Jamie Coleman (Feat. Toni Etherson)
Photo: Pat McGuire/PMG Photog
That Goodnight Msg
Photo: Pat McGuire/PMG Photog
That Goodnight Msg is available at:
February 12th, 2016
WITH another Glasgow-based musician coming to my attention…
it may be prudent just to mention the city for a bit- not spending TOO much time there. I have reviewed a lot of Glasgow artists and something new and exciting always reveals itself. I am not sure what it is about the city that compels such a drive and creativity. In previous posts, I have mooted the question around Glasgow bands and their dominance- how few solo acts there are by comparison. Here is a city that very much favours the bands and a particular style of sound. Whether that is rooted in heritage and the past- Primal Scream, Belle and Sebastian and Del Amitri hail from the city- I am not too sure. From Paws’ Blink-182 approved tracks (the track Jellyfish was lauded by the Blink’ front-man recently) to Machines in Heaven: there are a lot of terrific artists emerging right now. What I am noticing (about Glasgow) is the determination and confidence that stems from musicians. While I mentioned there is a particular ‘sound’ in Glasgow- a lot of Punk/Indie-inspired bands favouring guitar-driven music- there is also diversity and genre-fuse to too. Catchy and uplifting bands such as White and Holy Esque are inspiring a wave of like-minded bands to take action and bring their music to the people. Clearly, community and support are important to Glaswegian musicians. Across the years; I have assessed a wide range of Glasgow acts- mainly bands to be fair- and always find the same thing: they will recommend fellow artists and support what they do. Whereas London (and other huge cities) perhaps have less of this- maybe it is the sheer numbers and stress of the place- Glasgow is showing a lot of thoughtfulness and respect. This is leading many up-and-coming musicians to come into the music world and take a gamble. The results are really speaking for themselves: Glasgow is among the most exciting and prosperous hubs for new music right now. For those who prefer their music band-made; you have a lot of choice and quality on offer. If you want something less ‘obvious’ or just a bit different: there are some great and agile young alteratives around. Although Jamie Coleman plays with his band The Giants (thus making Jamie Coleman and the Giants) Coleman has been a successful and hard-working artist for a long while now. Right now, there is a lot of excitement regarding Coleman’s latest song, That Goodnight Msg. From the modern, short-handed third word (Msg); there is something of-the-moment and current about the song. Drawing in Blues, Pop and Rock influences- nothing too obvious springs to mind- you have a hungry artist who is keen to make a big impression on music. Before I raise a new point; let me introduce Jamie Coleman to you:
“Touring artist Jamie Coleman, a talented singer/songwriter from Clydebank is due to release his single ‘That Goodnight Msg’ ft. Toni Etherson on Friday 12th February through GQ Records, the first in the line of singles due out in 2016 including guest artists such as Toni.
‘That Goodnight Msg’ is available to download from iTunes, Deezer, Spotify and all other media download sites. Toni first performed this song with Jamie on STV Glasgow’s Riverside show “Live” in Feb of 2015.
Singer/songwriter Toni Etherson has toured Europe, Australia and America as well as recently collaborating with ‘Jack Eye Jones’, by writing and performing ‘Fire in your soul’, and the title track from their album ‘Summer Nights’.
Jamie’s band ‘Jamie Coleman and The Giants’ are also due to release their first single ‘Day Trippin’ in Mid-March, with an album due to follow later in the year, along with Jamie’s own solo album.
Jamie has already been making a name for himself touring and supporting artist and bands like Alabama 3, Ocean Colour Scene\ Merrymouth , John Power & Jay Lewis of “CAST/The Las”, Barry Sutton “the Las”, Chris Helme “The Seahorses” , The Bluestones, The View, Curtis Harding, BrownBear and many more. Also playing various gigs at Alan McGee’s Creation Sessions from Glasgow to Wales.
An exciting year lies ahead for Jamie, not only as a solo artist, a collaborator and writer, but working with his band The Giants. The music industry will be seeing a lot more of Mr Coleman”.
