MP3 Brian Houston - thirteen days in August
Alternative country is over used but as close as it comes but this is from Ireland so has some celtic attitude too.
12 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Americana, ROCK: Acoustic
Born on the east side of Belfast and growing up in the seventies Brian Houston''s musical influences range from old time gospel tunes to late night paternal indoctrination through bootlegged Hank Williams reel to reels. ''My Dad used to make us sit in the hallway when he came home drunk and he would play us Kris Kristopherson and John Prine as well as Hank and always rewound the tapes endlessly to draw our attention to the words'' he says.
Naturally he rebelled against such force-feeding and found the (by then retro) sounds of Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan and Steve Earle stimulated his imagination more. As a teenager he played local church halls, forming a circuit that made up Irish Saturday and Sunday night entertainment for young people. Soon however he graduated to the local pub scene, learning to win over audiences who were baying for chart cover versions, with his original songs, strong stage persona and musicianship.
As the nineties progressed he fronted a succession of bands and entered various talent competitions leading to trips to London where he met producers keen to work on his songs. The mid Nineties saw Brian make a series of demo recordings with Mike Howlett (Gong), Adrian Lee (Mike and the Mechanics) and Peter Van Hook (Tanita Tikaram), experimenting different styles and searching for his own sound.
Releasing some of these demos locally he achieved his first taste of chart success with his own compositions, which helped to score him support slots with visiting international stars, with Elvis Costello, Dr John, Van the Man and various English chart acts and American country stars gave him a taste of the big stages and the life of a singer songwriter.
In the winter of 2002 Brian commenced his first tour of England as an opening act for American Alt. Country rockers Stewboss, which exposed him for the first time to audiences and reporters who were completely unfamiliar with his Irish pedigree. With a collection of well-crafted songs and an intense live performing style he began endearing himself to and ultimately winning over, crowds who were enchanted by his passionate delivery and intimate lyrics.
In March 2003 venerated English DJ Bob Harris discovered Brian''s raw sound when he picked Mea Culpa from a pile of hundreds of other albums and began playing first Scared of Falling and then Standing Here. ''It was only thirty seconds in when I realized what a really, really special piece of music this is'' was Bob''s opening comment when he gave Brian his début play on National Radio. Bob Harris has been quick to pick up on Brian''s illusive catalogue of pathos and melodic dexterity, referring to him after a recent gig as "the very, very excellent Brian Houston" Bob was the first of many British DJs to champion Brian''s music for the UK public.
Brian released The Valley later in 2003, which was again championed by Bob Harris who played several tracks repeatedly. Brian toured England in support of the album also playing a showcase with Laura Viers, Judy Tzuke and Martyn Joseph which was hosted by Bob Harris. Through this exposure Brian was honoured by the invitation to open for Van Morrison at Killyleagh castle along with Glen Hansard and Juliet Turner.
2004 saw the release of the acclaimed Thirteen Days in August, which was declared Alt Country album of the year by BBC Radio Ulster. Again garnering airplay on Radio 2, this album also lead to a glowing review in Paste Magazine in America. Thirteen Days has been Brian''s biggest seller to date.
With more and more live opportunities opening up after each show Brian continues to perform throughout the UK in support of other bands as well as his own headline shows.
Brian is currently completing a new collection of songs for his forthcoming album, provisionally entitled "Red Badge of Courage"
With more UK and Irish dates scheduled for the autumn Brian will also be making a flying visit to the USA to play in the Bluebird Café in Nashville and venues in other cities.
His new album is scheduled for release in April 2007.