Appreciating Kate

With all the talk about the opening of Kate Bush’s first tour since 1979, I’ve had her music occupying my brain more than usual. I watched a fantastic documentary about her on BBC Four, which included a lot of clips of interviews (given that she gives so few interviews, it was probably most of them) and also performances of her music. Now, I listen to her music a lot. I always have.

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Like minds

Mr. Bsag and I were lucky enough to see Chris Wood again at the Red Lion Folk Club last week. We’ve seen him live a couple of times, and once before at the Red Lion. It’s different each time, but always an amazing experience. There are few musicians whose music I love as much as Chris Wood’s, so I will always jump at the chance to see him live. However, you get much more than music with Chris Wood.

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None the Wiser by Chris Wood

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Ever since we saw Chris Wood at the Red Lion Folk Club last year, I’ve been waiting for a new album from him. He was trying out some new material at that gig, some of which turned up on his new album, None the Wiser. I bought a copy yesterday, and have been listening to it avidly ever since. He has taken a slightly new direction with the sound on this album, and is playing (gasp!) a vintage electric Epiphone guitar, accompanied on many tracks by a Hammond organ (played by Justin Mitchell) and the more traditional double bass (Neil Harland).

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Big Inner by Matthew E. White

A few weeks ago, I bought an album by an artist I had never heard of before on the basis of a glowing review in the Guardian. The artist was Matthew E. White, and the album was Big Inner. I was blown away by it the first time I listened to it, but I’ve listened to it a lot since, and my enjoyment of it has only deepened — a sure sign that it’s a long term ‘classic’ that I’ll listen to again and again.

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Singing The Messiah

Good old George Frideric Handel! He really knew how to write for choirs. Last weekend, my Mum and I took part in the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) ‘Singalong’ of Handel’s Messiah. We’ve done a couple of other Singalongs together, and have really enjoyed the experience. Mum is a particular fan of the Messiah, and I sang it in the choir at school, so we both jumped at the chance of joining in with this one.

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Post-Christmas miscellany

I hope that you all had a good break over Christmas and New Year. I spent most of mine1 doing two things: a bit of DIY on the house and listening to music. The DIY was long overdue. There always seems to be immense inertia surrounding making improvements to the house. First you have to decide what materials you need, buy those materials, find or buy the tools you need to do the job, do the job itself and then clear up the resulting mess.

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Cyclical

It has been a hard few weeks. Actually, it has been a hard few months. I’m sure you all know the feeling: you are running on the hamster wheel, trying desperately to get ahead of the next deadline. There seems no end to it, just a blur of rungs and the endless loop of turning the wheel. Now that I’ve got out the wheel for a couple of weeks, I feel dizzy and disoriented.

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Music in the cloud

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iTunes Match Warning: Hifi geekery ahead I’ve been pondering for a while how best to handle my digital collection of music. I have a lot of CDs and a small but growing collection of vinyl, but I also have a lot of music in digital format. Some of this has come from buying music through the iTunes or Amazon stores, but most is from my CDs that I have ripped, or from Apple Lossless format downloads from my Society of Sound membership.

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Young Man in America by Anais Mitchell

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I recently bought Anaïs Mitchell’s new album ‘Young Man in America’. I loved her previous album, Hadestown, and found it original and beautifully executed. So I was eager to hear what she had done with her next album. I saved listening to it for the first time until I was returning by train from Lincoln, as I knew I would have time to kill and could enjoy the album from the comfort of my headphones.

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So

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I’ve just caught up with a great Classic Albums documentary about Peter Gabriel’s ‘So’. I loved that album to bits, and have listened to it fairly regularly since 1986, which certainly makes it a classic in my opinion. There can’t be many albums featuring such a high density of musical talent: quite apart from Peter Gabriel, ‘So’ was produced by Daniel Lanois (a wonderful artist in his own right), and features Tony Levin, Manu Katché, Laurie Anderson, Youssou N’Dour and Kate Bush.

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