MUSIC: Gaz knows his place

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SWINDON-born, Bristol-based, Gaz Brookfield roars the title track on his forthcoming album, “I know my place, and I know what you want from me.” Claiming it’s to “become another functioning member of society.” I digress, favouring he’d remain doing what he does best, shuddering the UK with his dynamic folk-rock style.

It certainly seems the case as his fifth studio album, “I Know my Place,” is released on 9th December, and I’m pleased to confirm, it rocks.

The winner of Acoustic Magazine’s 2010 singer/songwriter of the year, Gaz brings us a diverse range on his latest release, there’s honesty, wit and intelligent prose in his writing.

The title track rages with the Levellers’ ferocity, similarly “The World Spins Around,” with its up-tempo fiddle. While others, such as “Life Begins” reminisces of a young Billy Brag with unpretentious routine subjects and ripostes.

Majority of the songs have contemporary themes, a ballad to the beach, a ditty centred around an intoxicated Christmas, daily procedures in droll Ian Dury bravura, and the most amusing one, punkish “I’ve paid my money,” about critical drunkards in the crowd.

“The Tale of Gunner Haines” however, tells the local historic legend of Brean Down Fort, when said gunner fired a ball cartridge down a ventilator shaft and blew the fort up, the mystery of why he did it explored in the song.

Like the others songs it has that folk ethos of telling it like it is, often with localised leitmotifs and a throbbing vocal which echoes implication or else an interesting slant on common observation. “I’m a fiercely independent musician,” explains Gaz, “and have recorded all of my previous albums in my home studio, and played all of the instruments myself.”

For this album though he’s stepped up his game, recorded in July 2016 at Ladder Factory Studios in Shrivenham, Samuel Bates as engineer and producer.

Gaz wrote all the songs, played acoustic and electric guitar, and an Omnichord. “But it’s everybody else involved with this album,” he clarifies, “which made it so much better than I could have ever imagined.”

Gaz also bought in “talented musicians I am privileged to call friends.” Chris Webb; electric guitar and the banjitar, Ben Wain; fiddle and backing vocals, Leks Wood; drums, Nick Parker; mandolin and backing vocals, Lukas Drinkwater; bass, and Jon Buckett; keyboard.  It was mastered at Valvetastic Studios in Exeter by Jolyon Holroyd. “You might even hear some backing vocals on one song, provided by my good lady wife, Ang,” Gaz informs.

It’s instantly appealing, perhaps the reason why Gaz Brookfield is the only unsigned artist who can currently sell out The Fleece in Bristol.  He’s touring relentlessly to back the album, returning to Wilts in February, playing the Victoria in Old Town, Swindon on the 2nd, and Devizes cellar Bar on the 10th.

Gaz knows his place apparently, and if yours can’t be at this gig, let it be driving your car, windows down and this new release ringing out of the speakers.

http://www.gazbrookfield.com/

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I was born in the Fling Dynasty of a small planet known as Duncan in a galaxy far, far away. My humble parents, believing the planet was on the eve of destruction, sent me off as a baby in an egg-shaped craft and I landed here on planet Earth in the spring of 1973. I was later to discover through a cavern of ice, as you do, that the planet was fine all the time and it was just a particularly nasty prank by my father’s mates down the pub. I landed in a deep jungle and was raised by a company of wolves, learning to live as they did. Until one day when a naughty tiger with a very English accent came along and I was whisked away by a black panther and a jazz singing bear to a man-village. It wasn’t the tiger I was worried about; it was the American cartoon producer following on behind him. It was at the village that I won a golden ticket to visit a chocolate factory where I fell into a river made of chocolate and was sucked up a pipe into a fudge room; happy days. It could have been worse; I heard some other kid turned into an exploding blueberry. I lived at a coastal Inn for a while until an old sailor paid me a penny to look out for a legless seadog. In finding him I discovered a treasure map and was promptly whisked away by a sailor to a Caribbean island where I got into a bit of a rumble with some pirate radio DJ called Captain Tony Blackbeard. It was that or another holiday in Clacton. At eleven I was taken away by a man with an uncanny resemblance to actor and comedian Robbie Coltrane to a school for wizards where I had to battle it out with some bald blue bloke who killed my parents, said he was a lawyer working for an author called JK Rolling or something. That wasn’t as bad as the frog flavoured semolina we had to eat for school dinner. As I grew up and went to college I decided to give my favourite toys, a cowboy and a space ranger, away to a snotty girl from around the corner, nobody told me the cowboy was really Tom Hanks otherwise I would have given them away a lot sooner. So, other than the time I was bitten by a rare spider and found myself with special arachnid powers which I used to defeat an evil leprechaun, I left college and it was all very uneventful. Nowadays I have settled down to a family life and enjoy writing books, striving to be more like Bruce Bogtrotter every day. People say “where do you get your ideas from?” I tell them I have no idea, I've had such a boring, everyday life.

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