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Thursday, 20 September 2012

EXCLUSIVE: Annie Haslam of Renaissance interview (Part three)

And so our exclusive Annie Haslam Interview trundles on to day two of three. You can, by the way, read part one HERE, and part two HERE. In this final part, we talk about Bob Dylan, Steve Howe and other ex-members of Yes, and all sorts of other things...

Jon: I tell you what else I heard today, is your It’s Alright Now Baby Blue

Annie: Oh yes, gosh yes. Steve  and I … I put on a benefit concert in New York in 1995 called Lilies in the Field, and Steve and I wrote the song Lilies in the Field for it, and I, along with 20th Century Guitar Magazine we arranged this – it was a lot of work to pull in all the musicians for this concert to benefit the orphans in Sarajevo, and Justin Hayward came on board, Roy Wood, Cheap Trick, Steve Howe, BB Snow, it was phenomenal. It was an amazing evening.  And after that Steve and I decided that we wanted to write something together, so I went over to England and stayed with him in Devon and we wrote some songs together. 

Unfortunately, while I was there Jon Anderson called up to get Yes together, and the I knew at that point that, you know, there wouldn’t be time for him to do both, so it was great until that ‘phone call, but we wrote some beautiful things together and I remember one night we had been recording, and we went out into the local village and had dinner, and a couple of glasses of wine and went back, and we were going to a bit more work in the morning.  And we got back, and it was really late and I was just about to retire and Steve said, ‘Annie I’m doing an album of Bob Dylan songs, how do you fancy doing It’s All Over Now Baby Blue?’  I said: ‘Now?’ and he said ‘You want to try it?’  I don’t drink before I sing, but anyway I did that and that is what it was. Me on a couple of glasses of wine. Not a couple of bottles, but a couple of glasses. Yeah, it came out well, because when I first started singing I sounded just like Joan Baez, until I went to an opera singing teacher and was trained to find my own voice.

Jon: I can see that, yeah I can imagine that.  Had you already done the backing track already, or did you do it together?

Annie: Let me think.  I think we may have done it together. I’m not sure, but it was only the two of us.

Jon: It sounds like it, it sounds like the arrangement was done around you, rather than you fitting around the arrangement.

Annie: That was a great experience working with Steve.

Jon: I’m a massive Bob Dylan fan, and most people can’t sing Bob Dylan. The fact that Bob Dylan has got an idiosyncratic voice of his own means that most people can’t do it. And you can. Which blew me away, because – I listened to it when I was doing my homework – and it just blew me away how amazing it was.

Annie: Thank you.  I am glad you liked it.  Yes, it did, it came out well.  I sound like Joan Baez though don’t you think?

Jon: A little bit.

Annie: Yes it does.  I had shades of Joan there when I did that.  It just came out natural.

Jon: Then I had to explain to young Jessica why I was so impressed, which involved listening to Bringing it all back home...

Annie: Gosh I can hear him singing it in my head now. It’s so different isn’t it?

Jon: You’ve put your stamp on it in a way that most people don’t manage to.

Annie: I love experimenting and I love being asked to do different things.  Did you hear my version of Dreamer? I’m singing Dreamer with Billy Sherwood and David Sanchez????

Jon: No 

Annie: If you go to Cleopatra Records.  It’s in California.  Look them up online.  It’s a prog collective, the tribute to Supertramp.  I do Dreamer – it came out fantastic.  My friend John Wetton wrote me an email ‘cos he was on it as well and said ‘Whoever thought of that,’ he said.  ‘Brilliant, oh my God it’s perfect.’ I am so glad he asked me to sing that one because it is my favourite Supertramp song, so have a listen to it.  And then I did another one a song called  Social Circles with Peter Banks and Billy Sherwood recently – you know in the last few months – that’s also come out on Cleopatra Records.  I think it’s called the Prog Collective and there’s quite a few different artists.

Jon: I’ll check that out.

[I actually found it on Spotify, and it is jolly good]

Annie: Yeah, Rick Wakeman’s on there and different proggers are on those albums.

Jon: I’m supposed to be talking to Rick Wakeman in a couple of weeks.

Annie: Oh are you?  Give him my love will you?

Jon: I will, of course I will.

Annie: I love him, he’s great.

Jon: I’ve only ever had emails from him, but he always comes over as a really nice guy.

Annie: He’s very nice. He’s got time for everybody. He’s got time for his fans, he’s got time for other musicians. He’s a lovely man. And very gifted as well. God gifted.  As his son Oliver is as well …. Both of his sons.  Runs in the family doesn’t it?

Jon: Oliver is doing a tour with Gordon Giltrap at the moment.

Annie: Are they coming over here?

Jon: I don’t know.  I’ve only just heard about it.  I’m going to do my best to get tickets because I want to see that.

Annie: When you see Gordon, ‘cos we toured in … I know him very well, and I know Oliver as well but not as well as Gordon, we toured with him in the 70s, tell him ‘Annie Haslam wants to know when he’s going to write something for me to sing?’ I would love to do something with him, I love his playing.

And so, sadly, our conversation finished. Annie had another interview to do, and I had a sitting room full of visitors champing at the bit to talk about something completely different. We could have talked for hours, and I have a sneaking suspicion that in the months and years to come we probably shall.




2012-2013 Tour Announcement · New Renaissance Studio Album · Grandine il Vento. Join Renaissance Updates mailing list ...

Welcome to Annie Haslam.com

Annie Haslam, born in Bolton, Lancashire, breast cancer survivor, became lead vocalist for Renaissance has now turned her music into 'dream expressionism' ...

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