SEEKINGBagpipes, Cello, DJ, Dobro, Drums, Electronic Music, Fiddle, Flute, Harp, Other, Saxophone, Trombone, Trumpet, Upright bass, Violin, Vocalist - Alto, Vocalist - Bass, Vocalist - Soprano, Vocalist - Tenor.
S J Denney is an Essex-based singer-songwriter with an indie edge. He’s a familiar face on the London and festival scenes with a reputation for delivering powerful live performances.
S J’s songs are crafted with finesse and delivered with a punch that demands attention – this is not a passive soundtrack. Add to indie a fusion of blues, funk, dance and heartland rock to get a real tour de force, captured on his debut album, Then Again, which will be released on The Animal Farm label.
And it’s not just about great music. Each lyric has been honed with the same care and delivered with the conviction of an artist right on top of his game. These are grown-up musical tales, taking us from the global revolution happening before our eyes, to the highs and lows of affairs in our hearts. He’s talking to you – and making you think.
Support slots for Athlete, The Bluetones, the Inspiral Carpets, Modjo and Wilko Johnson have been valuable stepping stones along the path that has built S J’s loyal fan base. The next 12 months will see the rest catching up and getting the message. And they’re going to like it. A lot.
‘He’s got the edge that can rarely be captured on stage. S J Denney’s music is meant to be in the spotlight and will only move forward from here on out.’ – LIVAMP
‘I can definitely hear how Noel Gallagher has been a major influence, but S J still makes his music his own. The details within his writing definitely make his music stand out; especially with his vocal style.’ – My Random Jukebox
- Screen name:
- Member since:
- Feb 05 2017
- Active within 1 month
- Level of commitment:
- Years playing music:
- Gigs played:
- Over 100
- Available to gig:
- 2-3 nights a week
The Beatles; Oasis; the Rolling Stones; Neil Young; The Bluetones; Paul McCartney; Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds; Bruce Springsteen; Tom Petty; The Beach Boys; The Smiths; Suede; Duran Duran; Depeche Mode; Coldplay; The Moody Blues; Bob Marley; Elbow; Peter Gabriel; Daft Punk; Dido; the Red Hot Chili Peppers; Michael Jackson
- Rhythm Guitar:
- Background Singer:
- Vocalist - Baritone:
- Acoustic Guitar:
- Steel guitar:
- Lead Guitar:
- Other Percussion:
- Bass Guitar:
Takamine G Series electro acoustic; Fender Telecaster; Gretsch Streamliner
The Unsung Hero
The Unsung HeroS J Denney is an Essex-based singer-songwriter. He performs folk music with an indie edge. 'The Unsung Hero' is his latest single… This is his first release of the year. And he’s stepping confidently into the 20s with an assured voice that suggests another impressive clutch of tracks coming our way, to add to his rich catalogue. The song begins with full instrumentation. Lead and acoustic guitars interweave beautifully along a very Denney-esque rhythm of shuffle and snare with a deftly placed line of bass. S J’s voice comes in, warm and rounded. These days the power within his ballads is conveyed by the music and strength of lyric; this mature delivery allows his vocals to blend with the musicality. And it brings shivers – as you’ll see. The mighty electric melody of the refrain raises the temperature and enables the emotional high point. ‘When someone believes in you’ he sings – and we all know that feeling. When the presence of love means you can bear anything, do anything and carry on, knowing there’s someone wholly on your side. The instrumental break is a delight. S J reaches back to one of his earliest tools in the kit with a clarinet solo that fits the mood perfectly. This leads to the second refrain, raising the emotional pitch again. The insistent, driving music and unashamed, tender words bring back again the title of this stunning track, as he laments, ‘My hero’s still unsung’. Not any more she isn’t. Mark J Cundy – Feb ’20
Forgotten FriendsWhat follows, is a remarkable vignette of a track. Forgotten Friends clocks in at 97 seconds, but conveys so much in a dual delivery of quiet compassion and heart wrenching pleading. If that sounds depressing, it certainly isn’t. S J’s voice breaks new ground as he softly broaches feelings so delicate, matters so deeply rooted that he knows he needs to tread gently. It’s evocative of Springsteen at his most tender and Costello at his warmest.
