Sofie Winterson and I only film in musea it seems. Last year we had the honor of filming at Panorama Mesdag in The Hague – find her Unknown Mortal Orchestra cover on the website – and early 2020 we gave it another go at the Eye Film museum in Amsterdam. She had just decided to spend most of her time in Los Angeles for the forseeable future, so I figured I had to capture some more songs while I could. This time, Winterson recorded a lovely cover of Judee Sill’s ‘The Kiss’ and an acoustic of her own killer song ‘Moral’.
The summer of 2018 would soon be coming to an end, and Rachel and I had just seen two of our favourite bands – Hiss Golden Messenger and Courtney Marie Andrews – play a double bill in Ghent, Belgium, when I started talking with Andrews’ bass player. Somehow, Ole Kirkeng knew The Influences already and soon we’re talking about sessions, Buck Meek and other musicians we both like. The Norwegian songwriter lived in the United States for about six years, but soon after our meeting in Belgium moved back to Oslo just before coming to Utrecht to record this session in the exact same spot as Buck Meek a year earlier.
The Amsterdam Songwriters Guild has been around as long as I can remember and my friend Ro Halfhide is one of the people of the collective promoting the local songwriters. I visited one of their weekly open mic nights in Amsterdam some years ago, because Ryan Joseph Burns was in town and felt like playing some songs. One of the few things I remember about that night was that we drank too much and there was one performer who had us both in awe. That was Jara Holdert, who now performs as Lewin. So, a bit later Jara performed our live show in Utrecht and last January we filmed this session at Johnny Wonder’s office. Lewin covered Joni Mitchell and The Beatles and played her own ‘The Giant’.
Usually when I interview someone, I go in pretty well prepared. I never have questions written down or anything like that, but I’ll have read things and have an inkling of what I’d like to talk about. Not this time. I had focused mainly on filming the session with William Fitzsimmons, but when we sat down at the Backstage Hotel in Amsterdam to talk afterwards, it didn’t take much to get deep into conversation with the songwriter who was born in Pennsylvania. It started with pretty much a ten-minute monologue about his love for Tom Petty, whose ‘Learning To Fly’ he’d just covered.
Earlier this week I dreamed of walking through Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Park. I looked at the wild squirrels, sat on a bench, ate a curry at Mother India’s Cafe, strolled through the Art Gallery and had a coffee at Artisan Roast on Gibson Street. Then the coffee woke me up, and I realized I was in Utrecht, with no idea when I could visit Glasgow again. But, I did still have this session that I filmed with John Alexander, in Kelvingrove Park surrounded by blossom. We filmed Who Why When and a cover of Tom Waits’ Walking Spanish.
Do you still know what day it is? I don’t, half of the time. I do know it’s Thursday though, because I’m posting a new video. About a year ago, Scottish songwriter Ryan Joseph Burns was in Utrecht and as always, we end up filming songs. You’ve already seen the ‘Hickory Wind’ duet with Demi Knight, but we also filmed this stunning cover of Courtney Marie Andrews’ brilliant song ‘How Quickly Your Heart Mends’.
“Her voice I suppose is the first thing that grabs you, but I find the lyrics and pacing within the melody so captivating.”
When we filmed this session, after Ruben Hein’s sound check for a Beach Boys tribute in Utrecht’s TivoliVredenburg, his most recent album Groundwork Rising had yet to be released. An album Hein described as a milestone at the time. “That record was important. And determinative, because it had been a new step for me in the process. You can clearly tell it’s different from the things I’ve done before. It may always be the case that I continue to vary in my work. Which might be incredibly awkward marketing-wise, but it is what it is.”
Watch him play The Beach Boys’ ‘God Only Knows’ and ‘Disney Girls’, plus ‘February Days’ in a big empty room.
‘White Noise/White Lines’ is already Kelsey Waldon’s third record in five years time. The Kentuckian country singer has followed her own path since the start. And the cheers of her friends, colleagues and music journalists were noticeable, even from this side of the ocean, when she signed to John Prine’s label Oh Boy Records for her third record. I was cheering too, when we arranged this session in Amsterdam last February, where Waldon covered John Anderson and Townes van Zandt. Watch those covers and ‘Kentucky, 1988’ and read what her friends and colleagues Michaela Anne and Caroline Spence wrote about her.
Mikaela Davis is a harpist and singer from Rochester New York, USA. She released a stunning record called Delivery in 2018. And she’s toured with The Staves and Bon Iver and played in Grateful Dead founder Bob Weir’s band. For The Influences she recorded covers of Gillian Welch and Cass McCombs, and her own ‘In My Groove’.
