Sidetracks & Detours present PASS IT ON  49 Sunday Supplement 21 4 2024

Sidetracks & Detours



Sunday Supplement 21 4 2024

If you are reading this we guess you are as in love with the arts as are all of us here at the Sidetracks And Detours Office.  Whilst wandering those happy trails last week we filed daily posts that included  free-to-read articles about what stars do when they lose their sparkle and a few good albums from half a century ago that we found in a record bin labelled 1974.  We also reported on Brass Banding in the North of England called in at Fly On The Wall Press in Manchester and found a grandmother / grand daughter connection that inspired the business and provided us with a new for which, (altogether now) we´re gonna need a bigger bookshelf. We took yesterday off, (you know, cup semi finals, and all that)  but here we are on another Sunday morning sharing with you other arts-related items we found during the week. We are confident you will find reading to enjoy here, and that you might enjoy so much that you might PASS IT ON to your like-minded arts loving friends. Thank you.


Place For Poetry


preview by The Poet In The Rain

Following Festivals


previewed by Alfred Michael

Live Music

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

FORTHCOMING EVENTS  preview by newsletter

Live Music In Portsmouth:


Inspiratio Ensemble

Live Jazz


previewed by Jazz In Reading

Liver Jazz


previewed by Jazz In Reading

Jazz On Air


served by Steve Bewick

A Readers Perspective. All Points Forward


new album review:  by Peter Pearson

Island Insights From Lanzarote


preview by Norman Warwick courtesy of Lancelot Digital

A Place For Poetry


preview by The Poet In The Rain

I was dubbed the poet in the rain by a fellow poet and also fellow John Stewart fan from Fareham back in the nineteen seventies. We met as the first two in the queue at a John Stewart concert in London and we were standing outside the venue in the middle of a downpour. We were so early that we exhausted several John Stewart anecdotes…and it was still raining. So we then spoke of poetry and of poets, and realised we shared the same taste in verse as we did in chorus.

Three decades later I had been booked to give a reading of my poetry / lyrics on National Poetry Day in Bolton Town Square, sharing the bill with an incredible writer named Owen Sheers who has now written novels as well as his beautiful poetry. Rain had lanced down in stair rods from a black sky all day, and nobody had turned up in the audience, except two guys sheltering under a tree who seemed to listen to Owen quite intently.  They even applauded him when he finished and introduced me in a very professional manner. The only applause I received was a thunderclap  and I looked up to see the two men running out from under their tree, across the road and jumping on to a bus.

I could also see Owen walking back to his hotel, still perfectly dry, as a beautiful lady from his publishing company walked alongside him, sharing her umbrella in a way that The Hollies used to sing about in the sixties. Meanwhile I was reading into a microphone I was increasingly concerned might electrocute me. My nose was dripping, I was shivering with cold, and apart from a guy sliding the sound buttons in the mobile studio behind me, there was not a soul around.

So I closed my reading by signing off, (to nobody) as The Poet In The Rain.

I suppose any of us who took our first faltering steps into the literary fields have similar stories to tell…although every Facebook image I ever see of James Nash (left) shows him smiling in sunny climates somewhere.  I first met James in the nineteen seventies, and since then  have attended a few of his creative writing sessions. In one of those sessions James told my Just Poets partner Pam McKee that she might have to murder her darlings. By that he was referring to a rhyming couplet she had employed in three or four different places in the written exercise he had set for us. She was so upset that she left the workshop and went for a stroll round Bury to digest his sound advice. When she hadn´t returned  by lunch time I went looking for her, but after about fifteen minutes of searching, the rain suddenly lashed down and  I rushed back to The Met and ran into the room looking like a drowned rat, only to find Pam talking to James Nash explaining to him how right he was and how astute he had been to point out what she had done.

Since coming to live here on Lanzarote eight years ago my soubriquet of The Poet In Rain has never had to be applied.  James, however, took over my role as facilitator of Touchstones Creative Writing Group in Rochdale, a place I recall as being very rainy indeed.

However, as you can see from the poster, James has a smiling disposition, and is a much loved poet and commentator in the UK.

If you live anywhere near Bingley and have a liking for poetry, sign up for his creative writing sessions or for his readings.

He´s the best there is.

Those readers who have a taste for literature, (and you surely do love great literature, else why are you here?) and who live in the UK have another literary event on your doorstep soon. Hebden Bridge is a beautiful artsy village near Todmorden. The festival advertised on the poster (right) is famous across the North West of England for its arts festivals and events.

