8:33 PM 8th November 2023
In Conversation With Beverley Craven And Judie Tzuke
(L-R) Beverley Craven & Judie Tzuke
Photo credit: Neil McKenzie Matthews
Fresh from their highly acclaimed, sold-out Woman To Woman tour with fellow artistes Julia Fordham and Rumer, British singer-songwriters Beverley Craven and Judie Tzuke are again teaming up to play a new 14-date UK tour this autumn, with Beverley confirming that these are to be her final farewell live shows.
Performing with the Gabriella Swallow String Quartet, the intimate new Strings Attached acoustic show will feature songs and stories spanning their entire careers.
Brit Award winner Beverley Craven first shot to fame in 1991 with her eponymously titled debut album, featuring the hit singles Holding On, Woman To Woman
and the eternal classic Promise Me
Talking about her decision to make this her final live tour, a reflective Beverley Craven says, “It’s true—I'm not planning on doing any more shows after this tour. I’ve been writing, recording, and performing for over 40 years. It feels like the right time to hang up my headphones and retire on a high note. I find the travelling aspect is now getting quite exhaustive, and I am very much looking forward to retiring, although I do enjoy performing with Jude. We have been planning Strings Attached show for two years, and they will be very special.”
“The most important thing for Jude and me is that we really want to enjoy ourselves. We’ve done the hard slog and spent decades sustaining our careers (albeit mostly under the radar). We planned this tour because we genuinely want to do it, not because we have anything to prove or promote. We have a great team and plan to find some nice restaurants to eat in beforehand (no more service station sandwiches) with a decent bottle or two of wine in the green room and come away from each gig knowing that we’re still at the top of our game and that a wonderfully poignant evening was had by all”.
Beverley Craven & Judie Tzuke Strings (c) Richard Purvis 2023
remains a big favourite with radio stations today and has been covered by a diverse array of artists. I wondered if Beverley had a favourite version. "A Koreon girl did a version I liked, as it was just her and a guitar. There are some dance music artists who have covered the song too, and to be honest, I don’t like any of them. I am grateful that my version is still played today on the radio because it brings the track to a new generation”.
The music and the renumeration artists receive today does not resonate with Beverley: “Songs today do not earn as much for artists as they used to do. With streaming and downloading, artists are left with the crumbs after others have taken their share of any money made from these songs. With recording studios costing over £1,000 a day, to keep costs down, many new songs are recorded on a computer. For me, the human element has gone, and I get bored when I hear these tracks; many are so repetitive. Someone like Alicia Keys records in a studio with musicians—I can hear that in the final mix—it draws you in”.
Judie Tzuke first came to prominence in 1979, signing to Elton John’s Rocket Record Company and scoring a worldwide Top 20 smash hit with her timeless classic Stay With Me Till Dawn
and her critically acclaimed album Welcome To The Cruise
. Her new 23rd studio album, Jude The Unsinkable,
was released in October (with copies on sale at these autumn shows). The album’s lead track, Keeper of the Sun
, boasts a string arrangement written by Beverley and will be performed live during these Strings Attached dates.
Talking about the new autumn UK tour, Judie says, “When I started my career in the Seventies, I was, in my mind, more of a rock artist; I was friends with many rock bands, and a lot of my audience was made up of leather jacketed rockers with Thin Lizzy, UFO, Black Sabbath, and the like written on the outside of their jackets (but with my name secretly written on the inside, I don’t think they were sure if I was in that team or not!). I’d never thought of having strings on my music until I started recording my first album and was introduced to the genius Paul Buckmaster. That changed everything for me. He wrote the beautiful string arrangements for Stay With Me Till Dawn
and many other tracks on that debut album. We stayed friends, and he has actually written on many of my more recent albums too. Since that very first meeting with Paul, the idea of doing shows complete with strings has been a dream that is now finally happening with this new tour.
“Funnily enough, drum and bass legend Goldie told us that hearing the strings on my debut album inspired him to make his award-winning album Timeless
, which just goes to show how strings can add so much to so many different genres of music.
I wondered if Judie still listened to any of her old albums. "Yes, I have been listening to quite a few of them recently. I am proud of all the albums I have recorded; my premise has always been that they were made for the fans and myself, not for what the record company thought I should be recording. If you listen to Bring the Rain,
a song I wrote the lyric to when I was fourteen, when I perform the track live, I still feel exactly the same person as when I wrote those words”.
As regards the tour, Judie is looking forward to the forthcoming concerts. “Bev’s idea of us performing together with a string quartet on this very intimate new tour was so exciting to me. I feel our music works so well together, and Bev is such a wonderful artist. I’m lucky to get to listen to her lovely songs each night. We love chatting with the audience during our shows, and she is so funny as well, with a wicked sense of humour. It really is a unique and wonderful experience, quite unlike anything I’ve done before.”
Tickets for all dates are on-sale via https://www.seetickets.com/tour/beverley-craven-judie-tzuke-strings-attached