2020 is almost halfway over but so much has happened it already feels like a decade has passed. With albums delayed and many released in circumstances that have been difficult at best it feels important to stop and honour the music that has helped us to get through the chaos. Continue reading “2020 Albums of the Year So Far”
Yesterday was the day that the music industry paused in response to the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent horrific treatment of protesters across America. It was supposed to be a day where the collective industry stepped back, elevated black voices and planned how we could do better to support diversity moving forward. Perhaps for some the intention became lost in a sea of meaningless black squares but I took this opportunity seriously. Continue reading “On Music Blogging & Diversity”
Highway Queens will observe tomorrow’s music industry blackout in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. We must stand together against institutional racism and systematic discrimination. Marginalised voices must be heard.
For those who are looking to spend tomorrow supporting and listening to diverse voices I offer a list of suggested albums below. Click the links to read the original album reviews and find out more about these artists:
When you live in a privileged white world of security, comfort and safety sometimes the instinct in the face of crisis is to turn away. Not because you can’t help but because it’s easier to turn off your TV than it is to actually look, listen and hear the pain of others less fortunate than yourself. Continue reading “On Watching Aretha’s ‘Amazing Grace’ During A Time of Crisis”
Last week musical platform Bandcamp waived fees on their site, allowing artists the entire profit of sales from downloads, physical music and merchandise. In the face of the worldwide collapse of the live music industry and the closure of record stores this was a way to directly support artists and contribute something to the economy of the music industry in a positive way – if you could afford it that is.
As I logged onto my social media feed and saw the infinite number of tweets asking people to buy music I felt more than a little overwhelmed. Consumerism and the demands to constantly buy, buy, buy is one aspect of the music industry which can be difficult to deal with at the best of times, let alone during a global pandemic. Continue reading “On Music & Materialism”
A while ago I had an idea for a short story set in a post-apocalyptic world where recorded music was lost and live music was banned. Two sisters, with voices from heaven, travelled the country secretly playing shows for people despite the fact that a deadly airborne disease could strike them all down at any moment. Every night people risked their lives just to hear the music.
Unfortunately I never ended up writing that story because it seemed kind of far-fetched and I couldn’t think of an ending. Now a few weeks into this pandemic I am wondering if such depressing dystopian visions were closer to reality than we could ever have imagined.
Despite some artists optimistically rebooking shows for later in the year, I think we all have to consider the possibility that there will be no live music concerts for a very long time. At the very least it will be months not weeks, and some form of social distancing may need to be in place right up until the end of this outbreak, which could be over a year. I sincerely hope I’m wrong. But right now it just doesn’t seem plausible that travel and mass gatherings will happen when there is still such a potential risk to lives. Continue reading “How to Survive in a World Without Live Music”
During a break between songs at her recent Celtic Connections show, Iris DeMent marvelled at the silence of the crowd. You could hear a pin drop through the whole set, the audience and artist locked together in an exchange of mutual respect and attention. “Not even the best teacher in the world gets that,” she said and the crowd laughed in agreement. As a teacher myself her comment got me thinking about that hush and how rare and elusive it is for performers, and teachers alike. Continue reading “Waiting for the Hush: On Talking At Gigs”
‘We live here now,’ Celia Woodsmith announced during Della Mae’s second show at Celtic Connections, such was the relaxed nature of the band and their genuine rapport with the Scottish audience. It might have been a Tuesday night but that didn’t stop them from putting on a blistering display of modern bluegrass that was warmly received by the crowd.
Celtic Connections is the best traditional roots, folk and Americana festival in the world, offering a dazzling array of artists live on stage in Glasgow during January and February each year. What always impresses me about the festival is how well represented women are from across all of the main roots genres. Read on to find out my highlights from the festival, with a focus on the Americana offerings. Continue reading “Live Preview: Celtic Connections Festival 2020”