What Tomorrow Knows by Steve Pledger – Album review

What Tomorrow Knows by Steve Pledger – Album review

What Tomorrow Knows – The context

There are situations that bring out the raw in great artists to fascinating consequences but not always great avail. In the middle of COVID lockdown, Fiona Apple brought us her version of raw that bewitched the critics while dividing her audience, even alienating a chunk of it. The artist unfiltered by alien production and incessantly poked and grazed by their context might show a face too strange for those who thought they were familiar with them.

What Tomorrow Knows – The consistency

This is not the case for musician Steve Pledger. There is nothing in his sound that betrays a face he has not shown before. And the situations that he and a lot of us have lived through have not diminished his sensitive touch in this raw delivery. They have only made him deeper and closer to his beliefs. So if you like it authenticity, integrity and consistency, Steve Pledger is your man and this album the sound you will want to listen to.

What Tomorrow Knows – The growth

Saying that an artist is consistent is sometimes mistaken for saying that their output is always the same. This is not correct as Steve Pledger here demonstrates. His consistency is in his values and the quality of his output. They can never blind us to the growth of the artist and the growth of the person that are both transparent throughout this oeuvre. Whether it is the context or his particular environment that have the most input in birthing the overall feeling that emanates from these songs does not matter, the heartstrings that are hooked.

What Tomorrow Knows – The fighter and the lover

One of the beauties of this album is that it is unencumbered by frills. That frees the ears so they can grasp and wallow in its depth. Right in the themes raised in the lyrics, you recognise the fighter and the lover all at once. The music artist addresses topical subjects with passion, even letting out the occasional swear word. On his first single Salt From The Sea, he looks at Brexit, Britain’s infamous exit from the European Union. You also recognise that lover-fighter in the tracks The Stagehand’s Tale and Blabscam. In Rise, even before the Itunu choir joins in, the melody and the lyrics about the cost of complacency had already done the main job of raising awareness of a state of mind far too common

What Tomorrow Knows – The reflective dreamer

But underneath the fighter and lover, the reflective dreamer cannot hide. His vision of a better world, his sensitivity can only betray the gaps that separate us frm it. This is obvious in the way he serenades us to the awareness that our tendency to be waiting to exhale is in effect Waiting To Hurt

This is vivid in Fields That Sitll DivideLay Them Down, and clear as he closes on an aspiring message (Hope in Our Hands). But it is also in the way he evolves not barely to change as time dictates but to emancipate his own thinking self-introspectively.

What Tomorrow Knows – The man in the mirror

The singer-songwriter has found a way to infuse all aspects of his personal and professional growth in every track and in the album as a whole. This made it impossible to pick a favourite song as was possible in Steve Pledger’s previous releases.  It almost happened at the sound of Revelation. The heartfelt pleading just played on my heartstring long after the song was over. But so did his reflection on misoginy in Sister Dear, his incessant plead for the importance to make our voices heard, espepecially in the face of injustice (The Baptist’s Father)…

Steve Pledger

What Tomorrow Knows – The voice

Like I said, the singer-songwriter is consistent so I do recognise his voice, both audibly and metaphorically. But there is no doubt that his growth transpires in it. Listening to him, we feel even closer than before to the journey that has led him to these views, to these feelings, to this album. And that, in itself is beautiful and endears you even more so to the words and the melodies he offers in this release.

What Tomorrow Knows – The album

What Tomorrow Knows is a contemporary Folk / Acoustic singer-songwriter album released on Pledger’s own label Noisy Dog Records on 28th November 2022. The album is available from stevepledger.co.uk on CD and Download NOW and on sale on CD at all upcoming live shows. A special launch concert took place at Durham Town Hall on 8th October

Musicians on What Tomorrow Brings

The main performer is of course Steve Pledger who appears on acoustic guitars and on vocals, All songs are written by Steve Pledger. A usual suspect of the English contemporary Folk scene is Lukas Drinkwater. The musician plays the drums, the bass, the electric guitars and the piano on the release. There is also Aaron Catlow on strings and fiddle, Nigel Neill playing the organ and John Heslop on sax and clarinet.

