Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Back In The Arms Of L.A. (Cavern Club Recaps)

From David Bash's introduction of me at IPO Liverpool: "If this music doesn't get you to dance, then you're a cadaver!"

It was a triumphant Saturday matinee on the Cavern Club's Main Stage. Once again, the sound was amazing (thanks, Ricky). That has to be one of the best stages on planet Earth for performers. I'm very thankful I've had two opportunities to play it. There were plenty of ladies dancing and the fellas were down with the sound, too. And the Set List says:
Fall Out
Roosevelt's Revue
U Had The $
Everything My Heart Desires
Sucka
A Talent For Loving

The tour ended on a high as we stormed the iconic, brick front stage at the Cavern Club for the first time on Sunday. It was high energy considering how late the slot was.
Set List:
U Had The $
Fall Out
Hold On, I'm Coming
Everything My Heart Desires
Coming Up
Sucka
A Talent For Loving

Thanks again to David Bash and IPO for having me. I'll be performing at the Los Angeles version of IPO in August. Check the dates on my US show schedule. Hot fun in the summertime!

I'm back in L.A. after all of that left hand side of the road driving. Thanks to the band: Astro & Sterke were amazing and I couldn't have done it without them. We had a good time hoofing around the UK. Leeds Castle; Christ Church College in Oxford; the tour of the Lennon & McCartney childhood homes. We rounded out the weekend with a visit to Strawberry Field in Liverpool. And we stopped briefly in Wrexham, Wales on the way back to London's outskirts.

The flight home was fine. Our friends, the SparklejetsUK were on board too. I watched plenty of good movies, including "There Will Be Blood." Which I thought was mesmerizing.

Before I sign off, I gotta thank a few more people for making the tour a success.Thank you to Anne & Andrew for your support, The Foxes for the gear and camaraderie, and especially Patty for the navigation, photography and support.

I'll get more pictures posted shortly.

Peace & Disco Beats

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Bringing Heat To The Cavern Pub

Hey Y'all,
I'm chilling at the Dock with some Twinings Everyday Tea and Lotus Biscuits (thanks, Anne).

The Cavern Pub was like the center of the sun. Hot! The set was full-tilt boogie. The Liverpuddlians were grooving to the tunes, for sure. I know I left everything on the stage. Astro went all rock and roll on us with his bloody knuckle. Sterke was blazing, too.

The band before me, the Palominos were very good. They warmed things up nicely. The crowd at the Cavern Pub got into my songs immediately; that's my kind of audience. Well over 100 people in a very small, subterranean venue. Place was packed and here's what the people rocked out, too:
Fall Out
U Had The $
Everyone's Ingenue
Sucka
Everything My Heart Desires
A Talent For Loving

Don't forget, there are two big shows remaining at the Cavern Club Saturday.
4.30 PM in the Back Stage.
2.45 AM in the iconic Front Stage. Technically this show is Sunday Morning.
Both shows are FREE.

Tomorrow during the day, we are doing the National Trust's tour of the Lennon & McCartney childhood homes. Should be fascinating.
Peace & Disco Beats

Friday, May 23, 2008

Less Lost In Liverpool

Hey Everyone,
we are safely in Liverpool. I only took proper turns today in Liverpool. Directly to the hotel. Which was good. I made several errant turns in Oxford this afternoon, where we stopped to visit Christ Church College (a part of the University).

CCC is where several scenes for the first two Harry Potter movies were shot (specifically in the great hall and it's staircase). The school property and it's inhabitants also inspired Lewis Carroll to write Alice In Wonderland. Also, the college's cathedral was used as a place of worship by John Wesley, who formed the Methodists. The church is also the resting place of John Locke; the actual John Locke, not the character from Lost. Time did not permit a visit to Magdalene College where Tolkien & CS Lewis wrote most of their land mark works.

Upon our rainy arrival, Astro and I walked over to the Cavern Club to check out the scene. The place was packed. That's a great sign for the International Pop Overthrow Fest. Ran into the SparklejetsUK before their set. They sounded really good. We also went across the street to visit the Cavern Pub, my venue tomorrow night: more intimate and very warm (temperature-wise).

Gotta get some sleep. It was a long day of driving through the Midlands. My hand is cramping and I'm falling asleep as I type. Hope to see some of you tomorrow. The shows at the Cavern Pub and the Cavern Club are FREE! And make sure to follow us back to the Cavern Club to check out the Foxes (Friday).

Peace and Discobeats

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Maidstone's A Hit

Hey Y'all,
thanks to everyone who came to the Zebra for our show tonight. And thanks to the Foxes who lent us gear. Foxes, you rock. The Zebra is a nice large venue and I had fun time playing there. No matter what the circumstances (like a huge football match), I'm bringing it. Special thanks to those who bought CDs. Enjoy the music! Also, thanks to Sue, James and the staff of the Zebra. What a gift to be able to come here to perform. And Sterke and Astro really brought their A Game. A beautiful night.

