“Wow! So pretty and so heart-felt. We need to be pretty strong here.” – Dr Brian May (Queen)
Hold On In Love’s Name – Released 25th September 2020
The response from Queen guitarist Brian May about her new song Hold On In Love’s Name, contributed to Linda Lamon making her decision to release the single, which was inspired by wildlife and the environment, to help his Save Me Trust. Linda decided to support the charity after seeing how hard the Surrey based team work to help reverse the effects of global warming and environmental damage by planting forests and caring for wildlife.
“We have very sadly seen a decline in wildflower meadows by 95% in the last 40 years and some of our insect population, such as butterflies and bees, reduced by up to 60%. This all effects our ecosystems and the natural food chain, which in turn affects us – and it’s all down to deforestation and building development. We desperately need afforestation programmes to help address the balance to save our planet for future generations.” – Linda Lamon
Originally from Stockport, Greater Manchester, Linda first met Brian after she penned The New Woodland Song to celebrate the planting of 100,000 native trees in his 160-acre woodland whilst living in Dorset in 2013. She performed it live with the village ladies and children’s choirs for the opening of the tree planting ceremony, only a few yards away from the rock star.
“The planting day was truly one of the most memorable and different days of my life – if those trees develop into healthy adults, I will feel that I contributed something significant in a small way in the rescue of the British countryside.” – Brian May
Linda & Brian May
The keen photographer went on to write two more songs with the charity in mind and has watched the wood flourish through her lens each year since 2013, creating a record of the growth and keeping the owner updated with photographs of the trees, shrubs and wildflower meadows.
“May’s Wood is now attracting new wildlife and it’s wonderful to see. We need lots more forests like this to be planted around the world before it’s too late. The UK government have recognised this but have not gone far enough. As we come out of lockdown in these unprecedented times living with the virus, we have seen that green spaces are vital for human health and well-being.”
It’s taken a while, you could say, for Linda to get fully on track with her music. At the age of 70, with two grown up daughters and four grandchildren, she is bringing out her first album, after launching her new single.
“Whilst many of the pop and rock stars from my teenage years are now enjoying a revival, I feel like I’m just beginning. We owe it to my grandchildren’s generation to make right what’s wrong and I’m hoping this song will go some way in creating awareness about this very real plight that affects their future.”
The forthcoming album, ABOUT TIME is aptly named to reflect the fact that it is about time she recorded songs she has been writing since she was 16. It also explains that these pieces really are about time as they cover four decades, from the eighties to the 20 twenties. A blend of country and pop, the tracks were recorded remotely during the COVID-19 lockdown by musicians in Nashville, USA, with Linda adding the vocals and mixing in Dorset and Manchester. Overseeing the project was producer Lynton Guest, former member of The Love Affair who had Number 1 hits in the 1960s with classic tracks Everlasting Love and Rainbow Valley.
“It took a 17 -year- old band mate to encourage me to record my own songs after I had spent years being involved with music in some form. But it still took me another ten years to get around to doing it. It was only after my husband died from Motor Neurone Disease that I picked up the gauntlet and ran with it.”
S A R A H C L A S S
N A T U R A L H I G H – Released 25th September 2020
The album Natural High is a joyful and reverential tribute to the powerful magic of nature and miracle of life. There are many layers to the natural world. Those we perceive with human eyes to be beautiful or awe inspiring, or intrinsically feel we need to protect or even be fearful of, are perhaps only touching the surface of its extraordinary qualities. Nature is also working behind the scenes affecting us on an entirely different plane.
“Our relationship with Nature is powerfully symbiotic. Nature nourishes us and it has the ability to move and heal us, to energise and uplift us. It is a living organism with a heart-beat, a soul and molecular memory, just like human life. We need to forge a new and positive relationship with the Natural world that sustains us.” Sarah Class.
Beyond Nature’s physical manifestation, Sarah believes there is a powerful spiritual vibration existing in multi layers. It is this version of Nature – its heavenly imprint, which fuels the music of Natural High.
Scientists know that Nature is proven to de-stress us, but equally they are aware this is not the full explanation. As scientist and cognitive psychologist David Strayer says, “something mysterious will always remain”.
Sarah says, “Natural High is also about Unity – the unifying God of all things and the connection between us and Nature. Our place within the natural world is not a separated one. We are of each other.”
The album explores Nature’s euphoric diversity through the ethereal lens. Through waterfalls, rivers, holy wells and more, each track aligns with various Nature deities from myths and legends of different cultures.
