Jericho Tavern 21st September 2019

Delighted to announce that the autumn instalment of ‘0151 @ The Jericho Tavern’ will be headlined by former Boo Radleys singer/guitarist Sice. The night will also feature sets from Poet Paul Birtill, Matt McManamon Music and myself.

I’m pretty excited about this one, folks. Let me tell you why:

SICE (Boo Radleys)

I bought my first copy of the NME in December 1993 when ‘Giant Steps’ featured at the top of virtually every end of year album poll. I queued up to get The Boo Radleys’ autographs when they headlined (supported by a fledgling Oasis) the Heineken Music festival in Preston’s Avenham Park in 1994. That same year I watched the Channel 4 broadcast of The Boos’ performance at Glastonbury and was absolutely blown away watching Sice sing ‘Lazarus’ (still one of my all-time favourite songs). In 1995 I cheered when ‘Wake Up!’ went to Number One in the UK album charts. I also saw The Boos headline The Royal Court in Liverpool in October 1995.

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Sice’s debut solo album ‘First Fruits’ (Creation 1996) released under the name of Eggman has attained the status of a cult classic.

Expect an inspired mix of brand new material and some classic materials from Sice’s legendary discography.

POET PAUL BIRTILL

Paul Birtill was born in Walton, Liverpool, in 1960. He moved to London in his early twenties when he began writing, and apart from a brief period in Glasgow, has lived there ever since. His poems appear regularly in national newspapers, magazines and literary journals and he has read them on national radio and at poetry venues nationwide. He has published a number of collections on the Hearing Eye imprint including the best-selling Terrifying Ordeal and Collected Poems 1987-2010.

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MATT MCMANAMON (The Dead 60s/The Specials)

Formerly of The Dead 60s and The Specials, singer/songwriter Matt McManamon is strongly associated with ska, punk, dub and reggae. His solo work, however, is more deeply influenced by his Liverpool Irish roots than it is by sounds that originate from Kingston and The Black Ark.

The Dead 60s experienced a short, sharp burst of success which included two appearances on Top of The Pops and festival slots at Glastonbury and Lollapalooza. Tours with Morrissey, Kasabian and their label mates The Coral helped to establish the band and their eponymous debut album charted at number 23 in the UK Top 40 – it would eventually sell over 100,000 copies. The Dead 60s had 5 UK Top 40 singles

“When Jules Reid told me that he had ‘someone special’ lined up to headline the September edition of ‘0151 @ The Jericho Tavern‘, I never imagined that he had somehow persuaded Sice from The Boo Radleys to come out of retirement and play his first live show in over a decade. Unbelievably excited about this one!

I still remember waiting in line to get Sice and his former bandmates’ autographs at the old Virgin Megastore in Clayton Square in Liverpool. And the Scouse Bukowski, Poet Paul Birtill, is on the bill too! This is going to be a cracking night.”

Matt McManamon

JULIAN CONOR REID

Author of this blog. Made on Merseyside, now based in Oxfordshire. Jules is a veteran singer/songwriter with hundreds of live shows under his belt in Argentina, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and the USA.

He is also the host of ‘0151 @ The Jericho Tavern’ – ‘Music from the Mersey where the Cherwell meets the Thames’.

 

Tickets available here:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sice-boo-radleys-jules-reid-

As a teenager in the 1990s I was a huge Supergrass fan. I bought their first single Caught By The Fuzz’on cassette and played both it and the excellent b-side Strange Ones repeatedly. Caught by the Fuzz reminded me of my relationship with my older brother Sean and I could relate to the protagonist’s lament: ‘If only my brother could be here now, he’d get me out, he’d sort me out alright…’ 

At school I played in a band called Dot Dash with my friends Quil and Tim and we played two Supergrass songs in our set: Caught by the Fuzz and Alright. I saw Supergrass at Leeds Town and Country Club in 1996, a month after Going Out, the lead single from their second album In It for the Money entered the UK charts at number 5. Going Out signalled a departure from the Undertones/Only Ones-esque material of Supergrass’ debut album I Should Coco and propelled singer Gaz’s older brother Rob to centre stage.

