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Ainslie Henderson - Growing Flowers by Candlelight
Reviewed by Ben on 29th August 2006
If the music industry were to be divided into a percentage, then I would imagine R&B and Indie given a large segment of that â€˜pieâ€™. However, coming hot on their tails, dare I say it almost level with the popularity of Hip Hop, is the work of solo musicians. It began with the popularity of Johnny Cash and Nick Cave, then came the wave of college rock/alt.rock artists like Lisa Loeb, Juliana Hatfield and Matthew Sweet. It died off a little, with a lack of commercial success for guys like Sufjan Stevens and Brendan Benson. It became popular again with the delicate, almost pouty-pouty emo sensibility of Chris Carrabba from Dashboard Confessional.
Then came James Blunt, a cause for controversy. And through the hugely popular track Youâ€™re Beautiful made it cool for those solo artists not involved in the R&B or Hip Hop scene to come out of the woodwork and dust off the covers of Wonderwall and pen a song or two about their last girlfriend. And the record companies, much like with Grungeâ€¦and Nu Metalâ€¦. and Punk, went and signed a legion of these artists.
Former Fame Academy contestant Ainslie Henderson sent his debut album for reviewing. Guffaw all you want, ladies and gentlemen.
Released on his own record label (Amphibian Husbandry), Growing Flowers by Candlelight is an eleven song journey through countless emotions associated with heartbreak and longing. Some of them are drenched in foolhardy denial (Donâ€™t Say), self-assimilation (Man Made) and recollection of past romantic scenarios (Love I Remember), all lovingly caressed in sometime cynicism, sometime false hope.
So what so different about Hendersonâ€™s release compared to other artists on bigger labels? Well, for a start, there does seem to be genuine sentiment behind his music â€" from the tender strokes on the piano to the pliant harmonies projected from his vocals. Where other artists of this electro-acoustic/solo genre sometimes adopt a â€˜bomb trackâ€™ (in meaning a burst of efficacy through parts of the song) methodology to their work, Henderson doesnâ€™t feel the need to do this â€" which adds a haunting dynamic to his work.
Solo musicians are saturating the market. As much as I hate to admit it, though, a former Fame Academy antagonist is head and shoulders better than many of his same kind. Whereâ€™s David Sneddon? Exactlyâ€¦
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I bought Ainslie Hendersons album after I went to see him at his small album launch in Edinburgh. He was fantastic live. I was worried about getting bored cos their is only so much heartbreak you can take in a night and I am usually more of a punk/ rock/ indie who is not impressed with the James Blunts of the world, but I have to say he had so much energy and personality as well as fantastic lyrics and sound that I have to put the evening up there with many of the top bands I have been to see which are many. The album is so chilled and meaningful, at the moment is my favourite.
I just hope the critics will throw away his 'fame accademy' title and recognise him for the talent he is.
3rd September 2006 @ 16:43:08 GMT
Pauline Keightley says:-
Well since you ask about David Sneddon, he is doing very well thank you.. here's the blurb. Glad to hear Ainslie is doing so well too.
David describes himself as an 'Acoustic melody driven singer/songwriter.â€™
2007 has been a busy and rewarding few months for David.
In January 2007 David release his first recorded work in years, a 5 track EP called â€˜White Noiseâ€™, and with little promo is very pleased at how well it is selling. The EP has been high in the Indie Charts since its release, hovering at No1 and No2. David has been concentrating on songwriting the past years, and has a string of hits world wide.
Originally from Paisley near Glasgow Scotland, David has an instinctive knack for a beautiful melody. He has found his niche with melodic songs, an original acoustic sound and a strong Scottish accent.
He has moved on from the trappings of the 'pop-ballads' of his 2003 hits. 'Itâ€™s not what people are expecting, Iâ€™m trying something a bit different. The feedback, from people who know me from the show, on the new songs has been incredible.â€™ (FPR Radio Paisley, Oct 2006) David has been enjoying playing the London acoustic circuit since last August, and hopes to make a career as a singer-songwriter alongside his writing. He shows now a maturity of style with personal, yet edgy and sensitive piano-based songs.
David loves being a songwriter, yet also gets a buzz from the live gigs. 'I love being a songwriter. It's a weird thing though. This week I've had 4 songs picked up around the world for various artists a few hit records in the top 10. Tonight however, I play the Troubadour with my songs to an intimate crowd and get a bigger buzz!!! I love these gigs I'm playing at the moment.'
White Noise EP Review :
The new EP offers a timeless authentic sound. Davidâ€™s voice is one moment melancholy and then tender, evocative and then forceful, led by his dynamic piano playing. His music is about the heartfelt depth of emotional journeys, about the healing power of music, and the many aspects of love. It brings a subtle blend of sensitive melody and rhythmic moods. David has gone for the acoustic impact of a â€˜one live take.â€™ Stand out tracks are the joyous Time, and the sparse piano and energetic moving melody of One Old Soul. Also includes the Beatles-influenced piano track Wish You Well, the soothing romantic Lady Lullaby, and the pure optimism and hope of White Noise.
Engaging and absorbing.
This Week's UK indiestore.com Picks: WHITE NOISE DAVID SNEDDON
"The real shame is that David Sneddon will forever be labelled as that bloke who won 'Fame Academy'. A shame because he's a considerable talent who deserves a fairer hearing. With his rich Scots burr much in evidence, this is that fair hearing. Listen up." 17th Jan 2007 Indie Store
4th March 2007 @ 03:06:12 GMT
More and more Americans are falling in love with Ainslie's music! I hope he reads your review and keeps the sound he has right now. I'd hate to hear his "songwriter sound" exchanged for more pop just because it sells faster. There are millions of us that love this style.... just look at Ryan Adams' success.
12th April 2007 @ 04:24:12 GMT
i love ainslie he is a great singer
26th November 2007 @ 17:31:27 GMT
I completely agree with your opinion about Ainslie. I have recently noticed him again and my opinion of him has completely changed (back in his fame academy days I really couldn't stand him)
his lyrics are so poignant because you completely know that the scenarios can happen, and do, and that every individual has experienced some of them.
However, I do not agree with your comments on David Sneddon and such like. Although he too was once just a vessel of commercialised pop, since he left his label, he has written several songs which, although not as good as those in the 'growing flowers' album, I still believe they have a beauty to them. basically what I am trying to say is don't rule him out yet.
However, I would recommend this album to everyone (and have sent many of my friends a link to the website ainsliemusic.com )
thanks for the review
24th May 2009 @ 14:03:42 GMT