Help Musicians UK Presents: Career Longevity in Americana, a Lifetime of Support
Maintaining a lifelong career in music is something many (of us) strive for. Americana has a long and rich history of writers and performers who have shown that it’s possible to keep on keepin’ on across a whole lifetime/long into older age. Our panel looks at ways to meet some of the challenges relating to career longevity and what support is available to help musicians to thrive throughout their working lives.
Moderator: Claire Gevaux – HMUK
Claire Gevaux is Director of Programme at Help Musicians UK, overseeing Health & Welfare which supports thousands of musicians in need every year, as well as Creative which provides vital development funding for a broad range of artists across genres and career paths. With over twenty years of experience in leading cultural strategy and collaborative partnerships, Claire led the creative vision for Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, curating a programme delivering over thirty projects through a series of strategic partnerships, which secured the cultural legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Claire’s relationship with Olympic Park started in 2008 where she was integral to a pioneering team embedding permanent arts and culture into the fabric of the Park during its construction. Before this, she spent eight years at Arts Council England, building her knowledge of charity governance, art form policy and an impressive network.
Paddy Nash (Artist)
In a recent interview in The Irish News, Folk Legend Christy Moore cited Paddy Nash as one of the few songwriters he admires. Since the release of his critically acclaimed albums ‘When we were Brave’ (2010), ‘Times of Transition’ (2012) and ‘Laughter & Love’ (2015) Paddy and his band ‘The Happy Enchiladas’ have played the clubs and pubs of Ireland North and South as well as touring extensively in England. Paddy and the band have also made their mark locally, selling out shows in the Millennium Forum in Derry and The Empire in Belfast to name a few. Paddy’s unique blend of Folk-Rock-Country-Punk-Blues continues to build an audience who revel in rich lyrics and big melodies. Paddy has also enjoyed huge solo success playing the LeftField stage at Glastonbury in 2011 & 2017 and supporting Billy Bragg on his Irish Tours. Paddy & Billy went on to introduce Billy’s ‘Jail Guitar Doors’ in the prisons in Northern Ireland and Paddy is currently the musician in residence at HMP Magilligan. Later last year Paddy joined Billy for the German leg of his European Tour. In 2017 Paddy also released his first solo album ‘Gate Fever’ I wanted to write some songs about how I view the world today. The things that make me angry, the stuff that makes me despair, the time and people that we lost, that I miss. I tried to find some hope along the way. I hope I did.’ Critics and fans alike have hailed the album as a masterpiece. You probably won’t discover a finer singer-songwriter all year. A True Irish Gem!’ 9/10 - Dave Jennings – Americana UK
Judith Owen (Artist)
Judith Owen singer-songwriter and pianist is currently riding the wave of a tremendous couple of years – recently capped of with ‘redisCOVERed” with Last two consecutive albums making “The Top 100 Album” The Times Culture (UK) – 2018 and 2016 “Somebody’s Child” and 5 Star live reviews from a recent sold out Ronnie Scott’s London show. Her live performances, whether as a headliner or as the handpicked opening act for Bryan Ferry’s recent tours of Europe and North America, have been wowing listeners and gaining fans including fellow artist Jackson Browne, who said of Owen’s onstage prowess: “It’s a masterclass on how a show should be done.”