According to Drowned in Sound:

Driven by Rob Coombes’ inspired organ riff, and unashamedly retro, ‘Going Out’ displays a depth of song structure the trio had only previously hinted at with the incredible ‘Lenny’ b-side ‘Wait For The Sun’.

I was 16 years old when I saw Supergrass in Leeds and I clearly remember the visual and sonic impact that Rob’s brooding presence had on the band. Supergrass seemed harder and darker. The band now resembled The Doors as much as they did The Kinks.

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Fast forward 20 years and I am living in Oxford where I find myself on the Cowley Road. It is Spring 2016 and I am introduced to Rob Coombes by a mutual friend. We bond over a coffee in Costa and strike up a friendship. We go to see The Coral at the O2 in March 2016. Afterwards Rob kindly invites me to his house in the Oxfordshire countryside and plays me some song sketches that he has been working on. They are very good indeed and remind me of John Lennon’s work on Double Fantasy. I learn that Rob is fond of music from the 1970s.

I play Rob one of my songs and he begins to play the piano. I experience that same feeling of euphoria that must be familiar to every songwriter when they hear their work transformed by a master musician. The song in question is called I’m Not The Man. Beforehand it had been a well-crafted acoustic song but Rob’s umbilical connection to the 1970s transformed it into a Heartland Rock piece that could have sat neatly on Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. Rob’s playing was simply incredible. It was like I was sat there with my very own David Sancious or Roy Bittan or Rick Wakeman. Literally everything that Rob played sounded amazing. I had not experienced such a feeling of joy or connection since I last played with my dear friend, the late, great guitarist Phil Pattullo.

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I was a regular fixture at Open Mic Nights in Oxford but Rob had not played live since Supergrass’ farewell show at La Cigale in Paris in 2010. After a few informal rehearsals, Rob accepted my invitation to join him onstage at the Harcourt Arms Open Mic night in Jericho and we played two of my songs songs: Time to Climb the Mountain and the aforementioned I’m Not the Man. Playing with a musician of Rob’s calibre was an absolute thrill and I remember sending a text message to my high-school bandmates Tim and Quil saying: ‘My 15 year old self would be pretty chuffed about this’. They replied saying: ‘Your 36 year old self should be pretty chuffed about it!’

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Rob and I performed at a number of open mic nights in Oxford. As well as the Harcourt Arms we played at The Mad Hatter and James Street Tavern. We also played at a charity festival that took place at Hill End Centre in the Oxfordshire countryside. We opened the festival and got a great reception from the handful of people in attendance. Our set concluded with a version of Bruce Springsteen’s Hungry Heart. Often when I play songs live I abandon middle eights/solos in favour of bland repetition of the verse and chorus. During rehearsals, when I informed Rob of my plan to eliminate the solo he was aghast: I had forgotten that I was playing with a world-class musician who was capable of recreating the most complex parts of recorded music. I need run nor hide no more from the middle eight or solo!

I had a fantastic time playing with Rob – and learned a great deal in the process. I really hope that some of his unreleased songs will see the light of day as he has written some absolute gems.

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For several years now I have been in the market for a new acoustic guitar. I currently own a cheap and battered old Fender and a Takamine EG320C – both of these guitars would be classed as ‘low-end’.

Not dissimilar to a man who has always wanted to own a Ferrari or a Harley Davidson, there are certain brands that my ego likes the idea of owning, namely Martin or Gibson. But whenever I have tried those brands I have not been too impressed. Or rather, I have been impressed, but I haven’t been blown away, which is the feeling I would like to have if I am going to spend a large amount of money on a stringed instrument.

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When I lived in Napoli I visited a number of negozio chitarre in Via San Sebastiano. I tried a few guitars and the one which impressed me the most was a Taylor 110 CE. It felt lovely to hold and to play. It looked beautiful. I had never been particularly keen on the idea of owning a Taylor, but the model that I tried in Napoli really spoke to me. I also tried 114 CE which was an equally positive experience.

