Friday, 19 December 2014

Off The Beaten Tracks 19 December

One final show for 2014. I've been sent Xmas songs by Fellerband and Krista Detor so listen to them and more at

The full playlist is - 

Eddie & Luc - Lochaber No More
Krista Detor - Awake The Voice
The Revelers - Blues Take A Holiday
Calum Stewart & Heikke Bourgault - Another Winter
Run Boy Run - The Lord Taketh Away 
Sam Baker - Panhandle Winter
David Berkley - I'm Coming Home
Malcolm Holcombe - Words of December
Blackbeard's Tea Party - Polka Against The Clock
Fellerband - Holy Night
The Bailey Sisters - Snows of Winter
The Alt - Willie Angler
The Gary Forrest Ceilidh Band - Brittania Two Step

Have a fun festive season and here's to more great folk music and Americana in 2015. There are two excellent albums being released in January by Annie Keating and Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors. 

Sunday, 30 November 2014

St Andrew's Day show 30 November

An all Scottish line-up on the latest edition of Off The Beaten Tracks. Some musings on the playlist...

The Fratellis - Whistle for the Choir
This was one of two singles released from their debut album, "Costello Music", the other being 'Chelsea Dagger' which most people know. It has a very catchy bit which is often played at sporting events such as rubgy internationals when Scotland scores a try, which happily they are doing more often these days under their new coach.

Barbara Dickson & Rab Noakes - Do Right Woman
Two stalwarts of the Scottish music scene, Babs and Rab have been playing together on and off for decades though herself has had considerably more success than he has. This is from a 6 track cd they released this year titled "Reunited". If you're not familiar with Rab's music I can recommend "The River Sessions".

Del Amitri - Move Away Jimmy Blue
Another reunion which took place in the last couple of years was Justin Currie and his pals getting Del Amitri back together. Their fans came out in force when they played to 8,000 people at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow back in January this year. 'Move Away Jimmy Blue' dates from their 1990 album "Waking Hours" which included what is probably their best known song, 'Nothing Ever Happens'.

Karine Polwart - Don't Worry
IAMKP, to use her Twitter handle, has a couple of dates coming up in January. One at the Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow on the 27th and Dublin on the 31st. 

Paul Anderson - The Beauty of Cromar Before Me
Paul is playing at Aberdeen City Music Hall on Dec 31 as part of the Granite City’s Hogmanay Concert. 

Pauline Alexander - Imagine
Pauline has a gig this Friday Dec 5th at Carlisle Folk & Blues Club.

The Proclaimers - Shout Shout
A shouty number from the Reid brothers. I still haven't seen that film Sunshine on Leith. Must add it to my Lovefilm list.

Ewan Robertson - 1952 Vincent Black Lightning
Breabach guitarist and singer Ewan does a pretty good job of covering Richard Thompson's classic number about love, death and motorbikes.

John Coletta - The Hill \ Tarzan
I think I'll be adding John's album "...sleekit, slivers..." to my Best of 2014 list as it is a fine collection of songs and instrumental pieces. He plays guitar and mandolin and sings. Apparently he used to in a band called The Humpff Family if you've heard of them.

King Creosote - Largs
Another film for my Lovefilm wishlist is "From Scotland With Love" as this is from KC's soundtrack. On Google under it say "The Scottish town of Largs is located in North Ayrshire, Scotland. It is a very popular seaside resort that is very rich in both Scottish and Viking history." So now you know. 

Coreen Scott - Who Knows Where The Time Goes
A song you're bound to know if you're a fan of Fairport Convention and Sandy Denny or just a fan of folk music as it's a song which is regularly voted as one of the best folk songs of all time. Nice version by Coreen.

Kim Edgar - The Ornate Lie
The title track of Kim's 2012 album. Last year she joined the band Cara which is "eine Irish-Folk-Band aus Deutschland, Schottland und Irland." Their wikipedia page is in German but there is the option to translate it -

Ewan McLennan - Song of the Lower Classes
Another excellent album (already on my Best of 2014 list) released this year is Ewan's "Stories Still Untold". Check it out - it's well worth a listen. Read a review of it at

Breabach - I Am Proud To Play A Pipe
I had to have a wee bit of bagpipe music for St Andrew's Day. This is from their album "Urlar" which was released last year.

Listen to the show at

Monday, 3 November 2014

Recommended albums of 2014

Thanks, as ever, go to promoters Geraint Jones, Bob Buchan, Jane Brace and Martin Hadden for the music they've sent me this year. And despite Acoustic Spectrum going off air last month I am still being sent the occasional new release which is much appreciated as it encourages me to keep putting shows together and uploading them to MixcloudThanks also to the musicians who have sent me cds or free downloads of their music. 

I'd say my favourites are Patsy Matheson, Ewan McLennan, The Rails, Ian Sherwood, Shinyribs and Tumbling Bones. 

These lists are in alphabetical order. 

