Music

Sixtyplusurfers Competition

 Win a Rachael Sage Goody Bag

To celebrate the release of ‘Spark’ and her upcoming album ‘Myopia’, Sixtyplusurfers has teamed up with MPress Records to offer three lucky readers the chance to win a selection of Rachael Sage themed goodies.

The winners will each receive a Myopia enamel pin set, a Myopia T-shirt, and two large Myopia stickers, as well as Rachael’s new single ‘Spark’.

Intertwining infectiously catchy melodies with beautifully honest lyricism, Rachael’s new single ‘Spark’ is everything that we have come to expect from an artist whose creative talent knows no bounds.

‘Spark’ is set to be released on the 6th of July, with the remainder of her 13th Album ‘Myopia’ premiering this autumn. 

‘I don’t know your secrets // but I feel you like a spark’, sings Rachael in her characteristically velvety tone. It is a song about the intimacy of a shared experience with a total stranger. It is about the magical moment when a relationship is in its infancy, before anything can go wrong and you can just revel in the lack of familiarity. It is a beautiful depiction of an experience of excitement and exhilaration that is universally felt.          

The track starts with a beautiful and brief piano hook before Rachael’s voice joins the mix. With vocals as delicate as they are powerful, she truly is a musical maverick. The track is then taken up a notch with the inclusion of a dynamic and vibrant string section, and a subtle but robust drum beat that gives the track a real pulse.

‘Myopia’ is Rachael’s 13th Album Release since the founding of her own record label MPress Records two decades ago. Each respective album has featured Rachael’s distinctively unique sound, and yet when listening to her catalogue chronologically you can see her evolution as an artist; she is a musician who exceeds expectations regardless of how high the bar was set before. Her mesmerising vocals give listeners no choice but to be enthralled, whilst her lyrics documenting those universal human experiences of love, loss, and life are relatable to everyone.

As an artist Rachael Sage is honest, and truthful, and truly innovative. ‘Spark’ is set to be released on July 6th, with the release of her complete album ‘Myopia’ coming this autumn.

For Your Chance to Win

Tell us the name of Rachael Sage’s
upcoming album?

       a) Dahlia
       b) Myopia 
       c) Sangria
       d) Dystopia

To Enter the Competition

Tell us the name of Rachael Sage’s upcoming album? Then send in your answer together with your name, address and telephone number to the Sixtyplusurfers email address below:

sixtypluscomp@hotmail.co.uk 

  * Please label your entry
   Rachael Sage Goody Bag

* 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

Music News

Simon Kent Releases ‘In Another Life’

Simon Kent’s new album ‘In Another Life’ is not just an admirable affirmation of one of the UK’s most notable singer-songwriters in melody-driven, electronic pop. It’s also an acknowledgement of absent friends.

Three years in the crafting, the album arrives on the heels of the irresistibly hook-laden single ‘Never Stop Believing,’ which gained the support of BBC Radio 2’s Janice Long, dozens more stations around the UK and across the Atlantic too.

After touring with classic bands such as Echo and the Bunnymen and China Crisis and modern-day troubadours including Nell Bryden and Blair Dunlop, Kent is primed for the next step into a bright future.

Seconds into your first listen, you know that he’s supremely well schooled in the history of cutting-edge pop and modern rock, but is also the very man to give it a sense of tomorrow.

As he unveils these new songs both on record and on stage, he does so with a nod to two key figures: the father he lost recently, who helped shape his musical influences in the first place, and the close friend and intended collaborator on the album, whose personal problems made Kent all the more determined to finish what they’d planned.

‘In Another Life’ reaches us with impeccable credentials, written and produced by the frontman himself at Aubitt Studios and featuring the fine musicianship of Simon’s regular live band.

The album was engineered by Rob Aubrey, admired for his work with Big Big Train, and three songs were mixed by Soren Andersen, who’s produced both Bryden and Jack Savoretti. They helped finesse the ambience, but the big, soaring melodies and inspirational, finely-tuned lyrics are Kent’s very own. 

“After I finished my second album in 2012,” he explains, “I met up with my best friend from school. My first band was with him. We got chatting and we agreed to write this album, and that gave me a path to follow and a chance to focus on doing something a bit different.”