Coleman will be taking the Giants around the country and preparing for the launch of the album. Having heard previous cuts from Jamie Coleman and the Giants- and noticing the evolution and progression that has occurred- it will be exciting to hear an album from the group. It is rare I get to feature a female singer in these pages- the last few reviews have been boy-heavy- so bringing Toni Etherson into the mix is very exciting. Finding herself nestled in the splendour and dreaminess of the L.A. scene- in the Hollywood Hills by the Santa Monica Mountains- it is alright for some people! I must admit this: I was a stranger to Etherson until last week. It has been a revelation discovering a singer with such a terrific voice, talent and passion. Whilst a lot of her time is spent in the U.S.; she has a lot of support from the Scottish crowds- a lot of Scottish musicians I follow on social media follow her. Thinking about Etherson- and the dreamy yet direct nature of her voice- makes me think about collaborations and artists hooking up. You do not need an advanced degree to know what richness can be exploited from musicians coming together. Too many bands are rigid and rarely bring other singers/producers to the fore. Solo artists- not all but many of them- are concerned with getting THEIR voice on record and do not collaborate too often. It is always fascinating witnessing two sole voices come together to create something new and natural. That Goodnight Msg has an understated quality yet it resonates and produces shivers. There is something completely RIGHT about Etherson and Coleman’s parabond: two artists that GET one another and fit like hand in glove. The two have very different lives- Etherson’s U.S. sunshine and Pop influence; Coleman’s Glasgow base (the sun does come out there sometimes) and harder sounds- but the combination and pairing produces a chemical reaction that cannot be faulted or undervalued. I for one would like to see more acts sharing microphones and blending their music together. Some of the most exciting and nuanced sounds I heard from last year arrived from collaborations: two parties joining forces to give the music world something wonderful and rich. Of course, collaborations do not always work: there are unions that are completely wrong and clunky. That is perhaps a subject I should explore another day- if I am lucky enough to review another joint effort- but I am excited about the future of Jamie Coleman and Toni Etherson. Whether Etherson has an E.P. or album in her- an artist that seems capable of performing with any artist and elevating their work- only time will tell. A young and exceptional talent I will be following and seeing how she blossoms. Coleman is preparing for a new album and will doubtless be hitting the road throughout the spring and summer- let’s hope he heads down London way for a brief spell!
That Goodnight Msg is the latest unveiling from an artist who has been growing in confidence and direction the last few months. Looking back at Jamie and the Giants’ past sounds- particularly Calm Yourself Down and Day Trippin’- and you get a sense of a musician who is still finding his feet. Whilst the band’s past maneuvers have been met with celebration and acclaim: you cannot help but think this year will see the finest work from the Glasgow clan.
Calm Yourself Down boasts a raw and determined lead vocal that cuts through the mire. The composition has a rollicking and Blues-tinged drive that gets bolder and bigger as the moments elapse. Coleman’s gutsy (yet restrained) talks about time being wasted- maybe a girl or friend is screwing our hero around- around a ‘90s-sounding track. You could imagine the likes of Oasis or Ocean Colour Scene tackling such a number. Aside from the 1990s flavor; you get a distinct accent and local flavor- Coleman’s accent and pronunciation possesses a distinctly Glasgow feel. You get caught in the song and the addictive nature of the beats; the wracked and powerful vocals- the kinetic and dynamic energy of the band.
Day Trippin’ may lead you into ‘Beatles territory- with its similarities to Day Tripper– but it is a song that shows a different side to the band. Coleman’s vocals have raspiness to them- recalling a young Bob Dylan- and the harmonica-and-voice combination that puts me in mind of debut-era Bob Dylan. A softer and more contemplative number: our hero is gone (nobody notices his absence) as he trips in the “midday sun”. Part-sad; part-freeing- a song that has a relaxing and carelessness to it- you get drawn into a song that assesses a particular feeling/mood with effectiveness and memorability. There is a relaxed and lounging vibe to the song that makes you smile and imagine. What inspired the song is hard to say: whether Coleman was reflecting on past memories or writing from fiction. What you find (with regards this track) is another side to a multifarious and boundless songwriting who manages to retain a core sound but employ different strands/genres to ensure the music remains surprising and fresh.
It will be interesting seeing how Jamie Coleman progresses and evolves throughout this year. I know there is an album due: it is sure to feature the aforementioned songs, one would think? Coleman’s songs have depth and wisdom to them: I’d like to see a bit more grit and rousing energy across future songs. Coleman has a voice and passion that is crying out for a volume kick and additional boost. The band has that talent and potential so let’s hope we will see this exploited when the album arrives. As it is, the young master should have no fears or concerns. A songwriter that has immense promise and originality: you always wish the best and have high hopes for a new Jamie Coleman work. That Goodnight Msg allows the Glasgow-based music to join forces with another voice- creating something rich, compelling and primed for some serious radio play.
