Sidetracks And Detours
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weekly walkabout volume 14
Hi. Thanks for joining us. Our fourteenth Weekly Walkabout takes us today to see a View From A Bridge when Steve Cooke steps all across the arts to take a preview look at a revival of the Arthur Miller Play. We are lured back closer to our roots by Michael Higgins, who reviews As You Were, a compilation of prose and poetry from Falinge Park Creative Writing Group. Norman Warwick then previews an evening with Tenille Townes at The Stoller Hall, and reads an informative interview about this exciting musician.. Jazz In Reading share some live listings and Steve Bewick has yet another recipe for his Hot Biscuits when he delivers Jazz On Air. Peter Pearson reminds us to keep following All Points Forward, this week looking at venues he, and I, have known and loved. It was the late singer writer Terry Clark who would so often remind us there are Always The Sea Songs, and Ralph Dent suggests that is particularly true on Lanzarote. Finally Norman Warwick´s Island Insight this week is of how the new film, Oppenheimer, shown recently for the first time on Lanzarote, poses a moral dilemma. So, there´s plenty to read and we are confident you will find pieces to enjoy, before we return tomorrow, Monday 21st August as set off Byrd Watching.
all across the arts
Arthur Miller´s A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE
The Octagan, Bolton, preview By Steve Cooke
SHUFFLE, CRUNCH AND FIRE WORDS
Falinge Park Creative Writing review by Michael Higgins
The Stoller Hall, Manchester, Monday 28th August 2023
TENILLE TOWNES previewed by Norman Warwick
via Jazz In Reading
Sunday 20 August
HOT BISDCUITS BY Steve Bewick
A Reader´s Perspective
ALL POINTS FORWARD by Peter Pearson
ALWAYS THE SEA SONGS
and Ralph Dent now knows why
OPPENHEIMER: a bio pic
Scientific Opportunity And Moral Dilemma
review by Norman Warwick
all across the arts
Arthur Miller´s A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE
The Octagan, Bolton.
preview By Steve Cooke
A new production for our times of Arthur Miller’s classic, A View from the Bridge, will open on Friday 8 September at the Octagon Theatre Bolton.
For further details
Phone: 01204 520661
On the Brooklyn waterfront, where the fierce passions of ancestral Sicily linger, the orphaned Catherine falls for her handsome, newly arrived cousin Rodolpho – an illegal migrant. Their romance is encouraged by her aunt Beatrice but stirs complex feelings in her uncle, Eddie Carbone. As tensions rise, their story spins inexorably beyond control.
Acclaimed stage and screen actor, Jonathan Slinger (Hamlet, Macbeth at The RSC, Crave at Chichester Festival Theatre, Charlie, and the Chocolate Factory in the West End) will play the role of Eddie, marking his first time on stage in an Arthur Miller production. He is joined by Nancy Crane (Inside Man BBC, Suspicion Apple TV, Summer & Smoke, Chimerica at the Almeida / West End) who will be the first woman to play the role of Alfieri in a new production that looks at the psychology of the play and its gender politics afresh.
Jonathan Slinger (right) said, “I am thrilled to be working with the highly acclaimed Headlong Theatre and Artistic Director, Holly Race Roughan on what will be my first time taking to the professional stage in a piece by the great Arthur Miller. Being from Lancashire myself, Bolton’s Octagon Theatre is a theatre close to my heart and the ideal venue for us to debut this fascinating new production that examines Arthur Miller’s classic text.”
Nancy Crane (left) added; “Holly’s production is going to be a new perspective on one of Arthur Miller’s best-known plays. I’m excited to be the first woman to play Alfieri and can’t wait to see what it does to the play’s themes of masculinity and toxic masculinity. A modern-day Greek tragedy about love and identity and belonging and revenge, it seems to me incredibly relevant in 2023.”
They are joined by Kirsty Bushell (Richard III at the RSC, Angels in America for Headlong, King Lear at Chichester) as Beatrice, Rachelle Diedericks (The Crucible, Our Generation at the NT/Chichester, Andor for Disney+) as Catherine, Elijah Holloway in his professional stage debut as Louis/Immigration Officer, Luke Newberry (When Winston Went to War with the Wireless at Donmar Warehouse, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Macbeth at The RSC/Barbican) as Rodolpho, Tommy Sim’aan (Vigil, The Tempest at The RSC, Starcrossed at Wilton’s Music Hall) as Marco and Lamin Touray (Bouncers UK Tour, Shakespeare in the Squares, Coronation Street) as Mike/Immigration Office
They are joined by Kirsty Bushell (Richard III at the RSC, Angels in America for Headlong, King Lear at Chichester) as Beatrice, Rachelle Diedericks (The Crucible, Our Generation at the NT/Chichester, Andor for Disney+) as Catherine, Elijah Holloway in his professional stage debut as Louis/Immigration Officer, Luke Newberry (When Winston Went to War with the Wireless at Donmar Warehouse, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Macbeth at The RSC/Barbican) as Rodolpho, Tommy Sim’aan (Vigil, The Tempest at The RSC, Starcrossed at Wilton’s Music Hall) as Marco and Lamin Touray (Bouncers UK Tour, Shakespeare in the Squares, Coronation Street) as Mike/Immigration Officer.
The brand-new production will be directed by Headlong Artistic Director Holly Race Roughan. Holly said, “Quite honestly, A View from the Bridge remains one of the most extraordinary plays I have ever read, and it is an honour to be co-producing it alongside some of the country’s most important theatres.”
“Mounting the first major revival in the UK for nearly a decade, I am eager to explore its startlingly relevant themes with today’s audiences: the human price of a country’s immigration policies, ripping into the personal roar of suppressed feelings and the tenderness of romantic love. As with all my work, I am very interested in the thin membrane between the unconscious and the conscious.”
“I am also excited by the play’s brutal and honest exploration of masculinity and how that sits with a modern audience. By casting Alfieri as a woman I hope to illuminate further the presence of the ‘feminine’ emotional intelligence in the play, and its offer to help build a new kind of masculinity.”
The full creative team includes Emily Ling Williams – Associate Director, Moi Tran – Set and Costume, Mona Camille – Set and Costume Associate, Max Perryment – Composer and Sound Designer, Keegan Curan – Sound Associate, Alex Fernandes – Lighting Designer, Malik Nashad Sharpe – Movement Director, Aundrea Fudge – Voice and Dialect Coach, Kev McCurdy – Fight Director and Yarit Dor – Intimacy Director.
Friday 8 – Saturday 30 September
Octagon Theatre, Howell Croft South, Bolton BL1 1SB
Falinge Park Creative Writing review by Michael Higgins
SHUFFLE, CRUNCH AND FIRE WORDS
I ecently took part in Showcase, a literary and musical performance of local talent to launch the Falinge Park Creative Writing Group’s first book, entitled As You Were. The book is subtitled ‘Heritage and Culture in Rochdale’ and Eileen Earnshaw, the project director, has spent the last year bringing various facilitators in to give her writers a grounding in all things Rochdale – from the local seasons, its holidays, dialect and general social history. With funding from Action Together and Vintage Works, Eileen has managed to fit theatre and voice coaching into the year’s schedule and this certainly paid off when five of her men and women, plus herself, performed samples of their own work before an audience in Rochdale’s original Pioneer Co-operative Store.
To frame the event, and to give it balance, she arranged outside support for the show. Oakenhoof Clog Dancers (left) and their band tapped, shuffled and crunched out routines in between acts, while Sid Calderbank (Lancashire Sid) recited works by local dialect poets such as Edwin Waugh, William Billington and Ammon Wrigley. Indeed, Sid’s recitation of Billington’s ‘Where Have All the Blackburn Poets Gone’ was most apt given the nature of this show a century or so after Billington’s own lament. Indeed most of the work in the book is poetry, prose being the lesser vessel in this store of talent.
But as poetry is often downgraded to mere ‘verse’, it is also often referred to as ‘song’ and to enhance the charm of the voice, the ukulele band (right) performed Can’t Play the Ukulele, King of the Road and Putting on the Style. While the U3A Choir sang Gypsy Rover, Dance To Your Daddy, Liverpool Lulu and You’ll Never Walk Alone. Steve Lister was a surprise singer, performing his whimsical, The Drunken Wasp, to the tune of Danny Boy. I was somewhere in the middle of it all, barred from reciting dialect or performing a clog dance and reduced to falling back on the legacy of Lord Byron, who was lord of Rochdale till 1824. In my Invocation to Byron I invoked his ghost and sang his So We’ll Go No More A Roving, which I claimed was written for me.
