The All-Mighty Watershed

A new record deal, album and an upcoming tour, Watershed proves that not even a pandemic can keep them down.

While many of South Africa’s landmark rock bands have hung up their guitars, there is at least one that has weathered the storm that is Covid-19 and come out of it better than ever. The past two years have seen Watershed secure a European record deal with the German-based independent label On-Stage, release their seventh studio album and now they’re ready to tour not only SA but also internationally.

“It’s been an incredible 21 years,” comments lead vocalist Craig Hinds. Though as a band they started relatively understated, their debut single “Shine on Me” launched the group to national stardom, with the follow-ups “Indigo Girl” and “Letters” making them certified rockstars. Over the years, the pop-rock band have managed to keep up that momentum with plenty of chart-topping hits and, because of this, they’ve continued to tour beyond their home soil of SA.

At the peak of their careers, the band was blind-sided by Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown of 2020. “The pandemic affected our touring schedule with shows having to be cancelled and international tours postponed,” explains Craig.

While many bands weren’t able to survive the lockdown, Watershed regrouped and adapted. Craig and the band used their time at home to reflect on themselves as well as their music with Craig being able to spend this time writing more songs. The result? Elephant in the Room, an authentic, stripped-down album that mirrors the time we live in and daily frustrations felt, which was released last year. “We have had two great singles off the album, ‘Undone’ and ‘Empty Space’, with both doing really well and ‘Undone’ getting to number 1 on the charts,” notes Craig. “Both singles and the album are also doing phenomenally in Europe.” This sees the second time that standing Watershed lead guitarist, Gideon Botes produced an album for the band, having also worked behind the scenes on their 2018 studio album Harbour. “His production genius has added volumes to our new albums and our current sound,” adds Craig.

And, as things stand now in 2022, Craig says that the band is cautiously optimistic –finally, after two postponements, they will be touring Germany in June 2022. “All we can do is hold thumbs that things stay on the trajectory they are now and we can get back to some sort of normal.”

Though this is their first international tour since the pandemic, they have been lucky enough to do some live performances in SA and the band has enjoyed watching the crowds increase in size as things open up. “Touring is what we do,” exclaims Craig. “It’s fun and allows us to visit Incredible parts of our country and the world. We get to see smiles on people’s faces and gather more material for new songs as we travel and share.”

Reflecting on the state of music now, Craig admits that it’s tough. Streaming has had a heavy impact on artists with little to no money being earned through these channels. This leaves touring and live shows as the most important part of music for any band. “There is lots of music out there and some marvelous songs going around but it’s become more about sustainability. Are bands able to maintain a career?” he says. “The consumption of music is rapid. New songs are getting a few weeks in the sun but as quickly as they go up the charts they vanish at the same rate.” But, he says, it’s still very much about trying to build a loyal fan base that will support you to the ends of the earth.

And, Watershed can boast a loyal fan base that has been with them for over two decades. It’s this fandom that will most appreciate their next project which will see them re-recording their classic hits like “Indigo Girl” and “Letters”, while also allowing for a whole new generation to connect with their music. “We won’t change them too much, but it’s just really about recapturing them with more current sounds and a fresh vocal,” admits Craig. “I think my voice has changed over the years and I look forward to seeing the potential of these hits topping the charts again… who knows?”

For those who are going to their first Watershed live performance, you can expect a big show filled and amazing energy. They’ll be touring flat out in SA until May and then they’ll head for Germany for a big 13 show tour. Tickets are selling fast as people are clearly hyped to see the band in the element on stage. “At the same time, we will be working on new tracks.” teases Craig. “We will probably start tracking a new album later this year for a release early to mid-2023!”

The Elephant in the Room tour

South African tour dates

1 Aprilcafé Roux, Noordhoek
2 & 3 AprilWarwick Wine Estate, Stellenbosch
9 AprilKaapzicht Wine Estate, Stellenbosch
6 MayThe Barnyard Theatre Suncoast, Durban Beach
7 MayThe Groves Venue, KwaZulu-Natal Midlands
13 MayThe Barnyard Theatre Silverstar, Krugersdorp
14 MayThe Barnyard Theatre Menlyn, Menlyn

German tour dates

12 JuneFernsehgarten Show, Mainz
13 JuneFeierwerk, München
15 JuneMeisenfrei, Bremen
16 JunePiano, Dortmund
17 Junedas Rind, Rüsselsheim am Main
18 JuneHallenbad, Wolfsburg
20 JuneKnust, Hamburg
21 JuneKeller Z87, Würzburg
22 JuneZauberberg, Passau
23 JuneReigen, AT-Wien
25 JuneOpen Air, Ludwigsfelde

Their album Elephant in the Room is available on all digital platforms as well as CD and vinyl. Head to the Watershed website (https://www.watershed.co.za/tour-dates) to purchase tickets to their upcoming shows and follow them on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for news.

