The stories behind the chart hits
AndyHowells chats toAmerican singer- songwriter Jennie Vee
NYC based Songwriter/musician Jennie Vee has already gained a strong internet following on both sides of the Atlantic with her releases Die Alone and Wicked and will shortly be supporting South Wales own Manic Street Preachers on their North American tour. Andy Howells recently caught up with Jennie.
LIVE: Albert Hammond
ONE of the world’s greatest songwriters, Albert Hammond has accumulated no less than 360million records sold world- wide and in April there will be a unique chance to hear the man perform the songs, and tell the stories behind them as he plays Newport’s Riverfront Theatre. Among the artistes Albert’s
worked with are Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Neil Diamond, Julio Iglesias, Willie Nelson, Whitney Houston and Tina Turner. The evening of hits will in- clude It Never Rains In South- ern California, The Air That I Breathe and One Moment In Time.Cat
ch Albert Hammond at Newport Riverfront on April 28.
Call 01633 656757 for ticket de- tails.
Legends’ city date
THEBeach Boys will be return- ing to the Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff, this June. You can sum up most pop mu-
sic acts by reciting how many hits they’ve had and how many albums they’ve sold. But these conventional meas- urements fall short when you’re assessing the impact of The Beach Boys. This is a band that has birthed a torrent of hit singles and sold albums by the tens of millions. Tickets are £38.50 each plus a booking fee. For more informa- tion call the box officeon 02920 224488.
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Where are you from and how did you get into music? I’m from a desolate mining town in
Northern Ontario, and due to that iso- lation has been a running theme in my life and songwriting. I got into music at a very young age as a true escape from the mundane, grey landscape and confines of life in a small town. I was four years old and rollerskating around to ELO, The Police and The Clash. This led to the dis- covery of new wave music – Echo & The Bunnymen, The Cure, The Smiths. I saw U2 live when I was just 11 years old and that’s when it hit me – I wanted to be in a band.
How would you describe your musical style? I would describe it as melancholic pop
or deeply empathic fuzz pop. Either will do.
There are lots of lush guitar sounds on your recordings do you enjoy been creative in the studio and developing new ideas? I love writing and recording. As much
as one could love recurring exorcisms. Extracting melodies + lyrics has always been a catharsis for me and the best ma- terial always comes from very low points in my life. Fortunately I live in my studio so the means are always on hand to get an idea down in scratch form or I can go from a fleeting melody or line to a full- blown song tracked and mixed in a matter of a day. This is truly a bless- ing because my thoughts tend to come and go and become quite scattered if I don’t get ideas recorded right away.
Do you have any guitar heroes and what music do you enjoy listening too? Yes. My guitar heroes are Will Sargent
from Echo & The Bunnymen, James Dean Bradfield from the Manics and Robert Smith. Will obviously has a signature style and pedal work that has inspired genera- tions of players – I pull from his layering of guitar parts a lot. Mr Bradfield is so inspiring because he has totally given out-and-out rock’n’roll guitar a classiness and punch in the face that I have yet to see matched, and Robert Smith is the master of simple, evocative melodies.
Tell us about your latest release and what was the inpiration behind it? Die Alone is my five-song EP that I self-
released back in the Fall. It came on the heels of a very dark, cold winter here in NYC. I had been through what could best be called a drought when it came to songwriting and I’m not certain it was to do with lack of passion, but that I was quite focused on other creative endeav- ours. I was immersed in the fashion world funnily enough, doing some high-profile commission work, but as with anything I do creatively I become single-minded and
obsessed with the task at hand. I love de- sign work and I’m quite skilled and crafty with my hands, but music is my passion, heart and soul, so I literally quit every- thing all at once to get back to it. I was also going through some very tough re- curring patterns in my life to do with re- lationships. I reached a crux when I had nowhere else to turn but back to music and it was my saving grace. The isolation I felt as a young girl in Northern Ontario was matched as a woman surrounded by the boundless energy and opportunity that NYC had on offer and I really had to asses the concept of internal happiness vs external sources of distraction or lack there of.
