What does he do?

In summary

  • Writes and record original songs.
  • Gives solo live performances.
  • Provides live backing for other musicians - soloists or bands, including acting as accompanist on piano or guitar.
  • Works as session musician for recording artists.
  • Takes commissions for songwriting or composition including original songs for other artists, music for existing lyrics, lyrics for existing music, and songs or instrumental music for the theatre or related arts.

Songwriting and composition 

THE SUBJECTS of Clive's songs cover a wide canvas.

BoltonHis first CD A Northern Man reflects his interest in local history - it presents snapshots of life in and around his home town of Bolton (above, circa 1895) over the last 200 years and includes incidents involving members of his own family. He continues to develop songs on historical themes.

He has a stock of songs covering observations on personal experiences and the human condition and human relationships (what Balzac called "La Comédie Humaine") as well as those 'big' questions that concern us all but many can't put into words.

In addition, he looks for traditional stories, poems and lyrics to which there aren't any tunes - or at least where he doesn't know an established tune - and sets them to original music, usually in a traditional style. Some might call these 'fake songs' but they may be among the folk songs of the future.

Clive has worked extensively in theatrical productions and has written songs and instrumental music for stage shows.

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Guitar headstockCLIVE'S main instruments are piano and guitar but he can get a tune or a rhythm out of most things, as is demonstrated on "A northern man" where he also plays electric guitar, mandolin, piano accordion, whistle, recorder, harmonica, synthesizer and percussion as well as providing lead and harmony vocals.

He's often accompanied other vocalists and instrumentalists and can rapidly achieve the rapport needed to enhance their live performances. Accompaniment is a skill that's quite different from 'playing in a band'. The accompanist needs to 'read' the soloist so as to allow him or her to find expression in the music and Clive is particularly adept in this role.

He's been recording for over 30 years and can work as a session musician on specific instruments or backing vocals or even as a 'one-man band' in support of any musician looking for a range of musical skills from a single source.

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WITH HIS background in the classical repertoire plus wide experience in the fields of pop, rock, blues, folk and acoustic music, Clive is at home in most musical genres.

KeysHis piano style is rooted in his classical training, supplemented by several years of developing song arrangements with Auld Triangle and Bandersnatch, and has evolved into a recognisable lyrical approach with a wide dynamic range and a sensitive touch.

On acoustic and electric guitar he plays finger style, often in altered tunings, as well as flatpicked rhythm and lead guitar.

He can work from sheet music but is also an experienced improviser, both instrumentally and vocally, with a natural ear for harmony, rhythm, melody and chord changes.

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IN SOLO live performance, Clive mainly concentrates on his own original material. Accompaniments are usually on piano or acoustic guitar.

PerformanceHe's played many folk clubs, festivals, and acoustic venues and thrives in a concert setting where he can engage with the audience and expand on the background to the songs. For the smaller venue, he's 'self-contained', having small portable amplification on-stage. He's also comfortable working with PA in larger venues.

Then there's the smaller gatherings, such as 'house concerts' where solo performers or small accoustic groups can play in an intimate setting for relatively few people; these are already very popular in the US and Clive is keen to see them develop in the UK.

With his wealth of experience playing in working with bands over many years, he's happy to provide support for solo musicians or bands with a need for extra players or singers.

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CLIVE has a broad range of talents which can be applied in many ways. Here's the 'sales brochure'.


Copyright © 2005 Clive Leyland