It is, after all Simon Armitage territory. Our poet laureate has an installation in the babbling brook that would be a river. He had some of his poetry carved into rocks and laid securely in the water, and for several years now visitors have enjoyed reading the words in the water, as they are dappled by sunshine and shadow and eroded by water and weather.

The pubs here sell Real Ale to wet the whistle of the folk musicians and poets who come here for the jigs and the reels or to listen to the poets slamming it out.

Don´t miss this !

Following Festivals


previewed by Alfred Michael

The flier alongside this piece will tell you everything you need to know about Bromsgrove Folk Festival running through the first weekend in July, the festival is to be held at the local rugby club ground. There are already fifteen different acts confirmed on the programme, with some stellar names from the thriving folk scene both nationally and locally. I will keep you informed of any new names added prior to the festival.

If you hold music festivals of whatever genre in your locality, whether in the UK or other countries around the world, why not let our editor here at PASS IT ON know and we will share your information with our readers around the world.

Send your details to

and , who knows, Norman might even pay my expenses to head off to review some of these events?

For instance, I received an e mail under the heading of EXCITEMENT IS MOUNTING AS THE RIBBLE VALLEY JAZZ AND BLUES FESTIVAL DRAWS CLOSER telling me that this Festival is now well into its second decade of providing a wide variety of great music. The Festival is a four day event, with international, national and home grown jazz and blues, performing over 50 gigs at 25 venues around the Ribble Valley, Lancashire, and a splendid line-up of music awaits visitors to the Ribble Valley jamboree, with musicians and jazz enthusiasts from all over the world heading to the town over the May Bank holiday weekend.

With our ambitious blend of programming choices, musical diversity and warm welcome, the Ribble Valley Jazz Festival offers a privileged experience to musicians and music lovers.

There a splendid line-up of music awaits visitors to the Ribble Valley jamboree, with musicians and jazz enthusiasts from all over the world heading to the town over the May Bank holiday weekend.
For the full programme take a look at our website and download the guide.

Over 50 of the gigs throughout the festival are completely FREE. There are 6 ticketed events and tickets are on sale – including the festival freedom pass – from the Grand, 01200 421599 or, May 3-6.
Ticketed events – you can purchase the Freedom Pass for £55 which gives you access to all of the ticketed events.

On the opening night, Band leader Emma Johnson, from Clayton-le-Moors, fronts her own ensemble, Emma Johnson’s Gravy Boat, and the ace saxophonist admits she is a huge fan of the Ribble Valley festival. “I’ve been lucky enough to play all over England and the Ribble Valley Jazz and Blues Festival is my favourite, it is always a lovely vibe,” said Emma. She added: “The people behind the festival are very knowledgeable and love their music, so I’ve made a lot of friends there.”

Gary Ward, the festival programmer, said: “We’ve some of the brightest new talents in jazz performing at this year’s festival.”  He added: “It is astonishing the international names who’ve performed at the festival. Clitheroe has become an important regional centre for emerging musicians to play concerts and the work of the Ribble Valley Jazz Festival has played a huge part in this. Last year was amazing, attracting thousands of people to Clitheroe. Locals said that they had never seen the town so busy and 2024 promises to be another very special festival.”

Clitheroe always puts the bunting out for the Saturday jazz party, and there’s a must-see concert, also at St Mary’s Centre, featuring violinist and composer Olivia Moore. Olivia’s ensemble – Unfurl – melds jazz, Indian and the pulse of Arabic rhythms. Inspired by nature and Buddhist ideals, Unfurl transport you on a transcendental journey of sonic sound and harmonic depth.

Olivia Moore is someone we have regularly featured on these pages since first hearing of her on Steve Bewick´s Hot Biscuits Mixcloud presentations. The Ribble Valley is only a hop skip and a fourth gear up the motorway from where Mr Bewick lives so he might have the opportunity to catch up with Olivia and her colleagues in Unfurl.

Corto.alto is the moniker of Glasgow-based composer and producer Liam Shortall, who has risen through the ranks of the Tommy Smith Jazz Orchestra and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra as a trombonist. Prepare to be amazed, though, as corto.alto challenges the boundaries of contemporary jazz, fusing a heady mix of improvisation, electronic production, broken beat bounce and bass-heavy dub. Performing at The Grand on Saturday night.

