Friday, 29 November 2013

Matt Henshaw Recommends ... Matt Zara

Recommending again, this time an absolutely sensational guitarist, who at a such a young age wasn't born when John Major was prime minister, is one of the most accomplished and talented musicians I know. Playing bass or guitar he can transform a melody into symphony with one instrument. Often times it's not cool to bash on about someones talent being amazing just because of how young they are, so for a second let's just completely discard the simple fact that Matt is barely tackling his GCSEs and know that at whatever age he is simply a brilliant musician, if he was 44 I'd have the same amount of respect and admiration for him, and I'm sure by 44 he'll have a lot more stories to tell about his wild successes as a guitar man.

Now, I'm no whizz kid on the guitar, I went to the Manchester school of simplicity, starting out learning the chords to Noel Gallagher songs and then ripping a few licks off of The Stone Roses' John Squire and eventually attempting some Hendrix, Clapton and Jimmy Page, but Matt Zara eats, breathes and sleeps his instrument, I would be surprised if he sleeps with it, such expression and dexterity in his fingers, a skill at improvisation and playing by ear that most don't develop and execute with such ease.

Let's just say Matt would be my first port of call if I ever needed a serious guitarist, session man or tour buddy, he'd be an asset to any ensemble and a pleasure to share the stage with, no doubt one day I'll find myself saying the words "and on guitar, Matt Zara!" to a huge round of applause and some ecstatically excited girlish screams, if only from me ! And if he'd join a band with me at the helm.

I met him for the first time at an open mic night in Leicester and unfortunately missed him, but he, and his whole family, sat and watched me do a few tunes and I felt as though I'd found a new friend and a family away from home straight away, beautiful people, it wasn't until he mentioned that I should go to an open mic the following night nearer his home and with some of his friends that I really had the chance to be blown away, and discovered a further set of incredibly talented people and indeed a musical family.

The first step in my dream band of Matt's ... I already have an organ and piano player in mind, I'll let you know about him further down the line, but here's one of Matt's original compositions ... you might catch him playing in Leicester, a open mics, busking or alongside the fabulous Mark Elliott and Martin Luke Brown ...

I'm working on my guitar skills ... the next "title video" I upload might just include a guitar solo ... oooooooooh ...

Spread The Love!

PS. here's me doing some plucking and strumming ...

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

A Little Late November Update ...

Evening, Morning, Afternoon Folks,

A quick fly by blog whilst I'm in the mood. Very productive times here at Henshaw Towers. Everything going swimmingly and according to plan, looking forward to a happy and hopefully excited 2014, as I'm sure you all are too. Stick with me, Team Matt Henshaw needs all the love and support it can get.

I've been touting my wares at radio stations and doing interviews around the Midlands and South Yorkshire and I'm getting round to getting everything on YouTube for you all to watch, Like and share with your friends ... around 1000 subscribers now and steady stream of views up in the 1000s for each video I have shared. Keep watching, the ethos for most of the things I am uploading at the moment is get the songs out there with the title and my name and let the music do the talking, hopefully it is and you like everything I'm throwing at you ...

Here's a video from Demon FM session I did at O Bar for The Monograph magazine, look out for a feature in there in the first 2014 edition along with Kasabian and By The Rivers ...

Matt Henshaw Recommends
I hope you've been enjoying my recommendations so far. I hope to share with you one of my favourite underground acts every week, and keep up the quality of my recommendations, so far they been brilliant, check back if you haven't read about the guys and gals I been telling everyone about just lately ... I'm such a generous fella ! In this interview I get asked to plug my website and shows and end up talking about Charlotte Carpenter and Leah Sinead for about 5 minutes ...

Matt Henshaws Horticultural Gardening Blog ...
I hope to keep you informed about my garden over the winter and into the new year, there's not a huge amount growing at the moment in the midst of the frosty season, but we have little bits, you know I think compost will save the world, and I'm excited about the Chocolate Peppers I will have to introduce you to come January ... here's a little song I wrote inspired by my pastoral endeavours and seemingly care free lifestyle ... it's called Hakuna Matata ... no, not really, No Matter How from my Coalville Hermitage FM session on The Launch Pad ...

More blog ideas coming soon, and I think I might be due a football rant, but it's all good, some nice shows coming up and plenty of opportunities for some tea with friends and family over the festive season.

