Friday, 5 March 2021

A Life in Music: Loz Kingsley and Vo Fletcher. Guitar and Mandolin. And how.

Definitely a string thing

In this edition of Lives in Music, I'm talking with Loz Kingsley and Vo Fletcher, Mandolin and Guitar players of great skill and experience. I met this pair, I think, back in 1974, when they were doing a session at the old BRMB Radio. They were no slouches then, and they've only got better since. To listen to the podcast episode, go here, or simply scroll down to the bottom of this post

Vo plays with a bewildering number of talented people all over the midlands and beyond, and he gets together with Loz, who only returned to live work with the much-missed Rhino and The Ranters, for regular and highly enjoyable sessions in some of the nicest boozers in the region. And of course, having spent nearly a year in lockdown, that's something I have missed enormously. There is some compensation with Vo running (as do many others) a live session on Facebook every Tuesday at 6pm.


They have, as you might expect, mighty track records, which you'll hear about. There's also some super live guitar and mandolin work to be enjoyed in this episode, along with a taster from Loz's new album,
Vintage Mandolin.

Links

The Tuxedo Bay Facebook page
All you ever need to know about Jellikins
Rick Sanders and Vo Fletcher page on Costa Del Folk
Vo's weekly Wine O'Clock live sessions: Tuesdays 6pm on Facebook 


Albums
Loz's album Vintage Mandolin can be had by emailing 
loz1954@me.com 
Vo's new album is at 
vofletcher.com 


Vo and Loz's episode of Lives in Music


 

The Lives in Music Podcast series   
I've been doing this for about two years now. These are interviews with local 
musicians, looking at how music has shaped them throughout their lives. Series 3 
also looks hard at how lockdown has had an impact. There are some lovely stories. 

To see who's in the list of artists, here's a link to see every episode.
One further footnote: the intro and outro flourishes I'm using in this series of Lives in Music podcast come from Vo himself. I asked him for a bit of live impro, and this was the result.  

The Radio To Go blog

This blog has been going since 2007. I started it to focus mainly on radio stories, as the industry went through a series of convulsive changes. Those changes aren't over yet, not by a long chalk. Over the years I expanded the range of topics to cover local music, another subject close to my heart. I think it was a Destroyers gig that pulled me in that direction. I've banged out several hundred posts in that time, and of course deleted quite a few. But if you're interested in thoughts on the local scene and/or radio futures, by all means visit the full topic index on the Radio To Go blog
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Friday, 26 February 2021

A Life in Music: Richard March

One way to extend a career built on Pop. Did it really Eat Itself?

Photo Credit: Nick Sayers
This is a companion blog post to my Lives in Music Podcast with the excellent Richard March. You can find it here, or scroll down to the bottom of this post, or follow this link for the entire Lives in Music list.

Richard has been in a huge array of bands and projects in his 30 years or so as a working musician. I first met Rich when he was in the much loved Rhino and The Ranters; but he cut his teeth with 80s legends Pop Will Eat Itself and then Bentley Rhythm Ace, and now he's a member of Swampmeat Family Band, and, oh yes, let's not forget the Boom Operators. with other projects bubbling away nicely. Some of those projects come up in this podcast.

Five years ago, I wrote a Radio To Go blog post about 
Richard's walking bass saga. His standup double bass 
was stolen from outside his house, along with a lot of PA kit. The bass was returned intact – it was found in the street, unlike the 
stolen kit. In short order a fundraiser was launched to help Rich 
replace everything. 
It hit its target very promptly, which let Rich replace at least his PA kit, with the 
remaining £400 going to Nordhoff Robbins, the music charity. These guys could 
not be better - as it says on their site, they use music to 'enrich the lives of people 
with life-limiting illness, disabilities of feelings of isolation'. 

Coping with our Covid nightmare lockdown. Ugh...
This podcast post covers very different ground, the likes of which we could not 
have imagined in 2016. Most of this series of Lives in Music was recorded remotely,
in lockdown. If you listen hard, you can tell who has, by far, the poshest 
microphone. 

I'm particularly interested in how creativity can flourish in lockdown, and we touch on all sorts of ways that performers can hit their audiences. We cover some of the ways – largely on YouTube. At the bottom of this post, I've I listed quite a few examples that you can go see and enjoy.

The Tonight Matthew colabs

I used two excerpts in the podcast, taken from the collaborative videos in the 
Tonight Matthew series, where Richard and pals covered Sex and Drugs and Rock 
and Roll, and Life During Wartime. To check out the full personnel, search these 
titles on YouTube. The series has raised some £5000 for Help Musicians – another 
great cause. Why not look in and bung them a few quid?


