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FRIENDS OF SLOW TOWN CLOCK

The ever expanding team behind the music and images

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Friends of STC: Bio
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JAMIE LEVEN

Songwriter, producer, lead vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, harmonica

Ultimately Slow Town Clock is Jamie's show to run, although over the years he has gotten to know many brilliantly talented people through his music, and these relationships continue to nourish him and his songs. Below is a list of some of the people who have so far brought their energy and skills to Slow Town Clock's recorded projects.

Click here to read a full biography of Jamie and a history of Slow Town Clock

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SOPHIE WREN

Vocal harmonies, piano accordion, piano

Sophie is present in some capacity on all recorded Slow Town Clock projects.

Having long considered the accordion to be a magical instrument of fairgrounds and carnivals, Sophie finally purchased one of her own from a tiny music shop in Ecuador. This she carried around for a year on her travels, making up melodies as she went, and at one point was pressed into playing a tune by suspicious Chilean border police (a bout of spontaneous border dancing ensued, led by a woman with a suitcase full of plastic fruit).

Upon return to England, Sophie and a group of fellow travelling boaters formed the sea shanty festival band Calico Jack, going on to play at an array of varied venues, from Glastonbury festival bandstand to the inside of a derelict swimming pool.

The alchemical act of vocal harmonising holds a special place in Sophie's treasure tin. She loves weaving her voice with other voices, and couldn't have been more delighted to meet Jamie and share with him the harmonies she heard in his songs.

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JOHN HIRST

Co-producer, vibraphone, percussion, drums, backing vocals, haunted dulcimer

John plays multiple instruments on Crossing Tides including the ethereal vibraphone on the opening tracks and the stormy drums towards the finale, as well as the now infamous haunted dulcimer. He is currently involved in all upcoming Slow Town Clock projects and we can expect that he will be further experimenting with more and more unusual instrumentation as the sessions go on.

John Hirst is a drummer and percussionist from West Northumberland. He has studied and toured extensively in the USA and Europe but feels most at home as part of the North East's thriving musical community. In addition to his work with Slow Town Clock he is the drummer for The Slowlight Quartet, Joe Steels' Borealis, and The Often Herd. He also teaches at Newcastle University and curates The Bandstand Sessions, a summer concert series in Hexham's Sele Park.

Click here to visit The Slowlight Quartet's webpage

Click here to visit Joe Steels' Borealis webpage

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PAUL SUSANS

Double bass, backing vocals

Paul's input was crucial to the arrangements on Crossing Tides and his double bass is the only instrument that is present on every track on the album. Paul is also involved in an upcoming Slow Town Clock project for 2024.

Paul Susans is a double and electric bassist living in rural Northumberland with his family. Paul has built a glowing reputation as a performer, recording artist and educator over the last 25 years, in a career that has taken him as far as China & Russia and sees touring regularly around Europe and extensively throughout the UK. An integral part of Newcastle festival favourites the Baghdaddies, Paul is also a keen community music practitioner and runs several community music projects, focusing on mixed instrumental ensembles. Paul also manages Core Music a social enterprise in Hexham, Northumberland.

Core Music is a brilliant hub for all things musical and the CIC (and Paul) are very supportive to local musicians and projects, including Slow Town Clock. If you are in North East England be sure to drop by and show them some love.

Click here to visit the Core Music website

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DEAN PARKER

Co-producer, studio engineer, electric guitar, mandolin, keyboard, backing vocals

Dean was important in adding atmosphere and texture to Crossing Tides, playing electric guitar on some tracks and mandolin on others. He has also been engineering and co-producing a new Slow Town Clock project in 2024.

Dean Parker is first and foremost a guitar player, singer and songwriter who is finally finding his own mercurial voice. Born and raised in North-East England, he’s been beneficially brainwashed by the likes of Jason Isbell, Jeff Buckley and Jackson Browne while making sure to come into the fold with his own sensibility and stubbornness. 2022 saw not only the start of his solo career and release of his debut EP, This All Tastes Like Yesterday, but also a myriad of performances including a US tour that saw him reach Austin, TX, Memphis, TN, and everywhere in between. In 2023, Dean embarked on his first UK tour and into 2024 has released his second EP record, 'Is this Learning?'.

Click here to visit his website

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SAMMY JETTER KELL

Videographer, photographer, CD layout design

Sammy is responsible for creating both of the music videos released to accompany Crossing Tides, as well as many of the photographs included here on this website.

Sammy and Jamie met in 2022 and very quickly began geeking out about cameras and films. An enigmatic figure, Sammy has always preferred to stay on the safe end of the lens and this has helped him develop a great eye for composition, both for video and stills. Sammy was present in the studio for the Crossing Tides sessions and captured photos, as well as filming the performance of "A Giant Hand" that would be included on the record (this became the music video for the song). He also filmed the music video for "Golden Light" with the mid June sunrise, his steady execution and a careful edit making for a compelling and very appropriate visual accompaniment to the song. Sammy and his partner Becky Saunders were also a great help when it came to the layout for the CD booklets which would probably have been the end of Jamie had he attempted to tackle it alone. Sammy is a very fine fellow who doesn't have a bio of his own as this would erode his mysteriousness.

Click here to visit his website

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JULIE BARTLEY

Co-producer, studio engineer, mixing engineer

Julie was co-producer and studio engineer for Crossing Tides. She facilitated the recording of the whole album in just two days, live in the studio with no overdubs. She also mixed the album and put up with Jamie eating crisps behind her during this process.

Julie Bartley helps musicians and other practitioners turn their creative ideas into tangible audio products. She creates a nurturing space that encourages creative exploration and expression. Julie works with a diverse range of musicians and other practitioners to produce high quality recordings and audio content. She also writes and produces her own compositions for commissions, sync and for fun! Julie is based at Cupola Studios, Newcastle.

Click here to visit her website

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IAN ILLSLEY

Fiddle, midi organ

Ian played fiddle on all tracks on Tables Turning, as well as providing some midi organ.

A chance meeting by the canal towpath back in 2018 led to Ian and Jamie getting together to play some music. Ian played fiddle on Tables Turning, using his beloved double stopping technique as well as layering parts at times to create a larger sounding string section. He also played fiddle at Jamie and Sophie's wedding during the ceremony, and afterwards, performing some songs alongside the couple and charming Jamie's aunt. A member of Northern English band Featherteeth, Ian can often be seen and heard playing his fiddle on the streets of Yorkshire towns.

Click here to visit the Featherteeth Facebook page

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JEZ WATSON

Double bass

Jez played double bass on all the tracks on Tables Turning.

Jez is a Yorkshire jazz musician from Pontefract with a great collection of climbing trousers and a small fleet of motorbikes. He and Jamie met in Calderdale and came together through a shared interest in music and Robert Pirsig. Jez is a bit like Philip K. Dick crossed with Danny Thompson and covered in motor oil. He can usually be found tinkering in his garage or travelling the world on two wheels with his partner Sharon.

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SAM GREENWOOD

Studio engineer, mixing engineer

Sam recorded and mixed Tables Turning.

Sam Greenwood is the studio manager and head sound engineer at Hebden Bridge Underground. When he's not working at the studio he lectures in sound design and music technology and provides technical support for events and festivals.

Click here to visit his website

Friends of STC: Team Members
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