JEFF FINLIN (USA)
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, the grandson of Irish railroad workers (who seemed to be in the habit of leaping from trains), Jeff Finlin is a fascinating, unique artist. His career has taken many twists and turns. He began with wanderlust, traveling America using every form of transportation, with the exception of rickshaw (still on the bucket list). Having played in bands in Boston, Ohio and L.A, he finally wound up in Nashville with long-time mate and Academy Award nominee Gwil Owen ("A Softer Place to Fall") to form the rock band “The Thieves”, which released the acclaimed "Seduced by Money", produced by Marshall Crenshaw on Capitol Records. In 1993, he went on to produce the self-released "Lonely Light" before going on to produce the Little Dog/ Mercury release, "Highway Diaries". The Chicago Sun Times said: "Finlin writes with the minimalist grit of Sam Shepard and Raymond Carver - tune in and you will hear an elusive magic."
Next it was on to New York, where Jeff incorporated the likes of Mark Ribot (Tom Waits and Elvis Costello) and Tony Garnier (Bob Dylan), to produce “Original Fin”, which was released on BMG/Gravity in the UK and Ireland and NBFNY in the U.S. Music Row Magazine called the record: "A do it yourself piece of musical brilliance - Simply manna to the literate songwriter’s soul." Uncut Magazine called Finlin "A real find." In 2000, Jeff was invited to perform at Sir Paul McCartney’s “Buddy Holly Tribute” at the Mermaid Theatre in London. Then in 2002 "Somewhere South of Wonder” came out garnering Finlin, 'Album of the Year' accolades on Virgin Radio's Captain America Show .A tour opening for Steve Earle in the U.K. and Ireland followed. The Album "Epinonymous" followed in 2004. In 2005, Jeff's Song "Sugar Blue", from the 2002 album "Somewhere South of Wonder" was selected by Cameron Crowe for the soundtrack of his film "Elizabethtown". "Angels in Disguise" was released on Warner Brothers Records in the UK and then on Rykodisc in the United States in 2006. Jeff released the final installment of his trilogy, "Ballad of a Plain Man", in 2008 and "The Tao of Motor Oil", in 2010. A new live recording was released in the spring of 2012, supported by a U.S. and European tour.
Having played venues all over the world, including The Barrowlands - Glasgow , Scotland, Shepard’s Bush Empire-London UK, The Olympia—Dublin IE, Royal Concert Hall-- Edinburgh UK, Jeff continues to tour the world in support of his work. In the spring of 2013 Jeff Released the epic “My Moby Dick” along with an extensive book of prose titled “Time Less Travel”. Peter Cooper of the Nashville Tennessean said of the record- “Some folks come to Nashville, amble over to Music Row and look for a cookie-cutter solution. Hand Jeff Finlin a cookie cutter, and he’s liable to melt it down and then forge it into something sharper and more dangerous.”
PETER BRUNTNELL (UK)
NME claimed that “Peter Bruntnell’s records should be taught in schools” and with 9 studio albums under his belt and countless high-profile fans picked up along the way (including Rumer, REM’s Peter Buck, Scott McCaughey, Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner and Son Volt’s Jay Farrar and more recently John Murry) it’s about time one of the UK’s most consistent songwriters released a career retrospective.
It all started back in 1995 when Peter signed to Almo Sounds, where his label-mates included Gillian Welch and Garbage. He made two albums for the label: Cannibal and Camelot in Smithereens. Grammy-winning Peter Smith (Sting/Squeeze) who produced the debut Cannibal still cites it as “one of the top 3 records I’ve worked on”. In 1999 Peter signed to Warner Brothers imprint, Slowriver/ Rykodisc and released ‘Normal For Bridgwater’. This was to be his biggest commercial success and a record that won him wider acclaim in North America. Upon hearing the album, Kathleen Edwards told her producer when recording her debut ‘Failer’ “I want to make an album like this”. Peter struck up a friendship with Son Volt, which resulted in them touring together. It also saw the introduction to Peter’s band of a 17 year-old James Walbourne. As well as playing with Peter, James tours as a member of The Pretenders.
Rather than reproduce the Americana feel of Normal For Bridgwater, Peter’s restless musical spirit has seen him strike out in new direction with almost every subsequent album. Four albums for Loose continued to win him admirers – by 2005, The Independent were calling him “one of the finest songwriters in Britain” and Richmond Fontaine’s front man Willy Vlautin called him his favourite singer. His most recent release for Loose was 2009’s ‘Peter And The Murder Of Crows’. Filled with psychedelic drones and mellifluous tunes, the album found reviewers and fans alike comparing him with Nick Drake and John Martyn. It was one of Q magazine’s Albums Of The Year and was an Americana Album Of The Month in MOJO Magazine. Ever inventive, with his latest 2011’s ‘Black Mountain UFO’ Peter mixed West Coast harmonies with the requisite dab of psychedelia.
“Bruntnell has a remarkable knack for turning out big, dreamy, melodic, memorable songs” – Mojo
“His songs are warm and beautifully radiant” – Uncut
“One of the finest songwriters in Britain” – The Independent
“His songs should be taught in schools” – NME “One of England’s best kept musical secrets” – Rolling Stone
CLIVE BARNES (IRL)
The Ghost Country is the sound of Clive Barnes at the top of his game as a vocalist, guitarist and songwriter. His fourth studio album, The Ghost Country elevates Barnes to a truly unique sound having forged his style and delivery over years of touring the US and Europe with the likes of Eric Bibb, Taj Mahal, Jeff Beck, Alison Krauss, Seasick Steve, The Blind Boys of Alabama and many more. As a musician, Barnes is highly regarded as one of the finest performers on the roots circuit, a reputation solidified by the lyrical and songwriting prowess on this new collection of songs. From the rip-roaring banjo-fuelled opener of Shotgun Grin to the big sky foreboding title track of the album, right through to the closing track of Borderlines, this recording is populated with stories of characters running and returning, longing and dreaming, down on their luck and finally finding peace, characters so thick with realism you could feel them move right through you.
Out of the studio and onto the stage, Barnes is not to be missed as a live performer for this is where the sheer raw honesty and energy is each track comes to life. RTE's Harry Guiren noted in a review of Clive Barnes performing at Vicar Street, Dublin, "Clive is a guitarist who can make one acoustic sound like six. Barnes transported the entire, hushed venue across the Atlantic to where the paths taken by the Delta Blues, Tom Waits and Bruce Springsteen all led to his own special territory."