2017

It's been a while since I posted anything on this blog. The band have been pretty busy, however. Last May, Debbie (guitar and vocals) and Henry (drums and vocals) joined the band properly, after a 'taster' gig the previous September at Saltaire Festival. Debbie and Henry have added many things to the band - a new energy, lots of experience and ideas, a capacity for four-part harmonies, and an encouragement to keep writing. We started on something of a high, with a wonderful if nerve-wracking sold-out gig at the Otley Courthouse in July. There was almost too much to learn in the short amount of time we had for rehearsal - not just the songs, but how to play and work together - but everything came together in time, and we were blessed with an appreciative, receptive audience. A quiet summer followed, with an appearance at CraggFest in September returning us to activity. We have since been busy writing new material, with 8-9 new songs now seeking a place in our live set. Almost a new album's worth. It's been interesting and exciting to see how the song-writing and sound are evolving with the new line-up - a more expansive, poppier sound in some of the new stuff (hints of Fleetwood Mac and even a 'Supergrass' moment), but some more delicate, harmony-rich moments too (think Wailing Jennys). It seems to be fitting together, somehow.

We are starting 2017 with a series of gigs in the region, starting with a (solo) support for Rayna Gellert and Kai Welch (luminaries of the US folk scene), and a March gig at the Left Bank in Leeds with friends Wilful Missing and Emma Nabarro steel rounding things off (for now). There are some more gigs in the pipeline, and plans to record and release the new material later in the year.

Check out our events page. Find (and like) us on Facebook. We look forward to seeing you.

Another year

A year ago today we held our album launch. Nathan, Rick and myself - with help from Joe Cox on drums and Sandy James - played an intimate concert for friends and family, and celebrated finally getting some our music released.

The album has had a pretty good reception. I think I'm most proud of the fact that 8 of the 11 tracks on the album has had one or more plays on the radio. This perhaps provides support for what one reviewer wrote: that almost every track on the album could be a single. At least, it seems that we achieved a consistent quality across the album, and I do think all the songs have something to recommend them.

Unfortunately, we were not in a position to go out and play live in the months after the launch. There were various reasons for this, mostly beyond our control. It was strange and rather disappointing to be inactive, even while the album was picking up good reviews and radio play. It means we still have plenty of CDs left!

In September we managed to find some new musicians - Debbie and Henry, on guitar/vocals and drums respectively. We played our first gig together at Saltaire Festival, a little 'fresh' but sounding good. Now we are thinking about new material, perhaps some recording, and going out to play some gigs in the new year. I hope so anyway. Meanwhile, I will be playing keys with Wilful Missing, about to launch their second album 'Unsinkable Sailor' in December.

Rhys

On being reviewed

I haven't posted here for a while. I have, however, been adding more of album reviews as they've come in. As a longtime fan of many of the places we've been reviewed in - R2 magazine, No Depression, AmericanaUK and FATEA - it has been a real pleasure to see our music reviewed there, and especially to have had such consistently positive responses to the album. Thanks to all the reviewers for their time. It's also been great to get some radioplay, and I have to acknowledge John Godfrey for playing us four times now on The Troubadour Show. It always makes my day when I discover we are getting a spin.

There are many nice things about being reviewed. It is interesting, of course, to hear how other people interpret your music and lyrics. Many of the reviews comment on the melancholy or bittersweet nature of the songs. This is not news to me, of course, but it is different to have that knowledge confirmed in a different way, and by people who don't already know me/us. I've spent a bit of time wondering if I can write a 'happy' record next time around. Probably not. I was somewhat reassured recently when watching Radio 2 best duo winners Josienne Clark and Ben Walker (who I went to see in Hebden Bridge). Josienne joked throughout the concert about the downbeat nature of her songs, but was, ultimately, unapologetic. 'You know what you are getting', she said, 'so I don't need to apologise'. People seemed to enjoy it, regardless.

It is also interesting, if slightly disconcerting, to see the different ways that songs might be interpreted. It becomes rather tempting to respond and say 'no, that song is about something different', or it means something different, to me at least. But I guess I'm with those that like a degree of ambiguity in lyrics, and allow that listeners will find their own meanings in a song. One thing I will say, though, is that although I often write in the first person, I'm not always singing about myself. Oh, and that there is a always degree of license in writing - a song might start off being about one thing, but becomes something else (or various things) in the process of writing. In other words, all is well, and not always as it seems.

Rhys

Reviews

The album has been out for a little while now and has been getting some really positive responses from 'industry' people and listeners. We are hoping for some magazine reviews, but in the meantime here are a few reactions so far:

"A brilliant album... I've listened to the album a few times now and the only problem I have with it is trying to select a track for the show - they are all excellent." Jon Godfrey, The Troubadour Show

"Englishman, Rhys Kelly, willfully goes missing from his regular band to record great solo album as ten fields." Michael Park, The International Americana Music Show.

 

And some from some (no less important) listeners:

'Really enjoying the album - congratulations.' D.

Superbly crafted songs. Great musicianship. ***** G.

I bought your lovely album on iTunes and am listening to it now. The first track had me up and dancing around the room. You guys are amazing! S.

Lyrically sharp, interesting arrangements, nice alt-country feel... G.

A first class album. S.

