Jess Vincent + Edd Donovan – Two singer-songwriters: the inside story

| August 31, 2017

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Singer-songwriters Jess Vincent and Edd Donovan bring a night of infectiously catchy songs rooted in Indie Folk and Americana to Unit 23 on Friday 8th September. TICKETS HERE

Jess Vincent is previewing a brand new album Into The Lion’s Den. Jess’s trademark subtle arrangements on guitar, baritone uke and harmonium, along with her uniquely soaring vocal have established her reputation as a highly original artist with a growing following in the folk/indie/Americana acoustic scene. “Vincent’s crystal-clear vocals sending shivers down the spine. ” Malcolm Carter PennyBlack Music

Edd Donovan is a highly distinctive singer and songwriter. He and The Wandering Moles draw on a broad spectrum of influences and the music features meticulous, intricate arrangements, rhythmic shifts and close harmonies recalling classic artists such as The Band, Crosby, Stills and Nash and Nick Drake. “A hugely talented, original songwriter” Folk And Tumble. “I love Edd’s music – he’s terrific” – Charlie Dore

How long have you been writing and singing, how did you get into it?

JESS: I’ve been writing and singing (quietly) since I was about 14. I was in different bands, punk/pop/rock etc writing the songs and playing a bit of guitar. It wasn’t until our singer left the band one day and we were in a tight spot and I had to step up and sing did I realise I could possibly do this. It took me until about age of 24 to be confident enough to go to an open mic with just my guitar and sing solo. I got into it, at age 14 for a simple reason…I had one friend and we realised starting a band might get us more friends!! So one of learned the bass and i learned the guitar…. and it just became the best decision of my life :) Every time i discover a new artist I fall more and more in love with music and creating it.

EDD: When I left home at 18 and went to college I was introduced to the guitar and took to it immediately. I had always written poetry, but never knew what to do with it. As I learned guitar, I found myself writing songs as each chord was learned and failed to be inspired just playing popular songs.

What is the greatest drive behind your music?

JESS: I need to write songs! I sometimes write 20 times a week, sometimes once every 3 months, but if enough time goes by without having written a successful song (I mean that feels successful to me) then I get that itch… butterflies in my stomach, an impending feeling of doom. Its a release to write a song.

EDD: Writing songs gives me a sense of freedom and originality that keeps my spirit alive; it’s a gift that I’m only now realising the full potential of as i grow in confidence as a performer!

What else is important to you in life?

JESS: Simplicity. This may reflect in my songwriting as well, but the simplicity of life. Enjoying whats natural around me. Keeping in touch and feeding my creative side. Having new experiences unplanned. Growing my own food, living with as little money demands as possible, doing what I want to do as much of the time as possible! Being kind, being open, being creative.

EDD: Family, fitness and sleep

What’s your favourite song by someone else and why?

JESS: So many favourite songs!! But its been for a very long time Our Town by Iris Dement. I heard Iris Dement just as i was thinking about going solo and singing by myself with a guitar. I constantly compared my sdelf to others and didn’t see myself as good enough, far too awkward and with a bit of a strange voice. I was introduced to Iris Dement, who had a similar type of voice to me, and also sang beautiful songs, and was kind of awkward but it all made her, her. And she doesn’t try to be anyone else. And she taught me really to be myself!! Our town makes me cry everytime, its such an emotionally laden song, along with being beautifully and simply written.

EDD: I attach myself to songs throughout the changes in my life and feel an emptiness if I have nothing new and inspiring to obsess about, currently I’m sucking the life out of a new Devon Sproule album, The Golden String, but Simon and Garfunkel’s, Flowers Never Bend With The Rainfall, will always have me standing on the table!

Pick one of your own songs and tell us the story behind writing it. What gave you the idea and how did it evolve into the song it is now?

JESS: Annie Bonny is a song about a female pirate and she completely captured my imagination and my heart! I have always been interested in strong women in history, unsung but strong and in my opinion excellent role models! She was married to a fierce pirate called Captain Jack Packham (Calico Jack ) who is a very famous warlord pirate. What is lesser known is how his last battle with the King was fought by only Annie and one other pirate woman called Mary. Jack and his crew hid from the king and Annie stayed strong to the end. I did quite a bit of research on Annie before writing and also learned a new tuning on the guitar to accommodate this new discovery. I needed to have a strong beat and strong lyrics, it had to be a love/angst song with a kick!

EDD: I Am, is a simple, hypnotic riff, that I kept returning to hoping an idea/lyric would evolve for sometime and then one day the light came on and I enjoyed the manic phase were all the lyrics poured into the page – such moments are naturals highs that keep you hooked on song writing

Jess, do you have a favourite song of Edd’s? If so what is it and why?

JESS: My favourite is The Social Worker. Edd’s songwriting is just so honest and incredibly natural and flowing. This song stays in my head long after he finishes singing it. Can’t wait to hear it again.

Edd, do you have a favourite song of Jess’s? If so what is it and why?

EDD: I’m big fan of Jess’s voice, guitar and harmonica playing. I saw her a couple of years ago and recall her playing a beautiful, uplifting song with Reg Meuross called Shine, which I instantly connected with at the time as Shine is all I’m trying to do right now.

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Katie Whitehouse: booker of gigs, seeker of adventures, writer of stuff, fingers in pies and lover of life.

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