If you’ve ever wondered who the drumming force is behind Robbie Williams, and bands such as Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros, The Alarm, and Archive, then wonder no more – he is affectionately known to the world as “Smiley”, (I believe his birth certificate says Steven Barnard), and he is one of the nicest people in the business, by a musical mile!
When he’s not roaming the planet behind his kit, laying down drums as a session player, or in his studio producing music for a constant stream of great artists, he somehow manages to find time to write and record his own albums – with a little help from his friends ...
Smiley’s Friends In The Afterglow, is the latest release, and it’s the antidote to the Winter Blues!
Amongst his ‘friends’ making an appearance this time are Spandau Ballet’s Steve Norman, Craig Adams from The Mission, original Jam guitarist Steve Brooks, Robbie Williams guitarist Gary Nuttall, Gary Shail from Quadrophenia, and from The Alarm, bandmates James Stevenson, and Mark Taylor, plus a stellar cast of fellow session players.
It’s quite an eclectic album – with songs inspired by love, living life to the full, social media obsessive’s, and Wigan Casino?
Delivered in style via some truly anthemic rock tunes, classic ballads, chart topping pop tunes – bit of an indie vibe, some acoustic, a dash of northern soul, a bit of punk, dare I say a bit of country ... I even hear some psychedelia.
I’m always hesitant to start and throw out suggestions of who it sounds like, but for me it’s reminiscent of Oasis in their heyday, The Jam, The Style Council, I think there’s even the next Robbie Williams number one in there!
Smiley knows what people want in a record, and he makes it happen – it just has that feelgood factor, the “turn it up” effect – call it what you will – and the magic that only Smiley can throw into the mix which, well ... just makes you smile!
It’s another treasure of an album, and will be out there for the delectation of the masses from February 1st 2018.
Available from www.sunshinecornerstudios.co.uk
We hope to catch up with the man himself in the new year, so stay tuned folks!