Merry November All & see you on the other side !
Matt Henshaw x

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Matt Henshaw Recommends ... The Simpletones

Something a little different for you this time around. Vocal harmonies, doo-wop and barbershop. My kind of sound for an evening out. These 4 chaps could quite happily sit on any stage or feature with any act, the vocal dexterity and skill with which they twist and unfurl through any live performance is second to none. I saw them perform for the first time the other week in Leicester and let's just say my socks were knocked off, they flew right across the room. 4 genuinely talented vocalists, snappy dressers and, most importantly, nice guys, definitely good guys.

Absolutely solid in their barbershop foundation, with a knowledge and an ear for the history of the traditional singing style but The Simpletones easily adapt to soulful doo wop Drifters style or re-interpretations of pop hits, easy. As a matter of fact I'd love to hear them do one of mine. Lead Simpletone Simon is one of nicest blokes you're ever likely to meet, don't be put off by his intimidating stature, penchant for blue language and sometimes puerile humour, an honest and decent lover of his trade and a hardworking musician, engineer and school teacher, a credit to everyone who can call him a friend, hopefully now it's safe to say that I am one.

The two Nicks, Nick and Nik I believe, are the heart-throbs, one of each size, whichever you desire, and consummate professionals. Tenor and baritone respectively, the latter Nik provides some 21st century beatboxing occasionally along the way which is a perfect compliments, never too showy or overbearing, it's all about the vocals, but it does vary up a lengthy set, which all four sets of lungs can invariably carry.

And last but not least, Ian the beardy bass man, is a true gent of the highest order, I first met him at a party, stood next to him for a quick chat and to exchange of a few rude jokes before I desperately searched for a kettle. I had no idea he was a singer, or indeed so talented, just a witty filthy humoured bearded fella, let the cover not be thee judgement of thy book. Top fellas all round. I've also seen them make up songs on the spot, excellent stuff, especially when complimenting me on my style and dress sense, nice one Simon !

I was intending to head out to see them this evening switch on some Christmas lights in Leicester city but I've been home playing doctor for my ill girlfriend and sending positive energies to the fellas from my sofa. And hence thus and therefore writing a song for my friend Paul who is getting married next year and has asked me to play at his wedding, something along the lines of It Ain't Easy, but "with a more positive lyric", one can only try, and maybe get The Simpletones to do some doo-wop harmonies and a bass lines for me, how about it boys?

Hows about joining me for some soulful singing anytime boys ... here's me doing one of my own little ditties and a bit of Sam Cooke from The Soul Stirrers himself ...

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Matt Henshaw Recommends ... Charlotte Carpenter

So, here we go again, another ready made starlet from the East Midlands for you. Coming straight out of Northants and Live in Leicester every month, Charlotte Carpenter is fast becoming a favourite songwriter of mine. I've found the transition into becoming a solo singer-songwriter quite strange, and at times difficult, even lonely, but when you do come across another artist you find so likable and relatable it makes the journey all the more bearable. Watching Charlotte play live and solo at Hansom Hall in Leicester last month I was struck by her natural demeanour and wonderful disposition, well crafted songs, innocence and she was an absolute joy to listen to. I've never related so much to one girl and a guitar in the entirety of my existence.

I see parallels between her and myself, we've probably written thousands of love songs and yet as we mature and become jaded by the things that life throws at us and the strive to pursue our artistic visions and present ourselves creatively it can sometimes get a little dark and introspective. It's all good though, a deep cleansing catharthis, when someone sings from their heart and soul you know about it, you recognise it and it chimes with you, stays with you and resonates.

Her regular showcase Charotte Carpenter's Tea Party at The Cookie Jar in Leicester has established itself, in my head at least, as the best night of the month in the city and features some of the best acoustic acts from around the country. The imagery and inflections Miss Carpenter bring to the party sit very well with me, I love Lewis Carroll and a good cup of Yorkshire. And I'll be playing with Charlotte at the end of this month (Friday 29th November), I can't wait.

Again, I'd love to see more of this girl and take a road trip in 2014, her new EP 'Whole' will be coming out shortly and from what I've heard it's going to be fantastic. The production sounds top notch and the songs have a depth and wisdom that is astonishing, I like a good minor chord and a wistful lyric. Highly recommended.

