Founding member of the Supremes Mary Wilson has sadly died at the age of 76, leaving behind a lasting legacy in Motown and music history. While the famous story of the band’s unravelling pits Diana Ross against Florence Ballard, the narrative that is often overlooked is how Mary survived as a Supreme through the whole ordeal, continuing the band after Ballard was dismissed and Ross went stratospherically solo. Mary’s story is one of quiet endurance and commitment to performance and style – beautifully told in her recent book ‘Supreme Glamour’. Continue reading “Remembering Mary Wilson and her ‘Supreme Glamour’”
In a recent interview, The Staves rallied against early expectations put upon them by the industry, who wanted the band of sisters to be ‘sad, frail girls with long wavy hair.’ On their new album ‘Good Woman’ they challenged themselves to expand their sonic horizons and free themselves from their pretty, polished past. Continue reading “Album Review: The Staves – Good Woman”
My first near death experience happened in a mosh pit, summer 1996. I had been bouncing around, a fourteen year old wearing DMs and an oversized band T-shirt, lost in the innocent, musical sweat of my youth. The band were britpop also-rans Northern Uproar whose star burnt out before they’d even released their debut album. But I wasn’t to know that at the time, since I was so deep in the joy of being a music fan that every new single heard on the radio felt like it could save your life. Continue reading “Stay On Your Feet and Other Life Lessons From the Mosh Pit”
Apart from some initial delays and postponements, 2020 ended up feeling like any other year in the music calendar, albums wise anyway.
What we don’t know is how 2021 will play out. So far we have some releases scheduled but nowhere near as many big names as in previous years. You wonder if delaying until 2022 makes more sense for most especially in alternative, roots and Americana music which relies so much on touring to promote a record. At the same time independent artists may fear losing career momentum if they don’t release a record at all.
All we can do to counter some of these issues is to support the artists who do decide to release new music by buying their albums, merchandise and spreading the word to others.
So here are a selection of new albums I’m really excited to hear in 2021! Continue reading “Music to Look Forward to in 2021”
Since I started my blog a few years back I have always begun the year with an overview of what my plans are for the year ahead. 2020’s list is pretty depressing looking back now, with my talk of live shows and improving the speed of my writing, both things which the pandemic managed to curtail.
So even though this year is hugely uncertain I think we can all benefit from a moment of reflection and positive planning. Here are some of my resolutions for the year ahead in music blogging. Continue reading “Blogging Resolutions for 2021”
In 2020 I have reviewed sixty albums/EPs and listened to many more. The albums I have chosen to review have all connected with me on some level, so picking a favourites list feels almost cruel to those I have left out. Despite this I still think a ranking list is also a satisfying way to reflect on the year in music, as a writer and a fan.
In the end I have chosen twenty favourite albums and the order was decided on a combination of time spent listening and gut instinct. Some of these artists did not appear on my favourite songs of the year as their albums work as a collective whole rather than having one individual brilliant song (and vice versa). For me that total immersion into an artist’s vision makes albums still my preferred way of listening to music.
Please note that this list only includes albums I have reviewed so there will be some omissions. This list includes links to my original album reviews, rather than risk repeating myself. Please let me know your favourites in the comments. Continue reading “Albums of the Year 2020”
In a year as strange and unsettling as 2020 the continuity of the new music release schedule kept me sane at times when normality felt far away.
As the year unfolded certain songs became constant companions and welcome friends. My choices are songs that got me personally through the year rather than any attempt to tell anyone what is ‘best’. All songs appeared on albums released in 2020 which have been reviewed on Highway Queens.
So without further ado, here are the twenty songs that have helped me endure 2020: Continue reading “Songs of the Year 2020”
It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times. Yet even in the bleakest moments of this past year when the world went into forced hibernation, new music never stopped being a vital life force for good.
To those artists who continued to release albums and songs during a worldwide pandemic I am eternally in your debt. The depth of support that music has given me during such a tumultuous year can never be overstated. Continue reading “2020 Most Read Reviews”
What a strange year it’s been. The Grammy nominations usually bring joy and frustration in equal measure and this year even more so when the music industry (and world) has become so discombobulated. Continue reading “Thoughts on the 2021 Grammy Nominations”