Excitable beats and a real sense of occasion greet That Goodnight Msg in. Those early percussion notes- punctuated and slam like a punching heartbeat- start static and powerful before mutating into something more open and variegated. The building introduction sees tender strings join the fold and augment the initial sense of romance and seduction. The song’s first words (“Here comes a smile”) are perhaps not what you’d expect. A neat choice of words- that gets the mind racing and imagining from the off- we see Coleman and (Toni) Etherson combine voices to elicit beauty and grace. A tenacious and perfectly blended vocal performance: you get heartfelt purity radiating from two very purposeful vocalists. It is perhaps no coincidence Etherson and Coleman sound in-tune and natural together- maybe they have been fans of one another for a while? – but there is no gamble or risk here. The duo sounds like a couple in the midst of a wonderful, romantic night. “Straight out of nowhere” there has been a message delivered to the heroine (or perhaps the same message has been received by both). The impulsive missive- one assumes it is a text message rather than a letter- seems like juxtaposition when balanced against the composition. Those aching and old-time sentiments- there lingers a distinct ‘60s Folk vibe-cum-Country sound- has a distinctly traditional/vintage purity to them. The foreground- the modern love story that unfolds- does not seem out of place or odd at all. Coleman’s easily accessible lyrics come without complexity and obliqueness: they are direct and from the heart; there is a university that makes them very amenable and happy-go-lucky. Listening to the two joins voices and you get a real ‘live feeling’ to the song. The production is clear and concise yet gives the song a live sound that draws the listener in. If it were too polished and shiny the song would sound alien and completely fake. As it is, you have a track that has no borders and boundaries: it is a direct and all-encompassing number that we all can appreciate. The lovers (the parts Coleman and Etherson portray) are in the midst of late-night message exchange. Whatever the text says- a simple platitude or trope; something more personal and meaningful- it has its effect and resonance. That sense of ease and comfort comes out in the twin vocals. Each performer is invested in the song and sound completely awed and comfortable. A lot of collaborations have problems and limitations. Either the artists sound distant and shoed-in- like the vocals have been recorded in different studios and lazily welded together- or the parts do not blend well together. There are no jarring issues to be found within That Goodnight Msg. Each artist commits themselves to the subject matter and you can picture the studio scenes and recording process.
Photo: Pat McGuire/PMG Photog
At every stage, I was impressed by the simplicity and everyday nature of the song. There are no sweeping dramas or recriminations: a lot of songs deal with anxieties and splits; something big and painful. That Goodnight Msg seems almost mundane and pedestrian if you read the lyrics. As the song progresses- and the conversation unfolds- you learn a bit more about the messages/texts. One asks how the other slept- providing some intrigue and another side to the story- and it is something not ascribed in many songs. If you think about love songs and romance, consider this: how many strip it down and look at the everyday familiarities? Here, we get something personal and ubiquitous. The lyrics’ strengths lie in those lovely details and unspectacular ideals. Coleman is an exceptional songwriter capable of some rather moving and profound ideas. By keeping things charmingly simple; you have a song that has widespread appeal and ounces of charm. Whereas our duo yearns to be in each other’s arms- relying on to-and-fro texts and messages- you wonder why they are separated. Maybe an ocean separates them- appropriate given Etherson’s L.A. residence; Coleman based in Scotland- or there is a long-distance relationship unfolding. With the exchanges “Lighting up my phone”; there’s purity and positivity in every lyric. Both seem happy and comfortable in themselves. The heroine wishes she was not sleeping alone- desiring the touch of her man- and there is an underlying heartache and pain within the track. As impressed and fascinated by the lyrics as I was; my brain looked at the composition and how it supports the vocal. The aching strings have those Country elements: they draw in Blues touches without sounding too outdated and divisive. There are a lot of people that dislike Country- I am among them to be honest- but That Goodnight Msg has accessibility and a British sound/sensibility to it- thankfully, the song is not TOO Americanised and Nashville-influenced. Towards the final moments, the duo blends their voices to ensure that connection and intensity continues. Etherson showcases an immense beauty and a wonderfully adaptable voice- something that augments the lyrics’ beauty and tenderness. Coleman’s soulful and masculine tones are a perfect blend: together, the duo elicits shivers and tingles at will.
That Goodnigtht Msg is a departure for both artists- Coleman and Etherson- but does not show any weaknesses. Jamie and the Giants’ back catalogue is perhaps more personal (songs that shy away from love and more towards personal insights) and have a more driving and Blues sound- here the vibe is more Country-based with U.S. twangs. Etherson’s collaborations and work have seen her go into Pop and Dance territory. Fire in Your Soul (her hook-up with Jack Eye Jones) saw something rather bracing and immediate come forward- no wonder it was championed by Radio 1! If anything; That Goodnight Msg would be more at home on B.B.C. Radio 2: it has a more mature and softer approach. The track signals how talented and passionate both performers are. Not only do they sound completely right together- like they have been recording duets for years- but they both sound committed and dedicated to every word. There are no false emotions or any weak moments to be found: the performances are exemplary and packed with emotion. Supported by a tight and wonderful band performance- that creates a rich and sensual backdrop- you have a song that will appeal to a mass of listener and music lovers. I know Toni Etherson has a great future and can easily slot alongside any other musician. She has great potential as a solo artist: there will be some choices and options ahead of her. As for Coleman: he will embark on work with his band and see what results from that. Both artists have prosperous and busy years: it has been great hearing them combine in a track that is hard to shake off and ignore.