Sunday is traditionally one of the most popular days, and Ancient Infinity Orchestra will be in town to provide the headline act at The Grand.  Led by bassist and composer Ossy Moysey, the 14-piece ensemble are signed up to Matthew Halsall’s Gondwana music label. Jazz musician and producer Halsall provided the spark for a regionally distinct, Northern English sound in which spiritual jazz is the primary ingredient and the latest beneficiary of Halsall’s energy is Ancient Infinity Orchestra, who have recently released their debut album River of Light to rave reviews. The rotating line-up includes drums, two bassists, keyboards, harp, violin, cello, two tenors, alto, oboe, flute and percussion, so this is a concert not to be missed.

Also, on Sunday Ed Kainyek will be performing at St Mary’s Centre at 3pm. It’s been a few years since we welcomed ‘Ed Toots Kainyek’ to RVJBF and a return has been long overdue! Ed Kainyek is a well known sax player on the Northern jazz scene playing everything from Grover Washington JR to the good old American songbook, joining him will be John Sandham on bass, Ric Weedon on drums and Liam Butler Webb on keys. Liam is an Australian pianist, he’s only been here a few months I think you’ll certainly hear a hint of Oscar Peterson in his playing.

The Nikki Iles Jazz Orchestra headline on Bank Holiday Monday, with an all-star cast of jazz guitarist Mike Walker and ace saxophonist Andy Schofield. Nikki will also be directing a workshop with jazz pianist Trish Ferrarin and local musicians Elbow Room during the day.

Festival programmer Gary Ward added: “We’d like to thank our sponsor James’ Places, and all the venues and other people who support us so loyally every year and make this festival so special.”

We promise there is something for everyone – from wonderful concerts with exceptional comfort and acoustics to street and community music. Clitheroe will be alive and pulsating. You cannot describe it so well with words, you need to experience it. So get on down to Clitheroe and surrounds on the first May Bank Holiday and feel the vibe for yourself.

Jazz On Air

HOT BUSCUITS delivered by Steve Bewick

On my programme this week I delve into the musical glories of KEN COLYER (left), (18 April 1928 – 8 March 1988) was an English jazz trumpeter and cornetist, devoted to New Orleans jazz. His band was also known for skiffle. A  box set collection of 75 of Ken´s hits and rarities is available through Amazon. I will be chatting about Colyer´s career   when I interview Peter Lay, a musician who played with Ken in his latter days.

The broadcast also includes jazz from The Jelly Roll Morton Appreciation Group, from Leeds, the track `Sweet Heart Blues.` so associated with Jelly Roll´s music.

Jelly Roll Morton´s music is also still available on Amazon (see right). He was a towering figure in early jazz, and one with a very large number of accomplishments. As a pianist who had his own easily recognizable style, Morton was a major transition figure between ragtime and early jazz, combining the syncopations of ragtime with jazz improvisations as early as 1910.

Syncopated Times, an on.line site that also publishes in print format, says that ´As an innovative arranger, his best recordings made superb use of the three-minute limitations of 78s, utilizing dynamics, two and four-bar breaks, arranged passages, jammed ensembles, and solos that alternated between being written-out and improvised. Listeners often did not know if the music they were hearing was worked out in advance or spontaneous because the solo passages were a logical extension of the ensembles and vice versa.

3 The Big Easy (left) has been busy since 2014, playing at some of the UK’s top venues, festivals and touring throughout the UK. Their dynamic, energetic and often virtuosic performances make them great to watch and perfect for dancing; their high-energy swing interspersed with moments of soulful-melancholy make them a great choice for concerts, weddings, clubs and dances. Their exciting, no-nonsense music will get your toes tapping and onto the dance floor.

We will also include Ben Holder with the John Petters Traditional Jazz & Swing Group (right) as well as The Dixie Beats Bolton. Bolton’s premium Dixieland Jazz band.

The show will close with Wild Bill Davidson and Art Hodes. If this looks good, tune in and have a listen 24/07 Please also note that Sidetracks And Detours, which is a daily brother blog to PASS IT ON, which carries our programme preview every Sunday, also carries jazz related items and its archives include interviews in which Pass It On Editor Norman Warwick and I talk about jazz in general and genre and my ingredients for making Hot Biscuits.

