Geordie soul powerhouses Smoove & Turrell are back ahead of their upcoming album Crown Posada with the barnstorming new single – You Could’ve Been A Lady out this August on Jalapeno Records.
They are a breath of fresh air in the often clichéd world of soul bands. The boys make no attempt to sound or look like anyone else – not for them the sharp suits and trumpet twirls of some of their peers. Instead you get a wildly talented and vital crew of larger than life North East lads taking their rightful place on the international soul scene having already become figureheads within the UK.
Their first album Antique Soul scored some heavy points with singles I Can’t Give You Up, You Don’t Know & Beggarman. Gaining the lads two records of the week on Radio 2 (Radcliffe & Maconie) and their first ever-national playlist on 6music. The original 7” of the northern soul banger I Can’t Give You Up still changes hands for up to £160 on the net. This propelled Smoove & Turrell to headlining stages at festivals such as Glastonbury and Big Chill to name a few, not bad for an unknown Geordie band.
Any worries about a difficult second album were brushed aside when in 2011 S&T released Eccentric Audio. With Smoove’s timeless production skills and a confident John Turrell at the top of his game both lyrically and vocally, Eccentric Audio saw the boys break through onto national TV & Radio playlists throughout the UK and Europe. Getting two Radio2 playlists with singles Hard Work and Gabriel and MTV Europe and Virgin Media playlists with single Slow Down.
With the word starting to spread across the pond to America S&T tracks could be heard on as many things as network giant ABC’s primetime campaign, feature film For A Good Time Call, video game The Crew and international smash hit series like The Finder & World of Jenks.
Back on home turf, track Hard Work was used on a national advertising campaign as well as others being used on a host of primetime TV shows such as Match of the Day, Strictly Come Dancing, Splash & Coronation Street opening up S&T to yet a wider audience again.
Live performance highlights saw the boys perform in venues as varied as the legendary terrace in Space Ibiza, it took them as far a field as Moscow and Dubai, it let them play to the whole of Marseille from the ramparts of a castle and led them to support the one and only Nile Rodgers & Chic.
Smoove & Turrell released their third album Broken Toys in May 2014, another jump forward both in terms of production and appeal. Sparkling pop songs flirt with disco influenced floor stompers in between the blues, jazz, funk & soul the boys are so well known for.
Hitting the road again with their motley crew of Geordie reprobates Smoove & Turrell’s 7 piece band will once again be gaining yet more of a loyal fan base both here in the UK and in Europe & the wider world.
Smoove can boast a career in the music industry that dates back almost two decades. A man of many talents he is not only the producer & driving force behind Smoove and Turrell but his passion and love of music has guided him onto a path that includes international DJ, label boss, Re-mixer & live performer.
Smoove’s integrity & originality was spotted by legend Eddie Piller (Acid Jazz Records) in 2005 when he signed Smoove to release his first solo record “Dead Men’s Shirts” and after the success of the singles “Coming Back” & The Revolution Will be Televised” both Smoove and Eddie realised a follow up was on the cards. “Gravy” was released in 2007 with the now B-Boy classic “I’m a man” featured in its list of classic dance floor fillers.
Not happy with just producing music Smoove started his highly successful “Mash Up” label Wack Records in 2006. Rocking club charts all over the globe with “Big Love” & “Quality Soul” to name a few.
In 2009 Smoove & Turrell released their first album “Antique Soul” on Jalapeno Records, gaining support and mainstream play list action for “I Can’t Give You Up” & the northern soul stomper “Beggarman”. Never the kind of man to quit on a good thing, Smoove then went on to produce S&T’s most successful album to date “Eccentric Audio”. Hits “Slowdown”, “Hard Work” & Gabriel were all play listed on national radio stations across the world including BBC Radio 2 & BBC Radio 6.
As a remix artist Smoove’s recent hall of fame boasts artists as varied as Africa Bambaataa, The New Master Sounds, Bahama Soul Club, The Third Degree, Brenda Boykin, The JuJu Orchestra and Dutch superstars Kraak & Smaak. Available on his 2012 remix album “First Class”.
2014 saw Smoove complete the third S&T album “Broken Toys”. What is in store for this album we can only wait and see? But with plays from the likes of Gilles Peterson and reviews topping every thing that had gone before, things are definitely looking good for the man named “Smoove”.
John’s first outing was as a singer/songwriter with good friend and writing partner Alan Davidson in the band “The Stevie’s”. They were quickly snapped up by French purveyors of cool Think Zik and john went on to spend a lot of time in Paris.
At about the same time John met Smoove through his wife Nicola and a life long friendship was born. Working with Smoove, John saw his life long dream of being on a 7” record come true. Always a man to keep shifting the dream goal posts boys started work on “Antique Soul” which was his first real taste of what was in store.
Craig Charles, a heavy supporter of John’s voice and music championed the band so much that the listeners of BBC Radio 6 music actually voted him to be the “Fantasy Funk Band” lead vocalist, playing a live session in the John Peel room at the temple of music Maida Vale Studios. It didn’t end there for the lad from Newcastle he also went on to play the proms @ Hyde Park in front of 50,000 people.
