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The WDVX Blue Plate Special – 3/29 – The Abbey Elmore Band / David Clifton
March 29 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
The Abbey Elmore Band, fronted by singer-songwriter Abbey Elmore, delivers a blend of Indie Pop and soulful Rock. Ranging from laid-back grooves to high energy jams, their repertoire consists of original music as well as progressive versions of pop songs and new takes on classics. The band released their first full-length album, Dear Darling, in 2016, with the follow up, I Know You’re Probably Sick of My Love Songs, released in 2018. The band has since been traveling the country playing clubs, festivals, bars and breweries.
After a childhood filled with sacred classical music whilst a choral scholar at Peterborough Cathedral under the guidance of Dr. Stanley Vann, David Clifton taught himself to play guitar and played for local bands while still at The Kings School, Peterborough. Following college and university studies in ceramics, music and education, he signed his first record deal with Red Bus/EMI in a folk duo. His second contract was with PVK records, where at the signing ceremony he was introduced to legendary blues guitarist Peter Green (from Fleetwood Mac), who was by then pursuing a solo career and also signed with PVK. A lunch to remember!
Following on from a season playing guitar for The Cast, he joined Indie rock band Sensible Jerseys and moved to London. Early in the band’s career they were discovered and championed by BBC broadcasting legends John Peel and Janice Long, eventually signing with Virgin records. When the band members went their separate ways, David went on to play guitar for WEA/East West artist Tanita Tikaram, recording and touring with her across Europe, Scandinavia and the USA. He was then invited to play guitar for Irish jazz/blues artist Mary Coughlan, promoting her latest album and touring Ireland, the UK and Europe.
In the early 1990s, David played for EMI artist Steve Booker, recording a BASF award-winning album, touring Europe and opening for acts including Bob Geldof, Suzanne Vega, Clannad, and Steve Earle & the Dukes. During this period, David met Steve’s co-producer, Andy Piercy, former lead singer of British rock band After The Fire. They discovered a shared a vision and passion for new directions in liturgical and sacred music and began writing contemporary sacred music together, also playing for the music team at their local church, Holy Trinity Brompton. When not busy with sessions and production projects, the two met at Andy’s flat in Notting Hill Gate to write, new songs. This creative period resulted in the recording of two ground-breaking albums of their time: ‘Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow’ and ‘Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs.’
During the ’90s and early 2000s, David recorded and toured with Virgin Records artist Julia Fordham, playing Japan, the Far East, Europe and the USA. Of this period, David has said that recording Julia’s “East West” album, produced by Michael Brook and recorded in Hollywood’s legendary Ocean Way studios, was a particular highlight. Another high point was the year 1997, when Julia and David toured with Sarah McLachlan on the Lilith Fair tour, followed by opening dates on Sheryl Crow’s world tour. On Julia’s next tour of Japan, they were very honoured that Eric Clapton came to one of their shows, joining them backstage afterwards, and invited them to his concert at Budokan stadium later in the week.
In 2005 and 2008, David worked in South Devon on the creation of electronica albums ‘Pulse’ and ‘Flight’ with electronic artist Mr. Don (John Donaldson). Also on the co-writing front, in 2009 David enjoyed the rustic surroundings of a 16th-century barn-studio in Surrey, the location for writing and recording with Grammy award-winning producer Kipper (John Eldridge) for Esther Alexander’s ‘Long Way Home’ album, collaborating on several songs with singer-songwriter Judy Tzuke.
In November 2009, David crossed the Pond, moving to Knoxville, Tennessee, to accept the invitation as director of music and creative arts at Apostles Anglican. English accents gave way to American ones every day, and David thoroughly enjoyed his sojourn in the USA, with several creative projects completed and ongoing ones underway.
‘It’s been very inspiring living here in Knoxville,’ he said. ‘It’s a great music city, in a beautiful part of east Tennessee. I travelled back to England regularly to see family and friends, and to record and play back home. Living in the States has given me more time to write and record my own projects, to work on art, and to write and produce other artists. It has been a privilege to reconnect with American musician friends in Nashville and Los Angeles.’ Work has included new material co-written with Phil Keaggy and Phil Madeira amongst other musician friends. ‘I also learned Appalachian claw-hammer banjo with East Tennessee’s very own banjo genius Matt Morelock. As I often say, never a dull moment! On the wider artistic front I tried to make time for sketching (developing ideas for oil and acrylic works) and to keep up with pottery and ceramics. Mucking about with mud, basically!’
In September 2020 he was appointed artist in residence at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, bringing him back home to England for an exciting new creative chapter of music and art.