Live Music Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra


preview by BSO newsletter

There’s so much to be excited about for the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and all their fans, as BSO bring to a close their 2023/24 season. I´m sure many Sidetracks & Detours readers will have been there over the last couple of days to welcome BSO to the stage with their Classic FM: Hall of Fame concerts in Portsmouth Guildhall, Exeter’s Great Hall and Lighthouse, Poole. The ensemble presented some favourites from their list of classical music greats with the evenings being presented by Classic FM’s own Anne-Marie Minhall. In doing so the orchestra delivered five of the greatest works of classical music over three evenings of concerts.

As the current season is coming to a close with Kirill’s last concerts as our Chief Conductor, BSO management are busy doing all the behind-the-scenes work to prepare for the launch of the 2024/25 season. You can look forward to a full announcement of concert dates coming your way in May. If you can’t wait until then, our BSO Pops Concerts 2024/25 are already available for you to book! Keep reading to find out more about these fantastic concerts in a venue near you.

BSO Pops are concerts for everyone!

Explore the world of BSO Pops. There is nothing better than a live concert featuring the full forces of a symphony orchestra. It has the power to stir the senses or soothe the soul, feed the mind or simply transport you away from the strains and stresses of everyday life.

Our fantastic array of  BSO Pops concerts include popular classics that you will recognise from TV and adverts to our full- blown symphonic Spectaculars showcasing the music of the likes of Queen, ABBA and Pink Floyd and outdoor extravaganzas at Meyrick Park in Bournemouth. We also perform regular film music nights which feature some of the best movie classics ever written and our annual feast of Christmas and New Year seasonal treats.

Live Music

Epic hits by Pink Floyd, symphonically reimagined!

May 10th 2024

Feel the full power of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Pete Harrison, and immerse yourself in the sonic soundscape of one of the greatest rock bands of all time!

If you think you don’t like Pink Floyd, wait until you hear it done by a full orchestra – it is awesome; hear it loud and feel your emotions being stirred. If you’ve already found Pink Floyd, this is a must!

Classic tracks from the albums Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and The Wall include:

Shine On You Crazy Diamond

Hey You

Another Brick In The Wall

The Great Gig in the Sky




Us And Them

In The Flesh

Learning To Fly

Comfortably Numb

Wish You Were Here

Take It

Of a previous performance of BSO Pops The Bournemouth Dauly Echo said

The overall effect was simply stunning both visually and acoustically… a real treat and a truly memorable evening.

We look forward to seeing you in the concert hall soon!

Later in the summer be sure not to miss The Classical Extravaganza, to be held in Meyrick Park on Friday 26th July. This will include compositions by Grieg, Bach, Sousa, Bizet, Strauss, Prokovief, Rimsky-Korsokov, Zimmer, Saint Saens and Wagner, Williams and his theme from Star Wars will be heard too.

Check all this out at the BSO web site and you will also learn details of performances of The Messiah, The Snowman and much, much more.

Live Music In Portsmouth:


Inspiratio Ensemble

April 28th 2024, St. Mary´s Church, Hayling Island.

After exploring some Romantic repertoire in recent concerts, Inspiratio Ensemble are taking an Early Music Excursion, featuring several composers from the Baroque period.

With the ambition ´to breathe life into the wide variety of music´ the programme, which has yet to be finalised, is likely to include works by Bach, Handel and Vivaldi (all born within the same decade!). Albinoni’s celebrated Adagio may also feature, and as well as duetting with violinist Catherine Lawlor, cellist Mikhail Lezdkan promises a Bach Suite.

Mikhail and Catherine will be joined by pianist Amy Muller, who will accompany, among other pieces, a composite arrangement of four beautiful works by Bach, including the famous Badinerie from one of his orchestral Suites. The music will be interspersed with appropriate readings by former BBC presenter Piers Burton-Page.

Among the scores of musician profiles carried on the Music in Portsmouth web site you will find an interview with Catherine Lawlor, a violinist with Inspiratio Ensemble.

Catherine Lawlor (left) began studying the violin at the age of seven with Janis Moore and subsequently with Adrian Adlam. In 2009, she won a full scholarship to study with Marius Bedeschi at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and graduated with first-class honours in 2013. She continued her studies at the Aaron Copland School of Music, New York, under Daniel Phillips and completed her masters in 2015. During her undergraduate and master’s degrees she was awarded many prizes for both performance and academic achievement including the Balsam Scholarship for Chamber Music and the Graduating Masters Award.