Ex-Falling Mirror Drummer Pat Humphreys passes away

Patrick Humphreys | Image: Facebook

It is with great sadness that we share the sad news that Pat Humphreys has passed away.

Pat was the drummer for the legendary Cape Town band, Falling Mirror, alongside Allan Faull and Nielen Mirror, after beginning his association with them as a member of the pre-Falling Mirror band Wakeford Hart in 1970.

Pat then left that band for a few years, until, after a few different line-ups and band names, Allan and Nielen finally settled on the name Falling Mirror in 1978. Pat then re-joined the classic Falling Mirror line up in 1978 alongside Allan (guitar), Nielen (vocals), Pat (drums) and Tully McCully (bass) for their run of classic SA rock albums including ‘Zen Boulders’, ‘The Storming Of The Loft’ and ‘Fantasy Kid’.

On behalf of the South African Rock fraternity we pass on our condolences to the Humphreys family and all Pat’s friends and fellow musicians.

http://fallingmirror.wordpress.com

Falling Mirror, 2013: Harvey Cohen, Sharon Clifton, Nielen Marais, Patrick Humphreys, Allan Faull

It Was 24 Years Ago Today… That I Saw Rodriguez Play! | Brian Currin

Rodriguez and Brian Currin on the 7th March 1998... with just autographed, rolled-up set list clutched in his hand!
Rodriguez and Brian Currin on the 7th March 1998… with just autographed, rolled-up set list clutched in his hand!

The Set List

  1. I Wonder
  2. Only Good For Conversation
  3. Can’t Get Away
  4. Crucify Your Mind
  5. Jane S. Piddy
  6. To Whom It May Concern
  7. Like Janis
  8. Inner City Blues
  9. Street Boy
  10. A Most Disgusting Song
  11. I’ll Slip Away
  12. Halfway Up The Stairs
  13. I Think Of You
  14. Rich Folks Hoax
  15. Climb Up On My Music

    Encores:

  16. Sugar Man
  17. Establishment Blues
  18. Forget It

Scan of the sound engineer’s set list, dated and autographed.

Set List 7 March 1998

From Sweet Songs To Street Songs

Review by Brian Currin

From the simplistic, yet instantly recognisable bass guitar intro of I Wonder, to the last fading echoes of Thanks For Your Time, this was a show that enthralled everyone from the die-hard old fans with their balding heads and beer paunches to the new virgin devotees.

From sweet songs to street songs,
from bitter to beautiful,
from minor keys to metal mayhem,
from tear-jerker to tear-it-up,
from disgusting songs to rock anthems…this was truly a magic show of vast proportions.

Rodriguez has not released new material in over 25 years, he has no chart-topping singles, yet he opens to a standing ovation – and everybody sings along to all the songs.

Colin Taylor from KFM radio opened the show by shouting with great enthusiasm:
“Cape Town, put your hands together and welcome a true legend on stage – Rodriguez!”

Reuben Samuels started a slow drum beat and when Graeme Currie introduced that classic bass line (de-de de-de de-dum) the crowd went wild in instant recognition and when The Man slipped quietly onto the stage, the Velodrome stood up in adoration for this long-lost legend. I Wonder was wonderful and after the song, Rodriguez just stood and stared at the audience in awe.

Only Good For Conversation was done hard and heavy with great guitar from Willem Möller.
“..you’re so proper and so cute” sang Rodriguez with a smile in his voice.

Can’t Get Away was superb and when he started to sing the second verse again by mistake, the band supported him and the audience forgave him.

All the favourites followed with the arrangements staying very close to the originals and the crowd hanging on every word. Tonia Selley from The Pressure Cookies and Big Sky provided superb backing vocals throughout.

