Music

Sixtyplusurfers Competition

 Win ‘Simple Thing’
by Justine Balmer

Justine Balmer - Simple Thing

As the ink dries on a fresh deal with Right Track Records / Universal, contemporary crossover soprano, Justine Balmer, announces the release of her outstanding classical/pop-opera debut album, ‘Simple Thing’, released on 7th June. To celebrate the new album, Sixtyplusurfers has three signed copies to giveaway.

Masterfully creating breath-taking twists on pop and classical hits, Justine Balmer’s angelic vocals and compelling production deliver the ultimate classical album for the crossover market. 

Justine Balmer

If Justine’s voice isn’t yet familiar, her face certainly will be, as she’s been a guest presenter on shopping channels QVC and Ideal World for the past 11 years.  When it’s the simple things in life that make the greatest difference, then it’s the simple things that we should embrace with the most relish.

Deliciously eclectic, ‘Simple Thing’, magically spins Justine Balmer’s pipe-dream into a sumptuous melodic reality.  A culmination of 5-years of production, reveal a perfectly balanced, hand-picked collection of classical, pop and rock songs, which resonate with experiences and emotions from Justine’s life. 

Justine Balmer

Although the selection of songs is wonderfully diverse, as a collection, the tracks are individually shrink-wrapped with Justine’s uniquely fresh classical twist, to create the ultimate crossover album.  The classical songs on the album were chosen for their sheer beauty, and are tracks which Justine saw (through her own live performances), as having the ability to ‘move’ the listener. ‘

Ave Maria’ was selected purely for its ability to move Justine to tears, whilst ‘Pie Jesu’ and ‘In Trutina’ simply fill Justine with complete joy.  However, Justine was adamant that this classical album would have the crystalline clarity and impact of a pop album, which determined the contemporary production and pop song choice.

As a result, this diverse collection includes The Keane song, ‘Somewhere Only We Know’, Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’ (a duet with Classical BRIT Award Winners ‘Blake’), Kylie’s ‘Confide In Me’.

Justine’s favourite song on the album is Aerosmith’s ‘I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing’, a track which nobody has ever recorded in Italian (and which comes with Justine’s entertaining story of how the track was translated by an Italian magician on a cruise ship). 

Justine Balmer

Although wildly diverse and wide-ranging in its song choice, over 60% of the playing time of ‘Simple Thing’ is classical; making this a truly crossover classical album.

Justine Balmer’s debut album, ‘Simple Thing’ is released on Right Track Records / Universal on 7th June.

Listen to Justine Balmer sing ‘Fix You’ by Coldplay featuring BLAKE

Click on arrow to watch

For further information about Justine Balmer and social media click on: 

www.justinebalmer.com
www.twitter.com/JustineBalmer

www.facebook.com/JustineBalmer
www.instagram.com/justine_balmer

For Your Chance to Win

Tell us the name of Justine Balmer’s new album?

  a) Sweet Thing
  b) Simple Thing
  c) Beautiful Thoughts
  d) Simply Sensational

To Enter the Competition

Tell us the name of Justine Balmer’s new album? Then send in your answer together with your name, address and telephone number to the Sixtyplusurfers email address as shown below:

sixtypluscomp@hotmail.co.uk

  * Please label your entry
   Justine Balmer Competition

* This competition is open to
our UK readers only

* Names and addresses of entrants will not be shared by third parties and will be deleted after the competition has closed

Sarah Darling Single

Sarah Darling releases ‘A Little Bit Of Rain’

Sarah Darling 'A Little Bit Of Rain'

Nashville-based country singer-songwriter Sarah Darling releases her new single, ‘A Little Bit Of Rain’. The single is taken from her highly anticipated 5th studio album ‘Wonderland’, due for release on June 7th 2019, and precedes a run of UK dates starting mid-July (full list below).

