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    Sir Rod Stewart and Jools Holland take a deep dive into their new collaboration, Swing Fever

    THE song In A Broken Dream is a curiosity in the momentous career of Sir Roderick David Stewart.The year is 1969 and Rod, already an established singer, first with Long John Baldry and then The Jeff Beck Group, is heading for the big time.
    I’m talking to Rod and his latest collaborator, piano whizz Jools Holland, about their rollicking salute to the big band era, Swing FeverCredit: Jonas Mohr
    Talking to Rod and Jools, you can’t help marvelling at their deep knowledge of the roots of popular musicCredit: Sarah Jeynes
    Jools first bonded with Rod over their love of model railwaysCredit: Instagram
    He releases his debut solo album, joins the Faces with Ronnie Wood and co — and, of lesser note, he is approached by an obscure Australian band called Python Lee Jackson.
    They ask him to lend his smouldering vocals to their blues rocker In A Broken Dream, which he agrees to do — at a price.
    Fifty-five years later, I’m talking to Rod and his latest collaborator, piano whizz Jools Holland, about their rollicking salute to the big band era, Swing Fever, when the song crops up in conversation.
    Jools says: “One of the reasons why working with Rod means so much to me is that I bought the In A Broken Dream single.
    “I must have been 11 and I played it to death at school,” he adds, recalling how he’d invite his mates to “check this out!”
    “Basically, I’ve been listening to Rod for ever, so making an album with him is the best thing ever.”
    Taking all this in with a knowing smirk, the flamboyant singer casts his mind back to the recording of In A Broken Dream.
    “I did that song for a set of ­carpets for my car,” Rod reveals.
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    “I had a Marcos sports car and the mate I shared an apartment with used to work at the place in Highgate where they sold ­Marcos cars.
    ‘They’re all perfect’
    “He said, ‘I’ve got this band of Australian geezers, would you come and sing with them?’
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    “I said, ‘All right, but what’s in it for me?’ And he said, ‘Well, I’ve got no money so I’ll give you a new set of carpets — he could swipe them — for your car’. And that’s what happened.”
    Who knew when I joined Long John when I was 16, I’d be doing this when I’m 79? F*** off! We had such faith in ourselves to make it.Sir Rod Stewart
    First released in 1970, when the young Jools acquired his copy, In A Broken Dream only became a hit two years later when the re-release reached No3 on the back of Rod’s growing stardom.
    Casting his mind back to his early forays into the music business, Rod says: “I always think singers like me were so brave to go for it. Who knew where it was going to end?
    “Who knew when I joined Long John when I was 16, I’d be doing this when I’m 79? F*** off! We had such faith in ourselves to make it.”
    With that illuminating diversion over, it’s time for Rod and Jools to take a deep dive into their new album, Swing Fever, 13 vibrant big band tracks from the era that foreshadowed rock and roll.
    The songs were recorded at Jools’s Helicon Mountain studio in Greenwich with his accomplished Rhythm And Blues Orchestra.
    Rod picks up the story: “I’d never been to the studio before and it is a small premises.
    “For a three-piece band it’s fine, but when you’ve got 18 musicians in the room, woah!”
    As it turned out, Rod found the whole experience “amazing”.
    He says: “Unlike the way I’d been making records, Jools rehearses the band for a day and the next day I’d go and record three songs with them.
    “And they’d all be perfect and they’d all sound live.
    “Apart from a ­couple of handclaps, the vocal was the only overdub.”
    Jools found the sessions exhilarating too, and remembers his pep talk to the band.
    He says: “I told them, ‘Let’s keep it really straight ahead.
    “We’ve got to make people dance, to make them feel the joy.
    “Cut out anything that’s too abstract or jazzy and keep it powerful’.
    “So that’s what we did and once I saw Rod smiling a cheerful smile, I knew we were on the right track.”
    I guess we should think of Jools as following in the footsteps of the big band leaders of the Thirties, Forties and Fifties who were the stars of their day.
    I mention “King Of Swing” Louis Prima and Rod chips in with, “Duke Ellington”, while Jools lists “Count Basie, Louis Armstrong and Lionel Hampton”.
    These giants of their craft knew how to get a dance party started.
    Jools once chatted to the late, great Rolling Stones drummer and jazz aficionado Charlie Watts about one of those larger-than-life characters.
    “Charlie told me he went to see Lionel Hampton play at Hammersmith in the late Fifties and you could smell the weed in the theatre.
    ‘No synthetic stuff’
    “After the fourth song, [British jazz musician] Johnny Dankworth stood up and shouted, ‘When are you going to play some jazz?’ because he thought it was too much like rock and roll.
    “And that’s exactly what Swing Fever is all about.
    “It’s like rock and roll but it’s swinging, a bit more ‘Oi! Oi! Oi!’ than it is genteel.”
    The album kicks off in spirited style with the epic five-minute Lullaby Of Broadway.
    “When we did that, our drummer was actually playing the riff to Rock Around The Clock,” says Rod, referring to the 1954 hit by Bill Haley & His Comets regarded as the first rock and roll chart topper.
    You also hear “fabulous piano playing” from Jools and, in keeping with the 1930s recording, tap dancers.
    Jools says: “I’ve always liked that song but I had never thought of doing it because it’s quite a handful.
    “The original is out of the Busby Berkeley movie Gold Diggers Of 1935.
    “It’s very unusual because, in the middle of the song, they filmed and recorded tap dancers from underneath glass so you could see the bottoms of their feet.”
