The radio is off but it's still important to support local bands

Emma Richardson has turned off her radio, but is still spotlighting local bands

Emma Richardson has turned off her radio, but is still spotlighting local bands - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Exmouth author Emma Richardson writes for the Journal

Exmouth author Emma Richardson.

Exmouth author Emma Richardson. - Credit: Emma Richardson

I have consciously made the decision to turn off the radio this year for a couple of reasons- firstly it stops the stream of negative news and secondly, with three different Teams calls at any one time for home-school every day between 9am and 3pm, quite frankly it’s already like living in a television showroom with different channels on each set!

However, I’ve really been missing music; nothing affects the well-being more than some good tunes so I’ve set out to explore some new ones.

Exmouth is a hot-bed of creativity with artists of all persuasions creating excellent work.

Sometimes this work can be overlooked in the wider community and the wider world because there’s so much out there now.

I’ve spoken before about how difficult I’ve found being creative and productive during this pandemic, so I’m always super-impressed by others that aren’t so easily stifled and I’d like to shine a light this week one such group of local musicians who have not long released a new album.

Melody and the Jones are a four-piece band whose Twitter account describes them as ‘Wryly subversive blues trance rock for the danceable post truth era’.

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They had me at wryly subversive! Fronted by singer-songwriter Melodie Jones with Huw Akiba-Jones on guitar, Steve Chapman on bass and Mark Brind on drums, these guys have played together in different formations/bands for several years, so their collaborations are born from an organic understanding of their own and each other’s musicality.

Last year the four piece recorded a new self-titled album working for the first time with industry-renowned producer Mark Tucker at The Greenroom Studios; the results were impressive.

It’s a warm sounding record whose production values, guitarsy vibes and haunting melodies hark back to the 90’s Indie bands of my youth. My favourite track Sun Lions, is also the first single to be taken from the album and the band filmed a Covid-safe video to accompany it- it can be viewed on You Tube and the track is available to stream or download to listen to at your leisure.

There’s a saying about supporting local business that often crops up on the internet: When you support a small business you’re supporting a dream. This is even more true of local artists- of which there are many in East Devon.

The last 12 months has decimated live music, and bands both large and small have lost the platform to sell, promote and ultimately play live with the closure of venues and cancellation of festivals.

Without live opportunities, musicians are missing that piece of the puzzle that makes them want to create and perform.

Sadly, I think that some of these venues may not survive the pandemic and the long term effects on the music industry will potentially be quite devastating, particularly at grass roots level.

So, if like me you value good music and creativity, spend a few hours seeking out our local performers through their websites, social media and streaming platforms. When we’re all back singing along and raising a glass during Festival week at the Imperial Recreation ground, you won’t regret it.