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27 November 2014

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You are in: Manchester > Entertainment > Music > News and Interviews > One true Voice

Voice of the Seven Woods (pic: Mark Winkley)

Voice of the Seven Woods (Mark Winkley)

One true Voice

Raga-like sprawls, sitar breaks and songs inspired by Byzantium… Rick Tomlinson isn’t the most conventional of musicians, but that, he says, is more to do with our preconceptions than his music.

"I don't think what I do is particularly unusual. I'm confused by who it is I stand out from and who it is you're comparing me to. I'm pretty much out of touch with pop bands, if that's what you're into. And, seriously, if that's your bag, I could play you much more 'unusual' music than the stuff I'm recording. You should meet some of my friends."

The Voice Of The Seven Woods front cover

The Voice Of The Seven Woods front cover

Tomlinson has been making waves for a couple of years as Voice Of The Seven Woods, an alter-ego he came by for several reasons, not all of them artistic.

"It’s from a book of poetry from 1904 and a copy of Avant Garde magazine from 1969. And, perhaps more significantly, a pressing plant deadline!"

It’s a title that seems to sum up his music as well as anything else could. A sprawling mass of multi-stringed instruments and the occasional vocal from Rick, it’s the kind of stuff that defies definition, even to the man himself - especially when he’s asked to describe it.

Rick's instruments

The tools of his trade

"I love being asked this question as much as being punched in the face! I really don't know. I don't like to describe or categorise. I would say I listen to and am continuing to discover a lot of different music and I think, inevitably, that's reflected in the stuff I record, the same as anyone. But I don't like to stand still."

Part of that constant change comes from his influences. Tomlinson says he’s into "everyone and no-one" and the day we spoke to him, his listening included "Renegade Scanners and Otomo Yoshihide".

The rest comes from his travels. Thanks to the sheer talent of his songs, he’s already taken them around the world, with some places sticking out as being particular favourites.

"It's actually an original wooden brain that was discovered by Andy Votel on one of his regular digs with the Derbyshire Archaeological Society..."

Rick on where his front cover art came from

"Sweden's always great, and the recent trip to California was pretty special too, but there’s nothing better than visiting amazing places like those for the first time."

It comes as no surprise that such a free thinker is involved with Manchester’s bastion of everything idiosyncratic, Twisted Nerve. Indeed, if Rick’s to believed, TN impresario Andy Votel even went so far as to forage the art for the front of Voice Of The Seven Woods’ eponymous debut album, though the details sound a little dodgy.

"It's actually an original wooden brain that was discovered by Andy Votel on one of his regular digs with the Derbyshire Archaeological Society, somewhere off the coast of Marple Bridge."

Rick in performance (pic: Dani Cantó)

Rick in performance (pic: Dani Cantó)

It’s a story that matches the magic and wonder that’s bursts out of the album, yet such things stand as oddities to Rick himself. Despite the praise he’s already received, when he’s asked what he thinks people will make of the album, his answer is refreshingly down to earth.

"That's an impossible question isn't it? Who knows? Of course it's nice when people are into what you're doing, but, y'know, I've pretty much always done my own thing, and I'm not overly concerned what people think."

And with that he’s away, back on a plane with a sitar in tow to keep his momentum moving, safe in the knowledge that he’s playing the music that he loves, a music which is finding its way to the heart of anyone that hears it.

Voice Of The Seven Woods is out on Twisted Nerve on Monday 6 August.

last updated: 20/07/07

You are in: Manchester > Entertainment > Music > News and Interviews > One true Voice

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