Who and/or what have been the most important influences on your musical career?

I come from a musical family – my father Michael is quite well known in the area as a composer and performer on cornett, shawm, recorder and, modern oboe as well as being a woodwind and brass music teacher. My mother, Sandra, is an amateur flautist and pianist – there was always music on in the house. Originally, I wanted a double bass but was persuaded to settle for a violin instead.

I was fortunate to benefit from the excellent teachers in the music department at Peter Symonds College. Before then, I owe a special debt to Janis Moore, who taught me from the age of 7, and Adrian Adlam. I still meet up with my teachers and sometimes have the pleasure of playing along with them.

What have been the greatest challenges of your musical career so far?

What is positive about getting involved with music is that on one level it is always a challenge: there’s always something more to learn. Sometimes one’s opinions are challenged: prior to going to music college, I thought I understood technique, but soon realised that there is so much to learn and I am still learning. Pablo Casals was asked, at age 83, why he still practised. He responded: “Because I think I am making progress”.

What for you are the particular pleasures and challenges of collaborating with other musicians?

I switch between performing chamber music, orchestral music, doing solos and recitals. It can be a challenge to find the right sound for all the various kinds of performances. With orchestral music, you need to blend, to contribute but not to dominate; with solos, you definitely need to project, but as a leader it’s a question of achieving something in between. With recitals, you have to match your timbre to that of the piano, and with chamber music you need to find the right timbre, to have your own voice whilst blending at the same time. I can always tell if a quartet has been used to playing together for some time by the extent to which they blend and interact.

Are there any composers with whom you feel a particular affinity?

I have a special love for the French “impressionists” – Debussy, Ravel and Boulanger, and Franck too, and I feel I can perform their works better than those of other composers as a result. They create wonderful “sound worlds” – take the Debussy sonata for piano and violin, for example. Their works also allow for experimentation and innovation.

Other works that I have a particular affinity for include Mussorgsky’s Pictures At An Exhibition, orchestrated by Ravel, Ravel’s Mother Goose with its emotional journey, Messiaen’s Quartet For The End of Time, Rachmaninov’s Isle Of The Dead, the Brahms and Beethoven Violin Concertos and quite by contrast Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast (which I performed in my singing days).

I think the common feature they all share is their emotional journey and underlying narrative, and I think this is why I enjoy both playing and listening to these pieces so much.

Which works/performances are you most proud of?

As a student at the Royal Welsh College Of Music And Drama, I felt that I played Franck’s Violin Sonata really well in my final concert. It was a piece that I had revisited a number of times already and one that I always found challenging. It was a brilliant feeling to know that I had played it well and excellent timing that it was during my final recital for my degree!

I had to step in at the last moment to perform Vaughan-Williams’ The Lark Ascending having never learnt it before. I discovered some wonderful new things about it which weren’t obvious from listening to a recording of it. I find there are some pieces that are always so much better experienced live with their complex textures and I think this is one of them.

What advice would you give to those who are considering a career in music?

Not everyone will like how you play, so take criticism on the chin, if it is legitimate, use it to learn and improve. Remember that you always have fans, it’s just that if they like what you are doing they don’t always say so!

Don’t be afraid to put your mark on a piece, to seek a new interpretation.

Arthur Rubinstein’s dictum was to limit practice to 4 hours per day, and I think this works well for me. You need to take breaks and seek inspiration away from rehearsing.

Slowly the curriculum is coming to recognise the value in music in schools for general self-development as well as many other things, and the Hampshire Music Service is doing a fine job in the circumstances. I’m finding that if the head teacher is keen on music in a school, then it tends to flourish. I am always encouraging younger students to play and enjoy playing.

How did you keep busy during lockdown?

I was busy working towards producing a CD entitled Myths and Legends along with the pianist Valentina Seferinova. It was been fun exploring a theme through music. Myths And Legends will feature a wide selection of works such as Szymanowski’s Mythes, works by Delius, Korngold, Malling and Bridge. Valentina and I have tried to choose works that have a strong narrative and it has been really interesting to discover lots of works that have yet to be recorded and tell a story.

It is great that live performances are taking place again now, and that audiences have been so happy to return: we need to demonstrate to the government that our profession is worth supporting.

Catherine and her colleagues in Inspiratio Ensemble would be delighted if you could join join them at St. Mary´s Church on Hayling Island at 3.00 pm on April 28th. Admission is free with a retiring collection.