Whats been your best live experience? Live shows are somewhat difficult for
me. I’m not a natural-born performer, I was never in dance or theatre classes or good at public speaking. Me on a stage with my bass or guitar and songs is always a vulnerable but simultaneously powerful place to be. I feel armed with
Check out Jennie Vee online:
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MELANCHOLIC: Jennie Vee (Photos: Catrin Albert Clothing/Never The Bide by Courtney Love)
songs, so there is a layer of protection there. However in-between banter is rare, awkward and pained. I have been known to throw myself around the stage in my version of dance. A great live experience was when Knox from the Vibrators joined me and my old band on stage in London to perform, Baby, Baby, with us.
Where can we see and hear you online? You can check out my EP at bandcamp:
and watch my videos all shot by my creative parter Katrin Albert on my YouTube channel at youtube.com/jennieveemusic
Will you be visiting the UK in the future? Yes. I will be coming back over to the
UK soon. My record will be properly re- leased on 25 Hour Convenience Store over there. It’s Gary Powell from the Libertines’ label and I’m so happy to be working with him, he’s an old mate and wonderful person.
Uniting both sides of a ive decade career CD Reviews
Paul Simon, The Ultimate
Collection A FEW years ago when re- viewing Songwriter the dou- ble CD collection of solo Paul Simon tracks, I made the observation that the tracks You Can Call Me Al and Me & Julio Down By The School- Yard were omitted. This new compilation not only features those tracks but also several greatest hit collaborations cherry-picked from Simon’s collaborative
with Art Garfunkel. Hearing solo hits such as
Graceland and Boy In The Bubble alongside S&G clas- sics The Boxer and Bridge Over Troubled Water certain- ly gives a broad overview of
Simon’s career but not the complete story. If you want several of Si-
mon’s solo and collaborative greatest hits in one place, this is a good place to start however, and a first for at- tempting to bring both sides of the music legends career together on one album.
Various Artists, First La-
dies of Country COUNTRY music. Love it or
hate it theres a chance that at some point you’ve been subject to it by a loved one or a friend. First Ladies of Country Music stamps out any modern day criticism about the lack of females in the music genre. There are 43 examples here showing how the ladies have kept a stronghold on the country music genre since the early 1960s. Patsy Cline’s Crazy had the distinction of chart- ing again some 30 years af- ter the singers tragic death while Dolly Parton’s Jolene and Tammy Wynette’s Stand By Your Man have be- come popular music crosso- ver classics helping to make country music more acces- sible to the masses. This musical history tour brings the genre right up to date including Kelly Clark-
son’s Mr Know It All, Kacey Musgraves Follow Your Ar- row and First Aid Kit’s Mas- ter Pretender. An instant country music collection – which can only be equalled perhaps by a male equivilent? Andy Howells
Evans The Deat, Expect
Delays THIS is a bit of a disappoint- ing record. It’s not bad, it just feels like it could have been so much better. The one thing which stands out is the way the clean vocals are juxtaposed with the dirty noise-rock guitars. It just doesn’t seem to gel as well as it would have if the singer had been really shredding her vocal cords. It doesn’t go far enough the other way ei- ther, a more shoegazey sing-
ing style would also work. The neither-here-nor-there vocals mean this record is simply ok. It could have been great.
Lord Huron, Strange Trails FOLLOWING up Lonesome Dreams was always going to be a tough ask for Lord Huron, Their debut record was a fan- tastic blend of indie-folk and psychedelic rock. At times the new record leans slightly too heavily towards a more poppy sound and something is lost as a result. Songs like Until The Night Turns are a bit too clean. This is a minor fault however, the record as a whole still has enough of what made the first one great without just being a carbon copy. The sound has been played with, but in moderation. Dan Barnes
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