THIS WEEKEND: Hayley Oliver is our Spotlight UK Artist
Every singer/songwriter or musician has a seminal moment at some time in their lives. You hear or see something that makes you want to pick up an instrument and play. For CLINT BRADLEY it was hearing ‘Marty Robbins’ sing his gun fighter ballads. I have a vivid memory of hearing that sound for the first time, it totally captivated and drew me in. I think I was probably around 9-10 years old. If memory serves me correctly, the first song I learnt the chords to was ‘Running Gun’. I later discovered the Sons of the Pioneers, Gene Autry and others and with each step I took further into the world of Western music the more enchanted I became.
My early attempts to form a band playing authentic Western music fell on stony ground. As I left school the whole ‘New Wave’, ‘Post Punk’ thing was starting to happen. It was around this time that another major influence came into my life, I discovered ‘Rockabilly’. The excitement and energy of early Rockabilly recordings from the likes of Marty Robbins, Johnny Cash, Elvis, Scotty & Bill, Carl Perkins, and others, really hit home. At 15 years old it seemed like a natural outlet for me to for fill my desire to write and play music. The next stage in my career was “THE BLUE CATS”. This became a whole other existence for the next 12 years or so.
After my departure from the band I set out with my acoustic guitar, with no particular plan in mind other than to sing, play, write songs and travel. I discovered the acoustic scene along the way, and began to appreciate a lot more the craft of song writing. Around 1993-1994, I spent some time in the U.S., sitting in with different bands and doing open mic nights at acoustic venues when I got the chance. When I returned to England in 1995 I had a large selection of Western flavoured songs I had written on my travels, so I set about trying to secure a record label in order to record and release them. I signed with M&G (BMG) records in 1996.
By now my Western Ballad influence was really coming to the fore, but the powers that be were not altogether keen on me making an album that was ‘Too Cowboy’ so each step was a compromise. My idea was to make a kind of contemporary Western/folk album, but with the use of very personal and indigenous English based lyrics, and so recorded what I believe to be a timeless record that will one day be seen as such. The album was called ‘THIS HOUR’. Three of the musicians who recorded with me on the album were members of Ian Dury’s Blockheads. However, not long after the album was completed the label ceased to exist. The copies that where pressed and sold have now it would seem, become collector’s items, the original CD selling for ridiculous amounts on Amazon and such.
The whole experience was one of gut wrenching disappointment for me. With the benefit of hindsight, I suppose I should have got straight back on the horse and gone out and started to gig and build things again, but at the time I just wanted to get as far away from all of it as I could. In the meantime a living had to earned, so I began working on soundtracks and commercials.
After some time I began to notice things showing up on the internet. A song from ‘THIS HOUR’ called ‘GUILTY HEART’ had begun to gain some notoriety due a few stations in Europe putting it on their play lists. In 2008 I set up a web site and immediately the emails started flooding in, and how grateful I was to receive them. The confirmation from people all over the place, that the music I had put my whole being into producing was at last being heard and enjoyed. It lifted my spirits from the dark corner in which they had been residing for some time, and I immediately felt the urge to write and play my own materiel again.
I then began working on a collection of songs that have now become the basis of my first ever dedicated Western album ‘RIDING AFTER MIDNIGHT’ released by Finnish record label Bluelight on the 23rd May 2014. Here at long last I’ve done what I’ve wanted to do for so many years and recorded an album of songs in a style that I am truly passionate about. Music and what it does to people spiritually, is a powerful force. All of us are drawn to particular styles and sounds, we can’t explain why, it just is. For many of us the source of our passion can be thousands of miles from where we are born and live. So it is with me, I cannot claim to have lived a life on the prairie or even on the same continent as the artists who have always inspired me. All I have is the passion and the pure belief in the music......
Links to the country music world
Visit The Wall
WONDERFUL TONIGHT - Curt Shoemaker NEW
A 12-track instrumental album from Kansas steel guitar player Curt Shoemaker. Includes the self-penned "Amaris" and a cover of The Shadows' 60s hit "Apache"
Buy it now for £11.99
TIMELESS - Malcolm Jagger NEW
A 15-track instrumental album from Yorkshire-based Malcolm, who plays just about every stringed instrument. Includes "Blue Moon", "Irish American" and the self-penned tracks "The Croppers Dance" and "Slide Dogas".
Buy it now for £6.00
THIS AIN'T RENO - Grand Prairie NEW
The 2013 release from the 6-piece country rock band features 12 tracks, nine of them written by lead singer Rob Wilson with the album's producer Steve Elson. Includes "A Little Bit Of Nice Boy", "Chuffin' Through The Tunnel Of Love", "Tomorrow I Will Go", "I Can't Wait 'Til Monday", "Lost 'n' Gone" and "This Is What I Get For Lovin' You".
Buy it now for £9.99