 

Happy 2015

Rhys

Seasonal wishes

I'm in Germany at the moment, visiting my wife's family as we do every other Christmas. Last time I was here for Christmas, in 2012, I wrote one of the title songs on the album - Winter Sun. I don't usually remember the time or place when songs appear, but this one I remember clearly. It was a beautiful day, just as today happens to be: expansive blue skies, brilliant sun, icy cold, but with a welcome warmth from the sun. The family were all out and I had a few rare hours to myself. It was a strange time in my life. We'd had a lovely Christmas with our boys, and my wife and I were celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. There was much to be thankful for. But they were difficult times for me too, for different reasons, and a heavy shadow had been cast over the holidays. Being alone, I felt a need to make some music. I remember looking out of the big picture window in the lounge and just starting to sing what I saw: 'Winter sun in the trees. Breath your warmth upon all the scattered leaves'. I didn't have my guitar with me, but there was an old classical guitar with nylon strings somewhere in the house. I worked out the melody I'd been singing, and within an hour most of a song had been written. It is (to me) a hopeful song, and writing it gave me a hopeful feeling. It turned out to be one of my favourites on the album.

It's good to be here again, in better circumstances. Time to go and enjoy this gorgeous weather...

Wishing you all the best for the season, and for 2015. 

Rhys

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On the radio..

I read somewhere recently that it has never been easier to make an album, but never more difficult to get it heard. That is, whilst technology has enabled more and more people to record and release music, that same process inevitably means there is just ever more music out there competing for attention. Fortunately, I've also been discovering recently that there are some brilliant people out there dedicated to championing new and independent music through their own public radio shows. These shows are often available online as well as through radio broadcast, so I've also really been enjoying hearing some shows I couldn't otherwise tune into, and finding even more new music!

One of our songs was played last week on The International Americana Show, a radio show broadcast in the US, but featuring Americana-influenced music made by international artists - that'll be us then! If you fancy tuning in, the show is available on mixcloud  from Tuesday 2nd December, or via www.tiams.org

Many thanks Michael for the play! We are in some very good company...

Here's the full playlist...

 

Norrie MacIver (Scotland) – You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive (Danns A Rathaid)
Shannon Lyon (Canada) – The Lights Behind (The Lights Behind)
Atterby (Sweden) – Free (Songs From The Green Tower) 
Frazey Ford (Canada) – September Fields (Indian Ocean) 
Ten Fields (England) – Don't Forget My Love (Winter Sun, Summer Rain)  
Stetson Family (Australia) – Travellin Man (Single) 
Wookalily (Northern Ireland) – Johnny Kicked The Bucket (All The Waiting While) 
Matt Ellis (Australia) – Greyhound 89 / Thank You Los Angeles
Thompson Family (England) – Right (Family) 
The Basement Boogie Men (Scotland) – Shake Baby Shake (Demented Dynamite) 
Laurie Levine (South Africa) – Lost & Found (Come Closer) 
Ballad Of Crows (Germany) – Hard & Heavy Rain
Suzzanah Espie (Australia) – Lonesome Whistle (First and Last Hotel) 
The New Basement Tapes (England) – Kansas City (Lost On The River)

Release day!!!

Well, after a lot of work and a rather long build up, our album is officially released today, on both CD and as a digital download. Hurray! I'm really looking forward to playing tonight, seeing some friends, and celebrating with Nathan and Rick - we finally got it done, and I'm proud of the result.

The CD and download are available direct from our website, and can be purchased securely using the integrated shop (everything is discreetly handled by Squarespace, apart from licking the stamps and going to the postbox).

MP3 downloads can also be purchased via CD baby, either direct from their site or via our Facebook page.

Our music will also be available on Itunes shortly.

Hope to see some people tonight, and thanks to everyone who has bought the album so far.

Rhys

 

Musical heroes #1

I was tinkering on the guitar today, playing with a song idea I’d had a few months ago but hadn’t finished (like so many!). I’d put it aside partly because it was rather obviously sounding like Neil Finn. Now, to me this is no bad thing - Neil Finn is one of my musical heroes, and probably the songwriter I most aspired to be like when I started writing. I can still put on his music and wonder just how he does it, this master craftsman of melody. So it is very tempting, on the occasions when I get a hint of a Finn-esque melody, to run with it, to develop it’s Finn-ness –  to Finn-esse it perhaps (thanks to auto-type for suggesting that rather lame joke). Taken too far, of course, you might get pastiche, but it’s a good way to learn, to find out what it is about someone’s music that you admire. For example, I love the way the melody in the Crowded House song Distant Sun develops, with lines that are rhythmically similar throughout the verses, but melodically distinct on almost every line, and how the verses build to make the chorus essential, inevitable. Or the way a song like Wherever You Are  inverts the usual quiet-low verse/loud-high chorus, with no loss of impact. These are all encouragements to try different ways of writing, to not just settle on the first idea. And even if the songs don’t come out sounding as you first imagine – they rarely do in my experience - they might be better or more interesting for the attempt to try something new.

Listeners may not hear much of the Finn influence on this record (except perhaps on Winter Sun), probably because my style of writing has changed, and my influences broadened. I hope it sounds like ten fields. Still, playing around on the guitar today led me to listen again to some Neil Finn songs, and gave me an excuse to write about what a great songwriter (and all round nice guy) he is.

Our own music has started its journey into the world – including a first radio play on BBC Leeds – and generally the response so far has been really encouraging. We've also been rehearsing for our launch and getting excited about playing live again…

Rhys

Album Launch Date: 14th November

We are really pleased to announce that our new album 'Winter Sun - Summer Rain' will be released on 14th November. The CD is now available to pre-order in the shop. A digital download will be available from the 14th.

To celebrate the release and completion of this project, we are holding a special launch party at the Stubbing Wharf, Hebden Bridge, on Friday 14th, 8.30pm. Rhys, Nathan and Rick - with some special guests - will be perfoming an acoustic-based set, including songs from the album and one or two old favourites. See Events for more information.

We hope to see you there!

Rhys