A highlight was the solo rendition of “A Most Digusting Song” sung with great humour. “There’s someone here who’s almost a virgin I’m told” was met with much laughter.
And when he sang “…your government will provide the shrugs” a responsive chord was hit, even though this song was written in 1970!

Rodriguez doesn’t say much, he lets his music and words speak to us, but he did give us one message:

I want to wish you the best of luck
in everything you do,
you’re gonna do it,
you’re gonna solve it,
you’re gonna heal ’em,
you’re gonna do it

– perceptive and profound words from this poet and prophet.

And then into an absolutely incredible blues-rock version of Climb Up On My Music. Willem Möller burnt up his fretboard with a classic rock guitar solo and Russel Taylor played a jazzy-blues keyboard solo which left us breathless.

Rodriguez slipped away as the band ended the song, but soon returned to perform a 3-song encore starting with Sugar Man, then Establishment Blues and ending with the perfect show-closer Forget It with those poignant words “Thanks for your time“.

Thank you, Cape Town” sang Rodriguez.

No, thank YOU, Rodriguez – the mystery and myth may be gone, but the music and memories will live forever and the magic of that night will stay with us always.

Originally posted on SugarMan.org

All Night Radio at The Concert In The Park, 37 Years Ago Today!

Concert held at Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg on the 12th January 1985 in aid of Operation Hunger.

When we got to Ellis Park that afternoon the stadium was heaving with 110 000 South African music fans packed in across the turf, throughout the stadium and up on the roof!

Juluka and Johnny Clegg held that crowd in the palm of their hands, and then the whole place erupted in joy when Lucky Dube came on. He channelled  the love running through everyone that night.

”I love this man”, I heard someone scream, as the place rocked to the deep pulse of rhythm and sound, bonding 110 000 people as one.

Steve Louw, December 2021
All Night Radio (left-to-right): Steve Louw, Rob Nagel, Richard “Dish” Devey, Nico Burger
All Night Radio (left-to-right): Steve Louw, Rob Nagel, Richard “Dish” Devey, Nico Burger

Capital Radio 604 Hall Of Fame 2021

Capital Radio 604 Hall Of Fame 2021

The Hall of Fame will be broadcast on our stream from 8am – 6pm on Boxing day  It will include voices from the old DJs (including Smith, Simons, Crozier, Newman, Prior, Kahn, Scott, Blewitt and Oxley)  and jingles and the 150 top songs voted by the 604 fans. To listen click on  https://www.capital604.com/live

The Facebook Group can be found on https://www.facebook.com/groups/Capital604/

Sugar Man – Just Jinger

1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

by John Samson

Greatest Hits - Just Jinger
Greatest Hits – Just Jinger

When Rodriguez walked out onto the stage in Cape Town back in 1998 to kick off his first ever SA tour, he thanked the audience for keeping him alive. And a large part of that thanks could have been directed towards Ard Mathews and Just Jinger as their cover version of the Rodriguez classic, ‘Sugarman’, was probably as important in bringing the Detroit musician to a new generation of fans as the army call up was to his first South African fans.

‘Cold Fact’, the Rodriguez album that contained ‘Sugarman’ had been around since the late 60’s early 70’s and seemed to live in the air we breathed back then. Nearly every white South African home had a copy of the album and everyone knew the song. It seemed only natural then for someone to cover it, but strangely it had to wait till the 90’s before Just Jinger plucked up the courage to take on such a revered song. And they did the right thing with their cover as it is as straight forward a cover of an original as one could get. Just about the only difference between the original and the JJ’s version is Ard’s grungey vocals compared to Rodriguez’s folky ones.

So what, you may ask, is the point of producing a cover that is pretty much the same as the original? Well, I think that the fact that Just Jinger didn’t deviate too far from the original shows their huge respect for the song and the singer as they didn’t want to mess too much with the original, seeing it as perfection in itself, so they could only imitate and not add to it. The second reason that this was an important cover was laid out in the first paragraph of this article. Just Jinger were becoming one of the biggest bands in the land and the fact that they tipped their hat to this classic song had their younger fans digging out their moms and dads CDs to check out the original.

At the time Just Jinger covered this track, there was hardly another cover of the track, let alone a cover of any other Rodriguez tracks out there (there were some and a list of pre-‘Searching For Sugar Man’ covers can be found here: http://sugarman.org/coverversions.html). Just Jinger with their excellent and timely cover of the track helped keep Rodriguez alive and well and they did so reverentially, letting the song take the limelight. This would have to go down as one of the greatest covers of an international track by an SA band.