“I think we’re always getting better. Over the years I’ve actually learned to play less. Sometimes simpler is better. Especially after getting into Neil Young, and realizing a song can just be one chord to four chords, and it can still be brilliant. You have to do what’s right for the song.”
The first time I heard Alela Diane was live at the Motel Mozaique festival in Rotterdam, back in 2008. ‘The Pirate’s Gospel’ got a European release in 2007. Here was this folk singer, encompassing everything I love about traditional folk music in modern day folk songs, sung with her brilliant voice. Her latest record ‘Cusp’ had a similar effect on me. For this she ‘locked’ herself up for three weeks in a cabin surrounded by snow, with nothing but a wood stove, her guitar and a piano. I guess we should be asking her for tips on how to make it through these times of self-isolation and social distancing. Instead we talked – back in 2019 – about the power of traditional songs and motherhood in this complicated world.
Job Roggeveen is an interesting and versatile artist. As a musician he played in several bands and started his own band Happy Camper, winning an Edison. As an animator, and one third of animation company Job Joris & Marieke, he was nominated for an Oscar and won an Emmy. In the last year, he focused (musically) on his solo project: instrumental piano music, resulting in the record ‘Gliese’ that was released last week. Earlier this winter, we met at the Dom square in Utrecht and filmed a session in the freezing cold, accompanied by visuals from Mr. Beam. Roggeveen covered Röyksopp, Massive Attack and Wu-Tang Clan.
I have so many fond memories of the first session Robert Ellis recorded for The Influences years ago, I jumped at the change to do it again. In the fall of 2019, Ellis and guitarist Kelly Doyle joined me in Job Roggeveen’s living room in Utrecht and recorded impromptu covers of Joni Mitchell and Gene Wilder’s ‘Pure Imagination’, and ‘Let Me In’ from his latest record ‘Texas Piano Man’.
Some time in the Spring of 2017 I flew to Glasgow Scotland to film Ryan Joseph Burns’ album launch. That night in Saint Luke’s, I single-handedly filmed with six cameras. To compensate, I got up (too) early the next morning and met up with Farmer & Lewis to film at the viewing platform of The Lighthouse museum. With just one mic, one camera, a banjo, a fiddle and a stunning view of Glasgow’s city center. Eight years after the first time I filmed at the same spot, we recorded three traditional songs.
It was January 29th 2015, when I first met American songwriter Andrew Combs. I was in the upstairs room in Paradiso Amsterdam and Justin Townes Earle had just finished his sound check, when all of a sudden, I heard this special voice over the PA. It was Combs, getting ready for his support slot that night. Combs released several great records since, and his most recent ‘Ideal Man’ especially has me in awe, but we never managed to make it work logistically, until the very last day of his most recent European tour. I invited him to my house, where he recorded covers of Lucinda Williams and Loudon Wainwright III, and ‘Firestarter’. His own song, not a Prodigy cover!
Two years ago, Dutch comedian and radio dj Dolf Jansen asked me to film a show he was doing with a band from Belfast, Northern Ireland. That night, the band blew me away. Dolf was pretty damn good too. But I just had to make sure Arborist would record a session before they finished their first ever Dutch tour. And so we met up at a boat shop next to the B&B they were staying, and filmed four songs, including a Townes van Zandt cover and a traditional song.
I’ve been filming sessions for this website for twelve years. In all those years, there isn’t a singer I’ve heard more peers express their admiration off than Erin Rae. The Nashville based songwriter’s work is loved by many musicians I’ve filmed, and for years now, I’ve joined them. From 2015’s Soon Enough to 2018’s masterpiece Putting On Airs, there’s simply too much beauty to not be in awe of Erin Rae McKaskle. Last fall, I couldn’t believe my luck when she joined us in Utrecht to film covers of her father and Kate Campbell plus a solo take of ‘Can’t Cut Loose’.
The first time I heard Benbecula by the Scottish songwriter Michael Cassidy was in Amsterdam when Ryan Joseph Burns played me a mix on his phone. It sounded incredible already. But nothing could have prepared me for the mindblowing live take Cassidy recorded during his session at our live show in The Glad Cafe in Glasgow. He also played a Miley Cyrus cover and The Wedding Dress. Like A New International’s Biff Smith yells at the end of the Benbecula video: “That’s a belter!”
About ten years ago, Dutch drummer Kees Schaper (from Tim Knol’s band) toured with American songwriter Tim Easton. A perfect chance for me to film with Easton I thought. We did and it was great. Now, a decade later, I’ve taught myself to film and Easton is still the amazing songwriter he already was. Last month, he performed at The Influences’ live show in Utrecht and we went into the cold to film two new covers, of David Bowie and Woody Guthrie songs.
