THE WEEKEND WALKABOUT:
Pass It On (volume 4)
collated and edited by Norman Warwick
Today´s will be a country ramble that will begin with a Sunday breakfast of Hot Biscuits, prepared with his own fair hands and served to us by Steve Bewick. As a Jazz buff he will guide us on a jazz jaunt through his local jazz scene. Then it will be back on our feet to follow Steve Cooke all across the arts, before he hands over to Norman Warwick, who will ensure that the circle remains unbroken as we travel home again down country roads. And along the way, and for the rest of the week if we all agree that we will PASS IT ON, imagine how quickly good news about the arts will spread. Agreed ? Agreed ! So, here is today´s itinerary.
A GATHERING by Anto Kerins
2 Live Jazz
MEMORABLE EVENING by Terry Bannister
3 On Air
HOT BISCUITS. by Steve Bewick
4All Across The Arts:
FESTIVAL by Steve Cooke
BOOK REVIEW by Steve Cooke
5 Sidetracks And Detours
EMERGING ITALIAN ARTIST by Norman Warwick
ENGLISH FOLK AND AMERICANA by Norman Warwick
JOHN PRINE LYRICS by Norman Warwick
OOPS,… I DID IT AGAIN by Norman Warwick
Anto Kerins is a conservationist, educationalist and writer. He writes poetry on nature and other topics and has read his poetry at Culture Night Ireland each year since 2019 in support of the important work of Easy Treesie and Crann.
We first met Anton when he visited Lanzarote earlier this year to present a beautiful triptych featuring a selection of his work to the organisers of one of the island´s major arts festivals that will take place later in the year. I met up with him for a chat and had the immense privilege of hearing him read out the works on his contribution to the festival.
We appreciate the opportunity to re-publish this brief selection of his poetry previously published by Crann Magazine (Autumn-Winter, 2022).
Crann, the magazine, is a mix of technical and non-technical material. The subject that most articles have in common is (surprise, surprise) trees, though they do feature interesting and relevant pieces about the environment and wildlife, plants and nature, and all that sort of stuff. Crann just love and appreciate the landscape, be it rural or urban, the back garden, over the roadside hedge, or the far-off mountainside. Crann has have a special interest in promoting trees that are native to Ireland, but never turn up their collective nose at anything to do with trees, whether they are foreign nationals or natives of deepest Leitrim. Crann, the magazine, is their high-quality publication mainly written and photographed by the members themselves and. the entire package is then put together by a professional team comprising the Editor, the Designer and the Printers. If you have an article in mind that you would like to see published in Crann, here’s what to do.
1. A G.ATHERING created by Anto Kerins
THE LEAF GATHERERS
When all the pigments glow they stand about,
sipping beers, the breath from coloured trees,
catching up, the craic, well-worn views.
In-between the stream of talk the gusts
now build to shake the boughs, off they go to
wait with night and hear the windstorm blow.
Morning finds the gale upon the ground,
leaves fill round the cul-de-sac, crinkled heaps
hide drains and corner paths, schoolboys
gallop through, small kids kick and leap.
Out they come with rakes and bags
lifting up the leaf debris, pods of leaves,
pack and squeeze, racing to the end of day,
all the bags are stacked away, city truck picks
them up, colour on the street now grey,
trees stand bare at winter rest,
orange sunset in the west.
© Anto Kerins
Angry rain, ugly sleet,
driving snow, freezing feet,
darkened days, frightful nights,
chilling water, damp and cold,
begging for some homeless help,
looking for a wooden bench,
city of a million folk,
not a single one I know.
Will I go and search for food?
Maybe find a meal for free.
Then I see a broken fence,
creep along and slip inside,
no one looking from the house,
hide within the garden shed,
sleep all night upon the floor.
Morning peeps in through the door,
glimpse a tiny snowdrop stand
hanging over ice and snow
with its precious head held high
holding ground against harsh wind.
I feel its fragile soul
enter me as in a trance,
look upon my battered heart,
soften and relax its beat,
strengthen me within my core.
Life inside I’ll now restore.
© Anto Kerins
down by winter’s grip,
deepest dark, primal night,
death is lingering in the shade,
sun neglecting all its power,
empty trees, bitter east,
nature hiding half
creaking, frozen reach,
rolling thunder cracks the sky,
old year’s gone, shifting minds,
wind chills, white hail flying past.
Calendar: a framework source,
marking nature’s changing
through ice and snow
from the damp and musty soil
up and through the winter’s cold
comes the roots and stems that coil
round about the stones and grit
building life inside the earth
© Anto Kerins
Countless of them, watch them gather,
rushing, dashing, all together,
surging, sweeping through the air,
flowing over empty fields,
billowing beneath the clouds,
bending as they break and border,
high and low they race and go,
watching others makes them follow,
wheeling while they form a shape
sometimes it’s an endless corner
then appears a moving eight
all the time a million flutters
whirring echoes as they curve,
diving downwards at the ground
next they roll and turn away,
keep it going while they can,
daylight dies behind the hill,
suddenly they all slow down,
finding branches, roosting perches,
chatter noises, crush of others,
listen while they fall asleep
sheltered by the rising dark.
© Anto Kerins
Here is a Review by Trevor Bannister (left) who developed an ear for jazz as a youngster and was firmly hooked by his mid-teens, buying records, listening to live bands and avidly reading Melody Maker each week. He hopes that his reviews for Jazz in Reading, which first took shape in 2015, (and now for Sidetracks And Detours) continue to express that enthusiasm and capture not just the great music played at Progress, but also something of the venue’s unique atmosphere and character. Trevor has collaborated on two publications, ‘Dusk Fire: Jazz in English Hands’ the autobiography of pianist, composer, bandleader and educator Michael Garrick and ‘It Won’t Sound the Same Again: Great Jazz Never Does’, the autobiography of saxophonist Jim Philip.
