Out of the Blue is a mix of World, Folk and Jazz music born out of a passion for multiculturalism and social justice, and failed relationships in the Manchester rain.
Maxwell Watts is the alter-ego of Colin Crichton, a Belgian born musician from a classical music background who moved to Manchester in 1998, drawn by the music and party scene. He bought a large house of flats in Eccles which he rented out to other international musicians, artists and students, and set about hosting underground parties, gigs and jam sessions, putting on an early incarnation of the Travelling Band amongst many others in his flat. His parties became legendary, involving giant bonfires burning old pianos outside to match the incendiary performances of the collected musicians inside.
Always interested in travelling and multicultural influences, Maxwell opened his house to musicians from across the world, some bedding down for the night, others moving in for years. He built a studio and, taking his influences from everything from Bob Dylan to Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat, began work on Out of the Blue. Featuring musicians from Mozambique (Elias Kacomanolis - also recording/touring drummer for MoBo, Best African Act, nominated Waldemar Bastos) and Switzerland as well as England, Scotland and Wales, Out of the Blue is a deep, lush mix of influences which take the listener on a journey as varied as the people who made it.
Lyrical themes include: How politicians ignore the real issues (Happiness), social injustice (Beggar’s Eyes) and the futility of selfish ambition (Climbing this Ladder to the Top). In other songs, Maxwell tackles reflecting on failed relationships (Out of the Blue) and in Norwegian One, the hopeless lust for the next.
Always open to collaborations, Maxwell plays saxophone for reggae collective Extra Love and clarinet for 8 piece gypsy jazz band Toe Rag and has an electro-acoustic project called Astempola featuring former Carmel bass player Jim Parris. He has also worked for The Salzburg Festival in Austria with American avant-garde Theater Director Robert Wilson (best known for his collaborations with Philip Glass on Einstein on The Beach) and in 2006, Maxwell started working and performing with Herbie Flowers (best known for writing the bass line to Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side).
Cityscape Records is a long established kitchen-table-label which has been championing DIY pop from a Bolton terrace since ‘96. We really hope you enjoy our latest labour of love