The Gary Stewart Band Presents Graceland

Led by the legendary Leeds-based troubadour Gary Stewart (Gary Stewart Band / Hope and Social) and backed his incredible 7-piece band, this spectacular group of musicians come together to recreate Paul Simon’s landmark Graceland album in all its glory.

Expect to hear those magical songs, with their captivating stories, distinctive harmonies and South African rhythms brought to life in front of you with no detail spared; from the layers of guitars and percussion, right down to the legendary bass solos and maybe even some token dance moves – if you’re lucky!

Conceived as a one-time only show for a New Year’s party (and due to high demand), Gary’s Graceland band is now a permanent fixture; presenting a perfect concert for the festival season.

An ideal ‘afternoon slot’ / ‘evening party’ band for every festival.

Let the singing, dancing and nostalgia take hold and pretend you’re basking under the hot summer sun in Zimbabwe.

Q&A with Gary Stewart

Q: How did the project come about? 

The project came about through me and my good friend Pete Wright (Vessels) mutual love of Paul Simon's music, and the offer of playing Graceland at the New Year celebration at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds in 2011. The venue has a local band cover an icons music/ classic album every year and we were stoked at being given the opportunity to perform Graceland.

Q: Do you recall where/ when you heard the album for the first time?

Searches the recesses of the memory … I can't quite remember when I first remember hearing Graceland for the first time. At a guess I'd say around age 14-15. I used to listen to the Definitive Simon and Garfunkel CD back-to-back for hours and that's what got me into Paul Simon's music. From that CD I went to The Concert In Central Park and I'm guessing sometime shortly after into my Simon musical adventure I came across Graceland. Ha!

Q: Do you stick to the icon album, and play it in order? Or do you drop in any other Paul Simon tunes?

We play the album in order apart from You Can Call Me Al. We play that as the start of the encore (if we get one) in addition to The Sound Of Silence, Mrs Robinson, Duncan (which I love playing with the band) and The Boxer.

Q: Do you have a favourite track?

I would have to say either The Boy In The Bubble or Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes. The Boy In The Bubble has such a good groove, tempo and bass line. And that accordion! It's also first in the set so gets the adrenalin pumping straight away! Similarly, Diamonds… also has a great groove and the guitar lines are infectious. As is the bass line - which our bass player Fletch has totally nailed!

Q: Did it take you long to unpick the songs and the arrangements?

Not really. I'm such a fan of the album that I know it pretty much note for note (pushes glasses up the bridge of his nose). And my band are just great players. And we all love the music, which makes it pretty easy and a joy to play.

Q: Do to still have time to do your own thing?

Absolutely (cue shameless plug)! I'm about 80% done with my new album. I've been recording it with the guy who produced my first album and have tried to play everything on the songs. So far so good! And my own band is built up of the players from the Graceland band, so we often play a set of my own songs (of which you can listen and buy from Bandcamp - as an opening set at gigs, followed by Graceland.

Q: Has working on Graceland influenced your own songwriting at all?

I wouldn't say that the songs from Graceland have influenced me directly, but all of Paul Simon's music has had, and continues to have, a very big influence on the songs I write and how I go about arranging them.