Wyckham Porteous
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Wyckham Porteous

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Band Folk Singer/Songwriter

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"Wyckham Portoeous - 3AM"

Wyckham Porteous
3 A.M.
Cordova Bay Records
Released March 18, 2008

Wyckham has been quiet on the recording front for quite a few years. Well, he has broken the silence. Broken – hell - he’s smashed it to pieces. Deftly produced by the legendary Andrew Loog Oldham, 3 A.M. is a masterpiece. It flows from the melancholy, jangly opening chords of the stellar “Deep into the Water” to the last ring out of ”There is Rose in Spanish Harlem”.

Song after song this album envelopes you and gently transports you away to a world at “3 AM”, one of the loveliest love songs ever written. Wyckham always had a way with words. In “ I Will Follow You” he searches for “a place where we could rest –where the water flows enough to keep it fresh”. In “Deep into the Water” “salt upon my wounds makes me know I am alive” Terrific writing. Not a bum song on the list.

Surprisingly though , the song that got under my skin on this album is Wyckham’s mature take on the Beatles “Please Please Me”. You have to hear it. It amazed me that his achingly poignant version brought layers of meaning to the song that just weren’t there when I first sang along when I was a kid.

Wyckham Porteous has always done great work, but he outshines his past great efforts with this lovely, lovely record. Buy it – you can thank me later.


les siemieniuk - Penguin Eggs Magazine


"3AM Album Review - Mike Davies"

A well seasoned country singer-songwriter from British Columbia, the album blurb suggests a feel and sound akin to the late Lee Hazlewood, Actually, with that warm, throaty vocal and easy rolling delivery he sounds much more like the UK's own Raymond Froggatt. This is actually a good thing. Having stirred legendary producer Andrew Loog Oldham out of semi-retirement, Porteous caused something of a stir when Bob Harris played his cover of the Beatles chestnut Please Please Me. Not the familiar Merseybeat classic, but restored to the original slowed down Orbison-styled ballad that Oldham remembered before George Martin had them lift the tempo.
It's not the only cover on the album, with Porteous lending his relaxed dusty croon to a laid back border cantina versions of Hungry Heart, Spanish Harlem and Sammy Cahn's smooch dancing Teach Me Tonight. I Will Follow, on the other hand, isn't the U2 number but one of several Porteous originals that, in tandem with storysong Ancient Highway, the wistfully tender Beggar's Harbour, and the emotional aching double act of Harper's Ferry and the title track, show he doesn't have to rely on the writings of others to pack his albums with strong material.
www.wyckhamporteous.org
Mike Davies, Sept 2007
- NetRhythms.co.uk


"3AM Album Review - Elly Roberts"

Vancouver based singer-songwriter Wyckham Porteous' voice is an instrument itself : a rich baritone. In addition, this wonderful collection of originals and covers is full of lush instrumentation and silky smooth production, recorded by former Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham. He says of Porteous, "Leonard Cohen meets Harry Dean Stanton: a warm, warm, performer whose voice is like a bottle of wine who has matured into a friend and who, with these recodings, has opened up more than a few glassses of radio and home friendly recordings." Some testament from legendary Oldham, who clearly knows his taste buds well.
A strong country template envelopes the self-penned songs and covers, with every one done in Porteous'
masterful delivery.
Abandoning his roots-orientated folk/ rock of his first three albums for more exploratory In This World, he has become all loved up again with his roots. Radio 2's Bob Harris has given him some airplay, so he's in the loop already, which is good news. From the get go, Deep Into The Water, it's dripping with instruments like banjo, pedal steel and acoustic guitar, whilst the singer's voice oozes his cultured tones, which are crystal clear and achingly beautiful. Things go slightly upbeat for I Will Follow, as Shelly Opaknek's sticks hold a tidy beat, broken by bouts of nylon and acoustic guitars. Once again, sublime pedal steel by John Ellis, introduces The Beatles' Please, Please, Me.

It was originally intended as a ballad, though George Martin had other ideas, raising the pace for the eventual monster hit. It's fascinating to hear it like this, particularly the subliminal sitar. For Harper's Ferry, he indulges in more pedal steel, and touches of accordian. Tackling Springsteen's awesome 1980 debut UK single entry, Hungry Heart, his voice almost replicates the Boss, while stripping back the original 'Wall Of Sound' to a gentle ballad, which is quite breathtaking in this format. Switching to a more Richard Hawley-like croon, the gorgeous Teach Me Tonight is one of the major highlights here. Sounding like a young Willie Nelson, his own Beggar's Harbour, with the ever unfolding music, provides him with the perfect backdrop for his deep comfort zone, which is almost replicated on the title track - 3AM.
Perking it up, Walking Man is an out and out ho-down with rippling banjo leading the way. Hearing ( Phil ) Spector and Lieber's smash hit Spanish Harlem, covered by Ben E King amongst others, in this genre, is 3 minutes 6 seconds of pure delight.
Elly Roberts
- AllGiggs.co.uk