Where to find it:
Something For Now (1998)
Greatest Hits (2001)

Video:

Mixcloud:

 
The South African Rock Encyclopedia:

Just Jinger

Mixtape Hope

mixtapehope.buzzsprout.com

I am writing to firstly say “thank you” to Mr. Rodriguez for sharing his story with the world.
My husband and I watched the documentary “Searching for Sugarman”. One of the most striking undercurrents of the film was the strength in spirit emanating from the music. Real stories set to music.

My husband and I began a podcast to share such stories behind lyrics and music.
“Mixtape Hope” has gained momentum as we (both physicians) share with our listeners the power, purpose, beauty and healing that music holds.

In a world where many people feel that healing must come from medicine or walking through this life numbed, we want to shed light on the human creative spirit…just as we felt in watching the documentary.

We would love the opportunity to interview Mr. Rodriguez.

Please check us out and thank you for taking the time to read this.

mixtapehope.buzzsprout.com

Drs. Andrea and Luis Espinoza

Turn it Down: A look back at that time Sixto Rodriguez dissed the MC5 | City Pulse

Detroit street-poet folky appeared in the ‘60s then disappeared

From City Pulse

 

Sixto Rodriguez, shown here in 1969, is now 78 and lived through decades of musical obscurity.
Sixto Rodriguez, shown here in 1969, is now 78 and lived through decades of musical obscurity. COURTESY: Rich Tupica

In a 1969 interview, Mexican-American singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez had some harsh words for some of his fellow Michigan musicians. “I don’t have much respect for the MC5 because they stopped fighting the machine,” he casually told the Detroit Free Press.

While today both parties are known for their own revolutionary sonic missions, it’s no wonder why Rodriguez felt lukewarm about the hard-partying and grandstanding MC5. The modest Rodriguez lived the life he sang about. He was, and still is, a true underdog — a disconnected outsider who sings songs for other outcasts.

“I grew up in an orphanage and I’m grateful to the sisters of the Roman Catholic corporation for all they gave me and instilling that higher motivation thing,” he said in the same 1969 interview. “But that doesn’t work on the street, you know?”

And he knew all about the streets. During his 1950s youth, it served as his makeshift education. Though he never attended high school, he took part in the University of Michigan’s mature student program in the late ’60s. He fought for his education. “Street life teaches you a lot,” he said at the time. “At school, they’re just giving me different names for the things already in my head. … I function out of the reality of things around me.”

And that reality is cemented on his two now-legendary albums: 1970’s “Cold Fact” and 1971’s “Coming from Reality.” Billed simply under the name Rodriguez, the now-cherished records flopped here in the United States, causing the songwriter to sink deeper into the underground and step away from the stage. For years, his small but loyal fanbase didn’t know if he was dead or alive. Info on him was scarce. His followers were limited to reading tidbits written in his LP liner notes and clues he peppered into his poignant storytelling song lyrics.

However, on the other side of the globe, his two loner-folk LPs were secretly bootlegged and released in the Apartheid-era South Africa. Because it was pre-Internet, Rodriguez didn’t even hear about his South African success until years later. There, he was a mysterious celebrity, but here in the U.S. he was living hand to mouth in inner-city Detroit.

So what sound was it that captivated a far-away country to worship an unknown Motor City folky? A 27-year old Rodriguez explained it best. “Some people say I’m a folk singer because most of my stuff is soft with an acoustic guitar and all that,” the prophetic songwriter said. “But on my album, there are some very Motown-ish things. The division they talk of in music really isn’t there. … Later on, they’ll integrate music on the stations. There’ll be no ‘This is ours and that is theirs.’ It’s all music. It’s the universal thing.”

After years of obscurity, after a slowly swelling grassroots cult following grew, Rodriguez finally got his due. He began touring the world, sharing stages with the likes of Brian Wilson. During the last decade, he’s gone from scraping by, to earning an easy living thanks to his poetic songbook.

In 2012, his life was artfully documented in the “Searching for Sugar Man” film (“Sugar Man” being one of his most notable tracks). That year, it won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Not a bad feather in the cap for most, but the elusive Rodriguez was nowhere to be found at the ceremony. He later humbly admitted he didn’t want to steal attention from the filmmakers, among a few other reasons.    