The Falinge performers were Glenis Meeks, Josephine Wood, Maureen Harrison,(shown left),.Seamus Kelly and Eileen herself. Chris Green recited via video. Their readings were taken from the new book (top right) . And the book itself, printed in large format for easy reading and containing 77 poems or stories , was on sale for £5. Glenis read her take on the Sand Knockers of Smallbridge, the quarry nappers who chipped millstone grit into usable sand for stone floor scouring: ‘First flags were mopped a bit,/then sand strewn onto it,/stamped over with clog iron tread/Grinding and scouring it./impacting it, levelling it…’ Jo gave us a dialect poem called Me Sister (to be read with a Rochdale Dialect): ‘Has thee seen me sister, our Ellie Jane?’ ‘She’s down by the butchers with a tall skinny lad’. And Maureen read Easter: ‘A time for new life and birth…’ where The act of rolling Easter Eggs downhill… symbolise the stone rolling from Jesus’ tomb’. Sean gave us his Fire, linking the flame of a match to ‘the ghost of first fire’. . ‘Contained, constrained… in candles on altars’. Eileen gave her rousing rendition of I’m a Northern Woman: ‘ Not any woman/A Northern woman…I come from weavers, winders/Machine shop labourers/ And twelve-hour shifts.’ Chris gave us ‘Co-op’ via recorded video , his take on the founding and importance of the Pioneer co-operative storekeepers in Rochdale.
Missing from the line-up was Robin Parker, ex mayor of Rochdale, and founder of so many writing groups, and partner with Eileen in many of her projects, who died earlier this year. Indeed, Robin’s sonnet, Contemplation, stands as a memorial introduction to the book and five of his poems are included in it. His love for the sonnet is proclaimed, his contemplation over a full life of many hobbies, his disdain for the modern replacement of Guy Fawkes Nights by the American ‘Halloween’, the irony of modern Pendle Hill Witch celebrations compared to the real spellbinding event; And his poem, Dispensable, pointing out that:
‘The indispensable march at the front
The dispensable march at the front,
Into the bullets.’
But he does have a humorous streak with his Existenz, lamenting the conking out of Falinge Park Community room heating in cold weather
The book is divided into four sections, each picturing the seasons, followed by a Dialect section and a Miscellaneous, all of which follow a loose s structure used by the year’s programme. In Spring, among other attractions, love blooms, lambs frolic, robin chicks are hatched and fly away. Buttered toast and early spring planning for a December Christmas dinner (ham or turkey?) to be enjoyed without the late queen’s speech in the background is an odd offering. And the ten minute wonder of a furry snake won at a spring fair dazzles. In Summer we have Blackpool Night, Holidays, The Coach, Fair Horses (and unfair sellers). And there is that Summer horror, The Supermarket Queue
Autumn gives various outlooks on leaves, bonfires, witches, black peas, fireworks and of course Remembrance Day: ‘Is it so we never forget the horrors of war…? Some people had what I have heard described as a ”good war”…in jobs described as reserved or essential/. But they were safe and the fighting men weren’t’.
Winter starts Christmas 2023 in a chaos of rising prices ‘clawing our way to spring’. Then there are the magic New Shoes for Christmas that get you through everything, including the pitfalls of shopping in Tesco. And there is the horse and cart ambulance that took one father to hospital a hundred years ago compared with the modern ambulance that takes 4 hours to answer a call out and then sees the patient given scant care, for
‘It taks as long now, as it did in them days.
That poem by Glenis Meeks sums up this book of Rochdale experience from past to present. The front cover illustration by Seamus Kelly depicts Falinge Community Rooms where the group meets with children and adults outside in early 20th century dress. The audience for this showcase clearly had a taste of the past brought into the present world and this reviewer at least enjoyed this two hour entertainment that cleverly matched high art with common humour and spectacle.
All plaudits go to Eileen Earnshaw (right) who arranged it all.
logo Live Music
The Stoller Hall, Manchester, Monday 28th August 2023
TENILLE TOWNES previewed by Norman Warwick
Award-winning singer, songwriter and musician Tenille Townes released her latest project Masquerades April 22 via Columbia Nashville/Sony Music Nashville in partnership with RCA Records. A meditation on duality, self-reflection, and embracing flaws, Masquerades follows her acclaimed debut album The Lemonade Stand, which was named Country Album of the Year at the 50th JUNO Awards.
An astute observer of the human condition, Tenille Townes’ discography is rife with stories that reverberate with heavy truths, which has earned her global recognition. Townes is a 15-time Canadian Country Music Association Award winner (CCMA), a two-time JUNO Awards Country Album of the Year Winner, and a two-time ACM Award-winner. She is also the first female artist in Mediabase Canada history to achieve two No. 1 singles (Music Canada Gold-certified “Jersey on The Wall (I’m Just Asking),” Music Canada Platinum-certified and RIAA Gold-certified “Somebody’s Daughter”). Also a Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree, Townes has been featured by NPR, Variety, Refinery29, Billboard, Rolling Stone, NBC’s “TODAY,” BBC and more. Additionally, she has raised over $2.5 million for Big Hearts For Big Kids, a non-profit she started when she was 15 years old to benefit a youth shelter in her hometown, which has grown to support US-based organizations including the Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee, S.A.F.E. Animal Haven, and the Manna House.
TENILLE TOWNES: talking
The Canadian country singer, Tenille Townes (right) got a lot of attention with her 2018 hit “Somebody’s Daughter,” which is approaching 5 million views on YouTube. Not long after, she co-wrote a song called “The Thing That Wrecks You,” which was recorded by Lady A with Little Big Town. She recently did her own version of the song with fellow Canadian Bryan Adams. In an interview for Songfacts, Townes tells journalist Nicole Roberge the stories behind her most meaningful songs, explains what makes her tick as a songwriter, and talks about a life-changing moment when Shania Twain brought her on stage. So come follow your art down the sidetracks and detours to where an American Songwriter seems to be exploding into a meaningful career
When Tenille Townes shares stories behind her emotive tunes she also speaks of how a chance meeting on a stairwell led to the Bryan Adams duet “The Thing That Wrecks You.”
Her first single, “Somebody’s Daughter,” from her debut album, The Lemonade Stand, struck a chord, with the accompanying video evoking stirring emotions with fans, and earning a nomination for a CMT Award for Breakthrough Video of the Year. Music writer Nicole Roberg recently noted in Songfacts that Townes has gone on to do that with every song – finding meaning in the mundane, the heart in the rubble – transforming it into beauty. She picks up emotions and shares them as if to say, “I’m here, and if you’ve been here too, sing along.”
The 29-year-old has since released her latest EP, Masquerades. The seven-track compilation debuted in 2022, and is a two-part set, with the latter, Silver Linings, still being written. Though self-reflective and honest, Masquerades ultimately radiates positivity, offering a refreshing glance at a woman who has come to understand her place in the world, opening her perspective to fans and offering them the comfort to share their voices, allowing them to be heard. With an unmistakable voice and a talent for crafting songs that home in on emotions, Townes’ heartfelt approach to songwriting is one that has won over fans and critics alike. Her early ride to success is not stopping any time soon.
In 2022, Townes won five CCMA Awards (Canadian Country Music Association) for Entertainer of the Year, Album of the Year (Masquerades), Female Artist of the Year, Single of the Year (“Girl Who Didn’t Care”) and Songwriters of the Year (along with Steph Jones and David Pramik), making her a 10-time CCMA winner. Prior awards include a 2021 Juno Award for Country Album of the Year and two 2020 ACM Awards for New Female Artist of the Year and Musical Event of the Year.
She rounded out 2022 by being featured in Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ Time For Him To Come Home For Christmas (starring Tyler Hynes and Holland Roden), as an actor, performer, and with her song “One In A Million” featured in the opening scene.
A recent chance meeting with Bryan Adams (left) has set the singer on a course of further happenstance.
Songfacts spoke with Townes just before the release of her surprise duet with Adams, “Thing That Wrecks You.” She told Nicole how that tune came together, along with the stories behind some of her most popular songs, including “Jersey On The Wall,” “The Last Time,” and the Breland collaboration “Shared Walls.”
Having checked and conformed her bio fact list Nicole Roberge (Songfacts): submitted her opening question.
You’ve had an exciting holiday season, being in Hallmark’s Time For Him To Come Home For Christmas. You were a multi-faceted entertainer in this movie, along with having “One In A Million” featured. How incredible was that for you and your career?
Tenille Townes: It was such a dream to be a part of that. The Hallmark Channel was always on in my house growing up. Especially my mom – we watched so many of them together. That felt like such a cool full-circle moment to be a part of that. It was my first time getting to act in something, which was really exciting and terrifying. I’m so glad to have been able to sing and be a part of the movie.
In all honesty, I heard it was a possibility they were using “One In A Million.” I had that on my vision board for a while – have my Christmas song be in a Hallmark movie, or be a part of writing songs in a film one day. We went to watch it the night that it came out and it started the opening scene with that song. I just lost it.
