Playlist: Grant Nicholas

Feeder frontman selects favourites gone solo...
Grant Nicholas

Feeder got big, eh? I remember the days when they’d play Eastleigh’s Home Tavern on a tour – and that’s not even a gig venue these days (it’s a Wetherspoon, of course). The Welsh rock threesome has been through its ups and downs, to say the least, since forming back in the early 1990s, but the hits speak for themselves: with ‘Buck Rogers’, ‘Just A Day’ and ‘Tumble And Fall’, the band achieved some substantial mainstream traction.

Now, though, the band’s on hiatus – their generally well-received eighth album of 2012, ‘Generation Freakshow’, marking their last studio set (to date). But fret not, Feeder fans, as the voice of the band, Grant Nicholas, is about to release a debut solo set – ‘Yorktown Heights’ comes out via Popping Candy on August 11th.

To mark this transition from band frontman to solo artist, we asked Grant to put together a playlist of his favourites who’ve taken the same step – from a group dynamic to playing all by themselves (well, you know what we mean). A solo track and one from the band the artist is best known for, following the new video for Grant’s own ‘Time Stood Still’.

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John Lennon

The Beatles – ‘Across The Universe’
“No playlist would be complete without a Beatles track. I am definitely in the Lennon camp on the songwriting side, although Paul is an incredible talent also. ‘Across The Universe’ is, I think, one of Lennon's best vocal performances. Classic.”

John Lennon – ‘Love’
“I covered ‘Beautiful Boy’ a few years back for an NME Warchild CD, and have always been a Lennon fan. Love is a timeless classic.”

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Tom Petty

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – ‘Learning To Fly’
“I sometimes do a cover of ‘Learning To Fly’ live. Petty is one of my favourite songwriters and this is such a simple, well-crafted song.”

Tom Petty – ‘Free Fallin’’
“Towards the end of the 1980s Petty went solo, although his studio musicians included members of the Heartbreakers. Stylistically similar to ‘Learning To Fly’, this is simple but massively effective.”

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Paul Simon

Simon & Garfunkel – ‘The Boxer’
“Paul Simon can sometimes be overlooked as a songwriter because there were so many great writers during this period. But he’s one of the most consistent songwriters of his generation, and I love this song.”

Paul Simon – ‘Kodachrome’
“Few realise what a great guitarist Simon is, as well. There are so many choices from his songbook, but ‘Kodachrome’ is a standout.”

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Neil Young

Neil Young – ‘A Man Needs A Maid’
“Neil’s ‘Harvest’ is one of my favourite albums and possibly the most played during the sessions for my own record. I love the arrangement of this song and I will be doing my first solo festival show at his Hyde Park show next week.” (Which already happened, obviously.) 

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – ‘Ohio’
“Some writers have likened ‘Yorktown Heights’ to the sound of Laurel Canyon. While I am very flattered, few other writers summed up that sound and period than this four. Supposedly this was done in one take.”

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Van Morrison

Van Morrison – ‘The Way Young Lovers Do’
“‘Astral Weeks’ is such a complete album. Van Morrison’s earlier releases are some of the best of this late-1960s period. He was certainly a match for many of the US writers mentioned here.”

Them – ‘Baby, Please Don’t Go’
“Probably more famous for being on film soundtracks, but the musicianship on this track is really impressive.”

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Grant Nicholas online. See him live as follows:

September
20th – The Haunt, Brighton
22nd – Ruby Lounge, Manchester
23rd – Cluny, Newcastle
25th – East Village Arts Club, Liverpool
27th – HMV Library, Birmingham
28th – The Wardrobe, Leeds
29th – Globe, Cardiff

October
1st – Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth
2nd – The Fleece, Bristol

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