what’s on: The Voice’s Mr Nice Guy, live and local
Percival (pictured) has a surprise for fans when his Happy Home tour lands at Twin Towns tomorrow. As well as performing songs from the runnersup album, which he recorded after his time on TV talent show The
Voice, the singer/songwriter and father-of-two will road-test a handful of songs from his new Ray Charles tribute album ahead of its expected release next month. Percival says he has been a longtime fan of the American singer/ songwriter, whose career spanned decades and musical genres, including boogie woogie piano, rhythm, blues, soul, jazz and even country music. Frank Sinatra called Charles ‘‘the one true musical genius’’ and some say Charles was a bigger influence on contemporary music in the US than Elvis Presley. ‘‘I first heard the music of Ray Charles as a child,’’ Percival says. ‘‘My grandfather used to play his records . . . through all the bands I played with and followed through the 1980s and 1990s, I still loved to listen to Ray Charles.’’ The coming album features Percival performing 16 songs by Charles just as they would have been recorded by the musician. ‘‘We’d go into the studio, the band, a drummer and me, I’d count everyone in and we’d record each song as if we played it live, from beginning to end.’’ The songlist includes Charles’ hits
Hallelujah, I Love Her So, Georgia on My Mind and Hit the Road Jack as well as some of his lesser-known songs. ‘‘Ray Charles was a great musician who performed across all sorts of musical genres, including country music. Some of those country songs – Drown in My Own Tears is one of them – are among my personal favourites,’’ Percival says. Percival launched his Happy Home tour at Crown Casino, Melbourne, on the weekend and lands at Twin Towns tomorrow ahead of dates that play out over coming weekends all across Australia. He says his new A Tribute to Ray Charles album was due for release the same he week he performed at The Studio, at Sydney Opera House. ‘‘As a musician, just saying Sydney Opera House, is a like a dream come true,’’ he says. ‘‘The Ray Charles tribute album too. It’s a project I thought I wouldn’t
DARREN get up for maybe another 10 years, but I suppose that’s an indication of how The Voice has changed my life,’’ he says. ‘‘I spend most weekends on planes flying to gigs that fill rooms and even auditoriums,’’ he says. Percival is joined on his Happy Home tour by five musicians he has known for 20 years. His set list will include originals and soul classics from his album Happy Home, including the single In The Blowing Wind, audience favourites from The Voice and his contribution to the hit The Sapphires movie soundtrack – In The Sweet Bye and
Bye. He returns for the Mullum Music Festival, from November 22-25, where he will perform and mentor students.
– LISA SIMMONS