2018 is shaping up to be one to remember for North-East music fans, with regional powerhouses continuing to flex their muscles, tours, and a few debut albums for added measure. Yes, it promises to be fun.

The Seamus Edge-led Voluntears will be rising up with a couple of a singles, a debut album and an early tour.

The past year has been a good one for the Sunderland-based five-piece as they plan a national takeover – a Rosie Road it’ll sure be.

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Teesside gets stronger following the announcement that the Hammill siblings will not only be having an early support tour, but will headline, alongside the Northern Orchestra, the Middlesbrough Town Hall.

As The Voluntears head out during February/March to promote their single, Cattle & Cane follow up a sold-out headline tour of their own prior to the festive season with an April road trip supporting Southern belle, Nerina Pallot.

“We’re looking forward to getting out and touring again,” said Seamus, lead vocalist of The Voluntears.

“There’s a lot of big things planned for the year ahead as we not only work on and release some new material, but we’re also looking at rejuvenating the live music scene here in Sunderland.

“The focus will certainly be on the music as we take things to a whole new level.”

To follow a strong year is always going to be difficult, but, for Helen Hammill and her siblings, the announcement of their headlining the Town Hall is as big as it comes, she added: “Having the opportunity to headline Middlesbrough Town Hall, especially alongside an orchestra, is genuinely a dream come true for us and we hope to see lots of familiar faces there.

“We’re so lucky to have such a supportive fan base and we’re constantly blown away by the amazing crowds we get across the country – there really is no better feeling than hearing people sing your songs back at you.”

Three of the regions voices of angels are aiming for the stars. Northumberland’s Jesse Raine makes a comeback after a spell in the wilderness; Newcastle’s Beth Macari has done some soul-searching throughout 2017 and will surprise; whilst Darlington’s Hayley McKay is set to release new material.

“With (impending new singles) ‘Clone’ and ‘Boy,’ along with some feature releases with DJ’s being released in 2018, I’ve turned a corner somewhat,” Beth adds.

“The former definitely something that people can relate to and I love the lyrics, biased I know but it’s quite cutting, in a good way, and people can interpret that themselves.

“Now, I can finally see myself releasing a lot of music, working with a lot of people, committing myself to putting the music out there and eventually getting to release that first album which is testament to not only myself but my close-knit team, management, musicians and a hard core base of fans.”

For Hayley, after a year which has seen her travelling between the South Coast and her native North-East, spending time with BBC Radio’s iconic Bob Harris, as well as performing at the likes of SummerTyne and Tan Hill Festivals, there’ll be some new music from her soothing tones.

“I’ve definitely got a busy year planned and I’m really excited about my debut album,” she smiled.

“First I’ve got a new single, Chance To Change, in March along with a quite few live dates which includes performing at The Georgian Theatre in Stockton whilst the aim is to get onto BBC Radio Two, and more Spotify playlists.

“That’s where I need to be, getting my music out there as the music world, like the world as a whole, is constantly changing.”

A welcome addition to the music scene was the ‘Vinyl’ events produced by Ian Allcock and Lauren Duncan at Stockton’s Riverside Lounge.

Evenings which fuse a mixture of original music and related arts and photography the duo have put on several stunning nights already and the New Year will just add to that phenomenon.

“Vinyl is pretty much all about putting on a night of original bands and music-related artwork and photography and creating something the people of Teesside and beyond don’t usually have access to in Stockton,” began co-promoter, Ian.

“Music and art go so well together you know and so it was a surprise to my co-promoter, local artist and designer Lauren Duncan, and I that there wasn’t a club night dedicated to bringing the three things together in our local area.”

Having worked with a numerous musicians, photographers and artists, 2018 is set to be a breakthrough year which will only further the regions music scene, Ian adding: “It’s a regular monthly night now and is going down so well with the people of Teesside.

“What is pleasing too is that it is appreciated by the music, art and photography communities in the North East as well as the gig going public.

“We usually have three bands on (originals only, no covers as there are plenty of places and outlets for that) and usually a mix of local photographers and artists, giving them another outlet to put their work out there.”