Sidetracks & Detours present PASS IT ON 53 Sunday Supplement 19 5 2024

Sidetracks & Detours



Sunday Supplement 19 5 2024


Editor´s Call


by Norman Warwick

live Jazz In Reading

FIVE WAY SPLIT at The Progress Reading

review by Trevor Bannister

Jazz In Reading


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Jazz On Air


weekly rations from Steve Bewick



review by newsletter

Live Music  at The Stoller


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Live Music at Oxford Chamber Music Festival


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Live Music

new album premiered live by NORTH SEA STRING QUARTET

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Live Music


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Live Music


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Live Music


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Theatre. The Dukes Theatre Events, Heskin Hall


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Walking Through Music: All Points Forward


by Peter Pearson

Island Insights


by Norman Warwick

Editor´s To Do List. What´s Next

COME FOLLOW YOUR ART down Sidetracks &Detours

Monday To Friday

Editor´s Call.


by Norman Warwick

Hello. Join us, please, and come follow your art from the recesses of history to live modern jazz and along the soundclouds for a plate of Hot Biscuits. We will then drop in to a famous publishing house to celebrate their 100th anniversary with a great book. From there we´ll step out to hear live music again, at The Stoller, before heading South to the Oxford Chamber Music Festival and then we will take a boat out on the ocean to catch the North Sea String Quartet before heading back to dry land to listen to Julian Lloyd Webber talk about ´Travels With My Cello´. Whilst roughly in that area we will also see what´s happening at the  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and then go whizzing down to hear The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. We will brush up on our Shakespeare, too, with news of As You Like It at The Dukes Theatre. From the Bard, Peter Pearson  takes  us to the beauty to the Badlands of Americana, and then finally we have Island Insights into a quite brilliant violin duo. Then of course we will show you the signposts that will lead you down sidetracks and detours in the days to come. Feel free to wander and we´ll meet up somewhere round the corner.

Jazz In Reading

FIVE WAY SPLIT: Progress Theatre, May 2024

review by Trevor Bannister

Five Way Split (left) : Quentin Collins trumpet & flugelhorn, Vasilis Xenopoulos soprano & tenor saxophones, Rob Barron Fender Rhodes piano, Matyas Hofecker bass, Matt Home drums

The spirit of jazz was born in adversity and jazz musicians are by nature creative and enterprising individuals. It should therefore come as no surprise that the members of Five Way Split navigated a successful passage through Lockdown, despite all the professional hardships they faced. They emerged with a new band, pulsing with energy and honed to perfection through hours of rehearsal, and with an entire book of freshly minted compositions by Quentin Collins, Vasilis Xenopoulos and Rob Barron, plus some new arrangements of old favourites. As the old adage continues to remind us – ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way’.

And what a way! The opening bars of ‘Out of Wayne’s Bag’, a soulful tribute to the much-lamented Wayne Shorter, shook the rafters. Not a microphone in sight, and yet this band had the impact of an ensemble twice its size; the mellow tones of Rob Barron’s classic, 1975-vintage, Rhodes-Fender keyboard blending perfectly with the powerful front line of Quentin Collins’ trumpet and Vasilis Xenopoulos’ tenor sax.

Rob Barron’s ’Lingua Franca’ expressed the universal language of jazz in a joyful manner reminiscent of the great Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet of the 1950s, with the front line floating on the brilliant support of Matyas Hofecker bass and Matt Home in the swinging rhythm team. 

Home’s hypnotic beat on his closed high-hat cymbals conjured an air of mysterious tension in the introduction to the character of ‘Dr Stohl’, a platform for free-flowing solos from Collins on flugelhorn and Xenopoulos on tenor.

A change of tonal palette, with Collins remaining on flugel and Xenopoulos switching to soprano sax, brought a delightfully wistful air to ‘Mr Birthday Waltz’. It also featured a beautiful bass solo by Matyas Hofecker, supported by the sensitive touch of Rob Barron at the keyboard.

‘Evidently’ brought the first set to a scorching close in classic hard bop fashion with a string of virtuosic solos, climaxed by an exciting and impeccably executed drum solo by Matt Home.

I would like to imagine that Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Chan, respectively composer and lyric writer of ‘All the Way’, were nodding with approval as the second set opened with a reinterpretation of their 1957 hit for Frank Sinatra. Rob Barron’s sparkling arrangement brought the song bang-up-to-date in musical style, opening up plenty of solo space for the band’s principal protagonists, while paying homage to its status in the pantheon of great songs.

