Simon Campbell and Suzy Starlite ~ Live @ The Convent

Simon Campbell andn Suzie Starlite - The Convent - Sept 2015_0027l

Simon Campbell & Suzy Starlite
@The Convent 25th September 2015

 

 

Simon Campbell andn Suzie Starlite - The Convent - Sept 2015_0049lBluesdoodles is back for the second time in a week to this unique and very special venue, the welcome and warmth from the moment you step in to The Convent, through to the show where the sound has a depth that you would not expect from an old chapel sound that resonates with echoes of the stone and vaulted ceilings. Tonight in Stroud and across the world via Netgig we have Simon Campbell & Suzy Starlite a duo who create music with a wealth of skill on guitar and bass, and joining them on the stage was Danilo Adriano Argenti Gener completing the rhythm section on drums and Christian Madden on Hammond and Grand Piano filling in the sound so that the audiences were drawn in to every varied rack offered tonight.

Simon Campbell andn Suzie Starlite - The Convent - Sept 2015_0067lSimon is definitely upfront with guitar playing that ranges from controlled blues, melodic acoustic, Rock n’ Roll energy and the exploration of the strings in the style of Prog Rock, in his white suit and straw hat he grasped your attention; and, more importantly, it was retained throughout the gig. He would not have the freedom to explore his music if he did not have a rhythm section that was that rare combination solid but not staid, the drumming from Danilo was inspiring sometimes showing that it can be more effective to do less with well-timed drum beats augmenting the full sound being delivered by the guitar keyboard combination. Danilo’s little half-shuffles and the use of sticks, standard, percussive mallets and brushes often with more than one type of stick in one hand there is a tonal texture and subtlety not normally heard from the back. Supporting Danilo in creating a rhythm section with hidden depths is Suzy Starlite whose bass playing engaged and was the perfect foil for the enthusiastic playing from Simon; it is amazing that she has being playing Bass for just eighteen months as she has a natural feel for creating the bass tone that compliments the tracks that varied across the set. The keys from Christian were sublime from full organ crescendos through to gentle notes he wrapped the third layer of chords around Simon’s guitar adding shape and texture to the lyrics as the story unfolded. This was a quartet that wanted to talk to you through their eclectic mix of tones on tracks including a collection from their current album The Knife, including the title track, Dreamer and Affairs of the Heart re-affirming the quality of the songs included. We also had an early listening opportunity for their anticipated forthcoming album The Coat; the title track saw Suzy leaving the bass and sitting behind the majestic Grand Piano, her vocal prowess had already been confirmed with some stylish Harmonising with Simon and she now sung a song very special to her and for everyone who has lost someone important or they are not there and was dedicated to her mother who has early onset-Alzheimer’s an thought-provoking and emotionally stirring number. The last song of the night Hello, which is also on the forthcoming album, had five distinct movement and, is definitely more Prog Rock than blues but worked so well with Suzy’s vocals, clever guitar solos. Each movement had its own distinctive shape and tonal character and for me full of interest and the pick of the set for me.

Simon Campbell andn Suzie Starlite - The Convent - Sept 2015_0062lThis was an exciting, intriguing at times challenging set stretching across all the styles of recorded modern music and it worked, they are certainly worth checking out as they will surprise and the musicianship is spot-on. Listen to what you missed from Simon Campbell and Suzy Starlite via The Convents Netgig; Bluesdoodles will and we were there on the night…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

CD Review: Simon Campbell ~ The Knife

Simon-Campbell-The-Knife-STR03-V-RearSimon Campbell
The Knife
Supertone Record

Country angst is the opening theme of the album, with Broken Man full of yearning with layers of melody not pure country yes, the lap steel is but the percussion is more mystic with hints of an Indian feel giving this album from the off a contemporary and stylish acoustic sound. The whole album is a celebration of vocal storytelling with the added drama of elegant musical accompaniment, always understated and spot-on the mood Simon Campbell is creating throughout The Knife. The following track is more upbeat with female backing vocals country blues that gets the feet tapping and the perfect antidote to the mood create in the first track. The variation of sounds that blend together as Simon explores the acoustic instrumentation delivered either by guitar, Mellotron or Hammond or the wide range of instrumentation played by a variety of guests, they always add to the tonal texture never drowning the vocals as on the title track with its Parisian feel. This is Simon’s second album showcases seven tracks that reflect real life experiences and places that uses the musical qualities of blues, country and the power of the story.
The stand out trio of tracks on this album are Affairs of The Heart, Sorry I broke Your Heart and the closing track The Man, each one displays a different side of Simon and keeps your interest.

With the quality of vocals on every track, it is not surprising that Simon gained a nomination as a Male vocalist in the 2011 British Blues awards; always restrained, full of emotional intelligence as he gently delivers the lyrics.
The Knife is an album for anyone who enjoys a contemporary twist on American Folk, blues and country, with tonal textures that keeps you engaged from beginning to end on an album despite its simplicity of approach is full of hidden depths and musical intrigue.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD SEVEN doodle paws out of TEN ….pawprint half inch

Tracks
1. Broken Man
2. Dreamer
3. The Knife
4. Affairs Of The Heart
5. Do You Want Me
6. Sorry I Broke Your Heart
7. The Man

Musicians
Pedal Steel – BJ Cole
Double Bass – Andy Seward
Drums and Percussion – Keith Angel
Mellotron, Lead and Backing Vocals – Suzy Starlite
Hammond and Wurlitzer – Christian Madden
Wurlitzer – Dave Formula
Melodeon and Hurdy Gurdy – Andy Cutting
Bouzouki and Tenor Guitar – Malcolm Stitt
Vocals, Electric and Acoustic Guitars – Simon Campbell
Harmonium and Grand Piano – David Kilgallon