Learning and development are recurring themes in my conversation with Sofie Winterson. As a songwriter she continously seeks new methods and inspiration. That is probably what makes her music so interesting: a fresh mix of traditional folk and indie pop, with lyrics that are often darker than the sound suggests. Watch her play ‘Love Me Less’ and a cover of Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s ‘So Good At Being In Trouble’ in the mesmerizing location; museum Panorama Mesdag in The Hague. Surrounded by Europe’s biggest panorama, she recorded an incredible session.
Thank you so much for visiting and supporting The Influences for over a decade, or any part of it. It remains an absolute pleasure to run this thing, to meet you at the live shows and to film with all these amazing artists. Enjoy the overview of 2019 below, and let’s see where we can take this project in 2020!
New York City-based songwriter Anthony D’Amato has been on a streak in the past seven years and released three full-length records and two ep’s. And now also two sessions for The Influences. The first one was filmed in a dark week in American history, early in 2017. The second at TakeRoot festival 2018. Some videos have been public for a while, but with the two new videos, it’s high time for a proper release. Watch him play Paul Simon and Tom Petty covers, plus three originals.
The Low Anthem recorded two songs from ‘The Salt Doll Went To Measure The Depth Of The Sea’ for The Influences. Singer Ben Miller talks about their history. ‘I didn’t know if I was going to write anything anymore. It got to the point where just the process of writing songs felt so foreign to me. “Maybe I don’t do that anymore.” It was scary.’
Sometimes there’s little time between getting to know a band and filming a session. It only ever happens though if I immediately like the music a lot. The Canadian band Close Talker have just released their new LP How Do We Stay Here and are heading out on a Canada and USA tour today, after just finishing their European run. On that run, we filmed this session where they covered Radiohead’s All I Need.
It was Anthony D’Amato who introduced me to American Aquarium. The singer from New York – who’s releasing a new EP soon – said I had to check them out and so I did. It took a couple of listens for me to get dragged into their songs, but once it happened, there was no return. So I was obviously happy when AA’s singer BJ Barham joined me at TakeRoot 2018 to record ‘When We Were Younger Men’ and Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Highway Patrolman’.
Musicians often ask me who they should listen to when we finish filming a session. Almost a hundred percent of the time I recommend the Scottish band A New International to them. Because they’re simply brilliant. And lead singer Biff Smith is one of the most remarkable songwriters and performers I’ve ever witnessed. Sure, he’s a very good friend, so I might be biased. But damn it, if he doesn’t move you when he’s on stage, you’re officially dead inside.
The times have been good for Israel Nash. He’s focusing on the positive, rather than the negative. In this session he covered Neil Young and Radiohead. ‘I’ve always known there would be something more, but I do think this is the chapter of finding out what that is. For now.’
After spending most of his childhood years living in Zimbabwe, Nicaragua and Ghana, Sam van Ommen moved to Amsterdam, where he attended a local jam session and met singer Julia Schellekens. They started talking that night, became instant friends and soon after found themselves in Julia’s room nervously playing each other their own songs. Now, four years later, Sam & Julia are becoming a more and more prominent band in the Dutch Americana scene, with a debut EP on Tim Knol’s label and a LP due in 2020.
Becca Mancari made one of my favourite records of 2017. There isn’t a mediocre song on Good Woman. In fact, someone should really start a petition to rename it Great Woman. Anyway, it was a special kind of treat to have Mancari and her band cram themselves and their instruments into my room at TakeRoot festival last year, to record two songs and a rocking cover of Neil Young’s Ohio.
Last week I told someone to simply listen to everything that came out on the Austin-based record label Keeled Scales. She would like everything she could find, I promised. I mean Buck Meek, Twain, Katy Kirby; what’s not to like? And Sun June is another one of their gems: their fresh and captivating sound has made many of my bike journeys more enjoyable this year. When we met up in Rotterdam’s Comedy Club Haug, they recorded covers of Little Dragon, Porches and Wilco.
There would be weeks where I didn’t listen to much else than The Veils. Their records formed an often welcome escape from reality. At times the songs brought comfort, distraction and a bit of surprise into my life, when days otherwise seemed to morph into one, surrounded by pain. Lead singer Finn Andrews has now released a solo record One Piece At A Time and recorded this session with us, covering another ultimate favourite: Big Thief.
‘The first thing you’ll notice at a Josh Ritter show is his smile. It’s a grin of elation, a grin of communion, a grin of gratitude. It’s the grin of man doing precisely what he was put on this Earth to do, and doing it damn well. “Can he really be having that much fun?” I asked myself the first time I saw Josh perform at the Newport Folk Festival, and, as I later learned, the answer was a definitive yes.’