“We also just came back from South Africa and I was tired,” the forever-enigmatic Rodriguez told Rolling Stone at the time. “I was asleep when it won, but my daughter Sandra called to tell me. I don’t have TV service anyway.”

Train Don’t Run – New Video from Steve Louw

Steve Louw and his band Big Sky appeared with Rodriguez on the sold-out South African tour in 1998 as featured in the Oscar-winning film “Searching For Sugar Man“.

Here is the official video for “Train Don’t Run”, created by Jacqui van Staden. From the album “Headlight Dreams“, produced by Kevin Shirley and released 7 May 2021.

… my favourite track on this album is the almost proggish “Train Don’t Run”. Clocking in at seven and half minutes this is an epic tune that you hope never finishes. There is a soaring guitar solo by Rob McNelley that David Gilmour fans will love. No surprise to discover that this track was mixed on the same console as the classic “Dark Side Of The Moon“.

Brian Currin
Headlight Dreams review on AllMusic.com

Stream/download “Headlight Dreams”

https://orcd.co/SteveLouwHeadlightDreams

STEVE LOUW ONLINE

http://stevelouw.com/
https://instagram.com/stevelouw/
https://twitter.com/stevelouwmusic
https://facebook.com/stevelouwmusic/
https://sptfy.com/stevelouw
https://apple.co/3iKTV9g

THE STORY BEHIND THE SONG

My grandfather was a railroadman and in the 1930s my father rode trains looking for work. To me, trains symbolise our attempts to bend nature to our will – and we’re seeing that trying to do that will never work. Silence will always return to the plains, the wind will blow, tracks will crumble and the earth will breathe again. This song has the wide open plains in it; dry cracked earth and a broken land.

The song builds from a driving acoustic guitar and hypnotic bassline to a haunting guitar solo by Rob McNeeley. The production (by Kevin Shirley) brings out the relentlessness of the song and of what we inflict on our planet.

Steve Louw

TRAIN DON’T RUN
(Recorded February 27, 2020)

The wind blows across empty plains
That hold so many bones
The rails glow years since the rain
Horses roam on broken stones
Train don’t run round here no more
Train is gone for us all

Put down a coin on the track
Saw silver turn through black
Seeds thrown all come back
Haunt the earth broken and cracked
Train don’t run round here no more
Train won’t come for us all

I can help you cross if you’ll let me
Spirits roam across this broken land
What’s been lost you can see
Count the cost can’t understand
Train don’t run round here no more
Train is gone for us all



Have you got your ticket to watch MEX21? Online until 2 Oct

Music Exchange turns 10
WATCH #MEX21 ONLINE NOW

Lauded and awarded for its consistent commitment to the broader South African music industry, #MEX21 runs until 2 October 2021, with a wealth of quality international and local speakers.

Click here to secure your tickets & watch online


Our Keynote speaker, from Australia, is Michael Smellie. He speaks about the seven deadly sins of the music business. Michael’s career in the music business spans more than 25 years. He has worked across five continents as former Global Chief Operations Officer of Sony BMG, Asia Pacific Head for BMG, and Managing Director of Polygram and rooArt in Australia.

Michael is an investor, adviser and board member to many start-ups’ creative businesses in Australia and the United States and is currently the Board Chair of the Music Council of Australia.


Stuart Rubin, from New Zealand, speaks about the importance of the song and looking to legacy for wisdom and inspiration as well as unpacking Elvis 30 Number 1’s and Neil Diamond. In 2001 he moved to New York, becoming Senior VP International for BMG. Following the merger with SONY, three years later, Stuart was made Senior VP International of Commercial Marketing.

Stuart’s interview reveals a person fascinated with people, whether they are artists or music lovers. With his long experience in selling music to a global market, and as an A&R professional, he delivers a unique perspective on the industry.


Gasant Abarder, the author of Hack the Grenade, columnist, and former editor of the Cape Times & Argus speaks to the Cape Town reality for artists and his take on the media landscape in both print and online.


We speak to legacy with producer Greg Cutler, an engineer from London; regarding his relationships with Harari, Hotline and Rabbit, bands that shaped the SA sound that we know and love today.

