MP3 Matt Thompson - Would Be Stars
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10 MP3 Songs
COUNTRY: Bluegrass, FOLK: Modern Folk
Five string banjoist Matt Thompson, is pleased to present to you his album of original self-penned tunes. Featuring eleven nationally acclaimed musicians from the South West of the UK "Would Be Stars" draws from this multi-faceted music scene to produce a refreshing and accomplished cd of real quality.
Matt is well-known on the UK bluegrass circuit and around Bristol for fronting top line-up The Gully Jumpers (1991-1996), and more recently has played with The Westway Flyovers, Wylde Green, Los Yanquis and in Bournemouth, The Hedge Monkeys. The CD "Would Be Stars" is his first release of original material and by melding the musical influences that have inspired him in his career to date, Matt has written and produced an exceptional album. It appeals not only to lovers of the banjo, but with inspiration from bluegrass, old-time, celtic and even eastern sounds it is accessible to a wide audience. With the aid of Joff Lowson, Alex Vann and Jim Blomfield to name but three, he has created a varied and interesting collection of tunes with a strong melodic feel and an emphatic groove.
The ten track album starts in kicking bluegrass fashion with "Moose", featuring Matt on banjo and fiddle and ex-Gully Jumper Alex Vann on mandolin, while Paul Hill pumps out a cracking double bass line.
Track two, 'Spin Dolls', has Matt on banjo and guitar picking a soothing melodic tune originally composed as the soundtrack to a piece of interactive computer art, sponsored by Southern Arts.
On track three, Matt is joined by long time friend Dave Brown, who plays an exquisite piece of guitar alongside the flute and singing tones of Pete Troake's bodrhan in a celtic flavoured pair of jigs.
The title track "Would Be Stars" was partly inspired by many hours fixing up old cars and motorbikes with long time acquaintance and percussionist, Garage Andy. 'I just had to get him on the album somehow' says Matt. On this track Andy "plays" the electric arc welder, various ratchets and air tools in a captivating rhythm while wizard Jim Blomfield, Bristol's best known jazz pianist adds a wonderfully dirty piece of organ over the banjo groove.
Track five has a driving eastern sound. The only track on the album with drums, it makes use of the exceptional talent of young Dan Lifton, drummer with Beltaine, a fresh hit on the UK folk scene. Also appearing is Fi Fi Fiddle, gifted multi-instrumentalist originally from Brighton, who gives a searing violin solo. 'Easton Breakdown' is named after the multi-cultural area of Bristol where it was composed. Easton has the best supermarket in the city, the self-acclaimed best Indian takeaway and a rather good pub. Also a valuable part of the "Bristol in bloom" competition check it out next time you're in town.
Plinky Plonk is the name of the sixth track. Dave Brown duets on the guitar in a melodic piece that almost breathes.
Track seven is a short interlude featuring keyboard whizz Jim Blomfield on piano. He said he thought it sounds a bit like Led Zeppelin... Hence the name, No Stairway. All that air guitar practice obviously paid off.
Track eight has Joff "Jalapeno Pickers" Lowson on guitar, and Alex Vann on mandolin. Matt says "The title 'Don't Touch That' comes from repeatedly suggesting to some kids I once lived with to keep away from the banjo. It'll only lead to a mis-spent youth. Take up snooker or something else with prospects..."
Talented foot stomper Melody Jane features on track nine. 'In More Trouble Than You' has Matt on fiddle and banjo in a modal old-timey duet that could've come from the appalachian mountains. Melody and Matt now have their own two-person show which they are travelling the world with. See the Would Be Stars website for more details.
To bring the album to a close, Matt double tracks a pair of banjos in a catchy harmony piece with a soaring second part. "The banjos are tuned down to a B chord, giving a low alternating bass while the upper strings ring over the top" Leylandii is so called as it is debatable which is more popular with the neighbours.
Variety, excitement, mellowness and melody. All you could ask for in a modern and up to date banjo record...
And there's more! If you are a banjoist looking for fresh material you can download free tablature to some of the tunes from Matt Thompson's website.
Thanks for visiting, hope you enjoy downloading some of the samples.
Would Be Stars features:
Matt Thompson: banjo, fiddle, various other instruments
Joff Lowson: (Coal Porters, Blue Aeroplanes), Guitars
Alex Vann: (Spiro), Mandolin
Jim Blomfield: (Andy Sheppard, Septimbre), Keyboard
Dave Brown: (Swervy World), Guitar
Paul Hill: (Westway Flyovers), Double Bass
Dan Lifton: (Beltaine), Drums, Bongos
Fi Fi Fiddle: (Tragic Roundabout), Fiddle
Pete Troake: (Sabotabby), Flute, Bodhran
Garage Andy: (K Passa), Welder, Air Ratchet
Melody Jane (Spank The Planks), Step Dancing
Matt started playing banjo after watching the Beverly Hillbillies in the 1980's and his musical career has taken him across Europe, the US and New Zealand, playing bluegrass, country and Irish music. Matt and Melody are promoting the Would Be Stars album in Australia from December 2003. See the would be stars website for more info
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