‘What I’ve learned from Scott is that kind of pride in songwriting; being able to put yourself into it, the drive and ambition for yourself in music.’ Fiskur’s Ross Clark wanted to pay tribute to his friend Scott Hutchison and covered Frightened Rabbit’s ‘Good Arms vs Bad Arms’, for the first time live in a random tile workshop in Amsterdam.
Marcus Hamblett is a man of many talents. Not only does he play guitar, bass, trumpet and keys, he also produces records and sometimes releases them. The chances you’ve seen him perform his solo instrumental pieces are a bit smaller, but I’ve got you covered with this intriguing session filmed at brewpub De Kromme Haring in Utrecht.
The Austin-based songwriter Carson McHone visited us in Utrecht’s finest record store Plato with her band to record two originals and a dangerously addictive Teddy Thompson cover.
When Anaïs Mitchell recorded this session for The Influences in 2017, she toured as Josh Ritter’s support. She recorded covers of Bob Dylan and Rachel Ries (Her Crooked Heart) and a song from her award winning musical Hadestown.
Ever since my friend plugged their song The Road, I’ve been listening to Scottish indie rock duo Man of Moon. During their European tour with Django Django, we recorded ‘Sign’ and Fleetwood Mac’s ‘World Turning’.
When Lilly Hiatt’s third record Trinity Lane surfaced in 2017, something just seemed to click. Her songs and the records sound blend so seamlessly. ‘It was a pretty natural thing’, Hiatt remembers: ‘I had a group of people creating that record with me that I really trusted, so it wasn’t very overthought. We just went for it.’
TakeRoot just announced its first names for 2019, featuring Brandi Carlile, Nikki Lane, Erin Rae, Caroline Spence and many others. In november 2018 I got to work with the lovely festival for the second year in a row and I filmed five sessions on one day. One of them was with our Canadian favourite Jerry Leger.
In December 2018 we hosted our third live show at the always lovely The Glad Cafe in Glasgow. Five local acts performed a couple of covers and originals in front of my cameras and a live audience. Closing act of the night was Emme Woods, the soulful rock ‘n roll band around charismatic lead singer Morgan Woods.
American songwriter Buck Meek has very quickly become one of my favourite musicians – both his solo and Big Thief records are on the top of the rotation over here. Last year he came straight from the airport to Utrecht and recorded his song Fool Me, plus covers of Duff Thompson and Townes van Zandt.
Bart Hoevenaars isn’t a stranger in the Dutch music indie scene. In the early zeroes he released two record with postpunk bank MONO and toured Europe multiple times. After, he became known as Sir Ian and recorded two records about despair, longing, wasting time and an almost impossible love.
Some singers’ voices float past like the wind, others land in your mind and take over your world or become a part of you. Tony Dekker’s voice and songs became a soundtrack to parts of my life. It was really special to film them play ‘The Talking Wind’ and covers of Magnolia Electric Co. and PJ Harvey.
‘Every time I go into making a record, I’m trying to time capsule what it feels like to be alive. ‘Fine But Dying’ was a whole new thing for me. It felt like for the first time I could be very loud which I liked.’ Watch Liza Anne’s solo session for The Influences, filmed in Utrecht.
Douglas Firs is a Belgian band that has been around creating great music for years now, but it was on their most recent record ‘Hinges Of Luck’ where they really struck gold. For The Influences, they recorded covers of Jim Croce and Johnny Cash as well as their own 45 Days.
John Martyn has somehow never before been covered in The Influences sessions. Until now, because Jon Allen recorded an addictive version of ‘May You Never’ for us, as well as his new single ‘Jonah’s Whale’ and ‘In Your Light’ off his debut LP ‘Dead Man’s Suit’.
On Friday December 14th, I’m bringing this project to The Glad Cafe in Glasgow for the third time, with live performances by Fiskur, Michael Cassidy, Emme Woods, Lenzie Moss and Tommy Reilly.
‘The first time I really listened to Bob Dylan changed my life.’ The Canadian folk band The Deep Dark Woods produces some of the loveliest modern folk songs I’ve heard in some time. Frontman Ryan Boldt recorded two traditional songs and his own Drifting On A Summer’s Night’.
A couple of weeks ago, Janssen and his band joined us at the Schenk Studio in Amsterdam to record two astounding cover versions of Vampire Weekend’s ‘Ya Hey’ and Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Streets Of Philadelphia’. ‘Ya Hey’s chorus is so stunning, it made me want to sing it myself.’
There aren’t many feelings better than discovering new music and getting fully emerged in its beauty. When it happens, nothing else matters. Hannah Epperson’s ‘Slowdown’ did that for me. So, obviously I was ecstatic when she recorded a session. Fair warning: these videos might tear you apart.