Kent always had admiration for the ’90s British rock swagger of the Stone Roses and the Charlatans, but his early touchstone had been Depeche Mode, who in turn led him back to classic David Bowie and Roxy Music.

“Then it was early to mid ’80s things, even the commercial stuff like Duran Duran,” he says. “Then I really got into Japan, because they were a bit more leftfield.” 

The pair mapped out dates to make the album, but the collaboration never materialised, and Kent came to realise that his friend was battling alcoholism that would almost claim his life.

“I said to myself that I was going to do it as if we were doing it together,” he recalls. “So I followed this electronic path, and that’s where it got to.”

And the friend? “I played it to him the other week, and he really loves it. Five of the songs are about him, because as it evolved, I realised he was in trouble.

The first song we ever wrote together at school, I found on an old CD and finished. It’s called ‘Dreams and Memories,’ and I tailored the lyrics from where we were then to now.”

The emotional bond with his friend and his past is palpable, in conversation with Kent and on the album.

“Everyone else was getting into this guitar music. He’d found his old keyboards, some of which I’ve used on the record. So when we were starting, we were way out of fashion with what was going on, but now everybody’s getting more into that ’80s feel.

“I just got a bit bored with all the macho guitar stuff,” he smiles. 

Born in Portsmouth, he got his original musical bearings from his father.

“He was a massive music fan and a huge influence on me,” says Kent with raw affection.

“He had stuff going back to Sinatra’s Capitol years, which was fantastic, and Ella Fitzgerald, jazz-influenced things, Nat ‘King’ Cole. Loads of black music, then some Neil Diamond, right through to the Beatles and early Elton John.

“It was always playing in the house, and there was something magical about it that I wanted to be involved in. I do remember at school not really understanding why everybody else didn’t just pin it to their chest that they loved music. It was like life and death to me.”

When Simon began his own band adventures in the ’90s, his father was a firm supporter, even driving them around the sometimes insalubrious gig circuit. “I also had older friends who were introducing me to other things. I remember them playing me the Clash and the Ruts, who sounded a lot more musical than a lot of the punky stuff.” 

Through his early admiration of Depeche Mode’s 1987 landmark ‘Music For The Masses,’ Kent dug back into their earlier catalogue and formed a deep appreciation of electronic pop. He went on to listen to guitar rock too, notably the poetic songcraft of Guy Chadwick’s House of Love.

“I saw them loads,” he says, “and I did love the first Stone Roses album. I never really got into the macho side of music, and they seemed a bit more arty.”

Other bookmarks include the electronic artistry of Tears For Fears, whose name often crops up in complimentary comparisons with Kent’s own creativity, as well as 21st century protagonists such as Empire Of The Sun and MGMT.

Without putting any more labels on it, the swathe of music that’s helped Simon get to where he is now shares the basic requirements he demands of his own: character and substance.

“The thing I love, from the ’50s to the ’80s, is the differentiation of the vocals. Now everything is Autotune and everyone’s got to make five notes out of two. I really wanted not to do any of that.”

Hence ‘In Another Life’, an album to restore your faith in the power of pop music.

“At times,” says Simon, “I’ve railed against the pop thing, but I do genuinely love the big pop song. It’s the magic of those three and a half minutes and wondering why something so trivial can move you in such a great way.”

Watch the Video for Never Stop Believing

Click on arrow to watch

Sixtyplusurfers Interview

The Merseybeats

By Simon Fine

The Merseybeats are touring the UK in the autumn as part of the well loved Sixties Gold Tour. We caught up with Tony Crane and Billy Kinsley, co-founders of The Merseybeats  to find out more about the band, the early days at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, and their forthcoming tour.

Can you tell us about your background? How did the Merseybeats begin? And how were you discovered? 

“I had always loved music, so as soon as I left school, alongside working in The Royal Liver Building on the Liverpool waterfront, I formed a group with Billy Kinsley, we called ourselves The Mavericks.

“After playing around the Liverpool area for around 12 months, Bob Wooler saw us playing and told us he was the booking agent for The Cavern Club and asked us would we like to become resident there alongside The Beatles.

“Whilst performing at The Cavern a record producer from Philips Records offered us a recording contract.”

How did the band’s name originate?

