MEGAN O’NEILL Megan’s first gig of 2020 was very special indeed, with 34 people squeezed into the lounge (several of you for the first time) no last minute dropouts on this occasion! It was certainly a cosy evening. Megan is much more comfortable, and confident, as a solo performer nowadays and we were treated to the best of her back catalogue and a couple of songs that has never been sung in public before. She really is a rising star of Country music in the UK.
MORGANWAY It was great to bump into several of you at the Essex Arms on Thursday to witness an outstanding and perfectly balanced set from Morganway. Excellent songs with fabulous stagecraft and wonderful musicianship. There is something very special about this group of 4 lads and 2 lasses. Can’t be long before they take the world by storm – or should that be Hurricane (or #HarryKane as one of my mates refers to it)? You’ll remember that I had two of Morganway’s songs in my Top 20 Songs of 2019. Hoping to arrange for them to play in Billericay soon. Incidentally, the Essex Arms have some great gigs coming up and it’s a super intimate venue.
UPCOMING GIGS / EVENTS …
BOB HARRIS & LAUREN HOUSLEY An intimate evening with Whispering Bob and the fabulous Mrs Dibb takes place in the Stratford Hotel on Wednesday 4 March. More details here. As you might expect, I’ve got my tickets.
HOUSE GIG: BAD INFLUENCE The gigs just keep getting better as I welcome the excellent Bad Influence to Billericay Rectory on Saturday 14 March. This will now be a duo of Val Cowell and Richard Hayes (Pete Stroud has decided to go ‘down under’ for a couple of months). More details can be found here I still have several places for this gig the uptake is not as popular as I thought/hoped it would be. Please let me know if you interested in coming along. Always good to have a full house!
PSALM: ROB HALLIGAN On Sunday 29 March 2020 singer/songwriter Rob Halligan will be performing his concept album, and book of the same name, ‘Psalm’ at Emmanuel Church, Billericay Rob is no stranger to Billericay and this is sure to be a popular event. Rob writes about Psalm “It’s an exploration of honesty in worship and includes and songs inspired by various Psalms and include celebration, lament, worship and thanksgiving.. More details can be found here
HOUSE GIG: JOE SLATER Joe might be a new artist to many of you, but, I have to say, he is one of the most talented, accomplished, passionate and dynamic young musicians I’ve seen in a long while and is someone to look out for – he certainly has a big future ahead of him. Joe’s gigs at Camden Chapel and the Green Note were real highlights for me in 2019. It goes without saying I’m absolutely delighted that Joe will be playing his ‘Rock and Soul’ at Billericay Rectory on Friday 22 May 2020. This really is a gig not to be missed! More details can be found here
GIG IN THE GARDEN Takes place on Sunday 12 July with the outstanding Danni Nicholls, the fabulous Georgia and the Vintage Youth and local busker Daron Francis! As always, this promises to be an outstanding afternoon/evening of live music. More details, and how to purchase tickets, can be found here Proceeds to the Purple Community Fund.
ALBUMS I’M LISTENING TO …
IN THIS TOWN YOU’RE OWNED (2020) Robert Vincent
Some great songs and a rich variety of styles. Would love a conversation about ‘The kids don’t dig God anymore’. A very interesting theme (for me) for a song!!
OKLAHOMA (2019) Keb Mo
This album won a Grammy for best Americana album. Consistently class from the granddaddy of Americana/Blues.
YOU’RE IN MY HEART (2019) Rod Stewart with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
A little cheesy I know, but this is a well thought out album with a broad choice of ‘Greatest Hits’ and some great orchestration.
MESSAGE FROM THE GODS (2019) Keith James
The latest moody and broody album from KJ putting music to poems by writers such as Maya Angelou. Pablo Neruda, Kate Tempest and W.H. Auden amongst many others.
PSALM (2019) Rob Halligan
Some great songs with timeless themes – geeting to know the songs before Rob performs them at Emmanuel in March.
WANTED ON VOYAGE (2014) / STAYING AT TAMARA’S (2018) George Ezra
A little late to the party with Georgie, but cleverly written songs with acerbic wit and catchy tunes.
BONA DRAG (1990) Morrissey
Yep! Who would have thought? The miserable Mancunian at his best!
YELLOW MOON (1989) The Neville Brothers
Not one of their most well known albums but a classic, including a fabulous version of ‘With God On Our Side’.
CHRISTOPHER CROSS (1979) Christopher Cross
The most successful first album of all-time at the Grammy’s – and rightly so. A timeless album of sheer class.
SONGS FOR THE MAMA THAT TRIED (1981) Merle Haggard
Merle’s story is well known and this album is a poignant tribute to his mama and some great songs too. And that voice!
WELCOME TO PARADISE (1976) Randy Stonehill
One of the first CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) albums I bought as a teenager. Blues, folk, soul – the Americana of its day – with a timeless message.
BORDER TOWN (1972) J.D. Souther
One of the original, but often forgotten, Troubadours. Better known for writing songs for his contemporaries but a quality artist in his own right.
OTHER STUFF …
HOUSE GIGS: PRICE INCREASE Due to the growing number of artists charging VAT and an increase in fees, Paula and I are no longer able to subsidise gigs as we have done for quite some time and so events from May onwards will now cost £20. We have charged £15 since 2016. Many of you have suggested we should have increased prices a long time ago but this was something we were reluctant to do. However, I’m sure you’d agree that £20 is still exceptional value for two sets by amazing artists and a fabulous meal from Paula. Hope this increase doesn’t stop any of you coming to future gigs.
LENT: A SEASON OF FEASTING AND FASTING Many people, whether they attend church or not ‘give something up’ during Lent. Read my recent article about Feasting and Fasting during the season of Lent
EASTER AT EMMANUEL Easter is such a significant celebration in the Christian Church and it is well worth making a note in your diary! More details can be found here
RING PULLS Many of you collect ring pulls for the Purple Community Fund. Can I ask you to collect them at your place of work and either send them direct or bring them along next time you’re in Billericay. More details can be found here
WEBSITE Do keep your eyes on my website revpacman.wordpress.com for some interesting (honestly) articles and details of other upcoming events.
SABBATICAL If you’re interested to read what I got up to for three months during the summer of 2010 make yourself a brew and click on the link here
THANK YOU For helping to keep music (and theatre) live in Billericay. Being an independent promoter isn’t easy nowadays, with more and more venues closing down. I, along the artists who have appeared, really appreciate your continued support.
Do let me know what you are listening to and any gigs to watch out for and don’t forget I’m always happy to catch up for a coffee/beer/curry!