‘A Little Bit Of Rain’ is one of the more ‘classic’ country track appearing on ‘Wonderland’ with its soft acoustic opening and soaring lap steel. It was written with dear friend of Sarah’s, country singer Jenn Bostic, and Nashville songwriter Michael Logen (Kelly Clarkson, Jonny Lang, Paul Carrack).

Sarah Darling

Sarah describes the lyrics as “My country cautionary tale. This is the type of song that makes me so drawn to what country music represents. It’s so honest and true. This is what could be if something got a little too out of control and has so many life lessons run through it.”

Sarah’s upcoming album ‘Wonderland’ was recorded in the UK, Sarah’s second home, as Sarah turned to a rich pool of acclaimed British songwriters/producers – Matthew Benbrook (Lana Del Ray, Paolo Nutini), Seton Daunt (Kylie Minogue, Gabrielle Aplin), Jonny Lattimer (Nina Nesbitt, Sam Smith), Ash Howes (Kylie, Gabriella Aplin), Pete Hammerton (Little Mix, The Shires), MyRiot (London Grammar), Shelly Poole (Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Jack Savoretti) and Jessica Sharman (Ward Thomas) – to create an album which builds on her acclaimed country routes, whilst embracing the pop sensibility that Britain is globally famous for.

“The whole concept of ‘Wonderland’ was to explore a brand new world artistically and to stretch my boundaries as a writer and performer. I would walk into a co-writing session having never met the person before and leave feeling inspired. It’s a true reflection of me and the current ride I’m on, which is incredibly exciting. Music is about connection and I’m so proud to share this trans-Atlantic collaboration. It’s the greatest adventure of my life to date!”

Already a musical mainstay in Nashville, Sarah laid the early foundations of the record in the US with producer Mark Bright (Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban). Relocating to London in 2018 Sarah spent most of the year co-writing and recording “I hope everyone gets to experience the magic I experienced whilst recording the record. I never imagined in a million years that I’d be recording an album in London one minute, and in the middle of the Welsh countryside the next!”

Sarah Darling 2019 UK Dates

Sarah Darling

Sat 13th July – FSA Festival, Nottingham
Sat 27th July – Nashville Meets London
Sun 4th August – Cambridge Folk Festival
Fri 13th September – British Country Music Festival, Blackpool

For details visit www.sarahdarling.com

Kiki Dee 3 CD Set & Gold Vinyl

Kiki Dee Gold

Kiki Dee Gold

Kiki Dee, the first female singer from the UK to be signed with Motown Tamla Records and best known for her hits I’ve Got The Music In Me and Don’t Go Breaking My Heart with Elton John, has been given the Gold treatment by the Demon Music Group with the release of a 3CD set featuring 45 tracks and an LP pressed on Gold Vinyl which includes 12 tracks.

Still performing to this day as Kiki Dee and Carmelo Luggeri, Kiki Dee originally hails from Bradford in West Yorkshire. Kiki’s musical career began in the early 1960s as a backing singer for the likes of Dusty Springfield but it was only after signing with Elton John’s The Rocket Record Company that she began to have solo hits – the first of which was Amoreuse in 1973, followed by I’ve Got The Music In Me. 

But it was in 1976 that she had her biggest hit – a duet with Elton John – Don’t Go Breaking My Heart which topped the charts in the UK and USA – remaining in the number one slot in the UK for 6 weeks and selling in excess of one million units.

In addition to her burgeoning career she could sometimes be heard singing backing vocals on tracks such as Elton John’s All The Girls Love Alice and Yellow Brick Road.  A quiet period in the late seventies ensued but Kiki Dee launched a comeback in 1981 releasing one of her biggest hits – Star.  She teamed up with Elton John again for a cover of the Four Tops’ song Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever.  

In 1985 she performed live with Elton John again at Live Aid for a performance of Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.

Kiki regularly works with Carmelo Luggeri doing live shows and the duo have released three albums to date. In addition to her music work she has also starred in the West End in Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers receiving an Olivier nomination for Best Actress. 