“Bob Wooler didn’t like our name The Mavericks, so he asked Bill Harry who owned The Mersey Beat magazine if we could use the name, which he agreed, after which we then became known as The Merseybeats.”

Who were your early influences in music? And how did this affect your music?

“All the early 50’s artists were a big influence on us, mainly Elvis, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry and especially The Everly Brothers for their harmonies.

“Billy and I still perform The Everly Brothers songs live today.”

Which is your favourite Merseybeats song and what makes it special?

“Sorrow. Mainly because it was loved by so many fans and artists alike.

“We had worked hard on the arrangement of the song. It was a favourite of both David Bowie and George Harrison.”

What are your memories of playing the Cavern Club and who else was on the same bill as you?

“Our favourite memory of playing at The Cavern Club was being on the same bill as The Beatles.

“We appeared on The Cavern with them more times than any other band.”

Which other sixties groups were your favourites?

“The Beatles and The Big Three.”

You have been performing live for more than 50 years. What is it like touring today compared to when you were teenagers?

“Travelling is much easier now thanks to the motorways and better transport! We don’t have to be smuggled into venues with as many screaming fans!

“We still have great fans after all these years, some have been there from those early days at The Cavern, but we have welcomed plenty of new fans over the years and from across the world.”

When you’re not in the studio or touring, what do you enjoy doing?

“I enjoy planning fundraisers for charities, and I also restore local buildings.

“I was awarded an MBE in 2017 for services to music, charity and the community in Merseyside, which was a great honour.”

You must have met some interesting people during your career. Do you have any special memories you can share?

“We performed some shows for The Roy Castle Cause For Hope appeal charity in the 1990’s. It was great to see so many bands come together for such a good cause.

“I have great memories of Roy and Fiona Castle. We performed alongside Sir Cliff Richard. Sir John Mills made an appearance too. We were Patron of the BA Dreamflight Charity around the same time.”

In the autumn The Merseybeats are touring with Searchers, The Fortunes Vanity Fare, PJ Proby and Steve Ellis. Can you tell us a bit more about the format of the tour and what audiences can look forward to?

“We always look forward to touring. We aim to include most of our hits, and add in a few surprises.

“Our audiences are always a great pleasure for us to see. They come to have a good night out and we always strive to achieve that and get them singing and dancing in the isles!”

What do you most enjoy most about your live performances?

“The audience members singing along to all of our hit records is always so special to us.”

How will you be preparing for the tour?

“We have many shows before the tour begins, so we are busy on the run up to the tour.”

What are The Merseybeats’ plans beyond this year’s Sixties Gold tour?

“To carry on touring and performing as we still love what we do.

“We are working on a new album also.”

Do you have a special message for readers of Sixtyplusurfers?

“A special hello from all of The Merseybeats to all of your readers, and we hope to see as many of you as possible during the Sixties Gold tour.

“With the great line up this year, it’s sure to be a fantastic night out!”

For more information about The Merseybeats visit their website at www.themerseybeats.co.uk

For details about the Sixties Gold tour click on www.sixtiesgoldtour.co.uk

Music News

Tom Bailey Releases Science Fiction

Tom Bailey, front man of The Thompson Twins is releasing a solo album ‘Science Fiction’. The first song to be shared, ‘Feels Like Love To Me’ reveals his long overdue return to pop music.

One of the iconic electronic bands of the 1980s and one of a select group of British artists who ‘broke’ America, the Thompson Twins rose from squat-based free-form indie anarchy – with 1981’s ‘Set’ and ’82’s ‘A Product Of…’ – to world domination, with a set at Live Aid backed by Nile Rodgers and Madonna. They had 7 top 40 hits in the US and 10 in the UK, including ‘You Take Me Up’ and ‘Doctor Doctor’, with another 4 top 40 hits in the US Dance Chart including 2 number 1s with ‘Lies’ and ‘Hold Me Now’ and over 10 million album sales worldwide.

“I so much enjoyed playing concerts around the world over the last couple of years, that I began working behind the scenes on writing, recording and mixing the songs in this collection,” says Tom. “I have concentrated on other areas of music for the past couple of decades – but I find it incredibly rewarding to be making pop music again. There’s something so special about the way this kind of music works and, for me, it’s like finding a long lost friend.”