For those of you coming to the Liverpool shows, spoiler alert.

Here's tonight's set list:

Fall Out
U Had The $
Everyone's Ingenue
Sucka
I Can't Cry For You
Everything My Heart Desires
Coming Up
A Talent For Loving

I plan on inserting a few different songs in the set the next few shows.

Prior to the show, we visited Leeds Castle a few miles up the road. It was serene and amazing. A thousand year old piece of property with some of the most beautiful landscape ever. The falconry demonstration has me rethinking my career choices. Ha ha.

Tomorrow I'm heading north. See you in Liverpool. And I highly recommend that you check out the Foxes while you are Merseyside. They will also be playing IPO.

Peace & Love

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Dispatch From The Road: Paris, FR

Hey Everyone. I know it's been several days since my last post, but my trip has been jam-packed with activity.

First of all, we arrived safely on Thursday. Thanks to everyone praying for a safe trip. It was like a season's worth of Amazing Race boiled into one day on Thursday: navigate the 405 during rush hour; bear a 10 hour transatlantic flight in a crackerjack box; take 3 trains in London; sleep underwater; speak French to a cabbie; and find Mike Tyson in less than 24 hours.

It's true. I met Mike as we disembarked, he was on his way to the Cannes film festival. Naturally.

Now I will warn you. This blog contains few references to music. Although we heard plenty today at the churches we visited in Honfleur (a very sharp organist) and Rouen.

Friday was a whirlwind of site seeing in Paris. It turned out to be a gorgeous day, and it was actually hot. OK. Top of the Eiffel Tower. Notre Dame Cathedral. Louvre in the early evening. In between, lots of good eats at Cojean, Bleu Canard and Juveniles. This is my fourth trip to Paris and there are always the obvious places to visit, but they can't be missed.

My favorites at the Louvre are Raphael's La Belle Jardiniere (it's Mary with Jesus and John the Baptist as children) and Veronese's Wedding At Cana. No matter where you stand in the room, Jesus's eyes follow you from Veronese's wall sized canvas. Very moving. Especially considering this painting is across the room from the Mona Lisa. And seeing the Raphael up close is stunning.

Then yesterday, Patty and I hopped in a car and literally drove the Normandy coast checking out D Day monuments and memorials. It's lush countryside. Farmland dotted with churches and countless tiny towns. The rain rolled in at Arromanches where the British landed and brought in the Mulberry Harbor. We actually walked out onto the beach and got pretty close to the remaining hulk of landing gear.

Storm clouds and intermittent showers made our visit to the American Cemetery particularly moody. That is a moving experience. Seeing Omaha beach and the 9000 grave markers is breathtaking. They have a small non-denominational chapel, so I gave thanks for all those fighting men and those who survived. We're almost on the D Day anniversary. I have seen several famous battlegrounds, including Waterloo and Gettysburg and it always amazes me how serene and peaceful they are. Hard to picture the destruction and carnage.

I have no idea how many miles (or km's) we logged, but it was a plenty. A lot of long and winding roads through Normandy to get to Mont St. Michel. The abbey was closing, but we still hoofed it up the hillside to take in the setting and the view. France is so far North that it didn't really get dark until after 9 PM. As a result we didn't wait to see the Mont lit up. From there we zipped back East to Honfleur.

Today, we strolled the old harbor town of Honfleur. Charming, in a word. Today the local post office was celebrating Champlain's arrival at Quebec, Canada 400 years ago. Champlain's ship set off from Honfleur, so that was a logical location for a first day stamp cancellation. This little fishing village has a lot of ateliers (or studios) and I wondered how can the community support all of those artists or vice versa, but it does. Oh, by the way, driving in France easier than in the UK, 'cause you're on the right, tougher because those streets are narrow! The harbor actually looks like New Orleans Square and parts of Pirates Of The Caribbean (the ride). I mean that in a good way.

Our last stop before Paris was the Cathedral in Rouen. That place is a mess. The Church, begun in 1190, caught fire in 1200. Took them 400 years to lay the last stone. Then was bombed out in 1944, reopening in the '50s. Then in 1999, day after Christmas, a tornado ripped it up. And they still haven't finished repairing it. Can you imagine your family being members of that parish over 800 years and practically no one saw it as designed?

And don't get me started about the blight upon blight that surrounds the Cathedral. Yeah, Joan of Arc was burned at the stake there, but the citizens must have martyred taste and civility too. Rouen's heart and soul looks like a sad outlet mall & smells like used wine. Oh and we saw battling street accordionists. I don't know how you land a punch with that thing around your neck. Am I being too harsh? Maybe. But if I had paid money to stay in Rouen, I'd be shaking a fist.

That being said: I'm thankful to have had the opportunity to see the Cathedral at Rouen that so inspired Monet's famous series of paintings.

From the hotel room, I can see the Eiffel Tower and it's all lit up. Like the Rouen panhandler waving his big, empty green bottle at the daytrippers. Seriously. The Tower is incredible and just another reminder that there is a lot of beauty out there among the steel and concrete. And FYI, I drove through the roundabout at the Arc de Triomphe tonight. Yes, I did. Like a local!