    While accepting that his band is “pretty adaptable”, Jools imagined they’d have to conjure up “something synthetic” to replicate the sound.
    “But Rod said, ‘I don’t want any synthetic stuff’.
    “Next thing, he invited me over to his house where he had a huge gang of tap dancers spread out in an arc.”
    Where did you rustle up this troupe from? I ask Rod.
    “I phoned up an agency and told them I needed a dozen tap dancers,” he replies.
    “I said, ‘As long as they know what they’re doing, tell them to come with their taps and we’ll mic the floor’. And that’s exactly what we did.”
    That story tells you a lot about the close attention to detail which has gone into Swing Fever right through to the final track, a lilting Tennessee Waltz.
    Jools says: “It is genuinely done by both of us with a complete love of what we’re doing.”
     And Rod enthuses: “There’s not one song that I don’t like — and we’ve played the album over and over again.”
    The  process  of  choosing tracks proved democratic and without disagreements.
    Rod picked the old murder ballad Frankie And Johnny, recast here in Swing style of course, and a song Jools was unfamiliar with but is now one of his favourites, Almost Like Being In Love.
    Jools selected Ain’t Misbehavin’, a standard associated with jazz greats Fats Waller and Louis Armstrong, as well as the bluesy Night Train.
    But Rod has one of the greatest popular voices of our age. It’s like an arrow straight to your heart.Jools Holland
    The latter, along with Sentimental Journey, feeds into both artists’ love of anything to do with trains, whether it’s their model railway layouts or the real thing.
    Jools says: “We like trains and the rhythm of a train suits my piano playing, but even if we hadn’t been train enthusiasts, I think these songs would have found their way on to the record.”
    Speaking generally about all Swing Fever’s tracks, many of them dusted down from the song sheets of the Jazz Age, he continues: “Once you have Rod’s vocals, they’re magnified into music people can ­connect with in the modern world.
    “If we were playing this music and somebody else was singing, I don’t think people would get it as easily.
    “But Rod has one of the greatest popular voices of our age.
    “It’s like an arrow straight to your heart.”
    ‘Black culture’
    As for the singer himself, he says: “I think we owe a lot to American culture.
    “I know I do, especially black culture.
    “All those great singers.”
    One song, however, has a history that is much closer to home, as Jools explains . . . 
    “Love Is The Sweetest Thing is by Ray Noble, who was an English big band leader who also wrote The Very Thought Of You.
    “For our version, the old Jamaican fella in our group Michael ‘Bammi’ Rose is playing sax which gives it a gentle ska push.”
    “Noble was such a success that he went to America where he settled and became one of the big songwriters over there.”
    Talking to Rod and Jools, you can’t help marvelling at their deep knowledge of the roots of popular music.
    I ask both about their introduction to bands, singers and songs growing up and to what extent they were inspired.
    Rod says: “The very earliest stuff I heard was Al Jolson.
    “My brother used to get down on his knees and do a very good impersonation of him at Christmas.
    “I was also taken to a couple of Jolson films.
    “When I was ten or 11, I asked for a station for my train set but my dad bought me an old Spanish guitar instead.
    “He said, ‘I think there’s some money in this for you.’
    “In fact, I was always hearing music because of my family.
    “They started playing Bill Haley & His Comets and Little Richard — and that was it for me.
    “It just took off from there and I started listening to American folk music and just about anything.”
    Rod took to buying records at Collet’s in New Oxford Street.
    “It was just up the road from the Dominion Theatre and they used to do all the folk and jazz stuff.”
    By the time he was 16, he was performing with Long John Baldry, a period that left him with this unforgettable moment.
    He recalls: “Before we went to a gig, I went round to Long John’s house.
    “It’s the time he appeared nude — but at least I was used to looking at knobs because I played football and we all got changed in the dressing room.
    “Anyway, cutting a long story short, Long John had the Muddy Waters Live At Newport album and I asked if I could borrow it.
    “He said, ‘No, Mick and Keith have got it’, and I said, ‘Well, I’ll borrow it after they’ve had it’. It’s a classic album.”
    With that nugget, he turns to Jools and becomes the interviewer.
    ‘Skiffle group’
    “So when did you start playing the piano?” he asks him.
    “Both my mum and my Uncle Dave could play boogie-woogie but mostly I learned it off of my uncle,” replies Jools.
    “My parents could hear that I had a gift so I got sent to Miss Brown, the piano teacher, who wanted me to do Dance Of The Pixies, but I preferred Uncle Dave’s music.
    “He had a skiffle group called The Planets but it didn’t work out for him so he became a lorry driver.”
    Rod continues to question his new collaborator by saying: “And where did you buy your records?”
    ‘Rock n railers’ Jools and Rod at St Pancras station in LondonCredit: Sarah Jeynes
    The songs for Swing Fever were recorded at Jools’s Helicon Mountain studio in Greenwich with his accomplished Rhythm And Blues OrchestraCredit: Jonas Mohr
    Jools answers: “I went to Dobell’s [in Charing Cross Road].
    “I remember going with an old record token after my dad gave me ten bob [shillings] to go on the bus.
    “I must have been about ten.
    “I took a pile of boogie-woogie records into the booth.
    “I think you were just meant to listen to one track and then decide.
    “I bought Albert Ammons and Pete Johnson.”
    With that, it’s time to leave the entertaining company of Rod and Jools and I can’t help thinking that it has been an education.
    And that their album, Swing Fever, is a masterclass.
    Swing Fever by Rod Stewart and Jools Holland is out 23 February
    Swing Fever
    ★★★★☆ More