As a result, Tom has hand-crafted 10 songs that are instantly accessible to fans of classic Thompson Twins and a new generation who have been alerted to his quintessential sound and style after hip-hop producer Metro Boomin’ remixed ‘Hold Me Now’ for GAP’s SZA-starring commercial that debuted at this year’s Grammys

The tracks on ‘Science Fiction’ spin the musical compass – from Synthpop-meets-soca on ‘What Kind of World?’ to the stadium pop of ‘Bring Back Yesterday’ to ‘If You Need Someone’, a track that’s so radio-friendly every copy should come with a free pocket transistor.

“I recorded Science Fiction all over,” he explains, “France, New Zealand, London…  These days, my studio is a laptop and a pair of headphones!  I’m a real wanderer. 

I don’t stay in one place for very long. I produced the album myself but worked with Hal Ritson [whose credits range from the Chemical Brothers to David Guetta] to produce the vocals.  The one thing I can’t do myself is be my own vocal producer, because I need to wear the performer’s hat totally, so I get someone else to record my vocals and try and get the best out of me.”

Listen to the album at https://itunes

Sixtyplusurfers Competition

Win ‘Cruising With Jane McDonald’

Sixtyplusurfers has teamed up with Republic Media to offer three lucky readers the chance to win ‘Cruising With Jane McDonald’.

Jane’s new album ‘Cruising with Jane McDonald’ includes 13 songs all of which have been performed on her BAFTA winning Channel 5 TV series Cruising With Jane McDonald. The album is packed with hit songs like Club Tropicana, Let It Go, Vienna, Something Inside So Strong and California Dreamin’.

Jane rocketed to stardom in 1998 when she first appeared on our screens in the BBC1 docu-soap The Cruise. The series attracted 13 million viewers and Jane McDonald emerged as a star and household name. Her first album outsold her nearest rivals by four to one and gained Jane a place in the Guinness Book Of Records.

The self-titled record remained at number 1 for three weeks and achieved platinum status staying in the Top 10 for 8 weeks. Each of Jane’s subsequent 4 major albums have all reached gold and silver status. 2009 saw the first album release under her own label. Simply titled ‘Jane’ it entered the Official UK Album Chart at Number 7 and achieved silver status within 6 weeks.

Jane has built up a phenomenal theatre audience, performing incredible live concerts across the United Kingdom and Ireland selling out the Royal Albert Hall and the London Palladium twice. Jane has also played to a sold out audience at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, a concert that was filmed for DVD and went on to become an instant hit in the charts leading the Mayor of Las Vegas to present Jane with the ‘Key To the City’.

Jane was a regular panelist on the hit daytime show Loose Women and a regular guest on The Alan Titchmarch Show. Other TV highlights include, Never Mind The Buzzcocks, This Morning, GMTV and The Jonathan Ross Show.

Now she has two new series on Channel 5 – Cruising with Jane McDonald and Jane McDonald & Friends.

Track Listing

1. Club Tropicana
2. Caledonia
3. Vienna
4. Let It Go
5. The Winner Takes It All
6. Cuba
7. Mambo Italiano
8. Lost in France
9. It’s Oh So Quiet
10. Something Inside So Strong
1
1. California Dreamin’
1
2. Proud Mary
13. Step Back in Time

Jane is currently celebrating 20 years in the business with her 20 Year Anniversary Tour 2018.

Follow Jane on Twitter and Facebook for information and for tour dates:

Facebook: facebook.com/janemcdonald

Twitter: twitter.com/TheJaneMcDonald

For Your Chance to Win

Tell us which docu-soap did Jane McDonald
rocket to stardom in
on BBC1 in 1998?

       a) The Bill
       b) The Office
       c) The Cruise
       d) The Runway

To Enter the Competition

Tell us which docu-soap did Jane McDonald rocket to stardom in on BBC1 in 1998? Then send in your answer together with your name, address and telephone number to the Sixtyplusurfers email address below:

sixtypluscomp@hotmail.co.uk 

  * Please label your entry
   Jane McDonald 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

Music News

Maria Muller

Ten years ago Maria Muller decided to get rid of all of her worldly possessions, pack up what was only truly essential and embark on a journey to follow her lifelong passion – to become a professional musician. She took one last look at her house and life that she was leaving behind before beginning her journey to becoming the classically trained singer that she had always yearned to be.