Tomorrow, we'll check out Sacre Coeur and view Paris from the north. Pictures to come. Check out myspace and you'll see one of Mike Tyson and me. That man has BIG hands. And apparently larger opinions about the cinema.

Bon soir, mes amis.

Peace & Disco Beats

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Pop Matters Reviews "TALENT" 8 Out Of 10!

Hey Y'all, here's the latest review for the hottest newest. You know who! First the BBC, now this. Lord have mercy: Literarily!

Review starts here:

Norman Kelsey's A Talent for Loving is a non-stop, dusk 'til dawn party. From the opening beat of the title track, which is both boastful and believable, to the closing command of "Love Someone", Kelsey takes you from the bar to the dance floor to the bedroom and back again several sweat-soaked times. He's a soulful R&B powerhouse vocalist, and he's somehow managed to combine perfectly some of the best elements of '60s-era soul and Motown with a sense of style and command not seen since Prince was at his funkiest. Tracks like "Done Lost My Mind" highlight Kelsey's slow, seductive, soul skills, while songs such as "Fall Out" will, as the chorus says, "Rock you so hard / We falling out of your bed." No worries if you're all alone, either. A Talent for Loving will have you dancing your ass off all night, flying on a rhythm-induced endorphin high.

Rating 8 out of 10.

By Christel Loar
13 May 2008

Visit the Pop Matters website
A TALENT FOR LOVING

Monday, May 12, 2008

BBC Radio Debuts "Everything My Heart Desires"

Hey All, big news!
Mr. Craig Charles, one of the UK's biggest funk and soul DJs (and star of the cult sci-fi comedy show "Red Dwarf" & "Coronation Street"), played "Everything My Heart Desires" on his show Saturday night on BBC Radio's 6 Music. Be sure to send in your request to hear the song again. Follow the link to get to his playlist from Saturday. Follow the links from there to check out more info about Mr. Charles' funky tastemaking programme. You can even listen to a stream of the show and hear the song!
The Craig Charles Funk & Soul Show

What a blessing on the eve of my tour.
Big ups to Mr. Charles and his listeners.
More updates to come, gotta run.
Have a great week everybody. See you in Britain!

Peace & Funky Beats!

Monday, May 05, 2008

"Beyond The Norm" By Kara Pound For Folio Weekly

Hey y'all, here is my interview with Folio Weekly. In its entirety. Check it out! The article appeared in the April 29, 2008 issue of the Jacksonville, FL based magazine. Also, for friends and fans on Myspace, U Had The $ was added as a new streaming single!

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Filed under Pop Funk

BEYOND THE NORM – By Kara Pound,
Folio Weekly

Dashing, debonair Norman Kelsey is an old soul with a funky new sound.

Norman Kelsey’s debut solo album, released at the beginning of this year, is described in the press material as “sexy dance floor fillers, heart-stopping slow jams and a stadium anthem about universal love.” Unlike the glad-handing drivel issued by most record label PR departments, this description is surprisingly accurate. “I really enjoy writing songs that are poppy, that people will want to dance to and smile when they hear the lyrics,” says Kelsey of the songs on “A Talent For Loving.”

The dashing 39-year old Jacksonville native and graduate of Terry Parker High School says he never realized his vocal abilities as a youngster. “I was kicked out of church choirs and removed from school choirs, so I didn’t really thing I could sing,” he says. “I liked singing, but nobody ever said ‘Hey, you’re a good singer,’ until my friends from high school [commented on my voice].

Kelsey is referring to a talent show during his senior year when his friends put a band together and asked him to sing. What seemed at first to be a novelty grew into a passion. “That was really where the bug bit me, and from that point on, all other aspirations kinda went to the side.”

After the talent show, the band, called The Flaming Yogurt, made its public debut at long-since-defunct alt-rock club Einstein a Go-Go in Jacksonville Beach. “One of the great memories of my musical career was playing there and knowing that that was the place to play at the time and that it has obtained legendary status,” says Kelsey. But the West Coast called, and soon Kelsey left his bandmates for LA.

For the past 15 years, Kelsey has been living and working on his solo career in Tinseltown while touring the UK as lead singer of Rush Hour Soul. He says that places like Liverpool dig his pop sound, which he considers thematically universal. “I try to take inspiration from just about everything,” says Kelsey. “People I meet, experiences that I have, books I read, if I see a movie that I think has a really great title.”

Kelsey is also heavily influenced by his Jacksonville childhood. Back in the ‘80s, Northeast Florida was a great place to see music, Kelsey says; he counts Duran Duran, Hall & Oates and Tom Petty among the bands he enjoyed seeing.

His friends back home still regard his career choice as strange, he imagines. “I think everyone thought I was going to be a politician or run for some sort of office,” says Kelsey. “But, actually, music is a better way to reach people, I think, and effect change in society.”