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Music Reviews - Bard of Ely
by Ken Mowery

Good writing has a transcendent quality and possesses the power to transport through time and mindset. Even if it is done purely for the sake of entertainment, good writing enables us to see and experience life from vantage points much different than our own. Steve Andrews (aka The Bard of Ely) offers a complex and varied array of songs that are in short "good writing".

The Bard of Ely carries listeners through various paradigms that range from the earthy and humorous musings of "You're A Liar, Nicky Wire" and the bravado spoof "Superhero" to "other- worldly" expositions like "For Peter & for Paul" and "Priest of the Venusians".

Perhaps the true heart, soul and conscience of The Bard Of Ely find clearest expression in "commentary" songs like "The Hundredth Monkey v The Beast" and "Insect Inside" or the philosophical proclamation "Sound of One".

As you read Steve's responses to the CreatorsWeb Interview questions below you will see that he sites the influences of songwriters like Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens and Neil Young. You will recognize their musical and spiritual presence in The Bard of Ely tracks as you listen.

Check it out for free at: http://www.soundclick.com/bands/2/bardofelymusic.htm

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Music Style And Audience

How do you classify your music?

I don't! If asked I say I write songs. I am always fascinated finding out what other people make of my songs but for me I feel that a song is basically a set of words, the lyrics, and a tune. I write my words first and then find a tune on the guitar and that is the basic song but how it turns out later is another matter. All songs are open to being arranged differently and can be given different production. They all start out as words and music and in my own creative process I write the lyrics first, so in the beginning was the word!

Do you target a specific audience? If so, who?

Not really, I just sing my songs and if people like them then I consider that to that degree I have been successful as an artist. I do find I get a better reaction from rock fans rather than 'folkies' though.

What performance venues are you currently exploring?

Mainly festivals. I have been the compere for the Avalon Stage at Glastonbury Festival for the last 2 years, as well as playing there, and followed this with doing the same at It's Jo and Danny's Green Man Festival in Brecon.

Musical Instruments - Recording - Computer Hardware - Software

What musical instruments do you play?

Guitar and harmonica, keyboards, penny whistle and Jew's harp enough to have used them on recordings. Kazoo too but that is so simple it doesn't really count as 'playing.' I regard my vocals as an instrument as well.

Do you record in a home studio?

I haven't got one, only Cool Edit and a microphone but I have used the home-studios of friends.

What equipment and software do you use?

Various. It all depends on what is available. I have various guitars but I mainly use a semi-acoustic Fleetwood jumbo for practice and gigging. The only computer music software I have used myself is Cool Edit. I must confess that I don't know much about creating digital music and am much happier with a guitar and mic. This doesn't stop me collaborating with other musicians online who are skilled with this new technology, and in fact I have a song called 'Electric Bard,' which is a 3-way collaboration between myself and EXLectiX from America and Catherine Duc from Australia. I wrote the words and did the vocals and my collaborators created the music and produced it. Also, the highly talented musician, Ed Drury, has added his music and arrangements to a series of my poems. This sort of thing, to my mind, is one of the wonderful things about the world of music available online.

Musical Background -Influences

How did you get started playing music?

I would have been aged about 12 and I was listening to pop and some rock bands and also soul and Tamla and this would have been when I was first thinking about it. This was the time of the 'Mersey sound.' Then the psychedelic '60s arrived and the folk protest movement and as a teenager I was inspired by Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Cat Stevens, Neil Young and many other singer/songwriters, as well as the whole idea of an alternative society. I would say that I fancied myself as following in these singer/songwriters' footsteps if I could. By the age of 16 I was going to festivals and gigs and I made my own start at playing guitar and writing songs and poetry. Initially it was an effort to impress girls because I was painfully shy. I had decided that I wasn't that impressed by the Beatles, although John Lennon is one of my 'heroes,' and The Stones were far more my sort of rock band. Neil Young was my favorite guitarist then and still is. Other acts that I really liked and still do are Hendrix, David Bowie, Roy Harper, Kate Bush, Van Morrison, Dory Previn, Jefferson Airplane, Nico, Lou Reed, Donovan, Jethro Tull, Bob Marley, Neil Diamond, the Incredible String Band, Syd Barrett, Joni Mitchell, Bridget St John, Tyrannosaurus and T. Rex, Roxy Music and many many more. Then in the mid '70s Punk and New Wave happened and a lot of the energy of the movement I found inspiring. I saw a lot of the bands then like The Clash, Boomtown Rats, the Stranglers, Patti Smith and others.

What has influenced your music the most?

All those acts I have mentioned above, along with many more modern ones and genres of music like the Blues, Soul, R&B, Folk, Rock 'n' Roll, Jazz, Experimental and anything else that I've spent time listening too. My inspiration for songs though is very varied and just reflects my life I think.

Music And Internet Marketing

How has the Internet effected you as a musician?

In a big way: I used to be heavily involved in music networking via the snail mail with all the fanzines and small press and the casssette culture which gave way to CDs, but I seem to have phased most of that out because the Internet is a lot easier, cheaper and faster to use.

Also, I have made very many good friends, whom I have met via OMDs and at bbs, and discovered so much excellent music. As well as these things it has given me a means of collaborating with people all over the world.

When did you start marketing your music on the Internet?

In about 1997 when I first began to understand IT and to have access to computers.

What has been the most effective way to market your music on the Internet?

Via OMDs and Bulletin Boards. My favorite OMD was mp3.com and I haven't seen any other site which has offered so much. The stations it gave acts the option of creating was a great way to promote your music and that of other acts you enjoyed, as well as finding new music.

Musicians And The Future

What does the future hold for you?

More collaborations, more festivals...but as to where my music will take me I really don't know! I have just written my first song in Spanish and am learning the language, so who knows where my path will lead?

Finally, is there anything else you want to say about yourself?

I prefer to hear what others think of me and my work so I'll let my good friends Laura J Bollé and Chris Kalessin have their say:

Words can barely describe the amazing, multi-talented, multi-faceted and multi-media phenomenon that is the Bard of Ely!!! Part eco-warrior, poet, Arthurian Druid, master of herblore, techno-folk fusion pioneer, MC, songwriter, singer, actor, writer and performer, the Bard has assumed cult status and is featured in many counter-culture books and articles ... a genuinely iconic figure!

His solo work, many collaborations (most recently with Funender stalwart Ed Drury) and remixes represent a wonderfully eclectic body of writing and performance, work that that does justice to the traditions of acoustic music, yet with modernity, political relevance, and some great melodies! :)

And something else that distinguishes this talented artist is his enthusiastic and positive support for music and musicians, and his friendly, universally-respected presence across the online music community. We are proud to know him and highly recommend his music to all - Steve, the Bard of Ely!!!

Check him out TODAY!!! http://www.bardofely.com

Register Your Band For A CreatorsWeb Review and Interview
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http://www.creatorsweb.com/webs optenplace/rotation.htm

About the Author
Ken is a pastor, writer, musician living in Greeley Colorado. His articles have been published in a number of magazines, ezines and websites including his own www.creatorsweb.com