top of page

๐—–๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ป๐—ผ๐—น๐—น๐˜†โ€™๐˜€ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฟ - this week: Warm Enough To Snow - Shayan Regan, Plummy

Welcome all to ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ป๐—ผ๐—น๐—น๐˜†โ€™๐˜€ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฟ, a series of weekly reviews by Charles Connollyย - an artist in his own right. Here, Charles delves into the greatest brand new singles brought to you by the best unsigned artists on our electrifying and eclectic set of ๐™‰๐™š๐™ฌ ๐˜ผ๐™ง๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™จ๐™ฉ ๐™Ž๐™ฅ๐™ค๐™ฉ๐™ก๐™ž๐™œ๐™๐™ฉ playlists.

๐™’๐™–๐™ง๐™ข ๐™€๐™ฃ๐™ค๐™ช๐™œ๐™ ๐™๐™ค ๐™Ž๐™ฃ๐™ค๐™ฌ - ๐™Ž๐™๐™–๐™ฎ๐™–๐™ฃ ๐™๐™š๐™œ๐™–๐™ฃ, ๐™‹๐™ก๐™ช๐™ข๐™ข๐™ฎ

Charles reads you a sermonโ€ฆ

Every year I write a Christmas review. It has become a tradition, in keeping with the situation. Throughout my weekly musings I try hard not to repeat myself. To try to come up with new things to write about. I try hard not to repeat myself. The annual Christmas edition is no exception. I don't want to rehash the same old theme every year, tradition or no tradition. I have spoken of the lights, the jingle and the tree. I have spoken of family. I have spoken of little elves, reindeer and the big man himself. I have quoted Dickens numerous times. I have quoted lines from It's a Wonderful Life. But this year, I feel rather different. The music goes on. My gorgeous tree sits elegantly decorated and twinkling oh so prettily in the corner. I even went to a Christmas concert on Sunday evening. And yet I feel festive like it's mid November. Strangely, I seem not alone. It appears that several others are also shchtruggling to get into the spirit of things this year. I really can't explain it!

I think for me, it is because December has very much been business as usual. I have been doing my mixing, both as a sound engineer and as an artist in my own right. Which reminds me... While I may not have a gift for you this Christmas, I most certainly will have a big fat gift for you next year. Throughout the year. My album is nearly NEARLY done. That's right folks, the whole of 2023 I have been putting together an album. 2024 will be a shower of goodies from me to all of you. So yes. That's been that. While my headphones and speakers have become sick to death of my own music, they find little time to play anything else. Which at this time of year is a crying shame. Sinatra still sits patiently in the waiting room, ready for me to call "Next!". His time will come. But I'm fast running out of time for this festive of sounds. I still haven't listened to all the classic Christmas pop - think Yon Wemmon, Ween, Elton Yon, Yorge Miguel, Maul PcCartrey, and so forth.

At the time of writing this, there are exactly 7 days until Christmas. Uno week. And there will be no review next week - I need a break from writing; you need a break from reading! So what am I writing about this time then, eh? Well I'm writing about my thoughts. Our thoughts. My feelings. Our feelings. You see, Christmas is a time of love. A time of family and the closest of friends. A time to look back on the year and reflect. To ponder on people we have known and things we have learnt. In fact, it can go back many years if you so wish. It is an emotive time. For some reason, each Christmas I think about my old friend Sacha who died a few years ago. We were so close, and eventually - as so often happens - we drifted. Then I heard the tragic news from his brother. It hit me harder than I would ever have imagined. But I don't sit and think about his death; I think about his life. The fun we had together. The silly times. It is a joy to look back on. You see, I am always thinking about the past. Things that have happened, and the people I have met and known. And then, for one reason or another, we have drifted apart. Well here is my letter of love to two drifters who occasionally pop back to say hello, but who once were so much a part of my life. I do not ever forget people. The best and the worst are embedded in my mind. These two are of the very best variety.

Of course, I do enjoy the jolly times. The laughs, japes, jokes, chortles and titters. Great big fat titters. Sometimes there is fascinating interest; you have all taught me so much! And so many of you I have had fun with over the years of the New Artist Spotlight, since its birth in 2020. The public chats through the Top 20 every week. The private chats to speak of things that should and will always remain private. But there are very few with whom I will have shared such warmth and fondness. Please do not take offence if you are not one of the few mentioned here. If you do take offence, I will know I was right not to mention you. Rich Allen, your kindness and love no longer astound me, for I cannot continue to be amazed by such reassuring consistency. You are simply wonderful, and it is a true pleasure and honour to know you. Joao Aranha, you have got me through this year with a true gift for making people feel safe and calm. Your good knows no bounds. You are like a guardian angel for all of us. The man literally saves lives on a weekly basis! Andres Guazzelli, my partner in crime. The crime of making good things sound better. You have not had an easy year, to say the least, but you have felt close and comfortable enough to tell me all. We have been there for each other; as you have stooped to comfort me, I have stood on a chair to comfort you. A right couple of knob twiddlers. Oh, Lofthouse Leo is going to have a field day with THIS one! Ahem. And Dom. Dearest Dom Piper. My man of the year. Your wisdom, level-headed sanity and uproarious wit have been my true beacon of light and much needed oxygen canister through the thickest and thinnest of air. I cannot thank you enough for making me realise I am not losing my mind. That I am in fact relatively sane. My close friend, Dom. mWAH! I mean, man hug. Big burly man hug. Punch with the chest. Slap on the back as if weโ€™re both choking. Love ya.

