Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Lives in Music: a new Radio To Go Podcast series

When you've played for ever, you've got stories to tell


    I'm launching Lives in Music, a podcast series. The first episode drops this Sunday, October 6th.

    I've been working on this for some time; I've thought about this for even longer. The series will feature musicians and music workers from our patch who have put in some serious time. These are people who have literally spent their lives making, or supporting the making of, music. Some are very well known; others less so. But they're all pretty damn fabulous and/or interesting. After hundreds of gigs - maybe even a thousand or more - which have brought me great pleasure, I want to try to give back just a bit. Hence this series of interviews. It's a tip of the hat. And the stories I'm hearing are amazing.



    So many people, so little time. 


    I have a list as long as your arm of people to talk to. I've recorded quite a few, aiming to complete an episode a week. That doesn't mean I'll be able to drop a podcast every week. There's editing, polishing, illustrating, and all the podcast gubbins to do. That takes time. So Lives in Music Series 1, kicking off this Sunday, will be a ten-parter, with an episode dropping each week. Lives in Music Series 2 will kick off after Christmas, all being well.

    Nailing some people down can be a challenge, too: after all, some of our outstanding musos are out playing five or six nights a week with different outfits, making money – at last - through their versatility. You can't begrudge them that when some were barely scraping a living forty years ago. 



    Free your mind and your music chops will follow


    I've long felt that musos can go in one of two ways in terms of creativity and craft as they get older. They can stick with what they know, playing the steady, the safe and the familiar; there's a market for that, and good luck to them. 

    Or - and this is where it gets interesting and wondrous - they expand and blossom as they grow older, embracing more styles and experience, for the love and the exhilaration of it all.  Often you find those guys tearing it up with huge smiles on their faces, in tiny places. Those guys interest me, and they're the ones I want to feature.  



    Not forgetting the enablers


    But there's also a host of people who work in and around the industry, who love the business of making music: promoters, instrument makers, managers. They also help to make all this possible. I'm talking with several for the series; several more have agreed to chat. 



    The joy of small venues where the magic happens


    These days, I spend more gig time in small venues, close up to the artist, than ever I did in enormodomes back in the day. The attraction? Well, apart from cheaper drinks and free parking, it's the music and the musicians, naturally. Especially the sheer craft of people who have been playing forty years or more. 

    I get more out of it, whether it's places like the Hare and Hounds in  Birmingham, or the Kitchen Garden Cafe across the road for Jazz and Folk, or any of the venues where the peerless Lisa Travis has been in charge, including her newest perch, the Prince Of Wales. There's plenty more - space prevents me listing everywhere. But I should mention, and give a tip of the hat to, the wonderful Paul Murphy. Paul ran his second Songwriter's Cafe for several years from his treehouse venue; I did online continuity for him. He was one of the people who showed me just how powerful great music, crafted from deep experience, could be in a tiny intimate venue. He was in no small way responsible for my thinking in this area, especially since he passed on.  



    So... who's on the menu?


    Ah, that would be telling. Series 1 will be an interesting mix. I'll have a fresh blog post, with all the relevant details, to go with each podcast episode. You'll be able to keep across who's in the series by following the Lives in Music podcast once the first episode drops. On top of that there'll be the usual Facebook and Tweetage. 

    But there is one stalwart, who I recorded with, who won't be going up as a podcast. Sadly, the audio quality just wasn't good enough. But not all is lost; I will transcribe, and it will be worth it. Steve Gibbons and I talked for two hours straight about growing up in Brum, where his first gigs were, who looked after him, and how he got started. He was meticulous. So that episode will see the light of day as a Radio To Go blog post... and I will be spending a lot of time researching pictures of the locations. It's making for brilliant Birmingham rock history. 

    It all starts this Sunday. Watch this space for a specific blog post, or check feeds on Facebook and the like. I'm very excited. 



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