(Feels Like I'm...) Hearing Things
(Feels Like I'm...) Hearing Things'(Feels Like I’m…) Hearing Things' takes us out of the inward tensions of personal relationships and looks at the wider world. There is turmoil out there, which every screaming headline tells us daily. This track catches the mood. There is a notion of helplessness – but not hopelessness. Political paralysis often leads to social tensions and this is truly a song for our times.
The Good Times
The Good TimesIn 'The Good Times' a bad relationship flashes before our eyes, as a relentlessly downbeat missive is fired across the wreckage. There’s still a hand reaching out, but with no anticipation of reconciliation. The sparse use of acoustic, deftly deployed bass and percussion keeps the mood intact throughout. This track reemphasises the theme of lessons learnt, with older and wiser perspectives reigning.
Where Darkness Hides
Where Darkness Hides'Where Darkness Hides' is a joyful homage to The Smiths. This elegant arrangement, beautifully played by Denney and the assembled musicians provides the platform for a tale of two souls that will never settle into blissful coexistence, but who would be diminished without each other. Roisin O’Hagan joins him on vocals and lifts the bittersweet tune to its emotional high.
A Fond Farewell
A Fond Farewell'A Fond Farewell' is S J’s latest addition to a seriously impressive clutch of new material for 2019. The track continues some of the themes evident from his looser, freer style that exudes a very justified confidence by this songwriter for these times. Lyrically the recurring theme is that he is a little older and more than a little wiser. The daily struggle to chase those demons away continues, but he’s more likely to be riding the current than trying to fight it these days. And he’s a man that is more looking back on those battles than being in the thick of it. He sings lightly ‘I made my choice’ but it’s a seismic shift. Denney’s music continues to be a delight. The chord sequences allow the piano, trumpet and bass to stretch out and provide a jazzy improv quality. You could imagine this as a 12-minute set piece at Ronnie Scott’s or at a Sunday club in New Orleans. By surrounding himself with musicians of the same quality, S J has delivered another career-high release. The echoing outro harmonies and clever word play carry the quality right to the last beat. And it’s one of those songs where you know the end is coming, but you don’t want it to be over.
All the Signs Were There (feat. Roisin O'Hagan)
All the Signs Were There (feat. Roisin O'Hagan)'All the Signs Were There' is S J’s second slice of new material for 2019 and offers another delightful change of pace. Breezy is not what you normally expect from this measured and driven artist, but it works. There’s no mistaking the attention to detail, great arrangement and polished delivery throughout this Beatles-inspired track. From the opening bars of bright acoustic guitars, the bass and drums irresistibly invite the listener to hitch onto this upbeat groove. When Denney’s voice joins the party, he’s the cheerleader for a determinedly optimistic ride. And this time he’s accompanied by Roisin O’Hagan. A wonderful artist in her own right. This is a cautionary tale of human timidity. But instead of bawling you out for your shortcomings, Denney puts his arm around you and offers some friendly advice. There is a way forward, if you stop treading those same circles. It’s a familiar story to many, rarely told this succinctly. S J is filling the gap of his potential with these new recordings. His style has been carefully assembled down the years, with influences vintage, modern classic and left of field. This time in the studio has been spent putting together something that effortlessly rises above what has gone before. We are now hearing the authentic voice of this highly talented singer-songwriter.
Here I Am
Here I Am'Here I Am' is the trailer single from S J’s latest record and it brings together the best elements of his Britpop and American songbook influences. You can hear inspiration from a number of artists including John Lennon, Hank Marvin, Noel Gallagher, Damien Rice and George Michael. What’s especially thrilling is how it draws on and refines his own style too. Those of us who’ve followed S J over the years can hear his own voice being raised to new heights. Denney achieves an apparently effortless drive without shouting the odds or making the listener’s ears bleed. The song starts with a beautifully blended acoustic undercurrent and electric hook, underpinned by drums and bass outriders that subtly insist on your attention. Added to the standard sounds is a delightful cello, superbly played by Louise Dearsley. The weaving sympathy of the strings softens the harsher edges of this tough love lesson. And the emotional high point of the track is scored with a perfectly placed trumpet break from Rus Rogers. The foundations of the track were recorded live and click-free, giving it an extra dynamic that is often lacking from modern-day recordings.