โ€œBut what of these two from the past? These drifters of whom you spake?โ€ Well, I think you will all know one of them, and the longterm NASians (yes, I say NASians, not NAStronauts) will fondly remember the other. Rather beautifully, in my opinion, they have clubbed together to make a brand new single of the Christmas variety. So brand new, in fact, that it has been out (at the time of writing) for a matter of hours. Just seven days to Christmas, in โ€œcutting it fineโ€ style, hereโ€™s Shayan Regan and Plummy, with Warm Enough To Snow. My friendship with Shayan dates back to the first time I reviewed his music. At the time, it was my longest review ever. Actually, it might still be my longest. He instantly got in touch with me as soon as he saw it - which is more than I can say for last weekโ€™s artist (who WONโ€™T be getting a Christmas card from me). These messages from Shayan were so much more than a thank you. It was more like 100 messages of love, with the charm of Paul McCartney circa 1963. There were even many voice messages with his tired yet youthful subtle Northern drawl. We instantly became close, and continued to chat regularly. I had found a good friend. But then - as so often happens - life got in the way. He was very busy doing things like working and having babies. Well, not HAVING babies, but ya know. The young manโ€™s a dad now! It was as much of a shock to him as it was to me. These things happen. I too have been kept busy with my work and other things. Not babies. No CC blobs this year, and Iโ€™ve looked under the tree - nothing even remotely blob-shaped. Back to Shayan. There was this fondness. This - dare I say - young father care. A natural closeness that I canโ€™t really explain. It was and is special.

Plummy on the other hand, was a rough old sort. Horrible creature with a heck of an ugly face. I mean, really UG-ly. Let me rephrase that. Plummy - The Plum, as I call him - was just about the best man a man could ever come across. And still is. With the sweetest of faces, like a cheeky child whoโ€™s been up to no good. His honesty, kindness and REALness were untoppable. And still are! But alas, damned life got in the way again. As so often bloody happens!! And he was gone. POOF! In a puff of smoke, there was no Plum. He didnโ€™t die or anything. And neither did he want to disappear. Quite the opposite, in fact. He felt genuinely guilty! Poor bugger. As if it was HIS fault that people were getting ill or worse. As if he WANTED to leave a merry band of friends in the NAS community. As if he WANTED to work extra long hours. As if he WANTED to have that third baby. No, wait. That was the good bit. He did find time to have a third small blob. The work of a moment, apparently. I suppose that can always be slipped in. Shayanโ€™s got some catching up to doโ€ฆ! The thing is, with the whole of life being โ€œwell lifeyโ€, there is one thing that canโ€™t be kept down for long. Bad shrimp? Perhaps - ask Daniel Tidwell (who has now recovered from that awful illness - not in fact caused by bad shrimp). But no, not seafood at all! I was talking about the need to make art. True artists just canโ€™t keep it in. It is as necessary as heroin to an addict. These two wonderful men have been talking about working together for a LAAONG TAAM. In fact, I was quite jealous of their friendship for a while, like a weak-minded teenage girlie. But I got over it. They finally started what I hope to become a continued working relationship.

Since December 1st, I have been running the NAS Christmas & Holiday playlist, and it has been so much fun to listen to. Each year it has old favourites and brand new festive treats, all from artists on the New Artist Spotlight. The playlist captures the true spirit of the NAS, by being rammed with every genre you could imagine (and others you couldnโ€™t). It really is a Christmas stuffing! I knew Iโ€™d be picking one song from that playlist for this review. I knew that. Until the morning, when I heard Warm Enough To Snow. It is now of course not only in the playlist, but at the very top. I canโ€™t blame or punish a song for being late in the game. As I often say, I only care about the music. And this music is ace. But I must apologise to all the others who came close in the runnings for this review. Fรกbjรกni, your new song is wonderful, but I reviewed you last Christmas, and Iโ€™m not looking to start a new tradition (as much as weโ€™d both like that). Jane Marie, your song is truly excellent, but again, I have reviewed you recently. Kyle M Watson, you managed to get in there twofold! Once on your lonesome, and once with Oddzo the great! Both songs are excellent and both so different! You both came SO close. Kaiwyn, you REALLY know how to make the festivities pop! So impressive. And to all the rest of you, commiserations. I love you all, but as always I can only pick one. In the spirit of bias - sorry, Christmas - I went with my two lovely fruity friends, Shayan and The Plum. All jokes aside though, I am always very honest. Their song was my favourite, and simply felt right. I urge you all to have a good and proper listen or ten, to the NAS Christmas & Holiday playlist, for it is the season. A brief season, so it must be devoured while still warm. Warm enough to snow? Well, letโ€™s seeโ€ฆ

