A few words about our choice of artists and music:
E L V I S I N A D A Z E
These guys started the Queensland Live gigs. Ray saw them play at a festival and was smitten. When they advertised for house gigs we rather rashly invited them, and then spent the next few weeks fretting that they wouldn’t be any good, no one would turn up, we’d be hit by unseasonably heavy snow or some other calamity. Of course they were superb, the house was overflowing and the weather fine. The nearest thing to a calamity was exploding cider. We owe these guys a huge debt for giving us the courage to put the gigs on.
B R I G H T E S T S T A R
After being introduced to him at a festival we found out Adrian lives down the road from us, so it was natural to invite him to play a Queensland Live gig. Adrian played a magnificent set of superb original songs with his trademark virtuoso guitar playing and even some audience sing-alongs. Seeing him at Colchester’s First Site venue was one of the most profound and moving sets we’ve ever witnessed; his ability to make the audience laugh and cry in equal measure is astonishing.
The Anatomy of Frank
B L U R R Y ( P A R T I )
Technically, The Anatomy of Frank front-man Kyle Woolard was the first to play to an audience at ours as he supported Ghost Trains. His mesmerising and passionate performance left everyone spellbound, and a few young hearts broken.
Songdog write some of the most heartbreakingly beautiful songs, melodies and instruments weaving their way through poetic, insightful and witty lyrics; rooted as much in literature as they are in dark folk music. When they offered to play we couldn’t believe they really meant it – but in the end their first house gig was nearly our last. How could we possibly top that! Supported by Phil Burdett the five members of Songdog, six for a couple of songs, squeezed in and played their hearts out.
F I R S T A N D L A S T
The only person to perform twice in our living room (or maybe he just didn’t go home after the first time), Phil stepped into the breach when another artist had to pull out, and immediately won us over with the convivial warmth of his music.
T R U S T Y C O M P A N I O N
As we both grew up in rural areas you might expect country music to be in our veins, but to be honest it’s taken a while to be convinced. Ags Connolly’s debut album, rooted in traditional country with a distinctly English spin won us over. It’s gained widespread critical acclaim and we have been fortunate that Ags found time to play a storming Queensland Live set for us.
THE TRUE ONE
We were at a gig in a sweaty basement club in London when an American voice hailed us. It belonged to Bill Sweeny, bass player, one of the founding members of King Penguin and all round good guy, over from the States for the gig. Turns out we had mutual friends and interests via the Fruits De Mer record label, for whom King Penguin have recorded many times.
Their cover of Gene Clarks The True One is as good an example of timeless American music as you could wish for. A bit of country, some folk, west coast harmonies and a twist of soul.
Y O U B R O U G H T T H E S U N S H I N E ( D E M O V E R S I O N )
We saw Dan performing and immediately fell under the spell of his warm-hearted songs, his passionate delivery and the way he can capture a single moment in a song. He performed You Brought the Sunshine, a new song he was working on, and we shared a moment in the stillness of the tender early acoustic version of the song.
Dan was kind enough to send us versions of the song as he developed it, from ballad to full band demo, we’ve witnessed its evolution and love it so much we stole the title for this compilation.
It’s amazing the people you meet while selling merchandise for a man best known for setting his head on fire. Veterans of the free festival scene, Nukli entranced and entertained us at a festival even before they played by keeping us amused waiting for The Crazy World of Arthur Brown’s set. The following night they turned in a storming, life affirming headline set themselves, and even roped Ray into selling their merchandise too.
Y E A R N I N G
Theoretically the first band to play in our living room as it doubled as their rehearsal space for many years. Gradually their equipment grew from an acoustic guitar and laptop to banks of keyboards, guitars, effects pedals, drums, miscellaneous wires and mysterious boxes with alarming dials set permanently in the red. The room positively thrummed, the streetlights flickered and the cats stuck to the ceiling by static electricity.
Out of humble beginnings Abi and Matt make beguiling electronica with a dark edge. Yearning came on our car stereo as we drove into a stunning sunset in The Peak District, the perfect soundtrack to a perfect moment
O R C H E S T R A T E Y O U R P O S E
Ray - So I'm in a bar, chatting to The Domestics’ lead ‘shouter’ James, when he hands me his pint with a cheery “hold this”, steps up to the microphone and proceeds to shout, berate and sweat at us for 20 incendiary minutes, wanders back, picks his lager out of my trembling and unresisting hand and carries on our conversation as if nothing had happened. Of course I couldn’t hear a word he said; indeed I didn't hear anything at all for the next fortnight, but it was so worth it.
Alison - The Domestics was my first punk gig, ever. I had no idea what to expect but I’d already met James Domestic, so wandering into the cramped venue I still had an image of him chatting to my mother about cats. Suddenly a wall of noise hit me, a spiky bloke drifted by with a cheery “s’cuse me” on his way to the mosh pit, and James leapt into the crowd, to re-surface bellowing into the microphone.Thing is, I loved it. Sometimes you just need raw, visceral excitement and that’s The Domestics to a tee.
M A T I L D A M O T H E R
Jack played a great set at ours before we all squeezed into the car and drove to Cardigan Bay in Wales for his gig the following evening. Jack’s lilting psychedelic music continued to provide the soundtrack for a magical journey through the stunning Welsh scenery, including camping by a lake and our hike to the summit of Snowdon.
The Last Post - For absent friends
Played by Alison on Don Canham’s bugle.
Our wedding day would also have been Ray’s father’s 90th birthday. This track is to remember him and those close to us who we've lost.