Drew

Biography

The Isle of Wight, it seems, lies on a bed of quartz. Whether or not the Island's supposedly magical quality has any bearing on the wealth of musical talent is probably best discussed over a pint at Ventnor's coastal Spyglass Inn. The talent, however, is undeniable. Take 25-year-old Drew Kennett 's debut album, charmingly titled Songs From Devil's Chimney. It's a smoke-hazed collection of songs, shot through with melancholy brass, narcotic harmonies and grainy soul, produced by Paul Butler of The Bees. In fact, the harmonised heaven of 'Dig Deeper' and 'Don't Be Denied' were recorded in The Bee's famous production shed, before they relocated to a studio with walls made of brick. "It was a brilliant day" remembers Drew, "Paul and I just sat there, huddled up like two little Beach Boys making these beautiful songs." The Southern soul-tinged 'Say You Love Her' was also laid down in the shed, this time with Drew and his newly-formed band of Islanders (average age, 20). "The brass sounded great and the harmonies just flowed." He smiles. "I wanted to sing it really quietly, so they all left me, went into the garden and had a brew, and I just sang as softly as I could." There's a vulnerable softness to all the songs Drew touches, drawing on a deep well of music from obvious influences like John Martyn, Bob Dylan and Crosby, Stills and Nash to Scouse-pop gang, The Coral, Spiritualized and The Super Furry Animals. And there's a definite hint of megastar bands like Oasis and Crowded House - had they been recorded with stripped-down integrity by a group of music-loving optimists. "I still think John Martyn's Bless The Weather is a totally genius album and I listen to it a lot, but I really like the forgotten bands who have been wiped out of history. Like The La's. I was a kid when I got that and I still listen to it now."

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Drew - Under the Weather

7th March 2003 -

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