John has written and sang for some amazing artists such as Omar, Dilouya, Ashley Beedle, James Taylor, Kraak & Smaak & Dr Rubberfunk, the list goes on.
John released his solo album “Kingmaker” in 2013 to rave reviews with good friend and writing partner Nick Faber and still tours with his very own band “The Heed”.
Now onto his third album with his main man Smoove you can truly say John has just about done it all. But as the track goes “I Just Want More”, we don’t think this is the last outing for the man with the voice!
Mike Porter (Keys)
Mike first came to prominence with his band “The Kustom Built”. Not only was the band championed by the likes of Steve Lamacq and play listed on Radio 1 but the band went on to play the Reading Festival and were the very first band to record a Radio 1 session in the year 2000 at the Maida Vale studios (the second was Oasis). At the height of their notoriety the band formally split. Mike soldiered on and still works with The Kustom Built front man Kristian Atkinson on their project ANTI-TANK.
He has been the main man behind the keys for Smoove and Turrell since its inception, featuring heavily on both the “Antique Soul” and “Eccentric Audio” albums. He has now also recorded and co-written about half of the tracks for the new S&T album “Broken Toys” so I guess he’s now well and truly a piece of the S&T furniture (the kind you don’t get rid of easily).
Mike is the on stage talisman of the band and with an undeniably one of a kind playing skill, hands, feet, nose & head included, sporting a classic 60’s bowl cut his live performances are really a thing to behold.
As a man with a passion for analogue synthesizers and keyboards (a collection of over 250 rare synths) he has built a sound reputation as one of the most flamboyant and respected players in the game, only recently having been called in to help his long time friend and mentor Clint Boon on their last tour with the Inspiral Carpets.
Andy Champion (Bass)
“Versatile” is the only word for Andy. A much in demand bass guitarist and double bassist; Andy has done just about every gig going, from theatre shows in Dubai to radio stations in Finland to massive outdoor Jazz festivals in China.
Andy first started his musical journey in the world of metal but always found that his skill demanded a higher goal and like most musicians he found his attention turn to jazz, not only because he was able to experiment and learn new techniques but also it offered up the possibility to play double bass something Andy is renowned world over.
Andy’s hard work in the field of jazz paid off in 2013 as he was selected by international music producers Serious (London Jazz Festival amongst other things) to take part in the prestigious artist development scheme ‘Take Five’, giving Andy access to some of the best musicians and producers working in UK jazz today.
Andy’s Writing skills are on show all over the S&T albums, from the stand out track “Beggarman” (Antique Soul) to tracks such as “Always”, single “I Just Want More” and most other tunes on the Broken Toys album!
Besides supplying the low end in S&T, Chris Sharkey’s “Shiver” & John Turrell’s “Kingmaker” project, Andy is also making waves with his own prog-jazz group ACV, performing intimate voice/bass jazz with vocalist (and wife) Zoe Gilby and making it up on the spot with some of world’s finest improvising musicians. Not bad for a lad from Gateshead.
Andy’s dedication to ‘laying it down’ is completely unwavering.
Lloyd Croft (Drums)
As the youngest member of the band you would be forgiven for thinking that Lloyd’s biography would be a bit on the short side but you’d definitely be thinking wrong.
Lloyd’s first real taste of touring came as the beat provider for the forces, entertaining the troops in such far flung outposts as Kosovo and the Falkland Islands.
As a one time session player Lloyd’s passion for music and drumming has taken him across mainland Europe, Dubai, Bahrain, Cyprus, Russia & Malaysia always making sure to learn from the wide and various players he has performed with.
Currently he is working with the much respected blues guitarist Paul Rose on his latest project, laying down his unmistakable classy sound for the blues man to play his unique style of guitar.
Lloyds playing skills are peppered all over the new Smoove and Turrell album and for the first time in S&T history Smoove purposely recorded his separate drum parts to give the album that live feel.
Lloyd has always had his feet firmly on solid ground though and still finds the time to run his Felling Jazz Syndicate giving performers from all over the north east a chance to get up and jam with the main man.
Lloyd Wright (Guitar)
Welcome our newest member in Smoove & Turrell Lloyd Wright on Guitar, having played with many bands as in the UK and Europe and recently performed with Lulu James at Later with Jools Holland in 2013.
Lloyd has also performed Hammersmith Apollo, Shepherds Bush Empire, The House of Saint Barnabus (Soho), Rescue Rooms (Nottingham), played with and supported Emeli Sande, Ellie Goulding, Rudimental, Jessie Ware, Laura Mvula, Kitty Daisey & Lewis, Alice Jemima and Jason Yarde (saxophones)
His touring experience includes festivals such as Bestival (Isle of Wight), Electric Picnic (Ireland), Evolution (Newcastle), Sound City (Liverpool), LiveLeeds, YO1 (York), Edinburgh Fringe Festival, LiveLeeds, Love Saves Sunday (Bristol), The Great Escape (Brighton) and Limetree (Yorkshire)
He has performed with function band The Imposters for 6 years, performing in some of the most prestigious venue, halls and function venues in the north-east.