It’s such a lovely song, and to have it used in a different medium is probably so meaningful.
It is. It’s such a dream. And to know that the music is going to find more people, and more friends to be a part of this adventure with me. That was really exciting for so many reasons to be a part of that film.
What’s really nice is that they used you, as a person, and not a made-up character, to be a part of the film. What great exposure.
Yes! It was. I was so grateful and excited they were up for doing that. I really thought I was showing up to play a part as a singer and they were like, “Can we use your name?” I was like, “Yes, please! That’d be awesome!”
You basically got on the Polar Express after that. You were a part of the Canadian Pacific (CP) Holiday Train as a performer. What was that experience like?
I rode a holiday train all across Canada just before Christmas that felt very much like a Hallmark movie. It was amazing. Playing shows to raise money for food banks across Canada, getting to play in a lot of different remote areas where I don’t know that they get a lot of live music passing through. It was such a dream to feel like we were a part of so many of those communities leading up to the holidays. We were seeing just a snapshot of a lot of generous people coming together in a really beautiful way in the freezing cold.
So far, totals show C$1.3million raised and 121,000 pounds of food collected for local food banks. What a remarkable thing.
The resilience is pretty amazing, and the community spirit to show up when it doesn’t matter what the temperature is, they’re coming out to support this. It’s incredible. It was so fun. I love trains, so that was like a dream.
Your song “Where You Are” was also used in an Air Canada holiday commercial. This was from your EP Living Room Worktapes. That must have been a nice Christmas surprise.
That was an insane surprise, truly. All of these things throughout the holiday season were such a high. I had heard that Air Canada was thinking of using that song. I was excited about the possibility and sending up all the good vibes about it. I had no idea how fast they turned things around because a few days later after I heard the possibility, my Memere called and was like, “I just saw an Air Canada commercial and heard your song on the TV.” I was like, “What? That’s so crazy that they used it.”
I was really excited, and that commercial just blew my mind. The animation is so incredibly stunning and it’s a heartwarming story to watch around the holidays. To be a part of that, as the “narrator” with the music behind that, was such an honor. It turned out so beautifully and I heard from a lot of people I knew, and many I’ve never met before who were sending messages. Things like, “I found this song because of this commercial and I’m coming to your show now,” or, “I listened to this song, and it means so much to me and my daughter.” It meant so much to hear from people in this way. That was the ultimate Christmas gift, for sure.
pong before you and Bryan Adams revived the powerful song, Lady Antebellum (right) was the first act to record “The Thing That Wrecks You,” with guest vocalists Little Big Town, for the 2019 album Ocean.
You wrote the tune with Kate York, a Nashville songwriter who penned several songs for the TV show Nashville, and her Lemonade Stand cowriter Daniel Tashian. When she pitched the duet to Adams years later, he added his own touches and earned a songwriting credit.
How did your single with Bryan Adams, “The Thing That Wrecks You,” come about and what was the songwriting process for this?´
I was recording the music in Vancouver to be a part of the Hallmark movie. The studio we worked at was The Warehouse, and I was there throughout the day working on the Christmas arrangement of the song at the end of the movie. I went to leave late that evening and literally ran into Bryan Adams on the staircase. I was losing my mind. This is somebody who has been so inspirational to me as a Canadian, as a trailblazer, who has made this incredible, fierce path with their music that has impacted the world in so many ways. I said, “Wow, it’s an honor to meet you.” My manager and I were telling him we were visiting, that we live in Nashville, and we thought his studio was incredible. He gave us a quick tour and I felt so inspired. I just had this energy about me. What an incredible thing to build a studio like that. To have this creative space. I was dreaming of how cool that would be to have one day.
We were riding the elevator later in the hotel and I said, “How crazy would it be if I could sing a song with Bryan Adams one day? That would be amazing.” My manager and I were listening to his music, and I said, “I know exactly what song it would be, this song I wrote a while ago.” I went into the studio a couple weeks after that and recorded a version of the song as a pipedream mission to go, “What if I sent this to Bryan Adams and he decided he would sing on it?” My band and I got together and we put this arrangement together. I burnt a CD and I put a QR code on top of it and FedEx’d it to his studio in Vancouver. I thought, Whatever. If you don’t take a chance and have wild things happen, you just never know how things are gonna go. I’d rather take a shot and see what happens. I thought it was crazy the whole time, but I dropped it off at FedEx and drove the whole way home smiling, going, “Who knows?”
Two days later I got an email from Bryan Adams saying, “Hi. I got your song. I love it and I’d love to sing on it.” I was like, “Is this real life? Is this actually happening?” It’s been incredible getting to work with him. I’ve learned so much about his creative process, his perspective as a songwriter, sonically. So many of his ideas to add to the song were truly incredible so I’ve loved the time getting to get to know him as a writer, artist, and a mentor. It’s been worth so much to me, and the song just feels like a bonus. I’m so grateful for this experience together. I can’t wait for people to hear this song.
And this was just a song you had hanging around waiting for that opportunity?
This was just a song I had hanging around. And Bryan also joined us as a writer and made some contributions and changed things that brought the song to life in a new way. It feels like a new song now, but it was a song that I had started and written a while ago.
What was it about this song that made you think this was the one for Bryan Adams?
There was just an energy about this song. Something about his voice and the texture of his voice just felt like it would relate to the feeling of what this song represents. In a lot of ways, it’s just the wreckage of someone who brings out the best and worst in you. I think you grow together through that. The tension of that, I feel in his music a lot. I look up to that. I felt like that is something that would transfer well. I also was like, “How cool would it be to hear our voices together?”
It seems like it was all meant to be, and the start of a nice friendship.
I hope so. It feels like the beginning of something. I left just thinking, we were supposed to cross paths at this moment. I’m gonna hold on to this feeling. I think it’s good to pay attention to those moments when they literally come and meet you on a stairwell.
Your songs have this intense power to strike a chord with people. How meaningful was the song “Somebody’s Daughter” for you and did you think it would resonate with people so much?
When I wrote the song, I wasn’t necessarily thinking about that. I was thinking about the girl I saw on the side of the interstate while I was in the car with my mom. I was thinking about her story, and the fact that we’ve all got a story. I had started an idea for the song, and I had gotten to write with two of my heroes – Barry Dean and Luke Laird. I was telling them about this moment and the song found us in such a special way that day. It kept pushing itself forward through the whole creation of The Lemonade Stand record. I knew it was what I wanted to put out first to establish this foundation of what I want music to talk about – the storytelling and the ability to call people to see one another. That’s where I wanted to start this musical journey together. The song has taken on so much more meaning and life than I ever could’ve imagined. It’s still by far one of my favorite songs to play live. It has this energy to it that feels like we’re looking around the room and noticing one another. I think that’s such a powerful thing that music can do. I have loved the journey of this song very much.
It relays a very powerful message. Do you have to completely immerse yourself in a story to write a song?
I do. The process of songwriting is a spiritual thing where you’re transported through the music. It’s a form of surrender, where you’re trusting where the song is taking you. Then you get through a few hours and you’re like, “Wow, this thing that didn’t exist in the world before is here now.” It creatively feeds itself. It’s a hard thing to put into words. It’s the closest thing to a real-life magical experience. Sometimes it can be really painful and hard. It’s like being entirely entrenched in an emotion. That can feel like a wrestle too. It’s magical but it can be this crazy experience to have a song come to life.
I feel like your job as a songwriter is to be a vessel for whatever you’re listening to that’s coming through you. I love the storyteller perspective of songwriting.
That’s my favorite place to write from, to be able to zoom out from a situation, put myself in it, and imagine what it would feel like. Then there’s pieces of myself that end up in it. Writing entirely from my own emotional, healing perspective, something that I’m walking through, is a lot
That internal process is the approach you took on your latest album, Masquerades?
Yes. I felt kind of forced to, as I think a lot of people did around the world, in the heart of the pandemic. Stuck in our homes and in ourselves in different ways. And maybe we have before in different ways. Music was a safe place for me to be able to talk about whatever was running through my mind – my thoughts and a lot of the darker parts of that loneliness in that time. That project was a bit of a different writing experience for me in getting a lot more personal. It was insane and incredibly encouraging to share pieces of that process as I was writing and posting clips of some of those songs.
One of those songs that started it was “Villain In Me.” I sat on the floor and made a video of me singing the song. So many people responded saying, “I feel the same way. I struggle with the same voices. Thank you for putting my truth into a song.” I was like, “Well, this is my truth too, so I’m so glad we can stand together in this.” It gave me the courage to keep digging into those harder places within myself. And to be able to feel like there was this open-armed embrace that felt supportive of people listening to those songs. It meant a lot to be able to share the journey of that time.
