As The Pigeon Note is a massive fan of Leeds band Ellen and the Escapades we were excited to hear about their bassist Gary Stewart’s solo project. Year and a Day is Gary’s new EP out 18th June.
Scottish born Gary Stewart caught the attention of traditional music lovers across the UK with the release of his debut album Boy Cries Wolf in 2010. Featuring performances from Ellen Smith (Ellen and the Escapades) and Rosie Doon the LP won airplay from the likes of Radio 2‘s Steve Lemacq. Gary then went on to play numerous festivals including Glastonbury, Kendal Calling and Live at Leeds, along the way he has supported the likes of fellow folkies Laura Marling and Noah and the Whale . Off the back of his recent touring stint with Ellen and the Escapades, Gary is ready to release his next record Year and a Day.
First track Thorns introduces Gary’s rich vocals, his scottish tones are calming but there is an underlying uneasiness about the track, as an eerie guitar reverb pulsates in the background, reminiscent of a country stand-off. The lyrics ‘show me the writing on the wall’ foretell the clash of forces as the song erupts with pounding drums and jagged guitar. Thorns builds to dramatic heights with emotive and soaring crys. Eve is the calm after the storm, Gary’s voice is more delicate portraying the fragile beauty of the songs subject, Eve, ‘born of the first light of morning’.
The third offering Green picks up the pace of the EP with its celtic playfulness. Hyper plucking, determined strumming and clapping tambourine all dance around, creating a fresh stomping country track. Closing Year and a Day, Blue mirrors Thorns with its darker vibe as Gary vocals quiver, singing, ‘a tear for every lover scorned’. However Blue harbours bursts of light – beautiful vocal harmonies and twinkling percussion create the hopeful chorus, ‘I will be your setting sun, if you will be my break of dawn’.
Year and a Day is impressive to say the least, unlike a lot of EPs there is no weak track and
Gary Stewart has a talent for songwriting that matches the likes James Taylor and Paul Simon, whom he admires.
Live performance of Blue in a church.
03/06/12-In The Pines Festival, Fellfoot Woods, Lake District
10/06/12-Rough Beats Festival, Clapham, North Yorkshire
30/06/12-Keys Restaurant ,Huddersfield (supp. Martin Stephenson)
07/07/12-Garforth Arts Festival (Mainstage)
21/07/12-Deershed Festival, Topcliffe, North Yorkshire(Lake Stage)
24/08/12-Galtres Festival, Forest Of Galtres, York
15/09/12-Keys Restaurant, Huddersfield (supp.The Daintees)