Lucy Rosewith CHARLIE CUNNINGHAM Thursday, March 22, 2018 at 7:00pm $13.00 advance | $16.00 door 21+ Venue: Turf Club
Lucy Rose embarked on the making of third album Something’s Changing (Arts & Crafts, 2017) following her tour for her second, critically acclaimed album Work It Out. Over time, she noticed a steady stream of tweets reaching her from Latin America, and the unlikely statistic that geographically her music was most popular on Spotify in Mexico City. It gave birth to the seed of an idea that became a real labor of love over the next six months. Lucy offered her fans in Latin America a deal: “If you book me a gig, I’ll come and stay.”
For two months Lucy, with her guitar, a camera and her backpack, toured Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil and Mexico, playing free shows, staying with fans and “falling back in love with making music.” The documentary of her experience there was inspired by “the kindness and faith in music of those she met includes fans blocking the street outside a gig above a launderette, trying to sleep on endless inter-city bus rides and living with families in out-of-the-way towns;” Rose's husband Will Morris filmed as much as the experience as possible along the way.
Rose says “The documentary is a big part of this record. I think it explains why that trip was important and why it lead to me making the album that I’ve made. The trip gave me confidence to do things like record in just one take and the songs came more easily.”
With the insight gained during her travels, Lucy set out to make the third album on her own. Through friends she began a collaboration with Brighton producer Tim Bidwell, and in his home studio found the ideal place to explore songs for a new album. Every week Lucy would take the train to Brighton and created the new album in a mere 17 days. The record also contains contributions from Bidwell, in-house bassist Ben Daniels and drummer Chris Boot as well as guest appearances by Daughters’ Elena Tonra, Marcus Hamblett and Matthew and The Atlas’ Emma Gatrill. On two tracks vocal harmonies are provided by The Staves (“Floral Dresses” and “Is This Called Home”).
“The songs just came more naturally after that trip, from feeling good and from learning so much about myself,” adds Rose. “I feel more comfortable in my own skin than I’ve ever felt in my life. So there is a lot of searching as well as a lot of discovery on this record.”
Growing up in a small town in the periphery of London, guitar and piano were a big part of Charlie Cunningham's life. "The whole ability to write songs is probably in a lot more people than they think. A lot of people can probably do it; it's just hard knowing how to start,' he admits. "I think what slowed me down was just over-thinking every possible thing. So now I know that if something feels right to just trust that."
After a few years gigging and finding his feet in Oxford he left for Seville and ended up staying for two years. It was here he explored the different attitudes towards the guitar, and developed a fresh technique that was a catalyst for his creativity. Taking the percussive qualities of flamenco, his playing became sharp enough to craft songs laden with delicate flourishes, intricate melodic turns, and moments of stark introspection. His work continues to be both expansive and intimate.
"I guess the reason that it took so long for me to put something out was that I couldn't play the way I wanted to play" he explains. "I knew how I wanted it to be, but I just couldn't do it. I gave myself quite a tough time." But this perfectionist streak results in some truly wonderful moments of musicality. Charlie Cunningham's enormously suggestive songwriting is sonically beautiful while also packing an emotional punch. "I love all sorts of music, as long as there is an honesty to it" he says. "But it's hard, really, to let yourself be exposed like that."
Cunningham's artistic development, mapped by his three EPs Outside Things, Breather, and Heights, took another leap forward with his debut album, Lines. His deft touch and restraint has produced a work of compositions that sound fresh and yet eerily familiar. Although his celebrated flamenco nods and vocal hooks are present, his musicianship and songwriting ability now takes centre stage. Fan favourites (Lights Off, Breather, While You Are Young) are still present but revisited as new versions and fine tuned productions, nestled within a diverse set of new songs. The lyrically confident Minimum and the vocally rhythmic Answers compliment new avenues scoped by the record's production. His writing's honesty and humility is matched with a confidence in its accomplishment.
The popularity of Charlie's music is highlighted in over 4.7million Spotify plays across his three EPs and tens of thousands of views for his captivating online sessions reflect the enthusiasm for his live performances. This has been especially true on the continent, where he had played two sold out headline tours of Germany.