City talent in the spotlight
Herald music supremo Clare Robinson reviews the achievements of local artists in 2012:
Until fairly recently local acts making any sort of impression on the national scene were pretty few and far between.
Now there are plenty of artists hailing from Plymouth and its environs, who are making an impression nationally.
None more so than the Military Wives, who, having claimed the Christmas number one spot in 2011, have gone on to perform at all manner of prestigious events, including the opening of the Olympic Stadium in London as well as contributing to Sing, the single penned by Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd Webber to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II.
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Also taking part in the Diamond Jubilee celebrations was none other than St Budeaux born tenor Dave Webb who, having trained at Plymouth College and the Royal College of Music, won a six album deal, early in 2012, with Warner Brothers as part of popera quartet Amore.
Among their many performances on radio and TV, including one at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the official service of remembrance, they will be perhaps best remembered in 2012 for singing their hearts out in front of the Queen and assembled royal family as part of the flotilla river pageant as they were battered by wind and rain.
Still the biggest local success story in chart terms was Ben Howard, from Totnes, who continued to build on the success of debut album Every Kingdom, which dented the top ten in 2011, with international tours, one stopping off for a very emotional homecoming at Plymouth Pavilions.
The only local artist since Muse to headline our premiere venue, he ended up playing a second sell out show there a week later, after a mix up with one of the national ticket agents left 750 fans unable to attend the first show.
Another local artist consolidating on the success of previous years also performed at Plymouth Pavilions in 2012.
Seth Lakeman made a guest appearance with the BBC Concert Orchestra playing six of his songs scored by composer Anne Dudley.
As well as continuing with his rigourous international touring schedule, Seth also returned to the city for a one-off appearance at the last ever Music of the Night at the Citadel, in the summer and then followed up with a triumphant sell-out show at the Theatre Royal in October.
Opening the Theatre Royal show was brother Sean and his wife Kathryn Roberts who released their excellent album Hidden People in 2012 and were nominated for Best Folk Duo and Best Original Song at the BBC Folk Awards as a result.
The brilliant Totnes-based Cosmo Jarvis continued his prolific output in 2012, with not only a superb album – Think Bigger – but also his first feature length film, The Naughty Room, which received plaudits from all manner of celebrities, plus a ten minute slot on Radio 4's Breakfast show and an airing on BBC Four.
Cosmo rounded off 2012 with a superb show at Plymouth Uni, a double headliner with Mad Dog Mcrea, the finale of a lengthy UK joint tour which helped raise the profile of both acts.
Other local acts who have toured hard and far afield this year include Wille and the Bandits, whose support tour of Deep Purple in France has won them even more French followers to their burgeoning fanbase, while Plymouth country punks Crazy Arm played a triumphant homecoming free show at the White Rabbit earlier this month after a gruelling five-week tour of the continent taking in Croatia and the Czech Republic.
Indie rockers PJP Band continue on their upwardly mobile assent, as do Huron, Plymouth heavy metallers who played both Download and Bloodstock festivals in 2012 and have just returned from a UK support tour of Skindred.
Meanwhile Scribes continue to front the UK hip-hop scene, following their 2012 release of sonically challenging 16-track new album A Story All About How to rave reviews.
However, Kate McGill, the internet sensation from Peverell whose online following at one stage was bigger than Coldplay, performed her last solo show at Surya in London just before Christmas. She hopes to become part of a more collaborative project in future.
NEXT WEEK: Clare looks at local music highlights coming this year.