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.

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