My Love’s in Deep
My Love’s in Deep is available at:
February 4th, 2016
The extended E.P., Ends and Starts is released on March 26th. It can be pre-ordered via:
My Love’s in Deep
Feels Like 5000 Miles
Break My Heart Blues
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery on the afternoon of the 26th of March
E.P. tour dates:
06/02 Albion Brewery Bar, Northampton
13/02 Busk Love Folk Festival, Southport
24/02 Bury Songwriters Circle
25/02 Speakeasy, Sunderland
26/02 Launderette Sessions, Durham (supporting Bob Fox)
27/02 Suddabys, Malton
21/03 Stafford Gatehouse (Supporting Kelly Oliver)
26/03 Album launch Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
01/04 Foley Arms, Malvern
03/04 South Hill Park Arts Centre, Bracknell
08/04 Kontra Roots, Finnedon
09/04 Old Cock Inn, Droitwich
14/04 Southside Blues, Birmingham
27/04-03/05 Tour of Germany
WHEN considering today’s featured artist it provokes me to…
Look at a different type of solo artist; the importance of character and charm in music- in addition to the discipline of being an actor and musician. I will start off with the little point which is an interesting one to raise. A lot of the upcoming musicians tend to focus predominantly on music itself. Rarely do you come across a musician that exists as an actor- or has another discipline to their name. It may seem like an irrelevant point to make, but it interests me to see how acting translates into music itself. I have reviewed a couple of actors- who are musicians too- and always find the performances and songs that little bit more special. Perhaps it is the skills involved within acting- projection and performance- that easily leads to some rather accomplished music. I am not sure, but what I do know is the actor-musician label should not be one open to derision (it can often get a bad reputation). If you look at some T.V. stars that have made a stab at a music career- I shall name no names here- their attempts can be summed up as ‘mixed’. You get a few actors who can deftly amaze in music- bringing their skills and personality to great songs- but many come off embarrassingly short. In modern music, there are a lot of singers/musicians going into acting; the reverse is also true. Perhaps the two areas have a closer link (than I imagined) or there is something inherently attracting about a music career- something an aspiring actor cannot refute. I raise the point because my featured artist mixes acting with music: A talent that is making in-roads in both fields. If you have not heard of Robert Lane- he is one of many making their way through right now- then yu will do soon enough. One of those honest musicians toiling and crafting their current sounds- trying to get as many as possible engaged and listening- this year will see his extended E.P. dropped. That seven-track record showcases a unique talent with a different way of working. I have mentioned Pop music a lot recently- and the much-maligned attempts from our current crop- but it needn’t be that difficult. Before I carry this point on, let me introduce Rob Lane to you:
“Robert Lane is a singer songwriter based in Birmingham.
Robert’s musical path began with liberating his brother’s guitar from a bedroom cupboard. “He’s eleven years older than me so he had all the cool toys, including this guitar. I asked if I could have a go or even borrow it, he always said yeah sure tomorrow. So in the end I went into his room one day when he was at work and sat on his bed playing it. I did this for a week or two, having to put it back in his cupboard before he came home. I couldn’t re-string it as a left handed person should do as that would give me away. By the time he lent it to me legitimately I had learnt too much to start again left handed and so to this day I play the wrong way round.”
Inspired to write and perform by the likes of The Beatles, Pete Townshend, Rufus Wainwright and Ron Sexsmith, Robert played with various bands as a guitarist before taking the decision to perform as a solo artist.
Robert was chosen by the LG Arena to perform before concerts by Dire Straits front man Mark Knopfler, BBC Sound of 2010 winner Ellie Goulding and international superstar singer/songwriter John Mayer. In May 2013 he returned to the Forum Live to play before Eric Clapton’s main stage appearance. In August 2013 he was one of 15 songwriters selected to attend a song writing retreat/course with Kinks front man Ray Davies. Robert has appeared at Beverley Folk Festival, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Birmingham Artsfest and The Tenby Blues Festival as well as venues including Birmingham’s Glee Club and Jools Holland’s famous venue The Jam House. He has supported a wide range of performers including Nell Bryden, Polly Paulusma, Gary Knock, Lotte Mullan, Paul Liddell, Alice Gold, Cattle and Cane, Jazz Morley, Edwina Hayes, Dan Wilde, Jess Morgan, Steve Gibbons, Jay Leighton, Dan Whitehouse and Steve Ajao.
As well as writing and performing Robert works as a guitar teacher and workshop leader for musicians of all ages. “I’ve learnt an awful lot whilst teaching. Sometimes you have to find new ways to explain things you haven’t thought about for years, and in doing that you get a new understanding of them.”
He’s worked as an actor, comedian and shoe salesman. “I’ve performed in some very strange places…a shed, a tree house, busked on the street, art galleries, in a glass box for 6 hours on BBC3…strange but wonderful.”
