Music journalist

Music is my other passion. I contribute to a number of magazines, interviewing artists and looking back over key moments in musical history. Anything involving the Beatles will always spark my interest, but I have an eclectic taste and cover most genres and eras.

I'm always open to commissions for music writing. If I can help, please get in touch.

Richard Hawley: Kindness as an Act of Resistance - Stereoboard

Sheffield is in Richard Hawley’s DNA, his albums infused with the indefatigable spirit of the proud northern industrial city even as he plays music inspired by American rock and roll, country, bluegrass and gospel.

While many of his albums have borne the names of its landmarks, it is from the camaraderie and resolve of the place’s people that the songwriter draws the most inspiration. His latest release, 'In This City They Call You Love', takes its name from a familiar term of endearment, so commonplace in Sheffield, but something that nevertheless gives Hawley hope.

He expands on the sentiment during People, effectively the title track on an album of beautifully crafted songs reminiscent of his early solo work. It serves as a love letter to fellow Sheffielders, an acoustic ballad built around a phrase he overheard walking past people sitting outside a bar.

'I Enjoyed the Heck Out of It': Reflecting on The Beach Boys With The Beach Boys

For more than half a century The Beach Boys have represented the endless sound of summer against a backdrop of the Californian surf, set to some of the most gloriously transcendent harmonies ever committed to tape. In a remarkable run of success that produced some of the 60s’ most memorable and beloved hit singles, the band also produced one of that decade’s most revered albums in ‘Pet Sounds’, one that rivalled even The Beatles in ambition and creativity.

But their story is also one of family, once combined in harmony, later fractured, and of tragedy, with the early deaths of two original members. With the surviving Beach Boys now entering their 80s, it’s fitting their lasting legacy is being celebrated with two new landmark projects – their only official book, The Beach Boys by The Beach Boys, and a documentary simply called The Beach Boys, which streams on Disney+ and reunites the band in a coda, made even more poignant given legendary composer Brian Wilson’s recent diagnosis with a “major neurocognitive disorder”.

Rhythm, Playfulness: William Doyle On 'Springs Eternal' - Stereoboard

‘Springs Eternal’, the new album from William Doyle, is imbued with a playfulness, a lightness of touch, revealing an artist unafraid to have fun even as the characters in his songs drown in the chaos of an uncertain world. It’s a vibrant, pulsating, euphoric ride that fizzes with a greater focus on rhythm than Doyle’s recent works. It’s a spirit founded, ironically, on a sense of artistic loss during the making of Doyle’s last album, 2021’s critically acclaimed ‘Great Spans of Muddy Time’. Then, all his initial embryonic melodies were lost in a catastrophic hard drive failure, forcing him to rebuild the album from a series of cassette tape recordings – the only copies that still existed.

It was an experience that proved freeing for a self-professed perfectionist and if ‘Great Spans…’ was minimalist by necessity, its successor is ambitious in scope and finds him at his most confident and assured, delivering the strongest vocal performances of his career.

Celestial Candyfloss and French Electricity: Gruff Rhys Takes Another Leap Into The Unknown

Gruff Rhys’s career has been defined by a constant quest to explore, to discover how different environments can forge new sounds. That ongoing musical pursuit even extended to mastering his latest recordings in Paris to test a theory that electricity in different locations drives equipment in unique ways. Those tracks make up ‘Sadness Sets Me Free’, the latest album in the former Super Furry Animals frontman’s wide and varied career. It’s been a 35-year journey taking in early days in Welsh language band Ffa Coffi Pawb to collaborating with artists as diverse as Boom Bip (as half of Neon Neon), Gorillaz, Mogwai and Paul McCartney, as well as writing the libretto for a Stephen McNeff opera.

How Kate Simon captured Bob Marley on camera

Celebrated rock photographer Kate Simon has photographed some of the biggest names in music in a career lasting five decades. But it’s her time with reggae’s greatest pioneer, the iconic Bob Marley that had the most profound and lasting impact on her career.

Her book Rebel Music: Bob Marley and Roots Reggae, first released by Genesis Publications in 2004 as a collector’s edition and widely hailed as the definitive Bob Marley tome, has recently been published as a hardback bookstore edition featuring additional text and images drawn from thousands of negatives to mark the 50th anniversary of Marley’s first Island Records release, Catch a Fire.

Accompanying the photographs are the stories behind the images from Simon herself and first-hand contributions from a cast of 24 contributors including Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, Lenny Kravitz, Keith Richards (Rolling Stones), Paul Simonon (The Clash), Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen.

The story of Now And Then | How The Beatles reuinted one last time with the magic of AI

The Beatles’ new and final single ‘Now And Then’ marries AI with musical legend. Here’s the story of how Lennon’s 1978 demo was brought to life alongside McCartney, Harrison, and Starr’s artistry, culminating years of work and sparking ethical AI debates.

It’s a testament to the enduring power of The Beatles that their final new single, Now And Then, brought the world together yesterday in a moment of joy, love, hope and unity, 53 years after they split.

A global listening event elicited an outpouring of emotion from fans as the latest cutting-edge AI technology helped the band achieve the impossible and reunite one last time.