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    Artslaves demonstrate a desire for amazing house and techno

    ITALIAN duo, Artslaves have started this year firing on all cylinders.The Moan Recordings  heads, Alessandro Rondinone and Domenico Gei, have a plethora of new music forthcoming on the label  from the likes of Leon, Cuartero, Detlef,  Darius Syrossian and many more. 
    Artslaves’ own latest release, the Desire EP is out now on Neverdogs’ Bamboleo Records and features legendary Spanish talent Hector Couto, who drops a cool remix of the title cut. 
    We caught up with Artslaves this week to find out more about their plans for 2024 and what they have in store for us in their exclusive mix for The Night Bazaar Sessions on Mixcloud. Read what they had to say following.
    Hi guys, I hope 2024 is off to a great start? What are your hopes for the summer and the year ahead?
    “Hi there! Thank you for the warm wishes. 2024 has indeed kicked off on a positive note for us, and we’re excited about the possibilities this year holds.”
    Can you give our readers a little bit of background as to how you got started as a duo back in 2012 and the benefits you find from working as artists in a partnership?
    “We are driven by a shared passion for music and a desire to create something unique together. The benefits of working as a partnership are numerous – there’s a constant exchange of ideas, different perspectives that enrich the creative process, and emotional support that keeps us going through the challenges.”
    [embedded content]
    Your new Desire EP is out now on Neverdogs’ Bamboleo Records with an amazing remix from the excellent Hector Cuoto. Great release. This is your first release I understand with Bamboleo, what drew you to the label?
    “The Desire EP on Bamboleo Records has been a thrilling experience for us. Neverdogs’ Bamboleo Records is a label we’ve admired for its dedication to quality music, and the opportunity to release our work there was too good to pass up. Hector Cuoto’s remix added an extra layer of excitement to the project.”
    Most read in Music
    [embedded content]
    Can you tell us a bit about your superb Moan label and the artists you release music with? How important is it to have a label as artists in todays super competitive world of underground electronic music?
    “Our Moan label holds a special place for us. In today’s competitive world of underground electronic music, having our label allows us to have creative control and support emerging talents. It’s a platform where we can curate a unique sound and collaborate with artists who share our vision.” 
    Can you talk us through some of the stand out releases on Moan and what you have coming up and dropping right now?
    “Moan has seen some standout releases, showcasing diverse electronic sounds. We’re proud of the artists we’ve worked with and the musical journey Moan represents. As for upcoming releases, we’ve got some exciting projects in the pipeline that we can’t wait to share with our audience.
I can spoiler some upcoming artists: Leon, Cuartero, Detlef, Joe Vanditti, Kirik, Darius Syrossian and more to be announced.”
    You have recorded a mix for The Night Bazaar Sessions. What can our audience expect to hear in the session?
    “Our mix for The Night Bazaar Sessions is a sonic journey through our current influences and favorite tracks. Expect a blend of our own productions, exclusive tracks, and tunes from artists we admire. It’s a snapshot of our musical world at this moment.
    We’re grateful for the support and the opportunity to share our thoughts with your readers. Here’s to a fantastic 2024 for everyone in the electronic music community!” More