Robert’s work as an actor and teacher has brought new skills and realisation into his music. His exposure and work with musicians/actors has enforced realities and truths about the industry. These realisations come through in the music which distinguishes itself from what is out there. So many Pop crop wannabes are throwing the same old jams out there: Those love songs with a few chords to their name. Away from the derisory and ill-fated attempts at Pop: There are artists that are doing something different and exciting. Robert Lane- to be fair is not a pure Pop act- plays Acoustic, Rock and Alternative sounds- infuses them around a Pop base. What impresses me about him- and one of the reasons for assessing his music- is the charm and charterer that emerges from the music. Maybe that stems from his natural acting ability- an issue I will have to explore more in future- but you hear that smile and depth emerge in every word. Not someone simply going through the motions: The songs he puts forward stick in the imagination and showcases a natural talent who wants to keep making music. It is often hard bringing new light when talking about solo acts- I have been doing this for so long now- but Robert Lane is an artist that subverts preconceived expectations. Over the years, he has performed at a string of festivals- and supported an array of great musicians- and has grown in confidence and stature. He is an artist that manages to balance his many endeavours- from acting to teaching- whilst ensuring the music is stronger for it. Lane takes some well-worn/traditional themes- love’s strife and the unfairness of relationships- but ensures there is much more originality and diversity across his sounds. Quirky tales and wonderful charterers mix with songs about wit and confessional moments. It is clear to me Lane has gone to great lengths to ensure his music has its own mark and distinction. Not an average Pop singer: An artist that has a unique flair and voice that should be fostered and encouraged. His E.P. is available to order and shows what a proposition he is. The consistency and breadth across the E.P. mixes the themes of heartbreak alongside charming tales and songs filled with imagination. Birmingham is perhaps not a region that has produced a lot of current masters- Mike Skinner was the last great musician from here- but there have been some legends who hail from here. Everyone from Jeff Lynne (E.L.O.) to The Beat; Duran Duran to Black Sabbath: There have been some terrific musicians that call Birmingham home (or hail from nearby). Lane wants Ends and Starts (his new E.P.) to inspire people and get fans talking. Having collected some dedicated followers across social media- all attracted to that very special type of music- you would not bet against those numbers swelling and expanding.
Seeing as I am a fairly recent fan of Robert Lane: It was apt to have a look-back and investigate his earliest moments. Having been performing music for a while now, I was expecting his sapling songs to be a little under-formed and slight. Well Adjusted was unveiled six years ago and shows how confident he was from the start. Catchy and memorable- I get touches of Oasis, The Beatles and Bob Dylan at various intervals- it is a song that showcases a terrific and emotive composition. Our hero holds a line he cannot cross- he feels lost and disconnected- he speaks to a heroine that thinks he does not care. Unable to bare the tensions and realities of the situation- hoping there is more than this- no-one does it “like I do”. The well-adjusted star boasts incredible vocals- the lead performance is emotive and passionate throughout- bringing in huge backing vocals to enforce the lyrics and add to the mood.
Lost But I Can’t Care is another song that showed Rob Lane’s many sides and abilities. A softer and tenderer vocal- compared to a track like Well Adjusted– we go into more Folk/Soul territory as the young musician shows his adept ear for melody and a catchy chorus. Few artists craft such melodic and memorable tracks so early in their career. In the earliest cuts, I was swept in the graceful and gorgeous moments; the strong and nuanced lyrics- everything hangs together and Lane sounds completely natural. Giving the impression he has been playing for decades: Such an assured and confident artist grows in strength with every release.
More recent tracks like You Want It Both Ways and One of Those Guys demonstrate that evolution and Lane’s ability to craft classic-sounding Pop- the likes of The Beatles keep coming to mind- whilst throwing wit, intelligence and mature into the mix. Those big and memorable choruses can be found once more- You Want It Both Ways’ is particularly stunning- whilst the compositions have retained that mix of Folk, Pop and Alternative blends. What you get- comparing the earliest sounds with the songs produced a couple of years back- the consistency and quality. Lane does not sound fatigue or lacking any inspiration: If anything, his songwriting is more ambitious and he brings new ideas and sounds into the frame.
My Love’s in Deep is perhaps Lane’s most assured and stunning cut to date. The composition employs more grit and gristle- some scratched electric guitar strings- and boasts Lane’s most soulful and direct vocals ever. It is a song that marks new life and direction whilst retaining his identity and sound. I will be fascinated to see if the E.P. continues the themes of My Love’s in Deep– it may stray away and concentrate on other areas. What I do know is how confident Lane appears right now. You can tell his years of performance have strengthened his music and given him fresh inspiration. This will mean future records carrying this trajectory on and building on these exceptional foundations’.
