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London Jazz Festival Review: Damian Lewis

Four Out of Five Stars

by John Bungey | The Times | November 21, 2022

(★★★★☆)

Jazz in all its forms — from funky to free-form, catchy to headscratchy — enjoyed its 30th annual splurge in the capital with 300-plus festival gigs by assorted stars of the genre — and one gatecrashing film star.

On the final night, a festival debutant with an album out next year wowed the crowd at the Tabernacle, Notting Hill. Quite why the actor Damian Lewis’s show of rocking, rootsy Americana should be part of a jazz festival is anyone’s guess. But his own songs had real flair and if “the acting malarkey”, as he called it, ever fails, his Martin guitar will prove a useful fallback.

Read the rest of the original article at The Times

Categories Music Personal and Family Life

Damian Lewis Performs Songs From Upcoming Debut Album at Tabernacle London

Closing Out the London Jazz Festival

by Gingersnap | damian-lewis.com | November 20, 2022

Damian Lewis played an intimate performance to a sold-out crowd at the Tabernacle on closing night of the London Jazz Festival on Sunday, November 20, 2022 with special guest Hattie Whitehead.  Doors opened at 7:00 p.m. and he took the stage around 8:35 p.m. Band members remained the same from his Omeara performance including, Giacomo Smith, Will Cleasby, Will Sach, Kitty Liv, Dave Archer and Joe Webb. His opening song was Down in the Bowery and the remaining set list included Hole in My Roof, Soho Tango, Zaragoza, Little One, Neil Young’s Harvest Moon, Never Judge a Man by His Umbrella, Warren Zevon’s Werewolves in London, Tom Waits’ Little Trip to Heaven, I Wanna Grow Old in Paris, Makin’ Plans, Jelly Roll Morton’s Why?, She Comes, and JJ Cale/Eric Clapton’s After Midnight.

Damian’s brother Gareth Lewis was in the crowd, as well as his children Manon and Gulliver. Others spotted were friend Dominic West, Mark Strong, Ben Chaplin, Allie Esiri, Sharmila of CureEB and based on her tweet, apparently Elizabeth McGovern was in the audience! The show was again promoted by Neil O’Brien Entertainment, with Rhydian Roberts in attendance. View performance videos and more images in our Gallery here.

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Categories A Spy Among Friends Helen Interviews Music Print Media

Damian Lewis on Grief, Espionage and His New Musical Ambitions

This Is a Mini-Midlife Crisis, But Not a Full-Blown One

by Simon Hattenston | The Guardian | October 29, 2022

They were the golden couple of British acting, but Helen McCrory’s death last year left her husband shattered. Now he is putting the pieces of himself back together – and finding a new creative energy.

The entrance to the private members’ club is so unobtrusive it is barely visible. I walk up the back stairs to a well-disguised roof terrace. A member of staff seems to know why I’m here, and shows me to a discreet table with barely a word. Damian Lewis is sitting there alone, tucking into a plate of sea bass. “Sorry, I couldn’t wait,” he says, looking up. “I was starving.” We move on to the veranda – an even more private spot. I half expect him to show me a secret code, tell me to consign it to memory, and walk away. It feels like a scene from a spy novel.

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Categories Announcement Music News Personal and Family Life

Damian Lewis Scheduled for Live Music Gig at The Tabernacle

Music To Our Ears!

by Gingersnap | damian-lewis.com | October 12, 2022

After a sold out first show, Damian is scheduled to play The Tabernacle in London on November 20, 2022 from 7:00-10:00 p.m. as part of the London Jazz Festival, which runs from November 11-20. Doors open at 7:00. Tickets go on sale from Friday, October 14, 2022 beginning at 10:00 a.m. here. You can also purchase tickets here. So if you missed his first two music gigs at Omeara Theatre and Wilderness Festival, now is your chance! Damian is said to be releasing a debut solo album sometime in 2023. For more information about his music career, click here.

