The track, Heart’s Rhythm, is available via:
16th November, 2018
ON this occasion...
I get to look back at songwriters who have had a rather interesting and familial start – in the sense they have been raised around music and had that connection. I also wanted to talk about standards from new artists and why I’ll be making changes next year; what we might expect from the music world in 2019; whether artists who gain a certain popularity on streaming sites need to be elevated; styles of music that are still being overlooked by the mainstream – I will end by looking at Harry Pane and where he might be heading next year. It is always interesting discovering where a musician started life and what their early experiences were. For me, I was not taught an instrument – although I tried to learn a lot – but I did have exposure to all sorts of sounds; from all different time periods and artists. It was a rich experience that compelled me to follow music more closely. I am not sure whether I would be as determined and music-focused as I am now were it not for the upbringing I had. Similarly, musicians are moulded and directed depending on how they grew up. It is fascinating to see how their sounds evolve and cement and how much they take from their past. In the case of Harry Pane, he was raised in a farmhouse in Northampton but his dad and developed his distinct finger-picking style. I can imagine the bond that was forged then and the sort of effort he put in to developing his craft. What strikes me is that rather rustic settling and how idyllic it sounds. I guess the reality was a little different but one can imagine the two Panes bonding over music and that connection being passed along. I can hear the influence of legendary Folk artists in Pane’s work but there is a distinction and originality that has come from experimentation and a sense of determination. I feel there is a danger mimicking others and being too but Pane mixes in the past and his own direction with ease and accomplishment.
There is nothing to suggest he will be under the radar and away from the mainstream for too long. I know it is challenging and hard to ascend from the underground level and get to the big leagues. Things are challenging and it is difficult to know what people want. I feel Harry Pane has had that sense of self and passion instilled into him at a young age and that has made the difference. I am not suggesting the best musicians are the ones who have had a strong music attachment and education as children but there seems to be some correlation. Pane has grown up and forged his skills on the guitar with his father’s encouragement and tutelage. It is a great scene to imagine and I can tell the earliest experiences of Pane were filled with new discoveries and practice. One can hear so many different textures and ideas in Harry Pane’s music and I can trace that back to his childhood exposure. I shall move on from this subject but I am worried more and more modern musicians are not having the same sort of strong musical upbringing that those of the past did. Pane is an exception but so many are listening to modern music and not learning an instrument. That is not a bad thing but so many are not bonding with music directly and ignoring so many of the older artists. I feel the richest and most accomplished artists of the future will be those who have a broad musical upbringing and learn an instrument. Harry Pane is a great example of what can be achieved when you have that sort of start. I am not certain whether it was his dad who spiked that love of music but that family connection and the way he was raised has directly influenced his music and ambition. I need to look forward and see what the scene is looking for in 2019.
PHOTO CREDIT: James Boardman
This year has been filled with sensational albums and some big achievements and I expect that to continue next year. The most potent and exceptional albums have looked at politics, social issues and been very ambitious. Look at the best of the British releases – from the likes of IDLES and The 1975 – and that rings true. American releases have walked a similar course and there has been a great mixture of genres. I see Hip-Hop is gaining more traction and, whilst Pop is still a dominant force; other styles and tastes are coming through and we are seeing a more varied mainstream. This is true of the top of music but, when it comes to the layers underneath, there is even more width and variation. I think those who are going to translate from the underground to the mainstream are those who can understand the need to be broad and ambitious. There have been years past where we have seen homogenisation and narrowness but that is not the case now. Harry Pane is an artist I can see succeeding in years to come and he has a solid sound but one that is flexible and varied. A lot of Singer-Songwriter/Folk acts are a bit predictable and one-dimensional and it can be difficult to promote these artists. They will succeed in their own genres and with a smaller fanbase but you can play in these genres and still incorporate other sounds and textures. I am seeing some great Pop in the underground but more and more, some great acoustic tones are being revealed. I feel Folk and Singer-Songwriter has always been pushed to the side but we will see a slight change next year. It will not completely immerse itself in the foreground but I think there is going to be that desire for something a little deeper and more contemplative. Harry Pane can pen songs that make you think but they have a definite energy.