The photography book showing life through Paul McCartney's eyes

Beatlemania conjures up images which define the Sixties—four mop topped musicians from Liverpool reshaping the musical and cultural landscape, surrounded by adoring, screaming fans and press photographers while police officers tried to maintain order.

But now thanks to an extraordinary treasure trove of nearly a thousand photographs, newly re-discovered in Paul McCartney’s archive during lockdown, we have the opportunity to experience life for the four pairs of eyes that lived and witnessed that intense, legendary time first-hand.

In a new book 1964: Eyes of the Storm, McCartney presents 275 of his photographs from six cities, Liverpool, London, Paris, New York, Washington DC and Miami taken during a momentous three months in the Beatles’ journey, including many never-before-seen portraits of John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

A British musician in Paris (PDF)

Les Jardins d’Éole is a green oasis on the Rue d’Aubervilliers, a Parisian park surrounded by low-cost housing and hugging the railway lines ferrying people eastwards from the Gare de l’Est. A rare place with big skies.

It’s also the favourite park of British singer-songwriter Kate Stables, who migrated to Paris from Bristol 18 years ago in search of adventure with her partner and frequent musical collaborator Jesse D Vernon. On Careful of Your Keepers, the critically acclaimed new album by Stables’s band – she goes by the alias This Is The Kit – that has just been released by Rough Trade, she paints a vivid painting of life in the park – humanity at its most beautiful and heartbreaking.

The meditative track in question, This Is When The Sky Gets Big, reflects one of the many things she loves about Paris – being able to travel anywhere in Europe by train. No need to bother with airports or leaving the ground. People constantly coming and going. “And the lines will take you somewhere else,” she sings.

Brexit won't stop the music for one British musician in Paris

Les Jardins d’Éole is a green oasis on the Rue d’Aubervilliers, a Parisian park surrounded by low-cost housing and hugging the railway lines ferrying people eastwards from the Gare de l’Est. A rare place with big skies.

It’s also the favourite park of British singer-songwriter Kate Stables, who migrated to Paris from Bristol 18 years ago in search of adventure with her partner and frequent musical collaborator Jesse D Vernon. On Careful of Your Keepers, the critically acclaimed new album by Stables’s band – she goes by the alias This Is The Kit – that has just been released by Rough Trade, she paints a vivid painting of life in the park – humanity at its most beautiful and heartbreaking.

The meditative track in question, This Is When The Sky Gets Big, reflects one of the many things she loves about Paris – being able to travel anywhere in Europe by train. No need to bother with airports or leaving the ground. People constantly coming and going. “And the lines will take you somewhere else,” she sings.

Exploring Paul Weller's musical career - Reader's Digest

Paul Weller’s musical career has been defined by a singular need to keep moving and breaking fresh ground.

The Mod icon split The Jam at the height of their fame to break new barriers with the genre-defying The Style Council before embarking on a still prolific and vibrant thirty-year solo career. Weller, who recently turned 65, has pursued an ever-evolving career path encompassing sixties guitar pop, punk and new wave sensibilities, soul, R&B, jazz, classical, electronica and much more besides. This almost unmatched need for sonic evolution finds its equivalences only in David Bowie and his childhood heroes The Beatles.

But at the heart of Weller’s odyssey is classic songwriting: his ability to convey a feeling or a mood and to speak for a generation. It’s that gift he explores in his new book Magic: A Journal of Song. Published by Genesis Publications, it offers an unprecedented insight into his creative process, collecting more than 100 lyrics from across 28 albums, accompanied by an illuminating commentary of over 25,000 words.

The new book that explores Paul McCartney's legacy

Jeremy Blackmore talks to the authors of The McCartney Legacy, a deep dive into Sir Paul McCartney's solo career

Sir Paul McCartney’s headline Glastonbury set this summer was a triumphant celebration, not only of his legendary Beatles career, but of five decades as a major solo artist. Yet while he remains arguably the most written about and photographed musician in history, most biographies pay his post-Beatles career scant attention. It’s something which the respected veteran music journalist, author and critic Allan Kozinn and award-winning documentarian Adrian Sinclair have set out to correct with a groundbreaking, multivolume set The McCartney Legacy.

The Golden Lion, Todmorden: The humble Yorkshire pub that's proving to be a magnet for stars including Jarvis Cocker (Full text)

Nestled beneath the Pennine hills, Todmorden’s Golden Lion is a venue like no other, as likely to host a Scandinavian jazz night as a DJ set from Jarvis Cocker or Kevin Rowland of Dexys Midnight Runners. It has added a vinyl record label to its portfolio too, with sales ploughed back into the pub to ensure it can continue to provide a venue for local musicians.

The Golden Lion, Todmorden: The humble Yorkshire pub that's proving to be a magnet for stars including Jarvis Cocker (Link)

Nestled beneath the Pennine hills, Todmorden’s Golden Lion is a venue like no other, as likely to host a Scandinavian jazz night as a DJ set from Jarvis Cocker or Kevin Rowland of Dexys Midnight Runners. It has added a vinyl record label to its portfolio too, with sales ploughed back into the pub to ensure it can continue to provide a venue for local musicians.
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