 

What Tomorrow Knows – Tracks

  1. The Baptist’s Father (4:50)
  2. Fields That Still Divide (5:17) n.b. Includes the words s***’
  3. 3) Salt From the Sea (5:24)
  4. 4) Lay Them Down (2:59)
  5. 5) Revelation (5:26)
  6. Sister, Dear (3:47)
  7. Same Smile, Same Words (4:18)
  8. Waiting To Hurt (4:59)
  9. The Stagehand’s Tale(4:31)
  10. Blabscam (3:48) n.b. Includes the word ‘b******d’.
  11. Rise (3:19)
  12. Hope In Our Hands (7:42)

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PS: Yesterday it was Rise, today it is Waiting to Hurt. Every day I listened to the album, it was a different song, even within the same day. Therefore I abandoned the idea of having a favourite song.

 

Meet Music Artist Jenny Weisgerber

Meet Music Artist Jenny Weisgerber

Jenny Weisgerber profile

Jenny Weisgerber takes her time to tell you her poetic stories, with a voice that stamps each string and leaves it to vibrate the rest of the chord notes until it inevitably comes back again. She is a walk in a quiet forest and the murmur in the branches, a little dreamy, a little real. Her voice takes allures of Joni Mitchell at times but always conveys her own brand. Her strings are acoustic folk through and through yet they have her unique stamp. You will hear her EP’s title track Tanguero streamed free on her website and you will want to hear more. That is as easy as getting the rest of this little marvel of a promenade from all major retailers and savouring it in what her music will soon transform into your little corner of the world.

Surface Tension – New Release by legend Rupert Hine

Surface Tension – New Release by legend Rupert Hine

Cherry Records releases Surface Tension – The Recordings 1981-1983 by legendary producer, songwriter and musician Rupert Hine.

Menu: Intro | Noted collaborations | Disc One | Disc Two | Disc Three

Rupert Hine – Surface Tension is available for pre-order

As the 72nd birthday of late musician Rupert Hine approaches, Esoteric Recordings (part of Cherry Red Records) announces the release of a compilation of the artist’s recordings. The 3CD Box Set, entitled Surface Tension, features recordings from the songwriter and producer’s solo albums between 1981 and 1983. Surface Tension – The Recordings 1981-1983 celebrates the creativity and originality of Rupert’s solo work of the early 1980s. The box set is a newly remastered 3CD CLAMSHELL BOXED SET. It is set for released on October 28, 2022.

The boxed set includes 3 albums, each coming with bonus tracks. There are a total of 34 tracks including six bonus tracks. The 3 albums are ‘‘Immunity’, ‘Waving Not Drowning’ and ‘The Wildest Wish To Fly’. The boxed set comes with an illustrated booklet including interviews and an essay. The liner notes of the illustrated booklet that accompanies this release offer memories and observations of the recording sessions for these ground breaking recordings. This boxed set is a fine tribute to Rupert Hine, a greatly missed musical visionary. The Surface Tension – The Recordings 1981-1983, 3CD Box Set is available for pre-order the box right now for only 22.99 from the Cherry Records website.

Noted collaborations

Stephen W Tayler engineered all of the original recordings and co-produced them with Rupert Hine. The acclaimed engineer has now brilliantly remastered this compilation from the original master tapes.
Rupert Hine all composed the tracks. The musician wrote the albums with the late poet, graphic artist and lyricist Jeannette Obstoj (aka Jeannette-Thérèse Obstoj). Jeannette Obstoj is known among her many talents to have been the regular lyrics partner of Rupert Hine for all his solo compositions between 1981 abnd 1983.

The albums also features guest appearances. This includes legendary English singer-songwriter, record producer and Genesis drummer Phil Collins on drums. British rock sideman and guitarist Phil Palmer also appears. English singer-songwriter and record producer Robert Palmer and British singer Marianne Faithfull lends their vocals each on one song in one album. There is also James West-Oram, a member of London rock band The Fixx. Canadian drummer and songwriter Steve Negus from rock bands Saga and GNP also plays the drums on one of the albums.

Disc One: Immunity

The noted producer co-wrote acclaimed and strikingly original ‘Immunity’ (1981) with the late poet, graphic artist and lyricist Jeannette Obstoj. Guest performers on the album included Phil Collins and Marianne Faithfull appears on the song “Misplaced Love”. the album has influenced a host of celebrated musicians to this day.

  1. I Hang On To My Vertigo
  2. Misplaced Love
  3. Samsara
  4. Surface Tension
  5. I Think A Man Will Hang Soon
  6. Immunity
  7. Another Stranger
  8. Psycho Surrender
  9. Make A Wish

Bonus tracks

10. Scratching At Success
11. Introduction To The Menace

DISC TWO: Waving Not Drowning

The 1982 album ‘Waving Not Drowning’ was another fine work and was particularly popular in Scandinavia and once again featured Phil Collins.