2 A TRULY MEMORABLE EVENING
by Trevor Bannister
Jazz at Progress
Progress Theatre, Reading 2 June 2023
Alex Clarke Quartet: Alex Clarke alto & tenor saxophones, Rob Barron piano, Dave Green bass, Clark Tracey drums
Whenever the naysaying purveyors of doom gather together to contemplate the lack of new personalities on the jazz scene and the imminent demise of the music, a new talent is sure to pop up and prove them wrong.
One such is saxophonist Alex Clarke. Voted Rising Star in the 2019 British Jazz Awards, a finalist in the 2020 BBC Young Jazz Musician Competition, a nominee for the Parliamentary Jazz Awards for both 2021 and 2022 and with a hugely successful appearance at the 2022 Swanage Jazz Festival, her career has progressed rapidly in a short space of time.
Though her versatility spans composition, teaching, session work and other music besides jazz, the classic format of her quartet reveals a passionate affinity for the rich heritage of the Great American Songbook and the jazz standards of the post-war era. That Alex is joined by three of the most accomplished musicians ever to grace the jazz scene, with a combined experience of something approaching a staggering 150 years, is a measure of the esteem in which she is held.
The expressive, beautifully toned quality of her playing and engaging personality immediately captured the imagination of the near-capacity Progress audience with Jimmy Heath’s ‘Sound for Sore Ears’. A beguiling, slightly haunting tenor introduction launched a flow of joyously swinging invention on the part of Clarke and Barron, with the sublime support of Dave Green’s bass and Clark Tracey’s drums. No one could doubt that the future of jazz is safe in Alex Clarke’s hands.
A walking pace ‘On the Street Where You Live’, a smash hit from Lerner and Loewe’s ‘My Fair Lady’, inspired the spirit of Sonny Rollins. I especially loved the way Clarke repeated the theme over-and—over-again with the subtlest of variations to create an ‘edge of your seat’ sense of suspense ahead of her opening solo.
As Clarke took up her alto sax and announced her intention to pay tribute to the great star of the instrument Phil Woods, a voice broke up the audience with a sudden cry of ‘I like Phil Woods!’ And why not? ‘Brazilian Affair (Intriga Amorosa)’ drawn from Woods’ 1977 album ‘Live at the Showboat’ was full of searing Latin-American magic that set the toes tapping and the heads nodding. Great fun!
Dave Green and Clark Tracey took a well-earned breather from ‘stoking the boilers’ leaving Alex Clarke and Rob Barren to perform Billy Strayhorn’s ‘Ballad For Very Sad and Very Tired Lotus Eaters’ as a duo. Strayhorn’s role of collaboration with Duke Ellington from 1939 until his death in 1967 and as composer of the Ellington Orchestra’s famous theme, ‘Take the “A” Train’, tend to overshadow his remarkable gifts as a composer in his own right. It was wonderful to hear this example of his romantic and dreamlike imagination played with such sensitivity and feeling. Not surprisingly, it received rapturous applause.
With everyone reassembled on stage, and Clarke back on alto, the quartet played out the first set with a scorching interpretation of Charlie Parker’s bebop classic ‘Segment’, featuring the dynamic drums of Clark Tracey.
Cole Porter reputedly composed ‘Just One of Those Things’ over one night as a last-minute addition to the score of the 1936 musical ‘Jubilee’. Its gaiety and freedom of expression stands as an enduring reminder of Porter’s genius. The highlight? The timing and gorgeous tone of Dave Green’s bass solo.
Alex Clarke brought her own composing skills to the fore with ‘Only a Year’, a title she explained, dedicated to ‘the time I spent at music college before I dropped out’. Once again, I was deeply impressed by the haunting tone of her tenor sax, Rob Barron’s free flowing invention on the piano and the unity of the band as a whole.
Jule Styne’s ‘By Bye Baby’, another nod to the influence of Phil Woods from the ‘Showboat’ album, hit an irresistible medium-paced groove and opened up the space for plenty of good-humoured ‘4s’ around the band.
‘Darn that Dream’, the one success to emerge from Jimmy Van Heusen’s hugely ambitious but otherwise ill-fated 1939 musical ‘Swingin’ the Dream’, a jazz interpretation of ‘A Midsummer’s Night Dream’, was an absolute object lesson in how a quartet should interpret a ballad. Individually and collectively the band knitted together perfectly to give full voice to Van Heusen’s unforgettable melody. Also, Alex Clarke knows how to end a tune on exactly the right note!
Erroll Garner’s bluesy ‘Shake it But Don’t Break It’, driven along by Clark Tracey’s compelling shuffle-rhythm, should have rounded off the evening. But there was no way that the band would be allowed off the stage without an encore. Amid thunderous applause, and ‘Since you asked so nicely’, they duly obliged with a swinging interpretation of Rodgers and Hart’s evergreen ‘Have You Met Miss Jones’ to bring a truly memorable evening to a close.
‘An extremely accomplished player now and a big star for the future,’ was just one of many positive comments overheard as the audience filed out of the auditorium. Enough said!
May I welcome Steve Foster to the Jazz at Progress team as House Photographer and as ever, thank the Front of House team for their warm hospitality and great service and Rich Saunders for the excellent quality of the sound and lighting.
