Archive | February, 2019

Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent – Acts to impress so far

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Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent – Acts to impress so far

Posted on 21 February 2019 by Joe

Once again I’m spending an enjoyable February helping to judge the prestigious Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Competition.


Along with 29 other music writers, my task is to help whittle down 5,500 entries to a 90 strong long list from which eight acts will be chosen to compete in a battle of the bands contest in April.

With a main stage slot and a £5,000 PRS for Music Foundation Talent Development prize up for grabs this is one the best talent competitions around for aspiring artists.

As with previous three years I like to focus on some of the acts that have caught my attention so far during judging and are in contention to earn a chance to appear at the Glastonbury Festival.

Here are some that have grabbed my attention so far:


Laura Goldthorp – Candy Shops

Laura Goldthorp entered the competition as a singer/songwriter and she has nailed it on both counts. Her song Candy Shops is a ready made pop classic, with instant radioplay appeal. Her vocals are superb too with this fine song delivered beautifully in the live clip she submitted. Why is she not already a household name? She very well may be if she makes my final three and can progress all the way to a main stage slot at the Glastonbury Festival.

Roma Palace – Take My Heart Away

I’m a sucker for some funky guitar playing in my pop music, which meant Roma Palace from Brighton instantly made an impression on me. Smart harmonies at the start of this track also impressed.

Saachi – Raw

This London based jazz/pop group’s lead singer Saachi Sen is enfused with the spirit of the late great Laura Nyro. This clip also shows that sometimes clips filmed in a living room can be the most attention grabbing. Their recent single Redcoat is also worth watching.

by Joe Lepper


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Laura Veirs/Sam Amidon – The Bodega, Nottingham (Feb 5, 2019)

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Laura Veirs/Sam Amidon – The Bodega, Nottingham (Feb 5, 2019)

Posted on 09 February 2019 by John Haylock

My first exposure to the music of Laura Veirs was with the very beautiful album Carbon Glacier, which after a quick peep at my copy came out back in 2004 – a remarkable fifteen years ago.

Her stunning latest album The Lookout (2018) is now her tenth long player and her songwriting continues to dazzle. Her incredibly expressive singing voice and ability to pull out gorgeous melodies is as immediately identifiable as ever.

Laura 3

Tonight Veirs, who is from Portland, Oregon, performs solo apart from a number of tracks on which she is more than ably assisted by her support, Sam Amidon. He’s a fellow American now residing in London and incidentally married to Beth Orton (another bloody genius).

To call Veirs’ music pop folk may sound like a disservice but it is most assuredly not. It is both delicate, melodic and infused with a poppiness that is hard to resist.

Sam did a short set highlighting his not meagre talents on guitar, banjo and vocals and then Laura joined him for his last two numbers. He was an integral part of the show as he returned the compliment by accompanying Laura on her final numbers with some subtle violin, which was just awesome.

So with ten albums of material to choose from, Laura dipped and dived into her exquisite body of work starting off with the lead track on The Lookout, Margaret Sands, and veering far and wide, Seven Falls, and a cover of Mountains of the Moon by the Grateful Dead, which brought out the inherent beauty of the song.

Laura 2

She did Song for Judee, a tribute to the late Judee Sill, which appeared on her 2016 collaborative album with Neko Case and K D Lang.

Her set was mesmeric to watch,  with such delicate guitar playing and her crystalline pure voice, especially on July Flame and Thru December. 

I was hoping for Galaxies but sadly it wasn’t to be. But this was more than compensated by her and Sam dueting at the end of the show – it was heavenly. I had waited 15 years to see her, make sure you don’t wait that long.

Words by John Haylock, pictures by Arthur Hughes


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