For details click Amazon

Sixtyplusurfers Interview

Emma Stevens

Emma Stevens

Interview by Jenny Itzcovitz

Emma Stevens is releasing a stunning new single, ‘Because It’s You’ alongside a mini album, ‘Atoms’ on 7th June on Bright Star Records. We caught up with Emma to find out more about her music, her collaboration with Kevin Jeremiah of The Feeling, and her current Atoms Live UK Tour.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself, where you come from, and when you first started singing?

“I’m from Guildford. I first picked up an instrument at the age of two and my parents knew from that moment music would be my life.”

I understand your parents sent you to cello and guitar lessons from the age of six. How did this training help you in your career?

Emma Stevens

“I was given cello and piano lessons from the age of six, and did my grades classically through the Royal Academy. It gave me a much deeper knowledge of harmony, and conditioned my motor skills so picking up new instruments after that was a lot easier.”

You later went on to join the Surrey Youth Orchestra? What did you learn from this experience? And what did you enjoy most about it?

“I adored my time playing in an orchestra. It was wonderful to be a part of something with likeminded musicians of my age, all working together to reach the same goal.

“I learnt about discipline and how space in music is so important, the ability to connect with other musicians and see how different parts come together to create one big piece of music was so beneficial to me at that age. I’m ever grateful to my amazing father for taking me to all my various music lessons!”

How would you describe your music and your style?

Emma Stevens

“Songs of heartache, hope and humanity, uplifting and joyful.”

How do you tend to write a song? Do you have a typical process? Or is it different for each song? 

“It’s very different for each song depending on who I’m writing with. Sometimes I’ll come up with a melody and a chord progression, other times I’ll have an idea or a concept. Other times it can come from just having a cool title!”

Your fabulous single ‘A Place Called You’ was featured in a Chinese TV programme resulting in over 500 million streams of the track. Can you tell us how you wrote this song and your inspiration?

“I’d just managed to get my hands on a ukulele, and the whistle part just came out of me! The song was written with a good friend of mine, Pete Woodroffe. We had a lot of fun writing it and I loved coming up with musical parts that were fun. 

“Sometimes watching romance films can be inspiring and I think I’ve had my fill of reading Nicholas Sparks novels now! They find their way into my songs quite a lot!”

What did it mean to you when it became so popular?

Emma Stevens

“It’s really lovely just to know that my music connects with people. To have the ability to do that as an artist is all I could ever wish for.”

You have teamed up with Kevin Jeremiah of The Feeling for the release of your new single ‘Because It’s You’. How did you first meet Kevin, and then put the song together?

“We met playing at Carfest through Chris Evans. We got on well and I have always been a big fan of his band! I asked if he’d ever be up for co-writing and the rest is history!”

What was it like to work with Kevin? And what does he bring to your music?

“Kevin is immensely talented. Along with being multi-talented he has so much patience which is great when you’re working in the studio together.”

It must be an exciting time for you with the release of your 5-track mini-album, ‘Atoms’. Can you tell us how you recorded the album, and the mood and feeling you were looking to convey?

Atoms by Emma Stevens

“I had been working on some songs at home and recorded them with my other half Sam Rommer, who also plays for me on tour. Then I collaborated with Kevin and just found that I’d written a collection of songs which I was really happy with and felt they had a similar theme.

“I’m most proud of Atoms which I co-wrote with Charlie Midnight and is the title track. It’s about hope, love, loss and humanity.”

You are about to embark on a UK tour. Can you tell us what you are most looking forward to? And what audiences can expect?

“I’m most looking forward to meeting my amazing fans again who have been so incredible to me over the years. I will be touring as a three piece with Sam Rommer and Sam Whiting and you can expect stripped back versions of my songs, with a lot of love and heart.”

You look stunning. Who designs your costumes? And looks after your hair and makeup?

Emma Stevens

“That’s so kind of you to say! I’ve always really enjoyed putting together clothes, and fell in love with a brand called Needle and Thread a couple of years back. They’re not cheap but once in a blue moon it’s nice to spoil yourself!