I think people were grateful that you didn’t have the fear of exposing those emotions. In “Villain In Me,” you sing, “You’ll only see me laughing, sunshine and a smiling face. Sometimes I wear it like a mask.” By opening up and taking down that mask, it made other people more comfortable taking theirs down.
I think we give each other permission, which is super awesome to me. It’s like wow, that’s the human experience. You feel the same and you’re being brave and talking about it? I can do that too. I’ve gotten the courage to do that from people just as much as I hope I can give the courage to do that too. It goes both ways. It’s not like doing it in lack of fear. It’s like being fearful and doing it anyway.
Do you get your power and confidence through songwriting and music?
I do, absolutely. Being honest in a song, it’s easier for me to take down the mask in that scenario than it can be for me just walking around. I feel very optimistic. Putting on a smiling face, there’s a lot of strength that could come from that. I think that there’s the honesty of the fact that it’s OK to take it down sometimes. It’s important that I’m learning that I’m in the middle of that process. The songwriting definitely gives me strength. It’s a safe place to talk about anything. It always has been for me.
“Shared Walls” (featuring Breland) is so poignant and vulnerable. It’s speaking those often-unspoken words about connection. The song came to life from the pandemic – is that lasting message still important to you?
It is! It’s a very true story. I was living in my apartment building feeling so far from everyone and also closer to my neighbors than I’d ever felt before, and closer to neighbors around the world, who were going through this same, really hard thing. I was seeing people singing in the streets in Italy. All of us, locked in our little boxes. I think it felt like, wow, as hard and horrible and dark as this is, there’s a commonality that is bringing humans closer through something hard. That’s the silver lining we have to look for, otherwise, it’s too hard. I just felt like whatever walk of life you come from, there’s such a commonality we went through in that experience. And in life in general, what a way to just look at the world as a neighborhood.
I’m really glad this song was part of this project. I loved getting to sing with my friend Breland. He’s incredible and has such a joyful spirit about him and such a versatility in his music. His ability to do so many different things and keep the heart of the matter at the core of all of it. It was a dream to sing this song with him.
Your versatility is impressive. To go from a song like that to “When’s It Gonna Happen?” which connects with people on a different level. It’s those thoughts that go through everyone’s head at some point, about wanting to find a relationship, that can sometimes be self-deprecating. Here they’re transposed into a fun and uptempo song. How do you find that contrast?
“This is what’s on my heart right now, and I have to write about it to feel better and to find a sense of belonging in it. And getting to share it is so cool, especially to hear people say, “I feel the same way.” That is my favorite part about music. That song has united this incredible force of empowered single people that I feel so much closer to around the planet. It’s awesome. I love seeing so many people, especially young girls at shows, screaming the words like, “This is my anthem, I feel this way.” I’m like, “Same!” I’m really glad we can stand in it together.
It’s so true. It’s funny – everyone’s had those thoughts.
At some point in your story, of course you do! It’s human. I love getting to sing about it. It’s something that doesn’t get talked about enough.
You have this compelling talent to write songs that relate to people, where even if they aren’t shared experiences, the emotions are shared. “The Last Time” is one of those songs that hits really hard. It makes you stop and think about the meaning in those last shared moments or everyday experiences with people. Was there a particular moment that made you want to write this song?
It came from a conversation I was having with my Auntie Sue back at home in Alberta. She was telling me about how her youngest started driving himself to school, and was feeling sentimental about it, saying, “I remember his first day like it was yesterday. I don’t remember the last day I dropped him off. It must’ve been a few weeks ago, but I didn’t make a moment of it. Now he’s just been driving himself and I’m sad that I missed that.” I was like, “I’m really sorry for your sorrow, Auntie Sue, but I’m gonna steal it and write a song about it.” So that’s where the spark for the song came from.
I think about it a lot, the sentiment of the chorus. We always put a special frame around the first time we experience something because we know it’s going to be important in our story. But the last time is never a guarantee. It just comes or goes, or it never comes, and we didn’t get a chance to put a frame around it. To me that’s a reminder to make every moment and pay attention to it and enjoy it for the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. Let’s be present and take it in. I’m very glad we got to release this song last year, and it’s been very cool hearing people’s stories about it and seeing people sing it at shows is the best thing.
Your songs really seem to make people stop and think. It appears you have a very overwhelming fan connection, personally and through your music.
It feels that way to me. It’s definitely overwhelming and awesome. I love getting to read all the messages I get over Instagram, TikTok, even through the Road Phone. People will text in stories of what these songs mean to their lives. This is what this is all for. It gives me so much meaning, and to see that show up in such a tangible way at a show is my favorite thing. If I could live every day on the road in a different city, feeling that, I would. I love that so much. It means the world to me that they’re along for the ride with me. I wouldn’t get to do this if they didn’t listen to the songs or buy a ticket to the show – there’d be no gas in the tank for the van. There’d be no reason to share a song. It’s everything to me to get to do this together. I hope people feel how much it means to me. It really is the best in the world.
Is there a song of yours that you are most connected to?
I think the song that means the most is one I hear the most stories about, which is “Jersey On The Wall.” People sharing people in their lives that they’ve lost too soon. It’s so devastating to hear these stories, but it also fills me with hope knowing that we have all felt that way. That feels like the most isolating thing to go through, saying goodbye to somebody. Hearing an overwhelming amount of stories saying, “This makes me think of this person in my life,” makes me think we really aren’t alone in that. It takes so much courage to talk about that because it’s so hard.
I’m constantly in awe of people coming up to me after a show by the merch stand. You can tell by the way they have their eyes down by the floor that they have something heavy on their heart they’re trying to say. I can’t put into words how much I admire the courage it takes to talk about that. Music has this ability to push down the walls that we put up in ourselves and we can go into the places that are a little scary to go into alone, and you hear a song, and it makes it a little easier. That song has felt like the most tangible evidence of that to me. That song will always have a special place in my heart.
This song stems from your visit with a high school in Grand Manan, New Brunswick, and them having lost a special student in their class in a car accident. Was your objective when writing the story in that song to share in those emotions of loss?
Yeah, my intention was honestly just my own question, how could something so horrible happen to this incredible group of people? My way of pacing the floor and processing my own feelings was to write about it. I’m so grateful that that family was alright with me sharing that story. At the same time, one of my closest friends lost her little brother. All of that had me spinning in my own questions for God and writing about it was my safe place to talk about it.
Your ability to understand human connection and translate that through your songs is remarkable. You always seem to be coming from an honest, sincere place. That’s why people connect so much.
Thank you so much. I’m in the middle of processing the next group of songs that I want to finish writing and get ready to share. Those are very encouraging words to hear today, so thank you for that.
Are you working on Silver Linings, the follow-up to Masquerades?
Yeah, it’s still a living, breathing thing. I think that’s what I’m headed towards, but it may surprise me and take me somewhere else entirely. I’m just holding on for the ride at the moment. It’s exciting. The unknown adventure of it all – exhilarating, terrifying and all the things. I am doing my best to just enjoy the ride because it’s so wild to do the things I really love to do. I’m having the time of my life.
You have other exciting news, opening for Shania Twain at the end of this year, which is very full circle for you, as you sang on stage with her when you were nine years old. How impactful was that?
It is very full circle. I was one of those crazy kids at 9 years old who got pulled up on stage with my hero, Shania, in Edmonton. I had a costume that looked like her Miami concert DVD that I had watched a million times. I had a sign that I made that asked if I could sing with her. She reached out her hand and pulled me up on stage. That was it. I was like, “This is what I want to do for the rest of my life.” I will still feel that feeling and I’m hoping to keep paying that forward as much as I can. It’s going to be pretty surreal to be up on that same stage as her again.
That’s amazing. What song did you sing with her?
She pulled me up on the song “What A Way To Wanna Be!” off her Up! record. We finished the song, and she had three tiers of her stage. We were on the top tier. The lights made it look like a curtain. I couldn’t see the audience at all but I could hear what it sounded like to hear 18,000 people screaming. At the end of the song, she asked me to sing a piece of something for the audience on my own, so I sang the chorus of “Honey I’m Home.” Then she hugged me and told me she should probably take me back to my parents and wished me well and that was that. Any time I see somebody pull a kid on stage at a concert now, it makes me weepy. The power that moment of belief has is like planting the foundation of that person’s identity. I know what that feels like. It’s so crazy, I love watching that happen. I hope to make that happen a lot down the road. It’s pretty awesome. I’m really looking forward to those shows together.
In addition to your music, you are very involved with charity work. You started Big Hearts For Big Kids when you were 15?