In complete contrast ‘Two Little Alphas’, set to an infectious Cuban rhythm was an outing of pure fun, depicting the mischievious antics of Vasilis Xenopoulos’ young sons – whose first names, you will not be surprised to learn, both begin with A.

By now the band had entered the realm of new material ahead of recording a second album later this year – something very much to look forward to.  ‘Soho Soiree’, anchored by a gorgeous bass line from Matyas Hofecker settled into a relaxed groove, while ‘XO Buzz’ explored the pleasurable sensations induced by good brandy.

Before anyone could drift into an alcoholic stupor, Rob Barron summoned a call for action. The band launched into an untitled blues (did I detect a hint of Cole Porter’s ‘Love for Sale’ lurking in the background?). It was a case of ‘All hands to the pumps’ as the excitement mounted for the grand finale – blistering solos, high speed exchanges, dramatic top notes … and still the audience clamoured for more.

The band duly obliged. A gently swinging ‘Sunday in New York’, from the 1963 movie starring Jane Fonda, brought a wonderful evening by five world class musicians at the top of their game to a perfect close.

Five Way Split’s debut album ‘All the Way’ is available from Bandcamp via the following link

Composer credits for the numbers featured in the concert are as follows:

Vasilis Xenopoulos: Out of Wayne’s Bag, Two Little Alphas

Quentin Collins: Mr Birthday Waltz, XO Buzz

Rob Barren: Lingua Franca, Dr Stohl, Evidently, Soho Soire

Jimmy Van Heusen/Sammy Cahn: All the Way arranged by Rob Barron

Peter Nero/Carroll Coates: Sunday in New York arranged by Five Way Split

*** As ever, our thanks to the Progress Front of House Team for their warm welcome and hospitality, to the Sales and Box Office team who have coped magnificently with the terrific demand for tickets, Rich Saunders for his technical expertise and to the audience whose continued support makes it possible

Jazz In Reading


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Alex Clarke Quartet

Crowmarsh Jazz

Saturday 1 June Doors 6.45pm | Show 7.30pm.
Tickets – £15 (£5 concession) see web site for details

As a finalist in the BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year 2020, winner of the Rising Star category in the 2019 British Jazz Awards and nominee in the Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2021 & 2022, Alex (right) is known to be one of the most in-demand and versatile saxophonists to have emerged on the British jazz scene.

Praised for her extensive repertoire list and intelligent ear for harmony, Alex’s sound is steeped in the tradition of bebop. Her deep respect for the heritage of the music can be heard in a hard-swinging, melodic approach reminiscent of Scott Hamilton and Lester Young, with strong bop influences of Phil Woods and Cannonball Adderley.

Back in 2018, Alex released her debut album “Mirage”. Since then, she has appeared as a sideman on numerous recordings, such as the 2019 album with acclaimed jazz, blues and country vocalist/pianist TJ Johnson entitled “Songs from the Jazz Country”.

The Alex Quartet features some of the finest names in British Jazz, namely David Newton, Dave Green and Clark Tracey. In Summer 2022, they released their latest album ‘Only A Year’. This led to a sell-out album tour in January/February 2023 across renowned UK jazz clubs and festivals.

Alex will be performing with her band comprising the UK’s finest jazz musicians – Graham Harvey (piano), Dave Green (bass) and Steve Brown (drums).

Venue Crowmarsh Village Hall, Benson Lane, Crowmarsh Gifford, OX10 8ED

Live Jazz In Reading

JAZZ AT THE FORGE, Basingstoke

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Joe Webb/Will Sach Duo

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

This is a rare performance from the duo.(right)

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 (double bass) 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 Sinfoniett

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.

Antonio Forcione

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

The multi-award winning Antonio Forcione, (left) 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.

Martin Taylor

Friday 31 May  7:45pm
£23. Under 25s and f/t students £21
(includes £4 booking fee)

Grammy-nominated musician  Dr. Martin Taylor, MBE, (right) is a virtuoso guitarist, composer, educator, and musical innovator, whom Acoustic Guitar Magazine calls, “THE Acoustic Guitarist of his Generation”.

Widely considered to be the world’s foremost exponent of solo jazz and fingerstyle guitar playing, Martin possesses an inimitable style that has earned him global recognition from fellow musicians, fans, and critics alike. He dazzles audiences with a signature style that artfully combines his virtuosity, emotion, and humor with a strong, engaging stage presence.