“I have a few makeup artists I use for my photo shoots and live shots, but it’s about finding someone you trust and working with your own style. One style of makeup does not fit all!”

What music inspires you? What do you tend to listen to when you are relaxing?

“People, nature, music, moments. I listen to all times of music from Indian music, to African music, to Celtic music. I love the spirit in those genres.

“I of course dial in to current music too, but usually avoid that during my writing phase so as not to get too influenced.”

If you were hosting a dinner party and could invite six famous singers or famous personalities to join you, who would they be?

“The answer to this question is ever changing, but at the moment probably; Stephen Fry, Ross Geller (in character from the TV show Friends!!), David Attenborough, Malala Yousafzai, Michelle Obama and Taylor Swift.”

Do you have a special message for readers of Sixtyplusurfers?

Emma Stevens

“Thank you so much for reading my article. Please do let me know if you listen to my music (it’s available online or you can buy it through my website).

“I hope to see you at a show some time!

“Sending much love and happiness your way, x”

Now listen to Emma Stevens sing Atoms

Click on arrow to watch

Emma Stevens is releasing her single, ‘Because It’s You’ and a mini-album ‘Atoms’ on 7th June, on Bright Star Records.

Emma is also currently on tour with Atoms Live UK.

For more information and tickets click on www.emmastevensmusic.com

The Lumineers release Gloria

 New Single for
The Lumineers

The Lumineers, photo by Danny Clinch

Photograph by Danny Clinch

After the triumph of their UK and US No.1 record, The Lumineers are back with their third studio album, ‘III’, out on Decca Records on 13th September. The two-time GRAMMY nominated band have also released ‘Gloria’, the first single from the album.

A conceptual album presented across three chapters, ‘III’ is audacious: every note, every syllable, and every moment of silence in between is emotionally charged. The album is darker in tone anything they’ve done before, with each part centering on one main character from a fictitious family known as The Sparks, who span three generations in the album’s storyline. Mixing raw emotional themes with their ear-catching melodies, expressive vocals and trademark acoustic sound, ‘III’ moves masterly in artistic directions not yet travelled by the band.

Written by the two founding members, Wesley Schultz and multi-instrumentalist Jeremiah Fraites, the album sees violinist/vocalist Lauren Jacobson officially joining the band, after playing on their previous two albums. Lauren completes the lineup that includes pianist Stelth Ulvang, bassist/backing vocalist Byron Isaacs and multi-instrumentalist Brandon Miller.

The Lumineers self-titled 2012 debut album broke into the Top 10 of the UK Official Album Charts and was certified triple-platinum in 2018. Their second album, ‘Cleopatra’, released in 2016, was certified platinum and hit No.1 in both the UK Official Album Charts and No.1 on the Billboard Top 200 in its week of release.

The band has sold out tours across the world, selling over 300,000 tickets on 2017’s ‘Cleopatra World Tour’ which ended with 27 sold out arena shows. Their discography has racked up a total of 4.2 billion streams and 4.6 million album sales worldwide.

The Lumineers have also supported icons and their musical heroes on the road, including Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers at British Summer Time Festival in London’s Hyde Park in 2017. This year, the band will tour across the US and Europe, with nights at three UK arenas including a date at London’s O2 Arena.

Regarding the new album, Fraites says, “This collection of songs worked out in a beautiful way, and I feel with this album we’ve really hit our stride.”

For more information visit the website at www.thelumineers.com

Sixtyplusurfers Competition

 Win ‘Immigrance’
by Snarky Puppy

Snarky Puppy 'Immigrance'

Sixtyplusurfers has teamed up with GroundUP to offer three lucky readers the chance to win ‘Immigrance’, the new album by Snarky Puppy.