My Love’s in Deep is Robert Lane’s latest single, and- judging by the feedback across social media- it has connected with a lot of people. The opening strings race and hustle into life. Sprightly and ready for action: You get a boisterous and invigorated introduction that gets the listener involved and ensures their attention is focused. Unable to sleep- with his love being in deep- you get Country-esque twangs and Folk threads coming out in Lane’s vocal. With perhaps a touch of early days-Dylan in the delivery- that acoustic guitar sound reminds me of his earliest work- the song starts off with a solid and impressive flourish. Having lost his “last chance to leave” I began to wonder whether the hero was in a rather struggling bond. Maybe the relationship has felt strains and seems beyond the point of repair. Most songs that deal with love both address break-up and its heartache; some look at casting blame and pointing fingers when necessary. As the lyrics start to unfold, I realise my early interpretation is a little wayward. The hero continues his story and looks back at when the two first met. That vintage/classical storytelling- the superiority of the ‘60s songwriters against the grain of some modern-day cliché- boasts a terrify narrative and charm. The duo- you start to picture what the girl looks like- met by chance it seems. Perhaps the heroine is someone Lane knows- or has seen around- but he always wanted to see her one-on-one. That cute and almost teenage-like meeting- perhaps it is a recollection from an older bond- see the girl inviting our man to see a band. The hero becomes god-smacked when the girl takes his hand- enforcing that innocence I get from the song- and the bond starts to blossom. As they go and see the band- that feature’s the heroine’s best friend- you start to explore possibilities and various images. Our boy cannot sleep and it seems like this girl has made a huge impression early on. Having lost that chance to leave- you wonder whether he wants to leave or feels he needs to- there is no turning back. Perhaps this is new territory- or the romance is moving along too quickly- but you get some nerves and hesitations early on. With the initial stages laid out- the hero letting his voice campaign and explain- a beautiful compositional punctuation adds evocation and atmosphere. Blue-inspire guitar soloing sits with energised and heartbeat percussion to move the song on and give the listener a chance to reflect. Lane is one of those artists that is capable of inspiring various parts of the body. The lyrics and vocals get in the mind and heart- that mixture of thoughtfulness, romance and intelligence- whilst the composition ensures the feet and arms are activated. I love the layers and different genres Lane can bring into a song and make everything sound consistent and completely natural. That authority and bravery emerges throughout My Love’s in Deep. Following that chugging motif, we hear more of the story. The two- our boy and his girl- sojourn to a party after the gig and that is when the first kiss arrives. The hero did “not stand a chance” and is taken unaware. Recollections of early-days Beatles- the songwriting style of Paul McCartney especially- comes through in a song that never fails to put a smile on the face. As they are at the party- and that kiss has been planted- the two go for dinner (the girl would not let our man pay). The heroine is used to having her own way and there seems to be differences in this relationship. As things have continued and flourished- from those early days they are now more settled- there is no guessing where things are headed. Those nervy and quick-moving moments are in the past: What we have now is a love that seems serious yet has uncertainties.
Lane has a beautiful knack of storytelling and narrative- perhaps not surprising given he’s an actor- that moves things forward but ensures the listener can envelop themselves in the lyrics. The coming-together/bond has been, in the words of our hero, an “unqualified success”- almost as quirky as The Streets line in Let’s Push Things Forward: “I wholeheartedly agree with your viewpoint” against scenes of disagreement and argument- showing a distinct Britishness and distinct pen. With so many songwriters being overtly direct and blunt- their choice of language and words lacks imagination and surprise- Lane has a distinct dictionary and a great turn of phrase. Unable to sleep- in the grip of this deep love- the hero seems invested and stuck (perhaps not the best word) in the relationship. That infectious and rousing chorus is reinterpreted to emphasis the points and get the listener singing along. One of the most catchy and unforgettable choruses I have heard all year- an out-and-out stomper- the song’s final moments are a riot of uplift and addictiveness. The guitars chug and spark; the percussion rifles and smatters- that voice continues to climb and strike. A coming-together of all Lane’s strengths and assets: My Love’s in Deep is his most accomplished and impressive song so far.
Ends and Starts’ lead-off song- and perhaps one of the most upbeat that will appear in that collection- shows just how confident and accomplished Robert Lane is. I have heard his older material- and how assured he appears on those cuts- but his latest revelation is the most memorable he has ever produced. The lyrics bring together childlike innocence- a love story that could be taken from 1950s Rock ‘n’ Roll- with something modern-day and contemporary. With that in mind, the composition has a great blend of Rock, Blues and Alternative. Robert Lane is an artist with one mind in the past; the other firmly planted in the future. The way they come together (on his latest track) will appeal to a wide range of listeners and those who love their music with depth and nuance. I find myself revisiting the song and becoming entranced by the storyline and that final coda. There are so many strands and little touches that reward a devoted and passion listener. In the solo world, it is so challenging discovering an artist that differs and really sticks in the mind. Robert Lane has shown how he can negotiate and overcome hurdles- an artist that has continued to play for years- and this is a good thing. My Love’s in Deep is a stunning number from a songwriter that ranks himself among the most talented and able we have in this country. Do not let him pass you by.