UK & Ireland Top 20

Ross Ainslie - Wide Open

The Alt - The Alt
Polly Barrett - Probably Me
Broken Boat - Small Defeats
John Coletta - ...sleekit slivers...
Ultan Conlon - Songs Of Love So Cruel
Damian Helliwell - Metta
Luke Jackson - Fumes and Faith
Ollie King - Gambit
Patsy Matheson - Domino Girls
Ewan McLennan - Stories Still Untold
Mishaped Pearls - Thamesis
The Rails - Fair Warning
Rowan Ross - Fireflight
Kaela Rowan - Menagerie
Patsy Reid - The Brightest Path
Skerryvore - Chasing The Sun
Songs For The Voiceless
Twelfth Day - The Devil Makes Three
The Willows - Amidst Fiery Skies

Rest of the World

Hannah Aldridge - Razor Wire
Birds of Chicago - Live from Space
Hat Fitz & Cara - Do Tell
Robby Hecht - Robby Hecht
Jane Kramer - Break & Bloom
Dave McGraw & Mandy Fer - Maritime
Peter Mulvey - Silver Ladder
Amanda Rheaume - Keep A Fire
Run Boy Run - Something to Someone
Ian Sherwood - Everywhere To Go
Shinyribs - Gulf Coast Museum
The Sweet Lowdown - May
Tumbling Bones - Loving a Fool
West My Friend - When The Ink Dries

Follow me on Twitter - @thebeatentracks

Friday, 24 October 2014

Off The Beaten Tracks 24 October

The demise of Acoustic Spectrum brings the Folk and Acoustic Music Show to an end and the resurrection of Off The Beaten Tracks which was the name of the show I presented on Diversity FM. As I am now a DJ without a radio station these shows will only be available to listen to on Mixcloud. A similar format to my old shows but with less folk and more rock, blues, and whatever else takes my fancy. 

Here are some notes to accompany this show. You will probably be able to tell which parts have been lifted from press releases but I've put them in quotes just in case. 

You can listen to the show at

The Black Crowes - Wiser Time

This is a track which was first included on their 1994 album Amorica but this version is from The Tall Sessions, disc 1 of the compilation album The Lost Crowes released in 2006.

Ian Sherwood - Stop, Don't Fall In Love

Ian is a Canadian musician and story teller who started his career as a sax player in Toronto. This track is from his new album, Everywhere To Go, which has just been released. He is coming to the end of a tour of the South West of England with his final two dates being:

Sat 25 Oct - Milton Abbot Village Hall
Sun 26 Oct - Plymtree Village Hall

Amanda Rheaume - AGB Bannatyne

"M├ętis singer-songwriter Amanda Rheaume is a powerful vocalist with just a touch of grit and an instantly-accessible roots-pop-Americana sound. Her latest album Keep a Fire, is a varied and evocative collection of mostly story-songs about her ancestors that more than lives up to the tradition of epic family-of-origin albums.

On ‘A.G.B. Bannatyne’ she offers a sprightly ode to her great great great grandfather, a founding father of Manitoba and friend to Louis Riel, who hosted the province’s early legislative sessions in his home – and after whom Bannatyne Ave. in Winnipeg is named."

John Mellencamp - The Real Life

A track from John Mellencamp's excellent 1987 album The Lonesome Jubilee. He has released a new album this year titled Plain Spoken which includes contributions from T Bone Burnett who produced Mellencamp's two previous albums. 

Jim Keaveny - Ridin' Boots

Jim was raised in Bismarck, North Dakota on the Missouri River and his new album Out of Time is described as "Dust bowl Americana, sprinkled with a hint of 60s garage rock, Tex-Mex and a sense of humour". It was recorded at Frogville Studios in Santa Fe, New Mexico and includes musicians from Austin, Texas and the Santa Fe/Albuquerque region.

Matt Woosey Band - That's My Baby

A track from Matt's 2013 album On The Waggon. The current line-up of the band features Matt Woosey, Jim ‘E’ Williams (drums) and Adji Shuib (bass). He is described as "one of the hardest working musicians around, and still only in his mid-twenties, Matt’s slap and pick guitar technique and big range blues shout have earned him a considerable reputation over the last 10 years, during which time Matt has averaged around 250 shows a year."

Jaywalkers - Goodnight Old Friend 

From their 2012 album Early for a Thursday. Mike, Jay and Lucille are currently working on their third album. 

The Byrds - Hey Joe

The Byrds included this Billy Roberts classic on their 1966 album Fifth Dimension. 'Hey Joe' was also recorded that year by Love and Tim Rose though my favourite version is the one on The Jimi Hendrix Concerts,posthumous live album released in August 1982. 

David Berkley - Oh, The Hedges Are High

Berkeley is a New Jersey native but Santa Fe is now home, where he lives with this wife and two young sons. "Within months of arriving and still overwhelmed by the palette of reds and browns, the endless open sky, and the frightening lack of water in his new high desert surroundings, Berkeley wrote and recorded his most haunting and personal songs to date."