In addition to his own concerts and recordings, he has also collaborated with musicians from many different musical genres, including Jeff Beck, Tommy Emmanuel, Bill Wyman, Chet Atkins, Stephane Grappelli, David Grisman, George Harrison, Jamie Cullum, Bryn Terfel, Dianne Schuur, and Gary Burton.

Omar Puente & Ilario Ferarri

Saturday 8 June  7:45pm

£23. Under 25s and f/t students £21

(includes £4 booking fee)

We are glad to welcome this very special duo; internationally renowned for his masterful performances in a variety of musical styles, Cuban Jazz violin virtuoso Omar Puente and Italian pianist, singer, and composer Ilario Ferrari.

Exploring the common ground and new possibilities of afro-Cuban jazz and Mediterranean culture. From new original compositions to beloved pieces of Latin Jazz, their performance is an enchanting blend of humour, instrumental brilliance, and soulful vocals. Prepare to be transported from the vibrant rhythms of Cuba to the sun-kissed shores of Southern Italy and back again.

Raise The Roof:
Limpopo Groove and Blue Magoo
Oaken Grove Vineyard
Fawley, nr Henley-on-Thames

Let’s Raise the Roof!

A charity fundraising event (right) to support and literally put the roof on a Ugandan school for orphaned and destitute children. Live music from both bands, authentic two course African meal included in ticket price, short inspiring presentation, raffles and auctions. Limpopo Groove is an established, upbeat, afro-fusion group playing infectious, lively music, inspired by their drummer and founder’s African homeland. With original songs written in Shona and English, they blend afro jazz with tribal beats and European influences to create catchy rhythms that crowds just can’t help dancing to. Blue Magoo is an eight piece upbeat fun jazz band that will be supporting with a selection of African tunes. Oaken Grove Vineyard is a fabulous beautiful location overlooking a stunning view over the valley.

Buy tickets and bring your friends to this Africa-themed fundraiser & celebration, where 100% of profits will go towards building a roof for the Emily Collins School in Kisoro, Uganda.

On air sign background

Jazz On Air


weekly rations from Steve Bewick

Extracts from a live set with Manchester’s Ain’t Misbehavin’ Jazz Group where humour meets live jazz. Also on the bill is Jobic Le Masson Trio with Steve Potts on `Bemsha Swing`. Trevor Whiting, John Petters, Martin Litton with Heather Birt on `Avalon Live`. Johnny “Guitar” Watson features a `new car.` The Whale with `Virtigo`. Last but certainly not least is, Paul Dunmall – news and stuff about the `Sparrows.` If this looks good then pass it on and join me on 24/7… 



review by newsletter

The publishing house Simon & Schuster is celebrating its 100th birthday this year, and so are offering some excellent titles at reduced rates. The items below are recommended on their web site, so you can check out details and prices.

A Man Called Ove is  a Novel By Fredrik Backman.

“You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll feel new sympathy for the curmudgeons in your life. You’ll also want to move to Scandinavia, where everything’s cuter.”


All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

A NETFLIX LIMITED SERIES—from producer and director Shawn Levy (Stranger Things) starring Mark Ruffalo, Hugh Laurie, and newcomer Aria Mia Loberti

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist, the beloved instant New York Times bestseller and New York Times Book Review Top 10 Book about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

The Coldest Winter Ever By Sister Souljah

A New York Times and USA TODAY Bestseller

“50 Most Impactful Black Books of the Last 50 Years.”


The instant classic from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Life After Death brings the streets of New York to life in a powerful and utterly unforgettable novel.




John Winstanly writing a new book

I received an interesting Facebook via messenger this week from a man called John Winstsanley:

Hi Norman – we met at an LLA event in Rochdale Sept 2015. I am writing a book about my experiences in the book world and wondered if I could discuss including the “The Fade Away Diamond Time” prose you read out as it touched me as I have a strong affinity to songwriters hence my first book “Unsigned Unscene”. If you send me an email address I can give you more of an insight into the new book too.

Well, John, when we met it could have been only a week or so before I ´retired´ here to Lanzarote on November 9th of that year. I´m sorry to say I can´t remember the event but I´m really interested to hear you coin the phrase ´waiting round to die´. The reference to that line and its writer Townes Van Zandt (right) is not wasted on me and nor will it be wasted on Peter Pearson, who is our Americana correspondent here at PASS IT ON as he is also a great fan of the ´late, great, Townes Van Zandt´.

