MP3 Nature Boy (Guirr & Cantwell) - Nature Boy
Laid back jazz/funk with more than a hint of soul, lovely melodic catchy songs with fruity riffs, intricate arrangements.
8 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Jazz-Rock, POP: with Live-band Production
About the Band
What would you get if you mixed The Isley Brothers, Anita Baker, John Martyn, John McLaughlin, Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan, Frank Zappa, Judie Tzuke, Andrea Corr and Kate Bush together in a washing machine?
Answer: something that sounds like Nature Boy!
Mostly songs, the flavour of the music is laid back jazz/funk with more than a hint of soul. Influenced by great groovers such as the Isley Brothers, John Martyn and Anita Baker the songs are written by Tom Cantwell (guitars) and Caroline Guirr (piano/kbds/tpt) who form the heart of the band. On this album, vocals are by Julie Weaver and the rhythm section consists of Billy Miller on bass and Addo Koranteng on drums. A fine horn section was added to a few of the tracks which included Gareth Weaver and Carolyn Ashley.
The band, based around Gateshead, performed all over Newcastle, Gateshead and further afield. A true North East group, it was chosen to launch the new Millenium Bridge across the Tyne in 2000, when the regeneration of the area included The Sage and Baltic Art Gallery, now houses Gateshead College, and is continuing to grow a rich seam of cultural treasures! Nature Boy played most of the best gigs in the local area including Live Theatre, Riverside, The Archer and Newcastle Arts Centre and had a regular dedicated following; they have also appeared live on BBC Radio Newcastle three times, one of which was an ‘unplugged’ session.
This band was mainly a late 90s project, all the musicians still perform together in various guises. Plans for a new tour are being considered.
The band is extremely dynamic and tight, featuring much clever grown up stuff, but also the whole range of impassioned angst that some songs just have to have. This band is not a disposable Blue Peter/ Saturday morning T.V. aerobics flavour of the month but a genuine group of musicians who love to play the same kind of music that they love to buy.
About the Album
The ‘Nature Boy’ album has been very well received, featuring as artist of the week on https://www.tradebit.com, achieving the accolade of being most played song ever with ‘Coming Home’, it was very favourably reviewed by Sound on Sound magazine and amongst others. It was CD of the month in Guitarist Magazine.
This set of fabulous songs has gliding memorable melodies, earthy solos, intricate drum and bass work and drifting dreamy tonalities with jazz rock overtones. It goes very well served with a cool refreshing drink and a beautiful vista.
The CD contains eight tracks which, between them, express most of what the band is about. The stuff is varied enough so that if you’re not keen on a particular track - try another! There are also bass solos (horror!) and enough guitar and keyboard shenanigens to totally scare off even the bravest A&R person. The point is that this is a band and not just a singer with some backing. All the brass and vocal harmonies are real instruments, and even the samples are recordings of us playing. To help anyone who may be interested we have included a map of what lies buried within the demo and within the tracks themselves.
The Tracks: (Sleeve notes and lyrics included with the album.)
Track one is called “Coming Home” and was supposed to be a ‘groove ballad’ in a sort of John Martyn style, but it became this instead.
Track two is “Jam Again”; a swing ballad with jazzy chords and five part vocal harmonies - Julie sight-read Caroline’s part writing a line at a time onto separate tracks.
The third track is called “Makes No Matter” and is an unashamed lurve ballad (see lyrics) with a bass solo in the middle.
The fourth track is “E.S.P”, but then you knew I was going to say that. This little ditty is a helping of funk/swing with a sampled computer voice and a noisy guitar adding to the lyrical proceedings. The big run at the end sounds tighter when the brass players are exactly in time (They claimed it was hard to hear the drums in the headphones over the top of their own noise).
“Make My Dreams Come True” is a Drum ‘n’ Bass groove with everything recorded once and repeat sampled throughout. Tom played the bass riff once and it was looped. The drums on this are a sampled loop taken from a collection and filled out with MIDI drums.
Caroline looped her own voice and part of Liz’ voice from track one.
The next track is “Counting Numbers” and it’s back to big reverbs and serious chords.
“Close To Me” is the only live track in the collection and is included to give a feel of how the band sounds live. This particular song, another anguished love ballad groove with only two chords throughout (Em9 and DMAJ9), is a favourite with the band and our regular following of devotees. It was recorded at Live Theatre on Newcastle’s Quayside through a spirit desk onto the DAT walkman.
The final track is called “More Tears” and is meant to be a plaintive cry of pensive angst. This was too pretentious by far and what you have instead is a wierd mix of ‘in your face’ telephone vocals and an outrageous racket of a guitar solo at the end. Make of it what you will.
The Quick Guide
Drum solos: Ha! None at all
Bass solos: Two. One in the middle of Makes No Matter (trk 3), and another at the end of Make My Dreams Come True (trk 5).
Guitar solos: Little bits of Jazzy guitar in Make My Dreams...(trk 5) and Counting Numbers (trk 6). Blues rock in the middle of ESP (trk 4) and widdly bendy stuff in Jam again(trk 2), Counting Numbers (trk 6) and at the end of More Tears (trk 8).
Piano solos: Jam Again (trk 2) has a piano solo after the guitar solo, and there’s a biggish piano solo in Close To Me (trk 7). Counting numbers (trk 6) has a synth solo which sounds like a fairground ride.
People who are interested in Anita Baker should consider this download.