Cary Grace – A Light Shining Out From the Spiritual Heart of Britain……
The King Arthur, Glastonbury, 10th November 2018
Seeing Cary Grace live is a significant event, and friends who had expressed their disappointment in not being able to go and see her play ensured the attendance of myself and co-writer, Sara Vian on this night…
The King Arthur is a character-filled pub in the pulsating heart of iconic Glastonbury, and with highly effective, sensitive sound mixing from Paul O’Reilly and stimulating visuals by Lux Looper, it really is a great setting for a gig.
Just in time for the first set where Cary performed as YAMMA, usually an electronic duo with Basil Brooks. We were struck by a glittering futuristic vision of turquoise and silver; perfectly adorned with a slightly “Clockwork Orange” make-over, stood the fantastic Cary Grace with her unique synthesizer set-up and special guests making up the Band: Steve Everitt covering for Basil Brooks (synths/electric guitar), Mike Howlett, THE Grammy-winning producer from Gong (bass) and Graham Clark (guitar).
We were spirited away on a wave of psychedelic ambience; beautifully-constructed music with echoes of infinite space kept human by moody vocals, soft bass lines and chiming guitar. Cary was resplendently cool and reminded us of the beautiful replicant in Blade Runner that swept Harrison Ford away from the gloom… but of course, Cary is no replicant and has a glowing presence enhanced by her pure vocals that sweep you up into the quantum space of infinite possibilities; powerfully thrilling.
Many love synthesizers and the space rock sounds of progressive rock; it reminded us of early Pink Floyd, but with its own unique style, and with the wealth of talented musicians she attracts to play with her, we’d go as far to say that her live appearances are gaining cult status.
During the break, Cary transformed into a warmer persona for a more up-tempo rock-based set featuring bass-player, Andy Budge, who brought such a driving edge that we were reminded of the great Stranglers. 16 year old drummer, Robin Everitt (son of Steve!) also teleported in with respectable precision to further intensify the driving groove, and then Steve Everitt (central guitar) injected a much heavier psych-rock sound which soared with conviction into the stratosphere like a laser beam and burst into light-fantastic when it collided with the screaming acid-jazz-folk violin, expertly delivered by Graham Clark.
Cary’s commanding vocals echoed mesmerizingly through the room, unifying the mix into one entity and when they experimented with bringing the legendary Mike Howlett back on again for a two-bass-guitar-driven track, hyper-speed engine throttle engaged and enabled them to take off like an magnificent alien bird of prey which left you defenseless and irresistibly yearning to dance all night.
There is no doubt that Cary conveys a unique stage presence wherever she performs and having also listened to much of her back catalogue of 7 albums and 7 EP’s and singles, Cary’s music is now a unique addition to the feel-good pool of music.
See Video’s of this performance at:
https://youtu.be/RPA9QgwGKPE and https://youtu.be/xchLdbZPGuc
Find out more about Cary Grace’s music at http://www.carygrace.com/
American born singer/ songwriter Cary adopted Somerset as her home since coming to Britain in 2005 and also has a UK analogue Synthesizer business see http://www.wiard.com/
Chris Watson and Sara Vian (Music Eye)
Showing 3 review(s).
Cary Grace – A Light Shining Out From the Spiritual Heart of Britain……
Jane Allison, a singer songwriter from the Celtic tradition and not just another girl…….
A Review of Albums “Just another Girl” and “Methylene Blue” by Chris Watson, Music Eye
Her new Album, “Like Magdalene” released Spring 2019
Jane started her solo career in 2014 with debut album “Just Another Girl”
cover art photography: John Morgan
With a mix of folk and country style songs. Jane, however, is not just another girl, but an exceptional singer with a strong, clear and flexible voice. Her insightful lyrics tell stories of love, heartbreak and loss and the search for relationships that we all need. Her second Album, “Methylene Blue” followed in 2016 with a batch of new songs arising from her own loss and sadness and is much more of an Americana/ country style.