One might be mistaken for thinking this was basically a Shayan Regan production with perhaps a bit of Plum on guitar. Ho Ho Hoโ€ฆ No No NO! The Plum is far more than a token gesture. The Plum WROTE the thing! He also played all the guitar parts, the bass, programmed the strings, the bells and even the drums! Then a chap called Juani Catalano (nope, Iโ€™ve never heard of him either) played real drums for a better sound, perfected some of the programming for the sake of realism, then played real trumpets as well! I must meet this chap, Juani. What a player! So, is Shayan therefore the last minute book tokenโ€ฆ? Not at ALL!! This was a TRUE collaboration of the highest level. Shayan sang all the parts, wrote most of the melodies and most of the words, and helped with loads of production details. The man is really picky about the detail. And why NOT?? Thatโ€™s what makes for greatness! But then what about the overall sound? The mixing? That perfect sheenโ€ฆ? Well, itโ€™s my partner in crime, Sir Andres Guazzelli, of course! This completes the whole shebang. To anyone who thinks I just pick a track at random and write a bit for 20 minutes, I say โ€œPfffโ€! No one delivers this information to me. These weekly musings really do take quite a bit of heavy lifting. And Iโ€™m not the strongest man in the worldโ€ฆ But I am strong willed. And I believe you artists deserve the best reviews. Ones that people actually enjoy reading. I at least try to do just that. โ€œSoโ€ฆ The songโ€ฆ?โ€ - Hm? What ABOUT the song? โ€œWhen are we going to actually hear about the songโ€ฆ?โ€ - Oh right, yes! Sorry, I got taken over by the love of the whole thing. Well, itโ€™s absolutely gorgeous. I mean absolutely totally, completely and utterly gorgeous. From its soft acoustic plucks to its Hollywood Sinatra-meets-Mantovani-meets-Streisand strings. From the personal touch of Shayanโ€™s familiar voice to the occasional perfectly placed bell. From the lightest woodwind flourishes to the confident trumpet stabs in unison with the drums. This song has it all. And a bridge that will make you sway more than Londonโ€™s wobbliest. If this song doesnโ€™t make you feel festive, I doubt anything will. Bah humbug.

Ahh. It worked. Now I feel festive. Merry Christmas, everyone. To all my friends at the New Artist Spotlight, youโ€™ve all made me warm enough, you lovely bunch of electric blankets. I promise I wonโ€™t snow on you.

Listen to ๐™’๐™–๐™ง๐™ข ๐™€๐™ฃ๐™ค๐™ช๐™œ๐™ ๐™๐™ค ๐™Ž๐™ฃ๐™ค๐™ฌ on the ๐—ก๐—”๐—ฆ ๐—–๐—ต๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜€๐˜๐—บ๐—ฎ๐˜€ & ๐—›๐—ผ๐—น๐—ถ๐—ฑ๐—ฎ๐˜† Spotify playlist HERE!

Listen to ๐™’๐™–๐™ง๐™ข ๐™€๐™ฃ๐™ค๐™ช๐™œ๐™ ๐™๐™ค ๐™Ž๐™ฃ๐™ค๐™ฌ on the ๐—ก๐—”๐—ฆ ๐—–๐—ต๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜€๐˜๐—บ๐—ฎ๐˜€ & ๐—›๐—ผ๐—น๐—ถ๐—ฑ๐—ฎ๐˜† Apple Music playlist HERE!

Watch ๐™’๐™–๐™ง๐™ข ๐™€๐™ฃ๐™ค๐™ช๐™œ๐™ ๐™๐™ค ๐™Ž๐™ฃ๐™ค๐™ฌ on YouTube HERE!

Follow ๐™Ž๐™๐™–๐™ฎ๐™–๐™ฃ ๐™๐™š๐™œ๐™–๐™ฃ on Instagram HERE!

Follow ๐™‹๐™ก๐™ช๐™ข๐™ข๐™ฎ on Instagram HERE!

Please share this post and let me know your thoughts in the comments below

449 views135 comments


bottom of page