Due to sound check restriction the door time indicates the earliest opportunity we can give access to the venue. Live music will start 20-30 minutes after the door open time.
Here come Danny & The Champions Of The World writing themselves large, giving themselves the space, and taking the time, to deliver a magnum opus. With ‘Brilliant Light’ Danny Wilson has made his ‘All Things Must Pass’ -a big record of hit after hit stretching over two albums plus a further bonus set of instrumentals. He’s allowed both himself and his band the absolute freedom to explore, experiment, and collaborate, and they’ve grabbed it with both hands.
The two previous Champs collections ‘Stay True’ (2013) and ‘What Kind Of Love’ (2015) were recorded in intensive ten day stints. The songs written and rehearsed, the musicians gathered in North London at bassist Chris Clarke’s Reservoir Studios and tracked everything at one fell swoop. This time around Danny wanted something different allowing an all-encompassing view of what the band was capable of. They started going into Reservoir once a month, recording what they had live, without too much reflection or correction, and then putting those results in a box and leaving them be. Every month saw a scramble to find songs to record requiring an encouragement to every band member to bring something to the table. Writing with guitarist Paul Lush for ‘What Kind Of Love’ had provedliberating to Danny who’d rarely co-composed since writing with brother Julian for his previous band Grand Drive.
Of the eighteen songs here only ‘Waiting For The Right Time’ is solely composed by Danny; personal philosophy, reflections on Ronnie Lane, and a paean to neckerchief rock all rolled into one. It’s the same spirit imbuing his music-making all the way from the early Champs barn shows in rural Oxfordshire with cider and painted faces; it found particular expression on ‘Streets Of Our Time’ (2010) but burns through ‘Brilliant Light’ just as strongly and shows up in the sing-along ‘Everything We Need’. Chris Clarke co-wrote that, and with John Wheatley of The Suburban Dirts came up with the soulful Arthur Alexander-ish ‘It Hit Me’. Guitarist Paul Lush provided ‘Never In The Moment’ - a hard-hitting number with a lot of brass and something akin to The Band doing ‘The Weight’ with The Staple Singers. The beautiful ‘Coley Point’, one of Danny’s personal highlights, sees him set a tune to words by Caught By The River‘s resident poet Will Burns. ‘Bring Me To My Knees’ and the cryptic ‘The Circus Made The Town’ are both co-writes with James Yorkston, while Polly Paulusma and Carra Bacon contribute to ‘Swift Street’. Deeply personal and inspired by three family photographs; Swift Street in Melbourne is where Danny’s mother grew up, and where in childhood he stayed with his grandparents. The song is near-Proustian in its recall of smells and tastes of past days.
Clarke says outright it’s the best record this line-up has come up with so far, while for Danny it’s “a bit like taking a peek into somebody’s house; there’s great stuff that immediately grabs your attention, and then there’s other stuff and you start out thinking it might be a bit mundane but as the whole picture takes shape it proves to be incredibly beautiful”. That’s typical Danny Wilson, a brave stab at modesty but far too honest to sell himself short. He and his band are already much loved; for their whole-hearted openness, their democracy, and their sheer joy in what they do. They’re going to be loved too for this record. Very soon ‘Brilliant Light’ will be the soundtrack to an awful lot of people’s lives, and that is no small achievement.
William the Conqueror’s bluesy indie-Americana has already seen them head out to Nashville to perform at AmericanaFest, share a stage with the likes of Richard Thompson and Van Morrison courtesy of a nomination for Song of the Year at the UK Americana Awards, and sign to Loose Music, where they join an immensely impressive roster including Courtney Marie Andrews, Sturgill Simpson, Andrew Combs, The Handsome Family and Danny and the Champions of the World.
Their eagerly awaited debut album is called ‘Proud Disturber of the Peace’ and will be out on 4th August. Recorded in sessions that took the band from Cornwall right up to the Isle of Lewis and back again, the album features the multi-instrumental talents of Harry Harding, Naomi Holmes, and Ruarri Joseph, a name many folk fans may remember from his acclaimed solo output.