Los Angeles-based songwriter Gregory Ackerman covered Jack Johnson and Neil Young for The Influences. ‘I’m inspired by anyone who is writing music that people can really connect to – music that matters, music that makes you feel something, music that makes you forget where you are.’
When Ryan Joseph Burns came to Utrecht from Glasgow earlier this year, I set up a meeting with the Dutch country singer Demi Knight. After a quick rehearsal, they recorded this cover version of Hickory Wind by Grams Parsons and Bob Buchanan.
Awkward I is one of The Netherlands’ finest songwriters around. He recorded this new session, including a mind-blowing cover of Judee Sill: ‘What I particularly love about her compositions is that they combine the apparent simplicity of a folksong with the structural complexity and elegance of the music of, say, Bach.’
‘When I see The Wood Brothers play, I know: this is it. Seeing them makes it easier for me to not care about things. Fuck that shit, I’m doing what I want. You don’t like it? Well, that’s your problem buddy.’ Judy Blank played Randy Newman, The Wood Brothers covers, and ‘Mary Jane’ in her session for The Influences.
‘Writing ‘Quit The Curse’ was so fun, cathartic, and also the most important thing I’ve done in my life.’ Anna Burch debuted on Polyvinyl Record Company with a catchy yet complex indie pop record. She recorded Carly Simon and Aislers Set covers and her own ‘Belle Isle’ in session for The Influences.
Jerry Leger’s records stand side by side to John Lennon’s in my living room. It’s only fitting because Lennon’s the first association I got from ‘Coat On The Rack’, the opener of the Canadian songwriter’s latest LP ‘Nonsense And Heartache’. At Down By The River festival he covered Gene Clark and The Everly Brothers.
Nicole Atkins’ voice is a thing of wonders. So much power and soul. Words sung with so much feeling. But it’s too easy to focus on just that. Especially since she’s proven to be a gifted songwriter and such a powerful performer too.
Ryan Joseph Burns couldn’t believe his eyes, when we entered the Soesterduinen, a stunning nature reserve just East of Utrecht. It’s a surreal sight at first. As you’ll know by now, whenever Burns and I are in the same place, chances are we’ll be filming something before the day is over.
‘There’s so much that I love about Charlie, but one thing that really struck me is how it feels like every time he sings and plays, he’s all in.’ The Dead Tongues played a cover of Charlie Parr, the traditional song ‘Wagoner’s Lad’ and his own ‘Empire Builder’.
‘I tend to look up artists that are powerful without explanation or for mysterious reasons. And the kind that are able to speak truths that are commonly understood but never spoken.’ One of the more pleasant surprises I’ve had this last year, was discovering Twain’s latest LP Rare Feeling. Mat Davidson is one hell of a songwriter and his melodies and unique way of singing had me intrigued pretty much right away.
There is positively no way Onder Invloed’s sold out 10-year-anniversary yesterday could’ve been any more special. We even heard some brand new Moss and Bettie Serveert songs!
It’s not that often I film sessions with a winner of multiple Grammy Awards, and a writer of songs that were recorded by Elvis Costello, The Dixie Chicks, Blake Shelton and many more. Jim Lauderdale has been writing and recording songs since the seventies and is still keeping up his productivity, releasing one album after another.
In juni bestaat Onder Invloed tien jaar. Om dit jubileum te vieren, is er op zondagmiddag 24 juni een speciale editie van Onder Invloed in het Utrechtse Café de Stad, met optredens van Moss-zanger Marien Dorleijn en Peter en Carol van Bettie Serveert. DJ St. Paul komt rond de optredens plaatjes draaien.
After sitting directly in front of him, focussing on filming him the best I know how to, I’m happy to report Roald van Oosten’s voice and songs still manage to amaze me as much as they did twenty years ago.
Christopher Paul Stelling has quickly become one of my very favourite folk singers from the last decade. The American already recorded a session for The Influences some years ago and when he and his band were around last year, we got them into a studio and filmed this new one.
Meeting Churchill in Amsterdam, I saw a polite, very determined and self-assured musician, who knows what he wants and how he wants to get there. No shortcuts allowed. I like that, and I like the session he recorded with me in the smoking room of the Bitterzoet in Amsterdam.
‘Listening to Björk and Emilíana Torrini always reminds me of how many sonic possibilities there are out there.’ It’s no wonder Emma Gatrill covered their songs in this session for The Influences. ‘I have been enjoying experimenting and combining new sounds to create different soundscapes with my harp.’
I’ve been fascinated by Courtney Marie Andrews’ talent as a songwriter and a singer since the instant classic ‘Honest Life’. Now, with her equally daring and striking new record ‘May Your Kindness Remain’ coming out later this week, it seems the perfect time for a brand new session.