Yes, we’re coming up on our 13th event. It’s been life changing watching what can happen when a small group of people who believe in something come together around it. I heard about the youth shelter, the Sunrise House, in my hometown and how there were kids at the time who were my age in my own small city that were needing a safe place to sleep every night. I thought, What can we do to help? The night of our first event, the shelter had to close down due to lack of funding. We all looked around at each other, like, We’re supposed to do this tonight.
Within a year and a half of that first event, that shelter was fully renovated and restaffed, and back up and running in our community. They’ve been going strong ever since. They’re in the process of building a brand-new youth shelter. It’s incredible. We’ve raised over 2 million dollars in the past 12 years of these events in my hometown. Seeing my community come together every year with so much generosity to wrap their arms around these kids – that’s what music can do. That’s what we are capable of doing.
The above article was published in Songfacts
February 23, 2023
Keep up with Tenille Townes on Instagram
The artista will be appearing at The Stoller Hall Manchester on Monday 28th August
Live And Love Muisc
via Jazz In Reading
Sunday 20 August
photo 1 Fleur Stevenson & Hugh Turner
Fleur Stevenson vocals, Hugh Turner guitar
Chalk, 31 Broad St, Wokingham RG40 1AU
4pm-6pm | Free entry | More info and tickets
Fleur Stevenson is gifted with a honeyed tone, an offbeat sense of humour and a naturally charismatic stage presence. She creates an instant rapport with her audience through sparkling narrative and an unerring instinct for choosing the right material to showcase her talent.
Sunday 27 August
photo 2 Lizzie Cummings & Hugh Turner
Lizzie Cummings vocals, Hugh Turner guitar
Chalk, 31 Broad St, Wokingham RG40 1AU
4pm-6pm | Free entry | More info and tickets
Set in Chalk’s beautiful courtyard, Lizzie’s lively presence and playful engagement of jazz swing covers makes for the perfect Sunday afternoon, with just the right amount of pathos for a ballad or two. Backed by Hugh Turner, one of the region’s finest Jazz guitarists, it’s a musical event not to be missed.
Wednesday 30 August
photo 3 Mimi & The Mulberries
Mimi Rose vocals, Richard Meehan keys, Al Swainger bass, Paul Glover drums
Pentahotel, Oxford Road, Reading RG1 7RH
7.30-10pm | Free entry | More info and tickets
Step into the enchanting world of speakeasy vibes and timeless jazz as we proudly present Mimi & The Mulberries, a brand new jazz collaboration, making their captivating debut. Immerse yourself in the alluring ambience of our elegant venue, adorned with moody lighting, as the sultry sounds of jazz transport you to a bygone post modern jukebox era of sophistication and charm.
Jazz at Progress
… brought to you by Jazz in Reading
Friday 15 September 2023
Pigfoot Play Ellington
(£17.00 concessions, £10 under 16)
plus maximum 5% booking fee
Chris Batchelor trumpet/cornet
James Allsopp baritone sax/bass clarinet
Liam Noble piano/keyboard
Paul Clarvis drums
Chris Batchelor, recently seen at Progress with the Gary Willcox band, created Pigfoot in 2013 to play 1920’s New Orleans material, spontaneously re-invented through the band’s wild musicality and wry humour. Their exploration of repertoire then led them further afield and through a series of gigs entitled Pigfoot Play… they extended in all directions, with sets dedicated to Opera, Motown, Elvis, and Bacharach.
Now they present a brand new programme: Pigfoot Play Ellington, an imaginative reworking of a range of Duke Ellington’s iconic compositions, from the early Cotton Club blues material to Swing hits and through to the exotica that was inspired by Ellington’s extensive travels.
The members of Pigfoot are all devotees of the Ellington sound – the muted rasp of trumpeter Cootie Williams, the poised grace of Harry Carney’s baritone, the dense crunch of Duke’s piano voicings and the buoyant bounce of drummer Sonny Greer are all reflected in the engaging and individual approaches of these superb musicians.
An entertainingly riotous, swinging, delicate and atmospheric account of Ellington’s legacy is promised.
“Taking these classic tunes, creating an entirely different atmosphere from what you might expect, Pigfoot lures you into a world where you can hear it’s not safe to go out at night, but you’re gonna have a heck of a good time if you do” – Kai Hoffman londonjazznews.com
Jazz in Reading stages regular events with top-class bands at Reading’s Progress Theatre. See the current programme here
We list jazz events in Reading and the wider area at no charge – simply submit your gig details. We also offer an affordable service to further promote events – such as the one above – by email: details here.
Jazz in Reading, using its extensive contacts in the jazz world, is in an excellent position to help you find the right band for your wedding, party or other special occasion.
Jazz Sounds On Air
with Steve Bewick
Jazz writing, especially jazz poetry, usually misses its mark, often coming across, as Ted Gioia notes in the introduction to this delightful collection of sonnets, as “pale imitations of the free flowing energy of a real jazz performance.” Not so here. Using the sonnet form much as a jazz improviser uses the equally rigorous 12-bar blues or 16-bar popular song, McSloy masterfully evokes the spirit of 21 classic jazz players or Also played will bestyles, one per sonnet. Sometimes he focuses on the music, effectively capturing a particular performer’s sound in a precisely turned phrase–Jack Teagarden’s “stately blues” or Thelonius Monk’s “stripped-down logic” –and sometimes he turns his attention to the individual behind the horn: the perpetually enigmatic Dexter Gordon, for example, “standing slightly to one side / While we others try to read an irony begotten / Somewhere between here and Central Avenue.” Or Freddie Green, Count Basie’s rhythm guitarist for 40 years, keeping time through “a quarter million beats,” reminding those of us who “work at small perfections” that “great structures rest on every single point.” Accompanying the poems are Nina Mera’s superb linoleum cuts, black-and-white etchings that match McSloy’s words nuance for nuance, almost as if two soloists were “trading fours.” A jewel of a book, and the trade marks of his art form can be found in those ´vocalisations´I mentioned earlier on.
Xhosa Cole and Quartet from Chichester Jazz Club and the Gareth Williams Trio at the Wakefield Jazz Club. Vocalist Barb Jungr completes the broadcast with the Famous Blue Raincoat of Lenard Cohen´s. Sound good? Pass it on! Listen in anytime at
A Reader´s Perspective
ALL POINTS FORWARD by Peter Pearson
As Norman Warwick and I found ourselves lost in the mists of nostalgia recently, when chatting about favourite, and not so favourite music venues we thought it might be a good idea to try to make better sense of conversation by writing it out, instead. When I look back on some of the locations I used to visit in what I am beginning to consider the halcyon days of good music many are worth at least a brief mention, and I look forward to collating my own memories for a forthcoming issue of Sidetracks and Detours.
Meanwhile, I can tell you that I went, on Thursday 17th August, to The Band On The Wall in Manchester to see, and hear, Sarah Jarosz. The last time she was in The Uk she had given a great gig as part of the excellent Transatlasntic Sessions-. Superb Concert and BOW sound was top class. It was not solo acoustic as I expected. She had percussion, guitar and bass and she took turns on lead electric and acoustic guitars plus banjo.
On this occasion Sarah Jarosz (left) was booked into a Band On The Wall that has been undergoing substantial refurbishment since the old days. Not too long ago I also had seen Dave Alvin at this venue but this was a very different event. The Band On The Wall is still pretty much a student pub with live acts. That Dave Alvin gig, for example, had been a nigh scheduled for booze till 9pm (not me though) then a support act and hen followed followed by Dave Alvin till 11-30. I remember scurrying through the cit to catch the last train home.
For Sarah´s concert, it was doors at 7pm, ,though after queuing outside it was around t.30 when I got in. There was no floor-seating, and only some reserved seating upstairs, although how people managed to reserve them remains a mystery. I managed to find a high stool upstairs as I was in the first half dozen in the queue.
The Band On The Wall was soon heaving. How surprised I was to find that. On further reflection, however, i guess that attendance at selected UK festivals by Sarah in the past such as that in Shrewsbury in 2017 have very much raised her profile. A couple people I spoke with tonight told me they had travelled from Shrewsbury) and certainly the previously mentioned Transatlantic Sessions, both live and on TV recordings, had generated the audience. There were probably about 300, of which about 12-15 were seated.
Her other gigs on this tour are large scale festival (hence the band, I think) !.
So, it was a nice gig and she was superb. Presentational skills par excellence.
It is, perhaps, more difficult to judge the demographics of an audience nowadays.
Its hard to judge the audience these days, They were mostly older people. The chap behind me said if he liked somebody based on you tube he would go to see them. However, when I told him I said I was going to Tim O’Brien in January he thought Tim O’Brien was the name of the venue!. Guess he hasn’t seen him on youtube and yet Tim O’Brien has done many many more live and TV appearances on Transatlantic Sessions than has Sarah Jarosz, and in fact reglarly played over here for many more years. Strange eh!