A true lockdown album written at the height of the pandemic, Sarah recorded much of the album with Sinfonia Nord, a wonderful orchestra in Iceland via remote link to her studio in Bristol. She also collaborated remotely with talented musicians all over the world to achieve the special sound she envisaged for Natural High.
S A R A H C L A S S
Award winning, Emmy nominated, Sarah Class has become one of Britain’s most sought-after composers and is described as having the ‘Midas touch’ when it comes to creating music. She is an accomplished musician, scoring for ?lm, television and the concert arena, producer, songwriter, and singer.
A classically trained pianist from an early age, Sarah developed a huge love of jazz and improvisation. Brought up on a nature reserve in a large unspoilt part of the Isle of Wight, she spent her childhood surrounded by rare orchids, bluebell woods and carpets of wood anemones – something that would come to inspire not just her music, but inform her very way of thinking and living.
She quickly started to make her mark in the world of television and subsequently the film industry. When she was asked to compose the score for an independent feature film titled ‘The Weekend’ Sarah caught the attention of legendary producer Sir George Martin who subsequently took her under his wing to help and guide her career.
Since then her career has skyrocketed and boasts 3 Emmy Award nominations, a Classical Brit Award nomination, a No.1 album collaboration with Hayley Westenra, a Best Score Award for Sir David Attenborough’s BBC TV series ‘BBC Africa’, plus numerous other hugely successful and highly acclaimed scores for movies and TV.
Sarah is also Ambassador for the World Land Trust. Sir David Attenborough, Sir Chris Packham and Steve Backshall are also patrons. The charity has directly protected and saved a million acres of threatened habitat including rainforest and helped save a further five million acres, in more than 20 countries over the past 30 years. Sir David even made an appearance on Sarah’s music video ‘I Will Fight’.
Released September 18th 2020
Steve Harley is delighted to announce the release of a new single from this year’s acclaimed ‘Uncovered’ album. His cover of the evergreen ‘Out Of Time’ recorded with the Steve Harley Acoustic Band will be released on 18th September 2020. The song was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and featured on the Stones album ‘Aftermath’ in 1966 but was a huge hit for Chris Farlowe in that same year. Steve says, “This was always my favourite Stones song of the sixties. Now, interpreted by my Roots, Jazz and Gospel musicians, I hope Mick and Keith will think I’ve made it my own! I wish…”
The Sunday Express described the album as, “All done in a delicately acoustic yet powerful, edgy manner with a tight band”, and the Mail On Sunday loved it too, giving the collection a Four Star review. Fireworks magazine said that ‘Uncovered’ would have Harley fans “in complete and total raptures”. R2 magazine described the whole experience, “The atmosphere seeps in even when you don’t expect it to, until you’re submerged in it”.
‘Uncovered’ includes interpretations of songs created in many instances by peers and contemporaries of Steve, those with shared histories and some that he admired from afar. This diverse collection is in some ways an almanac rather than just a set of great tracks: Steve’s links with some of the songwriters go back to the very start of their careers: Bowie in Beckenham; Dylan throughout his early teens; Cat Stevens/Yusuf and Paul McCartney, both massive early influences…
Added into the mix are two songs from Steve’s own incredible catalogue, reworked from the originals: ‘Love, Compared With You’ which now boasts a newly-composed third verse, plus ‘Only You’, played Live for several years, but recorded here for the first time.
The band features Barry Wickens on viola, violin and acoustic guitar, Oli Hayhurst on double bass, Tom Hooper on percussion and the Roots Music Legend, Martin Simpson, on guitar. Steve also sings a duet with Eddi Reader on ‘Star Of Belle Isle’ and add to this, a beautiful, stirring acoustic solo from the legendary Jim Cregan on the Errol Brown-penned track, ‘Emma’. Steve is no stranger to acoustic music, having toured with his Acoustic Trio [as well as the full Cockney Rebel rock band, of course] for years now and receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award for Acoustic Music in 2018.
Rod Stewart, who covered Steve’s song “A Friend For Life”, describes him as “One of the finest lyricists Britain has produced.” MOJO magazine said simply, “Harley creates rock songs that are proud, lyrical and full of yearning.” Steve has also been described as “A consummate performer at the top of his game”, and ‘Out Of Time’ and indeed this whole stunning collection of beautiful, heartfelt songs will bear that out.
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As I savour another spectacular artisan wine from Wines With Stories, I am intrigued to find out more about the charismatic couple Sherril and Thomas Solomon who are at the helm of the enterprise, and how it all began.
Thomas Solomon had lived and worked in Venice for 20 years before he met Sherril, who was over on a visit from her native Northern Ireland where she lived.