Once again it was a true pleasure to welcome so many younger members to the audience on this delightful summer evening. Who knows, perhaps they may be inspired to take up an instrument and one day become jazz stars themselves?
3 HOT BISCUITS with Steve Bewick
Jazz On Air
Next week’s broadcast offers a return to a live jazz event at the The Carlton Club, Manchester to hear Lucy Lockwood in session. Music featured also from GoGo Penguin, Mammal Hands, Fraser Smith Quartet, Tony Kofi Music before closing with Ben Somers Band. If this looks interesting, then join me 24/07 at www.mixcloud.com/stevebewick/ Steve tells Sidetracks And Detours that
The Carlton Club is set in the beating heart of the Whalley Range community. It is where good people meet and where friendships old & new are formed over a drink, music & social shindigs.
We have a fully licensed bar serving local craft beers & cask ale alongside wines & spirits. There is a spacious main room with a stage where we hold numerous live music & club events as well as film showings, live comedy, art classes & spoken word evenings and more. We also have our stunning ‘Green Room’ where art exhibitions are hosted as well as more intimate gatherings.
Venture outside and you will see our peaceful outdoor community garden where you can enjoy a beer and chat with friends old & new and if you’re hungry then why not grab something from the award winning Hip Hop Chip Shop who are serving chippy teas every Friday.
As well as providing a fine calendar of entertainment we also have an ever developing programme of well being & community focused offerings which includes pilates & yoga classes, ad-hoc dance classes, philosophy discussion groups and The Carlton Community Garden which meets every Saturday at 1.30pm and welcomes everyone to come along & get green fingers!
We are pleased to be dog friendly and welcome all 4 legged furry friends inside & outside at The Carlton Club. Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times inside and are not allowed in the main room during any club nights
Children are also welcome at The Carlton Club however no under 12’s after 8pm in main bar or Green Room.
Lucy Lockwood is a vibrant Jazz & Blues vocalist who will bring romance and rhythm to your event.
Ideal for cocktail receptions and fine dining events, Lucy loves to deliver the great story songs from the 20s through to the 1950s. You’ll hear staples of the Great American Songbook and great composers and lyricists such as Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael and George Gershwin. From the world of jazz, swing and big band expect Ellington numbers and vocals sounds reminiscent of Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday.
Lucy performs with live musicians from a piano vocal duet up to a 6 piece jazz band, and is happy to learn special requests. With the Keith McGee Trio, Lucy has also made some unusual jazz lounge and latin covers of Metal, Pop and Indie songs – twisting the style for the bands own unique take. Imagine an Audioslave and Led Zeppelin mash-up as a broken down fairground waltz!? Or taking The Smiths upbeat with a bop attack!
On 6 December 2021, the band announced the departure of Rob Turner, citing creative differences. Turner’s replacement was revealed as Scott.
The band’s music features break-beats, minimalist piano melodies, powerful basslines, drums inspired from electronica and anthemic riffs. They compose and perform as a unit. Their music incorporates elements of electronica, trip-hop, jazz, rock and classical music.
Critics have described GoGo Penguin’s music with references to Esbjörn Svensson Trio, Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Massive Attack, Brian Eno, modern classical composers Shostakovich and Debussy, or contemporary minimal music composers like Philip Glass.
The band received positive reviews as they released their debut album Fanfares in 2012 and their follow-up album v2.0 in 2014. In September 2014, v2.0 was shortlisted for the Barclaycard Mercury Prize Album of the Year. In 2015, GoGo Penguin signed to Blue Note Records (France). Their album Man Made Object was released in 2016; the following album, A Humdrum Star, was released on 9 February 2018. An eponymously named album was released on 5 June 2020.
Captivating, ethereal and majestic, Mammal Hands, (saxophonist Jordan Smart, pianist Nick Smart and drummer and percussionist Jesse Barrett) has carved out a refreshingly original sound from a disparate array of influences. Drawing on their love of electronic, contemporary classical, world, folk and jazz music, Mammal Hands take in influences including Pharoah Sanders, Gétachèw Mekurya, Terry Riley, Steve Reich and Sirishkumar Manji.
Formed in Norwich in 2012, one of Britain’s most isolated and most easterly cities, Mammal Hands have forged their own path away from the musical mainstream and their unique sound grew out of long improvised rehearsals. All three members contribute equally to the writing process: one that favours the creation of a powerful group dynamic over individual solos. Their records are entrancing and beautiful affairs, while their hypnotic live shows have seen them hailed as one of the most exciting bands in Europe as they push their unique line-up to the outer limits of its possibilities.
Mammal Hands’ fifth studio album ‘Gift from the Trees’ offers a fresh perspective on the unique trio’s singular music. The first to be recorded in a residential studio, the band enjoyed the opportunity to go late into the night searching for a deeper, more organic experience, closer to both their writing process but also their trance-like live performances. While some of the music was pre-composed and had even been performed live, the band also enjoyed the opportunity to improvise ideas in the studio.
Gift from the Trees is out on Gondwana Records.
The debut album from the Fraser Smith Quartet is out now on prestigious UK label Ubuntu music. Critic Fraser Urquhart says of them, that
‘Some jazz musicians can’t help but devote themselves to a specific idiom or era. This is usually a necessity borne out of love and can thereby generate a heartfelt sincerity often absent from the self-consciously cutting-edge. Though nostalgia and romanticism for the ‘Golden Era’ of jazz – usually encased between the carefree 1920s and the moon landings – undoubtedly colour this view, it remains true that many of our finest instrumentalists, singers and fans alike have preferred to peer round the ultra-modern corner, back home to the past. The best of the artists who perform in older styles always avoid pastiche and manage to make bygone music – tied so utterly to specific social-history – seem completely relevant here and now.