Live Jazz   

with Pangbourne Jazz Club rhythm section:
Otha Smith (guitar) | Rob Levy (double bass)
Jim Pollard (piano) | Brian Greene (drums)

Sunday 5 May  7:30pm start
Only £12.50 | Cheap bar | Raffle | Public Car Park

Sunday 5 May  7:30pm start

preview by Jazz In Reading

From 1983 – 2005 Stuart was principal trumpet of The Scots Guards Band in Her Majesty’s Household Division. During this period he played many times for the Royal Family and at State occasions all over the world.

Since leaving the services Stuart has become a fixture on the UK jazz scene appearing with many of the country´s finest jazz musicians.

He leads various small groups and is musical director of the Remix Jazz Orchestra. He has played at many jazz festivals including Edinburgh, Glasgow and Brecon.

Recording credits include dance labels “Nanny Tango”, “Soul Purpose” and “Greenfly”, and artistic collaborations with Tongues of Fire, Macnas and Mark Anderson “Dark Spark”. 

His commercial work includes the Rebecca Poole quartet, the String of Pearls, Joe Loss, The Showbiz Pops Orchestra and Nick Heyward.

“Beautifully warm and inventive, his playing is full of expression”  & “Fiercely swinging”  (Trevor Bannister)

“Wonderfully assured”  & Storming”  (Brian Gladwell)

“Great performance from the Stuart Henderson trio” (Iain Macallum)

Coming next on

2 June: Art Themen, saxes

7 July: Paul Higgs, trumpet

4 August: Derek Nash, saxophone

1 September: Alan Barnes, saxophones

Live Jazz

Forge: Basingstoke


Sunday 19 May  7:45pm
£19. Under 25s and f/t students £17
(includes £4 booking fee)

preview by Jazz In Reading

One of the most jaw-dropping jazz pianists of our time, Joe Webb is renowned for his relentless creative flow, bewildering stride playing and his authentic jazz flair. Having performed and recorded with artists including Wynton Marsalis, Jamie Cullum and Damian Lewis, Webb has now signed with Edition Records embarking on his journey as solo artist and bandleader. His charismatic music wholly embraces the jazz tradition with nods to popular music along the way.

Will Sach was raised in the New York City Area where he grew up playing jazz and Appalachian folk music. His performance highlights include Wynton Marsalis, Kit Downes, Sam Amidon, and a featured soloist with the London Sinfonietta.

Since they started to play together in late 2021 they have toured all over the world playing Joe’s music in venues such as Ronnie Scott’s in London, Duc des Lombards in Paris, Blue Note Beijing and Blue Note Shanghai, and will be releasing new music throughout the year.

call 01256 844244

The Forge (located within The Anvil), Churchill Way, Basingstoke, RG21 7QR


Friday 24 May  7:45pm
£23. Under 25s and f/t students £21
(includes £4 booking fee)

preview by Jazz In Reading

The multi-award winning Antonio Forcione, acoustic guitarist, composer, and talented artist, is a highly charismatic and inventive performer, with his vibrant and original blend of jazz, Latin, African, and flamenco sounds.

Renowned for his virtuoso solo performances, this is a rare opportunity to catch Forcione completely on his own, when he lets his creative spirit run freely, and man and guitar become one as he showcases a mind-boggling variety of style and form, using every possible part of the musical instrument in a spectacular display of musicianship.

His albums have variously topped UK and international jazz charts, and he has shared the stage worldwide with some of the world’s most accomplished musicians. Be prepared to both laugh and be moved, as he celebrates the unexpected elements in life with delicacy, humour, and not least, passion.

call 01256 844244

The Forge (located within The Anvil), Churchill Way, Basingstoke, RG21 7QR

Coming later

Fri 31 May | The Forge | Martin Taylor

Sat 8 Jun | The Forge | Omar Puente & Ilario Ferrari
Sat 29 Jun | The Forge | Tori Freestone and Alcyona Mick

On air sign background

Jazz On Air


served by Steve Bewick


A Readers Perspective. All Points Forward


by Peter Pearson

This is Mark Knopfler’s tenth solo album since disbanding Dire Straits in 1995. As a solo artist his song-writing, which has always been of a story telling nature, has been wrapped in a mix of Celtic Folk Rock and Blues.