Tim O’Brien is, in fact, booked at a venue in Ancoats called Halle at St Michaels. I will be there at the gig, although I have not previously visited this venue. venue before. It is a converted Church and used as a rehearsal venue by the Halle. Looks like a nice place but I hardly recognise that area now. It is all gentrified, or should the word be yuppyfied ?.
I also here that Nickel Creek have reformed and are in the UK on a promo tour for a new album. They appear at Band on The Wall on this August Bank Holiday weekend -ticket price £55. I paid £23-50 for Sarah Jarosz-£21 for Tim O’Brien.! Ticket prices to see Nickel Creek at other venues they are appearing, including London, are approx £25.
I recall mentioning to Norm some years back after seeing Nickel Creek at the Lowry that their concert was a perfect sound replica of their cd. The reason I love live gigs, however, is because of the artist / audience rapport, but the band eschewed all that in favour of audio quality.
The same Bank Holiday weekend Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds are appearing in Wythenshawe Park which is less than one hundred yards down the road from my house. The Council have long used Heaton Park for live concerts featuring less well known acts. Wythenshawe Park though is quite a bit smaller than Heaton Park and what Noel Gallagher is doing there as opposed to Heaton Park, or even the Etihad where he normally plays, is a mystery.
in fact, I can tell you that a huge new Arena sponsored by the Co-op and based near the Etihad is being built and is scheduled to open in April next year. Capacity 24,000. Meanwhile the one in Central Manchester is planning to go head to head with it by a major expansion to take it from 19,000, to just over 24,000. I shall be interested to see how scope is created for two arenas, of that size and in such close proximity, to become profitable..
As all this change is coming, Norm tells me the first gigs he went to, girlfriend in tow, was to see Tom Paxton and a few weeks later The Incredible String Band at The Free Trade Hall in Manchester. At that first gig he fell in love with Tom Paxton´s songs and the avuncular character Paxton adopted to perform them.
According to Norm, he honestly doesn´t think he then knew what ´folk´ music was and truly can´t remember whether he even knew any Tom Paxton songs then. (Wasn´t it Nanci Griffith who said all our generation knew at least one Tom Paxton song from birth?) Norm and his girlfriend (un-named, by the way) had front row seats for both Paxton and the ISB, and marvelled at Tom´s stories and at the energy and versatility of the ISB.
Norm tells me the first gigs he went to, girlfriend in tow, was to see Tom Paxton and a few weeks later The Incredible String Band at The Free Trade Hall in Manchester. At that first gig he fell in love with Tom Paxton´s songs and the avuncular character Paxton adopted to perform them.
According to Norm, he honestly doesn´t think he knew what ´folk´ music was then and truly can´t remember whether he even knew any Tom Paxton songs then. (Wasn´t it Nanci Griffith who said all our generation knew at least one Tom Paxton song from birth?) Norm and his girlfriend (un-named, by the way) had front row seats for both Paxton and the ISB, and marvelled at Tom´s stories and at the energy and versatility of the ISB.
Norm has read on Wikipeadia that The Free Trade Hall on Peter Street, Manchester, England, was constructed in 1853–56 on St Peter’s Fields, the site of the Peterloo Massacre. It is now a Radisson hotel.
The hall was built to commemorate the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846. The architect was Edward Walters. It was owned by the Manchester Corporation and was bombed in the Manchester Blitz; its interior was rebuilt and it was Manchester’s premier concert venue until the construction of the Bridgewater Hall in 1996. The hall was designated a Grade II* listed building in 1963.
So Norm´s first visit to The Free Trade Hall was just a couple of years after Bob Dylan played there in 1965, and again in 1966, the occasion of the “Judas!” shout. Duo Simon & Garfunkel played TFTH in 1967, debuting their newly written song ‘Punky’s Dilemma’ with the original opening line of “I wish I was a Kellog’s cornflake, floatin’ in my bowl takin’ movies”, and a new song for the upcoming film The Graduate, “Mrs Robinson“.
In the late 1960s Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, The Moody Blues, T. Rex and The Dubliners played there amongst others. Pink Floyd played on five occasions. Genesis played twice, on 30 January 1971 (together with Lindisfarne, a concert Norm saw) and Van der Graaf Generator) and in February 1973.
On 4 June 1976, the Lesser Free Trade Hall was the venue for a concert by the Sex Pistols at the start of the punk rock movement. This concert would prove influential as it led to the formation of bands such as Joy Division, Buzzcocks, The Smiths and The Fall.
I´m sure it will always haunt Norm that, at the then age of thirteen, he wasn´t brave enough to slip out of his house in Prestwich, and catch a 95, 93 or 35 bus for a five mile ride to the town square opposite The Free Trade Hall, to hear Dylan and that legendary event. The Music Gods And Ghosts have punished Norm scores of times over, and at the age of 70 he has still never managed to preview, interview or review Bob Dylan, and has even had to miss so many Dylan concerts that he is convinced the status will never now be changed.
There was an art house cinema / blue movie theatre (recalls Norm, but I can´t say I remember it !) on Oxford Road below the train station where he and the same anonymous girlfriend then went to see A Day In The Life Of Ivan Denesovich, and a bio pic of union organisor Joe Hill, with Joan Baez singing the title track. That was the first time he had ever heard an audience applaud a film.
After Norm got married and he and Dee had their son money became tight even for those sorts of concerts, and it was a few years before he started writing, really to promote himself and Colin Lever as Lendanear, as the residents at the Kings Folk Club in Heywood.
He then started writing up Ian Johnson´s Stampede gigs, and that would be around the time though neither of us can remember precisely when or where he and I met.
Nevertheless, that was a period when a whole new world opened up of great gigs in weird venues.
For pretty much all his childhood Norm lived just across the road from a pub, and played kickabout football on its ash car park. Many years later, as an , Norm returned to see Tom Pacheco play there, in the same room that had on many occasions hosted Norm´s dad and grandpa, who used to sing at the piano every Saturday and Sunday.
Norm, was happy to travel to catch gigs and so ended up down in London one night to see John B Spencer, and his first John Stewart gig was at The Bloomsbury and he saw The Judds at the famous London Palladium.
Bury Met was a very handy closer-to-home venue for him and he eventually even performed there several times in poetry slams, even winning on a couple of occasions ! It was there, too, that he interviewed Beausoliel and Gary Hall.
The Met (popularly known as Bury Met) is a performing arts venue in Bury, Greater Manchester, England. It consists of two theatre spaces (Derby Hall and The Box), as well as the Edwin Street recording studio. There is also a café bar that provides refreshments.
Bury Metropolitan Arts Association was founded in 1975. The association originally operated out of a disused bank building at 2 The Rock, promoting events in civic halls and parish churches. It moved into the Derby Hall in 1979.
The Met houses a busy programme of events which includes theatre shows, many varieties of music, and stand up comedy.
In fact The Bury Met (left) has a pretty good line up right the way through to next year, that includes another act among Norm´s folkie favourites, The Houghton Weavers on Friday 15th September, who are approaching their fiftieth anniversary as performers, these days in a trio format, rather than the five-piece for which they were best known at the height of ther tv series and hiot albums fame.
On Thursday 28th September at 8-00 there is a special celebration of folk music when BBC Radio 2 pesenter Mark Radcliffe And Company turn up. His friends and foes are joining up for a genial meander down the Sidetracks And Detours of the twenty five year journey of his previous bands: The Family Mahone, Foes and Galleon Blast.
Perhaps one of the most intriguing and attractive nights on the forthcoming gig list might be on Wednesday 11th October at 7.30 pm when Gaspoer Nali arrives from the shores of Lake Malawi and takes to the stage as a rootsy one man band to deliver the most amazing, and danceable, Afro Beats.
Another gig may be more than a few sidetracks and detours off our usual Americana path but there is also a gig that sounds like fun on Saturday 25th November at 2.00 pm, when YoLanda Browne brings her critically acclaimed CBeebies show to the stage. This will be a fantastic afternoon of delight. cheerful and energetic, as YoLanda is a friendly and always enthusiastic stage presence.
Before all of those gigs, however, comes one that all our readers who live in the area, are probably already aware of, having booked tickets to hear the wonderful Daphne´s Flight (right) , who will be there on 10th September 2023.
Daphne´s Flight features Chris While, Julie Matthews, Helen Watson, Melanie Harrold and Miranda Sykes, five of the finest singer-writers olf their generation. I knows Norm is a huge fan of Chris and Julie as both live and recording artists and, indeed, as songwriters.
The first time Norm saw Julie was at Bury Met and the last time, maybe ten to fifteen years or so ago now, was at The Winning Post in York
Gradually, over the years The Winning Post at York became Norm´s favourite venue, partly because so many of Stampede´s artists played there.
