Richard Hawley

Neil McSweeney + more @ The Grapes Weds 20th Feb
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Author:  CraigA [ Fri Feb 15, 2008 1:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Neil McSweeney + more @ The Grapes Weds 20th Feb

February's edition of The Wagon's Wheels is quite frankly shaping up to be a belter. Doors open at 8pm and entry will be £5.

Neil McSweeney

Neil McSweeney is a songwriter from Sheffield who performs his material on his own or with a five-piece band.

December saw the release of digital only single 'A Rope To Hang' on the KIDS label, following on from the debut single ‘Postcards’, also released through KIDS in the summer of 2007. The powerful 'Postcards' struck a nerve with all who came across it. Radio support from Zane Lowe (Radio 1) — including a prestigious ‘Sunsetter’ play — Huw Stephens (Radio 1), Jonathan Ross (Radio 2) and Mark Radcliffe (BBC 6Music) was bolstered further by a slot on the XFM Playlist. The track was supported heavily by respected indie stores across the land, particularly Piccadilly Records and Rough Trade, both of whom made it their single of the week.

‘A Rope To Hang’ is music at its most sparse, yet most affecting. Neil’s huge voice — which has drawn favourable comparisons to Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley or a male Tracy Chapman — is supported solely by the most delicate of acoustic backing, showcasing its intensity and raw power to the full. The track brings to mind Jose Gonzales’ ‘Heartbeats’ and Scott Matthews’ ‘Elusive’ in both its haunting performance and sheer songwriting quality.

McSweeney started writing his Americana-tinged, folksy solo material while teaching English in Italy. Upon returning to his native Sheffield, he continued to write songs inspired by the likes of Low and Papa M, and his intense, brooding live performances lead to him being voted ‘Sheffielder Most Likely To kill Himself’ on one internet forum, and described as ‘the most miserable man alive’ on another.

We're delighted to be welcoming Neil back to The Grapes, where he supported Canadian singer/songwriter Justin Rutledge last March. A top class performer with songs to match, much is expected from the follow up to his wonderful debut album 'Remember To Smile'.

“Deeply felt, brooding songs rich in imagery…he has the tools to make a real impact” – The Guardian

Wilful Missing

Bradford's Wilful Missing have existed for 4 years. During 2006 the four piece cultivated their sound. Having flirted with various indie-type genres they are now focusing on their mellower side with acoustic guitar and mandolin more to the fore, a change of direction that has helped them shine out from the crowd. Although with strong indie roots, the influence of the likes of The Byrds, Neil Young and Bright Eyes show through. They recently expanded to a five piece having added a cello player to their line up (and then promptly reverted to a 4 piece following the departure of their drummer).

In 2007 the band were recording their latest songs, between road testing them live around Yorkshire with gigs mostly in Bradford, Leeds, York and Sheffield and festival appearances in Bradford and the Yorkshire Dales. The band have previously supported New Yorkers Dufus and Jeffrey Lewis, as well as appearing several times with Neil McSweeney, who recommended the band to us last year.

"Bradford's Wilful Missing seem to be instinctive elaborators of melody, and a rewarding texture appears to develop effortlessly in their work." (

"If you see the name Wilful Missing, definitely check them out" Shaun Buswell, of Swindon's Buswell who appeared alongside Wilful Missing at our July Americana Night

Jacob Fletcher

London based singer/songwriter Jacob Fletcher first came to our attention last year when we saw him playing on the same bill as Neil McSweeney. Recent album 'All The Dead Roads To The Kingdom' was written and recorded whilst travelling through Eastern Europe, Russia and the USA. The record draws heavily on influences from all of those places, from the bleak sad beautiful world of 'Burn' to the edgy chaotic rhythmic pulse of 'Don't Go Down'. Featuring members of The Earlies and Ladytron, the album's recordings showcase Jacob's haunting voice and interest in variations of mood dynamics & instrumentation.

Author:  fagan's lass [ Fri Feb 15, 2008 1:44 pm ]
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Marvellous. Will be there. Haven't seen you lot for ages.

Author:  Dave [ Fri Feb 15, 2008 6:23 pm ]
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I'll be there laddo, this one is not to be missed!

Author:  Mardy Monkey [ Fri Feb 15, 2008 9:08 pm ]
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Jacob Fletcher was superb at the Lantern gig :thumright:

Author:  Dave [ Sun Feb 17, 2008 5:51 pm ]
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This is a gig DEFINATELY not to be missed! Neil McSweeney is a fucking legend and there's a big buzz around Wilful Missing and Jacob Fletcher.

.......GET THERE!!!

Author:  CraigA [ Tue Feb 19, 2008 3:42 pm ]
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Ba-bump. What Dave said. This is going to be something special, even if i say so myself. Neil will be showcasing new material from the forthcoming follow up to 'Remember To Smile', and anybody who's heard new songs like 'The Ride Goes On' will know it threatens to be even better than his debut was. Wilful Missing are as good as unsigned bands get and they surely won't stay that way for long. Jacob Fletcher's album 'All The Dead Roads To The Kingdom' was simply the best record released last year. 8pm tomorrow!

Author:  Dave [ Wed Feb 20, 2008 10:22 am ]
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Set the video, dvd bollocks to record the brits and get yerselfs down to the Grapes tonight!!

Author:  CraigA [ Wed Feb 20, 2008 10:46 am ]
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More fun than having 2 cocks and free Wagon Wheels!

Author:  palerider [ Wed Feb 20, 2008 10:51 am ]
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How's the snow over your way, chaps? Would rather not get stuck coming over the Woodhead. Any local info/tips?

Author:  fagan's lass [ Wed Feb 20, 2008 11:00 am ]
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My other half drove back from Huddersfield last night without a problem - not exactly Manchester but the last bit of the route is about the same.

Plus it does feel ever so slightly warmer today.........

Author:  palerider [ Wed Feb 20, 2008 11:05 am ]
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I've just been informed that Mancehster is clear of indeed is the top end of our village :oops:

I'll pack a flask and a sleeping bag, just in case. Can't be too cautious when visiting foreign parts

Author:  CraigA [ Wed Feb 20, 2008 11:07 am ]
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There's no snow here on the right side of the hill...

Author:  palerider [ Wed Feb 20, 2008 11:39 am ]
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CraigA wrote:
There's no snow here on the right side of the hill...

Ah, the old rain-shadow effect. Remember it well from O-Level Geog :*:

Author:  sunflower [ Wed Feb 20, 2008 4:42 pm ]
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palerider wrote:
Ah, the old rain-shadow effect. Remember it well from O-Level Geog :*:

god yer a borin old fart.

Author:  Mardy Monkey [ Thu Feb 21, 2008 1:37 am ]
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Superb night tonight. Missed Jacob Fletcher due to First buses being wank. Wilful Missing were great fun - more bands should uses soap themes as guitar solos.

Neil was on mighty form. Majority of the set was 'new' songs (though i have several of them already :wink: ), with a few of the classics thrown in.

Superb crowd as well - well done Craig :D

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