DANNY & THE CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD

‘BRILLIANT LIGHT’

30 JUNE 2017

BRILLIANT LIGHT (30 June 2017)

★★★★
Q

“more hooks than a fisherman’s tackle box… It’s jam packed with great tunes” ★★★★★
DAILY EXPRESS

“Some things remain constant… not least Wilson’s unfailing feel for Southern/Celtic soul melodies, and his eloquence of sentiment never allowing affection for his inspirations to lead him in the direction of pointless pastiche when he could break your heart or make you smile instead” ★★★★
MOJO

“Deservedly likened to All Things Must Pass in its scope and ambition, this is assuredly their masterpiece, an aural aurora borealis that will illuminate your musical life.”
FOLK RADIO

“Stunningly good.”
SHIRE FOLK

“Danny & The Champions of the World have produced something, not just special, but damned awesome.” ★★★★★
LIVERPOOL SOUUND & VISION

“superb”
ROOTSTIME

★★★★
ROCKFARBROR

WHAT KIND OF LOVE (2015)

2016 UK AMERICANA MUSIC AWARDS WINNER
– 
UK SONG OF THE YEAR (Clear Water)
UK ALBUM OF THE YEAR (What Kind Of Love)
UK ARTIST OF THE YEAR

 

  • EL PAÍS ESPAÑA AMERICANA BEST OF 2015 – #2
  • BBC RADIO LONDON ROBERT ELMS’ FAVOURITE SONGS OF 2015 – Clear Water
  • BBC RADIO ULSTER RALPH MCLEAN’S BEST ROOTS ALBUMS OF 2015
  • AMERICANA UK VISITOR’S BEST BAND OF 2015 – #1 (3rd year running)
  • AMERICANA UK VISITOR’S BEST ALBUM OF 2015 – #1
  • AMERICANA UK VISITOR’S BEST LIVE ACT OF 2015 – #1 (2nd year running)
  • BEAT SURRENDER BEST OF 2015 – #3
  • THREE CHORDS AND THE TRUTH TOP 20 FAVOURITE GIGS 2015 – #5
  • THREE CHORDS AND THE TRUTH TOP 40 FAVOURITE ALBUMS 2015 – #37
  • BLABBER ’N’ SMOKE FAVOURITE ALBUMS 2015
  • FOLK & TUMBLE TOP 50 OF 2015 – #20
  • WOODYJAGGER TOP 20 ALBUMS OF 2015 – #7

 

“If there’s a better country soul band in the UK, hats may have to be eaten”
★★★★
MOJO

“makes you sing along with a smile of shared pleasure and a nod of shared recognition of hurt. Like the best kind of southern country and soul.”
★★★★
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

“One of my favourite-ever songwriters… What Kind Of Love is the Champs’ most ebullient, charismatic set yet.”
“utterly joyous, ageless, timeless and guileless. Nothing guilty here, only pleasure.”
STEVIE CHICK (MOJO / THE GUARDIAN)

“Breathtaking.”
“Danny Wilson and his boys have made the blue-eyed soul classic of all time – an album that pays homage to classic soul while adding enough originality to make the collection worthy of a place next to those classic albums cut in the golden age of soul.”
PENNYBLACK MUSIC

“Imagine Springsteen filtered through a trunk of Stax 45s”
★★★★
AMERICANA UK

“simply exemplary – Folks, we have a new benchmark!”
FATEA

“Danny And The Champions of the World have struck gold”
★★★★★
RENOWNED FOR SOUND

“very impressive – one of the albums of the year so far”
★★★★
GIGSLUTZ

“the feelgood album of the summer”
★★★★★
R2 MAGAZINE

★★★★★
BLUESDOODLES

“a diverse delight”
★★★★
THE SUN

★★★★
NEMM

“What Kind Of Love confirms, if we needed it, that Danny Wilson is one of the country’s most direct, thoughtful lyricists when addressing real human emotions.”
EVEN THE STARS

“brassy, Caledonian soul that will inevitably prompt thoughts of Van (and perhaps Sam Cooke) tempered with northern and Memphis colours and burnished with some country pedal steel – an unabashedly upbeat and romantic album”

FOLK RADIO

“the band’s rich mix of roots and soul is intoxicating throughout, whilst Danny’s voice oozes sophistication, seducing the listener with each and every note – simply flawless, a sensational collection that’ll resonate with anyone who’s ever felt that heartstrings pulled”

RHYTHM & BOOZE

“A joyful riot of Caledonian soul, proud horns, country pedal steel and ballads that either break your heart or send it soaring, What Kind Of Love contains some of Danny Wilson’s greatest music yet”
SLATE THE DISCO

“a gorgeous slice of soul-infused country, with brassy trumpets and slide guitars vying for attention, and yet it is the candour and honesty of the songwriting that ultimately shines through. Danny’s voice, as ever, simply bleeds passion throughout.”
★★★★
OUTLINE

“An album that just burns with an affirmation for life and music – this is just the album to play with the car windows wound down!”
10/11
THE ROCK CLUB

“slick, soulful music – the sort that will evoke good vibes in years to come.”
THE DIGITAL FIX

“Wilson’s delivery is straight out of the Otis Redding playbook and it works.”
NO DEPRESSION

“from a band that has already proven itself time and time again, this new release seems to reach the zenith of their sound so far”
★★★★
MYSTIC SONS

“The hooks are profound and effective with a vice-like grip ensuring every second of this outstanding collection is savoured.”
THREE CHORDS AND THE TRUTH