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    Rock legends set to headline BST Hyde Park as they announce first album in three years 

    KINGS OF LEON are back to claim their title of rock royalty with a huge headline set at BST Hyde Park and a brand new album.The Sex On Fire rockers will perform at the festival in central London on Sunday June 30, six weeks after they drop record Can We Please Have Fun.
    Kings Of Leon will headline BST Hyde Park in June and drop a brand new albumCredit: Handout
    The massive show will add fuel to the fire of a performance at Glasto too, given they will be in the country on the weekend of the festival.
    Brothers Caleb, Jared and Nathan Followill, along with their cousin Matthew will be hoping the album is their seventh No1 after 2021’s When You See Yourself.
    And they’ve brought in the big guns to make it happen.
    They have teamed up with producer Kid Harpoon, Harry Styles’s right hand man in the studio as a solo artist.
    He also produced a little song called Flowers for Miley Cyrus, which spent ten weeks at No1 last year, so he knows a thing or two about making a brilliant song.
    Caleb said: “It was the most enjoyable record I’ve ever been a part of.” Nathan continued: “It’s like we allowed ourselves to be musically vulnerable.
    “I love it when a rock band is not embarrassed to admit that every song doesn’t have to be on 11.”
    They have now been together for 25 years, and Caleb added: “When you have a band there’s a bond like no other and when you have family, you have a bond like no other.
    Most read in Bizarre
    “We have both of those things. I thought, ‘if we put all our energy toward something, who is gonna stop us — except us?’”
    The 12-track album will be out on May 10, while tickets for their show in Hyde Park, where they will be joined by special guest Paolo Nutini, will go on sale next Wednesday.
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    As well as their smash hit Sex On Fire, they helped soundtrack my coming of age with tunes like Use Somebody and Revelry.
    The new record is certainly more grown up, and the band admitted they have calmed down over the past decade or so.

    But it may take a few more years for frontman Caleb to get used to being back on stage playing to tens of thousands of fans.
    The singer, married to supermodel Lily Aldridge, previously said he couldn’t bear watching himself back, revealing he had begged her to turn off their videos when he caught her watching them.
    He said: “I was like, ‘Babe, you gotta turn this off!’ I was blushing so bad I felt like blood was seeping out of my face.”
    Caleb added: “I love the perks that come with being the frontman but I don’t love the pressure. I’m always happy to take the back seat.”
    That will be tricky when they headline BST, with insiders telling me they expect the show to be a sell-out.
    Kings of Leon will play the festival alongside acts including Kylie Minogue, Robbie Williams, Shania Twain and Andrea Bocelli.
    Singing along to this lot on a sunny evening with a can or two of lukewarm Carling will be an ultimate summer highlight for me. More

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    Huge nineties rock superstar ‘confirms he’s playing Glastonbury’ with message to fan

    LIAM Gallagher appeared to confirm that he’s playing at Glastonbury Festival this summer with a message to a fan.The Oasis ex-frontman, 51, hinted that he’ll be taking to the famous Pyramid Stage alongside former Stones Roses guitarist John Squire. 
    Liam Gallagher ‘confirmed’ that he’s playing at Glastonbury Festival this summerCredit: Getty
    Liam hinted that he’ll be performing alongside guitarist John SquireCredit: Getty
    Liam replied to a fan on his X platform which seemingly revealed the news.
    One fan asked if he will be at Glastonbury this year with John – and the Wonderwall singer delighted fans with his response.
    The follower asked: “Will we see you and Squire at Glastonbury this summer LG?”
    Liam simply replied: “Yeah,” in a response that sent fans wild.
    It comes after The Sun revealed that Liam is set to face off against brother Noel as he joins supergroup fronted by music legend.
    After going head-to-head with their solo careers for the past decade, the pair are set for a chart battle as part of different supergroups.
    Liam had teamed up with Stone Roses veteran John for a new joint album.
    While Noel has something of his own in the pipeline with Happy Mondays legend Shaun Ryder.
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    The pair have created new song Domino Bones (Gets Dangerous), with the track slated to appear on the debut record by Shaun’s supergroup Mantra Of The Cosmos.
    It is due out around the same time as Liam and John’s record.
    Noel Gallagher fuels rumours Oasis are set to reunite with cryptic comment about brother Liam
    A source said: “Noel and Liam have always been competitive in their music careers and have both dealt each other some comedy jibes about their solo work.
    “That rivalry is now branching out into a battle of the supergroups.
    “Liam and John’s first single, Just Another Rainbow, is out tomorrow, with the album expected to drop over the summer. 

