The Dirty Dozen
Monday, 14 October 2013 22:05

Coley Garratt

Written by  Rudie Humphrey

With the most arrest sleeve of any record this year Coley Garratt, singer, songwriter, book seller is a cut above the normal fodder that passes for singer/songwriter.  His debut album is a very lovely thing indeed, crisp, sharp and beautifully put to together, it and he are one of the best finds of 2013.  There is a wave of poignant, elegant lyrics to sooth an anxious mind, a swashbuckling swagger of a bloke hitting his stride and moreover some cracking tunes.  Promoters and music fans alike, seek him, nobody will go disappointed.

Tell us about yourselves and what you do?
I’m a Singer/Songwriter, and a part time bookseller to pay the bills.
I have been obsessed with song writing for as long as I can remember. It consumes far more of my time than is healthy.  I have quite a logical brain, and writing songs, especially good songs, do not follow any logic, hence my fascination with the whole process.  I think Leonard Cohen summed it up best when he said:  “It’s much like the life of a Catholic nun, You’re married to a mystery”

How did you start out?
I started playing quite late on at 19 when I brought a friends second hand guitar. After Uni I moved to London with a handful of terrible songs and started playing open mics.  I started to write better songs and as a result got some solo gigs. At one of these gigs my bassist Massimo was there and we got talking. From that we met about 12 drummers on Gumtree and finally met Conor. We did some gigs for about a year as a threesome then we met David, who is on guitar.  When looking for a new member I go for personality over knowledge any day, you have to like each other. Fortunately they are all very talented as well. Unfortunately they are all really ugly! haha.

What is your current release/future release?
In May this year I independently released my first record simply called C’ as I have a massive ego, which has 12 original songs. We did it all live with no overdubs and it’s available to download on iTunes and Amazon.

What is the best part of being a singer/song writer?
Being a songwriter it’s not knowing what will come up next and then crafting that thing that came from nowhere/everything depending on how you look at it.  With my band its seeing them bring things to life in the song that I didn’t even know were there. I feel very privileged to have met them.

What is your most significant moment yet?
Aside from AmericanaUK giving the album 8/10 obviously I would say Tom Robinson of BBC 6 Music not only selecting the song Rainbow On The Ground for his BBC Introducing show but also playing it on his main show alongside acts such Iron and Wine and PJ Harvey. Which was nice.

What are your biggest musical influences?
The obvious Dylan, Young, Ryan Adams, John Martyn, Bert Jansch and the not so obvious Neko Case and Laura Veirs.

What venue/gig do you most want to play?
Union Chapel would be great, oh and Jools Holland, one day maybe!

What is your best/favourite song you have written?
There is a huge gulf between what I think is my best and what others think is my best, I have awful taste in my own songs. I think others would say my best is Temple as it’s quite catchy, but I think my best is always the newest one, at the moment its one called The Maker and The Made. On the recording I would say Ode to Daisy.

What is your favourite album of this year?
I have been going through my vast CD collection this year trying to sort out the wheat from the chaff and the one that really knocked me out that I had completely forgotten about was It’s A Wonderful Life by Sparklehorse. It’s one of those albums that has created its own little world, it genuinely works better as a whole than as individual tracks, which is rare.   

What does the next six months have in store for you?
Wembley, Glastonbury then a Vegas residency. No hopefully to record an EP in winter as I have amassed a silly amount of songs, also if all goes well to do a mini UK tour next year.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Who knows! I may suddenly pack it all in and become a monk, seriously.  For now though Id say that if I could somehow make a living from playing my songs well that would suit me down to the ground.

What is the best thing about Americana-UK?
I would say the quality of the writing. Just because someone can write and has an opinion on something does not make them a good writer. In the same way that someone who can play 3 chords and a broken heart does not make you a good songwriter. It takes hard work, knowledge of your subject and a willingness to improve. More often than not I enjoy the reviews/articles I read here, which ultimately makes me listen to more music than if I hadn’t.

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