Bristol Archive Records Blog

Tammy Payne

Tam guitar

Of the four self- penned albums Tammy has released, only one of them is under her name.

Whilst this is perhaps not the best strategy for building a music career, it does explain her preference to experiment.

As a singer, writer and drummer she has covered jazz, dance, Latin, alt-folk and rock.

At 19, she gave a demo to local DJ Tristan B. He passed it on to a plugger at Warner Bros and soon Tammy had an interview with Warners. Despite liking her own compositions, they felt it was safer for Tammy to launch her career with a cover.  She recorded a version of Denice Williams’ ‘Free’. Warners were pleased with the attention this got and gave the go ahead for Tammy to record a single of her own tune, ‘Take Me Now’. They put it round the clubs as a white label and due to the positive feedback Tammy earned herself a meeting with the ‘man who signed Madonna.’  She was told by the plugger to wear a nice little dress. She turned up in a baggy t-shirt and jeans feeling very nervous! The man who signed Madonna dropped Tammy from Warners but there was no cause for alarm. Her white label was still out there and reached the ears of Gilles Peterson.

Tammy released two singles of big chorus dance / soul tunes on Gilles – Talkin Loud label.

Then her love for Brazilian music took her to Brazil and across the USA to get percussion lessons.

Back in Bristol she did a lot of jazz gigs either on drums or as a singer covering bossa nova classics as well as standard jazz repertoire. Many of these gigs were with fellow jazz enthusiasts Adrian Utley of Portishead and Will Gregory of Goldfrapp.

Soon Tammy started writing her own material again and so began her solo output with Cup of Tea Records, then Sissi, Boca 45 and Smith and Mighty collaborations. She features on five tracks on Smith & Mighty’s album Big World Small World.

She toured Europe and USA as the drummer for John Parish (long-time producer of PJ Harvey) with a band that included Adrian Utley and Jim Barr.

Sometime into the 2000’s Tammy learned to strum acoustic guitar and experimented with a different voice, more fragile, more story-telling – an alter ego even – who appears as the artist / band Jukes on the album ‘A Thousand Dreamers’, released on Badly Drawn Boy’s and Andy Votel’s Manchester label, Twisted Nerve.

Here, she is dreamy and whimsical on her foray into the Bleeker Street of her imaginings, spurred on by listening to folk music and Dylan, Cohen and other 60’s and 70’s writers.

It is on her second album as Jukes; ‘We Might Disappear’, that her alter ego sounds most convincing, covering such topics as her relationship to fate and time, ego, identity and the search for connection to others.

After taking time out to be a mum, Tammy decided to make the jazz standards album she always wanted to make. What came out of this was anything but standard. She formed a band with Dylan Howe on drums, Dan Moore on organ, Neil Smith on guitar and Jim Barr on bass, called it Tamco and deconstructed the songs of Dolly Parton, Leonard Cohen, Elvis Costello to the effect of The Doors meets Julie Driscoll. It was released on Edition Records in 2010.

Tammy kept the line-up, with the addition of another drummer from Bristol, Matthew Jones, to record the only album under her own name, this album, ‘Viva Outsider’, brings together jazz, blues and pop of eras from the 50’s onwards.

There was no particular reason why Tammy finally used her full name for this. When asked, “It just felt like time” she said.



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