Thomas & Sherril
The magic of Venice combined with Thomas’ knowledge of some of the City’s most enchanted secrets, was a recipe for success and was the beginning of their own love story. Sherril and Thomas have now been married for over ten years and have a thriving artisan wine company www.wineswithstories.com where they share their love of wine with a supreme understanding of fine dining.
Sherril is passionate as she recalls the first time she savoured the unforgettable experience of the real Venice, away from the tourist traps and the adventure of dining with the locals against a backdrop of history, art and ancient architecture.
She shares a taste of food relished by the locals and a glimpse of the mysterious Piazza San Marco at night, with the mist rising from the lagoon, and the dazzling spectacle of dancing in the square from the local community.
Us at Piazza San Marco
‘You are now in Venice – so what are you supposed to try if you want to eat like the locals? Cicchetti with an ombra in a bacaro, of course!
What are cicchetti, ombra e bacaro?
Cicchetti: these are small snacks, similar to Spanish Tapas, even though they are not quite the same!
It is a centuries long tradition of the city of Venice, which has now extended to the rest of the province and even in some other parts of the region.
From the Latin “ciccus”, the word literally means small amount.
Venetians eat Cicchetti before lunch or dinner sipping a glass of wine or a Spritz, as an aperitif.
You start with a small egg with an anchovy on top and a glass of white wine, then you take a bit of polenta with baccalà mantecato and another glass and so on.
Ombra: walking in Venice, you will often run into a group of Venetians saying: “Andemo bèver un ombra” (Let’s go and drink a shade).
Follow them and you will see them enter in a bar and order little glasses of wine.
What does Ombra mean?
It means shade and it is a typical Venetian word, used for centuries. It was born in Saint Mark’s Square, Venice’s top meeting place.
People loved to stand in the square just to talk. But standing in the square under the sun made them thirsty, so local wine sellers offered small glasses of wine from their stalls!
To keep the wine fresh and in the shade, despite the summer heat which suffocated the whole city, they used to move their stands around the Bell tower, following the shade of the Campanile.
Hence the name Ombra. So try an Ombra di Bianco (a glass of white wine) o di Rosso (red wine) and grab yourself a selection of fish or meat cicchetti. You really can’t go wrong with wine in Venice, as the island is surrounded by one of the finest wine production zones in the world. Those in the know, would ask for a ‘vino buono’ for a bit of an upgrade, but whatever they serve you will be good locally produced artisan wines.
Bacaro or Osteria is the name given to the small bars selling Cicchetti and Ombre.
The origin of the name has been lost in time, but I like the most common idea which links the word “bacaro” to the word “Bacchus”, The God of Wine, since these were the places where Venetians could buy and drink lots of wine.
Many closed during the 80/90s, but now, since “andar per bacari” (our equivalent of going on a pub crawl) has become fashionable again, more and more small little taverns have opened everywhere around Venice and our Paladin and Bosco del Merlot wines feature very strongly in a great many of these places. Our Paladin Raboso Fiore sparkling red wine served chilled, is a big favourite in Venice. It’s a lovely dry Brut style with aromas of Morello cherries and wild violets, but it pairs perfectly with chocolate, so when in Venice try it with their chocolate salami.
We love to stop in at a few Osteria for cicchetti and vino buono, before dining at a restaurant owned by one of Thomas’s friends such as Trattoria Al Gazzettino a 4 minute walk from Rialto bridge, for really authentic Italian fare made by Reda’s Venetian wife in the tiniest kitchen we’ve ever seen.
Our destination after dinner is always Piazza San Marco, to enjoy a final aperitif of beautiful DOCG Prosecco in front of the historic Florian Café, which Napoleon once called ‘The finest drawing room in Europe’. We sit in the square and listen to the supremely talented musicians playing in their soul stirring café-concert style, known also with the name of café-chantant, with classics such as the Vie en Rose through to rousing operatic arias.
Cicchetti and wine in a venetian cicchetteria
In the winter months, when the tourists have virtually all returned home, Piazza San Marco is an even more mysterious, often with the mist rising off the lagoon then rolling through the square and tiny streets. Very often, you can hear the click clack of stiletto heels like an acoustic effect in a Hollywood movie, before you ever see the wearer. The ethereal atmosphere in Saint Mark’s Square is further enhanced, as people begin to leave their tables at the Florian and Quadri Cafes to waltz in the middle of the square along to the music. Most Italians grow up learning professional ballroom dancing, so this is really quite a spectacle to behold.
We were lucky enough to have some of the Florian Café musicians, play at our wedding celebration on a boat that left the Grand Canal and toured the Venetian islands for the day.’