    “It’ll be the same time Mantra Of The Cosmos will be releasing theirs, and Dynamo Bones will be on the album. Noel and Shaun have talked about working together for some time and they’ve now formally registered the track. 
    “Shaun and Noel wrote the song together and Zak Starkey produced and arranged it.
    “Noel is in good company in the band because it also features Andy Bell and Zak, as well as Shaun’s Happy Mondays bandmate Bez.” 
    If Liam is performing at Glastonbury this year, then he’d be in good company after singing sensation Cher dropped a huge hint she could be playing the Legends slot.
    While Piano Man vocalist Billy Joel has also been tipped to be playing at the festival.
    Liam and brother Noel have gone head-to-head with their solo careers for over a decadeCredit: Getty
    A number of other big names are rumoured to be performing this summerCredit: Getty More

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    Rod Stewart & Jools Holland reveal main thing they have in common as they release album – and it’s not to do with music

    IN a fifth-floor room at the rear of Warner Music’s London HQ, two familiar figures are standing by a window, peering down at the urban landscape below.They are focusing on a small overground section of the District Line just before it disappears from view at High Street Kensington Station.
    Jools Holland first bonded with Rod Stewart over their love of model railwaysCredit: Sarah Jeynes
    ‘Rock n railers’ Jools and Rod at St Pancras station in LondonCredit: Sarah Jeynes
    The hobbyists survey Jools’s railway layoutCredit: Instagram
    “I bet we’re the only two people in the music business stood . . . ” begins one.
    “ . . . studying the trackwork,” says the other, finishing the sentence before both break into laughter.
    The first of these like-minded souls to speak is Sir Rod Stewart, singing legend, national treasure AND model railway enthusiast.
    The second is Jools Holland, piano maestro, big band leader, host of Later . . .  since 1992 AND model railway enthusiast.
    Read More on Showbiz
    “Half of my layout is post-war Britain,” reports Jools as they greet me.
    “We were enjoying the view out of the window because the Underground is down there — we could do a bit of research.”
    Both musicians have enjoyed long and illustrious careers, both have a huge passion for Swing music — the forerunner of rock ’n’ roll and all the rage in the 1930s and ’40s — and both, as you have gathered, have the same hobby.
    But it’s taken until now for Rod, 79, and Jools, 66, to join forces and make an album together.
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    This week sees the release of Swing Fever, an effervescent collection of jazz standards such as Oh Marie, Sentimental Journey, Pennies From Heaven, and Ain’t Misbehavin’.
    It serves as an affectionate tribute to the big band era but expressed in the pair’s inimitable, unvarnished style — Rod’s intuitive, ever-expressive rasp backed by the dexterous Jools and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra.
    Rod Stewart dons denim jacket covered in Scotland badges as he boards private jet with wife Penny,
    “We’re made for each other — and that’s not even counting our love of model trains!” exclaims Rod.
    When I tell them they’ve created a joyful, upbeat sound, Jools nods in agreement as his new buddy affirms: “We need some joy nowadays.”
    We’re meeting at their record label to discuss their album but, of course, I’m all aboard to hear about the hobby that has cemented their bromance.
    Today, the ever-dapper Rod is wearing a cream jacket and matching shirt with a big scarf, his trademark array of blond spikes present and correct, while Jools has chosen darker, more understated attire.
    It’s obvious they get on like a house on fire and have formed a mutual appreciation society, each riffing off the other’s enthusiasm for their shared passions.
    But it’s strange to think that Rod and Jools have seldom crossed paths in the past, although the latter recalls a fleeting moment.
    “I did meet Rod briefly at some reception and I said, ‘I’ve got a layout’.
    “He looked at me rather suspiciously, asked a few probing questions before realising I was legitimate.
    “Then he said, ‘I’ve got a bit of advice for you. Get yourself a big room to put it in. The bigger the room, the more pleasure and happiness it will give you’.
    “And do you know what?” adds Jools as he considers the 100ft attic space he now uses for his European-themed layout, “It was the best advice I’ve ever, ever been given.”
    If half his model train tracks run through post-war British scenes, the rest visit Germany, Holland, Belgium and France.
    “I’ve got the Berlin Wall and a Stasi building,” he affirms.
    As for Rod, in-demand superstar, father of eight children, loving husband to Penny Lancaster, a few hours spent crafting a miniature American skyscraper or laying a new section of track to adorn his layout can be his greatest stress buster.
    He says: “When I’m having the worst day ever, when things are not going as they should, I go into my workshop and the whole world can p**s off.
    When I told Rod I had a train layout, he looked at me suspiciously, asked probing questions and realised I was legitimateJools Holland
    “I walk in and I’m thinking, ‘I’m really happy to be doing this’.”
    He turns to face Jools and says: “I know you feel that way too.”
    I suggest that their pastime makes a refreshing alternative to the usual rock star vices, drink, drugs and womanising.
