A YEAR which has seen Shields’ star Sam Fender shine brightest, a stunning return for The Lighthouse Family, urban pop duo He Know She Knows went global whilst also grabbing a National Entertainment Award, and County Durham rockers Twister not only win the Hard Rock Hell Highway to Hell contest but, in doing so, earned a recording contract with Off Yer Rocka Recording which sees them rebooting in 2020, it has been decent.

But what about the coming year in the North-East and what have some of our favourite musicians got on the cards?

Newcastle’s Sam Dickinson has plenty of reasons to be happy. He’ll be starting it with the release of a new single, “Diamond Skin”, from his upcoming album (which is stunning) “Off Script”, the latter is due to be released soon.

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Speaking of his music, a twist towards 1990’s pop showing a total turnaround to his usual 21st Century soul, Sam said: “My last album was in 2013 and it was getting some really good coverage, but, with one thing leading to another, I took over 18 months out.

“Then, when I wrote Therapy, everything started to gel back into place from then really but my new album (in September) has been some three-and-a-half years in the making.”

In addition to his new music, Sam will also be launching a new show entitled “Back to the 90s” at the Pride Media Centre, Gateshead, on April 4, and will open for Alexandra Burke when she heads to Yarm’s Princess Alexandra Auditorium in June.

“The show in Gateshead will be the first live for my new music and then I’ll be supporting Alexandra Burke, something which I’m really looking forward to.

“I’ll be performing alongside someone who is a household name so, having released two tracks over the past 18 months, I’m ready to just go for it, do it.

“I’m really excited and feel I’ve a brilliant product so my focus now is solely on my music, which I love.”

Staying on Tyneside, rock stars Tomorrow is Lost, fronted by Cass King, are due to release their debut album as they build on what has been an incredible year in 2019, which saw them recover from a horrific injury, continue to rock Planet Rock, and numerous festivals, as well as find themselves signed to American label, Eclipse Records.

“Therapy” will be released in mid-April with a launch show at Think Tank, Newcastle (support from As Sirens Fall).

Moving over to Durham and the arrival of Girl from Winter Jargon caught most off-guard, but she is rolled, and looped with it as only she can, seeing her appearance on the Noisy Daughters release catapult her status.

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She’ll be releasing a limited edition 7” single with Butterfly Effect Records although titles are yet to be decided.

“The Noisy Daughters Initiative by Tracks [Darlington] really helped kick-start things for me this year,” said Rachel, the mastermind of GfWJ.

“My debut single, Without Apology, gained a lot of support from the BBC, which I’m really grateful for and now I’m currently recording a couple of songs intended for a 7” vinyl to be released on Butterfly Effect Records.

“This will be part of their limited edition series of 7” singles. The idea behind the project is to help support local musicians by creating a series of lathe-cut vinyl with unique cover art provided by the artist – which makes the product itself highly collectible.”

The North’s Jazz scene also continues to flourish, and, following the success of Abi Lewis’ biopic masterpiece, The Geordie Jazz Man Documentary surrounding the life, trials and tribulations of Keith Crombie, the modern day exponents shine brightly.

Pete Tanton, an American Geordie, and his Riviera Quartet which consists of himself, Andy Champion, Mark Williams and Russ Morgan, concluded 2019 with a pair of singles in Moral Compass and One Kiss, they’ll follow those up in the New Year with several others culminating in a new EP in the early summer.

Alongside their releases the quartet also have a number of gigs already lined up, notably between March and August and which will include a trip to Darlington’s Opus 4 in late May and a couple of Newcastle dates.

In addition to the Riveira Quartet, Tanton also has Mondo Trumpet with Graham Hardy, Paul Eldis, Champion and Morgan, they’ve also got new music and gigs in the pipeline following what was a successful November outing in Gosforth.

Another strong Jazz exponent the region has to offer, and she’s looking at a massive 2020, is Zoe Gilby, who, alongside husband Andy Champion have just finished an impressive year which culminated in her claiming, much to her surprise, the Parliamentary Jazz Awards Jazz Vocalist of the Year.

“Just to be shortlisted for the award was enough for me,” said Zoe.

“To actually win it though, was incredible. I hadn’t even thought of winning, especially when you consider the calibre of musician I was up against, and the fact nobody this far north has won it either.”

It was the catapult she needed to propel into the New Year and, with several projects on the go herself, it’s certainly going to be busy what with ‘AURORA’ and ‘PANNONICA’ alongside the expected release of a new album which has been two-and-a-half years in the making.

“‘Living in the Shadows’ is a different direction for us and is something we’ve been writing and recording for over two years,” she added.

“It will be very exciting to see the reaction online as we release the music videos and the songs which will be available to download.”