  1. Eleven Faces
  2. The Curious Kind
  3. The Set Up
  4. Dark Windows
  5. The Sniper
  6. Innocents In Paradise
  7. House Arrest
  8. The Outsider
  9. One Man’s Poison

Bonus track

10. Kwok’s Quease

DISC THREE: The Wildest Wish To Fly

The Wildest Wish To Fly (1983) was a hit album in Sweden. It featured a small host of guest appearances. Phil Palmer and James West-Oram of The Fixx play the guitar. Robert Palmer is on vocals on the track “Living in Sin”.

  1. Living in Sin
  2. No Yellow Heart
  3. The Saturation of the Video Rat
  4. Firefly in the Night
  5. A Golden Age
  6. Picture Phone
  7. The Victim of Wanderlust
  8. The Most Dangerous of Men
  9. The Wildest Wish to Fly

Bonus tracks:

10. Blue Flame (Melt the Ice)
11. An Eagle’s Teaching
12. Picture Phone (remix)
13. No Yellow Heart (later version)

Steve Pledger launches new album What Tomorrow Knows on 8th October 2022

Steve Pledger launches new album What Tomorrow Knows on 8th October 2022

One of our favourite singer-songwriters, Steve Pledger returns with a new studio album, “What Tomorrow Knows” to be launched on the 8th October at a special concert at Durham Town Hall

Six years after releasing the award-winning studio album ‘Somewhere Between’, and three years since his critically-acclaimed live album, ‘Alone In The Dark’, Steve Pledger is back, set to deliver his brand new studio album this Autumn.

Titled ‘What Tomorrow Knows’, it will be launched on 8th October at a special concert at Durham Town Hall. This will be Steve’s 4th collection of original material. The LP includes some songs that have already become firm favourites in recent years at shows (I am personally hoping for Reseda!), alongside others as yet unheard.

The much-in-demand Lukas Drinkwater produced the album. Various gifted collaborators contribute something special to what is arguably Steve’s strongest set of songs to date, including Lukas himself. Steve says the following of his latest project:

Whilst I don’t set out to write 12 songs with any kind of overarching theme, one often becomes apparent as a record takes shape. ‘Somewhere Between’ dealt a lot with transition, and it’s clear to me that these new songs speak a great deal to consequences. Consequences of our action, and inaction; our beliefs; our attitude toward and treatment of others, as well as ourselves. More than any work I’ve produced to date, it feels as if the writing, production, arrangements, and my own performances have come together to create something that best represents what I want to say and how I wish it to be heard. This record pulls no punches where punches ought not to be pulled, but I believe there is also an empathy and depth of compassion to it that I strive to capture in everything I do, on record and on stage. With the help of everyone involved in this project, that’s what I believe we’ve managed to achieve. And I could not be more excited to share it with folks later this year.”

Tickets for the launch concert are on sale via Steve’s website priced £12. As well as being the very first chance to hear some of these songs performed live – alongside some old favourites, of course – it will also be the first opportunity for people to get hold of a copy of the album itself.

For regular updates, follow Steve on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter, sign up to his mailing list and his Patreon page containing exclusive material, offers and more for subscribers.

stevepledger.co.uk

The Whiskey Jar Open Mic Night 2 Aug 2022

The Whiskey Jar Open Mic Night 2 Aug 2022

There’s a place where you can listen to music in the heart of Manchester, near Piccadilly Station. That is The Whiskey Jar. Of course, there are other venues but there’s surely something about this place and its organiser. Because there’s a large audience and they listen, even though the venue is a pub. I’m guessing it’s in large part due to Joe “Bagpipes“, the regular host. After all, it has the reputation of being “Manchester’s longest running and best open mic night“. On 2 Aug 2022, The Whiskey Jar Open Mic Night welcomes another lot of talented musicians. I get to hear a subset of them.