I also visited Cled Art Music in Avellino. They performed a minor operation on my Takamine and introduced me to a brand that I have never heard of: Walden. I was told that the chief designer at Walden had previously been employed by Taylor (a fact that I have so far been unable to substantiate) and for an ‘unknown’ brand the Walden left a positive impression on me.

I tried the same model Taylor that I had loved in Napoli in Dawsons in Liverpool. It didn’t sound the same. It sounded great but it didn’t sound the same. This taught me a valuable lesson: that guitars of the same make and model will hardly ever actually be the same. So, what that means, is that if you play a Gibson J-45 in a music store and it sounds and feels amazing then you should probably go ahead and buy it right there and then. Because if you go to another music store and try another J-45, it might not sound and feel amazing. Strange but true. Guitars are not Playstations. I recently read an article in which John Meyer described his relationship with Paul Reed Smith which neatly describes this phenomenon:

“And Paul Reed Smith and I went in and our saying was sort of this: ‘You take 100 Strats and two or three of them are magic. The question is, what makes those magic and how do you replicate that so you get 100 out of 100 guitars that are magic?’”

Fast forward a few years and I have still not bought a new guitar. The way I see it is if I can’t find one which I feel like I have to own then I will not hand over the cash. You see I don’t want to settle for a good guitar, I want an amazing guitar. It doesn’t have to be expensive though. The two biggest influences on my guitar playing are probably Kurt Cobain and Noel Gallagher, neither of whom were known for using pricey instruments. Kurt might have played a Martin D-18E for the Unplugged in New York performance but is that the guitar that I should scour the globe for? According to Reverb, perhaps not.

The D-18E was an early attempt by Martin to produce an acoustic-electric guitar by installing two DeArmond pickups and three control knobs into a D-18 dreadnought. The electronics adversely affected the tone of the guitar, and the D-18E only remained in production for a year.

And whilst Noel Gallagher might today favour a Martin D-28, ‘straight off the peg’, the fact is that ‘Wonderwall’ was written and recorded using a relatively humble (compared to its Gibson counterparts at least) Epiphone EJ-200. With this in mind I tried out an EJ-200 at PMT in Oxford last week but I didn’t really like it. Pity, because it retails at less than £400.

Noel Gallagher on the Martin D-28:

“I bought it brand-new in a shop, just straight off the peg. It’s f***ing incredible. It’s got a new Baggs pickup system in it, which is pretty amazing.”

One of my favourite all-time acoustic performances is Country Joe McDonald at Woodstock. For that reason I have always wanted to try a Yamaha FG-150.

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Country Joe McDonald at Woodstock

 

I have recently been scouring Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace for acoustic guitars. It’s becoming something of an obsession. Hopefully I’m not trying to fix something that’s broken within myself. Last week I saw a Taylor 612 CE for sale for £1400. I went to the seller’s warehouse in Witney to try out the guitar. It had a couple of light scratches that were barely noticeable but otherwise it was in really good condition. £1400 is a great price for a 612CE which can sell new over £3000. I played the guitar (plugged and unplugged) for a good twenty minutes. It felt amazing – all Taylors do. It sounded crisp, clear and bright. And the brightness is where the problem lies. Perhaps the sound I am looking for exists only in my mind but I would happily sacrifice some brightness for warmth. I didn’t buy the guitar. I came close though. As I explained to my wife afterwards: “I want my guitar to sound like the tree it came from”.

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And so the process continues with seemingly miles to go until I sleep. In 2019 I am going to try out some of the following brands: Faith, Yamaha, Seagull and a few more high-end Takamines, Gibsons, Martins and Taylors.

 

 

 

 

 

Jericho Tavern - April 2019 - Final

On Saturday 6th April I will be hosting two great Liverpudlian singer/songwriters at The Jericho Tavern in Oxford. Ian Prowse (Pele/Amsterdam) and Matt McManamon (The Dead 60s/The Specials). I will open the evening’s proceedings with a short acoustic set.

