"I don't sound like Lou Reed or Tom Waits, but when I listen to them, I learn."
- Magical, award-nominated artist, Kathryn Williams, shares her unique and enchanting music
- Ultimate triathlete, James Ketchell, shares adventures from his incredible life
- Ronnie Spector & The Ronettes bring the spirit of the festive season in their special Christmas show
Tuesday 17 September, 8pm
Kathryn Williams is one of the hardest-working musicians in the business today, releasing 11 full-length albums under her own name, as well as others with various side-projects, since her debut LP, Dog Leap Stairs, was released in 1999.
As impressive a stat as that might be, it does little to capture the true magic of Williams’ work; the enchanting craft that has grown and expanded as she's moved from one project to the next, from the breakthrough success of her Mercury Prize nominated Little Black Numbers LP, all the way to her Sylvia Plath tribute project, 2017’s Greatest Hits collection - not a greatest hits at all, in fact, rather an imagined retrospective for a fictional artist and an inspired soundtrack to Laura Barnett's novel of the same name.
So how to capture the magic of her work? One way is to pick it apart, piece-by-piece, admiring the craft that goes into each track, that elegant vocal, the eloquent way with words. Another is to simply allow these records to be absorbed, one at a time, project by project, as music should be. From dusty Americana to playful jazz re-workings, and so much more besides, every record Williams puts her name to burns with a meticulousness and an honesty that casts a spell all of her own making, following in the shadow of the listener for days at a time, for years to come.
While her best-known work is characterised by rich and honest song writing, inspired by the greats - from Nick Drake to Joni Mitchell and beyond - Williams has continually been able to evolve as an artist because she's always looked outside of such genre boundaries. "The things that influence you aren't necessarily going to come out in obvious ways, unless you're trying to copy," she said in a 2007 interview. " I don't sound like Lou Reed or Tom Waits, but when I listen to them, I learn."
2017's Songs From The Novel 'Greatest Hits’, Williams latest album is another unconventional piece of work from an artist that continues to listen and learn from the greats while, at the same time, undoubtedly becoming one herself. She is approaching her twentieth anniversary with a fiery spirit and a sense of adventure that has never once wilted.
Brennen Leigh and Noel Mckay
Wednesday 30 October, 7.45pm
Texas cultivated, Nashville-based song writing team Brennen Leigh and Noel McKay are set to embark on their fifth tour of the United Kingdom in October of 2019, following the release of their self-titled second duet album. They return to Sage Gateshead on Wednesday 30 October.
Noel McKay and Brennen Leigh met in 2002 through Austin’s vibrant music scene. McKay was part of the regionally popular country and Tex-Mex band, McKay Brothers, while the bluegrass and classic country-educated Leigh had just arrived in Texas to pursue a solo career.
Six years later the two began writing and touring together, somehow fitting in writing trips to Nashville between tour dates. At first, they often wrote songs on long car trips, one of them behind the wheel of their touring vehicle, a 1992 Honda Accord wagon. The result was a mix of story songs that continue to delight in a concert setting. The duo’s debut album, Before the World Was Made (2013), is a cult classic; CMA Close Up called it “hilarious, sentimental and profound, usually all at the same time.”
McKay and Leigh are a must-know song writing team; Steve Earle, Guy Clark and Richard Dobson have all recorded songs written by McKay, while artists such as Lee Ann Womack, Rodney Crowell and Charley Crockett have released songs written by Leigh. Sarah Borges and Sunny Sweeney, among others, have recorded songs the duo composed. Together they’re an international touring machine; the pair’s dry humour coupled with their well-worn, Louvinesque harmonies, McKay’s uniquely South Texas lead guitar style and Leigh’s raw Delmore Brothers inspired flatpicking and mandolin make for an unforgettable combination.
Presented by Speakers from the Edge
James Ketchell: Chasing Extremes
Thursday 14 November, 8pm
James Ketchell is the only person on the planet to have summitted Everest, rowed the Atlantic and cycled the world!
Despite a serious motorbike accident in 2007, which left his leg shattered and his active lifestyle in jeopardy, in 2014 British adventurer James became the first person to have completed the ‘Ultimate Triathlon’.
James delivers his tales of adventure, endeavour and determination, in an evening experience that will undoubtedly leave young and old feeling motivated and inspired with life lessons learned by the adventurer himself.
The London African Gospel Choir perform Paul Simon's Graceland
Friday 13 December, 7.30pm
Having performed in Newcastle venues to rave reviews, the demand to see this show has now become so great, that they have had to move it across the river this Christmas, to find a bigger venue.
More than thirty years after its release, the London African Gospel Choir, perform Paul Simon's iconic Gracelandalbum in Sage One of Sage Gateshead on the evening of Friday 13 December.
This 17-strong ensemble will be live, delivering the Graceland album from start to finish.
As it blew up worldwide, Graceland spawned the hit singles, Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes, The Boy in the Bubble and it's biggest smash - You Can Call Me Al.
The London African Gospel Choir is a collective of African singers, musicians and dancers. They have quite literally performed with everyone who's anyone, including Annie Lennox, John Legend, as well as Paul Simon himself.
The total richness and harmony of the Choir’s rhythmic, uplifting, evocative and empowering voices, create an overwhelming musical event.
Ronnie Spector & The Ronettes Special Christmas Show
Friday 20 December, 7.30pm
‘Tis the season…for Ronnie Spector & The Ronettes to spread holiday cheer with their best Christmas party ever! Bringing a beloved New York holiday tradition to Sage Gateshead this festive season.
This holiday extravaganza is a raucous, rocking, and intoxicating blend of Ronnie’s Christmas classics; such timeless Ronettes hits as Be My Baby, Baby I Love You, Walking In The Rain, and Do I Love You; cult gems from her back catalogue, and plenty of Ronnie’s inimitable off–the–cuff musings and anecdotes from childhood Christmases in New York City.
The Glenn Miller Orchestra
Sunday 5 January 2020, 3pm
- Directed by Ray McVay
- Guest Artists: The Polka Dot Dolls
Ray’s ‘in the mood’ as the world’s greatest Big Band transports you back to the heady days and music of the 1940s – with the fabulous harmonies of the Moonlight Serenaders and the sublime vocals of Catherine Sykes and Mark Porter, not forgetting the ever popular jazz band, The Uptown Hall Gang.
The show also features special guest stars, the energetic and exciting Swing Time Jivers with their special Lindy Hop moves!
Featuring: – In the Mood, Moonlight Serenade, American Patrol, Little Brown Jug, Tuxedo Junction and the song that became pop history’s first gold disc, Chattanooga Choo Choo.
All your Glenn Miller favourites with big band specials, including a tribute to the Dambusters March.
Audiences of all ages will be thrilled by the sound of this amazing Big Band.
Folkworks: Rachael McShane and the Cartographers
Friday 24 April 2020, 8pm
Rachael McShane is a singer, cellist, fiddle and viola player based in the North East of England.
An original member of folk behemoth, Bellowhead, Rachael toured internationally with the band as well as making several TV appearances. Bellowhead recorded five studio albums and won a total of eight BBC Folk Awards in their 12 years together.
Rachael has more recently been singing the role of Susannah Holmes in The Transports alongside The Young’uns, Faustus, Nancy Kerr, Greg Russell and Matthew Crampton.
Rachael is now working on a new solo project of traditional songs and is playing with a brand-new band, featuring guitarist Matthew Ord (Assembly Lane) and melodeon player Julian Sutton (Kathryn Tickell, Sting).