually had some great results there. So why complain. This was a Josh Harty gig and he was supported by Tildon Krautz, a surreal and incredibly entertaining string band. The image of Gabi dwarfed by the upright bass was too good to miss, but it took a few attempts to get the perfect angle and even more attempts to get a shot where the neck of the bass wasn’t in front of Gabi’s face. The lighting at Green Note always gives muted colours on stage, so black and white was always the way to go with this one. You can see the whole gallery here.

 

Dani Sylvia @The Unsigned Music Awards

02-dani-silviaI was really pleased to be invited to photograph the UMA’s at The Troxy in Limehouse this year. The discipline was very different from either the first three songs only for major venues, or complete freedom at smaller venues. Each artist did one live song and the photographers had to move away from the front of the stage before the end of the song to avoid being caught by the TV cameras as they moved from the main stage to the awards stage. Dani Sylvia’s performance was so visual and colourful that it would have been difficult to take a bad photo. This one captured the atmosphere and ambience perfectly and I was really chuffed that Dani liked it. Result.

 

Hannah Aldridge @Green Note

03-hannah-aldridgeIf you’ve read any of my random ramblings about music, you might have worked out that I’m a huge fan of Hannah Aldridge. She’s a singer-songwriter from Muscle Shoals, Alabama and her astonishing first album grabbed my attention immediately. Hannah’s songwriting and live performance are absolutely exceptional, but she also understands the value of the visual image. I’ve photographed her in several settings now and always produced something I was really happy with, but this shot from Green Note (again) in black and white (again) had the look of a promotion photo for a silent movie star from the forties. Once again, I was really pleased that Hannah loved the shot as well.

 

Mollie Marriott @Time Out Rising Stars

04-mollie-marriottSo it’s Mollie again. A bit like Hannah, I find it almost impossible to take a bad, or even ordinary, picture of Mollie. When she sings, she gives it everything, every time, and that passion is clear in every shot. There were two shots of Mollie in my (not so) shortlist for this selection and this made the cut because she’s so obviously singing her heart out and the purple backlighting creates a lovely halo effect on her hair. With Mollie, I’m not sure I can even take any credit for good photos because every time I’ve seen her (and that’s quite a few times now) I’ve managed to grab some exceptional shots. Here’s the original gallery, and you really need to listen out for Mollie’s debut album which will be released in early 2017. And thanks to Ray Jones at Time Out for the invite.

 

Sarah Kayte Foster (Daisy and the Dark) @Ace Hotel, Shoreditch

05-sarah-kayte-fosterFor various reasons, this year I tried to get along to every gig that I was invited to and this one came about because of an invite from Quite Great PR. I’d never visited the venue before and I hadn’t heard anything from Daisy and the Dark. The lighting wasn’t great in this basement venue, which meant that black and white was favourite, a decision that was helped along by Sarah’s very sixties hairstyle. This was a gig that I could have very easily missed and it’s a great advert for taking every opportunity that comes your way. It was a challenge to navigate around the video camera setup, but it worked out perfectly in the end. Here’s the original gallery.

More to come soon.