Brownie McGhee - Gone But Not Forgotten

When it comes to acoustic blues you can't get much better than Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee IMHO and a good place to start, if you are unfamiliar with their music, is The 1958 London Sessions

Birds of Chicago - Funeral

"Birds of Chicago, Live from Space, captures this rising band in its most joyous, full tilt, rock and roll circus mode. JT Nero and Allison Russell - whose twinned voices already seared their way into so many hearts on their 2013 debut, are joined here by the family band - who take you from raucous rave ups to hushed sermons and back again with ease and swagger. These are songs of everyday magic, hope and heartache - captured on one summer night in front of their hometown fans with no overdubs, splices or edits - play it loud!"

Sam Baker - Sweet Hour of Prayer
Sam Baker - Go In Peace

“In 1986 I was on a train in Cuzco, Peru that was blown up by terrorists. It killed the people I was sitting with. I should have died but I didn’t.

My first record was mercy. It came out in 2004. In 2007 pretty world was released and in 2009 cotton. They formed a rough trilogy that I later called the mercy trilogy. The big theme was: everyone is at the mercy of another one’s dream. 

This record is called say grace. It is the same as the other records but different. Just like life. The same but different.

To say grace means to say thank you. It means to be grateful for what is before me - for what I have. It means to not be bitter about what I don’t have and really, to not be bitter about things I lost. 

I turn 59 this year. Everyday is a miracle.”


Michael Chapman - Caddo Lake

From his 2001 album Live and Unhinged.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

The radio's gone off the air, gives you time to think

I met up with an old friend the other week and whilst having an enjoyable lunch at the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal, he suddenly turned to me and said, "I need to punch you in the face". Somewhat stunned I replied, "What?! Why?" It turns out that he was not happy at his inclusion in my concert memories book and wondered why I hadn't mentioned any of the other gigs he and I had been to over the years. 

After thinking about this for a moment I reminded him of a gig we had been to at Platform One at the Caledonian Hotel in Edinburgh many years ago. I think it was Tam White and the Dexters and we had been on a bit of a pub crawl before arriving at the gig. We were both fairly drunk but while I was happy to stay at the back and watch the band, my friend went down the front and tried desperately to get other members of the audience up out of their seats and dance. But they were having none of it and probably wished this pissed punter would, well, piss off. 

So having reminded him of this occasion and another where he distracted a girl I was trying to get off with by headbanging in the front seat of my car while I said goodnight to her, he realised that it might actually have been in his best interest that I had only mentioned him briefly in the first two chapters.

However, this put an idea into my head about revising and expanding the book to include other gigs. I could try and write something about every gig I've been to but some will inevitably be one line entries saying something like, "I have the ticket for this gig so I must have been there but I honestly can't remember a thing about it." But seeing as how my radio career is on hold just now this will give me something to occupy my brain, as Ozzy put it.

Incidentally the title of this post comes from the Tom Waits song 'Diamonds on my Windshield'... 

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Acoustic Spectrum no more

I had an email this morning telling me that "Acoustic Spectrum is going to be off the air for the foreseeable future" so there will be no more shows for the time being. I have recorded one last show as I had already put together a playlist so I will be uploading it to Mixcloud tomorrow.

I don't know how long AS are going to be offline, I don't think they know themselves but they are planning on relaunching the station at some point in the future. 

In the meantime the promoter who sends me albums by North American artists has said he will carry on sharing the music with me on Dropbox so I will keep doing the occasional show. It's become something of a habit so I'll keep putting the playlists together but may make things a bit more varied including some more blues, rock and whatever. 

Such is life with internet-based businesses I guess. Things seem to come and go. I have been wondering lately how many people are actually listening to my shows. This Monday's show didn't go out on AS so I uploaded it to Mixcloud and let people know about it on Facebook, Twitter and on the Talkawhile message board. 

Since Monday I've had 3 listens and one of them was me checking a link was working. So maybe it is a good time to stop and review things as there's no point in putting shows together which hardly anyone wants to listen to. I have over 100 followers on Mixcloud but recent shows and mixes have had less than 10 listens which is somewhat disheartening. But I'm as guilty as the next person for following someone and then rarely actually listening to their shows.

But having said that I would like to thank all those people who have tuned in to my show on Acoustic Spectrum and those who listen on Mixcloud. It can be a fairly thankless task doing pre-recorded radio shows as you rarely get any feedback but I do enjoy recording the shows and hopefully I wil be back on air at some point in the future.

As the CSN&Y song goes...

The fortunes of fables are able to sing the song.
Now witness the quickness with which we get along.
To sing the blues you've got to live the tunes and carry on.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Acoustic Spectrum playlist 6 October

*** Acoustic Spectrum is off air tonight so I have uploaded the show to ***

Coming up on tonight's show there are two tracks from 'Amidst Fiery Skies', the new album by The Willows. They are a 5 piece from Cambridge and their album is co-produced by Sean Lakeman. Their debut album was nominated for Best Debut Album in the Spiral Awards and they have supported the likes of Lau, Seth Lakeman, Peatbog Faeries and Richard Thompson. 'Amidst Fiery Skies' mixes Americana, bluegrass and English folk from foot stompers to ballads and features top double bass session player and Seth Lakeman band regular Ben Nicholls. 

