This blog is about bands/artists that, even though being around for some time, have still yet to achieve the recognition that they deserve beyond their loyal fan-bases. With this blog I will bring you an artist or band each week that has yet to make that massive impact on mainstream music, giving short histories and mini reviews of their work to date and try to show you why they should be more prominent on your playlists.
If I asked you to ‘Name any bands or artists that have made music history?’ What would you answer?
The Rolling Stones
What if I told you this weeks artist had done something that no other artist has ever done before, and no, I’m not talking about that bloke who sang Space Oddity from the International Space Station.
In the summer of 2013 Newton Faulkner made music history, he allowed his fans, journalists and just plain anyone into his studio as he recorded his fourth album Studio Zoo. He placed four webcams in and around his home studio which streamed 24 hours a day, seven days a week for five weeks. Making an almost one on one and personal connection with his audience, nothing the likes of Kanye West or Lady Gaga have ever done.
Newton Faulkner first appeared in 2007 with his debut Hand Built by Robots which spawned the hit single Dream Catch Me and was number one on the album chart. Surprisingly recognisable for his ginger dreads and very physical, percussive and visual playing style, this guitar mastermind grabbed the hearts of listeners with his catchy tunes which covered both the serious and silly topics of music.
Due to release his second album the following year, a skiing accident left him with a broken wrist and a potential career ruining injury. However, he returned with Rebuilt by Humans, a fitting title all things considered. The album came in at number three in the album charts but no success in the singles chart.
I think the problem with his first two albums was that the songs didn’t blend well with his playing style; they were too orchestrated when the true strength of his music comes from his mesmerizing acoustic flair.
With that in mind 2012’s release of Write it on Your Skin, which debuted at number one on the album chart, was a refreshing blend of the orchestration of his prior releases and his knack for creating catchy and repetitive riffs which could be played live. Alongside 2013’s Studio Zoo both albums utilize his fantastic acoustic skill and more mature and delicate song writing.
Outside of his studio releases Newton releases covers of some well-known tracks with some epic results. His cover of Maroon 5’s Payphone for Radio 1’s Live Lounge was beautiful and made it completely his own, but to my shock it wasn’t included in the compilation release a few months later. His most recent cover of Daft Punk’s Get Lucky, a duet with French artist Sam Brookes, was again taking something that has been played to death and giving it a well needed breath of fresh air.
Newton Faulkner has been put into many boxes folk, singer songwriter and pop-rock amongst others, which are all true, but if you were to label him really, it should be ‘versatile’. His original material can be anything from a cheery pick up tune to ballad from the heart, his covers can bring new life to songs with a unique style which is totally his own. One of a kind.
All of Newton’s albums can be found on iTunes, Amazon etc. Newton’s cover of Payphone is available on iTunes as part of the Write it on Your Skin single.
By Jack Greenard