- Jasper Fforde, Part 1: Having Fun with Shakespeare, Mel Gibson and Dodos.
- Jasper Fforde, Part 2: Shades of Grey – “a different kind of fun.”
- Broadchurch (Boxed set)
- Ian Anderson Wondrin’ Aloud about Canes, Cathedrals and Questions of Faith
- Dave Bainbridge – the Solo Work
- Future of Forestry – Awakened to the Sound
- Harriet Lamb goes Bananas for FairTrade
- A Note to Prospective Editors
- Features: Interviews
- Features: Miscellaneous
- June 2017
- May 2017
- April 2017
- March 2017
- February 2017
- January 2017
- December 2016
- November 2016
- October 2016
- September 2016
- August 2016
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- May 2016
- February 2016
- January 2016
- November 2015
- October 2015
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- June 2015
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- January 2015
- December 2014
- November 2014
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- August 2014
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- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- September 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
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- July 2012
- June 2012
After living with the Neal Morse Band’s The Similitude of a Dream for several weeks, I haven’t been as excited about an album release since… the band’s previous one.
And that’s with some 70 reviews in between.
No wonder that drummer Mike Portnoy posted that this was the best album he has made. Coming from a man with a career in Transatlantic, Dream Theater and Flying Colors, that is saying something.
This beautifully animated work brushes with many questions about life, relationships and the value we place on individuals.
This was one of those gigs that you catch at just the right time and place. As the trans-Atlantic partnership of Bragg and Henry played the show, polls were beginning to close in the US presidential elections, and the setting of Union Chapel – a working church – only highlighted the spiritual references sprinkled liberally throughout the evening’s show.
It was only minutes in when the pair prepared us for what was at the front of their minds. American Joe Henry almost apologised to us for the state that America had got itself into as it teetered “over the abyss.” Bragg noted that, after Brexit, the UK was already falling down it.
In the old joke they told about a man who had thrown himself off a ten-storey
building, as he was falling past the fifth floor, people inside asked how it was going. “Alright so far,” he replied.
(Acorn Video / DRG)
As a dazed world tries to come to terms with what a President Trump might mean for the planet, it may be a comfort to know how underhand and manipulated many previous campaigns have been – where even Presidents with the better reputations either behaved nefariously or got someone to do it for them (yes, we’re looking at you, ‘Honest Abe’, among others).
We have seen some dirty tricks, deceit and scandals in this year’s presidential contest, but Race for the White House (originally a CNN docu-series, narrated by Kevin Spacey) shows that such lust for power is nothing new.
For the first time in its history, the Nobel Prize for Literature has been awarded to a musician, leaving its winner, Bob Dylan, “speechless” at the award. However, it took him weeks to acknowledge it, causing a member of the Swedish Academy, which awards the Nobel prizes, to describe his silence as “impolite and arrogant”.
The singer is no stranger to upsetting the masses, having famously angered the folk purists in his youth by plugging in an electric guitar, but both his words and impact have outlasted such temporary spats. And these are surely what have earned him this accolade.
But what impact has his faith had on his writing?
Every now and then you get an agitator in the world of folk; someone who takes the songs that have thrived for tens or hundreds of years, and makes them fresh for a new generation – people like Jim Moray and Eliza Carthy. This release puts Jarlath Henderson firmly with them in that bracket.
Most U2 fans will have plenty of stand-out memories. Mine began in 1981, when they played the birthday party for my local rock club in Aylesbury. I knew none of their songs at that time, and instead of my normal place against the stage, I found a spot at the back of the hall and danced all night.
My last big impression was at Wembley Stadium on the 360 degree tour, where, strangely, I was even nearer to the band than in Aylesbury. When most of U2 crossed the bridges onto the B-stage behind me, I turned around and it felt like being at the back of the stage looking out at the crowd.
The 27 Club is a select few. Jimi Hendrix died at that age just weeks before Janis Joplin; Brian Jones and Jim Morrison in the same era; Kurt Cobain much later, and the appropriately-named Amy Winehouse more recently. Most of these died because of drug or alcohol abuse.
But was it actually the substances that killed them, or something deeper down?
If you told Bailey Rae, just before she won the BBC’s Sound of 2006, what the next decade would bring, she may not have believed you: only the fourth woman to have a first album début at number one in the UK album charts; the death of her husband two years later; a raft of awards and nominations; performing at the White House and with Stevie Wonder.
Label: Virgin EMI
Time: 12 tracks /55 mins
After the playful soulfulness of her first disc and the tragedy of her second, this third release is infused with joy. She has married long-time collaborator, Steve Brown, and the relief, love and hope of new beginnings glows through nearly every lyric.