Fraser Smith is such an artist and Tip-Top is his brilliantly executed love-child.’
Tony Kofi is a British Jazz multi-instrumentalist born of Ghanaian parents, a player of the Alto, Baritone, Soprano, Tenor saxophones and flute. Having ‘cut his teeth’ in the “Jazz Warriors” of the early 90’s, award-winning saxophonist Tony Kofi has gone on to establish himself as a musician, teacher and composer of some authority. As well as performing and recording with Gary Crosby’s “Nu-Troop” and “Jazz Jamaica”, Tony’s playing has also been a feature of many bands and artists he has worked/recorded with include “US-3” The World Saxophone Quartet, Courtney Pine, Donald Byrd, Eddie Henderson, The David Murray Big Band, Sam Rivers Rivbe Big band, Andrew Hill Big Band, Abdullah Ibrahim, Macy Gray, Julian Joseph Big band, Harry Connick JR, Byron Wallen’s Indigo, Jamaaladeen Tacuma’s Coltrane Configurations and Ornette Coleman.
We are grateful to Steve Cooke for sharing his successful and influential All Across The Arts on line column with our readers. My former partner at all across the arts has, in the seven years since I retired to Lanzarote, given voice to artists, creators, writers and dancers and dreamers. Similarly all across the arts now stands as a bridge between agents, venue proprietors and audiences and has become an important conduit on the arts scene.
4 ALL ACROSS THE ARTS
FESTIVAL ANNOUNCEMENTS by Steve Cooke
Factory International has announced the line-up for Festival Square, the central hub of its biennial Manchester International Festival (MIF) which returns to the city from June 29 to July 16. Taking place at the new riverside location Festival Square’s free open-air stage will host over 190 artists, bands, DJs, and musicians all performing for free, as well as family entertainment and a wide variety of food and drink. With over 150 artists in the line-up hailing from Greater Manchester, the programme is massive celebration of sounds of the region.
One of the highlights of the Festival Square programme is legendary post-punk band A Certain Ratio celebrating 45 years of the band. They’ll be joined by avant-pop-trio The Orielles, electro art rock quartet Dutch Uncles, trans-non-binary, singer-song writer, composer and producer Planningtorock, who lead a northern celebration at Festival Square, alongside international artists such as singer-songwriter Nakhane, acapella group The Joy who’ve recently performed on Jools Holland, plus an in conversation with Canadian artist Peaches.
Throughout MIF23, Festival Square will present takeovers from some of the city’s best promoters, club nights, collectives, venues, and radio stations including Band on the Wall, Brighter Sound, Dave Haslam, Feel Good Club, Piano in the City, Reform Radio, Trans Creative and YES. Every lunchtime, Tuesday to Friday, the square will play host to experimental classical concerts from the likes of Vulva Voce, Bothy Project, Untold Orchestra and K’in Ensemble.
Following an open call-out earlier this year, in which over 290 artists and community groups from the region applied, 26 were selected including alt-pop singer-songwriter Nxdia, Afrobeat and Reggae collective Sens Sagna and the Kajamor Family, Latin band Guacamaya, and Brazilian percussion from youth-group Jubacana. Showcasing Factory International’s music development programme, Factory Sounds, solo artist, and multi-instrumentalist James Holt, afrobeat influenced rapper Prido, and shoegaze indie pop band Foxglove will also perform.
The range of Manchester’s scene will be in full force across Festival Square from the punk anarchy of The Red Stains and the cosmic soul of The KTNA, to the broken-beat DJ sounds of Werkha and pop singer-songwriter Bay Bryan. A Daytimers collective takeover will feature live performances and DJ sets from Samrai and Guests, Vindya fresh from their recent Samarbeta residency, Taxi Cab Industries, Trayner, G33 and Chandé; and Unity Radio present a celebration of Women in Hip Hop featuring OneDa, Lady Ice, Envy and more in collaboration with musicians from the One Education Manchester Youth String Orchestra, marking 50 years of the genre.
Rivca Burns, Festival Square programmer for Factory International said: “We’re super excited to share the 2023 edition of Festival Square, featuring more voices than ever before from across Greater Manchester. It is an honour to curate the programme for the hub of Manchester International Festival, the talent in this city is huge and bringing over 190 acts to this international stage. The programme will excite, inspire, and fill you with joy daily, get down to Festival Square to enjoy your new favourite artist!”
Sarah Maxfield, area director, North, Arts Council England, said “It is fantastic to have Manchester International Festival back across the city after the limitations of the pandemic. Festival Square offers the local community and visitors a chance to enjoy a huge variety of free live music and family activities and it’s great to see so many artists from Greater Manchester performing in this year’s programme.”
A variety of food and drink will be available at the hub of MIF23. Super Serve who were recently announced as Factory International’s food and beverage partner will preview their offering ahead of their full roll-out when the venue officially opens in October; ARMR will be serving up tasty plant-based Caribbean delights; Hip Hop Chip Shop bring the finest fish, chips and mushy peas; there’s Indian and Pakistani cuisine from Zouk; and Ginger’s Comfort Emporium will be making an appearance with their spectacular ice-creams and sorbets.