My piece, Lost In The Fade Away Diamond Time referred as I´m sure you know to the plain, ungrooved plastic that the diamond stylus silently slid across, leaving time for a dj to speak over the fade away diamond time to re-check the name of the artist and the song for his radio listeners.

The text of my work, though, was really about the complex character of Townes, the polarisation of his Pancho and Lefty characters, and that whole notion that anything was better than waiting round to die.

I regularly employed the text when I was working as a peripatetic poet and creative writing facilitator. Working with primary school classes we would raise some moral issues such as whether I, as a writer, had the right to tell this story of Townes, or whether any of Townes friends could or should have intervened in some of his life choices. Do we forgive an artist or writer for indiscretions because of the quality of his work. The debates became deeper and more ferocious with secondary students and adult learners and  to be honest, these are some of the issues I am still struggling to deal with, even so long after Townes´ death.

The sad news is that when I left the UK I left all my ´literary work´ in my brother´s lock up for him to send over….but before he could do so his Hebden Bridge home was hit by the Boxing Day, floods that took away all my paperwork, all my cds and tapes and  entire collection of books !

So, if by any chance you have a copy of the text of the piece please feel free to use it in any way you wish. If you haven´t I will try to recall all the words of something I wrote and then performed to an audience on maybe more than a couple of hundred occasions, but at 72 I am nowadays left only ´words that tear and strain to rhyme´.

I´m interested to see from the image shown here that you must still be involved in some way on the UK live poetry and music scene, and I have to say that I do miss this kind of event.

The arts scene on Lanzarote is very vibrant and busy but of course poetry recitals and writing groups are conducted in Spanish (or the Canary dialect) and unless I hear the words Real Madrid or Barcelona I don´t understand very much.

You will see from following the link I sent back that I now write a Monday to Friday daily blog called Sidetracks and Detours and  PASS IT ON,  its weekly Sunday Supplement.

We would always be willing to publish updates on the book you are currently writing and on any that you have completed. As a not-for-profit blog we can promise that all work included is properly and fully accredited.


Live Music


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Ruth and John, friends who are residents in the UK whom we consider to be regular globe-trotters, recently sent the details shown (right) of a concert they attended pretty close to home.


They attended a recording by the renowned  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra  that will be broadcast on BBC radio over two nights at the end of the month.


Media City might not sound like a tourist attraction but on a dark night the lighting reflecting on the Manchester Ship Canal looks glorious.

I´ve been lucky enough to see a few recordings of the long lamented version of Question Of Sport as presented by Sue Barker with the two team captains Matt Dawson and Phil ´Tuffers.

I wish I had heard this concert, though, but I´ll certainly try whatever devices I have that might pick up a signal from Salford Quays.

Live Music


The Stoller Hall

25.05.24, 7.30pm
Tickets £20 – £32.50 (Limited £5.50 student tickets available)

Experience the delightful melodies of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific, Oklahoma, Carousel, and The King And I, along with Lerner and Loewe’s Brigadoon, Camelot, My Fair Lady, and much more.

The English Musical Theatre Orchestra and talented guest singers Roy Locke and Lisa Jane Kelsey will be celebrating the golden age of musical theatre, with some of the most beautiful music and lyrics of the 20th century.

Songs will include ‘Maria’, ‘I Could Have Danced All Night’, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, ‘ My Favourite Things’, ‘Younger Than Springtime’ and “Shall We Dance?”, plus some of Broadway’s finest overtures and instrumentals.

A 26-piece orchestra will serenade you with the original arrangements of these cherished classics, promising an unforgettable night of Broadway splendour.

Live Music at Oxford Chamber Music Festival


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Your ticket includes a pre-concert reception and post-concert party with the artists and OCMF team. It is a moment to celebrate and look forward to the Autumn festival together. This will be a fundraising concert so any funds raised will go towards the 2024 festival. Artistic Director and OCMF Founder Priya Mitchell will be sharing details about the Autumn programme at the concert.

