My inspirations – Ronnie James Dio

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dioThe Urban Dictionary defines a ‘legend’ as “someone or something whose coolness extends beyond all space and time.” That, my friends, totally sums up Ronnie James Dio.

According to the BBC’s review of ‘Mightier Than The Sword‘ Ronnie James Dio was “a genius, a gentleman and perhaps [rock and metal’s] greatest voice.”

Sadly, I never met they guy to know whether or not he was a gentleman, all I know was that growing up I was simply awestruck by the quality and power of his voice.

I first discovered Dio in the Holy Diver era. At that time Rainbow was headed up by Joe Lynn Turner and I didn’t learn until much later that Dio had previously fronted Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow as well as Black Sabbath. So my formative memories of Dio were from songs like this:

And of course wishing I could sing like him!

I’ve had the great pleasure of seeing him live twice and it was probably the closest I’ve ever got to hero worship! He was (and still is) one of my most loved and enduring inspirations, not just because of his voice, but also because he simply kept on and on writing and performing really great songs; powerful, passionate melodic and thoughtful. That’s where his main inspiration lies for me; the consistent quality of his output. He was unquestionably someone who discovered their God-given gift and lived it to the max.

A few years back I gigged at the Cheese and Grain in Frome with my old band. It was a great venue, one of the few times we had a decent sound guy; this enormous but mellow dreadlocked American guy with a southern Californian drawl. We sound-checked with Holy Diver and I’ll never forget his reaction “WOOOAH Holy Diver, I was NOT expected that. That was totally aaaawesome”. Yup, you got that right.

Lyrics – Seeing You

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Next up in my series of ‘what are Janey’s songs all about?’ is Seeing You, from my album Along the Way and also featured on my first EP, Introducing.

I wrote Seeing You a couple years after I lost my brother. One of the themes of the song is about how we remember people we’ve lost. If we are open to sharing in such a painful time, we can hear so many different memories from family and friends. So, although we all knew him, we all did so in different ways. Talking to people about how they knew him was not only a fond way for us to support each other but, for me, it was a journey of getting to know and understand my brother in new ways. 

Lyrics - Seeing You

A first time for everything….. here we go

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OK so I’m not normally one to share demos of songs, but it seems to be ‘the thing’ to do.

So I figure maybe it’s time I get brave and take the plunge to post my very first ‘draft’ song! GULP!

I’ve been working on some new songs for a while, but life’s been throwing all sorts in my direction so it’s taken ages longer than I hoped! But I’m finally enjoying making some progress and I’m now getting the demos ready to go into a proper studio around Easter time.

This one is called ‘Without you’ and it was one of the songs I put in my acoustic gigs I did at the end of 2013. I would love to have your comments!

Quite a surprise, but awesome anyway

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Just received a really amazing review of ‘Time WIll Tell’ courtesy of Tony Cannella from Femme Metal Webzine.   Quite a pleasant surprise as it’s been a year since it was released!

Check out the review here

http://www.femmemetalwebzine.net/2014/01/16/janey-summer-time-wil-tell-single-2011/

While you’re there, why not take 5 to find out about some of the other awesome female-fronted heavy bands that are getting showcased. Well worth a quick peek, I reckon 🙂

My inspirations – Paul Rodgers

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paul rodgersI first discovered the delights of Paul Rodgers’ voice in the late 80s when my friend decided to clear out his old album collection; like a magpie I swooped in for some shiny gems and there in the midst was a couple diamonds:

  • Free: Fire and Water
  • Bad Company: Bad Company

Stunning stuff. I lost count of the number of hours and plays those records got, whilst I sang along with my hairbrush in the mirror, completely lost in the music.

I raved to my friend about how awesome Free were, and scrawled the band name over my jeans in cheap biro just to assert how much I loved them. And of course a big part of that was Paul Rodgers. The voice, the hair and the tight cords all came together into the perfect rock frontman bundle.

Someone once described Paul Rodgers’ voice as ‘gravel and honey’, which I think’s a pretty much perfect description! He has got the smoothest gritty voice I’ve ever heard and I had the great pleasure of seeing him live for the first time only a couple years ago at Bournemouth. Vocally his performance didn’t disappoint; literally didn’t miss a note.

Bad Company Performing Live On Stage At Wembley Arena In London, 2010

Although I don’t listen too often to the old stuff any more, as soon as ‘My Brother Jake’ comes on, I suddenly realise my brain has retained all that conditioning from years ago and I find myself still recalling all the words. Mr Big, Fire and water, Moving on, Ready for love, The hunter, I’ll be creeping; are all still filed away in my mental music library.

freeI still have huge respect and admiration for his passion and achievements, and without a doubt Paul Rodgers was one of my earliest and strongest vocal influences from a very young age.

http://www.paulrodgers.com/

Own my own again – new video up!

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Happy weekend everyone – new video up for On My Own again up now, featuring some of my favourite quotes from C S Lewis. Enjoy!

Lyrics – Time Will Tell

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I often get asked about my lyrics – what they mean, or what a certain song is a about.

So I thought I’d start a little series and post up some of my favourite lyrics over the next couple months. To start the ball rolling these are from my most recent single, Time Will Tell. I was inspired by the writing style of Ronnie James Dio on this song. Maybe you can tell!? Would love to hear your comments.  Are you surprised by what the lyrics actually are? Especially if you’ve been singing along something completely different! 😉

Lyrics for Time Will Tell (c) Janey Summer 2009
Lyrics for Time Will Tell
(c) Janey Summer 2009