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The next instalment in the ever-popular Songwriters Circle series. This time Phil & Simon are joined by the highly-respected Findlay Napier. Three songwriters simultaneously share the stage, performing songs in the Nashville round style.
Phil Caffrey - Has been writing and singing songs for almost all of his life, but surprisingly, when he agreed to be the special guest on the opening leg of Dave Fenley & Simon Todd’s 2012 UK tour “Beer, Blokes & Ballads”, it was to be the first time he had performed as a solo acoustic singer-songwriter. Revered in the North East for live performances with “The Caffreys”, who reached the final of BBC TV’s ‘UK’s Best Part-Time band’, he now dedicates much of his time to teaching and coaching aspiring young musicians; passing on his skills to the next generation, and giving them a platform on which to develop and perform. www.thecaffs.com
Simon Todd - Founder member of Northumberland favourites, Morgan le Fay, Todd is an accomplished singer-songwriter, having rubbed shoulders with the likes of Chris Difford, Boo Hewerdine and Karine Polwart. Strong melodies, a big voice, and quite possibly some dodgy banter. www.simontodd.co.uk
Findlay Napier - As defined in the title of his remarkable 2015 solo debut VIP: Very Interesting Persons (No.2 in the Daily Telegraph’s top dozen folk albums that year), Scottish singer-songwriter (and sometime stand-up comic) Findlay Napier categorically commands musical VIP status.
Co-written and produced by revered UK songsmith Boo Hewerdine, VIP’s ten biographical tracks, invoking real-life sources from Hedy Lamarr to a cave-dwelling Scottish tramp, marked another career high for Napier, building on plaudits and awards for his previous line-ups Back of the Moon, Queen Anne’s Revenge and The Bar Room Mountaineers.
He now turns those same supreme songwriting and storytelling gifts, allied with magpie-minded imagination and truly magnificent vocals, to his adoptive home town, on VIP’s hotly anticipated follow-up, Glasgow.
Continuing his collaboration with Hewerdine, the new album combines freshly-penned originals with classics and rarities from Glasgow’s vast and colourful ballad canon, by authors as diverse as Hamish Imlach and The Blue Nile. Together, they form an extended musical love-letter to Scotland’s metropolis, celebrating 20 years since Napier first arrived as a student, swapping his idyllic Highland childhood home for the 14th floor of the city’s notorious (and since demolished) Red Road flats.
“It was a bit of a culture shock,” he affirms, with characteristically wry understatement. “But that was where I first encountered the kind of crazy characters Glasgow seems to produce: it was like living inside some kind of mad cartoon at times.”
In the two decades since, Napier’s career has evolved symbiotically with the now world-famous music scene – famous across genres from progressive folk to avant-pop – that’s earned Glasgow its title as UNESCO City of Music. Napier’s own songcraft today vibrantly reflects this increasingly rich stylistic melting-pot – a mix he’s played no small part in creating, especially the cross-fertilisation between Glasgow’s folk and indie communities,
as both co-host (with Admiral Fallow frontman Louis Abbott) of a long-running open-mic night, and promoter of the decade-old Hazy Recollections concert series.
In 2016, too, Napier launched the Glasgow Songwriting Festival, a weekend of workshops and performances which completely sold out its inaugural outing, and returns in 2017: featured artists to date include Karine Polwart, Emma Pollock, the aforementioned Abbott and Stanley Odd MC Dave Hook. In between putting the finishing touches to Glasgow, Napier also toured in spring 2017 with acclaimed contemporary protest-song showcase Shake the Chains.
“Songcraft and wit in the Difford & Tilbrook tradition” (Sunday Herald)
“Michael Marra meets Elvis Costello. . . Napier oozes class” (Folk Radio UK)
“A beautiful amalgam of Scottish soul, funk and folk” (Irish American Times)
“More rock’n’roll than 50 shitty indie bands” (BluesBunny)
“Weird” (Sunday Mail)
One of the best kept secrets and almost one of the lost treasures of contemporary music is Simon Todd. Hugely accomplished, this self-taught guitar and piano player once formed a seminal part of the now near-legendary Morgan Le Fay. Not one to take the easy route, lyrically or otherwise, Simon places equal emphasis on melody, chord structure and presentation. Blessed with a wonderfully wide range and rich powerful voice, he is, in essence, the complete songwriter and as much at ease in the studio as he is on stage.
See Simon Todd tour dates
Talented singer-songwriter-guitarist from the Highlands of Scotland taking in elements of folk, rock, pop, country and even a touch of jazz. Findlay is well known as the host of Celtic Connections late night sessions and made his name touring and recording with Scottish folk band Back Of The Moon.
See 3 tour dates featuring Findlay Napier
Driving force behind BBC TV's "UK's Best Part-Time Band" finalists, The Caffreys.
See Phil Caffrey tour dates
- Tynemouth Park
- Grand Parade
- NE30 4JH