Simon Stanley Ward and The Shadows of Doubt
SONGS FROM VARIOUS PLACES is the impressive new album from London based songwriter SIMON STANLEY WARD.
A respected figure on the London Folk and Roots scene, and more recently now a regular in comedy clubs across the capital, SIMON STANLEY WARD is a unique songwriter and performer with a strong streak of the surreal running through his impassioned, country music veins. Emotional depth permeates his tenor voice, although this consummate entertainer’s songs don’t always go where you’d expect.
SONGS FROM VARIOUS PLACES is Simon’s second album release and a step away from his classic country debut released back in 2015. This time the record is personality driven, rather than genre driven, and therefore kaleidoscopes through Simon’s musical styles, with each tale covering another interesting subject matter along the way. The music is impressive, from the energetic punk/rock openerJURASSIC PARK to the soulful vintage-pop sound of BELUGA WHALE, to a song about WATER(You have to have it). Although not a comedy album, there is no doubt Simon’s adventure’s in the stand-up world, combined with his love and experience in the world of country and rock n roll, have opened him up creatively to follow his instincts, resulting with Songs from Various Places.
Simon’s live shows are entertaining and engaging with a perfect mix of music and comedy. With influences such as Elvis, Bob Dylan, and John Prine, at best his performances can be gut-wrenchingly moving and just moments later silly, self-deprecating and hilarious. Joining Simon is his impressive band The Shadows Of Doubt who have been working alongside Simon since 2013; a highly experienced, skilled and versatile outfit which includes Paul Lush (Lead guitarist/Producer), Neil Marsh (Drums) and Geoff Easeman (Bass guitar). Paul was nominated for Best Instrumentalist at The ‘UK Americana Awards’ in 2016 for his work with Danny and The Champions of the World, whilst drummer Neil Marsh has also toured with county/folk group Ahab, folk singer Jason McNiff and can be seen playing in blues combos at Ronnie Scott’s jazz club.
“Home grown talent! It sounded wonderful!” Bob Harris, BBC Radio 2
“Now people are starting to pay attention! A unique voice.” – Baylen Leonard , Amazing Radio
“Excellent, hilarious and lovely” – Camden Comedy Club
London-based Rob Corcoran was born and raised in Dublin, a city more familiar with the traditions of music and stories than most. Family gatherings would always end in song. There was a guitar lying around the house upon which he learned his first chords and it was the songs of the old-timers that captivated him most.
“When my friends were all listening to Nirvana I was listening to cassette mix-tapes I had made from my Dad’s old vinyl records, scratches and all. I was mesmerized by Bob Dylan in my early teens. That changed everything. Songs became my obsession”.
Dylan was a gateway to Hank Williams and Leonard Cohen, and later to cult heroes like Townes Van Zandt, Lucinda Williams and John Prine; true heavyweights of introspection and story-telling. Their influence, all that heart-on-sleeve honesty, is very present in his songs but Rob’s turn of phrase and the vulnerability with which he writes and sings are very much his own. Rob made London his home in 2011 and it was here he met and later formed The Necessary Evils, a super-group made up of some of the London alt-folk and americana scene’s most established players. They include violinist Basia Bartz multi-instrumentalist Lyle Zimmerman, cajon player Hjordis Moon-Badford, keys and electric-guitar maestro Roger Askew and bass player Anna Robinson.
Rob Corcoran is a musician who finds kind of mystical solace, and even strange comfort, in the inevitability of human failure that haunts all of us. Prepare yourself for some heavy stuff. Break-ups, excess, addiction, depression, regret, refugees in flight, aged victims of clerical abuse…often juxtaposed with good melodies and a whole lot of heart.
Inverse Alchemy, released in November 2017 was the band’s first full studio album. Produced by Roger Askew and recorded and mixed by Mark Estall, it followed on form Rob’s debut E.P, The Heart and the Long Since Dead (2015) and 2016’s Live in Dublin (online only).
“…honest, relatable, lived, and the musicianship is almost without fault, making for a fantastically constructed piece of art.”
“A fine collection of modern folk songs beautifully realised / that weave their spell in intricate and intimate ways. 8/10”.