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Rob Wheeler’s new EP has the (Aston) Spirit of Christmas

Category : Artists

MidWinter Songs tops UK charts

2021 is proving full of landmarks for in-vogue UK singer songwriter and Aston artist Rob Wheeler. Following his ARC Radio ‘Songwriter of the Year’ award his latest release, the Midwinter Songs EP, hit top spot in the iTunes UK songwriter chart, also reaching no. 5 in the USA.

Blending traditional instrumentation with modern production, the EP steers a path between overtly commercial and fashionably cynical festive releases, resulting in, as the release notes say; “A true alternative Christmas EP.”

Rob used his trusty Aston Spirit throughout the project for everything from vocals through to thumping his grandfather’s old suitcase as part of an improvised drum kit.

“The creative emphasis for MidWinter Songs, from the songwriting to the musicianship and instrument choices, even the cover artwork [an oil painting by Rob’s artist Mum], was to keep things organic. I wanted to hear the scratches and scrapes of the guitar strings, and the imperfect jaunt of the percussion. The Aston Spirit really stands up to this challenge.” Rob told us.

The title track features a Peruvian flute which Rob’s girlfriend brought back from a trip to Machu Picchu:

“I set the Aston through a delay and reverb pedal before going into an Apogee Element interface. I was really pleased with the ethereal effect and for me it conjured the images of the snow-covered mountains I had seen in Rebecca's photographs.

“The lead single Christmas In New York was a more traditional recording session but once again the Spirit proved it's outstanding quality. Recording saxophone and a full string section is both fun and hard work, but what was really fantastic about this particular session is that


there were just two people involved. Me as the composer and producer, and the incredibly talented Kathleen Ord who played all of the instruments. We built the strings up layer by layer, some had the Halo Shadow in place and were close mic'd and some we removed the reflection filter and moved the mics further away. This created a natural spacial orchestra effect which gave me so much scope when mixing.

“The final thing to go on the recordings were the vocals and once again the Spirit, SwiftShield and Halo Shadow trio were flawless. I like a clear vocal that stands out front - this is mainly due to the time and attention I give to my lyrics, so it really matters to me that what I'm singing can be heard and understood and then interpreted from the very first listen. The Spirit delivers on this every time.

“Aston have released some incredible mics, from the Origin to the Element, but as far as I'm concerned the Spirit remains the absolute must-have mic for any studio in the world, whether it's in a spare bedroom or Abbey Road.”

The MidWinter Songs EP follows the release, earlier in the year, of Rob’s critically acclaimed Ten Embers album, which featured guitarist Robbie McIntosh (John Mayer/Paul McCartney) and drummer Fred Eltringham (Sheryl Crow/Willie Nelson).

Rob is currently touring the UK to promote the new EP, with dates through to the end of 2021 and beyond.

MidWinter Songs is out now on:


Check out Rob Wheeler’s music and tour dates on his official website.


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