Happy New Year!!!
Well, 2013 certainly was a tough year, but with the dawn of a new year comes new possibilities, so here goes...
After talking some time out at the end of last year I'm now looking forward to getting back out there, playing live as much as possible and releasing more new music. I've already been busy, catching up in the recording studio and I'm currently planning big things for later this year. Stay tuned for more details. In the meantime you can still enjoy listening to a selection of music from 'Stand Fast' and all the previous albums via the media player here or visit the http://redeyemusicshop.bigcartel.com/ to buy physical CD copies and have them delivered straight to your door.
Many thanks and best wishes,
My Father 'Hugh Lewis Rees' sadly passed away on Sunday 8th September 2013 after a long and courageous 7 year battle with cancer. The funeral took place in Llanelli on Tuesday 17th September and somehow I managed to sing this song to him and the congregation during the church service.
The song is called 'My Father's Hands and it was his favourite song of mine. It was an incredibly emotional day but I'd like to thank all my dear friends and family for all their love and support over the past few weeks.
You can listen to the original demo of the song and read the story behind it on the Soundcloud page via the link below.
Christopher Rees will perform on the Green Man Rising Stage at the Green Man Festival on Sunday 18th August 2013. Time to be confirmed asap. Check back again for more details.
Christopher Rees with David Pulkingham & Patty Griffin after the show at the Royal Northern College of Music, Concert Hall, Manchester 20th July 2013.
Patty Griffin & David Pulkingham onstage.
Christopher Rees is delighted to announce that he has been invited to open the show for the wonderful Patty Griffin at The Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester on Saturday 20th July 2013.
Wales Arts Review’s Jane Oriel chats with Welsh musician Christopher Rees, playwright Meic Povey and entertainer and writer Johnny Tudor about their inspiration Dorothy Squires, ahead of a new play by Sherman Cymru inspired by her life. Catch Christopher at the end playing his song ‘Alright Squires’.
Watch via the link below...
(SXSW - OFFICIAL SHOWCASES)
Wed 13th March - Stephen F's Bar (The Intercontinental Hotel, 7th & Congress) 10pm -10.40pm.
Thurs 14th March - Jon Langford's Day Party (The Gingerman, 301 Lavaca St) 7pm.
Friday 15th March - 2nd Play Stage (The Hyatt Place Hotel, Downtown, 211 East 3rd St) 6pm.
Sat 16th March - Goorin Bros Hat Shop (1323 South Congress Ave) 6pm.
Christopher Rees gratefully acknowledges the support of Arts Council Wales.
ORDER the new album 'Stand Fast' direct from the Red Eye Music Online Shop HERE...
Download from i-Tunes here...
Or from Amazon here...
Christopher Rees - Alright Squires is released to download on Monday 21st January 2013.
Check out the new video for the single here...
Download the single from i-Tunes here...
Christopher Rees will release his 6th album 'Stand Fast' on February 18th 2013.
"A spit and sawdust holler that's as close to a Southern hell-fire preacher as you can get hailing from Cardiff. Very, very good". (MOJO)
"This album is so good". (Kristin Hersh - Throwing Muses)
"Dark, thoughtful songs of understanding and undeniable humanity... Stand Fast is staking it's place to be heard and understood for the powerful piece of music it is". (Lonesomehighway.com)
Listen to 'Raise My Head' from the new album 'Stand Fast' by clicking on the soundcloud link below...
Welsh singer song writer Christopher Rees returns with his 6th album, 'Stand Fast' on 18th February 2013.
As the title suggests it's an album that revolves around themes of resilience, defiance and determination. It's a life affirming and arresting album that celebrates the courage of conviction with raw, roots power.
After the deep soul of his last album 'Heart On Fire' (with The South Austin Horns) which attracted great acclaim from MOJO, Uncut and Bob Harris on BBC Radio 2 among others, we see Rees re-embrace the banjo picking intensity of his earlier work while drums, bass, harmonica and that trademark Gretsch guitar twang produce a sound as strong and seductive as the subject matter.
Opening track 'Alright Squires' immediately sets the tone with a concise overview of the life of fellow Llanelli born singer Dorothy Squires. The Welsh belter's rise to success in the 1940s and tragic fall from grace in the '70s is the stuff of legend. Inspired by her compelling life and formidable character, Rees tells her story in a lyrical nutshell. Both Squires and Rees were born in the 'Wild West Wales' town - a connection that initially fascinated him. “I saw a documentary Cerys Matthews narrated about Dorothy Squires a few years ago and couldn't believe that such a huge star had come from my home town and I knew nothing about her until relatively recently”, said Rees. “Her life was equally blessed and cursed. It was both glamorous and heartbreaking and I couldn't resist the temptation to write about it”.
recorded and produced entirely by Rees
in various isolated Welsh locations,
other songs like 'I Heard You Call My
Name', 'Sing Out Loud', 'Raise My Head'
and 'Lover Oh Lover' recall the
Appalachian fire and brimstone of 16
with the primal rhythms of Tom Waits and the
percussive western shuffle of Calexico. 'Tonight
We'll Dance' introduces a mesmerizing
folk groove underneath a Duane Eddy twang that
leads gently into the explosive blues of
'Fighting Time' and the gospel of 'I
Will Follow'. The mariachi trumpets of
'Knock On My Door' yearn with emotion
before culminating with the provocative
profundity of 'The Corner'.