    “You can’t do any of that when you’re building a model railway!” cries Rod, whose vast layout is based on Chicago and New York in the Jazz Age.
    “It’s a meditation.”
    He says his passion extends way beyond the confines of the big prefab building in his grounds that houses his layout.
    “It’s 24 hours,” he admits. “I’ll be driving around in America and I’ll say, ‘Stop!’, especially in Chicago.
    “If I see an old building I haven’t seen before, I’ll take a picture.”
    The Windy City is the home of blues and jazz and its mention brings our attention back to Swing Fever.
    So, why has it taken so long for this seemingly obvious music partnership to happen? I venture.
    “I think it’s because we’re both shy,” jokes Rod, taking charge of a Grande Starbucks coffee and explaining all.
    “I’d started making an album of swing music but it wasn’t turning out very successfully.
    “It wasn’t how I wanted it to sound.”
    Rod’s initial efforts were in the vein of cool and collected Ol’ Blue Eyes — “not to put Sinatra down, because he’s the greatest” — but he was searching for something altogether wilder.
    Jools chips in: “I’d say you wanted that old music rooted in dance and blues which makes you swing.”
    So just before Christmas a few years ago, Rod picked up the phone and called Jools.
    “In the past, I wouldn’t have made that call, I’d have let someone else do it,” he says.
    Rod with his beloved railway in 2016
    The pair pose at a surprise gig at St Pancras to celebrate the launch of Swing FeverCredit: Getty
    Jools said: ‘When I told Rod I had a train layout, he looked at me suspiciously, asked probing questions and realised I was legitimate’Credit: Jonas Mohr
    “But because I haven’t got a manager — and I don’t want a manager now — I like to do it all myself.”
    With an intrigued Jools on the other end of the line, Rod invited him to join forces for a swing album.
    “Then we started talking about trains, which really united us,” he adds.
    Jools well remembers the call: “When Rod asked if I wanted to make a record, I had to think carefully — for about 0.2 of a second.
    “He’s been singing songs all his life.
    “Whatever he sings, he illuminates, he brings it to life.
    “That’s the gift of one of the greatest singers in the world.
    “The only other person who could do all the things he does would have been Ray Charles.” (The late, great blind singer/pianist remembered for I Can’t Stop Loving You and Unchain My Heart).
    When the pair met up after that Christmas, first at Rod’s Essex mansion and then at Jools’s Helicon Mountain studio in South East London, they realised that their ideas around swing music aligned.
    Jools says: “The way I want my band to sound happily coincided with exactly what Rod was after.
    “When he said, ‘I like it a bit rough around the edges rather than too slick’, I said, ‘You’ve come to the right bloke!’
    “If I suggested a ballad, he’d say, ‘No, I want it all to be up and lively, to sound like it’s live in the room, like the old records. Not too perfect’.”
    It’s fair to say THAT voice is in fantastic shape on Swing Fever, which begins with the lengthy, fast-paced showtune Lullaby Of Broadway.
    Rod says: “I wouldn’t say swing is easy to sing but it’s easier than singing pop hits every night and, to be honest, it’s a lot more enjoyable.
    “The phrasing tests you as a vocalist.”
    Hearing him though, the delivery seems effortless.
    “Thank the Lord, it still comes so naturally to me,” he says.
    “It’s wonderful. I’m lucky.
    “I can’t imagine anybody else in my department — won’t name any names — singing these songs with such conviction.”
    Crucially for this type of music, Rod is a master of singing behind the beat.
    Swing isn’t easy to sing but it’s easier than singing pop hits every night and, to be honest, it’s a lot more enjoyableRod Stewart
    “I’m always pointing this out to Penny: ‘You don’t sing on the beat. Delay it!’ but she doesn’t quite understand.
    “I can delay the phrasing like Billie Holiday or any of the great singers, for as long as I want.”
    In another reference to his family, he adds: “My daughter Renee (the elder of his two children with Rachel Hunter) bought me a beautiful book for my birthday (on January 10) called The Art Of Jazz.
    “She wrote to me and said, ‘Dad, now you’re a jazz singer, I thought you’d appreciate this — Happy Birthday!’”
    Rod has been hugely impressed with the musicians Jools has assembled for his Rhythm And Blues Orchestra, making the sessions a real pleasure.
    “I was totally knocked out by them,” he enthuses.
    “I have to tell you, Jools — I keep saying this — you have the best bass player (Dave Swift) and the best drummer (Gilson Lavis). They make you tap your feet.”
    As it stands, despite a couple of small album launch shows, there are no plans to take Swing Fever on the road. Rod and Jools have other live commitments already planned.
    “I go one year at a time and we’re busy this year,” says Rod.
    As leader of an 18-piece ensemble, Jools says: “The truth is that it’s a very expensive thing to take out on tour.
    “But if the record’s a great success, who knows? One thing for sure is we just love what we’re doing.”
    And finally, Rod again: “In the meantime, I’m doing a show with Billy Joel.
    “Co-headlining in a bloody great big football stadium in America.”
    For now, it’s full steam ahead for new mates Rod or Jools with neither hitting the buffers any time soon.

