For me, the second week in April always starts of what I tend to think of as ‘Folk Month’.
It always starts with the Bastard Session (in this case on the 14th), and then the week after that it’s Folk Weekend: Oxford, the local folk festival that I am an artist director for (handing the local artist stages). Now this year, for the first time, St George’s Day falls on one of the Folk Weekend days, so that’s sort of two fiddles with one bow. But normally it falls on a different day, and there’s often a separate session just for that.
And then the week afterwards it’s May Day. Which, in Oxford, is a big deal:
So, the Isis Farmhouse pub, just south of Oxford city centre, where we’ve been holding the Bastard English Session for years, where my boat-dwelling community would meet when in the depths of flooding, and where H and I got married just a few months ago, is on the market. (more…)
Following on from last month’s Suzanne Vega post: my own version of the first song on her first album. I still maintain that
It’s a one time thing. It just happens. A lot.
… is one of the great opening lines of a recording career.
If you like very low res video footage and motion-sickness-inducing shaky-cam (and you do, or why else would you be here?) then this is for you.
The song and video were recorded in the winter of 2009, as I was gearing up to embark on the dumbest romantic car crash of my life. You know how they say it’s better to regret something that you have done than something that you haven’t? Yeah? Well, it isn’t.
Second recommendation of the month: another local favourite, Bug Prentice.
Every time I see a Bug Prentice poster around town or on social media (they’re actually on the cover of next month’s local Nightshift magazine), I get a twinge of embarrassment, on account of having booked songwriter-in-chief Ally Craig to play a gig last year that proved to be a catalogue of disasters. Ally was graceful as ever of course, in the face of a rainy miserable evening playing to a virtually empty room. But as a sometime event promoter, I always worry more about not giving an act a decent-sized audience than I do about the money.
My ears might be deceiving me, but I do get the sense that Ally’s songs are actually getting a little more cheerful as the years roll by. Parts of this EP even sound jaunty. (Apologies, Ally, if this is a heinous slur.)
Current Favourite Track:
A joint-winner this time. ‘Lee Miller’, because she’s always been a hero of mine. And ‘Don’t Be That Dude’, because, seriously, don’t be.
I had the great pleasure to be MC-ing the main stage on Saturday night at this year’s Folk Weekend Oxford festival, and the first act were one of my favourite local acts: Small & Gold.
Which meant I got to say the same spiel that I’m about to write here. If you were at that gig, well, it improves with repetition. Probably. (more…)