The Willows are currently on tour in the UK with dates in Newcastle on the 10th October, Durham on the 11th and Bury on the 16th. Full tour dates are on their web site

So coming up at 9pm this evening on Acoustic Spectrum radio...

Cara Dillon - Jacket So Blue
The Willows - Johnny Robson
Dave McGraw & Mandy Fer - Carillon
Kaela Rowan - Ballad (And the stars for their love did weep)
Mishaped Pearls - Tamesis
James J Turner - Watching You
Jane Kramer - Red Balloon
Ewan McLennan - The Ballad of Amy Nielson
The Willows - The Visitors
Jamie Roberts - Billy Green
Damian Helliwell - Awkward Phrase

Incidentally all these track are from albums released this year.

The Folk & Acoustic Music Show
Mondays at 9pm / Tuesdays at 2am
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Monday, 29 September 2014

Acoustic Spectrum playlist 29 September

The show returns after another week away and today sees the release of an excellent new collection of songs by Ewan McLennan called 'Stories Still Untold'. This is Ewan's third release in the last few years and he has been included in the latest series of the Transatlantic Sessions. 

His new album features Ross Ainslie on whistles, Beth Porter on cello and Lauren MacColl on viola. So two tracks from him on tonight's show and I've already added another of his songs to next week's playlist. Check out his web site

Tune in tonight at 9pm on Acoustic Spectrum radio to hear...

Richard Thompson - I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight
Polly Barrett - Lay Me Down
Ewan McLennan - The Shearing
Crosby, Stills and Nash - Guinnevere
Patsy Matheson - From Your Computer
Chris Bradley - To Your Darkness
Linsey Aitken & Ken Campbell - Wild Roving
The Low Countries - Summer's Last Hurrah
Moll Baxter - Bits of White
Ewan McLennan - Tales from Down At The Harp
Skerryvore - Blown Away (Acoustic)
Kris Drever - Farewell to Fuineray
Kate Bush - Rocket's Tail
Nick Drake - Day Is Done

The Folk & Acoustic Music Show
Mondays at 9pm / Tuesdays at 2am
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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Acoustic Spectrum playlist 15 September

Slightly belated posting of last night's playlist due to me being away from home and my own computer. 

Dick Gaughan - No Gods and Precious Few Heroes
Ollie King - End of an Era & Mr Cunningham's Maggot
Kathleen McInnes - Song of the Highland Soldier
Kate Rusby - Who Knows Where The Time Goes
Aly Bain & Phil Cunningham - Waltz for Father
Martin Simpson - When First I Came to Caledonia
Patsy Reid - Lost in Green
The Imagined Village - The Handweaver And The Factory Maid
Kris Drever, Eamonn Coyne & Megan Henderson - Shady Grove
Ollie King - Santa Fe Trail
Blazin' Fiddles - The Shoemaker
Fairport Convention - Over The Next Hill
Darwin Song Project - Mother of Mysteries

The featured album was Gambit by Ollie King.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Acoustic Spectrum playlist 8 September

Coming up at 9pm tonight on Acoustic Spectrum Radio. The featured album is 'Break & Bloom' by Jane Kramer which is released today. 

Locust Honey String Band - Sally in the Turnip Patch
Jane Kramer - Nobody's Woman Tonight
Skerryvore - Moonraker
West My Friend - Missing You
Steeleye Span - Dark Eyed Sailor
Chris & Kellie While - Persuasion
Will Pound - White Jock
Jane Kramer - Any Way You Like, Child
Luke Jackson - Ghost at the Crossroad
Matt Woosey Band - That's My Baby
King Creosote - Pauper's Dough
HMS Ginafore - Suzy 4 Jack
Ross Ainslie - Clans

The Folk & Acoustic Music Show
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Locust Honey String Band "He ain't no good"

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

A Nice Problem to Have.

I first got into radio in 2008 when I started volunteering at the Lancaster & District YMCA. They were running a radio project called Diversity FM which was broadcasting to the local area on FM and online. At the end of June that year I started presenting a weekly folk music show which I called “Off The Beaten Tracks”.

One of the first cds which arrived in the post for me was 'Poor Man's Heaven' by Seth Lakeman and I arranged to do an interview with him just before he headlined at the now defunct Brampton Festival. This was a bit foolhardy of me as I was very new to radio but despite being somewhat nervous, the interview went okay. I only did one other telephone interview on Diversity which was with one of the organisers of the Ingleton Folk weekend. Unfortunately we had some technical problems which meant the poor chap was left hanging on the line for over 20 minutes while Tony, the studio manager, tried to patch him through to the studio. After that experience I decided not to do any more interviews over the phone and instead concentrate on the music.