Click here to secure your tickets & watch online

The #MEX21 speaker line-up includes, but is not limited to:
Michael Smellie – Chairman of Music Australia – Australia
Jason Grishkoff – Founder SubmitHub – USA
Stephen Werner – Station Manager @ KFM – RSA
Stuart Rubin – Former Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing for Sony BMG – New Zealand
Gasant Abarder – Author, and former editor at Independent Newspapers – RSA
Gillian Ezra – Group Head of Commercial – simfy africa, MusicTime, Ayoba
Phenyo Gasebonoe – Digital Content Manager at Ayoba, Africa’s first Super App – an all in one Instant Messaging Platform – RSA 
Greg Cutler – Producer engineer visionary proud ambassador of SA Music legacy – UK
Melissa Conradie – Music industry specialist, publicist, booker, radio plugger – RSA
RJ Benjamin – Artist – RSA
Sipho Mabuse – MEX Chairperson and Artist – RSA

Click here to secure your tickets & watch online



Gillian Ezra – Group Head of Commercial – simfy africa, MusicTime, Ayoba 


Phenyo Gasebonoe is a Digital Content Manager at Ayoba, Africa’s first Super App – an all in one Instant Messaging Platform -RSA

 
Melissa Conradie – Music industry specialist, publicist, booker, radio plugger – RSA


RJ Benjamin – Artist– RSA


Sipho Mabuse – MEX Chairperson and Artist – RSA

Click here to secure your tickets & watch online

#MEX21 talks deliver on what MEX is known and respected for by delivering quality conversations that lead to quantifiable outcomes. In partnership with 

Ticketpro
Paul Bothner Music
Western Cape Government
AYOBA 
and the City of Cape Town 

#MEX21 hosts entertainment industry thought-leaders and game-changers in 30-to-60-minute presentations on the Ticketpro streaming platform.
 
For a mere R100 investment, per ticket, #MEX21 delegates will enjoy an all-access pass to the full  conference, comprising a series of unmissable keynote addresses and international thought leadership sessions from some of the most relevant and revolutionary minds in the business.
 Secure your ticket and watch here:
https://tickets.heroticket.co.za/thero/shops/985c875Click here to secure your tickets & watch online

For booking details, and more information, go to musicexchange.org.za

For more information and interview opportunities, please contact:
Martin Myers @ MEX
martmyers@gmail.com
083 448 4475


In association with the City of Cape Town

In association with the Western Cape Government Cultural Affairs and Sport

MUSIC EXCHANGE (#MEX21) SPEAKS TO THE ENTERTAINMENT ECONOMY 

MUSIC EXCHANGE (#MEX21), South Africa’s preeminent entertainment-economy-invested conference, returns this September for the 11th consecutive year, hosted by Ticketpro.

Lauded and awarded for its consistent commitment to the broader South African music industry, #MEX21 will run from 11 September to 2 October 2021, with a wealth of quality international and local speakers.

Some of the topics #MEX21 will unpack, in detail, include our streaming reality, the platforms generating engagement (Ayoba) and driving artist’s incomes (SubmitHub), right through to the importance of heritage (MEX Chairman), the state of radio in South Africa (KFM), and just how artists are rebuilding and morphing in response to the pandemic (RJ Benjamin).

Our Keynote speaker, from Australia, is Michael Smellie. He speaks about the seven deadly sins of the music business.

Michael’s career in the music business spans more than 25 years.

He has worked across five continents as former Global Chief Operations Officer of Sony BMG, Asia Pacific Head for BMG, and Managing Director of Polygram and rooArt in Australia.

He is an investor, adviser and board member to many start-ups’ creative businesses in Australia and the United States and is currently the Board Chair of the Music Council of Australia.

Stuart Rubin, from New Zealand, speaks about the importance of the song and looking to legacy for wisdom and inspiration as well as unpacking Elvis 30 Number 1’s and Neil Diamond.

At the height of his career, he was Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing for Sony BMG. Stuart’s career in music started in New Zealand in 1976 with PolyGram. 

He “crossed the ditch” to Australia and held several senior marketing roles in PolyGram and BMG, before moving to Hong Kong in the 1990s where he became BMG’s VP of International Marketing for the Asia-Pacific region. In 2001 he moved to New York, becoming Senior VP International for BMG. Following the merger with SONY, three years later, Stuart was made Senior VP International of Commercial Marketing. 