This year has seen great artists talk about the world around them and do so with energy and exceptional potency. I think an urgency and a sense of anger has been demanded because of what is happening in politics but next year, as we see (hopefully) a bit more calm and order, there will be other tastes and sounds emerging. I think Folk will take more of a stand and I welcome that. Harry Pane will be an artist to look out for next year and study. I am excited to see where he goes and what he can come up with. The reason I have made these predictions regarding sonic evolution is the way the world is transforming. I feel what is popular and demanded is as impacted by external forces and political dramas as much as anything else. This year has been a tangled and strained one and, accordingly, artists have reacted and provided music that documents that but also makes true sense of what is happening. There have been plenty of more traditional albums – personal insights, love etc. – but it is the more charged and deep-thinking records that have resonated. I feel next year will be a calmer year and, as such, artists like Pane will have more of a say. It is clear the songwriter is looking ahead and wants to get his music to even more people. As one of the most adaptable and strong new artists around; Pane can easily navigate music’s changing tides and make his music fit. He does not need to compromise his ethics and true sound but he has a sense of flexibility that other artists can learn from. It is hard to move from the undergrowth and get to the mainstream without considering a lot of different things. I know Harry Pane will want to get to a stage where his music can inspire the larger world and, as I look around new music, there are things that need to be considered.
One of the things I have had to do as a journalist is be a lot tougher on people regarding their sound and images. This is something I mention a lot and is always on my mind. Imagery and visual outlay is crucial and artists need to realise that the visual aesthetic is as important as the sounds they are making. If musicians have a great sound but then neglect photos and how their social media pages look then that will alienate some. You have to think about every side and putting together a complete portfolio. Pane is someone who has thought of this and, whilst it would be good to see more snaps in 2019; there is a professionalism and sense of consideration that others can learn from. I see so many artists who have a sketchy and scrappy social media layout and you are not really that confident. There are few things more off-putting than an amateur look and that can be more damaging than bad/unspectacular music. Harry Pane not only had some great shots but he has personal information that lets you know where he started, where he has headed and, to an extent, where he hopes to go. Every new artist needs to put this amount of effort into their online pages and it is a great way of enticing listeners in. Pane also has good coverage across social media and, as such, a great following has arrived. His music has done a lot of the lifting but so many musicians are ignoring platforms like Twitter and it makes me a bit annoyed. I can understand if musician were not able to get a hold off all the pages and options out there but too many are ignoring sites like Twitter completely or they are not bothering to think about the visual side of what they do. Can one play by their own rules or pick and choose and expect to get as far as those who are more proactive?
I think there is too much ignorance and casualness from new artists and, given the fact the industry is tough and competitive; nobody can afford to take those risks and expect to be promoted. I have turned so many people away because they have poor/few photos or they are not on Twitter. Artists like Harry Pane are ticking all the boxes and always looking to get the work as far and wide as possible. I am not suggesting social media and visuals are the most important factor when it comes to promotion and exposure but it is essential this is not ignored. The way to get into the mind and stay in the memory is to ensure the music is strong and original but have that full visual/social media asset. Pane strikes when you hear what he is playing and, if you want to follow him and keep updated then he makes sure his fans are kept abreast. Too many do not update their pages and, as I said, their photos are pretty poor and limited. I know Pane will continue to strengthen next year and, alongside a new shoot or two, there will be more material. I will come to his latest single very soon but, until I get there, there are other things that I want to investigate. This is the time of year where artists are looking ahead to what 2019 holds but, as Spotify is so influential, they are presenting their stats and following. Artists can see how many people have streamed their music and how many nations they have reached. It is a way of boosting confidence and showing how well the music has performed. There is a danger putting too much stock in statistics and data like this – they are not true markers of quality and potential – but it is a way of seeing how many people are responding and showing the hard work is paying off.
