Joining us for this month’s Unsigned Session at Melomania were two fantastic musical acts from our Best of September playlist: Pat Dam Smyth and Charlie Wood. All of the artists on our September playlist were selected by Karousel Music, a not-for-profit Community Interest Company run by musicians, songwriters and industry pros, offering a range of services aimed at building and nurturing a community for artists and writers living in London.
Born in Northern Ireland, Pat Dam Smyth has lived and played all over Europe and the US in various bands, releasing his first album Great Divide in 2012. But it was a move back to London and a chance meeting with his now-band mate (and fellow Irishman) Chris McComish that solidified the group in its current form, along with band mate Joao Mello from Brazil. Well known for their unique blend of folk, rock with overtones of alt-country, paired with Smyth’s incredibly visual lyrical styling, the band completely blew us away with their performance, showcasing a tightness that only comes from years of playing together.
“It’s great to do something like this during the day, and walking in knowing the sound is going to be great”, Pat said when asked what he thought of what we do here at Richer Unsigned with our Unsigned Sessions. “It’s a cool way to do a gig with out the madness of doing something in the evening.” Chris adds: “Sometimes with showcases, they just ‘happen’ and that’s it. But with this, it’s being filmed and archived and blogged about and sent around, and that’s great.”
Born and raised in Memphis, TN, Charlie Wood’s early musical development was steeped in the blues and R&B music of his hometown. At seventeen, he headed down to New Orleans, spending several years soaking up the exotic piano traditions and lush lifestyle of the Big Easy. After touring playing keys for legendary blues guitarist Albert King in his early 20s, Charlie moved back to Memphis, where his Hammond trio’s long-standing residency saw sit-ins from the likes of BB King and George Coleman, and in 2014 he was awarded a coveted Brass Note on Beale Street (the Memphis equivalent of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame). Charlie has been calling the UK home for about eight years now, where in addition to writing and touring, he also runs his own label Perdido Records with his wife Jacqui (a very gifted singer in her own right). Charlie brought the house down with his incredibly deep, soulful voice and his otherworldly keyboard skills, brimming with that legendary Memphis sound.
What did he think about the not-for-profit services we offer to unsigned and independent artists? “Well, I’m not really in the music ‘business’, I’m a musician… I just make the stuff. It’s a bit like asking a farmer how he feels about the restaurant business. So having people like yourselves and Karousel to help with the next steps is really valuable and takes a lot of expertise”.