An array of family entertainment from Babyrocksampler, Born To Be Wild Child, Playhouse Project and more will take place each weekend, bring the little ones along for song and dance workshops, interactive music-making, and storytelling. And Festival Square will close out in style on the final weekend, as fifty students from high schools across Greater Manchester present a joyful and celebratory fashion show inspired by Yayoi Kusama, featuring make-up artists, performers, and their avant-garde creations. Plus, Jonathan Schofield and Skyliner will lead walking tours exploring some of the themes running throughout the MIF23 programme.
For those outside the city centre, Sounds From the Square will be broadcasting live to the world from factoryinternational.org and the Factory International YouTube channel with interviews, performances and behind the scenes access to the productions at MIF23
.The design for this year’s Festival Square is by long-term MIF collaborators Hawkins\Brown architecture practice and is inspired by the shape and design of Factory International’s new home. It will put the audience front and centre, reflecting the joy and energy that make Manchester and the festival so unique, and creates a space where everyone can enjoy the rich and diverse programme.
The stage is sponsored by Bruntwood, one of the city’s leading investors in commercial workspace, life sciences and technology, and supporters of arts and culture. The firm has been a long-standing partner of the Festival, with this year marking Bruntwood’s 15th year of partnership with MIF.
As one of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations, Factory International is generously supported thanks to public funding. More details on the MIF23 programme, including Festival Square, can be found at factoryinternational.org.
YOUR BRAIN ON ART:
How The Arts Transform Us
Book Preview by Steve Cooke
The creative arts are not a luxury for our downtime, but an important contributor to physical and mental well-being, says Susan Magsamen, co-author of a book on the new field of neuroaesthetics, which studies the brain’s responses to art.
“I need it for my soul and my health and my survival,” she says. “It’s not a nice to have, it’s a have to have.”
Susan Magsamen gardens, knits, and crochets. She writes prose and poems and sings and hums daily “to the chagrin of my husband,” she says. Every Friday night, she and her husband get together in their living room and dance.
Your Brain on Art: How the Arts Transform Us, co-written with Ivy Ross, is an authoritative guide to how neuroaesthetics can help us transform traditional medicine and build healthier communities.
he book weaves a tapestry of breakthrough research, insights from multidisciplinary pioneers and compelling stories from people who are using the arts to enhance their lives.
The arts can deliver potent, accessible, and proven solutions for the well-being of everyone. Susan Magsamen and Ivy Ross offer compelling research that shows how engaging in an art project – from painting and dancing to expressive writing, architecture and more – for as little as forty-five minutes reduces the stress hormone cortisol, no matter your skill level, and just one art experience per month can extend your life by ten years.
Susan Magsamen – “Most people think about the arts or about health, but they don’t really think about arts and health together. There are some similarities to mindfulness and meditation, and to a flow state. Part of what’s happening in those kinds of very focused spaces where you’re not thinking about 100 other things is that you’re letting your mind go, and that brings you to a stress-free state.”
“We get a lot of really positive benefits from exercise. But when you think about dance, dance is a very social activity. Cultural dances have specific uses and meanings, including ceremonies and rituals (weddings, births, rites of passage) as well as pleasure. Cultural dances often have a story to tell and a message to be expressed, and they are passed down generation to generation. These stories through dances are told to us when we are young, and they have great meaning for us individually and as a culture. And that meaning is important for memory and for being able to do something that feels good. Also, there is an aspect of community-building that’s different from exercise.”
“A: Every week, my husband and I spend an hour or so with our cousin who has frontotemporal dementia. And it’s extraordinary how when we sing “You Are My Sunshine” or “Amazing Grace,” she comes right back. It’s the closest thing to magic I have seen.”
“Scientists know that music is processed in many different areas of the brain. There’s repetition in the way that music is encoded; the hippocampus is the region of the brain that stores short-term memory, which is often the first region to fail for people with dementia. Over time, memories are consolidated and are stored in a distributed manner in the cerebral cortex. It’s fascinating that somehow our brains have figured out how to duplicate knowledge, especially information that’s really important.”
“We misunderstand the arts and aesthetics and their role in our lives. I hope that this book pulls us back, and allows us to have more of a conversation about the fact that we’re wired for art. We are physiologically wired for art; our brains respond to it without needing to be taught.”
“It really makes sense to understand the neurobiology, physiology, and psychology of our responses to art and how that can inform practice that we do every day. I’m really hoping that the book starts a conversation about how this work, these arts and aesthetics, can change our lives in little and big ways.”
Your Brain on Art offers a vision of what a life lived with an aesthetic mind-set could look like.
Susan Magsamen suggests bringing more art into our lives:
Develop an arts practice: We hope that people start to think about 20 minutes of an arts practice, whatever that is, throughout the day. This could be music, dancing, colouring, sculpting, or knitting,
Appreciate art in your daily life: It doesn’t have to be an art work out — it can be an effort to appreciate the art in your daily activities. Preparing food or gardening can both be artistic pursuits.
Be creative about living with art: Other ways to live with the arts include waking up to smells that make you happy. Embrace the sheer joy of singing in the shower. Gaze at the clouds and find new images. Bring flowers indoors.
The point, Susan Magsamen says, is to allow an appreciation of art and what it can do for us back into our lives. “These are tools that are available to you right now.”
Susan Magsamen is the founder and director of the International Arts + Mind Lab, Center for Applied Neuroaesthetics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where she is a faculty member. She is also the co-director of the NeuroArts Blueprint. Susan works with both the public and private sectors using arts and culture evidence-based approaches in areas including health, child development, education, workforce innovation, rehabilitation, and social equity.
