Today’s Featured Artist – INTERVIEW – The Gleeman

Tell us about:

Your latest single you have released:

“Summer Town” is an ode to the winter doldrums that can take hold during the post festive season annual  comedown – it’s wet, it’s cold, it’s dark, it’s grey and summer seems a long way away. I’ve always struggled with January in particular and the associated lack of daylight and sunshine. “Summer Town” is my yearning for and daydreaming of escaping to those sunnier and warmer times.

Your first single and how you felt when it was released:

 My first single was actually an EP (Gunslinger Acoustic EP) which was released at the end of May last year. Most of the tracks are stripped back acoustic versions that will appear in their fully produced guises on my debut album “Something To Say”. We released that particular one quietly and without much fanfare but it was a proud and eventful moment for me, one of the four tracks was written all but 30 years ago so it felt good to finally get some music out into the world!

Your favourite song that you have created that is an album track:

That would have to be a track called “Feel”. Most of my forthcoming album is either acoustic guitar or piano driven, although this one has some acoustic elements I also got to strap on my Gibson Les Paul, plug in the wah-wah pedal and rock out a little. The track starts with an almighty thunderclap and rain, followed by some low strings and sound effects (all very atmospheric!) segueing into a picked acoustic guitar and vocal, but then changes tempo between the verses and chorus and kicks into gear along with some great rock strings and wah-wah’ed electric guitar. I guess having written the track on acoustic it is the one that transformed the most during the production process and feels quite epic where it has ended up. It deserves to be played on a festival stage somewhere with smoke billowing, wind whipping around and rain cascading down. It does also tackle quite a hard-hitting subject matter lyrically though.

Your favourite song to play live:

At the moment it’s a song called “Let It Shine”. It’s another slightly uncharacteristic (for The Gleeman) rock song which may see the light of day on a later album. The recorded version has some full-on growling, swampy, grungy guitars. I have been gigging acoustically so it’s taken on a bit of a different vibe, but is still driven by the same great little guitar riff (even if I do say so myself!). Recently I’ve had a violinist play along on stage which has evolved the song into a bit more of a country-rock direction which has been received well and it also has an “audience participation” sing-along section. It’s always fun to get the crowd involved and to see how much they are enjoying the experience.

The song that was the longest to write and why?

I’ve thought long and hard about this but I am struggling to pin anything down. My songs tend to get written over fairly short periods of time and I feel that if I have to fight with them too much and am not feeling it, then maybe they are not worth the effort of finishing anyway.

Your most emotional track:

 I’m a storyteller. My songs always need to have Something To Say (hence the name of my debut album as mentioned above!). Many of them end up being works of fiction (Gunslinger or The Legendary Planetary Émigré, for example) but there are others that are personal and also very emotional. Some I don’t feel able to go into right now, so for the moment I am going to plump for a track called “You Are Not Alone”. I wrote this a few days after my Mum died in the period in which we were prepping to record the album.

Losing a parent is always going to be a profound moment, but she had suffered from dementia for over 20 years, so I had lost my Mum a very long time ago, but then lost her again. The song is a comfort blanket to wrap up in, which I wrote whilst confronting that ultimate and final irreplaceable loss, but it has a universal message which I hope others will connect with. The emotions actually got the better of me when we were recording the vocals in the studio, we did no more than those first couple of takes as the producer was keen to capture that moment and rawness, we maybe dropped in the odd line where I wobbled a little too far, but I think you can hear that emotion come through in the record.

The best lyric you have ever written:

That’s a tough one! I think I am going to have to go with “But you still mix with those who powder their nose, but it’s like vanishing cream that’s applied to your self-esteem”

Describe the feeling you get when you walk on stage to do a show:

 Comfort from the fact that I’ve remembered to wear my brown underpants.

The hardest track to play live:

That will be Gunslinger. It’s a bit of a rollicking old piano part. There’s a bit in the intro and outro that always gives me the willies leading up into it as it’s always a little hit or miss whether I am going to reach the notes OK, which is one of the main contributing factors in ensuring I am wearing the suitably required hue of undergarments (see above!).

Essential items you always take on tour with you?

Brown underpants – naturally.

Describe your fans in three words:

Discerning. Perspicacious. Wise.

A song by another artist or band you wish you had written:

Happy Birthday – written by the Hill Sisters. It’s the most profitable song of all time.

What we can look forward to from your band this year:

Everything is now gearing up to the release of the album, so more singles and live dates in the run up to that.

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