Bob Dylan image credit: Xavier Badosa
This new series of live performances celebrates the musical genius of some of the most influential artists of the last century by reinterpreting, reinventing and ‘reconstructing’ their work.
Stuart McHardy and Jess Abrams, who lead the first two sessions, come from very different angles, backgrounds and musical genres, as they try to bring back the magic of really listening to music. Sharing stalwart music from Bob Dylan and Cat Stevens, these performances are not tribute acts, but a loving celebration and reinvention of wonderful songs.
The SSC’s very own take on the BBC ‘live lounge’ as it were, it encourages audiences and artists to experience old favourites and little-known tunes in unfamiliar ways, discovering entirely new aspects of the lyrics and melodies.
Find out more information about the artists’ relationship with their heroes, ahead of the series’ premiere on Tue 29 May.
BOB DYLAN – DEFYING GENRES
Tue 29 May | 7.30pm (2hrs) | £12 (£10)
Ever since buying ‘The Times They Are a-Changin’ in 1964, Stuart McHardy has been a fan of Bob Dylan. Seeing the great man on tour two years later, he witnessed one of the greatest cultural shifts of the twentieth century as Dylan merged the American folk traditions with rock and blues, touring with electric band ‘The Hawks’ (later ‘The Band’) and set off musical changes that reverberate globally to this day.
In the mid-seventies Stuart began playing with singer-songwriter John Malcolm in pubs, clubs and other venues, and from the off their repertoire included works of the man they both thought of as the world’s greatest contemporary songwriter. Forty years on, the songs they sang then, and many more added over the years, have continued to inspire as well as please audiences of all ages. Stuart states:
‘Steeped in the musical tradition of his own land and the canon of Western literature, Bob Dylan has constantly re-invented himself over half a century, inspiring hundreds of thousands of musicians and millions of listeners as his visionary creativity spawned a plethora of music styles over the years, influencing every generation exposed to his genius.’
CAT STEVENS – JAZZ
Tue 26 June | 7.30pm (2hrs) | £12 (£10)
Jess Abrams has been described as a ‘storyteller who takes you along the road of precious memories’ (JazzFlits Magazine, NL). Brought up in New York City, Woodstock, New Mexico and occasionally a red van, she was surrounded by art and music from the start.
Jess has been listening to Cat Stevens since she was a child. He was part of the soundtrack of her childhood, and even as a child she connected with his stories, felt his authenticity and saw her shadow in the moon.
A few years ago, Jess decided to develop Cat Stevens Reconstructed into a Fringe show and now, she brings it the SCC in full concert length. Some of Stevens’ most loved songs of the 70s, as well as a few lesser-known tunes that have tugged at Jess’ heartstrings, will be lovingly reconstructed for the night. She’ll also tell stories of Cat’s life and songs along the way, as she states:
‘He is a consummate storyteller whose work transcends time. Choosing and arranging tunes often brought tears and laughter to my eyes. Working with piano and bass changes the feel of the songs. It crosses jazz and folk rock and takes everyone on a shared yet personal journey.’
‘A soaring and captivating hour that breathes new life into many of the overplayed hits from the Stevens’ back catalogue’ (★★★★★ Broadway Baby)
JONI MITCHELL – 4 FEMALE ARTISTS
Tue 25 Sep | 7.30pm (2hrs) | £12 (£10)
After a brief summer break, the Reconstructed series continues in September, by celebrating the songs of Joni Mitchell, who has beguiled, bewitched and enchanted generations of artists and audiences alike.
This evening brings together four female singers, Jess Abrams, Sophie Bancroft, Claire Daly and Becc Sanderson, who journey through Joni Mitchell’s music via unique jazz and folk adaptations.