WE ARE WILLOW is a collection of self released collaborations by artist/musician Chris Butler, formerly one half of Manchester duo Butler Williams. At the beginning of 2010 he set himself the task of recording and releasing 3 EPs with 3 different friends/fellow musicians he admiredand to tour them in the UK and abroad. The aim being to create an eclectic body of songs which would take all involved a step away from their current sound.Part 3 with Sam Lench of Samson & Delilhah is out now. Trips abroad are in the pipeline, with more UK dates to be announced. Watch this space, more collaborations to come
DAN SHEARS AND THE VELVETEEN ORKESTRA - Dan Shears has the ability to make audiences swoon while, at the same time, casting forth an air of unease with his intoxicating hybrid of rich romanticism and brutal intensity. Embodying the essences of European folk and bluegrass as well as echoing the guitar-based indie stylings of The Smiths and Radiohead, Shears can gently pluck at your heartstrings while, at the same time, delicately slipping them around your neck.n 2009 Shears formed a band, which he called 'The Velveteen Orkestra', a fitting name for an orchestra assembled from the street, and they played their first live show in July of that year. In May 2010 Dan Shears & The Velveteen Orkestra completed a six-track debut entitled The Eternal Mystery of the Human Heart. The EP attracted much industry attention and began being stocked on the shelves of independent record shops all over the UK as the band continued to captivate audiences, playing shows at KOKO and The 100 Club in London as well as UK Festivals The Great Escape and The Big Chill.
MAGGIE ROSE - Maggie is a young singer/songwriter already making some waves in the London Folk scene, wooing audiences with her subtle and intricate guitar playing and sweet haunting voice. Not dissimilar to early an Laura Marling she seems to be gathering momentum gig by gig. Catch her in intimate surroundings while you still can.
Here are a few things others have said about the artists -
DAN SHEARS AND THE VELVETEEN ORKESTRA -"Shears has a beautifully evocative voice which refuses to be ignored... these orkestral manoeuvres in the dark are set to run and run" - XYZ MAGAZINE
"The Eternal Mystery of the Human Heart... Lush arrangements go hand in glove with the forceful yet delicate vocals of Dan Shears. Some great lyrics make this self-released album pretty much a winner" - JUMBO RECORDS (Leeds)
"The voice of Dan Shears drops jaws. It pushes further than the obvious comparisons and soars above the clouds. He breathes his songs and has audiences holding their breath, waiting for the next twist. His range will stop you in your tracks" - KIERON PEPPER (Drummer with THE PRODIGY)
"Dan's music is warm, enchanting, delicate and beautiful. The Girl The Boy Adored showcases Dan's intriguing and mysterious vocals while weaving a wonderful tale of love, passion and yearning. Great songwriting talent is shown here as well as a very promising up and coming musician" - ACE (Guitarist with ..SKUNK ANANSIE)
"A true artist, a voice with a purity of tone I've not heard from a male singer before. A young man with a real potential for great success" - MARK FLANNERY (Producer:- U2, BLACK SABBATH, SONIC YOUTH, DEF LEPPARD)
WE ARE WILLOW -
Theyre one of the best bands playing around my native Manchester, but also theyre one of the most interesting. Chris Butler one half of the duo Butler Williams has been releasing EPs with collaborations from other artists (artist and musician Kathryn Edwards was the first). Hes just released the third EP, this time with Sam Lench from Samson & Delilah. And its pretty awesome (x10). Without a doubt though, my favourite of Volume III is Bring You Round. Haunting violin, melancholy minimalistic guitar and Butlers rainy-grey voice build up to an astonishing climax that deserves far more exposure, than the oxygen of publicity my blog can generate. Also Im pretty sure it includes a theremin (I have seen them use this live, but I cant confirm.)
Theres more focus on electric, blues guitar than on previous records a crunchier style with Americana hints really comes through on opener Slow Moves and on Like Fire, but he hasnt lost his trick for distinctive, thoughtful lyrics that combine excellently (lookin for the woods/but theres none on the trees, if love is the cure/ its killin me killin me). The last track, Something To Keep In Mind, is a slow-burning ember, and a great bookend for the record.
Here they combine their talents to create a rather beautiful little EP.
Opening track, "Bound By String" sees Kathryn taking the vocal lead over tight bursts of strummed guitar and military drum rattles. It's an unusual and enchanting song. Chris takes over the vocals for "Saving Grace" which is a gorgeously delicate song. Third track "Untitled" is more an acoustic interlude than a track really, and finally (hushed) vocal duties are shared on the wonderfully simple stripped back acoustics of "Deep Blue Skies". Lovely stuff! (Piccadilly Records)
Chris Butlers previous guise as one half of the stripped-back acoustic duo Butler-Williams abated at some point last year, in its place came the first two in a trilogy of collaborations with other local musicians solo artist Kathryn Edwards and Yields member Simon Connor that didnt travel too far from his initial work. That changed on Part 3 and a team-up with Samson & Delilahs Sam Lench; though still possessing the sense of a confessional tone, the four tracks in the finale of the triumvirate bristled with a rugged energy, a captivating sense of anger coursing through Williams normally weary delivery, Bring You Round a particularly abrasive shock to the system. (Drowned in Sound)
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