“There was not turning back,” Maria responded when asked about her bold and courageous decision to leave everything she had known behind. “No back up plan and no promises. I started my life as an urban gypsy.”

Maria’s musical journey led her through folk and new world sounds, with her new music reflecting an additional pop influence. Her work is unique, and daring, and truly beautiful.

“Having the record ‘Photographs & Faces out’ was a feeling of both elation and trepidation,” she said when asked about the release of her previous E.P. “Elation because Warner Music Singapore licensed the album; trepidation comes when the work is presented to the audience.”

Maria is now back with her new single ‘Lost’, it feature’s her characteristically powerful vocals and yet the overall musicality has evolved since her previous release. There is a pop element to the track that gives the single, an infectiously catchy melody and a strong percussion section.

The song starts simply with a catchy synth hook and then, after a few bars, Maria’s vocals are introduced. Her voice has beautiful tone, and there is an impressive amount of control that can only be acquired by years of professional vocal training. A quiet and rhythmic drum beat then joins the melee as the track builds to its high energy climax.

The excitement is palpable as the chorus breaks and Maria sings ‘I had to go so I can breathe again // It’ll shatter my world to walk away // I can’t hold on to another day // I’d hurt you more if you stay’. It is a song about walking away, and creating closure for yourself. It is about understanding that a relationship is toxic and having enough power within you to be able to walk away. It is about reclaiming your own self, and your own world.

It is Maria’s love of classical music and her desire to create music that is authentic to her that makes her such a great artist. Yet, it was only by remembering the way that music used to make her feel as a child that she was able to get to this point.

“Through the years I loved classical music yet something was missing. My voice was not comfortable and my heart not settled’ she mused on the origin of her sound.

“One day I played a few chords on a keyboard just as I did in my younger days in school. I hummed a tune and to my surprise I wrote the lyrics and melody to a song.”

Maria writes and performs music because it brings her as much Joy as it does her listeners, and her passion and dedication can be heard in her music. As Maria says, she loves music because it ‘has given voice to my soul’.

So what is next for this soulful musician and songwriter? Well with ‘Lost’ being released on the 17th August, and the whisper of new music already on the grapevine, we can’t be sure what Maria Muller will do next but we do know that you won’t want to miss it.

Watch the YouTube Lyric Video here.

Music News

Amar Chotai

Amar lives music; it’s as simple as that. It was clear he would devote his life to performing right from the beginning: he started singing and performing at the age of 6 followed by training in Indian Classical Music where he developed a unique vocal style and texture.

However, Amar cannot be confined into one genre: his musical influences are incredibly broad, ranging from Indian Classical to Latin Pop. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Saab, Ricky Martin and Enrique Iglesias have all been huge influences on his work and performance style. He also plays the piano and guitar and performs with his own band called ‘Northern Destiny,’ featuring the electric guitar, bass guitar, tabla, harmonium, drums and piano. Together, they perform regularly throughout the UK, and have performed, to acclaim, at the IndigO2, Hammersmith Apollo, Royal Albert Hall, and several Melas (Indian music festivals) all over the country.

Very sadly Amar lost his mother when he was just 16. This moment shaped his life in many ways, not least in making music, which became an important creative outlet for him to express this pain. In October 2016 Amar released his first single, ‘Girl I Miss You,’ a beautiful and romantic fusion track, which marked a very special moment in his musical career and earned him many fans on his musical journey. June 15th sees the release of a Spanish inspired song called ‘Nunca Digas Adios’ which Amar admits came to him in a dream:

This song is very special to me because it came to me in a dream at a time when I was struggling to pin down a powerful idea, despite having several. I remember waking up with my mind buzzing! I recorded the main bulk of the melody and lyrics on my phone instantly. Within the hour, at my piano, I had the song complete and I knew this was the one…

The song is about undying and everlasting love; something which is quite rare and to which we all aspire to. The Spanish lines within the chorus, ‘Nunca Digas Adios (never say goodbye)’ and ‘Nunca Digas Nunca (never say never),’ describe the feeling of never giving up on someone during a difficult period, when you know they are worth fighting for. A lesson we can all learn!

Watch the teaser video at You Tube

Listen for free at Spotify

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