Ian Prowse is extremely well known in Merseyside and beyond, his track ‘Does This Train Stop on Merseyside’ having become something of a cult anthem after the late John Peel declared it to be one his favourite songs. The track has also been covered by Irish legend Christy Moore.

Matt McManamon was singer/songwriter with The Dead 60s, whose eponymous debut album sold over 100,00 copies and saw the band perform their hit single ‘Riot Radio’ on Top of the Pops. More recently Matt has toured with The Specials as a live guitarist. Matt will be playing tracks from his forthcoming EP as well as acoustic versions of songs by The Dead 60s and Pinhole.

Tickets available HERE 

Anybody who regularly attended gigs in Liverpool in the mid-90s will be familiar with the name Jubjub. They worked hard to build a fanbase and promoted themselves extremely well. They were managed by singer Joel Bird’s father John, who I would often see in 51-55 Highfield Street when he came to visit Mark Cowley. The band also included Jamie Bleasedale, son of legendary Liverpool playwright Alan. It was this connection that secured the band prestigious support slots with Elvis Costello.

Joel stood-in for Jamie Murphy on Space’s 1996 US Tour when the guitarist was absent and suffering from nervous exhaustion. Joel is also present on Space’s Top of the Pops performance of Dark Clouds.

Jubjub used to pack out their Liverpool gigs but their popularity was more or less confined to their home state. They released the Big Mouth EP on Plastic Records in 1998. The lead track reminded me of Space which was unsurprising given the time that Joel had spent rehearsing and performing with the band. The standout track on the EP was ‘Give it All Away’ with its rousing refrain: ‘Today I lost myself in your arms’. ‘Give it All Away’ is a brilliant pop song.

Jubjub later changed their name to Eto but split up a few years afterwards.

Eto biography:

Eto were formed in 1999 by two founder members of the successful Liverpool based band Jubjub – Joel and Jay. The dance revolution of the 90s – spearheaded by Liverpool’s ‘Cream’ nightclub for which Jay’s cousin Paul Bleasdale was a founder DJ – inspired a change to their earlier music. Joel was fueled with ideas and set the concept for the band as Jay searched the universe for the intergalactic samples and drum loops that now form the basis to the sound of eto. A solid bass was needed to ground the spacey synths that were taking eto to new levels – enter Matt and the grooves to guide the way. A background in percussion work for dance clubs around the UK made Andy the ideal candidate to bring funky fills to the loony loops. The final piece of the jigsaw was added in May 2002. Jamie came with his big beats and took his place at the drums to complete this formidable line-up.

Joel Bird biography:

I am influenced mostly by folk songwritters and soundtrack composers. I am from Liverpool but I now live in London, England. I have in the past toured the UK and USA with my own bands Jubjub and Eto and also with artists such as Elvis Costello and Catatonia, I have also played guitar and toured with Space. I have written soundtracks for films such as Shifty and worked on TV films with writer and screenplay Alan Bleasdale. When I moved from Liverpool to London, I left music to work as an artist and a carpenter, but I missed music alot. So I return with an album under the name Joel Bird called ‘Where the Crows Sleep’. I recorded the album through a changing Autumn in a converted shed that overlooks allotments, I have tried to tell my stories about love and death and hopefully some of the atmosphere of the place has been preserved in the music. I walk home through a graveyard most days and I often whisper secret goodbyes. I am not sure about spirits, but it is nice to think of them living in crows. When people die only love remains, people try to forget the rest.

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My cousin Ollie Birtill formed the band Ormondroyd in Sheffield in 2001. They recorded a demo tape  which they sent to DJ John Peel who played it on his BBC Radio One show. At its conclusion he said: “that’s really rather lovely”. Ormondroyd were named after footballer Ian Ormondroyd but for the uninitiated, the name itself has a wonderful quality, it sounds like a 2000AD character like Strontium Dog or Zenith.

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As well as a brilliant band name, Ormondroyd also had brilliant song titles: Given Time Those Hearts Will Crack, Perfect Designs, If I’d Known It Was the Last Time I’d Have Opened Both My Eyes…

Ormondroyd 1-0 Demo review here.