Ivy Ross is the Vice President of Design for hardware product area at Google, where she leads a team that has won over 225 design awards. She is a National Endowment for Arts grant recipient and was ninth on Fast Company’s list of the one hundred Most Creative People in Business in 2019. Ross believes that the intersection of arts and sciences is where the most engaging and creative ideas are found.
5 SIDETRACKS AND DETOURS:
EMERGING ITALIAN ARTIST:
Once again our archives are aching with another week of walking across country, counting some of the reasons we love Shania Twain and looking at the major successes of the 2023 Music Festival in Austin, Texas earlier this year.We also kollated a chapter in our Knopfler Kronikles, which as you will readin a forthcoming piece today, was gently Korrected by a reader ! We also listened to chamber music in the caves and and continued to build a bigger boocase, where we wanted place the biography of late singer-writer John Prine about whom you can read more in our second story in this issue of Weekend Walkabout Pass It On. Even as were rolling the presses we tripped over another unexpected piece of art with a small exhibtion bya very interesing being hosted in small harbour-side shopping complext in Playa Blanca. An incongruous locatin, perhaps but one that, nevertheless gave us somthing bright to look upon and plnty to ponder on-
Francecso Loviero is an emerging Italian artist. The techniques he uses are various and he employs everything from acrylic paint to a mixture that brings toether many of the arts ingredients the arth has to offer, such as picon and sand, and he also mixes the sand with different grouts when working in collage, one his favourite mediums.
His work is housed all the way aloing the back wall of The Rubicon Centre in Playa Blanca. If you see the work and want to know more or gnerally interested in this kind of matieral you can contact. the artist at
5 Norman Warwick sees English Folk On The Move and hears Americana
|The English Folk Expo Showcase Experience
In 2023 English Folk Expo Showcase welcomes anyone either working – industry and artists – or volunteering in any part of the music sector to join us in Manchester as an English Folk Expo Showcase delegate.
EFEx Showcase gives you opportunities to network with and discover artists and industry delegates from the UK and across the world at a showcase of around 60 export-ready artists/bands over three days, presenting performances and music within this broad and diverse genre. An English Folk Expo delegate pass gives you access to all private industry delegate events (see below) and all Manchester Folk Festival performances.
And this year our delegate passes also allow you to attend the European Folk Network conference, running concurrently with English Folk Expo Showcase within The Northern Quarter.
What to expect from EFEx Showcase 2023 Delegates Programme Thursday 19th October
Manchester Folk Festival shows
The late night festival club
Friday 20th October
The trade fair
Private delegate showcases
Manchester Folk Festival shows
The late night festival club
Saturday 21st October
Delegate networking event
International partners’ lunch
International partners’ showcases
Manchester Folk Festival shows
The late night festival club Drinks reception Private We’ve moved! Leaving behind Manchester’s First Street District, this year we move into Manchester’s vibrant Northern Quarter, with its cafes and bars, plethora of music venues, eye-catching street art and eclectic architecture.
The UK Official Folk Albums Chart, produced by English Folk Expo in partnership with The Official Chart Company, has five new entries in May 2023, with a new number 1 from Scottish big band Skerryvore. Congratulations to them and to all artists in the May 2023 top 40. Skerryvore’s chart-topping album ‘Tempus’ (Cooking Vinyl) showcases the band’s rip-it-up-and-start-again approach to genre, blending anthemic highs, strident rock, stadium-ceilidh thrills and subtle dance beats, blending it all into a sound that instantly transports the listener to a famously good-time Skerryvore gig. Merry Hell arrive into the top 10 at number 8 with ‘Let The Music Speak For Itself’ (Merry Hell Music) an album which distils 12 years together, 6 albums and 100s of gigs into a history and introduction to the band in all its moods.
In at No. 14 is Stretching Skyward (Blackfly) by triple Scots Trad Awards nominees Gnoss. Described by the band as an, “album of change”, Stretching Skyward evolved as something of a concept album, inspired by historic Scottish tales, abandonment of ways of life, new beginnings and the passage of time.
‘Cadence’ (Free Dirt) by Cinder Well comes in at No. 27. The new album from Amelia Baker’s experimental folk project drifts between two far-flung seas: the hazy California coast where she grew up, and the wind-torn swells of Western Ireland that she’s come to love. ‘Before I Knew What Had Begun I Had Already Lost’ (Grizzly Folk)by former journalist Jon Wilks is at No. 34. With his fourth solo album, he focuses on the songs that have moved him most over the last few, difficult years and includes three compositions of his own. We’re delighted to say both Merry Hell and John Wilks will be showcasing at EFEx Showcase 2023.
***Charting artists, to receive chart graphics to celebrate your success please contact email@example.com.
To view the full Official Folk Albums Chart chart click here. To watch to Official Folk Chart Show again, click here or the image below.
The Official Folk Albums Chart is compiled by The Official Chart Company and produced by English Folk Expo. The Official Folk Albums Chart Show is presented by Folk On Foot with the support of English Folk Expo.
Norman Warwick hears old Americana
& remembers Songs John Prine Wrote For Others, but not for Norm !!
When he was 14, John Prine wrote the songs “The Frying Pan” and “Sour Grapes” and was already channeling deeper sentiments like early heroes Hank Williams, Roy Acuff, and Bob Dylan. After returning home from the army, Prine continued writing songs and singing and quickly became a fixture in the Chicago folk revival scene.
His lyrics crossed the continuities of life, human conditions, triumphs, and tragedies. From the self-revelatory “Angel From Montgomery,” the fleeting time of “Summer’s End,” the struggles with addiction on “Sam Stone,” and the lonely souls of “Donald and Lydia,” Prine told some of the most affective stories.
