Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Acoustic+ 25 March - Soul-Rhythmatics

No, I haven't forgotten.  
Last to play were new, young act Soul-Rhythmatics and all credit to them, for the reasons mentioned in other recent posts about this event, they were able to hold the attention of the audience right until the end of the evening.
You might also think that Soul-Rhythmatics is a strange, somewhat old-fashioned, name for a band so young and you would be right, but only up to a point.  If you are not planning to come across all folk, roots or acoustic-indie then there is probably little better with which to try than this.

Two percussionists, three vocalists and a guitar.
Performing last, between the five of them they did what most might have imagined to be impossible and holed-out from what could have been a very dangerous trap indeed.  What is more the ubiquitous, but often incongruous, threads of fairy lights actually looked as if they were meant to be there. The songs were quite sound too but the recreation of an era way before their time (and, if less so, even mine for that matter) was worth the whole admission price.  

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Shotgun Wedding - Caitlin Rose - lyric

I should have gone to bed by now but, when somebody asked if I could add any more lyrics of songs by Caitlin Rose, this was irresistible.  I've been meaning to do so for ages and it is another of the self-written tracks from the 2009 'Dead Flowers' EP and, typically so, it pulls no punches.
Shotgun Wedding
Meet, conceive and marry
True love's a shotgun wedding
There's no time to fool around
Cause you have no choices now.
Flowers in the backyard
With the family gathered round
True love's a shotgun wedding
And you can't plan it out.
Perhaps if it was passion
And not just circumstances
That you'd put a little of love
Into that question you are asking.
She lays a kiss upon your cheek
Her lips so full and round
True love's a shotgun wedding
Momma said don't fool around.
I know it seems awkward
But that ain't gonna stop her
This down-payment is a promise
That your love is gonna prosper.
The world just won't end
When you roll into town
True love's a shotgun wedding
With the layman writing down.
It's the right thing boy
Put that ring around her finger
And don't you stop to worry
That the feeling won't linger.
Light yourself a cigarette
While writing invitations
She knows its matrimony
What with child expectations.
You lay a hand upon her belly
That's so full and round
True love's a shotgun wedding
Momma said don't you fool around.
True love's a shotgun wedding
And you can't plan it out.
At her somewhat impromptu, and utterly triumphant, second performance at EOTR 2010 (headlining the 'Big Top' in place of the indisposed Steve Mason) she performed this solo on acoustic as the first of two 'encore' tracks...
It was not part of her set on the smaller 'Local Stage', which had already attracted much attention.  To mark that here is another photo, previously unseen, from the first set.

Portland, OR is never a place that takes music for granted and it shows in this review:

Acoustic+ 25 March - Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin

This was the next problem that led to the travails of The Off Chance, as mentioned in the post below.
When you pay £5 ($8) for a ticket to see four acts live you really have no right to expect one of them to be as good as Barbara J. Hunt and Dizzi Dulcimer. When as a very new band just starting out, as is the case with The Off Chance and the first album just a mirage on the horizon, you end up playing immediately after the former and just before Exeter-based duo Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin it is going to be tough; very tough indeed and this flyer, which was everywhere in the Cheese & Grain, says a great deal about the kind of pressure they were up against:

In my humble opinion they were truly worthy of the recommendation.
The term roots music is very wisely used here for Phillip often plays a resonator guitar, in the case below one with an electric pick-up, the concept of which only dates back to 1927.
They were originally designed to be a louder version of acoustic, which became lost in big-band music, but soon found a place of their own for their unique sound. There are various modifications of the thin spun-metal cone that acts as the primary resonator (in the version above that is amplified by the electric pick-up in the same way as with an electro-acoustic) and are sometimes all known generically as 'dobros'; this is now a registered trademark of Gibson Guitars but there are many manufacturers of  such instruments.
They are often found in both bluegrass and Hawaiian guitar music. In the former case they partner fiddle particularly well, which has a great deal to do with the music here.  Another very suitable partner instrument is this...
Hannah Martin playing 4-string banjo.
Or even 4-string banjo accompanied by a standard acoustic guitar.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Acoustic+ 25 March - The Off Chance

Acoustic+ - I would like to treat all acts in the same way but if I were to do so that would rather defeat the point of  'Thoughts on Music': Were it totally without my personal bias and sometimes even favouritism, them it would have little point.