‘John Prine is the finest lyricist I know, up there with Bob Dylan and Townes Van Zandt. Every sentence he writes hits the spot and it’s admirable how much Prine can say with little words.’ It’s not hard to tell how deeply the Dutch singer Jasper Schalks loves Prine’s work. No wonder he chose one of his songs to cover in this session, along with a Guy Clark song.
About a year ago, I met up with The Mastersons in my hometown Utrecht. They were about to release their strong new album Transient Lullaby and were touring Europe with Anthony D’Amato. We filmed two songs, including one with D’Amato.
Sometimes a voice simply forces me to keep listening. Luckily, combined with Michaela Anne’s songwriting that’s hardly an ordeal. Anthony D’Amato told me to check out her most recent record ‘Bright Lights And The Fame’ and I’m sure glad I did.
If you’d asked Laura and Lydia Rogers some time ago, they’d have told you that there might never be a third The Secret Sisters album. They really didn’t know if it would ever happen again. But, luckily for all of us, it did. And now there’s You Don’t Own Me Anymore; a record sure to make its way into your heart. All you have to do is listen.
Stitch Of The World is her sixth album and it’s everything you could ever want. Tift Merritt’s voice is stunning as always, her songwriting more urgent than ever. In short: a real treasure. Whether it’s ‘Dusty Old Man’, ‘Heartache Is An Uphill Climb’, ‘Something Came Over Me’ or – the song recorded in this session – ‘My Boat’ there isn’t a mediocre song on the record.
In late May this year, we organized mini festival Caledonia. Like A New International, fellow Glaswegians Ryan Joseph Burns and Fiskur got on a plane to play. As they already knew; you can’t be around me for a couple of days and not film something. So they learned a cover of The Milk Carton Kids’ ‘Michigan’.
”Jolene’ is such a stunning piece of music – the lyric is incredible and really draws me into the atmosphere of the song. It makes me feel like I’m singing about myself.’ Siv Jakobsen recorded a stunning session in Amsterdam earlier this year.
Back in 2013, Small Houses covered ‘I Buried You So Deep’ in his first session for this website; a song by his fellow Americans of Frontier Ruckus. That band recorded a session themselves earlier this year, so I asked them if they were up to record one bonus video. Here’s the stunning result.
Every now and then I get asked the question: ‘You only record acoustic singer songwriters, don’t you?’ My answer: No, I don’t. There have been full band sessions since the start in 2008. Filming touring musicians solo has proven to be the most pragmatic over the years. But, put a full band in front of me and I’m happy. Imagine my joy when Ron Gallo turned up earlier this year.
‘I’d always been a fan of Tom Petty’s ‘I Won’t Back Down’, but with a professional bully in the Oval Office, the urgency of those verse lyrics hit me harder than I expected.’ Anthony D’Amato covered this song for the first time during his Onder Invloed session and has now released a charity EP, raising funds for the International Rescue Committee.
Up until a couple of years ago, Frontier Ruckus was just a band that I had heard of. Without stopping to take a moment and really give them a listen. In case you hadn’t noticed before: I can be a bit of a fool, sometimes. It was thanks to my friends of Three Blind Wolves playing with them in Glasgow and Small Houses covering their song in his session that made me pay attention.
Gregory Page recently released his new record ‘So It Goes’ and it’s as charming as its creator. “Please make me look like Clooney”, was all he asked after recording covers of George Harrison and Hank Williams songs.
As I’m writing this, I’m sitting at gate D25 at Schiphol Airport, waiting for my flight to Glasgow. Tomorrow, I’ll be filming the launch of Ryan Joseph Burns’ stunning debut album ‘Absence’ at Saint Luke’s. In anticipation, here’s a yet unreleased cover of Gregory Alan Isakov.
Tenfold is the moniker of Dutch singer songwriter Tineke Hussaarts. Last year she released her second EP ‘Before We Go Somewhere’, which she recorded at Alamo Race Track’s studio. The minimalistic approach and direct arrangements of the songs make her striking voice stand out.
Christof van der Ven originates from a small town in The Netherlands, but now resides in London. He toured as the support of the likes of The Staves and Bear’s Den and last year joined the latter band and has been playing one sold out venue after another.
Last November, I had a short visit in Glasgow to film with Doghouse Roses and asked Alasdair Roberts if we could meet up the following morning and film a couple of songs. So we did.
Last month Brooke Sharkey and I met in Amsterdam and filmed a couple of songs at the Backstage Hotel. She treated us to beautiful covers of Tom Waits and Lhasa de Sela.