Here's the lady herself previewing a track from the new EP, and if you want some more the lead track is on her SoundCloud, playing on repeat for me ...

And here's me being wistful myself, when I sing the second verse I am speaking of people who are the complete antithesis of Charlotte, she makes going out and making idle chatter an absolute pleasure ...

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Radio Sessions Listen Again & Sheffield this week ...

Good morning, good afternoon, good evening and good night,

Thanks for sticking with me, I've been busy this last month or so popping into a few radio stations in the East Midlands and getting a few highlights on YouTube for your listening pleasure ... got a few more coming up and plenty of shows to see me through until Christmas, hope to see you on the road ... be sure to Like, share, follow and subscribe to all the appropriate places ...

Also, I'll be in Sheffield this Friday at The Grindstone for the Indie Project, it's a FREE show and I'd love to see some fellow Wednesdayites down there, it's my first show in the city and I'm hoping for a nice turn out.  And I need a good night to get over the tumultuous season the Owls are having ...

Matt Henshaw in Sheffield @ The Indie Project

Matt Henshaw Sunset

Peace, Love & Tea,
Matt Henshaw.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Stop Me Girl - Matt Henshaw Live on Trent Sound Nottingham Lace with Jason Loftus

Good evening good evening,

Finally I've been uploading my recent sessions to YouTube ...

Here's the first single solitary slice from the Trent Sound session, Stop Me Girl, one you may not have heard before, but I'm quite pleased with it.

Spread The Love ! Share, share, share !

Matt Henshaw x

Matt Henshaw Sunset

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Matt Henshaw Recommends ... Leah Sinead

Ladies and Gentlemen, I'd like to draw your attention to Leah Sinead.

The above picture is taken from her set a week ago or so at The Old Bell in Derby taken by Alice Kell and the show was put on by Paul Herron of The Sons. I had the pleasure of being with her that night and she went on to do a second set that night at a Halloween party at The Maze in Nottingham, indicative of just how hard working Leah has been this year, two shows in one night and performing almost every night of the week is nothing out of the ordinary for this girl. A true artist and performer, and one of the many reasons why I can relate so much to this girl who on the surface may seem so different from myself.

Leah's sombre Irish-tinged melodies betray her roots and the powerful imagery in her lyrics touch the soul and come from the same place within her. I'm happy to say that I'm an old friend of Leah and as surprised as anyone who knew her before she began performing with a vengeance that she is so full of grace, talent and a modesty that is endearing and sweet. So unassuming is Leah that she has no idea how talented she is as a writer, singer and completely unaware of her effortless brilliance.

Definitely one of the finest of the current crop of singer-songwriters and female vocalists coming out of Nottinghamshire and the East Midlands. I hope to see a lot more of Leah live and I hope to see us hitting the road a bit together come 2014, take the sound of the East Midlands, our humour - yeah, she's a really funny girl too - and our acoustic guitar into the deepest darkest parts of this country of ours.

I like her so much she played at my birthday party a couple of months ago. Top Girl !

And I think she'll be playing with me in Nottingham on Saturday 23rd November at Hinckley Market Lace Market, whatever it's called. Afternoon shindig with food and market stalls and that. Give her a listen, find her playing live, close your eyes and listen good. You won't be disappointed.

And here's a bit of me singing about Nottingham, our home town ...

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Matt Henshaw Recommends ...

Monday Morning here again,

Good day folks, here's my plan for another feature on this here Matt Henshaw blog - Matt Henshaw Recommends ... I've done this in the past and done my bit to project the careers of my musical contemporaries into the stratosphere, or there abouts, my guiding hand of recommendation has pointed a few people in the direction of Dog Is Dead, Jake Bugg, Twisted Wheel and George Moran, now playing guitar with Miles Kane. It's a lonely old life being a singer-songwriter so when you come across other musicians who are like-minded, a pleasure to spend time with or just bloody good at what they do it's always nice to share a little love for them in cyber space and spread the love.

Stay tuned for some recommendations, or conversely if you think I should know about someone or write about someone up here, let me know ... all the usual outlets ..., facebook, twitter, youtube ... it's all good ...

Matt Henshaw