'The Off Chance' are an act of which I had no previous knowledge let-alone live. If this appears to be a case of damning-with-faint-praise then that may sadly be the case.
It just happens that the Swindon-based trio were dealt a true baptism of fire last Friday evening and perhaps ended up feeling that the name that they had chosen was all too apt. The fact is that in many another Acoustic+ line-up they could have held their own without a doubt.
If I had one criticism it is that however hard their percussionist worked on the modified stomp-box, and he did, the addition of a full drum kit would add a great deal to the whole impression I think.
It is an observation that is made all the more pertinent because right beside him on stage was exactly that!

Acoustic+ 25 March - Barbara J. Hunt & Dizzi Dulcimer

I have thought about this for a couple of months now and this is the first time I have decided to do it; and that is to split my post about the most recent of Frome's very own Acoustic+ into more than one post.
It is on a roll at the moment I think and, as a result, I couldn't really get my head around doing it justice in one go.  The evening started with Barbara J. Hunt and Dizzi Dulcimer - two independently versatile musicians who, judging from what was on offer here, can complement each other splendidly. Barbara J. Hunt plays acoustic guitar and sings...

In recent months Acoustic+ has been host to a fair few of the less common, but it would seem in a wider sense to becoming increasingly popular and better known, acoustic instruments.  Here are two more:
The drop drums look surprisingly like kettle barbeques, but sound a whole lot better, and the café at the Cheese and Grain does very good food anyway...
To say that Dizzi plays hammered dulcimer is obvious: she also tutors learners of them and sells them, new and secondhand, too.  In the last few months the base for this business has moved and thus also become a new live music venue in the vicinity of Frome for, along with her sister, they have also taken over The Bear Inn, Holwell.
It now provides live music, workshops, food, accommodation and of course drinks and, if that were not enough...

On the weekend of 9/10 April a festival of recycled sculpture too!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Seven Years - Howard Eliott Payne - lyric

This is another one that that someone asked after this evening.  It is my pleasure to be able to help in this regard when I am able to do so and it also absolves me from the need to consider what the next post should be about!  Just at the moment however that is the least of my problems for there is just so much good music bubbling away and just awaiting a wider audience.

Bright Light Ballads (2009), from which this track comes, is very good indeed and very consistent throughout. Why it is not better known is just one of many mysteries but, on the other hand, sometimes I like the feeling that there are always 'secrets' out there just waiting for me to find and enjoy.

Seven Years

Seven long years as wild as the wind
We cradled the dawn to whatever end
And sometimes when I feel broken and blue
It brings me such peace to think about you.

I was there at the start when you first came in
An angel of soul, a harbour of sin
A moment of doubt not knowing what is true
It brings me such peace to think about you.

I left in the spring with a gun in each hand
We kissed on the tracks and parted as friends
And seven long years beneath a cold prison moon
It brings me such peace to think about you.
Yeah, it brings me such peace to think about you.
Yeah, it brings me such peace to think about you.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New Music 2011 - Part 14 - and festivals - Part 1

What a remarkable week. While my computer seems, to all intents and purposes, to be working normally someone seems to have installed spy-ware in my mind!
So many acts recently announced - for both Latitude and End of The Road festivals - that were on my must-see-live list.  The next problem, I just know it, is what to do when more than one of them are performing on different stages at the same time. It is however one of the more pleasing problems to have...
So where to start?  Well... The big names you will probably know about already and so I'll leave those amongst them that particularly excite me for later. They can wait. While many of the acts on smaller stages are yet to be revealed, I'm going to start with one of those that already has been confirmed for EOTR 2011.
She released her self-titled first album in 2007, having sent the demo to Bob Dylan, and it is still available but currently costly on CD at least in the UK.  EOTR have announced that Sarabeth Tucek will be appearing and her début was one good album:

I've never had the opportunity to hear her perform live but the album is still just as impressive as it was almost four years ago. It is gently reflective in mood and therefore should suit the EOTR surroundings well but that is not all.
Her sophomore release 'Get Well Soon' is released in the UK on April 4, 2011 on vinyl, CD and d/l (label: Sonic Cathedral) and, curiously, the cover artwork could very easily be a view across the lake at Henham Park (home of Latitude); I'm thinking looking across towards the reeds (that one passes on the path to the Sunrise stage) from the area to the right of the bridge when looking across the lake from the main part of the arena.
This is not 'sudden impact' music but if you like the insidious liquidity of much Americana - and I for one certainly do and it is part of a canon that is becoming increasingly important - it and much more too is well worth investigating.
Incidentally there will be two bridges across said lake at Latitude this year, to relieve the overcrowding, and apparently also an improved entrance to the arena for much the same reasons. The latter in particular is overdue - as it was an issue in 2009 also - as would trying to stick to the advertised open-gate time. If there is a real issue then fine, in which case a bit more in the way of effective communication would be appreciated by all.
Things inevitably do go awry sometimes and most people can appreciate and accept that. It would also make life more pleasant for the festival staff too; I know that, if I were one of them, I'd be pretty frazzled if I was repeatedly asked 'WTF is happening?' when the fact of the matter was that I didn't even know myself.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Stick No Bills! - a day for posting posters...

I just could not resist adding this one, the latest from a band that I first saw performing live at EOTR 2009 and who are currently in the US for their performances at SXSW 2011.

The best bit, apart from the music of course, is that in this space I can fly-post to my heart's content with near impunity and, yes, you do need the 'Fugitive EP'.
It is free and legal too (see link in poster)!
Staying with events taking place across the Atlantic...
Poster art is, happily, still alive and well in the 21st century.


Learning To Ride - Caitlin Rose - Lyric

To whosoever asked about this lyric about fifteen minutes ago, here it is. Another lyric from an artist who, as of this evening, is now confirmed for Latitude 2011 as well as, about a week ago, End Of The Road 2011.  This is the first track on the 2010 album 'Own Side Now'.
Learning To Ride
Learning to ride, oh, learning to ride
I get knocked down when I'm learning to ride
A few broken bones for a place to hide
I get knocked down when I'm learning to ride.
When I was young used to ride the wild ones
They were lots of fun but they almost took my life
Now all I need is a simple steed
To take me where I need without putting up a fight.
Learning to ride, oh, learning to ride
I get knocked down when I'm learning to ride
A few broken bones for a place to hide
I get knocked down when I'm learning to ride.
Tennessee Stud took me for a blooming bud
He chewed me up, spit me out just the same, oh
He took my words, spilled my beans in to the herd
Now they all look at me with courage and disdain.

Learning to ride, oh, learning to ride
I get knocked down when I'm learning to ride
A few broken bones for a place to hide
I get knocked down when I'm learning to ride.
Little-boy Lost, he's a real coin toss
And could I pay the cost of even heading for a fall?
Born in June, he could learn to run too soon
He's a real summer's child, with two heads about it all.
Learning to ride, oh, learning to ride
I get knocked down when I'm learning to ride
A few broken bones for a place to hide
I get knocked down, oh
I get knocked down, oh
I get knocked down when I'm learning to ride.

Latitude 2011 - Play List - Version 1

I know that a great number of people will want to know who is performing on which day.  On past experience you may not get that in any clarity for some time to come...

Just looking at the music line-up - my main preoccupation - there are plenty of artists and acts to keep me busy for three days - and this is only a partial list consisting of those already confirmed.  More commentary to follow soon ...
Note added July 12:
For updated play list and clash finder see here:

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

New Music 2011 - Part 13 - Queen of the Minor Key

Some artists and acts take many years between album releases but Eilen Jewell is not one of them. This is the new album, due for release worldwide on June 28, 2011.

In addition to an intensive and extensive touring schedule this is her fifth full length release in as many years.  The first three albums were a mixture of self-written material and judicious covers some rather surprising and, unless you already knew otherwise, telling them apart would sometimes have been difficult:
In 2010 she released 'Butcher Holler', a tribute to Loretta Lynn, and now comes 'Queen of the Minor Key' which, as far as I am aware, consists entirely of new songs that she has written for it.  
She and her band come with a fearsome reputation for live performance too. Another that, while I have failed to do so yet, I would absolutely love to hear live in 2011.