★★★★
TOXIC ONLINE


LIVE REVIEWS


“a truly impressive live act”
GIGSOUP

“Simply spellbinding”
REDROSPECTIVE

BRILLIANT LIGHT (2017)
WHAT KIND OF LOVE (2015)

Here come Danny & The Champions Of The World writing themselves large, giving themselves the space, and taking the time, to deliver a magnum opus. With Brilliant Light Danny Wilson has made his All Things Must Pass – a big record of hit after hit stretching over two albums plus a further bonus set of instrumentals. He’s allowed both himself and his band the absolute freedom to explore, experiment, and collaborate, and they’ve grabbed it with both hands. Hidden away somewhere in this diverse collection you’ll find the question “can we release ourselves back into the brilliant light?”. For Danny the brilliant light is creativity, but more than that it’s collaborative creativity, and the process of birthing these songs, both by design and then serendipity, has been to maximise the creative potential of all The Champs.

The two previous Champs collections Stay True (2013) and What Kind Of Love (2015) were recorded in intensive ten day stints. The songs written and rehearsed, the musicians gathered in North London at bassist Chris Clarke’s Reservoir Studios and tracked everything at one fell swoop. This time around Danny wanted something different allowing an all-encompassing view of what the band was capable of. They started going into Reservoir once a month, recording what they had live, without too much reflection or correction, and then putting those results in a box and leaving them be. Every month saw a scramble to find songs to record requiring an encouragement to every band member to bring something to the table. Writing with guitarist Paul Lush for What Kind Of Love had proved liberating to Danny who’d rarely co-composed since writing with brother Julian for his previous band Grand Drive. It was exciting and rejuvenating. Scary too but reawakening, and so he’d repeatedly be asking, “have you got an idea for a song?” and as the months passed and the cache grew more things were tried; different configurations, other collaborators, and along the way a cluster of instrumentals arrived too.

Of the eighteen songs here only ‘Waiting For The Right Time’ is solely composed by Danny; personal philosophy, reflections on Ronnie Lane, and a paean to neckerchief rock all rolled into one. It’s the same spirit imbuing his music-making all the way from the early Champs barn shows in rural Oxfordshire with cider and painted faces; it found particular expression on Streets Of Our Time (2010) but burns through Brilliant Light just as strongly and shows up in the singalong ‘Everything We Need’. Chris Clarke co-wrote that, and with John Wheatley of The Suburban Dirts came up with the soulful Arthur Alexander-ish ‘It Hit Me’. Guitarist Paul Lush provided ‘Never In The Moment’ – a hard-hitting number with a lot of brass and something akin to The Band doing ‘The Weight’ with The Staple Singers. The beautiful ‘Coley Point’, one of Danny’s personal highlights, sees him set a tune to words by Caught By The River‘s resident poet Will Burns. ‘Bring Me To My Knees’ and the cryptic ‘The Circus Made The Town’ are both co-writes with James Yorkston, while Polly Paulusma and Carra Bacon contribute to ‘Swift Street’. Deeply personal and inspired by three family photographs; Swift Street in Melbourne is where Danny’s mother grew up, and where in childhood he stayed with his grandparents. The song is near-Proustian in its recall of smells and tastes of past days.

You can’t overstate the importance of family and friends to Danny. It was surely, in part, a kind of loyalty to Julian that he didn’t co-compose for so long after the demise of Grand Drive; certainly until now, and Andy Fairclough’s arrival, there had been no specialist keyboard player in the Champs. Andy brings a Mod sensibility, a jazz grounding, and a fearlessness to the band. He plainly pushes Paul Lush, already a key improviser in live performance. You see them raising the bar for each other in the run-outs of two of the longer songs; ‘Consider Me’ and ‘ Gotta Get Things Right In My Life’. Giving them free rein and allowing them the space to show what they regularly do on the stage was another reason for the extended format, though it’s not entirely coincidental that The Allman Brothers, and Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield, have been much on Danny’s turntable over the last year or so. Thus Brilliant Light is shone on a year in the life of the Champs and all the pieces are seen in play; Chris Clarke on production duty, and with Steve Brookes comprising the formidable rhythm section. Geoff Widdowson still blowing on that alto sax, and Henry Senior Jr ensconced on the pedal steel. Robin and Joe Bennett from The Dreaming Spires, Siobhan Parr, Danni Nicholls, and Treetop Flyer Reid Morrison all singing along, and from time to time a pair of brass players (Gram Canyon and Craig Chapman) and another sax (Helleanor Fitt).

The Champs are understandably proud of what they’ve achieved. Chris Clarke says outright it’s the best record this line-up has come up with so far, while for Danny it’s “a bit like taking a peek into somebody’s house; there’s great stuff that immediately grabs your attention, and then there’s other stuff and you start out thinking it might be a bit mundane but as the whole picture takes shape it proves to be incredibly beautiful”. That’s typical Danny Wilson, a brave stab at modesty but far too honest to sell himself short. He and his band are already much loved; for their whole-hearted openness, their democracy, and their sheer joy in what they do. They’re going to be loved too for this record. Very soon Brilliant Light will be the soundtrack to an awful lot of people’s lives, and that is no small achievement.

Press photos by Peter James Millson

Click individual images to download hi-res version

MANAGEMENT: Tom Bridgewater | Loose

LABEL: Loose


PRINT: Tom Bridgewater | Loose

ONLINE: Loose Press | Loose

PR/RADIO (Germany): Miriam Barzynski | Rough Trade


BOOKING AGENT: Phil Simpson | Strada Music

BOOKING AGENT (SPAIN): Gorka Baraiazarra | Noise On Tour