I should perhaps stop acting surprised every time a Glasgow act remains in the memory- lest it is interpreted the wrong way- but once more, I get to witness another of the city’s musicians fare so well. Like the city itself- which grew from a rural community into a thriving centre of U.K. culture today- the musicians of Glasgow are increasing in stature and ranking among the world’s very finest. Perhaps the bands of Glasgow are fitting more tightly into moulds- Rock and Soul/Blue hybrids- but that is not to say the music is stilted and unexciting. There is plenty of pioneer and mobility to be discovered inside Glasgow’s best and brightest. Jamie Coleman has cemented a local reputation- together with his band he has made big waves- and will capitalise on that reputation as 2016 moves through the gears. It will be great seeing what an album will contain and how the band develops throughout the year. Glasgow has such a thriving band scene: Jamie Coleman and the Giants are one of the more exciting and compelling examples you will hear. I feel London’s current reign- as the hotspot for musical excellent- may concede defeat to Glasgow in years to come. Never have I seen a city so prosperous and evolving. Every month seems to produce wondrous musicians and something unexpected and original. Certain areas/towns have a very set sound: Glasgow provides much more intrigue and colour than meets the eye. If you dig under the raft of Indie/guitar bands emerging you will find all manner of styles, genres and sounds being fused and experimented with. Coleman is one of the city’s more mature and accomplished songwriters. Not someone who sticks with the tried-and-tested clichés of the scene- the heartbreak and overly-played motifs of broken souls- you have music with much more depth and intrigue. As I type this, I am listening to Wild Beasts and the track Sweet Spot. From the instrumentation- the track featured on their most current album, Present Tense– to the divine and swooning vocals- you have a band that get better by the release. Their stunningly tight, original and dynamic songwriting- the band’s vocalists Hayden Thorpe and Tom Fleming are a natural pairing- gets inside the head and provides so much intensity, passion and soul. The same can be said of Jamie Coleman. A young artist that is never going to be bogged down and wants to push the music to new heights. There is a transcendental reach and sonic experimentation (inside Coleman’s work); a perfect balance of emotions and vocals. Band parts are written to exploit the potential of instruments and timbre: someone who does not put themselves in the spotlight and neglect the rest of the band. Maybe I am over-emoting and going too deep: assessing a songwriter’s strengths can lead my thoughts in all sorts of directions. The point remains this: Glasgow has produced another gem and stellar craftsman. Toni Etherson has leant her voice to a song that taps on modern themes- with a vintage and old-fashioned ethic to it- and puts the listener right into the mix. Those Blues and Soul influences- that have been the hallmarks of Coleman’s writing- allow Etherson to create a vocal filled with yearning and serenity. That Goodnight Msg has Country themes and strings that perfectly sits inside a Blues core. The ensuing track allows Etherson to make a huge impact and showcase a serious talent. Her social media numbers have been climbing and reaching dizzying heights. One of the most noteworthy and rising stars in the music world: make sure you keep an eye on her progress and career. I am sure there will be album or E.P. very soon. Having been featured on B.B.C. Radio 1; her voice has captured the public imagination and resulted in a fervent and dedicated fan-base. I hope Coleman and Etherson combine somewhere down the line. On paper, you would not imagine the two coming together: that is the beauty of collaborations. I find myself in a tawdry quandary at the moment: trying to unearth genuinely exciting musicians that offer a long-term future and quality. It may sound like a rather basic concern yet there are few (musicians on the scene) that can promise that. May competiveness and quantity is always going to lead to indeterminism and once-a-year heroes. When listening to Jamie Coleman (knowing how good the band is; how strong Toni Etherson is) you get a sense this young artist can be triumphing and compelling for years to come. Not to place too much weight on young shoulders: the stage is primed for something rather special to take place. Not a musician confined to the softer side of music- the tender ballads and aching songwriting- you get rockier and more gritty moments; songs that have drama and force. Whether my assessments will make him say “shut your geggy” or cause a bit of greetin (my Glasgow slang might need some fine tuning); I apologise. A musician that is going to be a name familiar to us all soon enough: take a glimpse into a song that promises intrigue and fascination. I am excited to see where Jamie Coleman head this year. Whether the album (rumoured to be released very shortly) expands on That Goodnight Msg– more of the same sort of thing- or pushes more boundaries; that is going to be exciting. For now, and whilst the record is still waiting to be unleashed, cherish a talent who is…
Photo: Pat McGuire/PMG Photog
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Photo: Pat McGuire/PMG Photog