Over the past few years Rees has toured with and earned the respect of several legendary figures in music from John Cale to Steve Earle, Alejandro Escovedo, Wanda Jackson and Kristin Hersh to name but a few - endorsements that speak volumes about Rees, his talent and credentials.
Committed to serving the song and his own particular vision for it, Rees might confound expectations by always following his instincts, but it's that courage of conviction and that ever passionate voice that defines him as an authentic, dynamic and steadfast artist that is here to stay.
'Stand Fast' is further proof of that.
The 1st single from the album will be 'Alright Squires' which will be available to download from i-Tunes and all other download sites from January 21st 2013.
"She'd rather spit in the devil's eye than lick her wounds and cry, she was a fighter”. (Alright Squires)
Opening album track 'Alright Squires' immediately sets the tone with a concise overview of the life of fellow Llanelli born singer Dorothy Squires. The Welsh belter's rise to success in the 1940s and dramatic fall from grace in the '70s is the stuff of legend. Inspired by her compelling life and formidable character, Rees tells her story in a lyrical nutshell. Both Squires and Rees were born in the 'Wild West Wales' town - a connection that initially fascinated him. “I saw a documentary Cerys Matthews narrated about Dorothy Squires a few years ago and couldn't believe that such a huge star had come from my home town and I knew nothing about her until relatively recently”, said Rees. “Her life was equally blessed and cursed. Both glamorous and heartbreaking and I just couldn't resist the temptation to write about it”.
It's a rags to riches to rags story that beggars belief. From her humble beginnings in Llanelli to the glittering London club scene of the 40s and 50s, a much publicised marriage to Roger Moore (before he became 007), the famous parties, Hollywood lifestyle and multi million record sales, Squires appeared to have it all. But then came the much talked about break up with Moore, her singing career began to slide and after a brief revival in the late 60s she lost one house to fire, then another to flood and became obsessed with taking the tabloid newspapers to court. There she lost most of her fortune before being declared a 'vexatious litigant' and was banned from The High Court. Bankruptcy soon followed and sadly she was forced to spend the rest of her days a poverty stricken recluse, back in Wales, living in a small terrace house provided by a charitable fan in the Rhondda Valley until her death in 1998 aged 83.
Rees's tribute to Dorothy Squires may sound more 'Wild West America' than 'Wild West Wales' but it does capture certain aspects of her personality with heartfelt compassion and respect. “The song provides some brief observations of her character in 3 short verses but ultimately I wanted to produce something that portrays and celebrates a much maligned yet truly amazing Welsh singer”, said Rees.
Thrilled to announce that Christopher Rees will open the show for the 'Queen Of Rock'n'Roll' - Wanda Jackson when she visits Wales for a show at The Factory in Porth on Monday 16th July 2012.
Thrilled to announce that Christopher Rees will be supporting the most AMAZING!!! JUNO Award Winning!!! 'THE SADIES' in Cardiff at Bogiez on Monday 30th April and in Bristol at The Polish Club on Friday 4th May!!! Tickets from Spillers Records, Cardiff and Bristol outlets.
Don't miss it!
Check 'Live' section for more details...
Christopher Rees will play a live session on BBC Radio Wales and talk about the forthcoming shows with The Sadies on Saturday 28th April from 7pm with the lovely Amy Wadge.
Check out the latest Christopher Rees e-mail newsletter: http://t.co/PNCj2Cb2
A BIG THANKS to everyone who came out to see the shows on my short little tour of The Netherlands. Especially to all at MFC (Metal Front Coevorden) for a particularly enjoyable and memorable night! Here's a link to some cool photos from the show... http://s407.photobucket.com/albums/pp154/digiturf/Christopher%20Rees%2024-09-11/?albumview=slideshow
Christopher Rees performed a 'Live Session' on The Bob Harris Show, BBC Radio 2 on Sunday August 7th.
He was accompanied by Simon Rooney (piano) and Edward James Mugford (guitar) and performed 3 songs from the new album Heart On Fire. Rees discussed the making of the album and the collaboration with The South Austin Horns in Texas and played stripped down versions of Heart On Fire, Sparks Flying and Morning Light. You can listen again to the session until Saturday August 13th via the Bob Harris Sunday Radio 2 webpage
Christopher Rees is very pleased to announce that he will be opening for the fantastic
Eli Paperboy Reed & The True Loves on their August 2011 UK tour.