Thank you for reminding me...

This is for whoever ended up here when wondering who wrote/performed the song 'Driving To Idaho' earlier this evening...

This is the 2005 (self -released) Idaho Records version of her second album 'Fires' (the first album was 'Dear Frustrated Superstar', which is also well worth a listen) and it can still be found cheaply on Amazon Marketplace. It is, in my opinion far more real - and thus worth seeking - than the later major label (14th Floor) 'sparkly-pop' re-release of it. Another album, 'The Graduate' followed in 2009 and, in between times, she has been busy writing for other artists.  
I believe that she has been writing for herself again recently and that Bernard Butler might be on production duties for the new collection. 
For those of us with a fascination with lyrics she is somewhere between dream and nightmare - track 7 on 'Fires' is Geek Love and is about as improbable as could be.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

You know you want to because... know you need to be there.
For full details:

Whatever happened to Candie Payne?

There is a book I saw a couple of years ago, amongst those aimed at the market for Christmas gifts, with the title 'The Rough Guide to the Best Music You've Never Heard' Nigel Williamson (2008) I flicked through it in the shop and the only album that I can remember from it was one I already had - indeed it was, and remains, one of my favourite albums of 2007.  It is this...

I Wish I Could Have Loved You More - Candie Payne (2007)
I have mentioned it before, including the particular part it played in the events of late summer 2007 in my little world, but I don't like it just for that reason.  I had owned it for a week or two before that and it was on almost continuous rotation in that time; on vinyl when at home and on CD when travelling.  I too cannot understand why it was not better known.
After this she spent much of 2008 touring with Mark Ronson on his 'Version' tour and then for a while the trail, at least as far as I was concerned, went cold.  Towards the summer of 2010 I got the LP out again and started to listen to it quite frequently and it prompted me to look in to the issue in more detail.  That resulted in me finding out about and purchasing the following album.
Bright Light Ballads - Howard Eliott Payne (2009)
To add that it was produced by Ethan Johns (think Laura Marling, Sir Tom Jones and others in 2010 alone) says a great deal, I think.  She sings backing and harmony vocals on many of the ten tracks.
To say that Ms. Payne comes from a musical family is an understatement.  While the alt-country of 'Bright Light Ballads' bears little, if any, resemblance, one of her brothers and the above-mentioned Howard Payne, was a member of Liverpool band The Stand.  Her other brother, Sean, was the drummer in very successful Liverpool band The Zutons.  Both of these bands have now called it a day.
Come the end of 2010 it became clear that at least one new act was rising from the ashes of these various projects - one called The Big House.
Her principal partner in crime in this new band is Paul Molloy, also formerly of The Zutons. There are two sides to this: one is that there is certainly no lack of talent and the other is that I doubt very much that it sounds much like any of the aforementioned projects.

The Big House is very much one of the acts that I would like to hear live in 2011. 

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Pointless Drinking - Amy LaVere - lyric

This is the other song about drinking to which I alluded in my post yesterday.  It seems quite simple just listening to it, as do many of the songs on the album 'Anchors and Anvils', until that is you decide to try and dissect them.
Pointless Drinking
Pointless drinking. Where does it end? Where to begin?
Who are your friends? Who are your foes?
You'll never know, long as you go.
Pointless drinking: 'Til it seems they're all speaking poorly in Spanish
Who do you wish would totally vanish?
It's only you and all you can do.
I'm not an actor but I act like I am
I'm really awful but act like I'm not
Pretending my days hold the value of gold
They only hold one thing and it's all that I've got.
Pointless drinking. Keeping my healthy dose of resentment
Keeping me waking with an empty repentment
Keeping me broke, broke as a joke.
Pointless drinking took all the days that I should have felt young
Took all the joy from the songs that I have sung
Took me a while, took me a while.
Oh I'm not a hater; I love you all so
But I look at myself and I don't really know.
Can I dig myself out of the wreck of my past?
Will I ever unharden and stop showing my ass?
Will those eternal bartenders ever stop filling this half-empty glass?
Pointless drinking. Hate the effect, even more hate the cause.
Hate to admit that I'm tragically flawed
I would just keep going but that's past recall.
Pointless drinking. Why do you do it? You always go through it.
Drink to forget all the times that you blew it
Think everyone knows, think everyone cares.
Pointless drinking. Keeping you drunk on your dreams of great heights
From the bottom to the top and back down overnight
You know it's not right. You know it's not right.
Pointless drinking. It's just the one thing your overachieving
Feels like you never will stop believing
That you'll never win, you'll never win.
Maybe one day you might.