Online ticket booking is now live at Tickets Oxford
Concert Details 7.15pm Reception

8. OO pm 9pm Party

Claude Frochaux, cello

Priya Mitchell, violin

Guy Johnston, cello

Emmanuel Despax, piano

Ravel Sonata for violin and cello
Priya Mitchell and Claude Frochaux

Brahms Trio No. 1 in B major, Opus 8
Emmanuel Despax, Priya Mitchell and Guy Johnston

Ravel’s magical sonata for Violin and Cello was written between 1920 and 1922. Ravel (left) dedicated it to Claude Debussy, who had died in 1918. It is one of the great masterpieces for both instruments and is in turn dreamy, ferocious, humorous and incredibly evocative.

Brahms (right) completed his Piano Trio no. 1 in January 1854, when the composer was only twenty years old. It is the only one of his works which appears in two published versions, as he revised it in 1889, though it is usually the revised version which is performed today. It is considered one of the greatest piano trios ever written.


as new album premiered live

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Dear NSSQ family, We’re thrilled to announce that our album is now available on all streaming platforms! Thank you so much for your support. Here are details of a few of the major platforms:

Listen on Apple Music

Listen on Spotify

Listen on YouTube MusicListen on Deezer

You can also get the physical album via our Bandcamp page

May 23 – Haarlem, Pletterij

May 24 – Zwolle, Cultuurschip Thor

May 25 – Tilburg, Paradox

May 26 – Den Bosch, Willem Twee Toonzaal

May 31 – The Hague, De Regentes

June 1 – Zelhelm, Het Drakenhuis

June 2 – Leuven (BE), Sound of Violin Festival

June 5 – Groningen, Stadsbrouwerij Martinus

June 6 – Nijmegen, Brebl

June 8 – Utrecht, TivoliVredenburg

June 13 – Amsterdam, Bimhuis

Thank you for your continued support.  Let´s ´Splunge´ in!


The NSSQ (right)

Yanna, Geroge, Thomas & Pablo

Live Music Petworth Festival

JULIAN LLOYD WEBBER – travels with my cello

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We welcome back to Petworth Festival the world-renowned Julian Lloyd Webber (right) with this hugely entertaining retrospective of a career spent touring the world with his beloved Stradivarius cello.

His talk comes complete with a series of striking and – in some cases, historic – film clips illustrating the breadth of his musical experiences as one of the first classical musicians of recent times to register both as a brilliant musician and a chart topping recording artist.

Julian will be in conversation with Stewart Collins.

For further details see the Petworth Festival website.

Live Music


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I am delighted to share with you the details of our new BSO Concert Season 2024/25! We welcome our new Chief Conductor Mark Wigglesworth and Principal Guest Conductor Chloé van Soeterstède to the BSO and we cannot wait to see and hear their work with the wonderful musicians of the Orchestra. Extraordinary violinist Alena Baeva becomes our new Artist-in-Residence, joining both Mark and Chloé for outstanding concerts, as well as a beautiful recital with pianist Vadym Kholodenko. Other highlights include our great friend Karl-Heinz Steffens opening the season with Holst’s The Planets, and in October, David Hill leads a celebration of the 150th anniversary of Holst’s birth with an enchanting programme including his Cotswolds Symphony – premiered in 1902 by the Bournemouth Municipal Orchestra!  There are just too many highlights to mention so check the website.

Theatre. The Dukes Theatre Events, Heskin Hall


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“…look into happiness through another man’s eyes!”

The ancient Forest of Arden serves as the backdrop for Shakespeare’s most famous and quotable comedy. When Rosalind is banished from Duke Ferdinand’s court, new identities are explored with hilarious consequences. Music, mayhem and madness will thrill the audience.

Back for a fourth Summer Season, The Duke’s Theatre Company follow their acclaimed tours of Romeo and JulietA Midsummer Night’s Dream and Twelfth Night with As You Like ItRobert Shaw Cameron (Coronation Street, Birmingham Rep, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Chester Story House) directs this brand-new production that will visit fifty of the UK’s most magical venues including The MinackWilton’s Music Hall and Hever Castle. This As You Like It will live on in your memory “forever and a day”.

Running Time:
The running time is 2 hours including a 15 minute interval. Gates open 1 hour before the performance.

Walking Through Music: All Points Forward


by Peter Pearson

Several weeks ago on these pages I featured the late singer-songwriter Ben Bullington whose album catalogue was brought to greater attention by Darrell Scott with his 2015 album, 10 Songs of Ben Bullington. James Darrell Scott, known as Darrell Scott,born August 6, 1959,is an American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.

