Everyone’s gone back to school…OK…..not everyone. A student daughter leaves for University in a couple of weeks time, but she’s on holiday – but the others are back. Occasionally the house is empty; sometimes the car is too. I’ve taken some shortish journeys, but long enough to get acquainted with some new music. What I haven’t done yet is watch our movie of the month…though that will certainly happen.
For me finding time when I am totally on my own is often the key. Last week I had a significant car journey. I had to drive to the country to get a fault fixed on my laptop – it’s still not sorted – and the journey there and back brought two things: Firstly some music that I hadn’t yet had time to discover and probably more importantly a new song that I ended up writing and completely recording in one continuous session – all on my lonesome. I hope that one will see the light of day next year..keep you posted.
But here’s some things I listened to on that journey I think you’ll like: Starting with this:
Anais’s Mitchell‘s album Hadestown is hugely ambitious and I think it’s time we checked it out. You can see Anais sing it here but on the album you can hear her perform it with Justin Vernon from Bon Iver. It’s great.
I also want you to hear the greatness of Rory Erikson.
….we have had that on the subby’s bench for the last two weeks as well as discovering the delights of Laura Gibson.
But there’s more……..I mentioned that we have a new Justin Townes Earle album to play.
I hope you are aware of Justin. Famously he’s the son of Steve and he’s just made his third album. In a funny way his history aligns nicely with that of Another Country. It was at the start of last year that we had Justin as a guest on the show when he visited Celtic Connections. It’s great when you see someone you like developing so strongly. I think this is Justin’s best record by a mile and all the potential I saw in his live show is parcelled brilliantly into the album.
We’ll play two songs from that record so make sure you join us on time!
We’ll also have some new material from Ray LaMontagne.
However I have to tell you about our special guest: Annabelle Chvostek
is some time singer. guitarist, mandolin player with the Wailin’ Jennies. She made an album called Resilience which contains, in the title track, one of the best songs and recordings of the last year. It is a truly brilliant song that should become a modern classic. On Friday you can hear her live version and you can also see it here.
Make sure you join me.
It certainly can be good being lonesome… although there’s also too much of a good thing there, I’d venture. Looking forward to being in the company of Another Country tomorrow night, suffice to say.
I have to agree regarding Annabelle Chvostek. Very often when I hear a guest previewed at the end of one week’s show that I know I may like, I tend to wait to hear next week’s in full before I decide if I’m going to make an album purchase or just a song or two. I couldn’t wait this week, though, and had to run along to a-certain-digital-download-shop-that-must-not-be-named so I wouldn’t be without the song a minute longer! Simply stunning.
And then there’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter”, which I finally watched this week. Now, I’m not sure if you wanted people to post their thoughts right onto the blog, but for now I’ll share a few non-spoilery thoughts here and on the Movie Club blog post over on the BBC Radio Scotland site…
I certainly enjoyed the movie, first and foremost. I knew very little of Loretta Lynn and so this was quite an insight into her formative years: at times humorous, at others horrific, a mix of good and bad times… And above all I really enjoyed the songs on offer here, even if I did find myself moved to listen to some Patsy Cline first and foremost as the credits rolled. The performances were, I felt, solid if not spectacular, with Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones certainly both strong in their respective portrayals, bringing light and shade to their characters.
The only real problem I had with the movie is one common to many biopics: that in trying to cover so much ground to tell the protagonist’s story, the movie seemed to fail to know where its story started or ended. There were themes that were mentioned and explored but it felt to me the movie lacked any real shape to it; it was more a patchwork of remembrances. Then again, maybe that’s in part symptomatic of Loretta’s life as we see it on screen: “Things is moving too fast in my life, always have,” as she herself says. Maybe that’s the point, but it still feels more accidental than purposeful in the screenplay’s design.
Without saying too much, then, I certainly enjoyed it and it was a great choice to kick off the Another Country Movie Club. Not a perfect movie, but certainly a very watchable one and featuring some superb music, which is surely reason enough to pick up a copy. And a planned repeat viewing speaks for itself… I’m hanging on to my rental copy a few days longer as I’ll be visiting my parents this weekend and my father – as a country fan with whom I am lucky enough to share some (but definitely not all!) musical tastes – will be sure to enjoy it as well. I’m looking forward to it too.
I’m hosting my first Movie Club tonight at my house tonight. At least six pals coming and I’ll be getting some great feedback. Will encourage all of them to put some thoughts on my blog…… Excited in a sad, got no life, kind of way!
Not sad at all, Ricky! I’ve hosted some great movie nights / weekends at my place in the past, complete with themed culinary creations, to the extent that they have each been dubbed the “Nth Petherton Road Film Festival” by friends (based upon my address, that is).
Folks are a little more scattered and I’m a little less organised these days, otherwise I might have whipped up some squirrel recipes to accompany “Coal Miner’s Daughter”. I’ll try harder next time!