THE MANX SOUND EXCHANGE: Pub talk leads open mic performer into recording studio

Local singer songwriter John Smiley's debut album's cover

Local singer songwriter John Smiley's debut album's cover

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FINALLY, the bridesmaid is the bride, so to speak.

Perennial supporter of the Manx music scene’s artists and venues, familiar face to many, John Smiley last week released his own foray into the world of recorded music.

Regular open mic performer and frequent gig audience member, Canadian John admits he had long ago given up on the idea of recording a record of his own.

But a pub-encounter with prolific releaser of music Phil Reynolds, of Small Bear Records, twisted John’s arm, and the result is four track acoustic EP Party of One.

Available to download for free online at the intimate recording features songs ‘donated’ to John by friends in Canada and by Manx singer-songwriter Chris Gray.

‘He’s been such a supporter, but there’s not really been the opportunity for him to record himself,’ said Phil. ‘It was nice to be able to do it for John, somebody that has done lots for everyone else by turning up to gigs day in, day out.’

It’s a stripped down, honest recording.

‘Yeah. The idea was to be more sparse than it is actually, just John as you hear him at open mic nights,’ explained Phil. ‘It was so easy. You don’t want to gloss everything up, you want it to be John and his characteristics.’

John himself is happy with the result.

‘For a first adventure, I’m very pleased,’ he said, adding his thanks to easygoing Phil and the musicians who sent him the songs.

There are even whispers of a follow up record.

• Popular island guitarist Dave Lang is recovering from an operation in Croatia, and is facing medical bills and an expensive return home when he is fit enough.

In response, a fundraising ‘jamming’ night has been put together for Saturday at The Bay in Port Erin, to help with the bills and to support the family who are out with Dave in Croatia.

Backing band Borderline will play with a whole host of musicians.

• Lee Brooks’ ramblings on the rumblings of the island’s music scene. help support the scene by emailing or calling 695674 with Manx music news, reviews and photos.

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