Sunday, 22 February 2015

Kris Halpin and his magic Mi.Mu gloves

Handle with motion and emotion

On a wet Monday on a Tamworth industrial estate, I'm chatting with Kris Halpin, and trying to digest some pretty incredible developments. I've known Kris for about five years. He was directly responsible for one of the most widely read posts I've ever put up on this blog, so I owe him. That post was on steps to score airplay, for local musicians; there's a link at the bottom of this post. Kris is a very accomplished muso. And now, Kris is one of a very select few – 15 all told - to be chosen to test and develop Mi.Mu gloves

These are mind-boggling things. They open up doors.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Half a century on the road: the unstoppable Mr Burton

50 years of classy guitar

You know how it is. You wander into a boozer and there's a band on. Old guys, enjoying themselves. Stripped down PA, maybe not even a stage. Seems fun, seems harmless. Nice to have a bit of live stuff while you drink.

Until you pay attention to what's going down. It may not be radical cutting edge stuff, but, hey, sometimes, those old guys catch you unawares. Comfortable as you like, not remotely fashionable, but they can play. And if you're very lucky, after the lessons learned, and the chops polished by years of live work, those old boys can just... knock you out.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

A West Midlands YouTube Top 50: February 2015

If you don't know already, you'll be amazed at what goes over BIG from our patch

February 2015 is here, so here's this blog's six-monthly roundup of West Midlands artists, ranked by viewing numbers on YouTube. There's a couple of surprises, and a fistful of impressive new entrants. 

This is statto heaven, and you can pick out seriously interesting patterns if you compare results over the time I've done these charts: links to earlier rankings are at the bottom of the post. 

Winners, losers, runners and riders after the jump.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

The inventive and resourceful Tom Peel

Not one but two albums in 2015. You South Brum beardie hipsters can swivel: one's all about North Brum. The other album? Greatest Hits. There aren't any, yet, but let's not quibble.  

You may not have seen Tom Peel yet. When you do, you'll know. Peel (no relation) does things like take to the stage with a reel to reel recorder strapped to his chest. And he runs exotic events: folk gatherings deep in the woods. When I went to one, I searched through the gathering gloom in Sandwell Valley, following handmade signs up hill and down dale until I stumbled across a decorated clearing where the gig took place. Logs laid out in a circle for people to sit on, and a brazier sending out a cheery glow. 

Mr Peel does not pursue immediate commercial success. But his projects have undeniable, oddball charm and he sets about getting them underway with impressive purpose. That's not a combination you see every day. I'm very glad he's working on our patch. And now, Tom is doing not one but two albums.