Sunday, 31 January 2016

Thank you, Paul Murphy

We've lost one of the greats. We've lost a friend.

Photo Richard Shakespeare     
Paul Murphy passed away last week. His family announced his passing on Friday. It was a difficult day. The news was met with an explosion, a passionate outpouring of grief which rippled out across the world. Rightly.  

Paul was a wonderful, open, extravagantly talented man with a razor-sharp mind,   boundless optimism, and lively curiosity about anything and everything. There didn't seem to be anything he could not do.

And he told stories. Oh, how he told his stories...

Sunday, 24 January 2016

A cuppa coffee with Tom Walker

A preposterously talented young guitarist, a power-packed rhythm section, and a studio with history 

It's still cloudy, grey and wet as I climb up out of Five Ways station, drop round the corner and zig zag up to Arc Studios. Arc was set up by Bob Wilson; it's a place that's ridden a lot of changes. 

Now, Arc is pretty much run by son Toby, who drums with a range of local bands. Having effectively grown up in the studio, Toby's a dab hand at production.

They're halfway through a session. Clutching mugs of coffee are Tom Walker, Deano Bass and Jim Simpson (the musician one, that is). 

I give you the Tom Walker Trio, sounding excellent, as you can hear further down this post.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

There's a new online kid on the radio block.

Our city. Our music. Our stories.

Radio tells stories better than almost any other medium. Take it with you. You don't need to look, just listen. 

It's been that way for close on a century. But now, the rules and the tools have changed. 

It doesn't break the bank to get started. Anyone can get on air. So there's tons of internet stations. Some want to turn the clock back - big mistake. Some are vanity vehicles. Others have specialised agendas; I approve. And all the time, mainstream media shrinks its offer, cuts costs and shuns local. The gap between large and small is now a chasm, a yawning gulf, financially and creatively.  

Can this gap be bridged? I'd like to think it can. And here's one way we might find out. Welcome to Birmingham and the world, Brum Radio

Sunday, 10 January 2016

When did you last sit down and listen all the way through an album?

Grazing is the new norm. And that's not good.

Thanks to Acid Pix at Flickr
I was asked this week what album I had listened to most recently, just for pleasure. 

I couldn't name one. I was astonished. 

Back in the day, I always, always, always had an album to champion and play till I wore the grooves out. Now? Not so much. It's far more about the artist. Or the song. Or the video. Or the Facebook like. 

That's a clue right there. Like most of us, I'm not dealing with grooves any more. Now, it's streams. But I think there's a lot more to it than that. And I'm certain I'm not alone. 

So I sat down and thought a bit. Here's what I came up with, after the jump. It's not pretty.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Richard March, he say.... THANK YOU!

It's all about the Bass. And good people doing good things

****  Stop Press **** 

Amazingly, Richard has been re-united with his bass. 
See his message at the bottom of this post. 

Richard March is a happy bunny right now. He plays double bass: you stand up and wrap your self around the instrument. He's in one of the fastest rising bands in town, Rhino and The Ranters, among others. 

Double basses are physical. They're actually bigger than the people who play them. It means intimacy and engagement. Players are on their feet, dancing. All musos have physical bonds with their instruments. But basses are already deep and primal. String basses take it deeper. 

So when Richard posted on Facebook, just before Christmas, that his bass, his amp and bits and pieces had been stolen, it came across like a howl of pain.