Mon 1st Aug - London Islington Academy
Tues 2nd Aug - Birmingham Academy 2
Wed 3rd Aug - Leeds Brudenell Social Club
Thurs 4th Aug - Edinburgh Liquid Rooms
Saturday 6th Aug - Liverpool, Kazimier
Check out Eli Paperboy Reed & The True Loves website for more details here...
It's gonna be a blast!!!!
Eli Paperboy Reed & Christopher Rees pictured after the final date of the August 2011 UK Tour.
Christopher Rees is very excited to be taking his full band and horn section to Glastonbury 2011. If you are going to be there don't miss them play new album 'Heart On Fire' live on 'The Croissant Neuf Stage' - Fri 24th at 7pm.
Watch Christopher Rees & Band with Horns live at Glastonbury Festival 2011 here...
Christopher Rees - shortlisted for a MOJO Honours List 'New Voice' Award.
BIG THANKS to everyone who voted. VOTING IS NOW CLOSED!!!
Artist : Christopher Rees (with The South Austin Horns)
Title : Heart On Fire
Release Date : 9th MAY 2011
Davy Crockett once famously said, “You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas”. Well, the motivation may have been somewhat different but that's exactly what Welshman Christopher Rees did for his fifth album, 'Heart On Fire'. With a bag full of songs that called out for an authentic American horn section Rees went to Austin, Texas to record with 'The South Austin Horns'. The result is a wonderful transatlantic collaboration that sparks and smoulders with warmth and soul.
The plan was hatched a year earlier after one of Rees' performances at the SXSW Music Festival when a chance meeting with The South Austin Horns leader Mark Wilson (Alejandro Escovedo, Burning Spear), lead to a late night discussion about music, a shared love of vintage Stax recordings and an ever expanding collection of songs that Rees had written under the influence of beloved Southern Soul song writers like Dan Penn & Spooner Oldham. Rees said, “I'd been stockpiling songs for some time that leant in that direction, but I felt they required a horn section to do them justice. I'd put them to one side, but when I met Mark it seemed like the perfect opportunity, so I suggested that we work together”.
Rees decamped to Austin for 3 weeks last year to arrange the horn parts with Wilson before joining forces with veteran trombonist Charles Dickey and Trumpet player Ricky White. The parts clicked immediately and injected the songs with the dynamic punch and power that Rees had envisioned. Additional piano and Hammond organ parts provided the finishing touches upon Rees' return to Wales.
Written and produced entirely by Rees, Heart On Fire might sound like a change of direction for an artist recently seen plucking a banjo and stamping his feet on tour with Americana greats like Steve Earle, Kristin Hersh, The Sadies, The Handsome Family and Chuck Prophet.
But as MOJO Editor, Phil Alexander commented on the 2007 album Cautionary Tales, Rees' songs have always been, “Full of simmering soul”. And there's plenty of that trademark twang and tremolo here to support Rees' ever emotional and distinctive voice. While the scenery that surrounds these songs and the lyrical substance they contain is more immediately accessible and optimistic than people have come to expect from someone who's last album, Devil's Bridge mainly consisted of murder ballads, Heart On Fire is still unmistakably a Christopher Rees record. The rockabilly energy remains in songs like Warm By My Fire, while the title track and Raise The Battle Cry present uplifting gospel. Other highlights include the radio friendly Sparks Flying and the explosive In The Middle Of The Night.
With four critically acclaimed albums already under his belt, Welsh singer, song writer Christopher Rees has covered a lot of ground both musically and geographically in the last few years. Heart On Fire is another fascinating chapter in that journey. It's an album that celebrates Rees' passion and commitment towards music, love, life and his dedication to the art of serving the song.
Christopher Rees will tour the UK from May including Glastonbury Festival and more TBC.
Well, upon reflection 2010 was a pretty productive and successful year!
I guess some of the highlights must be...
- Touring the Netherlands in the January snow.
- Recording with The South Austin Horns in Austin, Texas.
- Performing live with The South Austin Horns & Band at SXSW, Austin, Texas.
- Gigs and co-songwriting on Music Row in Nashville, Tennessee.
- UK tour with Chuck Prophet
- Playing festival gigs (Crossant Neuf, Green Man etc) with the band.
- Opening for Steve Earle in Cambridge and Cardiff.
- Wales theatre tour with the Nashville's 'Cherryhlomes'.
- 4 UK tour dates with 'The Sadies'.
- Finishing the new album 'Heart On Fire'! (more details to follow on this...)
and ofcourse lots more adventures inbetween ;-)
Thank you to everyone who has leant an ear, their support and encouragement this year.
I hope that you all had a good year and look forward to an even better one in 2011.
See you soon.
Big love and best wishes,