These days I get a regular supply of music from various promoters and artists but back when I started at Diversity I realised that it was up to me to email singers and bands and ask if they could send me a cd. This wasn't a problem with local artists who were, on the whole, happy to give me copies of their music in return for some airplay but it was a bit hit and miss with more established artists. And as for getting free tickets for concerts – forget it. The best offer I got was a “buy one get one free” deal for a Karine Polwart show at the Platform in Morecambe but sadly I couldn't find anyone to take the other ticket.

I did feel I had made a bit of a breakthrough one week when I found a large envelope waiting for me at the YMCA. It was from none other than Simon Nicol of Fairport Convention. Not only had he sent me a copy of Fairport's latest studio release but there were also copies of four other albums along with a programme from the tour the band was currently on. I was quite overwhelmed by his generosity though I think he had taken pity on me as I had told him that I had been unable to attend their show in Kendal as I'd been unwell.

These days many of the albums I receive are in mp3 format which obviously doesn't have the same thrill as opening an envelope and fishing out the disc and accompanying press release or occasional hand-written note. I have received four cds from a singer songwriter called John Rigby who likes recording in remote locations such as Cape Wrath in the north of Scotland and I enjoy getting letters from him giving me some background to the music. He has virtually no web presence apart from an email address which is quite unusual in this day and age but he seems happy enough just writing and recording songs when the mood takes him.

Receiving music digitally over Dropbox is impersonal but makes sense from the promoter's point of view in that they can send multiple copies of albums out over the internet with little cost to themselves and from the presenter's point of view it means you have fewer cds piling up around your home. All the cds I receive I copy on to my computer as I need the music in mp3 format to include in the shows I record. Yes, there is a drop in quality but for those of us recording and uploading shows remotely to radio stations it is really the only way to do it.

All this brings me on to the matter of how those of us working as DJs manage to listen to all the music we are sent. I imagine I get only a fraction of the cds the likes of Mike Harding or Bob Harris must get through the post but there are still only 24 hours in a day and there's only so much of that time that anyone can spend listening to new music. I read an interview with Mark Radcliffe who said that he uses the time he spends driving between the BBC and home to listen to new music. An assistant at the studio puts new cds in a box which he puts on the passenger seat and goes through them presumably just listening to two or three songs per album.

I remember hearing about a musician friend of mine who criticised a DJ who said he only listened to a minute of each track on a cd before hitting the fast forward button. But if you are snowed under with new music to listen to, sometimes that is the only option. I don't like listening to music like that but sometimes if a song doesn't grab your attention immediately it is all too tempting to skip on to the next track. Personally I think it is better to do that than listen to just one track and not bother with the rest of the cd or not listen to the cd at all. Then there's the whole issue of how some albums grab your attention immediately but others need repeated listens for you to really get into the music.

I could use the analogy of a kid in a sweet shop. Say folk music is chocolate. Normally the kid buys the occasional bar from the sweet shop, takes it home and savours it from the first bite to the last. But what happens if the sweet shop starts sending him bars of chocolate to his house? If he tries to eat everything he's sent he'll make himself sick and not want to eat any more. So he just eats a bit of each bar. If he likes that first taste then he'll have some more otherwise he'll try another bar. Likewise with music. If I sit and listen to every album I'm sent from start to finish I'll probably find myself getting sick of that type of music and reach for something different from my collection. The equivalent for the kid with the chocolate is that he gets fed up with being sent chocolate bars and goes out for some crisps or whatever. You get the general idea, I hope.

But it is a nice problem to have. I have discovered many new artists especially from the other side of the Atlantic who I would never have heard of if I hadn't got involved with Diversity FM and, since its demise in 2012, Acoustic Spectrum radio. At least with mp3 players you're not limited to listening to music at home or in the car though I must admit that when I'm walking round town I prefer not to listen to music. But sitting here, as I am, at my computer I should really be listening to one of the new releases I've received recently and start putting together my next playlist. But I can't do that and listen to the cricket at the same time. Though with England's current dismal form I think I'll go back to the chocolate, I mean music.

Colin Bertram presents The Folk and Acoustic Music Show on Acoustic Spectrum Radio each Monday at 9pm with repeats on Tuesdays at 2am and Friday at 1pm. You can also listen to his shows at

Monday, 1 September 2014

Acoustic Spectrum playlist 1 September

Tonight's playlist on Acoustic Spectrum

George Harrison - My Sweet Lord (demo)
Red Molly - 1952 Vincent Black Lighning
Richard Thompson - One Door Opens
Cam Penner - Cool Cool Nights
The Handsome Family - My Beautiful Bride
Jarrod Dickenson - Ain't Waiting Any Longer
The Rails - Send Her to Holloway
Heidi Talbot - Whispering Grass
George Harrison - Let It Be Me
Barney Bentall - The Ballad of Johnny Hooke
James Duncan MacKenzie - Second Sight
Linda Thompson - It Won't Be Long Now
Dick Gaughan - Both Sides of the Tweed
Karine Polwart - Four Strong Walls

The featured album is "Early Takes Volume 1" by George Harrison.