His father Wayne was a serious, amateur musician who wrote songs inspired by his love of the music of Hank Williams and Johnny Cash. His younger brother, David Scott, occasionally accompanies Darrell on the keyboard. He grew up on a tobacco farm in Kentucky but, like many musicians, as his career developed he migrated to Nashville and currently resides on the Cumberland Plateau, about 100 miles outside Nashville.Much of his song-writing reflects his rural roots. Song ideas often come to him whilst walking the trails around his 500 acre property.

His professional music life began in his teens and, with song-writing in his genes, was soon writing songs and making a living as a session musician. Following his move to Nashville in 1995 his song-writing career took off as his songs were covered by The Dixie Chicks, Brad Paisley, Guy Clark and Patty Loveless. He signed on as a member of Guy Clark’s touring band before striking out to forge his own writing and recording career. Unlike many Americana singer songwriters he has not been a frequent visitor to Europe as a soloist but UK audiences may well have seen him on the BBC TV Transatlantic Sessions series and on their UK tours.

He has also toured the UK with Tim O’Brien, Beth Nielsen Chapman, and more recently as a member of Robert Plant’s Band of Joy (left).

His song, You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive, was featured on Transatlantic Sessions and has been covered by Kathy Mattea, Dave Alvin, Brad Paisley and many more.

It is perhaps his most famous composition. In addition to touring with and guesting on a number of Guy Clark albums he co-wrote the song Out in the Parking Lot with him.

He now has in excess of 20 albums to his credit. Standouts for me are his double album of 2010, A Crooked Road; 10 Songs of Ben Bullington, his solo live 2020 album, Jaroso, and his  latest 2023 album Old Cane Back Rocker. Whilst You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive is perhaps my favourite of his songs; a close second is The Humming Bird from his 2005 album, Family Tree. The song tells the story of a young son and his father’s Gibson Hummingbird Guitar. With echoes of Guy Clark’s Randall Knife, the son wants to see if it floats in a nearby swamp.

It didn’t.

You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive tells of life in Harlan County, Kentucky where the characters in the song feel trapped not only by the steep slopes but also by the coal and tobacco companies that dominate employment options. Essentially the song is about the Kentucky coal miners and the inspiration for it came from revisiting Harlan County with his father in search of his great grandfather’s roots and his grave. They visited a couple of graveyards where they knew the family lived.  Darrell noticed how the sun came up about ten in the morning, and down around three in the day. Soon he saw inscribed on a gravestone the words you’ll never leave Harlan alive. These provide the song’s refrain and are repeated in the final verse:

Where the sun comes up about ten in the mornin’

And the sun goes down about three in the day

And you fill your cup with whatever bitter brew you’re drinkin’

And you spend your life diggin’ coal from the bottom of your grave

You’ll never leave Harlan alive.

Old Cane Back Rocker pays homage to his Kentucky roots, and features his own String Band. Of the album Scott says “It’s literally my family’s story. There’s a bit of fiction there because, at the end of the day, I’m a songwriter. I can make up stuff. But I start, in this case, from a factual view.

It happened across the south, folks chasing work. There were car factories and steel mills near Chicago, and my dad worked in both. Two brothers were born in Dearborn, Michigan, and two in the Chicago area. So many people left, yet there was a part of my family that never did. That’s the thread that says,

‘Home is home. It’s not Chicago or Akron or anywhere else. I am proud of this band, this recording and these stories of real people in this unreal time. Love and hope and goodness and simplicity still exists, folks. We are still here”.

Island Insights: Festival de Musica Clasica Primavera Lanzarote May 24


Festival de Musica Clasica Primavera 24

review by Norman Warwick

This was the fourth in a recent series of concerts that we have covered on these pages and regular readers will know how much we have enjoyed all of them. The theatre in El Fondeadero building in Puerto Del Carmen stands just above the slip way to the harbour and is a beautiful sight, especially as the town and its harbour change their hue as evening slips into night, which at this time of year has pretty much coincided with the starting time of these concerts.

Readers of Lanzarote Information will already know how we love the way the arts here are woven into the church, the schooling, the family ethos and the pride in the community common to all the local boroughs of the island.

Readers of my daily blog,  Sidetracks & Detours / PASS IT ON, have been reading different versions of these reviews, and they will have noticed we might live on a small island but the quality of the live music performance more than compares with the national acts in the UK that play in bigger stadia to larger crowds.

