Gabby Colledge

Who said acoustic music was dead? The era may be over, but its echo continues to reverberate and inspire the young, up and coming musicians of today. Despite the vast advances of music technology, most aspiring singers still cling to the jazzy sounds of an acoustic guitar and the steel strings beneath their callused fingers. It’s what we grew up with, what we all instinctively know. And it’s this sense of deeply rooted nostalgia that London-based, singer-songwriter Gabby Colledge teases out from between the eaves of your ears.

Colledge’s soulful voice rises and sinks like a wave, like satin with grain. It could have traveled here from another time, an eclectic, golden period of folk and jazz. Of her inspirations, Gabby muses:

“I generally love all acoustic music, especially stripped down versions of dance songs, and the YouTube channel Watch Listen Tell. I grew up loving classic soul singers such as Etta James and also more folk-based music like Laura Marling.

At the moment I’m listening to more chilled out, almost electronic music, such as London Grammar.”

Forever in a dream / about the texture of your skin / safety in your arms / I’m free from harm.

Thus far, Colledge has composed three songs on her soundcloud, Waiting for me, Anybody could be fooled and Done with you. There’s something particularly enchanting about the second song, with a lilting melody and lyrics that make you sigh with the beauty of it all – a feeling or memory you’ve forgotten in the corner of your mind — in the haze of your eyes / anyone could be fooled — and leaves you wanting more as the last notes linger and melt away.

To listen to Gabby Colledge’s music, visit her soundcloud, and let us know your thoughts below.

Jim Ghedi

Jim Ghedi is the equivalent of a ‘sleeper hit’ in the local Sheffield music scene. Owing to the spiritual bent and ethereal soundscapes which constitute his music, his discreet acoustic creations have been lost on those who haven’t had their ears to the ground.

Another possible reason for slow but steady rise maybe the eclectic styles the 22-year-old draws from. Some have traced his musical roots to ‘Folk, Blues, Free Jazz and Eastern World Music’ putting forward the sound suggestion that Jim Draws influences far removed from hilly suburbs of Sheffield.

Thanks to a series of well-promoted shows in and around the city, word has spread about experimental folk artist. His innovative composition rejects formal structure in favour of a rhythmically and tonally-orientated order of music.

This isn’t music you can ignore; it demands your attention and you risk losing it if the nuances and shades aren’t headed.

Jim’s right-hand man is Neal Heppleston whose instrument of choice is the double bass and his deft picking and emotive bowing lays down the low-end bass frequencies to the songs. So far Jim and Neal have delivered two astonishing releases: ‘Archipelago’ and the recent ‘Of Abyssinia’.

The reference to the old empire reflects the meditative voyage the music navigates through. Though the music is spiritual in its sonic composition the themes are earthy and natural. Recent interest indicates that this ‘sleeper hit’ is causing the steel city to finally stir.

On a side-note, does Jim look a bit like Nick Drake?

Listen to ‘Of Abysinia’ here

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Bear’s Den

Beards. Banjos. Bear’s Den have it all.

(However before any Glaswegians among you say a word, that’s Bear’s Den as in the animal habitat thing,  not Bearsden as in the town off of Glasgow thing- and don’t let Google correct you different)

Seeing them first this February after a friend kept relentlessly recommending them,  the first thing that strikes you when you listen to them, is just how have you not heard of them before? The acoustic three-man band (Andrew Davie, Kev Jones, and Joey Haynes), are more than on the rise however, and it only seems like only a matter of time before they become a much more well known name. Last year they supported both Mumford & Sons and Of Monsters and Men on their US tours, and are part of the same West London record label Communion that has helped boost the careers of those such as Daughter and Laura Marling.

When describing them I suppose the easy way out is just to directly compare them to the likes of Mumford & Sons, since they are fitted into the same ‘modern folk’ category. But really they’re a bit more mellow than them, and more soulful. But that’s not to say their sound is mournful at all- the prominent use of a banjo and solid drumming keep the pace upbeat and dynamic; their songs can be ridiculously catchy.

But it’s the storytelling and sincerity of their music that makes them vital listening; in particular their best known single Pompeii, and A Year Ago Today from their newest EP Agape is beautiful listening, full of emotion and lovely harmonies.

You can follow them on facebook, twitter, and check out their music on the Communion page.