I played a couple of gigs with Ormondroyd. We played together at the Brook Cafe inside the old Quiggins on School Lane and also at The Picket on Hardman Street. Ormondroyd released their debut album ‘Hit and Hope’ on Hackpen Records in 2007. For fans of The Flaming Lips and Mogwai, Hit and Hope contains a number of strong songs but my personal favourite is ‘Perfect Designs’: melodic distorted pop like early Radiohead fronted by Stuart Murdoch from Belle and Sebastian.

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I wrote about my cousin’s band for Gigwise.com in 2003:

Sheffield based anti-cool merchants Ormondroyd were formed just over a year ago at Uni and have been making a name for themselves peddling their own brand of (what I like to call) Dream Rock. John “Champion of the Underdog” Peel was playing their first demo on Radio 1 when they had only played a handful of gigs. “It was rather bizarre to be honest” says singer Ollie Birtill. “My mobile rang and it was John asking me if he could play our track on his show. He’s a good guy that man.” 

Having heard the demo in question it’s obvious to see why Peel is so taken by the band known by their fans as the ‘Droyd. The songs are dreamy laments; even the happy ones somehow manage to sound sad. This is due in no small part, to Ols’ beautiful fragile vocal performance. You get the impression that if Ol was to sing happy birthday at a Childs’ party he would be besieged by angry mothers wanting to know why their kids were in tears.

So, what have Ormondroyd been grooving to recently then? “‘I’m in hoc to Spiritualised up to my eyeballs my man” enthuses Ol. “The ‘Pure Phase’ album is fucking brilliant! Otherwise Mogwai, The Beach Boys, that kind of stuff.” So with labels starting to circle like vultures, a British tour planned for the summer and members of the opposite sex actually talking to them for a change, are the ‘Droyd enjoying life then? “Yeah” says Ol, “before all this our single biggest achievement to date was getting Steve Lamacq back to our halls of residence for a post-gig cider drinking session. He had a ‘what the hell am I doing here look on his face the whole time he was with us. We let him go after a couple of days.”

According to Drowned in Sound:

“….as debuts go, this is a strong effort searching for the right stars, but falling short in finding exactly which one the Sheffield lads are looking for. I suppose with extensive touring and another few recordings under their belt, their search will succeed”.

Sadly extensive touring and further recording did not occur – but Ormondroyd left the world with a fine piece of work to remember them by. Listen to their finest moment, Perfect Designs, here:

 

Appendix: Here is Ormondroyd’s biography from Last.fm:

Taking their name from a cult early nineties footballer and inspiration from the likes of Mogwai, Spirtualized, the Beach Boys and Super Furry Animals, Ormondroyd make widescreen, atmospheric pop songs punctuated by bursts of epic noise.

Formed after meeting at Sheffield University, the band have existed in one form or another for four years. The current incarnation – Ollie Birtill (vocals, guitar), Ste Mills (guitar, vocals), Rob George (keyboards, vocals), Nick Portus (bass) and Gash Hill (drums) – spent the most part of 2006 making their debut album ‘Hit & Hope’. Most of the tracks were recorded at Sheffield’s 2Fly Studios with Alan Smyth (Pulp, Arctic Monkeys, Richard Hawley) and the 12-track LP was released in March 2007 through Hackpen Records.

The band’s early demos were played by John Peel on his Radio 1 show and Channel 4 Teletext Planet Sound proclaimed their demo as the best of the year – an accolade previously afforded to Hope Of the States. The Droyd were also ranked above The Strokes and Muse in their weekly chart.

Ormondroyd’s live show, which has been known to include guitars played with vegetables, group hollering and unreasonably crowded stages, has seen them play across the country, including shows at the In The City festival in Manchester and at Club Fandango nights in London. Along the way they’ve played with the likes of The Futureheads, We Are Scientists, Kristin Hersh and iLiKETRAiNS and have also recorded a live radio session for the BBC.

