Saturday, 30 March 2013

Josh Rouse at The Lock Tavern, London - 26/03/13

Last Tuesday, Josh Rouse played an intimate solo acoustic gig at The Lock Tavern in Camden, London.  The free admission show, which had only been announced two days earlier, was an unexpected treat for fans like myself, who are eagerly awaiting Josh's UK tour at the end of May.  On arrival at The Lock Tavern, I was surprised but thrilled at how small the setting was - this wasn't like the venues I was used to seeing Rouse in, instead it was a cosy upstairs room in a pub, packed full of people enjoying their drinks and looking forward to an evening of live music.

The performance coincided nicely with last week's release of his tenth studio album The Happiness Waltz, with Josh explaining he was in the UK for the week doing promo for the album which led to this last minute gig.  He then proceeded with the hour long set, which included a healthy balance of material from the new release, along with much loved classics from previous albums.

Josh opened the set with the upbeat and super catchy 'A Lot Like Magic', followed by 'Julie (Come Out Of The Rain)', 'The Ocean' and 'The Happiness Waltz'. These new songs, accompanied by Josh's sublime vocals sounded fantastic in an acoustic setting and I look forward to hearing them played live with a full band in May.  Much to the delight of the crowd, Josh took requests for a fair majority of the show which resulted in a wide range of tracks being played from earlier albums, the most notable of which being 'Dressed Up Like Nebraska' (from the album of the same name), which was a highlight of the gig.  My favourite songs of the evening were 'It's The Nighttime, 'Winter In The Hamptons' and 'Sad Eyes' from Nashville, though other key moments included 'The Western Isles' and '1972'.

Overall, the amazing experience of seeing one of my favourite musicians in such an intimate and relaxed setting, combined with a brilliant setlist, made this unexpected performance one of the most memorable gigs I've been to in a long while.  I hope Josh plays more shows like this in the future.

Monday, 25 March 2013

The Perfect Cover

Josh Rouse's delicate cover of 'The Perfect Girl' couldn't be in further contrast to The Cure's original version of the song.  With soft piano and a relaxed tempo that finely compliment Rouse's signature smooth vocals, the overall result is a beautifully unique, yet classic cover of a great track.  This version appears on Rouse's Singles, Covers And Demos Collection Vol. 1, that is available to download from the Bedroom Classics Closet Archives page on his website.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Track of the Day: For Lovers - Wolfman (featuring Peter Doherty)

"I'm running away with you / That's all I ever do" sings Peter Doherty on 'For Lovers', a song that is lyrically uncomplicated, yet beautifully sentimental.  The instrumentation is also simple but effective, with a piano arrangement that adds depth and a further poignancy to the track's lyrics.  Doherty's lingering vocals effortlessly deliver lines of "Meet me at the railroad bar / About 7 o'clock / We joke while the sun goes down / Watch the lovers / Leaving town", that progress into a soulful chorus backed by drums and guitar.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Unsigned You

Unsigned You is a website that draws recognition to independent music by allowing unsigned artists and bands to come together in one place to post music, videos and other music related media.  The networking site is a highly useful tool, as it gives members the opportunity to promote their music and get connected to other like-minded musicians.  In addition to users being able to upload music, videos and photos, Unsigned You also features a live newsfeed, forum, blog, and an events page.

This week saw the launch of the site's newest feature, Unsigned You PRO, which provides unsigned musicians with a platform to promote and sell their music, gig tickets and merchandise online. Unsigned You PRO supports unsigned artists and bands through powerful social media campaigns and showcase gigs, while also providing them with an artist and band development programme, specialising in everything from original songwriting to bespoke album art design, CD production and distribution.

Unsigned You is an ever growing community that succeeds in bringing wider focus to all the fantastic unsigned artists and bands out there, while at the same time allowing users the opportunity to connect and network with each other.  I caught up with founder Jacob Anthony to find out more about Unsigned You, and how it's supporting unsigned musicians.

Hi Jacob, what inspired you to create Unsigned You?
Jacob:  Stephanie, that's a great question. Being a singer as well as an internet marketer, I get to hang out with lots of other musicians who are always telling me how they want to get more gigs and sell their music.  In fact, one day I was talking to a really good friend of mine who's an awesome singer.  He was really frustrated that everyone who heard him sing, including me, was telling him he was great and that he should go out and perform at his own gigs.  He was frustrated because he didn't know how to get gigs and he was scared that nobody would come to his gigs as he wasn't well known.  So we discussed how I could help him get more exposure, more gigs and therefore sell his music to a growing fanbase. We also discussed how having a website, a social media campaign and video marketing campaign could really help him raise his profile.  We chatted some more and it dawned on me that most unsigned musicians and bands would benefit from this sort of help.  When I looked at the resources that were already out there, such as Reverbnation, CDBaby and Bandcamp, I realised they were all great in their own way but there was still something missing.  None of them offered all of the marketing elements that a band or artist would need. They all still required the bands or artists themselves to do much of the marketing legwork of getting fans to their profile pages.  To me, it made much more sense to allow the bands or artists to concentrate on creating the music, whilst we concentrate on marketing it for them, because I've always been taught to concentrate on what you're good at.

So, you're a musician yourself?
Jacob:  Yes, I'm a soul singer that also helps to run a choir.

What music are you currently listening to?
Jacob:  I have a very eclectic taste and can go from Eric Clapton to local South Wales bands like Clear The Auditorium in about 60 seconds!

The way we listen to music has changed drastically over the last decade or so.  What are your thoughts on the rise of digital music and the affect it has had on unsigned artists and bands?
Jacob:  I think digital music has had a very positive affect on unsigned artists and bands because it allows them, if used effectively, to reach more fans and create a deeper bond with them.  The fact that we can now download and consume music everywhere we go, means that we can now use it to motivate us whilst we are out running, wake us up whilst we travel on the bus to work, or search for and play any track we want at a party.  It also means that fans are now free to purchase the music they want as opposed to what's just available to buy from record labels. Therefore, making the record labels sit up and take notice of bands and artists that the fans are choosing to listen to.

Your site is not only a great way of drawing recognition to unsigned artists and bands, but it is also a useful tool for connecting and networking musicians. Would you consider hosting meet ups or even a music festival in the future?
Jacob:  That's a great question too!  In fact, one of our aims is to set up a nationwide network of music industry networking groups which will meet up on a fortnightly basis.  From this, we then hope to build an annual festival specifically for unsigned artists. 

Thank you, Jacob!

To find out more about Unsigned You, please visit