The heavier Dire Straits sound has been replaced by a more mellow tone with the introduction of fiddle, pipes and whistle accompanying melodic guitar and warm vocals. His albums paint stories with a few brushes of guitar. Melodies and poetry abound but the guitar is relegated to the background for the most part.

For this album the sublime pedal and lap steel guitar of Greg Leisz has been added to the mix.

At 74 Knopfler has now given up touring but continues his song-writing and recording career alongside his ownership of British Grove Recording Studios, where this album was recorded.

One Deep River in standard format offers 12 new songs, all self written. Options then include a deluxe version with a bonus of 5 new tracks and a Box Set with the addition of a further 4 tracks, vinyl and other paraphernalia.

I have always found I benefit from repeated listening to Mark Knopfler´s albums  as the songs and writing seem to grow on me. One Deep River is no exception. After a couple of spins I began to appreciate the subtle detail in the songs.

Thematically the album (right) is an ode to his beloved River Tyne, connecting his childhood to present day.

The album kicks off with Two Pairs Of Hands. To a sneaky groove and ringing guitar Mark tries to explain  what it’s like leading a band that’s playing to a packed house.

The catchy Ahead of the Game with guitar to the fore has him recalling his early days playing in pubs.

Smart Money has a beautiful melody enhanced with piano and background vocals.

Scavengers Yard is somewhat out of keeping to the rest of the album with a fuzzy lead guitar lick.

Black Tie Jobs is back to melodic guitar and vocals and is a standout track.

Several weeks ago in Sidetracks and Detours Pass it On, I featured Mark’s factual story song 5-15am from his Shangri-La album.  One Deep River again features another example of a  factual story song.

The ethereal opening of Tunnel 13 goes on to tell the story of the last great train robbery of the West that happened in 1923 at Tunnel 13 near Ashland, Oregon (left). A full account of the robbery and its aftermath can be found in the book -Tragedy at Southern Oregon Tunnel 13- by Scott Mangold.

On a dark and stormy night on October 11, 1923, twins Ray and Roy D’Autremont were 23 years old when they were joined by their teenage brother, Hugh, in robbing Southern Pacific’s Gold Special train in hopes of collecting the half-million dollars in gold rumored to be on board that day. As the train made it’s way up the Siskiyou Pass, it slowed to enter Tunnel 13 when the brothers hopped on board. They ordered the conductor Sidney Bates to stop the train at gunpoint and attempted to blow the locked door of the mail car with a stick of dynamite.Not knowing how powerful the blast would be, they blew up the whole mail car and the clerk inside with it. They shot and killed three railroad employees who heard the commotion, who were staying in the house right next to the tracks. Finally, they blasted the poor conductor right in the head with a shotgun and fled into the woods.

To make matters worse, there was no gold to be found. There was a nationwide manhunt that included the federal government, Oregon National Guard troops, local posses, and angry railroad workers. But the brothers laid low, then slipped through the dragnet.

It wasn’t until years later in 1927 that Hugh, the younger brother, was caught while serving in the military in the Philippines. Shortly thereafter, the twins were arrested in Ohio.

Mark faithfully recounts the story in song before the final verse, “Tunnel 13 is the place in the song where the beautiful redwood for my guitar came from.”

Mark says that in this verse he was trying to square  this upsetting act of robbery with the intensely creative act of making a beautiful instrument.

He continues the Western theme with the tale of a boomtown gone bust and a busted love in Janine. The melody is instantly appealing and for me is the best track on the album.

Watch Me Gone recounts the upward trend in his career with references to Bob Dylan and Van Morrison.

The title track rounds off the album and has Greg Leisz (right) to the fore on pedal steel. Beautiful melody and lyrics. Perhaps the most intense song on a fine album,  which may not be his best album but is nevertheless of high quality all the same.

Island Insights From Lanzarote


preview by by Norman Warwick courtesy of Lancelot Digital

Its director, Carlos Battaglini, (right) has spoken to the press recently about the second edition of the Lanzarote Literature Festival (and Bookfair) to be held in May.

“The star of this second edition of the Lanzarote Literature Festival will be Juan Manuel de Prada,” said Carlos Battaglini, director of the festival.

Indeed, Juan Manuel de Prada will be the great guest at the Lanzarote Literature Festival, which will come to the island for the second consecutive year to promote culture in an event in which “numerous writers and even consecrated Planeta winners ” will participate,” Ascensión Toledo explained, Minister of Education of the Lanzarote Council, pointing out that the event will be held in El Islote de la Fermina.

