Music

Dave plays a number of instruments:

  • He has worked for 4 years as the Musical Director of a touring theatre company.
  • Written music for plays, films and TV.
  • Formed and led a number of bands and jazz units which have toured extensively.
  • Worked as a session musician.
  • Designed and run musical workshops.
  • Toured with various musical and theatrical line-ups.
  • Composed over 100 pieces of registered music.
  • Played and recorded on over 800 tracks.

Recent activity

 

Gigging with Amser and with Julie Bullman.

 

new album

CROCHAN: Amser

 

Released in 2014, Crochan is available on-line, from Palas Print, Stryd y Plas, Caernarfon or from the band.

11 tracks:

Y Lon i’r Alban

Marinaleda

Mrs O’Keenan/ Gweithdy

Taid Gerlan

No Shoes Blues

Beyond Jerusalem Ridge

Rhiannon

Montezuma’s Mantlepiece

Zanzibar

Pale Blue Moon

Life’s a riddle

Featuring material written by Dave, Gareth Moriarty and Richard Barker.

Dave Stephen: guitars, viola braguessa, harmonica,

Gareth Moriarty: guitars

Jos: percussion

Richard Barker: vocals (2 tracks), second percussion

Also cameo performances from John Lawrence (double bass) and Jackie Williams (vocals)

Recorded at Pen y Benglog and engineered by John Lawrence.

Below is the press release for USA:

PRESS RELEASE:

The Welsh band known as Amser have released their latest LP record, “Crochan.” The album is composed of 11 original tracks, mainly instrumental but also with vocals, for an approximate total listening time of 50 minutes. It has been proudly published on the Bricsan independent music label without the support of corporate music entities. Steeped in the music tradition and spirit of Wales, yet with contemporary frills and a bluesy, jazzy undertone, “Crochan” by Amser is a record unlike any other from the heart of the United Kingdom.

“Crochan” by Amser (which mean ‘Cauldron’ and ‘Time,’ respectively) is a record which equally holds its own as fare for the serious music aficionado, or as a pleasing backdrop for social events, studying, or virtually any circumstance in general. This versatility is at least partially due to the aforementioned jazz attributes with which Amser embellishes their mode of folk music, which at its core is the modern folk sound of Wales.

Amser cite as main artistic influences a great list of beloved songwriters and instrumentalists, many of them from the ranks of guitar innovators like Chet Atkins and Tommy Emmanuel, jazz greats like Miles Davis, Celtic and British folk players like the Chieftains and John Renbourne, and classical masterminds such as Steve Reich, Bohuslav Martinu and Igor Stravinsky. The Rolling Stones also make the list, which accounts for the quirky and creative nature of “Crochan”’s delightfully surprising tracks like “No Shoes Blues” and “Life’s a Riddle.”

The soul of Amser is guitarist Dave Stephen, a Welsh rock sculptor working largely with slate at his workshop in North Wales. He has been performing music for over 40 years and writes his own songs, often with fellow collaborator Gareth Moriarty and the occasional other. Asked to comment on Amser and their new “Crochan” record, he writes:

“This album (‘Crochan’) is the second by Amser. We specialise in mainly instrumental, self-penned pieces with a Celtic backdrop, although with all sorts of different influences. ‘Crochan’ also contains two songs with vocals, which is a new element.”

He closes his note with a simple mission statement.

“We play for the joy of playing.”

 

“Crochan” by Amser is available online worldwide.

-S. McCauley

Lead Press Release Writer

www.MondoTunes.com

 

TAITH

Mastered in August 2010 and due out early in 2011 is the new album: Taith (Welsh for journey). This album is like a musical journey through Dave’s influences. 12 tracks featuring Dave on a series of instruments with guest appearances from Gareth Moriarty, guitars; Jôs: percussion, Gareth Hughes: bongos and Dave Wrench (accordion).

Engineered by Dave Wrench.

Listen to a sample in the mp3 player (top of page to the right)

Tracks:

  1. Train to Titicaca (3.35)
  2. Deepwaters run (3.53)
  3. Bo Diddley Dee Music (3.50)
  4. The Pompous Rag (2.36)
  5. Moses Knows his (3.37)
  6. Handmaids Waltz (2.31)
  7. Three Mind Lice (2.56)
  8. Ar Garlam (5.40)
  9. Shoot me, I’ll shoot you too. (3.46)
  10. Taith (4.04)
  11. Swingboats 1,2,3 (7.36) 3
  12. Oily Rag/ Wash up. (2.59)

All tracks written by Dave Stephen.  Bo Diddley Dee Music, Moses Nose is, and Ar Garlam co-written with Gareth Moriarty. All tracks published by: Amser Music.