Ends and Starts is a collection of songs that showcases what a talent Robert Lane is. Not just reserved to narrow themes and tastes: The width of genres and subjects explored across the record are hugely impressive. At the heart is that consistency and core which will ensure his existing fan-base go away very happy. With every release Lane seems more assured and confident. As an actor and teacher it is only natural the musician would be able to project and inspire- one of the most credible and respectable actor-musicians working in the U.K. Bringing influences as wide ranging as Kate Bush and The Beatles into his songs: You have an artist that has a great love of the legends of the past. Of course, there is a contemporary edge to Lane’s music- it is very much the sound of here and now- but those older/classic touches mean his music resonates with older generations and more mature listeners. I got hints of Paul McCartney when listening to My Love’s in Deep: One of those lovely tracks that could easily have slotted onto Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It is a track that has a charmed smile and plenty of character. Lane is an artist whose lyrics get inside your head and paint pictures and vivid scenes. Few songwriters are capable of stepping away from cliché and providing music that has character and nuance. If you have not heard Robert Lane then check his previous songs out- available on his SoundCloud account- and get to grips with one of the rising stars of British music. With people seeking what London and the big cities are providing music- Birmingham is a part of the U.K. that is showcasing some great artists. While not on the same level as London, there is evidence to suggest here is an area that could grow (as a musical hot-stop) in years to come. Robert Lane is a fascinating example of what can be achieved when it comes to music. Having his fingers in a few pies- as a teacher and actor- you would see him on paper and maybe think this: Here is another actor who is trying to become a musician! Truth is, music has always been a key love for Lane: Acting is just another area that interests him and he loves to do. You can tell how vital music is and what a passion he has. From his compositions- that mix Acoustic and Blues together with Pop and Folk- you have a musician’s musician that wants to inspire others. That will not be hard to do- I know others that have latched onto Lane’s music- and it will be exciting to see what this year has in store. Lane is going to be traveling across the U.K. in support his new record: A chance for fresh listeners to come see him and hear those songs in a live environment. I hope he gets to come to London and give the capital a glimpse into his stunning music. For now- and with his extended E.P. dropping- it is going to be great seeing just how far Rob Lane can go this year. I can see more music arriving and the young musician making plans for festivals.
With a ubiquitous and much-need sound at his disposal, it seems like Lane has the ability to translate abroad and have a career there. It would not be an exaggeration to say he could gain plaudits in the U.S. and Australia. I mention these two nations- as I have done in a lot of reviews- as they are the most popular and notable nations for new music (Australia to a lesser extent). The point is, Robert Lane has the ability to get his music heard far and wide- marking him as one of the brightest talents around. With Birmingham recently voted as the third happiest place to live in the U.K. – a recent survey showed areas of London to be the least happy- fewer sniggers should be leveled here. It is clear the atmosphere and lack of anxiety in Birmingham works wonder for musicians. Take away the jokes and clichés- the accent gets a bit of a ribbing- it will be interesting to see if this honorific achievement will reveal similarly exciting songwriters. I always find it interesting London- with its anxiety and bustling environment- showcases so many unfettered and great artists. I feel London will relinquish some of its dominance as its boroughs become more compacted and overly-populated. The sheer numbers flocking to the capital is exciting for music- the range and mass of artists to be found- but a lot of the young artists are feeling the strain. I talk to many artists from London who all tell me how difficult and challenging life in London can be. It appears other parts of the U.K. are stealing focus and producing treasures. Robert Lane is promoting and campaigning hard- with the release of Ends and Starts– so keep your eyes on him. The solo market is producing a depressing amount of robotic and faceless acts. From the boring and lifeless acoustic guitar-strumming Pop example; through to the big-choruses-and-uplifting-messages female solo acts: I get rather red when looking around music at the moment. Those musicians that strike against the conformity and sheer averageness of music- and the worst traits of the young coming through- should be commended and congratulated. Not only does Robert Lane stand aside with regards quality and consistency: The individuality and personality of his music makes him a very relatable and warm artist. My Love’s in Deep is Ends and Starts’ lead-off song and a great representation of Robert Lane’s music. Possessing all his traits and ingredients; it is a track impossible to ignore and guaranteed to put a smile on your face. An exciting and original musician that deserves a wider fan-base; let Robert Lane become a part of your music rotation. Few truly unique and memorable solo artists are coming through so here is someone…
WE all need to follow.
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