The COVID-19 pandemic has decimated the live music industry, with gigging as we know it being put on hold since March last year. For many musicians, this has resulted in livelihoods and incomes being severely impacted by lack of work.
Many artists turned to livestream gigs as a means of interacting with an audience and keeping us entertained through numerous national lockdowns. A group of local solo artists from St Helens decided to team up as a show of unity in these uncertain times for the industry, stepping out of their comfort zone to perform a cover of the classic ABBA hit, ‘Mamma Mia’.
The group, comprising of brothers Jack and Matty Bennett (formerly of Stillia), James Riley, Ian Lawton and Dan Pinder, are familiar names on the town’s local music scene. Stillia have flown the flag for their hometown musically in recent years, with hits including ‘Let You Know’ and ‘Let Me In’, the latter of which saw the band team up with local legend and comedian, Johnny Vegas, for the video.
Speaking of the cover and the current struggles for local musicians, James Riley said: “We really enjoyed recording this one and we’re currently working on some more stuff together. Typically, and in less strange times, we gig separately around the country. However in these trying and uncertain times, and with the smaller local music scene pretty much non-existent, we decided to get together and record a few covers during lockdown.
“Some are slightly cheesy and a bit of fun like this one, but we’ve also been working on covers of tracks more similar to the style we usually play at our gigs. It’s been really enjoyable and we’re looking forward to recording and releasing more when restrictions are eased.”
If the government roadmap out of lockdown goes ahead as planned, the likes of James, Jack and Ian will return to gig again in outdoor venues from April 12th. By the middle of the summer, local musicians will be hoping to return to some sort of normality, with live music set to bounce back stronger than ever.
With gig-goers missing the live music scene just as much as local artists are missing performing, the return can’t come soon enough. In the meantime, here is the excellent cover of ‘Mamma Mia’.
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