Siren and Strings
A beautiful mix of laid-back chill, with a unique edge of passion and spirit, Siren and Strings are an acoustic covers duo/band performing an eclectic selection of songs, and this mix is key (no pun intended!) to their set. Yes, there are a few obvious acoustic choices but many songs come from completely different genres, often extracting a fabulous melody from a song that started life drowned in a sea of amplified guitars and drums. With Neill's superb guitar playing and vocal harmonies and Abigail's distinctive emotion-loaded vocals and when James Squire (sax/clarinet) and Jose Williamson (percussion) join in too, the talents combine to create something different, fresh and engaging. Armed with just a guitar and two voices when in the original duo set up their takes on well-known tracks reveal that simplicity can be stunning - and prove that a really good song will shine even when stripped back to basics. and when the extra members join in it adds that extra pizzazz!
Extremely upsetting and sad news:
Even now we just can’t believe he won’t be around anymore. He added so much to our little musical endeavour. So, so often I would stand next to him playing some cracking sax or beautiful clarinet solo just being amazed that someone with so much musical talent chose to play with a girl who can’t even read music! He added so much to what we did, and introduced me and Neill to Jose – another musical jolly good egg. We were privileged to have him be part of us.
We will miss him so much as a band member, but just as much as a friend and a one in a million crazy force of nature ... he was an amazing person on every front.
Ian leaves a massive hole in all of our hearts, but we are very pleased that James Squire (who was a former student of Ian's many moons ago) is taking the sax and clarinet baton on and keeping Ian's spirit alive with us as he joins us as often as he can now.
As a famous song once said “Love Is All
Around” the epitome of
Abigail Nelson, Neill Davison, Jose Williamson & James Squire
How it all began:
As with probably quite a few bands, Siren and Strings came about by accident. Abigail had promised her vocal talents for a charity gig and had asked Neill to provide a backing band. As the event grew closer, the backing band ... well ... backed out, and Neill suggested an acoustic gig instead… and so Siren and Strings was born. They soon realised that, far from being a second-best option, the acoustic duo format really worked. Sharing lead vocals allows them to suit the right voice to the right song with subtle harmonies added to good effect. From just a handful of songs to cover a 30 minute set for a charity gig, their repertoire has grown to a full 2 hour plus set list.
As well as their own gigs they can often be seen supporting other bands.
Other musical ventures:
Neill also plays in several other bands, doing his “thang” electrically on guitar with "The Port Brothers", "Frank Bough's Cardigan" and "Sleepkick" and on bass occassionally with Joe Gallagher (in fact he will work with anyone who asks him to join in really) it has been said of him amongst his close friends that he is a bit of a “musical tart” …the “Martini” boy of music: any time, any place, any where … if there is a guitar there he could well just pick it up and start playing! The pair of them also set up "The Awesome Ouch" collaborating with some of the musicians from "The Reel Jiggy" for a one off band to do a set at the Lindley Festival 2010 - immense fun was had by all on that one.
Abigail has also be seen rocking it up with "The Port Brothers" - doing a few numbers in their set, she also completed a year long "dep" as the lead singer of 9 piece soul covers band "The Zealots" in 2011/2012 and she has in the past been known to do a bit of Irish lilting with "The Reel Jiggy". Over the years she has also fronted many other bands including "Rock Salt" and "Medusa".
Call it serendipity, call it fate - but the accidental coming together of a guitarist/bassist who is usually plugged into a Marshall, and a singer who was more often seen as a bit of "Rock chick", has created something beautiful with "powerful vocals and sublime guitar playing". Sometimes...it's better with the volume turned down...