“I’d look for a consistent one—something that I’d written down more than once, something that was kinda calling out to me to write about it,” said Prine in 2018. “I always [needed] something to get the wheels going, you know? I was never good at sitting down and saying, ‘Okay, let’s write a song.’ I just always kinda waited for some sort of inspiration.”
Prine added, “Usually a phrase I can’t get rid of that keeps coming back, so the only way I can get rid of it is to write a song about it or use the phrase in the song.”
Through his bountiful songbook crafted over nearly 50 years, and through Prine’s death in 2020 at the age of 73, there were a handful of songs recorded before he made them his own.
Here are five songs Prine shared with other artists first.
Sam Stone,” Bob Gibson (1971)
Written by John Prine
Originally titled “Great Society Conflict Veteran’s Blues,” Prine wrote “Sam Stone” about a Vietnam War veteran, who is addicted to drugs and later dies of an overdose. Drafted into the army in the late ’60s himself, Prine said that “Sam Stone” wasn’t inspired by one individual, per se, but a number of fellow soldiers he had befriended along the way.
“There’s no one person who was the basis for Sam Stone, more like three or four people; like a couple of my buddies who came back from Vietnam and some of the guys I served with in the Army,” said Prine. “At that time, all the other Vietnam songs were basic protest songs, made up to slap each other on the back like, ‘Yeah, this is the right cause.’ I don’t remember any other songs that talked about the soldiers at all.”
Prine also recorded “Sam Stone” on his eponymous debut in 1971. Johnny Cash released his rendition of “Sam Stone” on his 1987 album Live from Austin, TX, and in 2001, The Lemonheads’ Evan Dando also released his version on his EP, Live At The Brattle Theatre / Griffith Sunset.
In 2019, Prine teamed up with Nathaniel Rateliff for a new recording of “Sam Stone” for Rateliff’s The Marigold Singles project.
Sam Stone came home
To his wife and family
After serving in the conflict overseas
And the time that he served
Had shattered all his nerves
And left a little shrapnel in his knees
But the morphine eased the pain
And the grass grew round his brain
And gave him all the confidence he lacked
With a purple heart and a monkey on his back
“The Twentieth Century Is Almost Over,” Steve Goodman
Written by John Prine and Steve Goodman
I´m as sure as my memory will allow me to be that Colin Lever and, I, as the Lendanear folk duo, decades ago playing on the Manchester folk scene, must have been introduced to this song by our occasional partner, Pete Benbow. He was mostly a solo performer and was a very keen searcher of what we now call Americana material. He it was who introduced me to the music of John Stewart, Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt, and with this song, John Prine.
Lendanear was a song-writing band, really but Pete introduced some great cover material, too. This became a favourite of ours to play, and audiences seemed to enjoy it, especially when we `played with the lyrics to keep it contemporary to some amazing events, inventions and cultural attitudes in that last quarter of the twentieth century. We even recorded the song on our debut album, Moonbeam Dancer, remaining true to Mr. Prine´s original lyrics, of course, as we did a year later, on our first live album, Theatre Of The Mind. I´m disappoint that Lendanear haven´t been included in the American Songwriter list, but to be fair we were a pretty obscure band, and weren´t even household names in our own houses. Still, Pete Benbow´s introduction to me of John Prine´s wonderful songs, was part of an amazing musical gift her gave me that I still treasure forty years later, on my playlists, in my head and in my heart and in my memories of Prine´s live concerts.
However, back to the expertise of Tine Benitez Eves
Playing along with Prine during their early Chicago folk scene days, it was Steve Goodman who first urged Kris Kristofferson, who he had been playing with at other clubs, to come to see one of Prine’s shows.
“By the end of the first line, we knew we were hearing something else,” said Kristofferson of seeing Prine for the first time. “It must’ve been like stumbling onto Dylan when he first busted onto the [Greenwich] Village scene.”
Prine would also go on to write a handful of songs that featured on Goodman’s albums, including “The Twentieth Century Is Almost Over.”
First released on Goodman’s 1977 album, Say It In Private, the song was later covered by Johnny Cash in 1980 and again by The Highwaymen (Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, and Willie Nelson) in 1985. Prine never recorded it himself.
Back in 1899, when everybody sang “Auld Lang Syne”
A hundred years took a long, long time for every boy and girl
Now there’s only one thing that I’d like to know
Where did the 20th century go?
I’d swear it was here just a minute ago
All over this world
And now the 20th century is almost over
Almost over, almost over
The 20th century is almost over
All over this world
All over this world, all over this world
The 20th century is almost over, all over this world
“Only Love,” Don Williams (1982)
Written by John Prine, Roger Cook, Sandy Mason
Off Don Williams‘ 12th album, Listen to the Radio, “Only Love” was later covered by Cash in 1982, followed by Prine, who released his own rendition on his eighth album, Aimless Love, in 1984.
Williams, whose songs were recorded by everyone from Eric Clapton, Kenny Rogers, Waylon Jennings, Pete Townshend, and Charley Pride, among many others, collaborated with Prine again on “Love is on a Roll” in 1983. Off Williams’ 13th album, Yellow Moon, the song went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, where it remained for 12 weeks.
You may live alone and close your eyes
Some folks do
You may dream a dream that’s twice your size
All night through
When the morning comes who’s to tell
Your dreams to, only you
“Jackie O,” John Cougar Mellencamp (1983)
Written by John Prine and John Mellencamp
Released in 1983, Uh-Huh was John Mellencamp‘s first album where he used his real surname. The album peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard 200 and featured one track co-written with Prine, “Jackie O,” an homage to Jacqueline Onassis.