Snarky Puppy, the three-time GRAMMY-winning genre-defying collective, have released their new album Immigrance with GroundUP Music. Like their last album, 2016’s GRAMMY-winning Culcha Vulcha, Immigrance is a studio project, and it features most of the same musicians. And though it shares that project’s ace musicianship and dynamic, kinetic spirit, it is also rawer and moodier than its predecessor.

Snarky Puppy

Several of the compositions put a new-found emphasis on delivering simpler, streamlined impact, and bassist, composer and bandleader Michael League, as producer on the album, left in the tiny flubs and unvarnished textures that accompany great organic performances.

Immigrance is also all about movement. “The idea here is that everything is fluid, that everything is always moving and that we’re all in a constant state of immigration,” explains League, who founded Snarky Puppy in 2003 and has helmed it into one of the most popular, virtuosic and influential bands of the current jazz and instrumental-music renaissance. “Obviously the album’s title is not without political undertones.”

Snarky Puppy

But Immigrance doesn’t aim to scold or condescend; rather, its mission is one of uplift, a testament to what humanity can achieve when cultures are able to come together without fear. As ever, that globally minded synthesis, tapping into a far-reaching spectrum of musical styles and approaches, is front and centre throughout Immigrance.

“Like Culcha Vulcha,” League says, “this record is largely informed by our travels, and we’re always trying to pass specific ideas through our filter and into our idiom without being disrespectful to the tradition at hand.”  

A multicultural perspective isn’t the only way in which Immigrance leans into themes of cooperation and equality, however. Its writing credits extend beyond League to include contributions from the group’s vast, ever-shifting line-up, and the album’s rhythmic component is rooted in a ground-breaking strategy.

Snarky Puppy

Drummers Jamison Ross, Jason “JT” Thomas and Larnell Lewis share sections of each composition – without overlapping. “Whenever you feel a big change in the section of a song,” League explains, “just know that it’s another drummer playing: verse to chorus, different drummer; chorus to solo section, different drummer; solo section to bridge, different drummer.

“But they do it so seamlessly and beautifully that you just notice, ‘Oh, that snare feels a little different,’ or ‘That rhythm has a different energy.’ It really brings new life into each section.”  

Throughout its countless gigs and dozen previous albums, Snarky Puppy’s not-so-secret weapon has been diversity. After all, what better way to make all-embracing music than to utilise musicians from every corner of the U.S. in addition to Argentina, Japan, Canada, the U.K. and elsewhere?

So with Immigrance, Snarky Puppy is essentially practicing what it’s preached all along. “The band itself is a representation of what we’re trying to express musically,” League explains. “That people from different places can bring their various strengths and experiences, and how that can be beautiful and cohesive.” 

Snarky Puppy by Vincent Le Gallic

Snarky Puppy by Vincent Le Gallic

Snarky Puppy will tour the UK in November 2019, in support of the new album, ‘Immigrance’.

Michael League, bandleader says, “The band is so excited about bringing 11 new songs to the UK on our upcoming tour. Of course we’ll be mixing them in with material from previous albums (including some very old songs we haven’t played in years), but it will be really special sharing the new ones with the audience who first welcomed us to Europe in 2012.”

Snarky Puppy Immigrance UK Tour Date

6 November – Bournemouth – O2 Academy
7 November – Nottingham – Rock City
8 November – Bristol – O2 Academy
9 November – Oxford – O2 Academy
11 November – Ulster Hall – Belfast
14 November – London – Royal Albert Hall
15 November – Manchester – O2 Apollo
16 November – Glasgow – Barrowlands
 

For Snarky Puppy tickets click on www.snarkypuppy.com/tour

Watch Snarky Puppy
play ‘Immigrance’

Click on arrow to watch

For Your Chance to Win

Just tell us when is
Snarky Puppy touring
in the UK?

