Henry Priestman‘s “Songwriter’s Circle”, featuring Pete Riley and Les Glover. Live at the Lantern Theatre, as part of We Shall Overcome Liverpool, 04/10/2015.
After over 37 years in the music business – and with a long credit list, in 2009 Henry Priestman (having not sung since 1981) reinvented himself as a singer-songwriter, and released his debut solo CD “The Chronicles of Modern Life” (on legendary Island Records) to critical acclaim. Never one to rush things, 5 years later, in Feb 2014 Proper Records released the eagerly awaited follow-up entitled “The Last Mad Surge of Youth”, which garnered Henry the best reviews he’s had in his many years of releasing albums.
Both albums are the sound of a man who’s seen the music world explode from punk (his band Yachts supported the Sex Pistols in ’77, and The Who on European Tour in ‘79) via pop (three million albums with The Christians; a top five single for Mark Owen) through to the digital age (soundtracks for James Bond/Xbox, BBC’s Wildlife on One, Natural World), writing/production duties with the likes of singer/songwriters Amy Wadge, Lotte Mullan and 10cc’s Graham Gouldman (3 co-writes with Graham on his latest “Love and Work” album) and still has something worth singing about.
So in this age of genre’s, niches and “tribes”, where does Henry fit in? Amazon.com seem to think he’s folk (“Chronicles…” topped the Amazon “Folk and World” charts on it’s release), Radio 2’s Johnnie Walker described Henry’s new direction as “music for grumpy old men”, The Daily Mail said he is “a master of the rueful observation”, the late Robert Sandall in The Sunday Times called it “rough hewn charm“, and elsewhere the phrase “post-punk-folk-protest” has been bandied about.
Henry Priestman’s “got form,” his “previous” including Yachts (described in Gene Sculatti’s U.S. book The Catalog of Cool as “Cole Porter Punk”!), It’s Immaterial, The Christians (writing all songs on their 1987 triple-platinum debut), sharing a mic and a number one single with Paul McCartney, and composing the title song for London West End musical “Dreamboats and Petticoats”. To say nothing of a roll call of sessions for fellow North West luminaries including Lightning Seeds, Johnny Marr, Ian McCulloch, Pete Wylie, Ian McNabb and Echo & The Bunnymen, plus vocals on Jools Holland/Tom Jones’ 2004 CD.
The single to be taken from “Chronicles..” was “Grey’s The New Blond” which was playlisted at Radio 2 & featured on BBC Breakfast TV. Further singles “Don’t You Love Me no More” and “He Ain’t Good Enough for You” also picked up extensive Radio 2 and independent radio airplay.
Two songs off “Surge….” have been already been covered by other artists: Aled Jones has recorded a version of “At The End of the Day” (Surge’s opening track, dedicated to Henry’s late mother) on his new album “The Heart of It All”, and Valentine Song has been used in a Ridley Scott produced short film “Kismet Diner”, which won best film in the 2014 Manhattan Short Film Festival.
A Singer/Songwriter born and raised in Liverpool, England. Pete Riley has been playing music ever since he can remember, He played his first gig in Liverpool doing Beatle covers at the age of 12, he then went on to play in numerous bands touring the British Isles, throughout the late 80s and early 90s. In late ’96 his band Treehouse decided to try their luck in the USA, They were strongly advised against this and told it would be a costly mistake, but they went ahead regardless with the backing of their then manager Dan Priest and set off across the Atlantic.
After grinding it out in the venues of Los Angeles (Whiskey Ago Go, The Troubadour etc.) word spread about the band from Liverpool. Then, out of the blue, on a scheduled day off, they were invited to play an impromptu gig at Borders Book Store on Sunset Strip. It was from this gig that the boys amazingly landed themselves a record deal with Atlantic records.
Pete toured the USA through 1997 with Treehouse who went on to release their debut album “Nobody’s Monkey” to critical acclaim. They continued touring America until 2000 opening for many major US artistes (too many to mention!) Sadly, at the end of 2001 Treehouse split up and went their separate ways after one last final tour opening for The Cranberries in the UK.
Pete then embarked on a solo career touring solo acoustic in the UK and Ireland. On release of his first solo album “After The Parade” Pete was invited back over to the USA to open for the American, multi -platinum selling artist Edwin McCain whom he had struck up a solid friendship with during his previous stints in the US. After opening for a couple of months he was asked by Edwin to join his band as a permanent member.
Pete went on to forge a writing partnership with Edwin McCain and co-wrote three successful albums as well as the single release “Say Anything” which was co-written by Pete with Edwin and Maia Sharp.
Since then Pete has been writing/recording and producing with many different artistes worldwide. These include Edwin McCain, Narada Michael Walden, Maia Sharp, Angie Aparo, Kevin Kinney, Henry Priestman (The Christians), Deadmono and most recently Amy Wadge.
Over the last 35 years, Les has been performing, either as a solo artist or as part of a band, both in the UK and across Europe, and has several TV and radio appearances to his credit. He has played and sung with a variety of top acts, including: Henry Priestman (The Christians /It’s Immaterial/Yachts), Graham Gouldman (10cc), Pete Riley (Edwin McCain/Amy Wadge), Lotte Mullan, and Micaela Haslam (BBC singers/Synergy Vocals) and Gary Barlow, to name but a few. He has also supported artists such as Nick Harper, Martin Stephenson and Wreckless Eric.
He has a healthy love of all styles of music, from Hank Williams to Motorhead and an unhealthy love of 70’s Pop. Les can often be heard incorporating an interesting cover or two into his live performances. His early band days of the late 70’s/early 80’s saw him as part of the Liverpool music scene playing at the now legendary Eric’s club, supporting the likes of The Chameleons and A Flock of Seagulls.
Having a very dynamic approach to playing, Les applies his unique style to his own original compositions. His new album ‘The Love Terrorist’ contains twelve tracks, covering a variety of subjects; from bitter sweet observations with hints of poignancy and humour, to life affirming, joyous rants, aimed at people who are old of mind but young at heart, or vice versa! The title track, looks at life through the sympathetic eyes of a man in his mid fifties, trying to come to terms with the injustices of a crazy world by offering a simple solution. ‘Behind My lens’ tells a story of unrequited love and expels ‘the grass is greener’ myth, and most middle aged men will relate to that uncomfortable mid life check-up, so eloquently described in ‘Doctor Feelbad’.
Throughout 2015 Loved up Les will be performing, both solo and as the right hand man and sparring partner of his musical mentor/collaborator Henry Priestman, at house gigs, music venues across the UK. He has also been approached to open with a solo spot at the 2015 ‘Folk on the Farm’ festival as well as close it alongside Mr Priestman.
Henry Priestman :
Pete Riley :
Les Glover :
Lantern Theatre :
We Shall Overcome :
We Shall Overcome Liverpool :
More videos from We Shall Overcome Liverpool here :