Norm also enjoyed The Priory at Ulverston and playing, on the midnight drive home, whatever cd or tape he had bought after the show from the merchandise desk It was all very civilised up there.
Norm reckons the loudest venue he ever attended was to interview Eric Bibb and although that chat took place in a dressing room far from the stage he could hardly hear Eric speak over the thud of the support group.
There was a theatre in St Helens that Colin and Norm played played occasionally and was where I would eventually i Steiinar Albrigston.
So, if you´d like to comment on any of these venues and artists and maybe add some of your own locations and musicians, just send it over to norm at
and we will look to include them in All Points Froward.
There are, in the words of the late, great Terry Clark on his album Shelley River.
ALWAYS THE SEA SONGS
so Ralph Dent rreviews s Playa Blanca´s s homage to its fishermen and the seafaring tradition
Playa Blanca refreshed its memory through this event organized by the town’s Fiestas Commission with municipal support
Playa Blanca lived an emotional afternoon this past Monday on the occasion of the start of the Fiestas de la Virgen del Carmen, in homage to generations of fishermen and their seafaring tradition. And she has done it hand in hand with Canarian folklore and the story written and interpreted by one of her neighbors, the young teacher Raquel Rodríguez. This passage has been quite a journey through southern history with which the town has reaffirmed its hallmarks in a meeting as significant for its people as is the revelry around the adoration of the Patron Saint of the sea.
At the party held in the La Aurora center in which several generations of fishermen and fishermen’s families came together, and Raquel Rodríguez already said that in Playa Blanca “it is difficult to find families of a lifetime that are not or have not been related with the more than sacrificed productive, artisanal and sustainable activity key in the development of the town, on which some thirty families of the town continue to depend directly” , in addition to the added value that “fishing represents for the restaurant and tourism sector local and insular”.
The children Abián and Igara also participated in the popular expression, who narrated passages from the history and cultural heritage of Playa Blanca, as well as songs from the land, with heartfelt lyrics written by anonymous residents for this occasion, in the voices of Fabio Martín, Jessica Cedrés, Anita and Cristian Morales and Aquilino Martín, accompanied in the toque by a group of partygoers from the municipality and the dance of the couple formed by Ana Martín and Rubén Valiente.
Playa Blanca refreshed its memory through this event organized by the town’s Fiestas Commission with municipal support. The public went from the patio of La Aurora to one of the halls of the building to discover the marine exhibition inaugurated by the distinguished southern fisherman Blas Francisco Martín González, popularly known as ‘Pacheco’, an exhibition mounted with care by neighbors full of photographs , models, fishing gear and even an old craft boat owned by the neighbor Dolores Cabrera González.
He remembered the story of homage to the town that the writer and researcher Agustín de la Hoz said in the sixties that “Playa Blanca is where its men are all sailors, weathered by the wind and drizzle, very honest and possessors of the most intimate secrets of their sea”.
And it is true, that the task of transmitting this legacy to the younger, native and foreign population is necessary, because apart from fishing and bravely facing the sea, which is not little, and doing endless jobs on land, such as tying hooks, making nets and fixing fish, among many others, the men and women of Playa Blanca were taught values, to depend on their own work and to create a community by being a supportive people. The Yaiza City Council, represented at the event by councilors of the municipal government, congratulates the Fiestas Commission for this noble initiative and the entire town for its well-deserved tribute.
What is effectively a temporary arts exhibition, reflecting the island´s arts and culture, could yet become permanat, but meanwhile you can listen to the recorded music, b y Terry Vlark that is The Shelley River cd.
Terry captures, in lyric and music, his Ireland in the same way as this exhibition captures Lanzarote.
I place this news in my music column because it all reminded me of an album from 1991Terry´s first alum, I think, without looking it up, was Buddy´s Waiting ON A Flatland Road, (?) and it was the first British album I would have classed as American, if onloy for that title track aloine. However, a later album, The Shelley River examined irelaIrelandit diaspora as deeply as did anything by Van Morrison, Sea Song was track that told us all we needed to know about the hardships and the solitude and maybe even the solace, of a working life at sea. Last Summer at Cloonaccol was blissful nostalgia and all though I still haven´t quite figured out Raining All Over The World, I´m pretty sure it speaks profoundly about shared experiences, good or bad. American Lipstick is a timeless song that sits, still, in a perfect moment, and the incredible Irish Rockabilly Blues, following musical migratory flight-paths, speaks of music´s unique ability to bring us all together.
OPPENHEIMER: a bio pic
Scientific Opportunity And Moral Dilemma
review by Norman Warwick
During World War II, Lt. Gen. Leslie Groves Jr. appointed physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer to work on the top-secret Manhattan Project. Oppenheimer and a team of scientists spent years developing and designing the atomic bomb. Their work came to a seemingly inevitable conclusion on July 16, 1945, as they witnessed the world’s first nuclear explosion, forever changing the course of history.
Many of us seeing this film for the first time mght have been persuaded by its dialoge that the scientists thought the the achieving of the science might have been the objectivbe, but many others seeing this film for the first time asnd perhaps learning this story for the first time might not havbe been so persuaded.
J. Robert Oppenheimer(April 22, 1904 – February 18, 1967) was an American theoretical physicist who was professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley. Oppenheimer was the wartime head of the Los Alamos Laboratory and is among those who are credited with being the “father of the atomic bomb” for their role in the Manhattan Project – the World War II undertaking that developed the first nuclear weapons. Oppenheimer was among those who observed the Trinity test in New Mexico, where the first atomic bomb was successfully detonated on July 16, 1945. He later remarked that the explosion brought to mind words from the Bhagavad Gita: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” In August 1945, the weapons were used in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The cast of this film is star-studded indeed, with Cillian Murphy in the titles role, with Florence Pugh and Robert Downey Junior. Emily Blunt and Jack Quaid.
It was showing tonight at xxxxx and we had been alerted to it by our friends Larry and Liz Yaskiel. It was in the 250 seater room of a complex that holds several smaller studios, and it was shown in English, unlike previous films we have seen here such as Respect, the story of Aretha Franklin, West Side Story and Elvis.
The multi-complex cinema stands at one end of Charcos de Sin Gines, with its hundred or so rowing boats, canoes and small fishing boats laying at rest at low tide or dancing merrily and throwing colourful reflections as they take to the ocean at high tide. Built around the cemi-circle of one side of the lagoon, there are twenty or thirty classy restaurants to dine at before you get back to your car There are several ice cream parlours too, and there´s nothing more romantic than criss-crossing the water´s network of bridges, beneath a moonlit, starlit sky, with a wonderful ice cream to serve as a walking dessert after your meal.
I can remember the chats and differences of opinions we held as we enjoyed discussing the previous films we had seen here and as I reported then in Lanzarote Information that that real life Aretha might have been a bit of a handful, but her voice was wonderful. After seeing those films I mentioned earlier, I wrote on these pages that the newer Sondheim version of West Side Story benefitted hugely from the improvements in cinematic technology since the first version had been made. I wrote, too, that we had been invited by the script to dislike and even distrust Colonel Parker, but I, particularly, felt that Elvis should have stuck up for himself and his own choice of music.
Tonight´s mealtime post-picture discussion was all about the moral dilemma Oppenheimer had faced and whether the world has been a safer, or simply more scared, place ever since.
There were certainly pros and cons a-plenty to consider from a film that lasted three hours and had taken us not only to many different global locations but also had moved us backwards and forwards through time.
The recently released film Oppenheimer, showed a couple of weeks ago at this wate3rside cinema. This glass fronted 21st century multi plex cinema stands on what must be one of the most beautiful sites in the world for a cinema. (below left)
Yes it is in the centre of a capital city, Arrecife, the centre of government and commerce on the island of Lanzarote. Look out about a mile from its front doors, across the fishing boat harbour only fifty feet or so from you, and you can see a newly created port that receives some of the biggest cruise liners in the world. This new development has been a huge revenue-boost to the area over the past couple of years and appears now as a fascinating juxtaposition of small, white-washed fisherman´s cottages and the cruise liners that are bigger, certainly in population, than many towns on the island.
Just outside the front doors of the cinema a craftsman pitches up daily to work on, and put out for show, whatever crafts he is working on at the moment. There are brightly painted model boats (right) and as we went in to the theatre for the 5.00 pm showing of the film, he was just beginning to pack his tools and artefacts away. Such is the beauty of this circular promenade around the large lagoon that the tide ebbs and flows under small stone bridges, from the sea at the other side of the main road round the dockland area.