          a) September
          b) October
          c) November
          d) December 

To Enter the Competition

Tell us when is Snarky Puppy touring
in the UK?
Then send in your answer together with your full name, address and telephone number to the Sixtyplusurfers email address below:

sixtypluscomp@hotmail.co.uk

  * Please label your entry
   Snarky Puppy Competition

* This competition is open to our
UK readers only

* Names and addresses of entrants will not be shared by third parties and will be deleted after the competition has closed

The Teskey Brothers

 The Teskey Brothers Sign a Deal with
Decca / Vertigo

The Teskey Brothers

Decca Records is delighted to announce the newest addition to the iconic label’s diverse roster with the signing of Australian Blues and Soul band, The Teskey Brothers, for the UK and Europe. This signing is a joint venture between Decca Records and Universal Germany colleagues Vertigo Records. After stunning audiences at SXSW and The Great Escape, The Teskey Brothers will release their debut album Half Mile Harvest later this year.

Half Mile Harvest has been over 10 years in the making. The Teskey Brothers have been playing together since they were teenagers, and this new album is a collection of their shared experiences over the past decade. It was recorded last year and has been described as a “love letter to classic blues”*.

Originally from The Yarra Valley just outside Melbourne, Brothers Josh and Sam Teskey with local neighbourhood friends, Brendon Love and Liam Gough all share a love of 1960’s American soul music. Listening to their album in 2018, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was the work of Stax Records alumni in Memphis circa 1967. Half Mile Harvest was recorded to 2-inch tape and honours the old school Motown sound, whilst also working it into something of their very own, with Josh Teskey’s smoked whiskey voice and the band holding an irresistible groove.

Speaking of the signing, Danny Roberts, A&R Manager at Decca Records says, “The Teskey Brothers are a proper band and Josh Teskey’s voice is impossible to ignore. Recorded live to tape, Half Mile Harvest is in my opinion one of the best debut albums of recent times. Signing The Teskey Brothers has been one of the proudest moments of my career in A&R. I have signed my favourite band, not everyone can say that.”

The Teskey Brothers

Brendon Love, bass player, songwriter, producer in the band, says, “Signing to Decca and Vertigo Records was a really special moment for us. Both labels have incredible histories – they are wonderful people and super passionate about the records they release which is important. We are excited for what the future holds!”

At the Music Victoria Awards last year the band won ‘Best Soul, Funk, RnB or Gospel Album’ as well as ‘Best Emerging Act’. With a sold-out London Omera show under their belts, The Teskey Brothers will announce further UK shows later in the year.

Listen to ‘Pain and Misery’ here

Visit www.theteskeybrothers.com

Best Music to Discover

Dan and Shay

Dan and Shay

I’m always on the lookout for great music to listen to, and my favourite singers at the moment are Dan and Shay.

Dan and Shay are an American country music duo composed of vocalists and songwriters Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney.

Signed to Warner Bros. Records Nashville, they have released three albums, Where It All Began, Obsessed, and Dan + Shay. These albums have accounted for a total of nine singles, of which five have topped the Country Airplay chart and two have topped the Hot Country Songs chart.

In addition to their own material, the group’s members have collaborated with Rascal Flatts, Lindsey Stirling, RaeLynn, and Kelly Clarkson among others.

Dan and Shay met in Nashville, Tennessee in 2012, and started writing the day after they met. The first song they ever wrote together got put on hold for Rascal Flatts. Within two months, the duo had multiple publishing offers and signed with Warner/Chappell Music.

In January 2018, the duo released “Tequila”, the lead single from their self-titled third studio album, Dan + Shay which was released on June 22, 2018. “Tequila” has since become their highest-charting effort on the US Billboard Hot 100, with it reaching the top 40.

The album also features a collaboration with Kelly Clarkson on “Keeping Score”. In August, they released Dan + Shay (The Vocals), which includes the vocal tracks of the two singles from the album.

Watch the epic video and have a listen to Tequila – from ‘Dan + Shay’ and you’ll soon be hooked.

Watch the Video for Tequila by Dan & Shay

Click on arrow to watch

For more information about Dan and Shay visit www.danandshay.com

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