Michael Skywood Clifford | Gratitude

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UK - England - East Midlands

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Pop: Folky Pop Folk: Folk Pop Moods: Solo Male Artist
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Gratitude

by Michael Skywood Clifford

With his soft vocals, Michael delivers his own compositions, which he calls English Shirewood Pop. A music that reverberates from life in the British Midlands, original and inventive melodies, harmonies and arrangements.
Genre: Pop: Folky Pop
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. 99 Per Cent (feat. Steve Cartwright)
3:50 $0.99
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2. Lovesand
4:16 $0.99
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3. Louise (feat. Steve Sanders)
3:24 $0.99
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4. Acrobatic Dancer (feat. Duncan Cheshire)
3:44 $0.99
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5. Daniel Gabrielle
3:48 $0.99
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6. We Want Justice (feat. Steve Cartwright)
4:50 $0.99
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7. Spiritually
3:33 $0.99
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8. Forget to Remember
3:03 $0.99
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9. No Mans Land
3:25 $0.99
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10. Killorglin
3:22 $0.99
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11. Gratitude
3:50 $0.99
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12. Moon Over Mars (feat. Duncan Cheshire)
4:07 $0.99
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13. Hey Li'l Darlin'
3:30 $0.99
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14. Unselfish Love
4:26 $0.99
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15. Wintertime
3:50 $0.99
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16. Fell in Love With You
3:30 $0.99
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17. Sellotape
6:29 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Philosophical, lyrical, and interested in all things mystical, at fifteen Michael knew he had to write songs.

This brand new release outputs a neo-retro English folk-pop - and at times music-hall pop. Michael's melodies are inspired by the call of motorways, the spirituality of landscape, the false promise of shopping centres, and the tragedy of tower blocks. “Writing melody is what I find absorbing and compelling. But it's never easy.” His lyrics speak of diverse topics: eg. unrequited love (Wintertime), of political frustration (We Want Justice), of life in the trenches (No Mans Land) of a life heading towards suicide (Daniel Gabrielle) of places that have left an impression (Killorglin) and many other things

He venerates the skill of songwriters through the 20th Century. From the Tin Pan Alley days of the 20s, to Gershwin, the musicals writers of the 30s & 40s, to the writers of post 50s: Leiber & Stroller, Goffin & King, Bacharach David, Lennon & McCartney, Brian Wilson, Holland Dozier Holland, Simon and Garfunkel, Scott Engel, The Carpenters, George Harrison, The Bee Gees, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Joni Mitchell, the Smiths, the Cure, Chic, not to say the amazing amount of talent around now. He has done much research both into the music of the past and of the music production of today.

On 'GRATITUDE (and other songs)' he takes the raw influence of late 20th century pop, blues and folk and cooks up a seventeen course meal of interesting harmonies and counter melodies. He shows a stylistic flair for flavouring basic rhythm with subliminal accents to engage the mind.

“You can write the basis of a good song in ten minutes, but it can three years to finish it,” he says.

Based in the heart of England, Michael has run and performed in many rock, pop, soul and blues bands, writing the arrangements and playing funky rhythm and electric - in every sense of the word – guitar solos on a Fender Strat. The Extremes, Kats, the Creatures, the Otters, the Badgers, the Dinosaurs and the Meerkats. “With names like that I can't really disguise my fascination and love of animals,” he laughed. He has been a vegetarian for many years.

“I'm still a great believer in the three minute pop song. It is a great way of putting across a powerful idea quickly.” he says. “Even though I really enjoy playing rock and blues I find it an interesting challenge to write commercial music without using blatant blues scales.”

"Each melody seeks its appropriate arrangement. The arrangement for a melody is a frame for the picture. Sometimes it needs something ornate, maybe heavy wood with filigree edges and Roman numerals - and sometimes it needs the mere simplicity of a clipped-on sheet of glass.

“A tune can be strengthened or weakened by its arrangement. A song can be strengthened or weakened by production. Sound production is a necessary difficulty of the process but it really does take time. It is the most difficult, technical and time-consuming part of the whole process. The problem is that every sound system is different and you have to create a mix that makes your track sound the same on all of them."

Michael has had many songs recorded by other artists but on GRATITUDE he performs himself a number of songs he has written over the past few years. He plays all the instruments himself apart from where stated. GRATITUDE also features the vocal talents of Duncan Cheshire and Steve Cartwright, and the trombone pizazz of Steven Sanders.

Leonard Amma

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Reviews


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johnthebass

Gratitude: Far from the Ordinary
This album of well-crafted original songs may have many tracks but I would not willingly dispense with a single one.

It is a true cornucopia of musical delight. Melodic hooks and ear-worms abound, together with warm harmonies and instrumentation that ranges from sparse through to minimal and soulful to lush.

Michael's subject matter is equally diverse; the abundance of material includes several love songs, lyrics of political comment (the sixties protest tradition brought nicely up to date) and lyrics of impenetrable fantasy and historical reflection.

This is a rewarding and unusual collection as exemplified in “No Man’s Land”: A soldier’s account of the grim reality of a life of trench warfare, wrapped in an irresistible reggae package which even manages to refer melodically to a hit song of the 1920's.

So, take the time to get to know the abundance on offer here. This is one release which certainly does not deserve to join the overlooked.

© Jtb 2015
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