    Rod with Jools perform for BBC Radio 2’s Piano Room today in Vernon Kay’s show (9.30am-12noon).
    Available afterwards on BBC Sounds and BBC iPlayer.

    Rod said: ‘Swing isn’t easy to sing but it’s easier than singing pop hits every night and, to be honest, it’s a lot more enjoyable’Credit: Sarah Jeynes More

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    US rock band announce comeback four years after lead singer’s tragic death

    US rock band Power Trip has announced its huge comeback four years after lead singer Riley Gale’s death.They’re due to perform in California with tickets going on sale Friday, February 23 at 7pm GMT.
    Rock band Power Trip are returning to the stage after four years away following their lead singer’s deathCredit: Getty
    Lead singer Riley Gale pictured in 2017, died in 2020Credit: Getty
    Misfits, Iggy Pop, Sublime and The Damned and others will join them on teh line-up at the new Goldenvoice Punk festival No Values on June 8.
    Power Trip’s surviving members announced their return to the live stage on social media.
    Singer Blake Ibanez, guitarist Nick Stewart, bassist Chris Whetzel and dummer Chris Ulsh said in a statement: “Nearly four years ago to the day, unbeknownst to us, we would perform for the last time as POWER TRIP.
    “It has been a difficult road since then, marked by deep pain, grief, and everything else that came with losing our brother Riley.
    “We know this can’t be undone, and it will always remain part of us.
    “We have thought deeply about the future of POWER TRIP and what always comes back to us is that this band was founded on resilience, perseverance, and most importantly: a love for the music and for all of the people it has brought us closer to along the way.
    “We’ll never have the words to convey our appreciation of the enduring support we’ve received over the years, and we feel as though the time is right to get back on stage for all of you who’ve been there throughout our existence as a band.
    “With that, we are excited to announce a round of upcoming 2024 performances starting with @novaluesfestival on June 8th in SoCal.
    Most read in Music
    “Joining us will be our long-time close friend/collaborator, and singer of @fugitive_tx / @skourge713 — Seth Gilmore — who will be handling vocals for these upcoming shows.”
    They ended their words writing: “Stay tuned, more info on the way… Riley Gale Forever. POWER TRIP Forever. See you in the pit.”
    Legendary US band splits with frontman as original singer’s son steps up to replace them
    Gale, who fronted the Texas thrash metal band, died from the toxic effects of fentanyl in 2020.
    He was 34 years old and had fronted the band for more than a decade.
    The band got its start in Dallas, Texas and released two albums, Manifest Decimation in 2013 and Nightmare Logic in 2017.
    The band also released a compilation of early tracks and two live albums.
    Sublime will be performing shortly after announcing a line-up change.
    They revealed they will be performing with Bradley Nowel’s son as Rome Ramirez steps down later this year.
    The band initially split in 1996 after Nowell tragically died of a heroin overdose.
    They then reformed with a new lead singer, Ramirez but had to change their name to Sublime with Rome as Nowell’s estate had the rights to the original name.
    In late December, Ramirez confirmed he had left the band – and in a surprising twist, Nowell’s son Jakob, has taken his dad’s original place.
    Ramirez will leave after the band’s 2024 tour dates.
    Rome Ramirez is stepping down from SublimeCredit: Getty More

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    Massive noughties pop star forced to cancel UK & Ireland tour dates and hits back at trolls claiming he’s faking illness

