Blog

Scott Edwards Crowdfunds New Record

Scott Edwards is launching a crowdfunding campaign for his new record, Without Being Where We Are Now, We Can’t Be There.

Having released his debut single, “Where the People Smile”, earlier this year, Scott is back with a new 5-track EP that builds on his increasing live reputation for writing catchy, feel-good melodies over upbeat and cheerful arrangements, influenced by the likes of Oasis and Stereophonics.

Working again with producer Daniel J. Logan, the pair are planning on taking over Orchard Studios in Cheshire later in the year to record the new material. Bringing together the same band as on the debut single (plus some extra Oak Tree Music session players), this new release is set to sound as airy, open and toe-tapping as “Where the People Smile”. Look out in particular for “We’ll Catch the Sun”, one of our favourites of Scott’s new tracks, which goes down a storm at gigs!

Scott’s gig listing is ever increasing and, as his music starts to penetrate the scene, he is asking for his new-found fans to help in the making of the new recordings. Click here to access his crowdfunding site, where from as little as a few pounds, you can help Scott gather together what he needs to bring his songs to life. The campaign lasts for 60 days, with Scott hoping to start recording in the autumn.

To book Scott and get a taste of his new EP, click here!

Chris Howarth Releasing New Music

Oak Tree Music artist Chris Howarth’s fourth record, Another Northern Day, is out today!

Produced by Daniel J. Logan, this latest offering continues Chris’ trend of catchy hooks and engaging lyrics, with fellow Oak Tree Music performer Lara Simpson’s violin providing stand-out moments in the tracks ‘Worlds Collide’ and ‘How It Ends’.

Lara is not our only session player to feature on this record – Guitarist Jon Fellowes, drummer Daniel J. Logan and singer Laura-Jane Boardman are also performing!

There’s a wide collection of styles throughout the EP, all linked together by the imagery in Chris’ lyrics and Laura-Jane’s sublime backing vocals. From the gentle and contemplative ‘Burning Bridges’ to the rocking ‘Fragile’ via ‘Another Northern Town’, which, according to producer Dan, “was inspired by the synth sounds of the 80s, although we made our sound using electric violin”.

Chris’ new record also features the track ‘Soldier of the Queen’ (previously released as a single), which was written about the hardships of life for returning British soldiers and received extremely well upon its original release, with proceeds from sales going to the Armed Forces charity SSAFA.

This EP is the first of Chris’ to have been recorded at the newly rebuilt Orchard Studios in Cheshire. Having completed his first three records in the original studio complex, Chris told us that “the experience in the new studios was even better – Everything about the place is top notch”.

Another Northern Day is now available on Spotify.

To get in touch and book Chris for live performances, click here!

Vicky Thornton’s Musical Moments

Oak Tree Music’s Vicky Thornton is not only a superb session singer but also the proud franchisee of Musical Moments Stoke, Crewe & Nantwich – an organisation dedicated to delivering inclusive music therapy-based sessions in care homes and community groups. We asked Vicky to tell us more about her work and the powerful effects of music on elderly and memory-impaired audiences…

“Musical Moments was established in the North West in 2011 and provides award-winning, interactive music sessions in care and community settings for the elderly and people with additional needs.

We specialise in working with people who live with dementia and we find that this particular group of people responds incredibly well to our music sessions. The model was franchised at the end of 2017 and we now have twelve Musical Moments franchises operating across the UK. I am the proud owner of Musical Moments Stoke, Crewe & Nantwich and I’m also one of the original team members from before the franchise network was established.

Our sessions are carefully planned to comprise of therapeutic and stimulating activities that enhance cognitive and communicative skills amongst participants. All activities are set to a mix of live and recorded music from the 1940s to the present day, and also provide the opportunity for individuals to get involved with music-making themselves. Activities are singing-based and use a range of props, instruments and gentle seated exercises for a multi-sensory experience. These musical activities encourage participants to reminisce, converse and communicate with each other, unlocking long-lost memories and experiences, which miraculously seem to be refreshed when a certain song is played. At times, we also work one-to-one with people who are on end-of-life care or who are unable to join in group sessions due to poor health.

It’s such a rewarding job to see the joy on someone’s face when they remember the words to a song they’ve not heard for decades. To see a relative shed a tear at the surprise of their loved one’s alertness and ability to interact musically. For some participants – in the later stages of dementia in particular – the ability to communicate verbally becomes greatly impaired. Our music sessions help to break down this communication barrier and we often find that participants begin to talk or find creative ways of conversing during the session – copying rhythmic patterns on percussion instruments, for example.

Music certainly is the way forward when it comes to promoting our mental and physical well-being, regardless of age or ability.”