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Saturday, 30 August 2014

Catch-up compilation

I thought I'd put together a playlist of songs from albums I've either overlooked or only played one track from. Sometimes it is difficult to keep up with all the new music I'm sent, sometimes it is too country or more electric than acoustic and at other times I'll listen to an album, not be in the mood for it and forget about it. A case in point is The O's. Listening to the track I've selected here makes me want to go back and give their album another listen. 

Rather than select tracks at random I've gone for the shortest tracks on each album, which I suppose is a bit random but I don't have the time to listen to all these albums from start to finish!

Hope you enjoy this selection. The next edition of the Folk and Acoustic Music Show will be going out on Monday the 1st September at the usual time of 9pm on Acoustic Spectrum Radio.

Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra - Drinking Coffee Rag
Rod Picott - Bluebonnet
Amanda Rheaume - Home on the Road
David Berkley - The Well (Wait for the Rain)
West My Friend - Dark and Deep
The O's - Go With Me
Tony McLoughlin - I Get The Message
Broken Boat - God Writes Fiction
Peter Mulvey - Copenhagen Airport
Ultan Conlon - The Lumberjack, You & Me
Skerryvore - By Your Side
Haddo - Spootiskerry
Black Dog Hat - Senseless
Balduin - Hole in the Sky
Plainview - Reborn

The Folk & Acoustic Music Show
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Monday, 11 August 2014

Acoustic Spectrum playlist 11 August

The featured album on tonight's show at 9pm on Acoustic Spectrum radio is 'Fair Warning' by The Rails. The full playlist is...

John Martyn - May You Never
The Rails - William Taylor
Kelly Oliver - Far From Home
Phil MacLennan Smillie - West of Rockall
Malcolm Holcombe - Savannah Blues
Jane Kramer - The Devil Don't Want
Melissa Greener - Bullets To Bite
Barbara Dickson & Rab Noakes - Sleepless Nights
Inge Thompson - Take my Time
Jez Lowe - High Part of the Town
John Coletta - Raggle Taggle Dreamer
The Rails - Borstal
Rock Salt and Nails - Jack Broke The Prison Door Set
Fairport Convention - Canny Capers

The Folk & Acoustic Music Show
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Monday, 4 August 2014

Acoustic Spectrum playlist 4 August

Tonight's show was inspired by the excellent album 'Thamesis' by Mishaped Pearls which has the theme of the river Thames running through it. I did a search for songs with the word 'river' in them and found enough for a two hour show but as I only have an hour here is what I have selected for today's Folk and Acoustic Music show. Tune in at 9pm to hear...

Red Molly - Clinch River Blues
Gavin Sutherland - Down To The River
Blackbeard's Tea Party - Ford O Kabul River
Mishaped Pearls - Doves
Nick Drake - River Man
Carthy Hardy Farrell & Young - Wild River
Life & Times - Narrow Boats to Tow
Patsy Reid - The River Princes
The Jayhawks - Come To The River
Annie Keating - River Clyde
Megson - The River Never Dies
Kate Rusby - Streams of Nancy
Wes Martin & Hannah Duncan - River Bed

The Folk & Acoustic Music Show
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Thursday, 17 July 2014

Acoustic Spectrum playlist 21 July

Advance notice of Monday's playlist as I'll be away from my computer for the next few days.

Broken Boat - Small Defeats
The Midden - Music or Something
Malcolm Holcombe - Roots
Nick Keir - Middle-aged Men
Sandy Denny - Listen, Listen
Christy Moore - God Woman
Peter Knight's Gigspanner - Two Constant Lovers
April Verch - Big Eyed Rabbit
Kat Flint - Fearsome Crowd
Cara Dillon - As I Roved Out
Broken Boats - Two Balloons
Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors - Another Man's Shoes
Neil Young - Only Love Can Break Your Heart
Blazin' Fiddles - Paddy's

The featured album is Small Defeats by Broken Boat which is being released on the 21st July.

The Folk & Acoustic Music Show
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Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Folk gigs in Morecambe and Bowness-on-Windermere

This just in from Lyon Events. All gigs start at 8pm.

