NHS fundraising tribute to Norwich musician
- Credit: Archant
Friends and family of musician Jon Marett, who had an undiagnosed heart condition, have recorded one of his songs in his memory to raise funds for the NHS staff and volunteers who are working tirelessly during the coronavirus outbreak.
Music was a huge part of Jon Marett’s life. As well as being a passionate and talented musician who was well-known on Norwich’s gig scene he was a recording studio and label owner too.
Jon passed away in 2013 from an undiagnosed heart condition at the age of 44. Now a city-based collective of fellow musicians have recorded and released one of Jon’s songs in his memory to help raise funds for the NHS staff and volunteers who are working tirelessly during the coronoavirus outbreak.
Guilty of Trying has been recorded by the Andy Bott Project, which features Jon’s brother Anthony Marett (drums/vocals), Simon Ayto (lead vocals), Tim Gyton (bass), Stewart Burchell (keys/vocals), Ivan McCready (cello), Nikki Chang (vocals) and Andy Bott (guitars/vocals). It’s available to stream and download now and money raised will be donated to the NHS Charities Together fund.
Anthony says: “Jon spent some time living away from home in 1990, during which time he was performing with Dhani Harrison [Beatle George’s son] and writing new material. One of those songs was an embryonic version of Guilty of Trying. “When I first heard it I just loved its ease, catchy melody and almost autobiographical lyrics. It’s been great to work on this song with the guys and truly amazing to see how it has developed into what it has become. It has made me feel so close to Jon after all this time. Jon was quite dismissive of his own work, but he would have absolutely loved this.”
Andy says: “To have known Jon was already a massive privilege. He was a devilishly gifted musician, with a wicked sense of humour and everything was delivered with such flair and a glint in his eye. To have had the opportunity to work on and embellish this song is an honour. It has felt like Jon has been by my side through it all. He has been my drive and inspiration that has kept me pushing.”
“Jon was instantly likeable, hugely generous, funny and vibrant to his friends and he was a brilliant father – his kids were his entire world,” continues Anthony. “The nurses and NHS staff were amazing in their care for Jon at the very end. I think if Jon knew that a song of his could help the steadfast and brave staff and volunteers throughout the NHS in this current situation in any way, shape or form he would swell with pride.”
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Talking about recording the song, Andy says: “I had always loved Guilty of Trying, which became much more resonant when Jon passed away in 2013. From that point it became my plan to record the track and grow it into something even more fitting to be a tribute to Jon. So along with Anthony and Stewart we wrote some new parts and embellished the arrangement with a cello part and a full choral section that features us supplying the multi-part harmony. We recorded the whole track with Sotos Yaisami at Ashwood Studios in Bowthorpe. I’ve worked with Sotos before a few times and he is just great, as he always seems to get what I’m trying to achieve and goes the extra mile to make it happen. For example, when recording the choral section he marked out a massive grid on the studio floor and we had to sing each individual part separately from a different position. It was like some sort of musical game of Battleship!”
For the cello part they enlisted the help of Royal Academy of Music trained Ivan McCready, who has previously played with Montserrat Caballe and Jessye Norman amongst others in the world of classical music with Country House and The Universal by Blur, You’re Not Alone by Olive, Linger by The Cranberries, 2000 Miles by The Pretenders and the Trainspotting film soundtrack just few of his pop credits.
“Working with Ivan was an absolute joy for me. Together, I think we have been able to take the song into an even higher place,” says Andy.
They started recording in December and only got the track finished just before social distancing guidelines came into force.
“At that point, as events began overtaking us and the work NHS staff were required to undertake on all of our behalves it became clear what we needed to do. Jon would have loved it and totally supported what we’re trying to do,” says Andy.
Guilty of Trying is available to stream and download across all music services, including Spotify and Apple Music, now.
Donations to the NHS Charities Together fund for NHS staff and volunteers caring for Covid-19 patients can be made at justgiving.com/fundraising/andybottproject