Unlike most things in today’s fast moving world the written word remains resolutely still, existing always at the same silent volume. Many find reading relaxing because they can switch off and head into the silence of their mind. With the advent of the Internet reading a traditional book really is going off the grid, with no hyperlinks or flashing videos to distract from the narrative. Such comfort is why reading real books will never die. Our brains understand that total escape into an unreal world makes the real one bearable. Continue reading “Are Stories with Soundtracks the Future of Reading? “
Navigating the infinite shows on offer during Edinburgh festival season can be an overwhelming task. Look past the ubiquitous comedy on offer and you will find an array of interesting music-themed events. So here are some suggestions for you, with our usual focus on female performers. All of these shows have tickets available at time of writing.
The book festival can be an oasis of calm in the city during August (especially in the evenings). Novelist David Mitchell is curating a series of music themed events at this year’s festival, including an event with the wonderful English folk duo The Unthanks who will be discussing and performing work from their recent album of music inspired by the poems and songs of Molly Drake (which I reviewed earlier this year).
In the wave of shows available local performers can sometimes be forgotten but there is a wide variety of Scottish folk and traditional music on offer. Appearing at the Queen’s Hall is Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis, most famous now for singing the songs from Brave (also if you missed Karine Polwart’s show at the same venue she is reprising Wind Resistance later in the year). Iona Fyfe, a folk ballad singer from Aberdeenshire, who has been a finalist in BBC Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician of the Year is also appearing at the festival.
If you are looking for something a little more alternative then Summerhall continues to deliver a cutting edge program of music events under the banner Nothing Ever Happens Here. Appearing across the month include Spanish indie girls Hinds, plus singer songwriters Julie Byrne and Jenny Hval.
In terms of theatre and comedy there are always shows themed around specific musicians, such as the Joni Mitchell Story or the excellent Doris, Dolly and the Dressing Room Divas. And the Fringe wouldn’t be the Fringe if you didn’t go and see something a little bit different and Dollywould appears to fit the bill nicely.
And since we love country music on this blog I feel it’s only right to finish by recommending Reformed Whores: Grand Ole C*ntry for the title and outfits alone.
I need to apologise to you. Firstly I was never a fan of your old music. To be honest I hated it, I despised the whole thing you had going on from the dollar sign to the obnoxious party tunes. Everything about your image and music seemed utterly hellish to me. Of course it was hellish to you too but I didn’t know that then. How could anyone? We see pop stars and we think we know them. We are cowards writing nasty things from behind screens and thinking it means nothing. What fools we are. Continue reading “An Open Apology Letter to Kesha”
And so it goes that the iPod Nano and Shuffle are no more. With a name that means very small and minute it feels somewhat poetic that few people seem to care about the fate of the Nano, beyond the sites who covered the story there are only a few real lovers out there bemoaning its death. The Shuffle even less so. So allow me not to write the obituary, but instead to explain why I love my Nano and will only be parted with it on pain of death. Continue reading “I’ll Always Love You, iPod Nano”
Summertime sadness is the sweetest kind. It’s that feeling you get when it’s too hot outside and you just want to sit in a dark room and wallow in depressing music until autumn comes and you can breathe again. Miranda Lambert knows the power of the heartbreaker and how listening to sad music can actually make you feel better. So here’s a list of her ten most tearjerking songs – I recommend you drink some wine and hug a dog while you read/listen. Continue reading “Feelin’ Empty: Ten Saddest Miranda Lambert Songs”
The history of music is littered with lost treasures once overlooked and out of circulation, now easily rediscovered through the internet. None are more deserving of your time and ears than two women, who by fate or chance, have always lingered in the shadows of their more successful sisters. Dee Dee Warwick and Erma Franklin both came from talented musical families and found the path of their careers strikingly similar in their struggles for success. Continue reading “Dee Dee Warwick & Erma Franklin: Forgotten Sisters of Soul”
Kitty Wells, who died five years ago this week, had success in country music with her proto-feminist song ‘It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels’. The history of this song can tell us much about sexism in music, issues which are sadly still prevalent today. Continue reading “Kitty Wells & The Recurring Problem of Sexism in Music”
If you have a spare fifteen minutes (or a few hours) I can think of no better way to spend it than listening to some of the best musicians playing NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert. These sessions are now legendary, breaking new artists as well as bringing in those at the top for a more intimate performance.
Of course there are so many now it can be hard to find the time to search through them, let alone watch them all so I have picked ten great ones for your viewing pleasure (and to be honest I’m partly making this list for myself so it’s easy to find the links) Enjoy! Continue reading “Ten Awesome Tiny Desk Concerts”
Dolly Parton is a gifted and talented musician who also has the kind of wit and imagination that can only be found in someone who really loves to read. In her book ‘Dream More: Celebrate the Dreamer in You’ Dolly explores four life lessons, including the importance of education and reading. This short book, an expansion of a commencement speech she made at the University of Tennessee, is a fascinating glimpse into what makes Dolly the queen of country music and an inspiration to so many. Continue reading “Dolly Parton and the Importance of Reading”