John Tams – Lead Vocal, Songmaker
John Tams career has spanned four decades in every performance medium.
Described by Mojo magazine as: “One of the ultimate British songwriters,” he is a former member of the Albion Band and Home Service and six times winner of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.
Theatre includes work at the Old Vic, the RSC, Shakespeare’s Globe, Sheffield Crucible, Birmingham Rep, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Joint Stock, Chichester Festival Theatre and 7:84.
He has worked as actor and musical director at the National Theatre and in the West End, on over 30 productions, including The Mysteries, Lark Rise to Candleford and War Horse.
Extensive TV, film and radio work includes Rifleman Daniel Hagman in the globally renown film series Sharpe, for which he was a script associate and also with Dominic Muldowney created the music.
He was Executive Music Director on the 2006 Radio Ballads for BBC Radio 2 which won Gold and Bronze awards at the prestigious Sony Radio Academy Awards.
He is a recognized expert on traditional English folk music and has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Sheffield Hallam University and Doctor of Letters at the University of Derby.
He has recently completed work with Steven Spielberg on the movie of War Horse to be released late 2011 and works closely with the novel’s original author Michael Morpurgo with his own and his wife Sally’s adaptation of the book which is presented in concert form.
A recent BBC Radio 2 version of War Horse featured Timothy Spall, Brenda Blethyn and Bob Hoskins which he directed.
He has made over 80 albums as a singer, writer, musician or producer and continues to tour festivals and concert stages throughout the UK and Europe. www.johntams.co.uk
Graeme Taylor - Electric Guitar, Vocals, Composer, Original Brass Arrangements
Graeme’s musical career began age 17 in 1971, as founder member of ground-breaking band Gryphon, which Melody Maker dubbed 'The 13th-Century Slade', the only band to be featured on all four BBC national radio stations in the same week, The band went on to make five best selling albums, to do major tours of Europe and the US, presenting their own compositions at the Madison Square Garden, and supporting Yes and the Mahavishnu Orchestra at the Houston Astrodome. Gryphon appeared at a highly successful sell-out reunion concert in 2008 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, their first gig for 32 years.
Graeme played with an assortment of rock and R&B bands from the mid 70s through the 80s, notably singer songwriter John B.Spencer, with whom he maintained close associations until John's untimely death in 2002.
In 1977, Graeme joined forces with Ashley Hutchings, Shirley Collins, Philip Pickett, John Tams and Michael (Greg) Gregory, resulting in the formation of a new Albion Band, and with the addition of Dave Mattacks and Simon Nicol from Fairport Convention, the making of the classic album Rise up Like the Sun. With John, Ashley and Greg, together with Bill Bryden's team at the National Theatre, he was instrumental in the making of The Mysteries and Lark Rise to Candleford, for which a distinctive English brass section was added, and for the show's revival in 2000, Graeme assumed the role of Musical Director and wrote original music.
He continued working with John and Greg, forming the critically acclaimed Home Service, which took these concepts much further.
He has been Rolf Harris' unashamedly loyal guitarist now for 17 years, whose band, The Roo Brothers, has appeared six times with Mr. Harris at Glastonbury festival. The band also headlined at Womad, Towersey, Eastleigh and Edinburgh festivals.
Recently Graeme has formed two new bands, one with singer/actress Denise Black, The Loose Screw and another with Strawbs guitarist Dave Lambert, called Zeus, which played their debut concert at Twickenham Rugby Ground in September 09 to standing ovations.
Additionally, he has written music for library albums, engineered and produced albums for other singers and bands in his inspiring purpose-built home studio in south west London; has done live, TV and session work with such diverse artistes as Long John Baldry, Tim Rose, Julie Covington, Kiki Dee and Rebecca Storm. He was the guitarist in the big band masterminded by Gareth Valentine for the hit West End production of Anything Goes (2003-4), played bouzouki for Robert Lindsay's Onassis, and taken part in countless other West End shows.
Michael Gregory - Drums, Percussion
Michael Gregory was a founder member of the 70’s group, Fuchsia, who recorded for the weird, wonderful and short-lived Pegasus label. A recent renewed interest in Fuchsia credits them as being one of the forerunners of “psych-folk” and “acid-folk”, so……sorry about that. After Fuchsia, Michael Gregory spent the next two years as a session musician(a lot of it for Transatlantic Records) and playing in various bands on London’s then thriving pub-rock circuit.