So you went to a party at Jacqueline Onassis
If you’re so smart why don’t you wear glasses
So you can see what you’re doin’ to me
So you can see what you’re doin’ to me
So you can see what tomorrow might bring
Underneath your breath you know I heard you cussin’
You were talkin’ to my second cousin
Were you talkin’ about me
Were you talkin’ about me
You better put on your glasses so you can see
So you can see what tomorrow might bring
“Unwed Fathers,” Tammy Wynette (1983)
Written by John Prine and Bobby Braddock
The mid-tempo ballad, “Unwed Fathers,” opens Tammy Wynette‘s 25th album, Even the Strong Get Lonely, and tells the story of a young woman who is pregnant and leaving home via the Appalachian Greyhound station to presumably raise her child alone.
Prine later recorded the song on his 1984 album, Aimless Love, and again in 2019 as a duet with Margo Price on The Living Room Sessions. Prine re-recorded “Unwed Fathers” as part of a fundraising effort for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) following the abortion ban in the state of Alabama, which was initially set to go into effect in 2019.
“I’m always concerned when our civil liberties are being attacked,” said Prine in 2019. “That song has always been about how women are the ones who carry, birth and sometimes are left with taking care of and raising children, too. Now they want to take away their right to decide if or when they do that. Women should be the ones to make decisions about what affects their lives in such a big way. It seems pretty simple to me.”
“Unwed Fathers” was also covered by Cash in 1985 and Deer Tick in 2010.
From an teenage lover, to an unwed mother
Kept undercover, like some bad dream
While unwed fathers, they can’t be bothered
They run like water, through a mountain stream
In a cold and gray town, a nurse say’s “Lay down”
‘This ain’t no playground, and this ain’t home’
Someone’s children, out having children
In a gray stone building, all alone
Norman Warwick stumbles down
SIDETRACKS AND DETOURS,
Saying, Oops,… I Did it Again
Of course, when we are so busy the odd misteaks are bound to happen, and Oops, it looks like I did it again..
My wife Dee and I have been married for more than forty five years, and living here in The Canary Islands we make a pretty good team: our diverse skill sets seem to merge in a way that enables us to cope with whatever daily problems we might have.
However, the big stumbling block is that although I write and type these articles I can´t see small fonts, and I cannot seem to proof read, and instead I glide over mistakes that should be obvious. So, sometimes what I write, (and publish) just comes out, and therefore goes out to readers, as lobbledygook ! A further complication is that I actually love the serendipity of the fun and coincidences contrived by a memory that at seventy years old has given up serving years and dates and chronologies.
Although I quite enjoy the incongruities, anachronisms and even the downright inaccuracies of relying on my memory, I cannot always be sure that readers will forgive me of my sins. An old pal of mine, who is a reader and occasional contributor to these pages, and is seen by my staff and I as our Routemaster General, often spots my mistakes and points them out to me to try keep me on (Side) track.
Thus it was that Peter Pearson sent me an e mail yesterday (shown below) about one of this week´s articles.
Very informative blog this morning. I enjoyed reading it —but James Taylor had no input at all to the writing of the song. Mark Knopfler just asked him to sing on the recording because he wanted the voice of another person to suit his lyrics.
As Mark explained, in a 2 hour interview with Johnnie Walker for BBC radio 2, the idea came to him from reading the Pynchon novel on a long distance flight from UK to USA.
The book is a novel and not a factual account. I have read the novel and found it a great read. Your sources are all factual so will be spot on.
I have no idea how that happened, because I knew that Sailing To Philadelphia was a solo Mark Knopfler composition, but I became a qualified shorthand typist when I was eighteen and determined to break into journalism, a career that then demanded that qualification.
My typing has slowed down only slightly in all these years, but my brain seems to have slowed down very quickly in more recent years, if you see what I mean, and my fingers seem to have become dyslexic.
Nevertheless, I´m grateful to Peter for his due diligence and I realise he picks up my errors only because he cares about the music we both love so much, the arts in general and for some reason he even cares about the longevity of Sidetracks And Detours.
In fact, he has agreed to have an input into our next major development in 2024.
It was when filing my archives of January 2023 posts that it struck how often our articles mention in passing so many artists. Their names fall out in conversation with interviewees, or in our book or album reviews. The music journalists we read and borrow from (and attribute) will often mention artists and songs to contextualise the subject of their stories.
As I wrote a serialised article for Country Matters several years ago, called Names That Fall Out In Coversation, I have revived that title as an umbrella for monthly playlists that wherever possible, will list the artist´s name and a track and album by them available on Spotify. We will creat sleeve notes that include a reference to each track to help you compile the playlist should you wish to do so.
Peter has agreed to add his own thoughts when appropriate about particular artists and songs. I´m looking forward to his contributions because I really trust his musical tastes and judgements,……
and I already have my red pen and Tippex handy, becaused revenge will be suite !
Watch out for Names Fall Out In Conversation to be launched in January 2024.
Next Su8nday´s Weekend Walkabout Volume 5 Pass It On will have us walking alongside Cowboy Junkies !
acknowledgementsplease note logo The primary sources for this piece were written for the print and on line media by various writers. Authors and Titles have been attributed in our text wherever possible
Images employed have been taken from on line sites only where categorised as images free to use.
For a more comprehensive detail of our attribution policy see our for reference only post on 7th April entitled Aspirations And Attributions.