Both Albums are a musical collaboration with Producer Alonza Bevan, who is also the talented multi-instrumentalist playing on both albums. The Albums are described as “Americana” and for some of us, genre labels are handy, but how do you know you like something if you are already directed away by thinking it is not a genre you would listen to. Music is about emotion and feeling and can be taken from any genre; it is what the listener feels and identifies with that is important to their participation in a listening investment. I love music and I don’t specialise to exclude works that can make me happy.
Firstly, “Just another girl” shows me Jane’s diversity of talent in that all tracks have a different style and a distinctive accompaniment using acoustic guitar, banjo, harmonica, western style electric guitar and slide guitar. All are catchy songs with great harmonies which can take you over the wide open spaces of the Welsh hills and mountains, let alone the diverse geography of our U.S. cousins. The song “All over now” plucks at the heartstrings and with a line like “heart covered in snow” something I never thought of, says it all to me as regards heartache whether on the Brecon Beacons or the Appalachians.
The songs range from “Catch me”, about yearning with western style guitar invoking the stars on a still desert night, “Country lovings” optimistic romance, the catchy “Fading Moon” with its nightmare story of dual unfaithfulness, the loss of “Farewell my boy”, the faith of “Joan of Arc” with its rising tempo to overcome the pain, “Just another girl” with lively folky sound and nice chord changes about a girl not wanting to rely on the uncertainty of ordinary love just to fit in but to wait for the real thing…, “Real Life” , an inspiring song many of us can identify with – getting back to real life after life’s trauma, not a smooth road but this song can push you along it and a favourite, “Wait for me”,more recovery from pain before being ready again, “Hymn to Hope”, an upbeat search for love and the hope that someone will make it alright to gain the cosiness and joy of the right relationship….
collaborative artwork: Scarlet Dakota photography, Chris Nicholls with tin city ( jo nye)
This is more Americana than the folk influence of the former album, however it crosses a bridge between the two so the link between the great mystical open spaces of the U.S. and the UK are harmonised; accompaniment is again accomplished and distinct for each track…
“Ain’t Wreckin me”, the trials of being on the re-bound with real country music slide and banjo; “Another prayer”, beautifully sung, beautiful harmony and a with a husky yearning voice searing the soul. “Hollow rock” is a lover’s memory lane, but upbeat and optimistic with great harmonica; “Oh Girl” has the breathy folky vocals of a sinner with a voice of an angel; “For what its worth” is evocatively mystically Celtic and one of those songs you would like written for you….another favourite; “Methylene Blue” brings the fire of love, infatuation , obsession, read what you want; “Forgotten Son” has a strong harmonic chorus and “Outlaw Valentine” is actually a fun song which broods on the desert plains with shades of Ennio Morricone riding into the night…the husky tone of Jane’s voice is great and another favourite of mine; Texas Baby follows with upbeat Banjo optimism and with an almost Abba like harmonic quality to Jane’s voice; “Unknown Soldier is a hymn like song and a nice metaphor for those of us who have suffered under the fire and been wounded by broken relationships or the sad losses of life..
As I write, Jane is recording her third album with Alonza Bevan in Belgium, “Like Magdelane” which will hopefully be released next spring; I look forward to how she has developed further. Jane is a talented singer and her songs are well crafted; I am sure Jane has her influences like all musicians, but I don’t need to compare, just listen and feel her work. There is a lot of heartbreak and sadness reflected with a dark Celtic side to the Americana that emanates from her Welsh background, but there is also optimism and winning through.
This is a singer and songwriter to take note of. Many will love the style and I can take some songs to ride with me in the car, and what is so good is that they are songs from her heart and translated through her own beautiful voice to illustrate the universal trials that touch all of our lives…
Her music can be heard and purchased at:
If you can help Jane publish her third Album she would appreciate your help:
Jane Allison Career Summary:
Aberystwyth born Jane has a performing career spanning dance & theatre (as Jane Roth), singing & songwriting with post punk, psychedelic folk & country bands, writing TV scripts and acting on TV, film and stage (as Jane Stanness). She has just finished filming the new Simon Pegg comedy horror “Slaughterhouse Rulez” as well as “Sally Forever” the latest Julia Davis show with Sky. Both are due for release in October.