Helge Slikker has been pretty busy over the past few years, composing for theater and film. I still have fond memories of the session we filmed in the early days of this website, so it was very nice to meet up again and film this one.
I went to Glasgow for a couple of days in November. The morning after I flew back, I managed to get myself out of my bed and on a train to Rotterdam, only because I was very excited about filming this session with the incredible Canadian band Elephant Stone.
Last November, I was invited by the Scottish alt-folk duo Doghouse Roses to attend the launch of their third record Lost Is Not Losing in Glasgow and to film a couple of songs some hours before. Watch album opener Pour and a stunning cover of Johnny Cash’s Ring Of Fire.
Op zondagmiddag 19 februari is de derde editie van ‘Onder Invloed presenteert’ in Café de Stad in Utrecht, met optredens van Awkward I en Helge. De twee gelauwerde muzikanten én filmcomponisten spelen een mix van (nieuw) eigen werk en covers. De kaartverkoop is direct van start gegaan.
I remember seeing Tangarine play in the finals of the Grote Prijs van Nederland in 2010, along with Case Mayfield. I remember thinking the wrong person won, but most of all I remember how magnificent the voices of twin brothers Sander and Arnout Brinks blended together.
As almost every year since the start of Onder Invloed (The Influences) in 2008, last year has often managed to surprise me. After many sessions I found myself listening to the recordings over and over again, amazed by the covers and talent. I can’t help but be a little proud that these musicians put in so much effort to record sessions for this site. Let’s look back one more time, okay?
There aren’t many better folk guitarists around than Paul Tasker, however subjective such a statement might be. He’s often compared to his great hero and influence Bert Jansch or named ‘one of thé guitarists of his generation’.
Last year Emil Landman packed a bag, his guitar and some microphones and travelled across the world. Whatever he saw and experienced was turned into song and later recorded at the Mailmen studio.
In June of this year, Robert Ellis released his latest, self-titled record on New West Records and I found myself listening to it over and over. The singer from Texas has been rather prolific, releasing four solo records in seven years.
Last week brought some terrible news, including the passing of Leonard Cohen; the writer of Hallelujah, probably one of the most covered songs in history, and so many other magnificent songs. It’s difficult to find a musician who hasn’t been influenced by Cohen. Doghouse Roses singer Iona Macdonald wrote about her admiration for him.
Jenny Berkel’s got one of these voices that you’ll end up recognizing instantly and there’s a timeless quality to her songs that often have poetic lyrics and original instrumentation. Listening to her, you at times feel as if you walked into an imaginative world, pretty much as in the best novels.
Paul Tasker has been one of my favourite guitar players for a good amount of years and still manages to surprise me whenever I hear him play. Earlier this year he released his wonderful first solo LP ‘Cold Weather Music’, featuring instrumentals that just might make you cry.
The great thing about Chatham County Line is that they combine the typical bluegrass sound with a more traditional element and an impeccable songwriting talent. Everything about this band just seems to work.
It’s hard not to think of Sandy Denny and Fairport Convention when listening to Kacy Lee Anderson’s voice, but luckily there’s a lot more to Kacy & Clayton than just that comparison. Their songs are intelligent and sharp, the melodies and her voice gets under your skin.
Earlier this year Three Blind Wolves’ singer Ross Clark jumped on a train to Utrecht on a day off from touring with a play in Luxembourg. In the short time we had we filmed a bunch of songs from the new EP ‘The Bridge’, two covers and a short documentary.
Born and raised in Texas, but now a resident of Nashville, it is no surprise Cale Tyson sings country songs. But, he does it very very well.
Aaron Livingston can hear the different places he’s lived in his songs and he doesn’t shy away from political topics, although written from his personal perspective. The LP has very quickly become a personal favourite for me.
Until about a year ago, my life was a little worse than it is now, if only because I had not yet gotten acquainted with folk singer Alistair Ogilvy’s music. I looked up his second record July Moon, produced by Admiral Fallow’s Louis Abbott, and got hooked by his impressive voice.
It’s a small crime that nowhere near enough people know Small Houses’ latest LP ‘Still Talk; Second City’ yet. Nowhere near enough people are enjoying this record by Jeremy Quentin – who recently moved to Austin, Texas. He writes lyrics better than most songwriters I know and has got a voice to sing them as well. If you don’t believe me, ask the Daytrotter people, who’ve recorded multiple sessions with him. We’re just going to keep filming new sessions, until he’s famous. By then, he probably won’t have time for it anymore anyway.