Amser: Amserau

10 tracks of original guitar duets, some with percussion and a few extras! The music is a celebration of guitar music; it’s different styles and influences from jazz to folk to classical and blues, with even a bit of country thrown in. Whatever the piece, whatever the feel, it is always played with emotion. Amser have played at exhibition openings at various galleries and at other venues in North Wales

  • Dave Stephen: Guitars/gitars/ Harmonica
  • Gareth Moriarty: Guitars/ gitars
  • Gareth Hughes: percussion/ percysiwn

STIR

Stir: Bootooe: a goose

Take some: be-bop jazz, succulent riffs, juicy grooves, a pinch of Punk, a portion of Trad.  Add Celtic lilt, some exotic scales, a pinch of Folk, some slapstick, Arabian radishes and a splash of Parisian Café.  Add   a sprinkle of quirky time and some B movie detective film music and STIR, allowing the ingredients to blend.

Listen to a sample in the mp3 player (top of page to the right)

  • 10 original tracks featuring:
  • Dave Stephen: Guitar/ harmonica
  • James Evans: Clarinet, Saxophone, Shawm
  • Tom Kincaid: piano
  • Tony Parisella: bass
  • Gareth Hughes: drums and percussion

Stir played on the UK jazz circuit for two years, finishing at the Torfaen Jazz Festival in 2007

ORIEL

Dave Stephen: Oriel

Oriel features 19 original tracks, including: ‘The North Wales Suite’ which consists of eleven linked instrumental tracks inspired by North Wales.  Each piece is a sound picture, for instance Tren Bach representing the Ffestiniog Railway. Tren Bach has featured on BBC Wales. There are eight other tracks on the CD and they also have their own inspiration and stories.

Listen to a sample in the mp3 player (top of page to the right)

  • Dave plays Guitars/ bass/ synthesisers/ piano/ harmonica/ whistle and percussion.
  • Also cameo roles from: Gareth Hughes, Simon Williams, Tony Parisella and Les Morrison.

HEX

Hex were a hugely experimental band. They starting off deliberately without a bass player and containing both a guitarist (Dave Stephen) and pianist (Phil Morgan)  who swapped lead, bass and chord work.  This strange line-up was finished off with a violinist  (Phil Lewis) and a drummer (Steve Burnaby-Davis).

The writing was mainly by Dave with Phil Morgan also chipping in. The music was complex and often unusual but had classical undertones at times and  a definite ‘Celtic’ feel. The eponymous track is a very disturbing piece. After an initial album: “Quiet Life” and tours on the UK jazz circuit, James Evans joined on clarinet and sax, replacing Phil Morgan on violin.

The band became slightly more orthodox and as well as producing the album: “Big Bang Theory” the band toured in the UK and also represented Wales at the international jazz festival at Viennes in France.

Big Bang Theory

Tracks:

  1. The Talking Lobster
  2. The Other Promised Land
  3. Surfacing
  4. Bag Dad
  5. Boscawen-?n
  6. In Deep
  7. Cegin Fach
  8. Bootooe a Goose
  9. And they Lived
  10. Pen ar Bed
  11. Thatsthat

Quiet Life

Tracks:

  1. The Cut
  2. Cariad
  3. Some edible fungi
  4. Oh for the quiet life
  5. Iago
  6. No I haven’t
  7. Two seats in paradise
  8. One dubious decision

Hex

There are still a few (very few) Big Bang Theory CDs left

Quiet Life is now out of print, although the master still exists.

HOLD FIRE

Hold Fire was a short lived chaotic experimental band which had various line-ups and personnel, at different times including bagpipes, tabla and all sorts of wild and wonderful instruments.

Although it performed irregularly, (although fairly memorably to those who were there!) Dave wrote some material which was later resurrected.

NO QUARTER

NO Quarter were a four piece which stayed together for a number of very productive years.

The line-up was Dave Stephen (guitar, harmonica, and occasional piano), Mark Abel (saxophone, piano), Dave Thorogood (bass, occasional whistle, bagpipes), Steve Burnaby-Davis (drums).

The band toured on the UK jazz circuit and produced 2 studio albums:

There was nearly enough material for a third album when the band folded amicably.

There are also some live recordings around.

The World’s Untidiest Man: also on vinyl (Cartel)

First Quarter

Tracks:

  1. Pop Rivet
  2. Whose heaven?
  3. Driftwood
  4. 8 legs and stalking
  5. Up jumped the hare
  6. Get Flat

John Edgar and Dave Stephen

John Edgar is a superb storyteller, playwright, actor and musician. Dave and John collaborated over a number of years, touring extensively in the UK. Much of the material was satirical and politically hard-hitting.

They collaborated on four albums:

  • Atomic Frolics
  • Positively Revolting
  • Whirlwinds and Storms
  • In Other Words: Live