A Charity Album That Goes Way Beyond The Average Call of Duty.
As my Mother used to say, “There’s no such thing as a bad charity.” But, the way the Western World is these days far too many people are depending on Charity and Charities for everything from Cancer Research right through to basic necessities like food.
RT Projects is based in the beautiful Durham City and cares for people in the local area who suffer from Anxiety and Depression using ‘Art To Save Lives’ and baring my own history, how could I not agree to listen to this album that is designed to both raise funds and awareness?
The artistes involved are all from the North of England and all are associated with our friends and Music Promoters LeftFieldDurham aka Down By The River; with some being more famous than others but who have all donated their songs free of charge, as have the acts performing at the Launch Party in Durham City on June 1st.
The first song here, Someday I Won’t Feel So Strange comes from Scott Wainwright’s 2015 album STRANGERS HERE, and features his warmly gruff voice and some really neat slide guitar on a song that builds and builds until it becomes quite Gospellish by the end; and made me realise why he has been causing ripples across the local pond for a few years now.
I’ve not heard of Lee Maddison who immediatly follows with his passionate modern Rootsy Song; Crying In The Wind but; alongside quite a few others here, will certainly check him and his band Maddison’s Thread out in the next few weeks.
That’s the strength of albums like this for me; sometimes I can put music to names I’ve only heard of; such as George Boomsma and his pleasantly brooding Brother of Mine and local Folkstess Natalie Stern with Queen Bee who certainly lives up to the hyperbole that a friend described her with following a recent gig in Newcastle.
Then there are some brand new acts who with only one carefully selected song have managed to not just pique my interest; but in the case of Raghad Haddad and Sam Slatcher’s semi-classical baroque instrumental Under Ancient Skies and later Simon Wood and Tamara Kazziah’s almost choral and hauntingly beautiful lo-fi Gallo Negro…… totally blown me away! Both of these tracks are well worthy of inclusion in some dark and disturbing psychological drama on the TV.
On another day The Violent Chimes (whose combined history goes back to my own heady Punk days!) Post-Teenage Fanclub missive Falling Granite would deserve to be my Favourite Song here; as would the fabulous Thomasina by the legendary Martin Stephenson or, of course Lungs by Gem Andrews; of whom my love has been unrequited for far too many years (Mrs. Magpie knows btw.)
An awful lot of thought has gone into the selection of each song here; with some being more ‘literal’ than others, with Steve Pledger’s very dark and personal Me and the Silence emanating memories of John Martyn circa Solid Air and just about anything from The Lake Poets! Another is the haunting Swallow Song by Peg Prowler; a Folk Band from the People’s Republic of Teesside who have donated an incredibly clever and thoughtful song, that will played out in total silence whenever played in concert; I’m sure.
But, I’m going with two songs by artists I’d not heard of last Saturday but both of whom I intend championing with a loudhailer over the next few weeks.
The Kets are the on/off brainchild of Peterlee song-smith Michael Arnell and his/their song Things is the sort of cool, articulate poppy-Indie Folk I’ve spent a fortune on over the years; yet here is a proud purveyor on my very own doorstep.
T’other is the lusciously constructed Lilac Time by Anne-Marie Sanderson; a classic Folk song that will stop you dead in your tracks; and deserves a bigger audience than I can supply. Over to you at BBC 6 Music and BBC Newcastle!
The title track, written and performed especially for this project by Steve Pledger and artist Beano, will send a shiver down your back as the duo tell of the artist’s own struggle with the darker edges of life; as do many of us ……. sometimes silently.
This song and, indeed this whole album is for them.
Released digitally UK May 5th 2019
Released on CD June 1st 2019.