Sam Hill Jr.

Scottish born songwriter Sam Hill Jr. has been writing, recording and performing his music across the UK throughout his life. His welcome return with a brand new album, ʻCowboys and Moonbeamsʼ marks his first new recording for over ten years. ʻCowboys and Moonbeamsʼ is a reference to the songs his father taught him to play on the guitar when he was just nine years old. His father was a musician and preacher with a love of American gospel, bluegrass and Scottish folk music which he passed on to his son. Hill relocated from the North of England to Cornwall in 2002 to “take care of family business”. This new album is the perfect addition  to his rich catalogue of work, and is a milestone in his respected career.

Hill says, “This album is my most honest work to date, with one dominant theme; love and commitment in the face of life’s struggle, and each song is a real conversation with those closest to me. Iʼve tried to connect the words with simple melodies and minimal production. Much of the album was recorded at home in Cornwall and other locations including Somerset, Lancashire and Nashville Tennessee. The music nods towards bluegrass and folk, but is hard to put into any one box”

Hill has a rich, warm, distinctive voice, he performs from the heart and itʼs hard to make comparisons with other artists. Hill says, “From early on as a songwriter I was drawn towards songwriters like Neil Young, John Martyn, Paul Simon and Randy Newman, but Iʼve never had the desire to write in any one genre, or to sound like someone else”.

The album includes contributions from other musicians Hill has worked with before. Phil Madeira plays Dobro. Phil recorded with Sam in Nashville, USA on Hill’s “Sunset Grill” album and is best known as member of ʻThe Red Dirt Boysʼ, Emmylou Harris’s band and as producer/artist on the recent album ʻMercylandʼ where he produced The Civil Wars, Buddy Miller and The Carolina Chocolate Drops, to name just a few. Ivor Novello Award winning film writer Richard G. Mitchell co-produced the album. Some of Richardʼs best known work includes the films ʻGram Theft Parsonsʼ, ʻTo Kill A Kingʼ and the recently completed score for “Moby Dick” starring William Hurt, Ethan Hawke. ʻCowboys and Moonbeamsʼ was mixed by Alan Gregson who also plays guitar on the album. Alan has long been known for his work with Corner Shop and a host of other artists.

Though he has always been well below the mainstream music radar, Hill has performed at many well known venues and festivals throughout the UK and Ireland. From The Borderline in London, The Edinburgh Festival, Holland, the former Soviet Republic of Georgia and the USA. He says, “my family has always had to take first place so being ʻsuccessfulʼ, whilst once an attractive possibility to me, was never the the most important thing in my life”. “Writing songs has always been something I have to do for its own sake whether its going be heard by ten people or a thousand. The honesty of “Cowboys and Moonbeams won’t connect with everyone, but for some it may be something they really relate to”.

Sam Hill Jrʼs last album in 2002, Gracenotes, released by Gold Records was a collaboration with the Irish writer, poet and preacher, Steve Stockman. For many years Hill worked extensively with guitarist/producer Alan Gregson and violinist Richard Curran, (Richard is well known in the folk world for his work with Bert Jansch and Steve Tilston). They recorded Hillʼs ʻSunset Grillʼ album in Nashville USA, pedal steel player Al Perkins and guitarist Phil Keaggy also appeared on the album. Hill has produced various projects including his “Thunder and Rain” album and an EP, ʻMasqueradeʼ with Richard G. Mitchell.

During 2014 Sam Hill Jr. will be performing throughout the UK. Please check for updates on the latest news page here, or on his website at www.samhilljr.co.uk

Adrian Plass

Adrian Plass is a poet, writer and journalist who also travels Britain and the wider world reading his poetry and prose, fulfilling engagements both as a public speaker, representative of Compassion International, and entertainer. He has contributed to several Little Room projects, notably the powerful and popular City Of Gold and its prequel, Road To The City, and Shipwrecks And Islands. Some of his most poignant and inspirational poems and prose are features on these recordings.

His most popular book The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass Aged 37¾, parodies the title of Sue Townsend’s Adrian Mole books. It is a humorous, fictional satire of the Spiritual life from a Christian perspective. He published a sequel in 1997, called The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass Christian Speaker Aged 45 3/4, in which he tours Australia with his fictional wife Anne and son Gerald.A third book in the series, The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass, on Tour: Aged Far Too Much to Be Put on the Front Cover of a Book was published in 2004. This series of books has sold over a million copies worldwide. Some of his early talks and sketches have been brought together in the books Cabbages for the King (1993) and Clearing Away the Rubbish (1988).