"Fan comment (live review)"

Butch & Sue - of Richmond, British Columbia, Canada
Hi Wyckham, Saw you for the first time at the Elk's Club in White Rock Jun 7/08. You were an unexpected surprise opening for Ridley Bent. We're great Ridley fans but honestly, you stole the show! We are so glad to have discovered you and now form part of your fan base. ....Keep on telling your stories! - www.wyckhamporteous.org


Discography

(with) Bop Ensemble - Between Trains (2009), (solo) Wyckham Porteous - 3AM (2008), Wyckham Porteous - Sexanddrinking (2001)

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Bio

Born in Victoria, British Columbia, and rarely straying from the West Coast of Canada ("The sole pinprick of temperate weather in all of Canada"), Cordova Bay recording artist Wyckham Porteous realized very early in life that his path would be that of a writer and in particular a singer/songwriter. "I knew I had to be a songwriter. I knew I wanted to sing. But, where I was living, there was no Nashville, no Tin Pan Alley, no L.A., there was really no place to put your focus."
So he played a lot of festivals. He did his songs in the clubs. He logged a lot of miles. He did everything he was supposed to do. And finally, his break came when he wrote and starred in the hit play Joe's Cafe which enjoyed an extended run at Vancouver's prestigious Arts Club Theatre. Soon afterward, more out of romance than design, he and his long-time partner Patty Fraser, well known for her work in live theatre, wrote and performed a very cool radio play brimming with songs about these journeys for the nationwide Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC). Well, the CBC loved it... and everyone that mattered seemed to have tuned right in. Soon, an angel financed an '89 album that was picked up by Bryan Adams' management firm, and charted Top 20 on Canadian radio. Leading to a 17-song CD, independently distributed in Canada, and a slot on Rod Kennedy's Kerrville Festival, down Texas way......
Wyckham's album Looking for Ground, was a milestone in his career. Recorded in Austin, Texas, and released in September 1995, it was greeted with rave reviews in Canada, the United States and a number of European countries, and was hailed as "a roots rock masterpiece" by the Associated Press. The album reached the Top Ten on the Gavin Report's "Americana" chart, and was named Best Roots Traditional Album at the 1997 Pacific Music Industry Association`s annual West Coast Music Awards show.
It was followed by In This World, his first album for Ragged Pup Records. Porteous decided to move away from the roots-oriented folk/rock of his first three albums, and explore new musical ground. Morris Tepper the Los Angeles-based guitarist and producer best known for his work with Captain Beefheart, Tom Waits, Frank Black and P.J Harvey, was Wyckham's producer and guide to new directions.
Wyckham's first CD release of the new millennium is in some ways a major step forward for him, but done by way of a step back. While his previous recordings were about searching, sexanddrinking, recorded for Cordova Bay Records - reflecting a rockier sound - is about what he found. A travelogue, the album reflects what he has discovered during the journey, including what is good, what is bad and what is indifferent. Almost a throwback to the 60s, sexanddrinking is a concept album with threads that crisscross and intertwine creating storylines with complex texture and vivid imagery. "The core of the soul, that's what you want to write about."
Wyckham’s latest effort, the UK released “3AM” includes the critically acclaimed single “Please Please Me”(distributed in the UK by Pinnacle Distribution). If the title seems familiar, well that's because it's a cover version of The Beatles smash hit of 1963. Except, you've never heard it like this before! The single has been produced and arranged by no less a music business legend than Andrew Loog Oldham, former manager of The Rolling Stones, and MD of one of the first British Independent record labels, Immediate. Andrew Oldham worked with The Beatles in their early days, and his recollection of the recording of Please Please Me was that the song was originally composed as a ballad, in tribute to the great Roy Orbison. In the spirit of the song's original incarnation, Oldham has taken the song back to its gentler tempo, adding layers of plangent steel guitar, pizzicato strings and tasteful sitar, whilst Porteous contributes a vocal of aching poignancy and deep emotive appeal, and the result is one of the most striking reworkings of a Beatles song ever.

Wyckham is currently on tour with Canadian super-folk group Bop Ensemble. The group features Porteous, Bill Bourne, and up-and-coming singer/bassist Jasmine "Jas" Ohlhauser. Their new album, Between Trains, will be released on iTunes this summer.