Musically, Jane’s rock days with KarmaDeva included striding the stage and supporting giants like Ten Years After,Dr Feelgood,Caravan,The Damned, Arthur Lee and Love among many others, and 5 European tours. Her solo career involves working mainly with Alonza Bevan (Kula shaker) recording albums of her own folky blend of Americana . Mark J Lee was a guest guitarist on the first album and Audrey Evans (Medieval Baebes) is on backing vocals on Methylene Blue. Jane is in the process of getting a band together and doing some intimate gigs with guitarist Tom Proulx at the moment….the next one is on Oct 4th 2018 at the Beehive Buzz club in Swindon with Blind River Scare and Mark J Lee.
Chris Watson (Music Eye) January 2019
Sara Vian – Musician on a Mission
Sara Vian is a musician on a mission(!) having cultivated a real faith in life and how the world can be changed for the better; she also has a love of the sea, which many of us can relate to – such an inspiration of constant movement and moods with wide open vistas of opportunity.
Sara began her career with the release of her Debut EP on Record Store Day 2015. It’s a real gem which earned the title of “fastest-selling local indie artist” at her local record store and kicks off with an upbeat almost Gospel rendition of “People Get Ready”(Curtis Mayfield). This then follows with three self-penned songs: “Trouble”, an unsettling but catchy song with exquisite harmonies; “Faith Zone”, a truly inspiring simple analogy of a ship leaving port for the high seas and the wide open spaces with the freedom, beauty and open possibilities of personal happiness! And then closing with “Damaged”, a beautifully accomplished song which I would rank amongst the songs of the legends, given a really special feeling with the addition of ethereal and uplifting strings.
Sara’s songs speak to me and whatever her own motivation and feelings were for writing them, the lyrics can translate timelessly to all of our own life stories. They are complex stories of love, relationships and finding a new path, reflecting on the problems many of us have faced.
Good music brings joy and excitement but it can also inspire and support. This is where Sara has added the extra; her songs are a source of comfort and her strong, smooth and evocative voice with jazz undertones has star quality. Her chord changes, voice, harmonies, added strings and occasional subtle echo combine to trigger and increase your seratonin levels, sending shivers down the spine – expertly produced by Will Angeloro!
The songs on her debut album, “Wild , Free, and Beautiful”, which was released on Record Store Day 2016, seem to link together and tell a story which many of us could identify with; beginning with the passion of new love in “Beautiful soul” to growing love in “Bless my world” and then followed by the catchy, edgy and interleaved vocal effects of “Cat and Mouse”, a song indicating that we need to find our way to interdependence, with a strong connection to our own soul first.
“Good Habits” goes on to evoke void, emptiness yet self-belief and then “Love Be With Us” tells of the special support from a friend in hard times. “Thank you” introduces simple piano and speaks of the gratitude we have for the continued support of that friend who sticks by us through the doubt, anguish and rebirth of creativity to expunge the pain, which is then followed by “Trickster”, another edgy song addressing vulnerability and trust.
“Trust the Sea” seems to evoke forgiveness and making up within close relationships, introducing slide guitar to enhance the sentiment; and then finally, the title track “Wild, Free and Beautiful” echoes regret of what has gone but also the necessary freedom of the individual soul.
I think we all hope that special other soul is out there for us and once found, we have to learn to give them freedom as well as love to become whole again together. Interdependence is the key to the best relationships and I think Sara can lead us to that through her songs.
Sara has also developed her songs further by expanding to accompaniment with electric guitar, bass and drums on the live set, “Midwinter Magic”(2017); they translate well into a bigger and more powerful sound and this is an area begging to be developed, as illustrated by her grand album launch party with full band in September 2016, broadcast live with studio audience from the Assembly Rooms in Frome by Frome FM.
Find out more at: www.saravianmusic.com
Chris Watson ( Music Eye) – January 2019
Sara Vian (Vee-Ann) is an half-English/half-Iraqi singer/songwriter, born in South Wales and now living in the People’s Republic of Frome, Somerset*. Described as “vintage blues-folk”, she has been compared with Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, PJ Harvey & Nico, to name a few.
*People’s Republic of Frome: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/22/flatpack-democracy-peoples-republic-of-frome
Sara also hosts the West Country Music Network, an informal networking space held monthly for musicians and all disciplines/venues associated with the music business.