About four or five years ago I was a judge for one of The Netherland’s biggest alternative music competition ‘De Grote Prijs van Nederland’, in the singer songwriter category. One of the musicians that made an immediate impression, I believe on all of the judges, was Yori Swart. She played the guitar better than most, sang with a beautiful voice, wrote good songs and knew how to play them in front of people as well. It was no surprise she ended up as the winner and now, years later, we met up to film this session.
Back in 2010 I met Lori Lieberman for the first time, in Amsterdam where we filmed her first session for this site. Five years later I invited her back for another, to celebrate the release of her 17th record ‘Ready For The Storm’. She recorded the title-track and a Tom Paxton cover.
It was a rainy night in Glasgow when I hijacked Biff Smith’s computer to play him some Dutch songs. Knowing the A New International singer’s love for French music, I put on Ramses Shaffy, who was one of The Netherlands’ most famous singers. Little did I know I would end up a few years later filming A New International in my backyard with Smith singing Shaffy’s ‘Sammy’, IN DUTCH!
It started as a rather sucky day when I went to Amsterdam to film this session. It was the first really sunny day in a while, but my head was pounding and it was hard to focus on anything else. Luckily these three English sisters were able to do what painkillers couldn’t: The Staves played an incredibly beautiful session featuring Bruce Springsteen and Sufjan Stevens covers and drove the pain away.
Whenever musicians that I like announce shows in The Netherlands, I tend to keep an eye on who their support act will be. Especially when they’re bringing someone with them for a full tour. The reason being that the chances are I’ll like the support act’s music as well. Sometimes it’ll be a disappointment, other times you’ll end up listening to their music a lot. Which happened when Courtney Marie Andrews joined Damien Jurado on his European tour in February and March this year.
Last night at Paradiso in Amsterdam, I saw Ryan Adams play live for the first time. Somehow I never got to see him before, although I’m a big fan of his music. The many covers that my Scottish friend Ryan Joseph Burns did of Adams’ songs, made me play his records over and over again even more. But, more importantly, Burns shows his talent and artistic progress every time he picks up his guitar and starts singing. I’ve filmed many sessions with him over the last few years and he never fails to astonish me.
One of my more recent musical addictions, has been the music of Hiss Golden Messenger. Having released a lot of albums since 2008, it wasn’t until February this year that I witnessed him perform live. Before his show with Alasdair Roberts at the Roode Bioscoop in Amsterdam, MC Taylor played this session, including covers of Jason Molina and Van Morrison.
There’s nothing better than listening to musicians who are really outstanding instrumentalists and sing their songs with every bit of heart and passion they have in them. Theo Sieben is the kind of musician I want to film with this project. So please have a look and tell everyone you know.
Earlier this year I published a session by Leine that was recorded in Amsterdam in 2012. In September this year, she played a live session for us at Into The Great Wide Open on Vlieland. That same weekend, she released the first EP of her new project Klarälven, with Moss drummer Finn Kruyning.
It’s taken a while, but after almost exactly a year, I now give you this session with Leine. This Amsterdam based musician, who’s real name is Marjoleine Reitsma, recorded her covers in front of a small group of talkative elderly.
The very first day Scottish musician Ryan Joseph Burns ever set foot in The Netherlands, I took him and his band The Seventeenth Century to see Tim Knol play at the Paradiso. It was Knol’s first show in the big hall of Amsterdam’s finest venue, and it was sold out. The day after, Knol was the dj of the afterparty of Onder Invloed’s night at Festival aan de Werf in Utrecht, where The Seventeenth Century performed. Now, almost three years later, Burns covered Knol’s hit single ‘Sam’.
Onder Invloed is celebrating it’s 2,5 years anniversary. One part of the celebrations is this new section in which musicians will give you their Top 5 of best songs. Including a personal story behind the song. There will be a new Top 5 online every day in January. Read the stories, watch the videos and listen to the songs in our Spotify playlist.
Onder Invloed is celebrating it’s 2,5 years anniversary. One part of the celebrations is this new section in which musicians will give you their Top 5 of best songs. Including a personal story behind the song. There will be a new Top 5 online every day in January. Read the stories, watch the videos and listen to the songs in our Spotify playlist.
Last month, I filmed the Anne Soldaat concert at Paradiso in Amsterdam. Parts of the show will be featured on the documentary on this Dutch musician, which I’ve been working on for the last two years. The band, with Maurits Westerik on guitar, closed their encore with a cover of Neil Young’s ‘Come On Baby Let’s Go Downtown’.
The very first thing I’ve ever filmed, besides my cats, parents or feet, was a concert by Storybox on ‘de Neude’ in Utrecht. Shaky hands, out of focus footage, but a good show nonetheless. Now, almost two years later, I’m publishing this session with Storybox singer Helge Slikker. A session with a nice selection of songs, good performances and a beautiful setting.