What I am concerned about is great artists in the underground who have these impressive Spotify figures and have had to fight hard to achieve that. A lot of the stats I am seeing are from mainstream artists who have had that promotion from the site and been backed by a label. It is an unfair advantage and I feel Spotify places too much importance on Pop artists and the biggest chart acts. They can boast big figures due to that promotion and, regardless of what their music sounds like, they can be assured of great coverage. I am not accusing them of being pampered and relying on handouts but I do not feel statistics, in that sense, are about quality and what is needed in music. So much of what they are boasting is sites such as Spotify promoting them above everything else and seeing them as trendy and cool. Newer artists have a tougher time of things and have to rely on never-ending work and pushing their own music as much as they can. Does Spotify do enough to ensure new acts like Harry Pane are as prominent and exposed as possible? It is hard to keep a hold off all the new acts but there is still too much focus put onto the mainstream artists and those who are commercial. I am aware (that these artists) have a market and deserve promotion but so many rising acts are not getting the credit and push they deserve. In any case; it is good to see the new breed boast how well they have done and it is testament to their determination and passion that they can do this. I wonder whether music has become too focused on number and whether we need to judge music on the basis of quality rather than streaming figures. Can we truly say someone like Drake is better than Harry Pane?! He is more popular and has a larger following but stack their music together and, even objectively, the gap is a lot narrower than Spotify figures would suggest.
A lot occurs within the first few seconds of Heart’s Rhythm. There is something in the background, yearning from strings, that gives some ache and longing whilst Pane enters with a tumbling and fast-flowing acoustic tone. That distinct and strong finger-picking style lifts the song and brings in more colour. It is a great blend of sounds and ensures you are invested right from the off. It would be easy to stuff too much energy and movement into the introduction but Pane strikes a great balance. It is a gorgeous sound that reminds one of the great Folk artists and how they could command before a single note is sung. The guitar imbues so much atmosphere and visual magic as the notes bounce and the sound changes. Pane goes from the rousing and high-pitches tumble to the more grumbled and low-note swoon that mingles together superbly. It is amazing to hear his dexterity and how evocative he is without singing. I was stunned by the sound and how it made me feel. You get a real sense of a heart beating and changing emotions; a real story being unveiled and so much life crammed in. There is a low thud of percussion that gives another layer to the song and, before you become completely immersed in the winding and sweeping guitar, the hero comes to the microphone. It seems love is being assessed and uncovered but done so in a different way to most artists. There are thorns and walls; a sense of the physical and natural world that is used to describe the unpredictable nature of passion. Maybe things have changed for Pane and the heroine but it seems like there has been a disruption of change of fortune that brings him to now. Although there have been some pains and harder times; the feeling coming through is a man who wants to hold her tight. The two have matching colours and the passion that comes from Pane is pure.
The love he is receiving courses through the veins and it is intoxicating. You cannot overlook the strength of that affection and how it has affected him. The two have faced challenges and hurdles but the connection they have is strong. From the early sound where we had the guitar placed at the front and was taken somewhere wonderful; Pane is not at the forefront with his voice and creating the same sort of impact as he did with the guitar. The hero wants to hold the girl as their hearts beat and not really let her go. The composition continues to drive the song and there is a great mix of Folk and, oddly, a bit of Country. One hears a distinct twang that evokes the U.S. South. The lyrics speak about connecting heartbeats and synchronicity and there is simplicity in the language that means the words stick and you remember them after the song has ended. The composition never seems simple and straight. It has so many different aspects and angles that delight the senses and perfectly compliment the foreground. The heart is a complex and delicate thing and, as such, Pane is up to the task. It is a wonderful brew that mixes the classic and modern. For those who are new to Singer-Songwriter and Folk; you have a great song here that evokes memories of Nick Drake and other legends but seems very modern and new. There is graveness in the voice that mixes with the feather-light and delicate. This might be a risky combination in lesser hands – Pane masters it and creates a song that is masterful and stunning. I was constantly amazed by Heart’s Rhythm and the guitar tones fused together. It is hard to keep up with all the diversions, twists and sounds that create such a fantastic backdrop and sensation.
