The Charlesys

Charlesy decided to learn the guitar when he was a student working on a French vineyard and travelling around Europe. He ended up working on an island near Bordeaux where there were no shops and bars – just a couple of Irish workers who had taken their guitars on their travels. They knew numerous songs and entertained their fellow workers for weeks as everyone drank the local free red wine because the water on the island was unsafe to drink! 

Prior to learning the guitar Charlesy had always written lyrics, partly inspired by his father who had several novels published. On picking up the guitar he could now marry the lyrics with the music and his passion for songwriting was born. 

These days Charlesy is a songwriter and music producer although was previously a founder member of the Accelerators. Initially on guitar/vocals, he later moved to bass/vocals. The Accelerators enjoyed 21 years of playing gigs across the south-west of England and achieved airplay on BBC Radio Two, ITV soap Emmerdale and on many other radio stations around the world. 

Charlesy with The Accelerators

Charlesy also played gigs in the Dominican Republic with Los Tres Rebeldes including 3 memorable gigs in the women’s prison at Najayo to publicise prison reforms which were put in place to make them more humane. 

Charlesy performing at a prison in Dominican Republic

With regard to his songwriting Charlesy says, “My songs are not easy to categorise as they range through country, folk, rock and roll and acoustic etc. I’ve long since given up trying to ‘formularise’ the songs. They will just, well….emerge…..!`.  Perhaps this is not surprising as his earlier musical influences included Neil Young, David Bowie, Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, The Clash, the Sex Pistols and Pink Floyd. 

Some years ago Charlesy was stuck in the corporate rut and hating every minute: the dull meetings, long hours, corporate politics, tedious presentations and Sunday evenings spent dreading the week ahead. He recalled that “it was like wishing your life away”. It was very difficult for him to make the break from the grind, downsize, write songs and still be able to pay the bills. 

In fact all that Charlesy ever really wanted to do was to write songs and get them recorded to a reasonable level in the hope that they finally reached a wider audience. Whilst he sings most of his songs, he states that `my first love is as a songwriter`. 

The artwork for his song covers often derives from his original photographs. After ‘dropping out’ of corporate life one way that he found to pay the bills was to take and sell photographs. He says, “This gave me a great opportunity to indulge a love of travel and spending time in my beloved campervan!”

His latest songwriting project is the country album `Nine Country Nuggets` by the Charlesys. Produced and written by Charlesy, the album was recorded in Nashville by some truly wonderful musicians. As the album is all about the songs, `The Charlesys` are the songs themselves.

In March 2024, The Charlesys released the single “Shining Star”. Charlesy said: “The song is about that special person from our school years who lit a flame in our heart, which never really went out!”

In April 2023, The Charlesys released “Slapton Sands (Exercise Tiger)”, telling the story of the 946 US service personnel who were killed in one day during top secret rehearsals for the 6th June 1944 D-Day landings.  2023 marked the 80th anniversary of the Exercise Tiger tragedy which occurred at the coastal village of Slapton Sands, England, 100 miles from where Charlesy lives. He wrote the song in England but had it recorded by Nashville-based musicians.

An estimated 200 were killed in a `friendly fire` incident on 27th April 1944 and then a further 700 when US LST`s (Landing Tank Ships) were torpedoed in Lyme Bay the following morning. They were on the way to Slapton to practice beach landings.

There was no official memorial to the lost troops for 40 years until local man Ken Small raised a Sherman Tank from the Slapton seabed and put it on display.  He subsequently wrote a book called “The Forgotten Dead”.

The song remembers the lost servicemen as heroes and Charlesy said: “The song may be six minutes long, but their story deserves that and more.@