How music has helped the wellbeing of a musician

The Bartells playing live
The Bartells playing live

Following the success of their debut EP ‘Standing on The Edge’ which received airplay across the world, and standout track ‘Something,’ Shropshire’s finest rock band The Bartells return with their punchy new single 1972, written and recorded at Liverpool’s iconic Motor Museum during the pandemic.

The song explores the memory of a son meeting his father for the first time, and how he makes a decision that will stay with them both for the rest of their days. From the first line ‘It was the summer 1972, when I was told that I met you,’ unravels a story of anger and heartache. Constantly asking questions without getting a reply, the song builds using call and response that develops into a full cry for answers. The melody follows the son on his quest to find out the truth as he screams “if love was the sun - was it too hot to stay.”

The band’s bassist Darren Bartell told ABLE2UK how writing music has helped him stabilise his mental health giving him the opportunity to express and share thoughts which would otherwise be trapped inside his head.

‘When I was 7 I first realised I was different to my friends and their families. I was born to my mother, an unmarried single woman in the 70s still living at home with her parents.

The word ‘father’ didn’t mean much to me in the early years, except that I knew I didn’t have one. I lived in a council house and was raised by my elderly maternal grandparents, with a mostly absent mother who had her own private life, relationships, and secrets. 

When I was 12 my mother gifted me with a 7” single - The Bitterest Pill by The Jam. That day changed my life forever. I had always found it hard to talk about and express emotions, but listening to this song, gave me a sense of calm, and a feeling that there were perhaps other people in the same situation as me, experiencing the same feelings.

Since that day my love of music grew, and I knew that I wanted to be a part of something bigger. I started by getting a paper-round to buy a second-hand guitar. I would spend hours learning the chords to play along to songs by U2, The Smiths, The Clash and The Jam, only dreaming that one day I would be on a stage, performing my lyrics with a band, friends even who shared my passion.

The last few years since being with The Bartells, I found that writing and composing lyrics has really helped me to express my emotions and deal with how I’m feeling. The whole process is very cathartic and has been an important tool in overcoming difficult times. I guess that everyone has their own way of dealing with things, but mine was to write.

It is hard to explain just how important music is to me, and how much it has impacted my life in a positive way. Not only is it an outlet for me, but I have also found a family in The Bartells. When we stand in front of an audience together there’s a belonging and a togetherness that is strong, and a knowing that we are all in this as one.

Music will always be a huge part of my life, forever making me feel just as good as the day that I first heard that Jam record. And that’s what it is all about, my ethos has always been, it’s more about how it makes you feel, than how it sounds!’

For more information check out The Bartells’ page on Facebook