A particularly excellent young classical musician, Diego Bermudez, (each are violinists) has been on stage in all of these concerts. In fact, tonight´s concert, Diego, for the third consecutive concert was sharing the recitals with his mother, Iya Zhmaeva, herself an accomplished and quite superb violin player.

I wrote at length in my previous review of a concert in which Diego and Iya shared the performance with Javier Diaz a professor at the Conservatoire in Arrecife where Diego has studied for the last few years,

That evening we were given Handel´s Sonata op 2  and Turina´s Sonata 2, for violin and piano about which we wrote glowingly of the three aforementioned players and commented particularly on their final piece, of Spanish dance music, how their guest Eva Araca, somehow turned a handheld pair of castañuelas into an entire rhythm section !

In this fourth concert, though, we heard only the two violins  playing together in what the American song writer, Paul Simon, might have called The Mother And Child Reunion (right). I have mentioned in the previous reviews of these concerts that Iya and Diego are mother and son and how that might have been a common occurrence in the Appalachian Mountains of American in the nineteen twenties and thirties of family-centric string band formations, I am not certain such a partnership is common on the classical music scene.

What I did note, though I apologise in case I was being fanciful, was how Iya´s and Diego´s violins, when playing off one another held ghostly echoes of that special sibling harmony that Don and Phil seemed to deliver quite naturally.

Before tonight´s concert I had asked Diego whether he had heard of The Everly Brothers and the lack of any certainty in his response suggested he perhaps had not.

If it wasn´t in familial genes, then, from where did this aching beauty between the sound of their violins emanate?

´Not so much from years of practice,´ Diego replied, ´but certainly from years of familiarity of one another´s styles and techniques. There is something unique when she and I play in partnership and we each know where the other is going in any passage of play.´

All this was so obvious tonight with a Mozart section that was brisk and bright and playful.

How the violins created the element of marching music in its opening bars but became lively and dainty as if somehow shedding the weight of responsibility.

The Rossini, of course, had all its six pieces taken from the opera, El Barbero de Sevilla. This opened with the bright and romantic exchanges, and call and response elements of the Ecco section. It is in these moments that the playing between Diego and Iya becomes unique, because it is never quite an echo, but is as if the sound of one violin comes back in the ever so slightly different tone of the other. It is beautifully delivered.

Even in the second part, the largo al factotum, there was something always familial in the sound of the two violins, and this was a lovely sprightly sound.

The third section, Una voce poco fa was gentle and stately, and of course all these moods are created by the composer, but the players must have knowledge of, and empathy for those moods to express them so exquisitely.

There were excellent harmonies still to come, faultlessly delivered.

The best of the evening, though, was saved for the end, or at least was scheduled to be the end of the evening. However, Diego and Iya´s interpretation of Di si felice inesto was perfect that the audience, (a full house, as had been true of the whole series of events) rose to its feet and brought them back for some more laid back and seemingly effortless fluency.

We took a motor taxi back to where we had left our car when catching the water taxi that had taken us into the Puerto del Carmen harbour and dropped us at the restaurant, La Veleta, where we like to chill out over a pre-concert meal.

We arrived back at our Playa Blanca home at 9.30 pm which gave me time to create a Spotify playlist of all the music we had heard tonight. I went to bed with my headphones on and listened to glorious recordings by some of the best ensembles in the world, and it was marvellous.

But recordings don´t create those moments that have you holding your breath until you come to the end of a musical run and realised that though each violin  had created a sidetrack or a detour away from the main line they were following, these assured and consummate musicians we had seen live this evening, always crossed the line together….and in perfect harmony.

Come follow your art as we wander down the sidetracks and detours next week in our search for any arts-related news we can find. Our intrepid team will be set at the crack of dawn tomorrow, Monday 20th May, heading for Molly Tuttle at Merlefest in the States, and will then hang around Jazz Junction to hear some of the music listened to by those who know where real Jazziz. We then reconsider what The Beatles might have really been saying when they advised us all to Let It Be. We will be looking for The Old Crow Medicine Show and hopefully might meet three rock journalists who call it like it is. Friday might be a school day and our class could end up listening to The Old Crow Medicine show player Ketch Secor. So, there will be plenty of new postings for you to read, but should you require more please remember there are almost 1,200 free to read stories in our easy to negotiate archives. Well be back with you in our PASS IT ON Sunday Supplement in seven days time on Sunday 26th May.

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