The band realised a major ambition when Ian Ormondroyd (the lanky footballer they took their moniker from) played ‘Perfect Designs’ during his ‘Sticks In The Mix’ radio show. Proof, if ever it were needed, that dreams really can come true. Other highlights for the band included having a song used on BBC Midlands Today to soundtrack a report about kayaking and being named the 43rd best international song of the year on a Spanish radio station. Recently, the band’s album cover shoot was interrupted by both the police and the fire brigade after they were reported for suspected arson.

I first met Peter Hooton and Keith Mullin in 1997. Their group The Farm were in hiatus and Peter and Keith were at 51-55 Highfield Street to discuss their new project ‘Hunkpapa’ with Mark Cowley and Steve Levy of Hug Management. I found both Peter and Keith pleasant and extremely down to Earth. Peter was polite and slightly guarded whereas Keith had a twinkle in his eye and liked to crack wise. I was handed a DAT and told to run off some cassettes of Hunkpapa’s latest demo.

The cassettes contained two songs: ‘Immortalized’ and ‘Nothing’s Perfect’. They were both brilliant. I remember thinking at the time:

“These are precisely the kind of songs that most people were hoping to hear on ‘The Second Coming” (The Stone Roses long-awaited sophomore album)

The tracks were ambitious, musically tight and had excellent lyrics. Peter sang with tenderness and conviction. Hunkpapa played only a handful of gigs (including a benefit for the Liverpool Dockers at The Royal Court) and released no music officially. The Farm reformed in 2004 and continue to perform today.

Hunkpapa have left precious little for the world to remember them by, certainly in terms of a digital footprint, at least. That being said, despite having never even released a record, the band are mentioned several times in Kevin Sampson’s novel ‘Powder’. (Sampson used to manage The Farm).

Ben Thompson writes in The Independent:

While Powder might fairly be said to be based on a lifetime’s research, it draws most heavily on the four years that Sampson spent as manager of Scouse pop demi-sensations, The Farm. Despite a cover that resembles The Farm’s most successful album, Spartacus, Powder is not a roman a clef. “A lot of the characters are composites of several different people,” Sampson admits cheerfully, “and a lot of them are completely made up. There is the odd occasion too where you get real people talking to their fictionalised equivalent, just for my own self-indulgent amusement”.

 

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Formerly of The Dead 60s and The Specials, singer/songwriter Matt McManamon is strongly associated with ska, punk, dub and reggae. His solo work, however, is more deeply influenced by his Liverpool Irish roots than it is by sounds that originate from Kingston and The Black Ark.

“In my late teens and early twenties, learning to sing like Strummer and play like The Wailers became something of an obsession, but I would find that whenever I was left on my own with an acoustic guitar, it was invariably the songs of Luke Kelly and Christy Moore that I would find myself playing. In terms of songwriting, Shane MacGowan is definitely one of the greats and I am proud to be able to call a man of Shane’s stature a friend. Tipping my hat to my hometown of Liverpool, Mick Head of Shack is a huge inspiration too. He is the quintessential songwriter’s songwriter.”

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The Dead 60s experienced a short, sharp burst of success which included two appearances on Top of The Pops and festival slots at Glastonbury and Lollapalooza. Tours with Morrissey, Kasabian and their label mates The Coral helped to establish the band and their eponymous debut album charted at number 23 in the UK Top 40 – it would eventually sell over 100,000 copies. The Dead 60s had 5 UK Top 40 singles but ‘Stand Up’, the (brilliant) lead single from their second album failed to crack the Top 50, charting at number 54.

The band issued a press release on 8 February 2008 announcing their split.

Burned out after a bruising, yet not untypical, relationship with the music industry, Matt relocated to the Irish village of Mulranny with an acoustic guitar and grist for the mill in terms of life experience. It was his intention to record a solo album – but the local pubs held more appeal than the local recording studios.

“I got distracted, to be honest. I was licking my wounds after the break-up of the band and a relationship that did not turn out as I was hoping it might. I think to a certain extent I became a bit of a caricature: ‘the guy in the pub who once had a hit talking about past glories.’ That being said, I wasn’t the first Scouser to enthusiastically avail himself of Irish hospitality – and I’m sure I won’t be the last! I was writing songs but I was also living in the past. Having the opportunity to join The Specials was absolutely brilliant as it gave me the opportunity to rediscover the joy of playing live again without any pressure.”