Jeorgia Rose

I arrived late, at the end of the third musician’s set.  I will hear later that in effect, I was on time (8.00pm) but the replacement host started early (7.30pm). I felt like a queen for that second 😁 I also later found out the name of that third musician, Jeorgia Rose. You cannot miss her in the crowd. However, it did help that she was directly in my line of sight, sitting virtually opposite me. I speak briefly with her but find out more afterwards. Research tells me she is an 18-year old British country singer. I remembered that I just left some friends who invited me to watch them line dance at the Pride parade this coming 27th of August. This happened after a Dolly cover documentary I watched. I feel country music is after me lol. So I listen to her on Jeorgia Rose Spotify from the popular I will still Remember to the two other offers at the time,

Chris Tavener

Funny musical man Chris Tavener follows. The folk comedian makes us smile and laugh with his brand of music. The acoustics normally so on point is slightly lacking in clarity so it’s hard to properly hear his jokes from the back (probably my fault for being at the back!). He has 3 songs on offer for us. The first one is All I need. The second one is How to truly win at life from his 2022 EP release Easy Ways To Be Happy and the last one Bill Gates was my favourite. I remember catching his set a while ago during a So Far Manchester I attended and reviewed in 2018. It is so good to see and hear him remain the “satirical singer-songwriter, known for his comedic, witty lyrics and a vintage sound”.

They Valleys IG @_the_valleys

A couple of musicians speak to the host. It seems they are going to be next. Spencer Grant is on guitar and vocals. Jeremy (Howling) Webster on harmonica. Their Instagram says they are “a fresh new band consisting of a bunch of friends with musical talents”.  Tonight they are two. From their choice of song cover to their interpretation, I am in. Even the pitch slides could not hide the talent. The karaoke that messed up with Grant’s vocals does not quite matter. To have chosen the very beautiful and traditional Henry Martin as a song shows discernment. Joan Baez  would be proud but would probably have a go at them for spoiling the vocals on karaoke (or is it just me?)! Ain’t No sunshine follows and the voice seems to recover some of its original timbre hitting the pitches. The harmonica was so well played on both pieces, subtly enhancing its tone.

The Valleys at Whiskey Jar Open Mic

Coeur Vaillant

Coeur Vaillant serves us his usual brand of well-constructed songs and infectious melodies on guitar. He has two pieces for this occasion: a “love” song on a bed of 7 sins and a fight song about freedom. The public is conquered. From head voice to falsetto, the public takes the trip with the singer-songwriter. It is not long ago that we were falling in love with Coeur Vaillant’s first single Spring Always Returns. The tireless musician honours his childhood passion, working hard towards his ultimate music dream.

 

Coeur Vaillant at Whiskey Jar Open Mic

 

Robert

In between sets, I meet Robert. Robert is a regular audience member at the Wednesday evening open mic. But he thought he would try out the Tuesday evening open mic that the venue also offers. He explains that he comes to listen and relax. He likes the atmosphere and enjoyed the last set. I tell him the name of the last act is Coeur Vaillant. I try to decipher the enigma of the foreign name and pronunciation. Coeur Vaillant in effect is Valiant Heart in English. There is a backdrop of knight time and day dream right there. I somehow also manage to drop that I’d like to perform here. Yes, you heard it, I basically inserted right there that I too am a musician. I am half-proud to have dropped some self-promotion there, something at which I am execrable. And to mark the following embarrassment I systematically feel (which will no doubt mean no promotion for hours), I’ll move ever so swiftly to the next subject. Robert says the ambiance is different to when Joe leads. The usual host makes sure no one talks during the sets, twitches the knobs to ensure the sound is at its best. Yes the music and its conveyor are king. This host is nice and cool and relaxed.

Before I leave

Robert compliments Coeur Vaillant as the musician returns to his seat. The host then performs. It is not the regular host, known as Joe Bagpipes. Shame, I wanted to finally meet him. This organiser performs what I understand to be Harvest (Neil Young). He follows up with a second song that sounds like a Nick Drake’s cover.

I am suddenly feeling tired and ill at ease. It’s humid and hot. I realise I need to leave before the end. Shame. It was a nice hour and a half shared with music lovers and music givers. I hear there’s another open mic on Thursdays but this time at a nearby venue, Stage & Radio at 7pm. It will be for another time. Robert will stay as usual until 11pm. But I need to end my night right there, right now. It is outside that I meet the Valleys again and get a lot of information about them. I am outside so I am feeling better. Live is well and truly back and that has made me feel great. But it seems that this whole lockdown thing has made it a little more difficult to be in crowded places for a long time. Or maybe it is the heat and humidity, whichever came first. Either way, I was happy to have been there and to have listened and witnessed some of the great next generation of musicians.