The lyrics are as striking and I am pleased to see a positive long song emerge. So many artists are negative and dour and it is unusual to find someone speaking hopefully. Pane and his love have faced brier and harsh winds but it seems their connection and relationship is stronger than the ill fates and storms that crop up. The hero would live a lonely life, as he says, without the heroine by his side and it is that faith and declaration that gets under the skin. I like the way the song swoops and goes from quiet to loud. It has a definite movement and energy that keeps you involved and hooked until the very end. I was stunned by the end of the track and went back to listen again. Not only does one experience that epic and incredible guitar but you get to experience lyrics that everyone can relate to and have a definite sense of positivity to them. Pane balances the optimism of the song with something more shadowy and moonlit. Heart’s Rhythm is a fantastic track that takes you away and really makes an impact. I am predicting great things for Harry Pane and think he will accomplish a huge amount next year. Maybe we do overlook Folk quite a bit but I feel that is not to do with a lack of quality and limited mobility. There are so many great artists in the genre who warrant bigger focus but are being overlooked by the mainstream. This has to change and I feel the likes of Harry Pane can lead that charge. He has crafted a gem of a song and, as 2018 comes to an end, many eyes and ears will be trained his way! Congratulations to a terrific young songwriter who I can see getting to the mainstream a lot sooner than most of his peers. In a competitive, changing and charged music world, that is no mean feat. Do not pass by Harry Pane’s latest revelation!
PHOTO CREDIT: James Boardman
Harry Pane is someone who has gained praise from some big names and, throughout his career, has collaborated and evolved what he does. He has appeared in the U.S. at SXSW and one cannot overlook how far he has come. I opened by talking about family and that early spark. Pane would be the first to look back in amazement at how far he has come. Could he have ever imagined, in that family farmhouse years ago, that he would be where he is now? Maybe there was that dream and hope but could have envisaged what direction his career would take? It is amazing to think about that start and look at where he is right now. There is a lot more to do and the songwriter will have plenty of ambitions and aims for 2019. He has accomplished a lot this year and, with singles like Heart’s Rhythm, got to new lands and recruited fresh followers. I think music will change next year and we will see certain genres gain more of a foothold. It will be interesting to see what unfolds but I feel Pane will gain a new following and traction. I know he is busy planning gigs and already has dates lined up – look at his social media pages and keep informed. It is the way he has managed his social media page; the bond he has with fans and that exceptional music that has created this demand and means that he will head into the New Year with a determination and sense of pride. That is humbling and heartening to see and I hope Pane gets requests for gigs internationally. He has a great following in the U.K. but I know there will be many around the world who wants to see him perform.
The U.S. would be a great country to do a mini-tour and I am not sure whether he already has dates there. Wherever he heads next year, he has done a great deal in 2018 and it has been a very successful time for him. If you have not discovered Harry Pane and feel that his music will not be for you then give him a try and do not jump to conclusions. I think many of us get a rather limited impression of what a genre is about or assume we will not like an artist because they play Folk or Rap. I feel we all need to be a bit bolder with our tastes and would certainly recommend Harry Pane as a must-hear right now. He has proved himself strong and original and there is a lot more to come from him. With precious gig experience and fond regard on both sides of the Atlantic; I feel 2019 will be his biggest year yet. I shall wrap things up but I wanted to bring Pane to new eyes and it is great to see him grow and strike. So many great Folk sounds have been provided this year and I feel they are second fiddle to other genres. I mentioned how music will change next year and I think this gives underground/rising musicians like Harry Pane a change to forge forward and gain new ground. I know he will continue to stride and dream and why wouldn’t he? What he is putting out into the world is exceptional and definitely has its own identity. That is quite rare and, alongside that, we have a rounded and complete musician who has a definite star quality about him. Give him some backing, check out his latest single and get to grips with his impressive back catalogue. Harry Pane has achieved a lot already but I feel, as we look ahead to 2019, he can go even further and establish himself as one of the...
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