The lagoon is I guess around a mile outside the city centre,s fabulous reducto beach, a host of a number of music festivals and celebrations throughout the year, at which resídents and tourists from a score of nationalities enjoy the vibe in perfect harmony, a reassuring thought after the film we had just watched. Those of us who left the cinema and headed for harbour side meal did so bathed in the glorious bell tower light from the church of Sin Gines keeping a beatific and spiritual and benevolent eye on us all.
Three hours or so earlier we had parked our car on the hard stone field, where reliable young entrepreneurs promised to look the vehicle for a euro. As we walked to the cinema we took the opportunity to step into our favourite restaurant to reserve a table for two for 8.15 pm and the stroll back to our table when this pretty disturbing film ended took us a very leisurely ten minutes for a hundred yard distance.
We have dined several times at the Divinia Restaurant (left) with its varied and affordable menu, excellent staff, well-spaced seating inside and out and its view and genteel atmosphere, as young (them) and old (us), mingled and marvelled at the view.
Sometimes it is a book that sends me to its film, but tonight I had left the cinema determined to find a book that would shed more light on what I had just seen.
As I poured chille oil on my pear pizza, and savoured the only pint I would be able to have before driving home I said to my wife, Dee, that I was definitely going to read an Opperheimer (auto?) biography to solve some of the puzzles I was confronting after seeing the film
I´m not sure that Dee was paying a lot of attention to me, preferring to attend to her massive tuna salad and a glass of dry white that wasn´t much smaller.
In the end she said, ´leave it until we see Larry and Liz, next week. Larry will either already have a book or placed an order since seeing the film´ !
When we met Mr. & Mrs Yaskiel on the lunch time of the following Wednesday at Café en La Plaza in Peurto Callero the conversation flowed freely and we learned that they had actually seen the film four nights earlier than us in one of the smaller studios. I said that the film had left me with more questions than answers. So, too, with Larry it seemed, who said he had rushed on to his computer as soon as he had arrived home form the film to do further research on Oppenheimer, the man and the film, as soon as possible.
´It was the longest Wikepeadia entry I have ever seen´, he told me.
As it happened I had noticed that too, but I had been able to extrapolate from its density that the film Is actually based on American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, a 2005 biography of theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, the leader of the Manhattan Project which produced the world´s first nuclear weapons. The book was written by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin over a period of twenty-five years. It won numerous awards, including the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography.
Several days after seeing the film, we four discussed, over our incredible carrot cake and coffee or coke, America´s seemingly isolationist stance at this period around the second world war. Larry was more aware of that than was I, though the film resonated that fact and the USA was, at the time, a very communist-wary country Their identification of Robert Oppenheimer, and the plentiful platitudes of their sleazy seduction of him, hit at the very heart of the moral maze that Oppenheimer must have faced. He knew he was mistrusted and despised by these politicians and allies who wanted him to split the atom. He must, himself, therefore have felt torn apart by his desire to be not only the man to conclude the great scientif quest of the era, but also to be the man to constantly warn the world of the good and evil that such a ´success´ might unleash on Mankind.
Of course, he achieved his scientific goal just as the aim of the pilots was true as they rained Hell on Japan. This effectively ended the war but America felt a backlash of global public opinion, that asked how had we (the world) come this far.
The America that had sought out Oppenheimer simply deflected the world´s questions to him personally and set up what can only be called an inquisition that, although it actually cleared him of intent, actually left him almost a pariah for the rest of his life.
The film made excellent use of black and white and colour sections, contrasting hope and fear perhaps. The film echoed even The Nuremburg Trials. The dialogue was often low and terse, as plotters gathered around Oppenheimer like Romans around Ceasar.
Those of us not familiar enough with the story were perhaps surprised that although Oppenheimer was relieved of his duties the agent-provocateur of all this, who had been planning to step into Oppenheimer´s shoes, was brought down by a man mentioned in the film only once, and that in passing, in the penultimate scene, when someone said that a young politician had spoken so badly of Oppenheimer´s nemesis, Strauss, played by Robert Downey Junior, that he would face being ostracised simultaneously with the man he despised.
We learn, in one brief line, that the man behind Strauss´ downfall, was ´some young guy called Kennedy trying to make a name for himself´.
There were so many whispered echoesof the treatment of Alan Turin by Great Britain, during the same time period
Alan Cowell wrote of Turin in The New York Times that ´Turin´s genius embraced the first visions of modern computing and produced seminal insights into what became known as “artificial intelligence.” As one of the most influential code breakers of World War II, his cryptology yielded intelligence believed to have hastened the Allied victory.
But, at his death several years later, much of his secretive wartime accomplishments remained classified, far from public view in a nation seized by the security concerns of the Cold War. Instead, by the narrow standards of his day, his reputation was sullied.
On June 7, 1954, Alan Turing, a British mathematician who has since been acknowledged as one the most innovative and powerful thinkers of the 20th century — sometimes called the progenitor of modern computing — died as a criminal, having been convicted under Victorian laws as a homosexual and forced to endure chemical castration. Britain didn’t take its first steps toward decriminalizing homosexuality until 1967.
Only in 2009 did the government apologize for his treatment.
“We’re sorry — you deserved so much better,” said Gordon Brown, then the prime minister. “Alan and the many thousands of other gay men who were convicted, as he was, under homophobic laws were treated terribly.”
After his death, when political and public opinion became more tolerant, Turin´s name became more loudly celebrated, after his own posthumous biopic had b een released.
Our conversation about the Oppenheimer film had been intense, but we gradually turned back to the music of the sixties from whence Larry and I came. We were back into a past where memory runs neither truly nor chronologically.
¨Do you remember Gallagher & Lyle´, asked Larry
´Oh yes, I do´, I enthused, ´they had a couple of great single hits in the UK. There was, oh God, what was it. and that other one, you knows, called,…no,.. that´s gone now as well´!
´Well Gallagher wrote that great song for Tina Turner,….no, no, not Simply The Best, it was ,…oh, it was on the tip of my tongue´. Larry said, and smiled
We both agreed that our memories no longer file in alphabetical or chronological order, giving Dee the final word on the film Oppenheimer.
´Í had kind of forgotten¨, remembered Dee ´that Álbert Einstein (spoiler alert — he plays a key role in Oppenheimer) was alive through so much of my life time´.
I publish a series in my own daily blog called ´we´re gionna need a bigger bookshelf, and I know what the next book on my shelf will be, …. it will be the biography of Oppenheimer, and perhaps even of Einstein, and while I´m making this bigger bookshelf I might as well make room for My Love Story, the official biography of Tina Turner and maybe that piano guitar book by Graham Gallagher called Something Beautiful Remains.
There are however just to a couple of more things to tell you about this Oppenheimer film, though, before I forget.
The. casting is incredible. Every single character has the right actor. The photography is close up and intrusive and somehow obtrusive when secret whispers are taking place, b ut wide and expansive of landscape and the world, and of course the bomb blasts across the screen in a way that avoids obscenity.
It is a film that makes you want to know more about every character we remember, and it might make you think of the morality of the use of the weapons, you might ask why countries worked agint each to develop ´their weapons´´ but better to ask, perhaps, who the hell writes our history?
And the answer to that question might reveal why countries wanted to work alone.
Referencing Einstein again, there is a scene at the start of the Oppenheimer film that shows the two in a muted conversation but we are left in doubt as to what had been said. In a reprise of that scene near the end of the film, we hear Einstein warning Oppenheimer that the Americans will shun him and blame him for the genocide his work will uinleash on the world. They will besmirch his name and repoutation and only then, Einstein said, would they release him from his effective exile and personal hell, lavishing him with prioase only when the world had forgotten America´s own role in this infamous piece of history.
As with Turin, Oppenheimer would be feted in his dotage years, andonly after his death would revisionists seek to give these men, and others like then, their proper place in History.
Living here on such a small island it is easy, tempting even, to think that the world has no interest in us, and on our long blue-sky days we are living in a paradise,….in fact I live on a complex called ShangriLa Park, originally a place from beyond Robert Hilton´s Lost Horizon that carried its own moral conundrum.
This film makes audiences think about and re-evaluate. what is important to us.
Our Sidetrack and Detours this week take us to high ceilings from which to Byrd Watch. We will communicate with Crosby about The David Crosby collection of song, After his death at the start of this year, I see Crosby, like Gram Parsons before him, as a game-changer. We are confident you´ve enjoyed this news round up and will therefore will wish to Pass It On. And next week´s Sunday supplement will include a piece on a woinbderful island folk.lore group called Acatife
Our Sidetrack and Detours this week take us to high ceilings from which to Byrd Watch. We will communicate with Crosby about The David Crosby collection of song, After his death at the start of this year, I see Crosby, like Gram Parsons before him, as a game-changer. We are confident you´ve enjoyed this news round up and will therefore will wish to Pass It On. And next week´s Sunday supplement will include a piece on a wonderful island folk-lore group called Acatife