The Secret Show biography

The Secret Show. Photo: Cazz Kenzie

Last updated: 23 January 2009

Funeral For A Friend frontman Matt Davies branched out on a side-project in 2007.

In a break from his main band's work, Matt Davies found himself picking up an acoustic guitar and returning, after many years, to the music of his early youth. "I just started messing around with these country songs," he says. "Just me and the guitar. They didn't fit with Funeral For A Friend at all - and yet singing them felt so natural. By the summer I had an album's worth of material.

Members

  • Matt Davies: vocals, guitar
  • Lianne Francis: vocals
  • Rhodri Viney: guitar, stringed instruments
  • Cate Timothy: organ
  • Mark Foley: bass
  • Andrew Plain: drums

"I grew up on country music," he explains. "My dad would always play Gram Parsons and The Eagles around the house. I remember hearing Deja Vu by Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young and being totally floored by the harmonies, the way the lyrics told a story. It was a big part of my youth; but then I got into heavier stuff and forgot about country for the longest time."

Perhaps it was being immersed in that heavy sound, the hardcore scene, for so long - and having such success - that prompted the revisiting of his early musical adventures. He began listening to a lot of country music in the tourbus: Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska, The Byrds and Johnny Cash were frequent listens.

"You reach a point in your life where you need to look for fresh inspiration. I found I was becoming a lot more open-minded, and those artists were speaking to me in a way hardcore no longer did."

Armed with an album's worth of songs, but taken aback by the momentum his new material had developed, Davies needed a full band to give his music the fullness it demanded. Mark Foley and Andrew Plain were recruited as bassist and drummer respectively, from the studio in which Funeral used to rehearse.

Foley introduced Davies to south Wales multi-instrumentalist Rhodri Viney - a man famed for being able to play "anything with strings". Well-known organist Cate Timothy was added, followed by singer Lianne Francis, an English teacher by day.

The album, Impressionist Road Map Of The West, was recorded between December 2005 and August 2006 - fitted around Funeral's recording and touring commitments. It is due for release on Atlantic Records in early 2007. "There was no hurry," explains Davies. "I wanted this to be a laid-back thing. To begin with it was just for my own amusement, I wasn't even sure I was going to release it."

The momentum gathered, though, and Davies put a name to the project - taken from The Great And Secret Show by Clive Barker. "It just had a cool ring to it," explains Davies.

With a debut gig at Cardiff's Clwb Ifor Bach in October 2006 and the album release scheduled on a major label, The Secret Show has outgrown Davies' original expectations, and an outfit that will prove an interesting player on the alt-country scene.


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