Stuart’s interview reveals a person fascinated with people, whether they are artists or music lovers. With his long experience in selling music to a global market, and as an A&R professional, he delivers a unique perspective on the industry.

Gasant Abarder, the author of Hack the Grenade, columnist, and former editor of the Cape Times & Argus speaks to the Cape Town reality for artists and his take on the media landscape in both print and online.

We speak to legacy with producer Greg Cutler, an engineer from London; regarding his relationships with Harari, Hotline and Rabbit, bands that shaped the SA sound that we know and love today.

Despite the past 18 months being the most challenging in MEX’s decade-plus dedication, investment and global outreach, Music Exchange 2021 (#MEX21) is opening its annual industry-focused indaba to the world come 11 September 2021.

Over the past 11 years, MEX has actively informed, partnered and brokered with some of the biggest and most influential players and institutions, with the sole purpose of elevating, educating and sharing a wealth of learning from all four corners of the planet and 2021’s #MEX21 commits to being no different.

If anything, #MEX21 is offering everyone, directly or indirectly professionally affected by the pandemic, an opportunity to explore the possibility of change, with speakers who exemplify talent, success, and perseverance at a time like no other.

MEX has welcomed and hosted the likes of composer Dr Trevor Jones, musician and producer Bryan Michael Cox the Orchard’s Ben Oldfield, Mark Murdoch, Mos Def, Tim Renner, Rachel Z, Tom Novy, Karen Zoid, Siphokazi Jonas, Christian Wright from Abbey Road, Arthur and Charles Goldstuck and Moreira Chonguica among many more, all in an impressive lead up to this year’s impressive list of confirmed speakers.

The #MEX21 speaker line-up includes, but is not limited to:

Michael Smellie – Chairman of Music Australia – Australia.

Jason Grishkoff – Founder SubmitHub – USA.

Stephen Werner – Station Manager @ KFM – RSA.

Stuart Rubin Former Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing for Sony BMG – New Zealand. 

Gasant Abarder Author, and former editor at Independent Newspapers – RSA.

Greg Cutler – Producer engineer visionary proud ambassador of SA Music legacy – UK.

Melissa Conradie – Music industry specialist, publicist, booker, radio plugger – RSA.

RJ Benjamin – Artist – RSA.

Sipho Mabuse – MEX Chairperson and Artist – RSA.

With more names to follow, #MEX21 talks will deliver on what MEX is known and respected for by delivering quality conversations that lead to quantifiable outcomes.

In partnership with Ticketpro, Paul Bothner MusicWestern Cape Government, AYOBA and the City of Cape Town.

 #MEX21 will host local entertainment industry thought-leaders and game-changers in 30-to-60-minute presentations on the Ticketpro streaming platform.

For a mere R100 investment, per ticket, #MEX21 delegates will enjoy an all-access pass to the full 11-day conference, comprising a series of unmissable keynote addresses and international thought leadership sessions from some of the most relevant and revolutionary minds in the business.

Martin Myers, founder, and convener of the conference remarked “2021 is another big year in Music Exchange’s history. Our collective and ongoing investment to help influence, adapt, evolve and remain relevant in a massively compromised economy sits at the heart of all we do.”

Follow us on Facebook to get breaking announcements, as they happen.

Secure your ticket and watch here:

https://tickets.heroticket.co.za/thero/shops/985c875

For booking details, and more information, go to: musicexchange.org.za

For more information and interview opportunities, please contact:

Martin Myers @ MEX

martmyers@gmail.com

083 448 4475

“Sixto” by Orjan Hulten Orion featuring Ernie Bruce

Liberia Ballad by Orjan Hulten Orion featuring Ernie Bruce
“Sixto” by Orjan Hulten Orion featuring Ernie Bruce

I am Ernest Bruce (Ernie Bruce), a singer living in Monrovia, Liberia (West Africa).

In collaboration with the Swedish group Orjan Hilten Orion, we recently released an album entitled “Liberia Ballad… Orjan Hulten Orion featuring Ernie Bruce” The album does include a song that is dedicated to you, and tells your story. It was originally written by Orjan, the leader of the band, and is an instrumental on the group’s album Faltrapport.

The band met me while visiting Liberia on invitation from the Swedish Embassy…there was an instant exchange of artistic creativity, and Orjan asked whether I would write some lyrics for the song “Sixto”.