A phone call from Ashley Hutchings saw him spend the next eight years in the Albion Band. He was a core member of the creative nucleus of the band which produced several great albums, in particular “Rise Up like the Sun”. Along with John Tams, Graeme Taylor and Howard Evans, his Albion days ended as they morphed into Home Service in the early 80’s.
Since then, he continued to be involved with other projects including John Spencer’s Alternative (with Graeme Taylor and Jon Davie), the Maddy Prior/Rick Kemp Band (a brilliant but, sadly, unrecorded group), and the John Kirkpatrick Band (Fledg’ling Records). More recently, he and Graeme Taylor have featured with The Green House Band on their two albums “Mirage” (Market Square Records) and “Big Sun” (Fledg’ling Records). He is currently playing and recording with the Ric Sanders Group.
Over the years, he has managed to pay for all this fun by playing in countless productions on the London Theatre scene.
Jonathan Davie - Bass Guitar, Vocals
Born September 6th 1954, Jon took a keen interest in his grandmother’s Scheidmeyer piano (once used to accompany Dame Nellie Melba, but that’s another story) from the moment he could reach the keys. This, however, proved to be a false dawn and he was an entirely unremarkable piano student from the ages of 9 to 15, much preferring to listen to The Shadows than spend time practising scales and Bartok.
He has worked closely with Graeme and Greg on numerous projects since Home Service’s original demise, and has performed and recorded with a diverse range of other artists including (in no order of preference): Billy Connolly, Graham Preskett, Ivan Graziani, Andy Cronshaw, June Tabor, Martin Simpson, Gordon Giltrap, John Harle, Desmond Dekker, Sandy McLelland, Michael Nyman, John B. Spencer, Rolf Harris (spot the connection!), Mauricio Venegas (as a member of Quimantu) and John Williams.
Andy Findon - Reeds
Andy's background of mixed musical experience has led to an incredibly diverse career. Having trained as an orchestral flautist, as principal flute of the National Youth Orchestra in the early 1970’s and 3 years at the Royal College of Music, he soon branched out into the London musical scene, from dance band dates (working for Nat Temple, Joe Loss, Eric Delaney & Sidney Lipton among others) to Ballet Rambert, taking in The National Theatre and the formation of the Myhra Saxophone Quartet with John Harle.
He soon found work in the thriving “session” world and was busy depping in the London orchestras and on numerous West End shows. An interest in “ethnic” instruments seemed to fit well alongside work as both an orchestral flautist and a commercial “woodwind doubler”. He has played with an enormous list of renowned international artists, composers, arrangers and producers.
The early 80's saw the start of work with the "Michael Nyman Band", with whom he still tours and records, and a most enjoyable period as a member of the folk-rock band, "The Home Service", recording albums with them and appearing at leading folk festivals. Andy is principal flute of The National Symphony Orchestra, and works with many other chamber groups, including The Ceruti Ensemble, London Saxophonic, Sax Assault and Saxpak.
His West End credits include work in Andrew Lloyd Webber productions, "Whistle Down The Wind", "The Beautiful Game", for which he was named in the Sunday Times review, “Bombay Dreams” and “The Woman In White”. Other recent shows include “Sinatra At The London Palladium”, ”Wicked, Lord Of The Rings and Oliver”. Andy is currently appearing in "Wizard Of Oz" at The London Palladium.
He has written and recorded for EMI's KPM library, MadeUpMusic, Karlin Music, In-spired Production Music and featured on solo Panpipe cd's for Virgin, Crimson and Emi.
2005 saw the release of “Tracked on the “Quartz” label and 2007 his second album -“When The Boat Comes In”. In 2008 he arranged and performed Michael Nyman's "Yamamoto Perpetuo" for solo flute, recorded and released on CD.
In 2010 he released the album "Travelling Man" with the group Acoustic Earth and in 2011 "Reflections" with "ELF".
Roger Williams - Tenor & Bass Trombones, Euphonium & Tuba
Since leaving the Royal Academy of Music (where he won the Open Brass Prize and developed a taste for real ales) Roger's career has encompassed almost every aspect of the music business.
