Album Review: Mavis Staples – If All I Was Was Black

When The Staple Singers started out in the sixties they had a simple mission, as outlined by Pops himself: ‘We want to sing about what’s happening in the world today, and if it’s something bad, we want to sing a song to try to fix it.” Fast forward fifty years and the world is as broken as ever. You’d forgive Mavis Staples if she was disillusioned with the mission. As she says ‘lately, things are looking worse than they have ever looked.’ And yet, as she sings on this album, there’s no time for crying. If All I Was Was Black is an album concerned with bringing harmony and hope back to the poor huddled masses.  Continue reading “Album Review: Mavis Staples – If All I Was Was Black”

Album Review : Karine Polwart with Pippa Murphy – A Pocket Of Wind Resistance

On the cover of A Pocket of Wind Resistance Karine Polwart’s profile merges with images of the natural world: birds, trees, leaves seem to be a part of her just like brain, blood and bone. Together with Pippa Murphy’s spellbinding soundscapes she has produced a hymn to motherhood, nature, life and death. A companion piece to her one woman theatre show Wind Resistance, to call this work an ‘album’ barely scratches the surface of the ambition of its songs, stories, poetry and politics. This is a piece of compelling conceptual art.  Continue reading “Album Review : Karine Polwart with Pippa Murphy – A Pocket Of Wind Resistance”

Album Review: The Just Joans – You Might Be Smiling Now…

It’s shite being Scottish, especially in winter when it’s dark by four o’clock, the streets freeze over and everyone is in a worse mood than usual. Thankfully we have the new album from The Just Joans, the self proclaimed ‘laziest band in Scotland’, to brighten up the dreich days and nichts. Modern life might be rubbish but You Might Be Smiling Now… finds glitter in the gutters of Glasgow.  Continue reading “Album Review: The Just Joans – You Might Be Smiling Now…”

Books About Music Written By Women

‘Book Week Scotland’ might not mean a lot to many people beyond bonnie Caledonia but this campaign to promote reading gives me a nice excuse to write about the myriad connections between my two favourite things: books and music. My first post was about songs inspired by female writers and today I’m going to recommend some of my favourite books about music written by women.  Continue reading “Books About Music Written By Women”

November Music Haul

In October I committed myself to supporting the work of female artists and expanding my vinyl collection by actually buying some new (and old) music every month. Since I started running this blog I have realised how easy it is to just use streaming services and forget that investing in music is required to keep many artists creating and surviving.  Continue reading “November Music Haul”

Album Review: Steph Cameron – Daybreak Over Jackson Street

Steph Cameron hails from Saskatoon, the same Canadian town as Joni Mitchell, she’s been a busker living on the streets and her debut album was called ‘Sad-Eyed Lonesome Lady.’ So far, so perfect. ‘Daybreak Over Jackson Street’ lives up to expectations, proving that honest hearted folk songs can be a powerful force for good in the world.  Continue reading “Album Review: Steph Cameron – Daybreak Over Jackson Street”

In Defence of Music Blogging

Earlier this year I bought a book in a charity shop for 25p called ‘The Happiness Project’, which is kind of a self help manual for privileged people with too much time on their hands. Despite the simple writing style I freely admit that THIS BOOK CHANGED MY LIFE. The writer Gretchen Rubin encourages people to start their own blogs, explaining how blogging gave her ‘a new identity, new skills, a new set of colleagues and a new way to connect with people.’ After reading this I felt inspired and started Highway Queens the next week. I had a simple purpose: write about the music I love. Gretchen’s book proves that not every piece of writing has to be high art in order to have value. Continue reading “In Defence of Music Blogging”

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