Si Clancy – That’s All

A couple of weeks ago now, I went along to a session organised by BBC Introducing in the East Midlands. I wrote a bit about it here. At the event, I bumped into Si Clancy. We’d talked briefly before at a party before Christmas. But, I was incredibly drunk at that party and I doubt that our conversation made much sense. 

Before Christmas, Si was talking enthusiastically about his album/EP that he’d spent a considerable amount of time and money recording. It was clear that this was a project that was a labour of love, something that Si simply had to do. Evidently, once released this was going to have quality stamped all over it – recorded at Yellowbean (a studio that I’m told is the best in the East Midlands and one that can compete with those in London), produced by Jez Burns (the best local producer if you’re looking for attention to detail), partly orchestrated by the wonderful Martha Bean and then mastered at Abbey Road, this was a project unlikely to fail.

At the BBC introducing event, Si gave me a copy of ‘That’s All’ in advance of the official launch this Thursday at the Musician. I’ve been listening to it on and off in my car on the drive to work ever since.

There’s six polished, exceptionally well-produced tracks on ‘That’s All’. I’m not sure whether six tracks makes this an EP or an album but I guess such detail doesn’t matter. At his core, Si Clancy is a singer songwriter that will appeal to those women (and men probably) who listen to Radio 2. He has a voice that I’d place somewhere between James Blunt’s and Passenger and a songwriting style that takes a leaf or two out of Tom Baxter’s songbook. What sets this apart from many singer/songwriters on the scene at the moment are the string arrangements  and orchestration within. Starting gently, each song adds layers onto layers, detail onto simple starts which makes for an engaging listen. The exquisite voice of Martha Bean adds texture and depth to the tracks completing a beautiful concoction.

These songs mainly focus on loss. Si is in a place of anguish and he wants us to know about it. Whether it’s alone in his  bedroom, lights out and making calls to a partner who’s not answering (as he is in the EP opener ‘What would you know’) or repeating patterns of behaviour that he knows are ultimately futile (in ‘Old Abandoned Feeling’), here’s a man on the edge of making some life changing decisions if he could just muster the confidence to do so. It’s only in stand out track, ‘Breathe In, Breathe Out’, that Si grabs the bull by the horns, takes a deep breath and says that the ‘doubt is no longer going to kill him’. He mans up and throws his troubles away. Martha sings like an angel which can only help that decision making process.

Already getting considerable airplay from Dean Jackson at BBC Introducing, Si has created something here which will have a mass appeal. The indie kids, rock chicks and dance fanatics are likely to walk on by but those who are able to appreciate the beauty of things will surely stay a while and spend time testing all that’s ‘That’s All’.

 

 

If you’re Leicester based, you could do worse than take a trip down to the Musician for the launch on Thursday. For a fiver, you not only get Si but also Martha Bean, Joel Evans, Adam Dunmore, Thomas William Shephard and a new acoustic group called ‘Thawn’. 

 

 

Dean Jackson and Kevin Hewick

Dean Jackson is a fine man. For years now, he’s been a man to influence if you’re an act from the East Midlands. Dean is the presenter of The Beat, a show that goes out across the BBC local radio network in Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire. Between 8 and 10 every Saturday evening, Dean and his team feature the very best unsigned music in the region via BBC Introducing.

Kevin Hewick is a fine man. For years now, he has been an influential and yet largely unrecognised talent on the local Leicester music scene. Spend five minutes in Kevin’s company and he’ll entertain you with one of his many rock n’roll tales. Kevin was once signed to Factory records. He was very nearly the man to replace Ian Curtis as lead vocalist in Joy Division. I reviewed one of Kevin’s recent Leicester shows here

Tonight, at the BBC radio studios in Leicester, Dean Jackson briefed a gaggle of interested Leicester musicians on the processes behind BBC Introducing. In an informative session, Dean and his team told all those present how they could maximise their chances of getting airplay. If you’ve got a song with a short intro that lasts no more than four minutes and if you can convey emotion whilst singing in tune you could well be onto a winner. Clearly, there’s more to it than that and there are always exceptions. 

On Kevin Hewick’s latest album, the excellent ‘Heat Of Molten Diamonds’, there are tracks that are 13 minutes in length. Kevin was listening to Dean tonight. He asked some questions and made some comments when given the opportunity to do so. Kevin’s point (I think) was that some of the rules laid down by BBC Introducing (there are always exceptions) make it harder now than it ever was to get an audience for your recordings. This wasn’t the way it was for Can. Kevin then told all how Lauren Laverne told him to ‘bog off‘ on Twitter when he complained about her playing ‘that Daft Punk tune about Giorgio Moroder that’s 9 minutes in length.’

Despite some of these differences in opinion, you could tell that both men have a healthy respect for each other. I wish I’d written the phrase down but Kevin said something like, ‘You’re a good man within an evil empire‘ about Dean. And you got a sense that, if BBC rules allowed, Dean would love to play Kevin’s 13 minute opus on a Saturday evening. It’s certainly true that both are good for the East Midlands music scene.

Here’s a track from Kevin’s latest album. If you’ve not got a copy, it can be purchased from his website. It’s worth adding to your collection.

 

 

And here’s the excellent video of the same tune.