He has played with most symphony and opera orchestras in the UK, including a 20 year stint with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra. He co-founded the modern music ensemble Music Projects / London in 1980, played with Capricorn for many years as well as the London Sinfonietta, and has appeared as a soloist in the Purcell Room and the Queen Elisabeth Hall. He has also played with the Philip Jones Brass ensemble, and the English Brass Ensemble.
Roger has worked extensively in the West End, playing in the orchestras for the long running "Jesus Christ Superstar" (Original Production), "Evita", "Starlight Express" and "Saturday Night Fever", and last but most certainly not least Bill Bryden's wonderful production of "The Mysteries" at the NT where he had the good fortune to meet the other lads whose stories are told hereabouts!
In addition to much session and film work he's toured with major artists such as Sammy Davis Jnr., Shirley Maclaine, Bob Hope, Billy Eckstine, Michael Ball and Dionne Warwick, Two of the "3 Tenors" and a memorable US tour with the Irish Tenors.
Roger's work on the Jazz Scene has included playing with Stan Reynold's "World's Greatest Swing Band", Carla Bley, Hermeto Pascoal, John Surman (Brass Project), Stan Tracey's Big Band, and Colin Town's "Mask Orchestra".
In 1982 he was invited by his old friend the late Howard Evans (who was also instrumental in setting up "Home Service") to join "Brass Monkey" and 5 albums later we're still going strong! Following this he played on Albums for Ralph McTell, Maddy Prior, John B Spencer, Dagmar Krause and lately Eliza Carthy.
Currently he is attempting to stave off "semi-requirement"!
Steve King - Keyboards, Vocals
Steve has enjoyed a diverse music career working in a wide range of genres. He has toured America as a member of Virgin signed band Fingerprintz with whom he recorded the album Beat Noir. He also toured the US with Adam and the Ants playing the most prestigious venues including Radio City Music Hall in NYC and the Universal Amphitheatre in LA.
His session credits include Tracy Ullman, Kirsty MacColl, Desmond Dekker, Geno Washington and a critically acclaimed jazz album with Helen Shapiro.
He got to know Graeme Taylor through the R&B band The London Apaches and Graeme invited him to join the Home Service initially working as part of the band at the National Theatre on Don Quixote and The Mysteries, and composing music for both shows. He has since taken part in numerous productions at the NT.
He recorded two albums with the Home Service and took part in the filming of the Mysteries for Channel 4 and the Holy City for BBC Scotland.
As well as keyboards Steve plays accordion and tenor sax and has arranged and co-produced with Richie Milton a number of highly regarded R&B albums for Richie Milton and the Lowdown where he and Dick Hanson (of The Rumour Brass) comprise the horn section.
Steve also finds time to practice as a litigation lawyer and has been involved in acting for a number of major names in the music business including Sting and Elton John.
Paul Archibald - Trumpet & Flugel Horn
Paul's principal positions have included the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Orchestra of St John’s, Britten Sinfonia, London Mozart Players, Philip Jones Brass Ensemble and London Sinfonietta. Paul now performs chamber music with Trio D'Art, Carnyx Brass, Fibonacci Sequence, recitals with pianist Helen Reid and a particular focus towards his group, English Brass and its associated English Brass Academy. He is a prize winner of the Toulon Prix de Concours.
Paul has recorded many soundtracks including Batman, Chicken Run, Shrek, Shrek 3, Lord of the Rings, Moulin Rouge and Sweeney Todd and has recorded for many artists including, Barbara Streisand, Shirley Bassey, Sir Bob Geldof, Sir Paul McCartney, Robbie Williams, Oasis and Joni Mitchell. He is also a member of Brass Monkey and joined Home Service in 2011.
He is Artistic Director of Brass Classics, his own recording label, and his discography includes Joie de Vivre, Divertissement, Proclamation, Hodie Gloriosa,and Peter Maxwell Davies’ Trumpet Sonata. His recording of the Shostakovich Concerto No 1 for piano, trumpet and strings with Alain Lefèvre (piano) and the London Mozart Players was awarded Canada's prestigious JUNO award for best Classical Album in 2010. In 2003 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music, London.