Star date: 18th February 2012


Everyone's heard of Abbey Road, now get Marlborough Road, the title of a new collection of songs by the well travelled Mark Daynes.

Graham Williamson traces Mark's journey from Grimsby to Irlam to Lower Broughton and the top sounds that have been born from the experience…

Full story here…

Beck Stacey / Mark Daynes / Jim Taylor & Brook / Dave Smith

Broken Strings @ The Green Room, Sheffield

There are few things possessed of the ability to drag you out of the telly-induced torpor of a bitter midweek night and tonight’s award goes to The Green Room’s Broken Strings session. With the theme as chilled as the plonk in our glasses, we are treated to something just that little bit edgier than yer average acoustic gig.

Frequently letting rip with a gut-wrenching holler that belies his shoegazer-caught-in-headlamps appearance, Dave Smith turns the notion of melancholic balladeer squarely on its head and throws in a recorder for good measure (yes, you read right). Bizarrely enough, it works.

With tracks especially dedicated to the promise of a good job gone bad and other modern-day adversities, the accessible folk poetics and chipper smiles of Jim Taylor and Brook claim everyone’s allegiance. Cutting an intensely solitary figure on the other hand, Mark Daynes appeals to that protective instinct in us all, baring his heartbreak neatly wrapped with subtle fragility and melancholic musings.

Despite the inevitable comparisons to Tori Amos and with slight echoes of Kate Bush, Beck Stacey’s equally distinctive vocals are put to the test with a disarming cover of Billy Idol’s ‘Rebel Yell’. Succeeding with honours, Stacey somehow converts a requisite staple of 80s leather-clad rock into the kind of wistfully melodic strains that characterise tonight’s set. So complete is the transformation that all thoughts of peroxide and studded jackets are summoned and shelved in one surreal instant.

And there you have it. Defying that unwritten law which states that recorders and Billy Idol should never be mixed, a recalcitrant Broken Strings delivers with brilliant aplomb. Take note and tell the world: if it ain’t Broken, don’t even bother trying to fix it.

Gemma Winks




Matt Finch's flyer for my comeback gig, 2009