March 23rd – Amy Studt, Rory Butler and Pat Dam Smyth live at the Phoenix Artist Club

At long last, we’re back in The Phoenix for the first time since December…. back beneath the hallowed cobbles for a new run of Northern Embassy Showcases, continuing our almost four year love affair with promoting the best new music, ethically, across London. And as you all know, we have a soft spot for Soho and for our beloved Phoenix Artist Club, where we’ve been hanging out for a decade or so and doing gigs for coming up three years. It’s an exciting time in the area, with artists coming together to save London’s greatest, old world, grizzled creative hub from the shiny shoes and tie-nooses. If you’re not sure about Soho yet, buy yourself a copy of ‘Reach For The Ground’ by Jeffrey Bernard and when you’re done here watch this interview with Tom Baker and imagine a night on the razzle with him and some of his crew back in the 70’s and 80’s. Anyhow, we digress…

Having been a chart smash in her late teens with a US number one, 260,000 album sales, and becoming something of an icon for a ton of fellow rebellious teenagers, Amy has spent the last few years writing, recording, living… taking all of the good and all of the bad energy that came with the experience of being a star at such a young age, and distilling it into a perfectly fragile, crystal-velvet sonic landscape. Her more mature, evolved sound conjures up late night whispered conversations with herself, and with all the world; intense lyrical colours flecked against a navy blue iron skyline, dotted with droplets of gold tears. Recalling the dark pop of the Shangri-Las and Mazzy Star and the drama of David Bowie’s ‘Aladdin Sane’, Studt has spent the last year in her own Sleepwalker Studio with Hatcham Social’s Toby Kidd working on the new record. We’ve heard snippets, and it’s extraordinary. The mood ranges from delicate to dangerous, and tracks such as live favourites ‘Different Coloured Pills’, ‘I Was Jesus In Your Veins’ and ‘Sleepwalker’ (written during the London riots) are hints of what to expect from an eagerly awaited new album. She’s a proper, proper artist – this is one of those nights that come along only a couple of times a year. It’s going to be a corker!


Every now and then, us music fans get extremely excited about an artist that some journalist or other uncovers who is sat on a couple of wonderful records that the world has inexplicably missed – most recently Bill Fay or Matt Deighton spring to mind. Usually there’s some dark documentary to go with it, or a tale of evil labels or managers, or a tragic loss of heart. When we were given Pat’s record ‘The Great Divide’ and had a look at a few promo photos that came with it, we thought we’d found another lost classic artist – that in itself would have been exciting. But, you see, it gets better than that: it turns out, he’s at it right now, today: recording, writing, gigging.

The vinyl release of the album is imminent with our friends at Plane Groovy – and there’s good cause to celebrate… The Irish Times called him a purveyor of ‘…a rare kind of truthful songwriting…’; The Daily Mirror calling his first solo outing a triumph and declaring that “(Pat) has returned to create something beautiful.” The BBC called the record “…Amazing, musical story telling at it’s finest” – Dermot O’Leary in particular championing it on Radio 2. PRS magazine called it “Beautiful, with an acerbic bite” – the list goes on. We’re devotees, and we can’t wait for you to soak up a night with a once in a generation artist. A cult hero in his native Northern Ireland, Pat a writer of class, honesty and gravitas with hints of everything good from Beck to Lou Reed, Leonard Cohen to The Black Keys… there’s the worldliness of George Harrison, and the emotional depth of Queen of Denmark era John Grant… Pat is the kind of artist you could imagine Bukowski listening to if he were in his early thirties today – raw, gutsy, honest and to the point. As The Independent said of his current record, “The Great Divide conquers Beautifully…” We’re very happy to say that he and co-conspirator Chris McComish are now fully fledged members of the publishing family here at Karousel.

‘The Great Divide conquers beautifully” – The Independent
‘He has returned to create something beautiful…’ – The Daily Mirror
‘The Great Divide is amazing. It’s musical storytelling at its finest…’ BBC
‘A rare kind of truthful songwriting’ – The Irish Times
‘Beautiful with an acerbic bite’ – PRS Magazine
‘Intoxicating’ – Rhythm and Booze
‘I love this – Love it!’ – Dermot O’Leary, BBC Radio 2
‘Epic’ – Female First
‘An authentic masterpiece which never ceases to amaze with each listen…’ – Rock Italia

/// Rory Butler ///

If there is an artist causing chatter among the industry at the moment, this is him. It’ll take you about 25 seconds to work out why. When Rory got onto the stage at the Old Queen’s Head for us last year you knew instinctively the moment his mouth opened he was the real deal. John Martyn references seem to get thrown around willy-nilly these days, but if you’re saving it for one guy, it’s Rory. Absolutely masterful on the guitar, and a writer who will no doubt go on to be worthy of the comparisons. Rory was handpicked by Danny Thompson to play at his 70th birthday; he won the Danny Kyle award at Celtic Connections, opened for a sell out performance by Rachel Sermanni and shared the bill with Transatlantic Sessions on Mary Ann Kennedy’s late night Radio 3 sessions. He has since supported Michael Marra, Eliza Carthy, Sam Lee, Bella Hardy and Anais Mitchell in some of Scotland’s major music venues. Once London and the rest of the UK gets a taste of him, he won’t be supporting people long. To whet your whistles, check out the videos on here – but really, you need to be in the room to completely get it. It’s like watching a young Jackson Browne pouring out his heart and humour in a thick Scottish lilt while John Martyn and Nick Drake scatter woody, earthy chords around Beverley’s feet. Destined for musical mecca.

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