Samuel Smiles (band)
Samuel Smiles (frequently known as Tim Bowness/Samuel Smiles, the name to which all of their albums were attributed) were an intermittently active English ambient-folk band. Their best known line-up featured singer Tim Bowness (of the band No-Man).
During the mid-1980s the band's only consistent member, Michael Bearpark, had previously been in the Warrington art rock group Plenty with a pre-No-Man Tim Bowness. Bearpark later moved south to study at King's College, London, during the late 1980s. While there, he won the Samuel Smiles Award For Scientific Genius while studying at King's College, London (named after the Scottish writer, social reformer and self-help advocate), which later prompted Bowness to suggest that "Samuel Smiles" might be a good band name.
The original lineup of Samuel Smiles was formed in Cambridge in 1990 by Bearpark and acoustic guitarist Charles Fernyhough (later to become a celebrated child psychologist). The other two members were singer Grainne McAlonan and double-bass player Phil Unwin. They were later joined by pianist Peter Chilvers. The band subsequently underwent a number of changes in direction (including folk and country) and, after recording a demo tape produced by Tim Bowness, parted company with McAlonan and Unwin in early 1991. Fernyhough continued to play, write and record with the remaining members until January 1995.
Bearpark and Chilvers joined up with Bowness in June 1991, initially under the new name of Strapless. The band rapport was so instant that they performed their first live date on the day of their first rehearsal, and went into Amazon Studios (now Parr Street Studios) in Liverpool to record a live album barely three weeks later. These early sessions were eventually released on the Burning Shed label as Live Archive One.
The band continued sporadically to record and perform over the next decade, playing a BBC radio session in 1992 and performing occasional support slots to musicians such as Holly Penfield in 1995. In 1997, Bearpark, Bowness and Chilvers added cellist Marianne De Chastelaine (ex-Heather Nova/The Wise Wound) to the lineup. The quartet played several concerts and made a number of recordings engineered by David Kosten (Faultline).
A subsequent version of the band - with De Chastelaine replaced by Myke Clifford (saxophone, flute and percussion) - recorded the 1999 studio album World of Bright Futures. The album also featured guest appearances by Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson and Colin Edwin plus Warringtonian guitarist Tony Harn). A live album, The Way We Used To Live, followed the next year (and was later reissued in an expanded version on Burning Shed as Live Archive Two).
Samuel Smiles performed regularly throughout 1999 and 2000, included support slots with Porcupine Tree, Marillion and Roy Harper. However, the band was prone to regular internal tensions (primarily between Bearpark and Chilvers) and ground to a halt in the early 2000s, although all of the members retained their personal and professional friendships.
Some of Samuel Smiles' style and songs were carried on into the duo project Tim Bowness/Peter Chilvers. Both Bearpark and Chilvers continued to collaborate with Tim Bowness outside of Samuel Smiles in projects such as Darkroom, Henry Fool and the Tim Bowness live band of the mid-2000s (as well as performing guest spots in line-ups of the No-Man live band).
Developments and reconnections
Samuel Smiles acted as an incubator for several songs which subsequently travelled to other projects. Aside from the Tim Bowness/Peter Chilvers duo project (which continued to play the Samuel Smiles songs "Also Out Of Air", "Dreaming Of Babylon", and "Sorry Looking Soldier"), both "Flame" and "Brightest Blue" were revived for the Richard Barbieri/Tim Bowness album Flame. "Walker" was re-recorded by No-Man and eventually released as an archive track on their All The Blue Changes anthology.
Samuel Smiles also recycled an old song from a previous Bearpark and Bowness band, Plenty ("Life Is Elsewhere") and covered No-Man's "Watching Over Me" on their debut album.
In 2008, Bearpark reunited with Charles Fernyhough in the rock band Aimless Mules; and Marianne De Chastelaine was reunited with Tim Bowness in 2008 when she added cello to the No-Man album Schoolyard Ghosts.
- World of Bright Futures - (Hidden Art (hi-art 3), 1999) 
- The Way We Used to Live - (Hidden Art (hi-art 7), 2000)
- Live Archive One - (Burning Shed, 2000) CD-R
- Live Archive Two - (Burning Shed, 2000) CD-R