With a release scheduled for 17 May 2019, during Mental Health Awareness Week, Smoke Rainbows has been created to raise funds for Music Minds Matter, the around the clock listening ear support service from Help Musicians UK. Only a limited quantity has been pressed and fans can click on the pre-sale link to buy the CD or vinyl copy: bit.ly/2YX8KKY
Smoke Rainbows is a unique, collectible compilation album, that brings together a rare mix of incredible musical talent, who have lovingly produced knockout ‘one-take-no-edits-no-overdubs’ performances at Abbey Road Studio 2. These include The Magic Numbers, Magic Lantern, Ren Harvieu, Penny Police, Matt Deighton, Pat Dam Smyth, Charlie Wood, The Leisure Society, and The Blow Monkeys.
The album is the brainchild of CIC and publisher Karousel Music and York St John University, who teamed up with Help Musicians UK, together with Monks Road, to invite 12 artists to record across four days as part of York St John’s annual music production project. The product is Smoke Rainbows, an eclectic concept record that, for all the ground covered by musicians spanning genres from pop to jazz, indie and folk, is an ode to personal story-telling and the spirit of community that connects music with listeners, all lovingly created in support of Help Musicians UK’s Music Minds Matter.
The stunning thermochromic artwork has been created by Steph and Scott Jones (Arctic Monkeys, Zutons, The Coral) with a line drawn by each musician appearing on the album to represent their relationship with music. These individual lines were then combined to create the beautifully chaotic ‘smoke rainbow’ on the cover sleeve. The simple warmth of human touch is enough to turn the abstract black artwork into an image bursting with colour.
The album features Mercury Music Prize nominees The Magic Numbers, 80s legends The Blow Monkeys, a 10 year anniversary performance of The Leisure Society’s Ivor Novello nominated Last of the Melting Snow. There’s a rip-roaring version of Grand Piano from a man with the freedom of the city of Memphis for his service to Jazz and Blues, Charlie Wood. There’s also the simply stunning track Overshadowed from former Mother Earth, Oasis and Paul Weller band enigma Matt Deighton. They were joined by recent 6Music track of the week artist The Magic Lantern, Salford’s finest Ren Harvieu, Tyni a pop gem from Sheffield, a spine-tingling solo track from BMG published Scottish artist Rory Butler; an electronic sparkler from Brighton’s Bloom and Abbey Road engineers’ favourite Danish artist Penny Police. And to round it off, Northern Ireland’s Pat Dam Smyth’s stunningly beautiful, sad, yet optimistic Where The Light Goes.
Here’s what Smoke Rainbows artists had to say about what being part of the album meant to them:
Matt Deighton said: “I've always liked the parquet flooring at Abbey Road, along with the room sounds you can get. Overshadowed had an extra dimension in there. Thanks to Help Musicians UK, who over the past have indeed helped this musician in a time when the chords were of a minor persuasion. So I would like to dedicate this live version to all at Help Musicians UK, and to my friend Chris Sheehan who lit the spark for the record to be possible.”
The Magic Lantern added: “I know I’m lucky to be a musician, it’s what I love to do. But it’s not always easy to put yourself out there. So much of what I’m trying to do with my music is to try and express both the complexities and the beauties of life. I’m such a big fan of Help Musicians UK because they get it, and they’re there for musicians when they really need it. They’ve got my back and that means everything. I hope this record will help others to appreciate the work they do for musicians, and support them.”
Ren Harvieu said: “I’m supporting Help Musicians UK as I believe it to be such an important and crucial cause. In an industry that demands so much from musicians it is alarming how little support is given back to them when they need it. Whether it be help financially, mental health support, or even just someone to talk to, knowing there is a charity like Help Musicians UK out there could make the world of difference to so many lives. I want to raise awareness of this wonderful charity in the hope that more musicians come forward and get the love and support they deserve. It’s a gorgeous record I’m glad to be a part of.”
Pat Dam Smyth said: “the inner workings of musicians in a world of do-it-yourself are maniacal even in the best circumstances. Sometimes it’s too much to bear and the situations are so specifically unique to musicians that there are few places of refuge to go to or understand. Help Musicians is one of these places. It offers a profound and unique help to our soldiers of sound. I’ve seen too much tragedy in music in the past and to have a charity solely dedicated to the musicians plight is a light that we can walk to in a world where an artist is expected to take on ever mounting responsibilities. The chance to support the charity in the most famous studio in the world by being part of this album was perfect.”
Charlie Wood said: “Even at the best of times, it’s hard to keep body, mind & soul intact. And these, gentle reader, are not the best of times. That’s why Nic, Dudley, Chris and I are proud to be supporting Help Musicians UK, the charity that supports musicians in crisis. When we music makers find ourselves in some trouble we can’t find our way out of, Help Musicians UK are the big-hearted, top-notch, bad-ass problem solvers who swoop in and save the day. They honestly do give a damn and they’re ready, willing & able to help, as long as they keep getting the vital financial support they need - like from nice folks like you buying this groovy record. Thank you very kindly. Happy listening.”
Rory Butler who was supported through Help Musicians UK’s Emerging Artists Fund in 2017 said: “It's a sad thought that there are so many great songs out there unheard purely because of money. HMUK are out there bringing music to life, helping those musicians who struggle to fund what can be an expensive industry. I have them to thank for my first album and will always remember it! The work they do for musicians health and mental health though is incredible.”
Karousel Music CEO Chris Sheehan said: “Musicians are the first people to stand up and raise money for charity, even when they’re struggling to make ends meet themselves. But who raises for them? We felt it was about time we did something for those musicians who need the help that this remarkable charity gives – some are retired and have given their lives to music, some are mid-career and facing a health or financial crisis; and some are just starting out. We passionately believe in the work Help Musicians UK does for our musical family, and we hope people out there will join us in raising money for the charity’s vital service Music Minds Matter, which has become part of the album’s title.”
Help Musicians UK CEO James Ainscough added: “This is an album of truly beautiful songs, where the passion and artistry of those involved in creating it shines through. An album of this nature dedicated to the charity is a first for Help Musicians and a huge honour. I would like to thank Chris, Karousel, York St John University, Monk’s Road, Abbey Road and all the incredible artists involved for their precious time and support. At Help Musicians, we want a world where musicians thrive. Supporting the mental health of musicians via the Music Minds Matter listening ear service is an important part of our work. The proceeds from this album will help us continue to reach more musicians in the years ahead – offering a lifetime of support, when it is needed most.”
- The Leisure Society – Last of the Melting Snow
- The Magic Numbers – Wayward
- Penny Police – Take on a Little Love
- The Magic Lantern – Different Paths
- Matt Deighton – Overshadowed
- Rory Butler – Mind your Business
- Bloom – People Like You
- Charlie Wood – Grand Piano
- Ren Harvieu – Little Raven
- The Blow Monkeys – Fortune’s Wheel
- Pat Dam Smyth – Where the Light Goes
- Tyni – Fighter