Lara Simpson Gigging on Board the Carnival Conquest

Oak Tree Music’s violin supremo Lara Simpson is currently on a 6-month tour around the Caribbean, playing on board the Carnival Conquest. We asked her to describe her time there so far (and we weren’t jealous at all)…

“Being a cruise ship musician is a weird and wonderful existence! We’ve been here for 7 weeks now and it finally feels like normal life for us (even though we know it’s far from it).

After spending a few weeks at Carnival Studios in Fort Lauderdale rehearsing every day, we signed on as the new electric string trio on the Carnival Conquest on the 30th March. We had a day of meetings and enrolments before being told we had half an hour to navigate ourselves around this giant floating maze to find our instruments, our luggage, our cabins, get ready and make it to soundcheck. We didn’t even know front from back, right from left, up from down. It was crazy but we made it, probably looking like startled rabbits in the headlights on stage, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, I guess!

Since then, everything has become progressively easier. On average, we play 3 sets a day, occasionally 4, which are either 45 minutes or an hour long. We play about half our music with backing tracks and half without. It’s a mixture of pop, rock, jazz and film.

It was an adjustment getting used to gigging every day, as back home I’d usually have 2 or 3 gigs a week, but it’s become normal so quickly! We don’t start until around 4pm, which means we are allowed to get off and explore the ports whenever we have the chance, as long as we don’t get lost in the backstreets of the island somewhere and join a cult or miss our gig.

So far, we have been to lots of places: Grand Turk, San Juan, Half Moon Cay, St. Maarten, Curaçao, Aruba, Nassau and Amber Cove! Sunbathing prizes go to Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay. Coolest and most colourful architecture goes to Curaçao and San Juan. Most exciting was St. Maarten, as we saw a plane beach, where the planes land a few metres above your head! We changed home ports to Miami recently, so now get to see lots of new places, such as Mexico and Jamaica. 

The music is going well. Our audience in the daytime is mainly elderly couples and families. We tend to play jazz, easy listening and tangos for them to ballroom dance to, which is lovely. As the sets get later, the audience gets younger and the drinks start flowing, so we tend to play more pop and rock with backing tracks. The biggest hits of the cruise have been The Devil Goes Down to Georgia (someone actually threw their shoe on stage in excitement when we first played it) and rock music in general – People love AC/DC on violins!

Working out how to use the desk has been a challenge, as there’s only one sound technician on the entire ship, who has a function band, horn trio, theatre show, Latin duo and Caribbean soloist to attend to, as well as us! We were pretty much left to our own devices, but it was a learning curve. We still get the balance slightly wrong sometimes, but we will get there by September! We are continuing to arrange new songs and do tiny miniature cabin rehearsals, so we can add new music to the set, as playing the same music for 5 months would numb the brain slightly.

I’m constantly amazed at the beautiful sunsets and the views of the open ocean every time I walk around the ship. We always remind ourselves how lucky we are to do this crazy job and play music for a living every day. I’ve met some hilarious and lovely friends, who I’m very happy to be spending the remaining 4 months on this crazy, isolated, floating hotel with (come back and ask me how I feel in August and you might get a different story). Fingers crossed we make it to September!”

Anna Silvers Recording Live in Wolverhampton

Oak Tree Music artist Anna Silvers was recently invited to the University of Wolverhampton to film a live performance for a group of media students. Joined by bass and cajon player Cameron Williams and pianist David Griffiths, Anna recorded three of her original songs ‘as live’. The project was organised by Sophia Sands, who has been following Anna’s music career closely for some time.

The session is soon to be followed by another live video, this time recording Anna’s track “Through the Years” for Telford College, where she will be joined by fellow Oak Tree Music performer Daniel J. Logan on drums.

Daniel J. Logan’s Brand New Aston Stealth

Daniel J. Logan has taken possession of the brand new Stealth from Aston Microphones.

Recruited as one of 92 top engineers, producers and artists from around the world, Dan helped develop the new microphone in 2018. Released this year, the Aston Stealth has been a huge success already, with many hundreds of units shipping across the globe.

This is the second time that Dan has worked with Aston, having contributed to the development of the Starlight microphone in 2017. The new Stealth has already found itself recording on Dan’s latest sessions and looks set to stay part of his sound from now on.

To hear the Aston Stealth on your project and book Dan to record drums or percussion, either remotely or at Orchard Studios in Cheshire, click here!

Upcoming Performances

Come and see our fantastic musicians live at the following venues and events:

30 March 2019Chris Howarth – Congleton Town Centre

31 March 2019Anna SilversWrekin Inn, Wellington

6 April 2019Chris Howarth – ‘Respect the Artist’ at LMRCA Railway Club, Altrincham

13 April 2019Chris HowarthThe Nag’s Head, Wrexham

13 April 2019Scott EdwardsSandbach Transport Festival

22 April 2019 Daniel J. Logan – With Rickety Wireless at Nantwich Jazz, Blues & Music Festival

22 and 23 June 2019Chris HowarthKnutsford Music Festival

29 June 2019Anna SilversThe Beacon, Wellington