    SINGER and rapper Example has been forced to cancel UK and Ireland tour dates after being struck down with illness.The music star – real name Elliot Gleave – was devastated to let down his fans and apologised in a video shared on Instagram.
    Example has had to cancel two tour datesCredit: Instagram
    The flu-stricken star, 41, didn’t take the decision to postpone his Belfast and Dublin shows lightly, but he has still been criticised by some.
    He wrote on social media: “Belfast and Dublin are off. It is with great regret that I have to announce this. I’ve been looking after myself all tour. Getting to bed early. Sleeping loads. Going to gym most days. My body has succumbed to the tour bus flu that a few people have had.
    “If I were a DJ or a guitarist I would soldier on. But I have to be able to sing my heart out and MC and hype the crowd and jump around to deliver you the best performance possible, which I can’t do in my current state. In the next few days we will let you know if the two shows have been rescheduled or cancelled and you can get a refund. Thank you for understanding. E.”
    In the accompanying video he coughed and spluttered as he revealed he’s spent the past two days in bed and taken a whole host of remedies to try and get better.
    He had been set to perform at Belfast’s Telegraph Building last night and Dublin’s 3Olympia Theatre tonight. It remains to be seen if he will be well enough for his show in Cardiff on Friday.
    Acknowledging complaints from his fanbase, Elliot set the record straight and denied faking his illness.
    He wrote: “To all the people saying ‘I’ve paid for hotels and trains and planes’. I feel you. It’s an awful situation. But I didn’t get sick on purpose.
    “To all the people saying I’ve got a hangover – I don’t drink.
    Most read in Music
    “To all the people saying it’s a fake cough… I am in the UK right now to work. I am missing my kids every minute of every day. If I was faking this I’d be an idiot. Cos I miss out on being paid. I miss out on entertaining my fans. All while missing my kids. It’s been almost a month now without them.”
    The Brit-nominated hitmaker’s biggest tracks include Kickstarts, Changed the Way You Kissed Me and Stay Awake.
    Example – Tender
    Elliot split from his model ex-wife Erin McNaught in 2022 after 11 years and two children together.
    He said at the time: “At the start of the summer we decided to separate. We had an amazing 11 years together, but a few too many adventures.
    “Obviously we spent a lot of time behind the scenes trying to figure things out, but we came to the realisation that perhaps our time as a couple had just come to a natural end. 
    “We have decided to go our separate ways whilst there is still an abundance of love and respect for one another.”
    In one of his newer tracks, Eye To Eye, he called Erin his “saviour” after he admitted doing “every drug under the sun” and “getting absolutely battered every night” when he first started out in the music scene.
    He told The Sun: “Eye To Eye is really about loads of back-stabbers and how people use you for money and fame.
    “Erin saved me from an early death. I was partying too much. You’re burning the candle at both ends, doing 120 festivals a year, 100 flights a year and you’re partying four or five nights a week.”
    He is now in a relationship with art advisor Daisy Cox.
    The music star was devastated after being struck down with fluCredit: Getty
    Example with ex-wife Erin McNaughtCredit: Getty
    Elliot with current girlfriend Daisy CoxCredit: Instagram More

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    Huge Noughties RnB singer announces first UK tour in ten years after selling 150 million records

    SUPERSTAR singer Usher has announced his first tour of the UK in a decade.The RnB star – who headlined last weekend’s Super Bowl – will perform in London and a host of European cities in April 2025.
    Usher at the Super Bowl last weekCredit: Getty
    He stripped off for exhilarating performanceCredit: Getty
    Usher, 45, has sold a whopping 150 million records during his 30-year career.
    He was celebrated on the world’s biggest stage as he performed a medley of his biggest hits in front of almost 125 million TV viewers.
    The Love In This Club singer is now bringing his show to London’s O2 Arena for three shows in April 2025 as part of his Past Present Future tour.
    European fans will also get the chance to see him in Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin from April 15 to May 1.
    Usher said as he announced the news: “Europe, you ready? After the epic experience at the Super Bowl and the huge demand for shows across North America, I’m happy to announce I’m coming your way as well – for shows in London, Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin.
    “This tour is both a celebration of the past 30 years and a glimpse into the future. We are just getting started!”
    Usher’s ninth studio album was released two days before his epic Super Bowl performance.
    Coming Home is his first solo track since 2016’s Hard II Love.
    Most read in Music
    At the very beginning of Usher’s Super Bowl performance, the sound from the hitmaker’s microphone cut in and out.
    The giant microphone, that stretched across his face and covered half of his mouth, just wasn’t cutting it.
    It wasn’t until Usher brought out another major star, Alicia Keys, that the sound finally stabilized.
    He also brought out his friend Ludacris to perform their hit song Yeah!
    Then after his performance, Usher reportedly tied the knot with his longtime girlfriend, Jennifer “Jenn” Goicoechea.
    While at an afterparty, Usher, 45, was photographed wearing what appeared to be a gold band on his left ring finger.
    The couple had also filed for a marriage license in Clark County, Nevada, before this weekend’s big game in Las Vegas.
    Adding to the earlier speculation, the couple showed up to the party all dressed in white.
    Usher married his girlfriend Jennifer Goicoechea after his performanceCredit: Getty
    Usher nearly falls on his roller skates during Super Bowl Halftime Show leaving fans gasping and cringing More