This song is credited to Paul Taylor in the album notes but the whole album is quite an underrated gem. Anchors and Anvils (2008) is one hell of an album and so is the Died Of Love EP (2009). I've struggled with the lyric to at least one other track, 'Overcome' from it already and, but for the fear of attempting it, I'd try others too - especially the incredible and bipolar 'Cupid's Arrow'.
I gather that she and her band are just about to tour again (in the US to start with) and hope that this means a new album is imminent...
Amy LaVere is another artist that I would dearly like to see live.
I feel like I deserve a drink now...
A drink to make me brave?  I'm going to attempt 'Cupid's Arrow' - but not until tomorrow! I think I know the basics and also most of the tune already, both of which should make it easier than 'Pointless Drinking' and if I just have to listen to that slide guitar part a hundred times for my sins then I'm clearly not concentrating on the lyric!

Friday, March 04, 2011

Answer In One Of These Bottles - Caitlin Rose - lyric

I've been meaning to post the lyric to this for ages and Friday night seems a good time to do it.
This is one of the self-written songs from the 2009 10" EP 'Dead Flowers' by Caitlin Rose. It was also her audience sing-along song when playing live in 2010:

Answer In One Of These Bottles
One night at the bar didn't get me very far
I didn't find the answer I was looking for
Drink-a one, drink-a two, I'm-a drinking just for you
The only answer I have found is to drink more.

There's an answer in one of these bottles.
There must be something they forgot to mention.
There's an answer in one of these bottles I know
So I'm gonna drink until I forget the question.
Passed out on the floor. What do I do it for?
When I walk in they say 'Honey don't you even start.'
Drink-a one, drink-a two, I'm-a drinking just for you.
To find out what it is that happened to my heart.
There's an answer in one of these bottles.
There must be something they forgot to mention.
There's an answer in one of these bottles I know
So I'm gonna drink until I forget the question.
I'm drunk, long gone, wondering just what I done wrong
Singing along 'Baby don't you want me no more.'
Drink-a one, drink-a two, I'm-a drinking just for you
To find out what it is that I've been drinking for.
There's an answer in one of these bottles
There must be something they forgot to mention.
There's an answer in one of these bottles I know
So I'm gonna drink until I forget the question.

There is a second song about drinking, by a different artist and the lyric to which I also intended to post this evening, but it is more complicated and while I have worked most of it out the details and post will have to wait until tomorrow.
Other posts about Caitlin Rose:
Caitlin Rose - Own Side Now - lyric
Caitlin Rose - Docket - lyric
Caitlin Rose - live at EOTR 2010
Note added March 8, 2011:
Caitlin Rose is now confirmed to appear at EOTR 2011
Note added March 14, 2011:
Caitlin Rose is now confirmed to appear at Latitude Festival 2011

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

New Music 2011 - Part 12 - Snowglobe - Jesca Hoop

Whilst thinking more about my wish list of acts for festivals in 2011, on a day when winter has seemingly supplanted spring in a most unwelcome way, I have cheered myself up by listening to some of my favourite artists of last summer.  One of them was the excellent Jesca Hoop and thus the wonderful 2009 album 'Hunting My Dress'. I saw her live at Latitude 2010 on the Sunday at the beguiling Sunset Stage and I mentioned that at the time.

The good news is that she has new music out soon in the shape of the four-song Snowglobe EP to tide us over while she completes her second full length LP.

It is released in the UK on April 4 I think, but lists the release date as March 7, on label Republic of Music. The track listing is as follows:
  • City Bird
  • While You Were Away
  • Snowglobe
  • Storms Make Grey The Sea