Well it’s been quite a week on the music front. After a few quiet weeks (for one reason and another… see previous blog) I finally had a Billy Bragg and Joe Henry gig to look forward to. I’ve loved Billy from afar for years and while his style may be a bit more mellow these days, his performance energy is still in force. Billy and Joe make a great duo – fantastic harmonies and blend of guitars but both with a unique approach to their own music. Most of the gig comprised of renditions of songs from their latest album ‘Shine a Light‘ which features recordings made of railroad songs on Bragg and Henry’s five-day journey on the Great American Railroad from Chicago to L.A.
So that was Tuesday. On the same day I received a CD through the post from Tom Doughty. I’d met Tom the previous week at an orchestral rehearsal and was a bit mesmerised by his lap slide guitar playing. Tom’s songs on the CD ‘Can’t Teach an Old Dog’ have a lovely laid back blues-folk blend, some channelling a touch of the desert blues of Ali Farka Toure and I haven’t stopped listening to it since it arrived.
Wednesday, and time for a singing lesson with my good friend and teacher Victoria Bourne, one half of the Bristol based punk-rock-blues duo, Husky Tones. Not only does Victoria sing like an angel (with the patience of a saint) but she also achieves the incredible feat of playing the drums at the same time. (That’s not meant to sound patronising… I say this as a girl who can barely co-ordinate tambourine banging while she sings!) Husky Tones are about to launch their new album ‘Who Will I Turn to Now’ on Saturday 25th Feb at the Crofters Rights in Bristol, and having had a sneak preview, I can definitely say it’d be worth getting hold of a ticket.
Wednesday night, and I’m back to L.A. Not physically, you understand, but in the company of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in ‘La La Land‘. I’m a sucker for musicals and whilst the dancing and singing may not have the polish of great musical films such as ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ or ‘West Side Story’ (although arguably that’s part of the charm of the film) the relationship between the central characters was convincing and I was enchanted by the whole thing. The soundtrack is also on repeat – I can’t get the main theme out of my head! Given that the week started with Blue Monday, a good dose of the musical blues and a touch of Hollywood escapism has certainly helped to see me through the greyest of winter days.
Debbie, Notes from Last Night