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A decade in the making, McManamon’s debut solo album will be released in early 2019. Recorded in Ireland and featuring a cast of local musicians it is a collection of songs that Matt describes as ‘Scally Folk’, brewed in Liverpool, bottled in Ireland, enjoyed all over the world.

One Saturday evening in July 2016 I was playing the opening set at the Harcourt Arms in Jericho. I introduced a song of mine:

‘This is a song about an ex-girlfriend of mine who wanted to marry a doctor. It’s called ‘She Wanted To Marry A Doctor’

“Are you a Doctor?” asked a voice from the audience.

“No”, I replied.

The voice from the audience belonged to  Chicago-based (at the time) singer/songwriter called Logan Metz. He was in Oxford with his musical compañero Lincoln Mendell and they would be headlining at the Harcourt that evening, billed as The Wind And Rain. Logan was enthusiastic, talkative and wore a permanent smile on his face. Later on it would transpire that he (Logan) was an Anglophile, an Oxfordophile to be precise.

Harcourt Band Night

Lincoln and Logan’s set was superb. They played acoustic guitars, a mandolin and took turns hammering away at the battered, old piano that lives in a corner of the Harcourt. They played a selection of their own compositions, well-known cover versions – and a few songs from Logan’s then soon-to-be-released (October 2016) debut album: ‘The Last Remaining Payphone in LA’. The title track from the aforementioned album distils the best bits of Johnny Cash, Paul Simon and Billy Joel whilst adding dashes of English Music Hall, Variety Theatre and Vaudeville. Their love for England and the city of Oxford shone through, not least on the track ‘Jericho’.

“I want to be an Oxford chap, where everywhere I go I know I’ll find some place to hang my hat – I want to die an Englishman with a sonnet on my tongue and an umbrella in my hand”

“And the writing on the walls in Jericho say man you’ve got to be some kind of fool to go from the good King’s Arms”

“I want to know that British pride perhaps I’d even have me own dear Watson by my side” (cue Lincoln pointing at Logan in a moment of pure theatrical brilliance)

The Last Remaining Payphone in LA is a brilliant album. According to Sahar at blogcritics.org:

This album is a beautifully, composed emotion-laden experience well worth a listen. The tracks could be loosely categorised in four groups: The jazz tracks contain all the typical jazz trimmings one would expect. Other numbers are folk and country-flavoured, including the title track. A couple of songs are built only on vocals, piano, and violins. Metz also wrote a couple of slow and languorous tracks.

Cody Conard at The Big Takeover continues:

The production of the album is fantastic—lush strings and a horn section warmly embrace Metz’s enthusiastic piano playing and clever lyrics on songs like “Jericho” and the smokey jazz of “Almost (All Mine).” Even with the record’s large sound, Metz is the true star of the show; the dulcet tones of his voice seemingly torn out of a different bygone era. A stunning debut, The Last Remaining Payphone in L.A. is out October 21st, and has all of the possibilities within it to make Logan Metz one of America’s next great troubadours.

Lincoln and Logan returned to Oxford in July 2017. My wife and I happened to bump into them as we were heading out to dinner at The Cherwell Boathouse. They had been punting on the river. Oxford chaps to the core. The duo performed another headline set at The Harcourt Arms, bringing the house down as they had done in 2016. Their version of The Beatles’ ‘I’ve Got a Feeling’ captured the euphoria of original.

 

 

 

 

Logan Metz is currently on tour as a multi-instrumentalist for Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real. An inspirational post on his personal Facebook page below outlined his reason for declining a Fullbright grant to teach at a university in Madrid in favour of a life on the road with a hard-working band: “Life is short and God damn it, you’ve got to do what you love”.

Amen to that, brother.

Logan Facebook

 

Lincoln has recently formed a new band called Nature Docs. Listen to their superb track ‘Ships’ below: