Joe Topping ‘Does a Turn’ on The Voice

Joe Topping on The Voice

Like many musicians in 2020, Joe Topping found himself with more time on his hands than usual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Again, like quite a few of his peers, he took the opportunity to finally start teaching himself how to record and make videos at home to post online. However, what doesn’t happen quite so much is getting a call from a researcher at ITV suggesting he audition for their prime time talent show…

“Applying for The Voice is not something I ever thought I’d do, but seeing as I had no work, I figured I’d give it a go, not thinking I’d ever actually make it to the TV show,” says Joe. However, three auditions later (two by Zoom and one in London between lockdowns), he found himself playing to the back of four chairs sat on by Olly Murs, Sir Tom Jones, Anne-Marie and will.i.am!

One extra bonus for Joe was the opportunity to play with a live band for the first time since the start of the pandemic, although he has been in the studio recording with Daniel J. Logan and played a couple of Christmas gigs with Lara Simpson that Oak Tree Music organised for him.

“Rehearsing and playing with the live band has been a treat … and they are of course top class musicians.”

As you’d expect, this series of The Voice isn’t immune to coronavirus restrictions, and so the audition was a little different, with Joe performing in a big, empty TV studio without an audience. Although this was a little nerve-wracking, the production team were brilliant at preparing him for it. “Everyone who works on the show is so nice and genuinely seems to want you to do well,” says Joe.

And it seems Joe’s performance was very well prepared too, as he impressed Olly Murs enough for him to turn his chair and have him on his team! Being able to celebrate this success with his wife and kids, who were backstage in the studio, was a particular highlight for Joe!

The next stop is the battle rounds, where he’ll be pitted against another of the singers on Olly’s team. We at Oak Tree Music wish him the best of luck and send good vibes! 🤞

Find out more about Joe here.

Watch Joe’s blind audition below.

Anna Silvers and Daniel J. Logan Go Boating

The Narrowboat Sessions – videos of acoustic performers playing original music on board a narrowboat that travels up and down the country, raising money for Cancer Research – have attracted quite a cult status over the last five years.

It’s a simple premise. Mark Holdsworth records the performances (sometimes solo, occasionally up to as many as seven musicians) on his boat, the Cariad IV, and releases the footage on YouTube and his website.

The Narrowboat Sessions have proven extremely popular and many hundreds of recordings have taken place since 2014 when Mark launched the project. Joining the ever-increasing list of performers, which includes the likes of Henry Priestman (The Christians), Nick Harper and Rob Vincent, Oak Tree Music artist Anna Silvers took to the water and recorded three songs alongside percussionist Daniel J. Logan and bassist Cameron Williams.

“Mark is fantastic and has a great platform to promote singer-songwriters like myself. The canal is a beautiful setting and it was a wonderful experience,” says Anna. The first of her videos, “Get Lost (Without You)”, will go online in mid-October, with the other two following over the coming months to help kickstart the crowdfunding campaign for Anna’s debut album, which will launch at the beginning of next year.

This is not, however, where the narrowboat story ends. In 2015, Mark enlisted the help of Daniel J. Logan to mix some of 2014’s recordings (pulled out of a hat at random) into an album. The result, a 2-CD box set, was picked up by BBC Radio’s Genevieve Tudor and played across several regional stations. This began a snowball effect that has helped make the Narrowboat Sessions a major part of the UK folk and acoustic music scene.

Songs from the subsequent albums (2015 and 2016) have been played out on BBC Radio 2 and continue to garner attention from other media outlets. “I’m amazed at the reaction we get from the albums,” says Dan, who mixes Mark’s multi-track boat recordings at Orchard Studios in Cheshire. “I always enjoy working on those releases, as I get to hear some fantastic music that I may otherwise have missed,” he adds.

Mark is continuing to record this year’s sessions, live on the boat, and will be setting sail once again next year. Click here to see the latest videos and visit Mark’s website to find out more about the Narrowboat Sessions.

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