Tony Poole (Artist)
Tony Poole’s professional career in the music industry began in the mid-70s as a founder member of Starry Eyed and Laughing, who made two albums for CBS and were fêted by the UK press as “the English Byrds”, not least due to Tony’s Roger McGuinn-like prowess on 12-string Rickenbacker guitar. Following the band’s split, Tony began a slalom through the music business of the 20th century: recording engineer, band manager (The Men They Couldn’t Hang - he also produced their Gold debut album), contract drafting, publishing administration, royalty account software author, studio owner, label owner (Aurora), mixing, production and mastering. He has worked with Maddy Prior, Steeleye Span, Pentangle, Rose Kemp, and more recently Danny and the Champions of the World and The Dreaming Spires. Last year, Tony teamed up with Danny Wilson and Robin Bennett to form Bennett Wilson Poole, whose eponymous debut album has topped many end-of-year lists and has seen Tony back on the road with his trusty 12-string Rickenbacker (which has a story all of its own). Bennett Wilson Poole have been shortlisted for UK Artist of the Year and UK Album of the Year in the UK Americana Awards. TP's secret for longevity? Stupidity (he suspects he's an orphan from the 39th century following a mishap with a time machine). Photo: John Morgan
Judie Tzuke is the epitome of the female singer-songwriter. Her wistful lyrics, sublime harmonies and hauntingly clear voice are testament to a career which has spanned four decades and continues to inspire a generation of fans with her unparalleled songwriting. After an education in the arts, music and drama, at the age of 13 Judie began to spend her time writing poems which she turned into songs. In 1975 she met Mike Paxman and together they secured a record deal with Tony Visconti's label Good Earth and released a single These Are The Laws under the name of Tzuke and Paxo. It was at this time that Judie met her future husband Paul Muggleton who would go on to produce all of her future recordings. In 1977 Judie went to see managing director David Croker at Elton John's label Rocket Records as their motto was "a label for artists". She played them a few songs, one of which was Stay With Me Till Dawn and was immediately signed. Judie and Mike spent the next six months recording her first album Welcome To The Cruise at Air Studios in London. Released in 1979, it contained Judie’s haunting signature song Stay With Me Till Dawn which stayed in the UK charts for 16 weeks. In 2002, BBC Radio 2 conducted a poll to determine the top fifty British songs of the past fifty years, Stay With Me Till Dawn was at number 39. Fuelled by the success of her debut album, Judie began her first full band tour which lasted for 18 months and her second album Sportscar shot to number 7 on the UK album chart. Around this time, at the request of Elton, Judie toured America as his special guest. Back in the UK, her third album I Am The Phoenix was released and Judie undertook another lengthy UK tour culminating with a headlining slot at Glastonbury Festival. At this time, Judie was selling out concert halls all over the UK and Europe and recorded her acclaimed live album Road Noise during two sell out shows at Hammersmith Odeon. As Rocket Records folded in the UK, Judie signed with Chrysalis to release her next two hit albums, Shoot The Moon and Ritmo. The Cat Is Out was released with Legacy, a new independent company, in 1985. For the first time, Judie and her producers Paul and Mike were able to create an album without record company interference and drew up designs for a purpose built home studio: Big Ocean Studios. This was to become the place where she would record all her future albums including her next release; Turning Stones. Judie entered the 1990s signing to Columbia Records for her next album, Left Hand Talking which included an atmospheric take on The Beach Boys’ illustrious God Only Knows and a reworking of her own classic Stay With Me Till Dawn. In 1992, Brian May featured on her Wonderland album. Founding her own label in 1996, Big Moon, Judie released with Under The Angels followed by her own personal favourite album, Secret Agent in 1998. Queen Secret Keeper became her first release of the new millennium. Tzuke’s pen still poised, more albums followed with: Over The Moon, The Beauty Of Hindsight and The End Of The Beginning. These were all released to acclaim and devotion from her ardent army of fans. In 2010, the retrospective compilation Moon On A Mirrorball saw Judie touring the UK with a band that included both her daughters Bailey and Tallula on backing vocals. The tour climaxed with a stunning show featuring a wide selection of her old and new songs at the Union Chapel in London. Having always suffered from stage fright, Judie decided to take a few years out from touring to explore her unique ability to write beautiful songs, working with a large number of artists including Lucie Silvas, Morcheeba, Tom Baxter and many others. In 2013 Judie was diagnosed with cancer of the womb. After undergoing a major operation and radiotherapy, she received the wonderful news that she was cancer free. Judie’s battle with cancer was the inspiration behind her most recent album Peace Has Broken Out. It is perhaps her most accomplished album to date, featuring some of her most personal and poignant writing. Judie contributed four songs on the recent Woman To Woman album, a collaboration with Beverley Craven and Julia Fordham: If (When You Go), Temporary, a re-working of her classic song For You and Safe, a simple and delicate song co-written with Beth Nielsen Chapman. This song was the perfect vehicle for the hit Woman To Woman album, showing all three ladies at the top of their game, in a perfect blend of harmony. The Woman To Woman tour saw Judie along with Beverley and Julia playing to sold out houses around the UK and selling in excess of 25,000 tickets.