From 2001 to 2006 Plass teamed up with Focus on the Family Radio Theatre to provide the voice of the lead character in the Father Gilbert Mysteries, Father Louis Gilbert. It recounts the story of a former London police detective who became an Anglican priest and now solves spiritual mysteries in the fictional East Sussex village of Stonebridge. In 2006 Plass published his book Blind Spots in the Bible in which he looks at forty passages in the Bible that have troubled him in the past.

His more recent work includes a thought-provoking novel titled Silver Birches which deals with the deeper issues we all face at some point; grief, love, faith, failure,and mortality. It recounts the meeting of a group of old friends for a country-house reunion, and the unexpected turns the encounter takes. His latest book, The Shadow Doctor, published in 2017, is a novel exploring the power of encounters which enable the overcoming of tragedy, loneliness, and the road to deep Spiritual healing found in the unpredictable mysteries of life.

He and his wife Brigit are committed ambassadors of the worldwide vision of Compassion International, and are very involved with several of their new African initiatives.

Ian Blythe

Growing up in the Nottingham and Derby area, Ian Blythe is an accomplished keyboard player, composer and choral arranger. His love of music and his songwriting work is combined with a busy corporate career in pharmaceuticals. He has shared a musical partnership with Phil Baggaley stretching back to their early childhood, when they both played in brass bands together.

His later collaborations with Phil, Adrian Plass and David Clifton resulted in the writing of the City Of Gold album,  and the subsequent series of recordings. Ian was choir director and arranger for the City Of Gold concert series, as well choir director and conductor for the Shipwrecks And Islands tour.

Paul Kingston

Currently storming the live music venues of Herefordshire and gaining a loyal following for their energetic, fun and powerful gigs, The Wilbur & Daddy Show is showcasing Paul’s great song-writing talents and the skills of a world class line-up. Most well known for his entertaining and outrageous performances as lead singer for Hereford band Little Big Stuff, Paul is a highly respected and consummate writer who currently devotes his creative energies to the art of songwriting, rehearsing and performing new music with this excellent new band. He’s also recently been involved with pre-production and project initiation with up-and-coming emerging local artists. His extensive back-catalogue of songs vary in style from hilarious irreverent anarchic post-punk, through to power rock and thoughtful Americana, roots and country ballads.

As well as his own song-writing projects, he has written, recorded and produced music for The Voice and X-Factor finalist ELLICE. Her well received single (No Passenger) and EP are both available from her artist’s page here at Little Room.

After a much lauded and storming reunion concert with Little Big Stuff at the Nozstock festival in 2017, Paul and a select band of musicians are now focusing on showcasing the  powerhouse Wilbur & Daddy Show in selected venues across Herefordshire and the Midlands. It is arthouse indie rock at its finest, and the band is fast becoming a favourite live act for gigs and festivals. Look out for forthcoming dates, and we’ll bring you some of their excellent new music as soon as it’s ready for release.

Phil Baggaley

I am married to Clare, we have a son called William and we hail from Derby, which is where Derby County F.C. come from. I say that because most people think they’re called Derby County nil!

I played music from a very early age, as my parents were very involved in the Salvation Army. It wasn’t long before I was learning how to play a brass instrument, and also taking piano lessons. One of my abiding memories of childhood was that we used to join together with our relatives and put on concerts as a family (sounds like the Von Trapps!!).

At junior school I started going to guitar club and very soon this became ‘the thing I wanted to do’. One thing led to another, and my sister and I joined up with cousins Ian and Lynn Blythe to form a ‘folk group’. Along with Ian, we began writing songs together, and it wasn’t long before we became quite well known within  the Salvation Army music circles. We also performed at the Royal Albert Hall and The Barbican which was quite a blast.

Also at this time, around my mid teens, I had begun to play concerts with good friend John Hartley under the infamous name ‘Phil & John’ ( it took a long time to think of that one!). Things really began to take off for us, and with the concert and recording schedule becoming ever busier we eventually turned professional in 1982. There then followed many years of working together touring the UK, USA, Australia and Europe. We both moved on to other things in the late nineties, and John moved to America, where he is now a successful producer and songwriter based in Nashville.

Along with Ian, David and Adrian, we worked on several very successful projects, which you will find here on my page, the latest being a ‘prequel’ to City of Gold entitled ‘Road to the City’.

More recently I have been appointed as a Lecturer in Music here in Derby, and I am combining this with my songwriting and production work. Last year we formed a recording and production company, Open Road Music, which is based here in my hometown. Last November we completed our first production, a Christmas EP for one of our new artists, Rosie Meek.  You can keep up to date with our latest projects and plans for the next few months by visiting the web-site.

www.openroadmusic.bigcartel.com