Is Britten Ready?
By Blast arts reporter Rala Kawas
A lover of fine dining and old folk music, local acoustic talent, Al Britten came into the Open Centre to meet with and chat to Blast arts reporter Rala.
Coventry’s very own original and unique folk singer/songwriter explained that, his genre of acoustic music, which he calls “contemporary folk music,” is one which he tries to keep modern, topical and simple, in order to relate to the people that enjoy it.
Self-taught guitarist, Britten began playing when he was fifteen, and, inspired by ‘back-in-the-day’ punk bands like Nirvana, he spent around ten years playing in bands, until he was 26, when he decided to fly solo, which seems to be one of the best decisions he’s made to date.
Since going solo, Britten has released his debut album, If You’re Standing, You’re Fair Game, and has been playing gigs along the way. The gigs Britten plays are not only confined to the borders of Coventry and Warwickshire, but he has also ventured out as far as Birmingham and even London.
Drawing inspiration from a mixture of music, such as contemporary music as well as old blues from the 1940s and 50s, Britten has come to write music that means a lot to him, as well as being contemporary and topical, with a classic take on very up-to-date issues.
Al in action.
Al arrived at the Open Centre, guitar in hand, in a very chilled out dark blue t-shirt, and jeans, and immediately put me at ease with a smile. During our friendly chat, I asked Al about how he controls his nerves before or during his performances, and he admits that it’s something he’s had to learn to control over the years.
But since the days of extreme nerves, Al has had some very good and proud moments indeed. Playing at the Godiva Festival in Coventry a few years ago is one that he mentioned. However, he did say that his proudest moment was in fact, a smaller gig, and seeing a small, but totally packed venue, with people standing on the tables in the back in order to see him.
While he enjoys socialising, in his spare time, Al would rather go to a posh fine dining restaurant, than “out on the lash with his mates.”
Far from letting fame ever go to his head, Al places the importance of the music, and of his person before the aim for fame. He explained that he would much rather maintain his credibility as a musician than find a quick-fire route to fame.
Al’s future plans involve more gigs than anything else, but somewhere in the future we should expect a second album, which he is currently working on to perfection.
Just before our meeting came to an end, Al sang one of his favourite songs, which is called Debris of Dreams and is about Coventry being in a constant state of regeneration.
And as he was leaving, I couldn’t help but think to myself, so is Britten ready to take over, and is Britain ready to receive this conquest?
To find out more about Al Britten and his music visit his website and MySpace:
last updated: 26/08/2008 at 16:48