Lunasa - Thur 31st July
At The Platform, Morecambe
All Tickets £14.00 

Kris Drever and Eamonn Coyne - Thur 11th Sept. 
At The Platform, Morecambe
All Tickets £14.00

Carthy, Hardy, Farrell and Young - Fri 26th Sept. 
At The Platform, Morecambe
All Tickets £14.00

Blazin' Fiddles - Fri 10th Oct.
At The Old Laundry Theatre, Bowness
Tickets £15.00 / £7.00

Karen Matheson - Sat 11th Oct 
At The Old Laundry Theatre, Bowness
Tickets £18.00 / £7.00

The New Rope String Band - Sun 12th Oct 
At The Old Laundry Theatre, Bowness
Tickets £15.00 / £7.00

The Peatbog Faeries - Sat 25th Oct 
At The Platform, Morecambe
Tickets £15.00 / £14.00

Shooglenifty - Fri 28th Nov 
At The Platform, Morecambe
Tickets £15 / £14.00

Vin Garbutt - Fri 12th Dec.
At The Platform, Morecambe
Tickets £14.00

Monday, 14 July 2014

Acoustic Spectrum playlist 14 July \ Folk by the Oak

Due to me being away on holiday there will only be a couple of shows this month. I was up in Edinburgh at the start of the month and next week I shall be in London. But on the way south I'm going to the Folk by the Oak festival at Hatfield House with Richard Thompson topping the bill supported by Beth Orton and Seth Lakeman. Richard has a habit of bringing wet weather with him whenever he plays at Cropredy and the forecast for this weekend is looking a bit unsettled. So the first half of tonight's show features some of those appearing at the festival. Also on the bill is the Elizabethan Session who I don't have anything by so I've put a link to a video explaining what the project is all about.

Seth Lakeman - Poor Man's Heaven
Beth Orton - Someone's Daughter
Jaywalkers - Lonesome Graveyard
Richard Thompson - Beeswing
Kathryn Tickell - Keelman Ower Land, Farewell to Rothbury, Cat in Coldstream
Salt House - Katie Cruel
Black Dog Hat - Come To Town
The Low Countries - We're All on the Verge of Something
Jo Gillot - Spectacular
Kaela Rowan - Mon Ami
Lady Maisery - The Grey Selkie
Lau - Beer Engineer

The Elizabethan Session

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Sunday, 29 June 2014

Acoustic Spectrum playlist 30 June

Tomorrow's show has just gone out on Acoustic Spectrum. I've no idea why. It isn't normally broadcast on a Sunday - at least I don't think it is! I can only guess that they must have scheduled my show by mistake instead of Under The Mason's Apron which usually goes out on Sundays at 1pm. Anyway here's the playlist...

Steve Knightley - The Girl From The North Country
Gillian Welch - The Way That It Goes
The Coaltown Daisies - It's Better This Way
John Coletta - The First Dance
Tiny Tin Lady - In My Room
Ottersgear - Down in the Faery Glen
Ultan Conlon - Lonely Avenues
Jo Philby - The Maid on the Shore
Gillian Welch - Tennessee
John Renbourne - Judy
Judy Dyble - Head Full of Stars
Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra - Junk on the Radio
Michael Chapman - Waiting For A Train
Twelfth Day - Magic Circles

The featured album is The 'Harrow and The Harvest' by Gillian Welch.

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Monday, 23 June 2014

Acoustic Spectrum playlist 23 June

The featured album on tonight's show is 'The Devil Makes Three' by Twelfth Day. If you'd like to read about them and their new cd there's an article on Folk Radio UK 

The Eagles - Peaceful Easy Feeling
Twelfth Day - Young Sir
Drew Holcombe & The Neighbours - Good Light
Cara Dillon - Shotgun Down The Avalanche
Tumbling Bones - How They're Rolling
Jamie Smith's Mabon - Summer's Lament
Patsy Matheson - Not The One
Gilmore & Roberts - Letters
VAMM - Better Days
Twelfth Day - The Devil Makes Three
The Tillers - I Gotta Move
Ponies - Begin Again, Again
The High Ones - Get Your ball in the Net

Tune in at at 9pm on Acoustic Spectrum radio

Monday, 16 June 2014

The Joy of Interviews

Job interviews don't get any easier the older you get, do they? I have one coming up later this week and I can't say I'm really looking forward to it. Not only is there the interview itself but there is also a task I have to do beforehand. And it brings back some bad memories. In particular one unpleasant experience I had at a Scottish university ten or eleven years ago. The job was for an IT technician and the task I had to do involved putting together some audio-visual equipment. I had very little experience of this and from the array of cables on the table in front of me I only recognised a couple so chose them and we moved on to the interview.

I don't remember much about the questions I was asked that day but I do remember leaving the university feeling utterly dejected. They managed to make me feel like I knew very little about computers despite me having close on 15 years experience. It was really quite humiliating and I decided there and then that I was not going to apply for any more IT jobs. I'd had enough. In the months leading up to me leaving my previous job, also in Higher Education, I had come to the conclusion that IT was a young person's game, especially working as a technician. Could I really see myself in 10 or 15 years time still crawling about under desks plugging in network cables? No I couldn't.

But here I am ten years later applying for an IT job and I've been offered an interview. I suppose there isn't so much crawling about under desks these days what with wi-fi technology and people of all ages use computers so what does it matter how old I am?

With less than three days to go I am getting more and more nervous but I suppose the other candidates are probably feeling the same. At least they are interviewing us seperately - it isn't one of those awful scenarios where all the candidates are in a room together and you have to take part in some team-building exercise. I think I'd rather have my teeth drilled without anaesthetic than have to go through that sort of thing.

