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Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival & Convention Returns for 14th Year

The Panarts Belfast Nashville Festival & Convention returns for 2018. The festival created to be the first songwriter’s festival in the UK and Ireland that provided a stage for people who are often overlooked, the writer of the song, is now celebrating it’s 14th year.

Glen Campbell’s daughter Ashley helped to launch the annual music event  and is appearing with her band alongside Gallagher & Lyle, Una Healy, Kaz Hawkins, Texas songsmith Jarrod Dickenson and Matt McGinn, who launches his new album.

Fantastic Workshops

Gallagher & Lyle are also sharing their song writing skills in the Convention workshops along with American hit writer Jason Blume. Festival Patrons Benny & Graham are famous for their songs ‘Breakaway’, ‘Heart On My Sleeve’ and ‘Stay Young’, a number one hit for Don Williams. Graham Lyle went on to write ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It’ and ‘We Don’t Need Another Hero’ for Tina Turner. Panarts Director Colin Magee said “We’re putting talented local songwriters centre stage and for the fourteenth year, Panarts is showcasing the creative people who write memorable songs. It’s a special and unique festival and an important part of the music calendar in Belfast City”

The world famous CMA Songwriters Series is coming over from Nashville and the artists in the show have written thirty two number one hits for people like Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert and Keith Urban. Representing the CMA in the opening BelNash concert on 7th March are Nashville hit writers Brett James, Natalie Hemby and Nicolle Galyon.

Soul Superstar

Multi award winning singer songwriter Kaz Hawkins is launching her new solo career and makes a welcome return to #BelNash to release her vinyl album featuring some of the songs that have brought her great success.

Kaz Hawkins performing Live at Forestside shopping Centre to promote Belfast Nashville Festival. Kaz will be performing Thursday 8 March with Special Guest Sam York. Credit: Thrill Project

Outstanding Bluegrass Musicians

Outstanding Bluegrass musicians are on the way to Belfast as well. Chris Jones and the Nightriders will perform alongside Brace, Cooper and Jutz. Joining Americana artist Katie Pruitt on stage are two of the most talented local songwriters making waves in the music world, Triona and Aidan Logan. BelNash 2018 will celebrate the much loved ‘Songs Of David McWilliams’ and Panarts Young Songwriter Of The Year, seventeen year old Lucy Bell will feature in one of the headline concerts.

Aidan Logan performing Live at Forestside shopping Centre to promote Belfast Nashville Festival. Aidan will be performing on Friday 9 March with Triona and Katie Pruitt. Credit: Thrill Project

Enjoy The Show

The festival events will be held at Clayton Hotel Belfast from 7th – 11th March and is supported by Arts Council NI, Arts & Business, Downtown Radio and Forestside Shopping Centre. Tickets for the first twelve concerts are available at www.belfastnashville.com and from Dawsons Music Shop, Royal Avenue Belfast.

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James Arthur Announces Headline Belfast Show

James Arthur today delights fans by announcing tours of both UK & Ireland and North America in 2022.

The tour includes dates at Ulster Hall on 28th March and Olympia Theatre on 29th March.

Today’s announcement lands on a special day –  the fifth anniversary of the release of James’s global smash hit ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’.

James  will be performing songs from his upcoming new album ‘It’ll All Make Sense In The End’ alongside his classic hit singles and fan favourites.

James says: “I’m beyond happy about getting back on the road and seeing everyone again. Playing shows for my fans gives me life and that’s been taken away for the best part of two years so needless to say I’m itching to get back out there and perform for them again. Coming to a stage near you soon!

James has sold over 30 million records worldwide and has to date released three hugely successful albums ‘James Arthur’ (UK No.2), ‘Back From The Edge’ (UK No.1) and ‘YOU’ (UK No.2), alongside nine solo UK Top 40 singles. He has had two No.1 smash hits and was awarded a disc for reaching a billion streams on Spotify with ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’, the No.1 global hit that brought the singer-songwriter from Middlesbrough back from the edge (it currently has 1.7 billion streams on the platform). James recently dominated the airwaves and charts with his storming collaboration with Sigala ‘Lasting Lover’. The track was a No.1 airplay song in the UK, No.1 on iTunes and Top 10 on the Official Singles Chart.

James recently signed a new record deal in the UK with Columbia Records, a co-deal with Columbia Records Germany, and announced his new album  ‘It’ll All Make Sense In The End’,  his 4th long play release, is coming later this year.

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Foy Vance Set For SSE Arena Concert

Singer-songwriter Foy Vance is pleased to announce his largest ever headline show at The SSE Arena, Belfast on Saturday 02nd April 2022. Foy’s second studio album on Ed Sheeran’s Gingerbread Man Records and the follow-up to 2016’s The Wild SwanSigns Of Life will be released on September 10 on CD, LP and digital formats and is available to pre-order. 

Signs Of Life is the sound of a beloved singer-songwriter at the peak of his powers. It’s also the sound of a man – a husband, a father, a sinner, a drinker – belatedly coming to terms with his demons. Driven by powerful percussion, “Time Stand Still” features a soaring, emotive vocal from Vance, who was struggling with an addiction to alcohol and painkillers at the time of writing.

“I had my first extended period off the road after twenty years of constant touring,” says Vance. “And I realised: wow, I drink two bottles of wine and at least a half bottle of vodka a day. I’d start the day with codeine to get myself sorted, and I’d smoke joints throughout the day. So I realised: I have so many incredibly bad habits here. I’m showing all the signs of death, getting ashen, grey, smoking more, drinking more, smoking more…I hit a wall.”

“It was my manager that made me get help,” Vance continues. “And in those moments, you do wish time would stand still. Can’t I just stop here and sit in this moment before I have to take up that mantle?”

Signs Of Life was recorded in three locations: Vance’s Pilgrim studio at home on the shores of Loch Tay in Highland Perthshire, another recording set-up in a nearby Dunvarlich House, and at Plan B’s Kings X studio in London. The album was written and played more or less entirely by Vance, with able assistance from young Northern Irish producer Gareth Dunlop. Serendipitously, Dunlop had been inspired on his career path by a chance encounter with Vance many years before.

“When I was around 14 years-old I wandered into a coffee shop in Belfast and saw Foy playing in the corner,” Dunlop explains. “I was completely spellbound by what I heard. It was a lightbulb moment that sent me on the road of wanting to discover my own voice and musicality. I would never have imagined that I would be co-producing a record with him 18 years later, and that I would be just as inspired and spellbound by what he does.”

Created out of the grimness of 2020, Signs of Life is an album of dawn after darkness, hope after despair, engagement after isolation, uplift after lockdown. It comes in bold sleeve artwork that reflects Vance’s desire to embrace all sides of everything, all humanity’s textures. Shot on a 160-year-old camera which does arresting things with colours and shading, the back image is of Vance as a bare-chested, bare-knuckle boxer. On the front, he’s in a dress, blonde wig and theatrical make-up.

“They’re just mad, striking images, and I loved the fact that it was male and female. You know, life’s extreme, life’s volatile, life explodes into reality sometimes, and stops just as quick. So to be struck by images on the cover made sense.”

At any time, Foy Vance’s new collection of songs would be a tonic. At this particular time, they can’t arrive a moment too soon. “That’s a huge part of it,” says Vance. “Signs of Life is about re-emergence – me in my own soft revolution, the world re-emerging in what we’re about to see as we hopefully go back to some semblance of normality. But just life in general – flowers growing through the cracks in Chernobyl. Life finds a way, doesn’t it?”

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