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Categories Music Personal and Family Life Print Media

Damian Lewis Performs Songs From Upcoming Debut Album at Wilderness Festival

Wildlings at Poshtock

by Gingersnap | damian-lewis.com | August 7, 2022

Damian Lewis unveiled his debut solo album at the Wilderness Festival on Sunday, August 7, 2022 at Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire. He performed Little One and other originals on The Forum stage, said to be the flagship ideas tent at the heart of the festival, along with an eclectic music line-up that also included South Korean DJ Peggy Gou and dance act Underworld.

Poshtock is the local nickname for the Wilderness Festival and home of luxury glamping, Michelin-starred food, mindfulness classes and champagne picnics. Set in the open rolling Cotswolds countryside, Wilderness is held each August on a 5,000-acre estate owned by Lord Rotherwick. Wilderness is a lifestyle jamboree, boasting £6,000 yurts and eclectic music and said to be a festival for the Waitrose crowd.

View videos and more photos in our gallery here

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Categories Music Personal and Family Life Print Media Review

REVIEW: Damian Lewis Screen Star Celebrates a Mellow Musical Hinterland

Mellow Musical Hinterland

by Stephen Dalton | The Times | August 5, 2022

Photo Cred: Twitter @blavikenbutchr

Not many aspiring musicians get to pack a fancy London club to the rafters with hooting fans at their very first gig, but Damian Lewis did arrive at Omeara with a head start in the fame stakes. The Homeland, Billions and Wolf Hall star had busked around London and France in the embryonic stages of his acting career, more recently giving a few low-key private performances for friends. But during lockdown he began writing songs in earnest in collaboration with the east London-based jazz-pop band Kansas Smitty’s. This was a preview of his debut album, set for release early next year.

Backed by a six-piece band full of Kansas Smitty’s regulars, including the alto saxophonist Giacomo Smith and the guitarist Dave Archer, Lewis opened in full-on Elvis Presley pastiche mode with a retro-flavoured rocker, possibly titled She’s My Little One, yelping his hiccupy vibrato vocal over honking harmonica. But his main musical hinterland was more mellow jukebox Americana, taking in coffee-table blues, laidback country-rock and jaunty big-band jazz crooning, with varying degrees of success.

The 51-year-old actor made his trad-leaning tastes plain with a respectful cover of Neil Young’s radiant midlife love ballad Harvest Moon, which wafted along on heart-twanging pedal steel guitar and woozy honky-tonk piano. He earned hipster connoisseur points with his husky-voiced solo piano rendition of Little Trip To Heaven (On The Wings Of Your Love), from the first Tom Waits album, Closing Time.

Only on a handful of numbers did Lewis seem to step outside self-conscious performance mode and stop coming across like an actor playing a musician. That said, he closed on a high with a superb folk-rock track that began as a gently tumbling waltz before building to a crashing, emotionally raw blast. This was the best song of the night, sounding like a lost Jeff Buckley classic in places. More of this passion and swagger could have really lifted this show.

Of course there is a long and ignoble history of actors changing lanes to try out their musical skills in public, only to be rightly laughed off stage. Lewis is no fool; he knows this all too well, which may explain why he peppered this set with self-effacing jokes and humble expressions of gratitude. In fairness, he did not disgrace himself.

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REVIEW: Damian Lewis at Omeara

Passionate Debut

by Neil McCormick | The Telegraph | August 4, 2022

“You! Are at … our … very first! Ever! Gig!”

proclaimed Damian Lewis, as commandingly as if delivering Shakespeare with a few Pinteresque pauses.

He played a double agent in Homeland, an insider trader in Billions and an unusually slender Henry VIII in Wolf Hall. But Lewis’s latest and perhaps most personal role is as a soulful singer-songwriter.

The 51-year-old TV and film star took to the tiny stage at the Omeara club in London carrying an acoustic guitar and backed by a six-piece band of jazzy virtuosos playing flowing, intense, sophisticated songs of love and loss.

Continue reading REVIEW: Damian Lewis at Omeara