John J Presley

John J Presley’s musical talent lives up to his famous last name- in a mysterious rock, alt noir kind of way. To summaries the sound of this unique Brummy and his band, I would say his rock/ blues/ folk noir is similar to the infamous Jack White, mixed with The Kills, Tom Waits and Nick Cave. John J Presley adds something enticing and intriguing to the music world, through his distinct guitar, bass lines, use of a Fender Rhodes, and his husky and somewhat dark vocals. The mood of Presley’s singing, combined with his lyrics in his song ‘Sweet Sister’ takes me into an enchanting dark atmosphere, where I feel like I should be in Nashville sipping a whisky on ice. I thought I would get the man himself to answer what he thinks his great sound is like ; “This is always such a hard question to answer; you spend years perfecting your sound, through many different influences. It makes it hard to think outside the box. The music industry likes to pigeon hole, it makes things easier for them. But with my arm twisted, I would say Nick Cave meets Josh T Pearson with a bit of Duke Garwood….”

It always interests me as to why people try to enter such a competitive and over-populated industry. I wanted to know what made Mr Presley  want to make music. I asked John, if there a pinnacle moment in his life where he knew he wanted to make music? “I might sound a bit cliché but the moment I picked up an instrument. I found it the most amazing thing to create sound, I was very uninterested in playing the music of other people, I just wanted to make my own sounds. I wasn’t interested in the right technique. I find there is no wrong way to play an instrument, as long as it sounds good to you. Theory is a complete sponge for a creative mind. There is no wrong answer.”   

2012 and 2013 have been two very busy years for John J Presley and his band. During last couple of years Presley & Co. have been establishing their name in the music industry with tours and lives shows. Having been on the road touring with The Jim Jones Revue, and performing at shows with Band of Skulls, Joe Gideon & The Shark, and The Brute Chorus, Mr. Presley has been flat out. Not only has Presley been touring his socks off, but Presley and his band have also been in the studio recording their debut album over the past few months. Presley comments, “we are putting the final touches to our album. It’s up to the big guns as to when it will be released. As for now we have a summer of festivals to play, which I’m looking forward to.” [I can safely say, we too are looking forward to your festival performances!]

John J Presley has not gone unnoticed in the rock world, with Karrang! Radio host Alex Baker calling Presley as “without [a] doubt one of the most interesting, talented musicians out there at the moment.” It’s MusicNTing’s blog that really captures the sound and talent of Presley and his band; “The vocals remind you of Tom Waits or Johnny Cash, while the guitars have the same drive, as Jack White’s or the Black Keys do, only much dirtier. Plus there is a very strong folk element to it, which makes it just that much more intriguing and a bit poetic, whilst never losing its energy.”

This summer you will find this man playing at the main stage at 2000 Trees, on July 12th, and appearing at Tramlines Festival 2013, on July 21st. Go check this talented man out and see him live;

Fallingham Fair

I’m back on the folk train again this week people, but I assure you, it is for good reason. Formed in Birmingham back in 2010, Fallingham Fair are a folk-pop trio whose uplifting style and delicious range of vocal harmonies have seen them top my personal iTunes chart for a good few weeks now. After listening to them, I guarantee they’ll be having the same effect on you too.

Fallingham Fair was born out of a series of collaborative live shows between its three members, Fred Claridge (Vocals, Guitar), Aoife McCauley (Vocals) and Tim Gilvin (Vocals, Keyboard). Since then the trio have steadily been building a name for themselves on the indie-folk scene, playing a diverse range of festivals (including New Roots Folk Festival and Camden Rock) and releasing their debut self-titled album in 2011. In March of this year, the group released their second album Songbook to a flurry if praise which, when coupled with their increased airplay from the likes of Channel 4 and 6Music’s Lauren Laverne, surely means that this as yet unsigned band are inches away for  being snapped up.

For me, it is Fallingham Fair’s ability to invite the listener into their songs that makes them such a winning combination. There is a friendliness intertwined in the beautiful chords and soaring harmonies, a sort of soothing and seemingly effortless warmth that is simultaneously enticing and exciting.

For more information about Fallingham Fair, find them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. You can also visit their bandcamp, where you’ll find download links for all their albums and individual songs.

One Mile Away: the road to freedom

Penny Woolcock’s latest film, One Mile Away, is rapidly garnering media attention. The documentary gains access to the very guarded world of Birmingham’s gang culture. There are two major gangs – the Burger Bar Boys and The Johnson Crew. What is shocking, and eye-opening, about this film is the extent of the violence perpetrated by these gangs upon one another, and at what level this is ignored by the police and by the media.

During the film a few members of the gangs on either side attempt to end the violence that has become intrinsic to their way of life. Dylan Duffus, who met Penny on the set of her 2009 film, 1 day, heads the movement from the Burger side. Shabba, who Penny also met during her research for 1 day, represents the Johnson side. However, their peace mission proves incredibly difficult to sustain, until the 2011 riots. Faced with institutional prejudice there is a temporary cease fire as the two inner-city gangs recognise a common enemy.

There is no neat conclusion to the film but the team involved in One Mile Away are continuing the good work through a campaign which aims to take the film to the youths that will benefit most from it. The film, which won Best British Film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, has been screened in several cities at select venues, often accompanied by a Q & A. See the website for future screenings.

Official website:

Stream the film for £4.99:

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