The festival will begin this April with the Venezuelan writer Karina Sainz Borgo.

Jesús Machín, Minister of Culture of the Lanzarote Cabildo, highlighted  “the commitment to the culture of the CACTs and the Cabildo itself, and he does so by betting on this festival that is in its second edition and that has grown in a controlled and safe manner,” he pointed out.

Its director will once again be Carlos Battaglini, who defines these months of literature as ´a festival of quality, but we want it to be popular, and this year we have the novelty of two literary workshops for the island’s writers´, he points out.

The director of the Festival outlined the content of an initiative that “has a top-level cast,” and that will begin this coming April 25 with a meeting talk with Karina Sainz Borgo, author of La Hija de la Española. The successful Venezuelan writer will talk about the relationship that exists (or not) between journalistic rigor and literary creativity.

On May 23, it will be the turn of the Chilean Paulina Flores, winner of the Roberto Bolaño award with her short story What a shame.

The Islote de Fermina will receive Alberto Olmos on June 21 and his presentation Writing everything: from the novel to the column.

After the summer break, the Festival will return on September 26 with Marta Jiménez Serrano, who will share anecdotes and stories from a life linked to literature, first as a student, later as a writer. 

Álvaro Colomer and Juan Manuel de Prada will participate on October 31 and November 20, respectively, to close the programming of this edition.

All sessions are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. 

One of the great novelties of this edition is the holding of two training workshops.

The first of them will be on September 12, with Natalia Díaz Freire. How to write the landscape? It provides the tools to convert the landscape of the texts into something symbolic, emotionally and metaphorically powerful. 

For his part, on October 17 Carlos Ortega Vilas will teach “How to write a novel?”.

Places to participate in both the talks and the workshops are limited and will be attended in strict order of registration.

Those interested in participating in the workshops can register on the Festival website.

The news of this initiative of the Tourist Centers can be followed on the Instagram channel @festivaldeliteraturalanzarote.

Meanwhile, notwithstanding his role as the Festival Director, Carlos Battaglini is a working writer, and preparing for the Festival he has also managed to recently see his third book published.

Carlos Battaglini (Lanzarote, 1976). A columnist for El País, he graduated in Political Science and Sociology, and left behind his professional career in the EU Foreign Service to dedicate himself completely to literature. His book of stories ‘I’m leaving here’ (Nazarí, 2020) was the best-selling book by a Canarian author at the Las Palmas Book Fair 2020, and like his second work, the collection of poems ‘Otras Hogueras’ (Nazarí, 2021 ), achieved significant critical and sales success. He also participated in the ‘Anthology of Poetry’ (Ediciones Plutonio, 2020) and (Abra Canarias, 2023). ‘Samantha’ is a risky and exciting theatrical work that has already obtained significant praise. Battaglini was a finalist in the III Pérez-Taybilí Story Contest (Toledo) and selected for the ‘Arteles’ artist residency (Finland).

On his website you will find information about his works,  Other Bonfires,  I’m Leaving Here,  and Samantha . Plus, you’ll be able to read independent reviews of the books he himself reads and his own peculiar chronicles of his travels through Africa, Papua and many other remote places; curious opinions about what Carlos thinks of what he sees, and there incisive interviews that he conducts with others.

The third novel, referred to above is actually a play called Samantha. The Girl Who Unmasked the Cold War is a play inspired by the true story of Samantha Reed Smith, a girl who put the North American and Soviet governments in check in the middle of the Cold War and whose figure remains a mystery to this day.

Our intrepid team of contributors, those who deliver the listings, those who weave the words and those who photograph the information, will be back searching sidetracks and detours next week to ensure you can always find new arts related items in our daily blog at Sidetracks and here in our Pass It On weekly supplement.

They will travel to America to investigate how The Beatles once managed to rule the top five places on the Billboard Hot One Hundred chart, and they will also learn why so many musicians today still feel dead grateful to the Grateful Dead. The team will then fly over to the UK .where they will call in at The Old Oak to meet with friends to chat about Ken Loach and his films and his books.

After enjoying a Vampire Weekend, with Only God Above Us, the staff and I will return home to our Playa Blanca office with a book that borrows its name from the band, and will roll up our sleeves to carry on building that bigger bookshelf we so desperately need !


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