INKA

Olivia Rafferty spent seven years playing the French Horn and singing classically. Though she stresses that this is not the kind of music she plays anymore, traditional music techniques are very much apparent in the melodious tones of this Edinburgh based singer songwriter. Originally from Aberdeen, she is now studying for a degree in English Literature at Edinburgh University, and since arriving here four years ago, INKA has been born out of the vibrant creative scene that the city has to offer.

Musically speaking, she cites the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Prince, and Billy Joel as inspiration. Though she might not sound much like all or any of them, it’s their bottle she admires. ‘Melodic, real, and unashamedly catchy’ are the qualities she has taken and mastered from this slew of greats, but the fact that they are all men is noteworthy: this genre of acoustic pop has often been dominated by males, and INKA tells me that the contemporary Edinburgh music scene is no different. That’s not to mention the ‘Scottish folk’ tradition that pervades most of the sounds of these acoustic singers, but this is exactly what makes INKA such an exciting talent. As a female pop acoustic artist, she finds her niche quite neatly.

I for one find that there is much in her songs to empathise with. My favourite song, ‘Innocence’ speaks to me quite clearly about relationships I have been in. I know this to be true of all my friends also, be they male or female, Scot or not, and is this not the most obvious sign of a successful artist? There is absolutely something very universal about her lyrics, which she says often come to her at the most inconvenient of times. But often this is the way: genius strikes when you least expect it.

Rafferty graduates at the end of this academic year, and from there she hopes to go to Toronto. She is in the process of cultivating her first EP, but as she builds her fan base, gigging takes priority, but ‘putting one foot in front of the other’ moreso. Her gumption and drive will undoubtedly see her through – and I for one sincerely hope she continues to write, for her talent is enormous and very exciting.

inkamusicofficial@gmail.com

www.inkamusic.co.uk

Tom Scott

I’ve gone and got myself a new favourite acoustic musician again – I know, I know, it keeps happening, doesn’t it? I promise you, though, it’s always completely justifiable, and this time especially.

Tom Scott is a singer song-writer hailing from Yorkshire and based in Sheffield.  Currently unsigned, he is already building a name for himself on the Sheffield live and acoustic circuit, gigging at numerous venues across the city and making his music free to download via his Soundcloud (on the proviso that you share it round, of course). He has also recently made his way into the final sixteen acts for Kerrang Radio’s Unsigned Lounge competition, and given that there were over two hundred applications, this is no little achievement.

Though Tom describes himself as “an acoustic musician still finding his feet”, the delicate chords that match perfectly with poetic lyrics and a soft, lilting vocal, means he stands with the likes of James Vincent McMorrow and Benjamin Francis Leftwich in his ability to leave the listener mellow, thoughtful and not a little goosepimply. With the positive recognition he is receiving, a growing fan-base and an undeniable talent, Tom is certainly and deservedly set for great things.

For more information about Tom’s music or where you can catch him live, check out his Facebook page, or follow him on Twitter @tomscottmusicuk.

Gaz Brookfield

One day, I was scrolling through my ever-growing and wildly out of control music library, and I happened to stumble across five or so tracks by a chap called Gaz Brookfield. I can’t remember how they got there, and to be honest I don’t much care because, after thirty seconds or so of listening to Gaz’s dulcet tones and delicate chords, I was completely and utterly hooked and I listened to his track “Hell Or High Water” all day, every day for a fortnight straight.

Gaz Brookfield is a folk singer-songwriter based in Bristol who sings about love, life, music and home. His lyrics are at the same time deeply personal and instantly relatable, speaking straight to everyone who’s ever had to work hard, fallen in love or thought that Simon Cowell and his bloody X Factor are collectively ruining the music industry (check out “Diet Of Banality” for full details on this latter point). An acoustic artist, he’s reminiscent of Frank Turner via Newton Faulkner with a dash of Jim Lockey on the side (a combo that’s well up my street, let me tell you), and he’s possessed with a passion and an honesty that makes his music incredibly appealing to anyone who appreciates their listening material with a little meaning behind it.

Since he began his solo career in 2006, Gaz has played over 700 shows and has two studio albums, 2011’s ‘Trial and Error’ and this year’s ‘Tell It To The Beer’, both of which are excellent and fully worth checking out. In 2010, he won acoustic magazine Beautiful Days singer-songwriter competition and on 21st December 2011 he became the first unsigned artist ever to sell out Bristol’s The Fleece. Safe to say, then, that he’s pretty damn good.

If you’d like to find out more about Gaz Brookfield’s music, visit his website.

– Georgie