We are all pleased with the outcome of our collaboration, and are simply making an effort to make you aware of it and, hopefully, enjoy it. While the album is now available on Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon, and others.

Blessings to you in all your future endeavours.

https://www.thejazzmann.com/reviews/review/orjan-hulten-orion-featuring–ernie-bruce-liberia-ballad

Ernie

Illuminating Headlight Dreams

by Brian Currin, June 2021

Back in early April 2021, I read a press release announcing a new album coming from Steve Louw and it included the video of a song called “Crazy River”. I loved the big open spaces this song evoked (and enhanced by the video) and the subtle African guitar sounds reminded me of early Johnny Clegg.

I first heard of Steve Louw in 1990 when the cassette version of the “Pop Shop 48” album featured the song “Waiting For The Dawn” by Big Sky as a bonus track. There is actually no real band called Big Sky, it is the name Steve Louw has used when he surrounds himself with the cream of the crop of American and South African musicians.

I first met Steve in March 1998, backstage at the first Rodriguez concert at the Bellville Velodrome, outside Cape Town. Steve and that year’s incarnation of Big Sky were a worthy support act. The rest of Big Sky (led by Steve’s old buddy since the seventies, Willem Möller) also backed Rodriguez for his set. That sold-out tour of South Africa is featured in the Oscar-winning film, “Searching For Sugar Man“.

Steve recorded two albums in the 80’s with his band All Night Radio, and then four albums as Big Sky between 1990 and 2008, as well as a compilation album, “Best Of The Decade” (in 1999), and a live concert DVD recorded over two nights in 2008.

And now he comes blasting back with his first solo album (well, technically) in 13 years. As in his Big Sky days, he has surrounded himself with some top players in their fields. So let’s drop a few names; “Headlight Dreams” was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, produced by Kevin Shirley, mastered by Bob Ludwig, liner notes by Stephen Thomas Erlewine (from AllMusic), and a guitar solo on “Wind In Your Hair” by one of my favourite guys from the more recent crop of Blues guitar-slingers, Joe Bonamassa.

Louw also brought in some of the best musos in Nashville, namely Kevin McKendree (keyboards), Alison Prestwood (bass), Rob McNelly (guitars) and Greg Morrow (drums). Steve Louw wrote all the songs and sings and plays acoustic guitar.

This album is filled with great songs, from the bluesy, lyrically hard-hitting “Get Out Of My Heart” to the bouncy “Queen Bee Maybe” with its delightful Hammond organ solo from Kevin McKendree, however my favourite track on this album is the almost proggish “Train Don’t Run”. Clocking in at seven and half minutes this is an epic tune that you hope never finishes. There is a soaring guitar solo by Rob McNelly that David Gilmour fans will love. No surprise to discover that this track was mixed on the same console as the classic “Dark Side Of The Moon“.

If you immerse yourself in the Steve Louw back-catalogue you will find recurring themes and reappearing characters, in a similar vein to Rodriguez, Piet Botha and many others. It is one of the things I love about listening to music, that there are rewards for paying extra attention.

This album can be played in the background, but if you give it your full awareness and dive into its depths you will be rewarded with poetic lyrics melded with great tunes, recorded by superb musicians.

Steve’s enthusiasm for life and love is expressed in every note in this superb creation. “Headlight Dreams” deserves to be listened to over and over again, and if you do, you will get something new every time.

Steve Louw on Social

Colin Shamley Dies

Colin Shamley was one of the great musical commentators on life, love and politics in South Africa. I first met him at Dave and Franny’s house in High street, Berea, where I was squatting and selling zol to keep body and soul together. Colin was playing at Mangles and the first time I heard him it was a revelation. The skill, the words, the humour and the incisive view of our crazy world. One of my first gigs was opening for him at Mangles and I went down like a fart in a spacesuit to the mainly biker audience. But it didn’t take long to learn a few of the basic rules of the game from Colin, and I was up and running. I played at Mangles for a year before I recorded my first album. Colin recorded his master work ‘Born Guilty’ at about the same time and both albums received critical acclaim but few sales. “Born Guilty” is truly one of the greatest works ever to come out of this country. Colin died this morning after a long illness. Hamba Kahle Maestro.

Roger Lucey, from Jive Talking & Eyeballing

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