Videos 
First off, here's links to the Tonight Matthew series, with Rich on guitar or bass 
on all of them:

Good Morning Britain
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WO8trboFpo4
Mr Blue Sky
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZcKnRRrghQ Life During Wartime https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bA4Te8xEWfg Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RM6C2CunuRc Blue Monday https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PgHG2g315k Echo Beach https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0SxQQ1kIO0 Another Girl Another Planet https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuztPWamE-k Love Cats https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wkt3fGDg6-4 Our Lips Are Sealed https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y034nUVqfLc Another Girl Another Planet https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RA06fj76yDo For What It's Worth https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Y-1xGIvfsA
Then there's others. More than I can list. But anyway, here's some suggestions Suzi Dian doing Bill Withers' Lean on Me solo
and with some friends
The life-affirming Bolero from Juilliard students and alumni

Peter Gabriel and friends worldwide reprising Biko

Jimi Somerville and Rick Astley Wishing You Well, also for Help Musicians
The great Vo Fletcher does weekly live shows on his Facebook Page
I'll stop there. I know there's a lot more, and I apologise if I've missed anyone out. 
But if you have any recommendations, drop me a line in the comments section :-)

This week's episode

The Lives in Music Podcast series   
I've been doing this for about two years now. These are interviews with local 
musicians, looking at how music has shaped them throughout their lives. Series 3 
also looks hard at how lockdown has had an impact. There are some lovely stories. 

To see who's in the series of artists, here's a link to see every episode.

One further footnote: the intro and outro flourishes I'm using in this series of Lives in Music podcast come from Vo himself. I asked him for a bit of live impro, and this was the result.  

The Radio To Go blog

This blog has been going since 2007. I started it to focus mainly on radio stories, as the industry went through a series of convulsive changes. Those changes aren't over yet, not by a long chalk. Over the years I expanded the range of topics to cover local music, another subject close to my heart. I think it was a Destroyers gig that pulled me in that direction. I've banged out several hundred posts in that time, and of course deleted quite a few. But if you're interested in thoughts on the local scene and/or radio futures, by all means visit the full topic index on the Radio To Go blog.

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Wednesday, 20 January 2021

New ways out of lockdown. You can't keep good musos down

I'm prepping Lives in Music Podcast Series 3. It's different now.

I must start with an apology. I've been quiet on the podcast front. There's a number or reasons for this, obvious and not so obvious.

Our gig scene has been squashed flat.

Firstly: we've lost our live music scene. This breaks my heart. One of my great pleasures is to settle in for a night of stonking live music, joining friends and like-minded souls in a warm and welcoming space, with a pint or something stronger to hand. And then the show starts, and I'm carried away by great musicianship. It can be, rarely, in an enormodome. But I prefer smaller venues, where you can relate to the artist. I especially prefer the smallest venues, where it all starts. I've been in pub rooms with a few dozen kindred souls, and I've had  unforgettable nights. I miss that so much.

So it's been difficult to document those golden live moments, when... there haven’t been any. I’ve had a lot less to write about. I've also had to scrap some very pertinent interviews with venue owners. I'll hopefully revisit these when we can get out and about again.


Face to face chats? Forget it.

Secondly, lockdown or no lockdown, I'm under strict instructions to respect those six feet spaces, and in any case to cut contact down to an absolute minimum. It's, I'm afraid, a health issue, and it's definitely got in the way of producing podcasts.

For me, the essence of getting a great interview is to share space, to have eye contact, to have an intimate connection. I've been used to travelling across town, hooking up a mic to my subject, and diving into a long conversation, which finds its way into the finished podcast episode. That is no more, for the time being.

Live performances online? I'm grateful, but it's not the same.

I follow a lot of people online. I check out their streamed live shows. I'm glad to see them, and I hope that their work generates some revenue. But typing a helpful message of support into Facebook is the only way we can react. The artists can't hear our denatured applause. The compromise of streaming a gig with a live audience – if that can be managed – is the best we have right now.


Those multi-artist remote compilations. Love them.

An alternative, and one that I very much enjoy, is the very produced multi-artist compilation. These work, sometimes to great effect, but it's a different confection. The artists must work to a basic track for timing purposes, so the result is, inevitably, produced. In an upcoming series 3 podcast, I go though this in some detail. But there have been some extraordinary work coming our way, which would not otherwise have surfaced at all. 


A way forward. Soon come: Lives in Music Series 3.

Now I've surfed back to the working world – long story - I've settled on a new way of working. It's a compromise, but it lets me get back to doing podcasts with musicians, which I love to do. I'm using software which lets me invite my subject to chat to me remotely though their computer. Think Zoom, but with better bandwidth and no time lag. It's the same kind of software that's in use at Radio – you can tell it's that kind of software, because, every so often, the remote link goes down, embarrassingly.


So now I'm back in business. I'm recording lots of chats, and then diving headlong into post-production. I hope very much to start releasing the new series by the end of February.

It's good to be working on this series, especially as I want to focus as much as I can on how musicians have broken through this new set of wholly unfair barriers. Let's see how everyone is doing!

The Lives in Music Podcast
I've been doing this for about fifteen months now. These are interviews with local 
musicians, covering how music has shaped them throughout their lives. Series 3 
also looks hard at how lockdown has had an impact. There are some lovely stories. 

To review the list of artists, here's a link. 

See more radio and broadcasting posts on Radio To Go

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