If someone had come up with an alternative to the traditional interview I suppose it would have been adopted by now. But the thing is that in the same way that some people are good at doing exams, some people come over very well at interviews though this is not always an accurate reflection of what they are actually like. I remember hearing of an accountant who was very cheerful and chatty at his interview and was offered the job but when he started work he was like a completely different person. He hardly ever smiled and all the office staff found him difficult to work with. He also had quite bad BO which he had managed to hide at the interview.

So interviews are far from perfect and employing anyone just on the basis of a 30 minute question and answer session must be a gamble for any employer. At least with this job I took them up on the offer of a tour of the premises so they have already met me and I have an idea of what the workplace is like.

I suppose all anyone can do under these circumstances is...

Acoustic Spectrum playlist 16th June

I'm not much of a football fan but I thought I'd see if I could find some songs which could tie in with the World Cup. It's also nice to take a break from the new releases and play some old stuff from time to time so I hope you enjoy this playlist which will be broadcast at 9pm on Acoustic Spectrum.

The web address for Acoustic Spectrum has changed due to the fact that the company which was hosting the site suddenly increased the amount they were charging so AS have moved elsewhere. The new address is (the old one without the hyphen) which temporarily takes you to the Red Dragon Records web site. I've been told that a new site is being developed. So on tonight's show...

Merry Hell - One More Day
Kirsty MacColl - England 2 Columbia 0
Marc Nellis - Bottle Song
Angie Palmer - Premonition Blues
Martin Stephenson - Highland Bossanova
Kelly Oliver - Brazil Song
Billy Bragg - Moving the Goalposts
Jez Lowe & The Bad Pennies - It's a Champion Life
Fairport Convention - Don't Leave Too Soon
Richard Thompson - Can't Win
Steeleye Span - Hard Times Of Old England
Scold's Bridle - We Are The Women
Kate Bush - Oh England My Lionheart
Show of Hands - Cousin Jack

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Monday, 9 June 2014

Acoustic Spectrum playlist 9th June

I don't know if Rik Mayall shared his friend Ade Edmondson's taste in music but I'll dedicate tonight's show to him anyway as I was a fan of all his stuff and saw him twice on stage, once in Bottom and the other time in The New Statesman. One of the comedy greats of my generation gone too soon. RIP Rik.

Barbara Dickson & Rab Noakes - Do Right Woman
John Coletta - Easy Liars
Hannah Aldridge - Strand of Pearls
Mishaped Pearls - Six Dukes
Neil Young - Comes A Time
Damian Helliwell - The Slovenian
Megson - Old Folk's Tea
Darwin Song Project - The Merchant's Question
Ultan Conlon - The River Flows & The Woods Creep
Kaela Rowan - Naive Melody
John Coletta - The Putty Pickers
Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors - Can't Take It With You
Catherine MacLellan - Snowbird
Pauline Vallance - Lark in the Clear Air

The featured album is "Sleekit, Slivers" by John Coletta.

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Monday, 2 June 2014

Acoustic Spectrum playlist 2nd June

I've received my copy of Cara Dillon's new album 'A Thousand Hearts', which you can order from her web site, so there will be two tracks from that and a couple of songs from her earlier albums. Tune in at 9pm tonight on Acoustic Spectrum radio.

Cara Dillon - Black is the Colour
Kris Drever, Eamonn Coyne & Megan Henderson - Parcel of Rogues
Calum Stewart & Heikke Bougault - Schottishe Kerlou
Hat Fitz & Cara Robinson - Sister Sister
Simon & Garfunkle - Homeward Bound
Cara Dillon - River Run
Cara Dillon - Bright Morning Star
James Yorkston - Woozy with Cider
KT Tunstall - Miniature Disasters
Stephen Stills - So Begins The Task
Crosby, Stills and Nash - Helplessly Hoping
Cara Dillon - Broken Bridges
Christy Moore - North and South
Breabach - Orangedale Whistle

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I'll be playing the live version of this Christy Moore song - 

Monday, 26 May 2014

Acoustic Spectrum playlist 26th May

Tonight's show includes tracks from the following 5 albums which have all been released recently apart from 'Metta' which comes out on the 9th of June. The featured album, 'Thamesis', has just been released today, 26th of May.

Birds of Chicago - Live from Space
Tumbling Bones - Loving a Fool
Haddo - Borderlands
Mishaped Pearls - Thamesis
Damian Helliwell - Metta

Carolina Chocolate Drops - Trouble In Your Mind
Mishaped Pearls - Cornish Girl
Healyum - Summer Memories
Tumbling Bones - Red Red Rose
Damian Helliwell - Princess Neribehee
Birds of Chicago - Prairie Lullaby
Melissa Greener - On My Way Back Home
Show of Hands - Coming Home
Haddo - Frank's Reel
Mishaped Pearls - First and Last Woman
Asewar - Copi Geryan
Pentangle - I've Got A Feeling
Duncan McCrone - Waiting Here For You

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