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Martin Carthy & Jack Blackman to play at Stratford Play House next month

News

Just in from the newly launched Stratford Play House Folk Club:

The Folk Club will be bringing top quality live music to Stratford … from Roots to Blues! First date for your diary… 17th February HEADLINER : The legendary Martin Carthy! Supported by Jack Blackman.

Starts at 7.30pm.

Tickets ON SALE NOW; https://www.ticketsource.eu/.../2022-02-17/20:00/t-gnjejk

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"Mind Right" by Levi Washington

Review

After the angst of last week when he agonised over the mix of "Carrie, Baby" until Wednesday & the existential angst of the preceding "Check 1, 2" this week's Levi Washington single is called "Mind Right": again it too casts its eye over this thing of life and our extravagant journey through it.

To be honest, as I was aware of the title before I heard the song, my first  instinct was that in some way it might concern itself with a search for decent mental health: not least since that is a theme which the artist returns to regularly. On listening to it, I pretty much still think that the title remains a nod in that direction, as do aspects of the words, though, as you might imagine with Levi, there is much else that he's getting his lyrics to do for him & us. It's another of his onion songs.

Musically (again it's dubious that he'd hit us with two similarly sounding songs in a row) the new track is a long way from its predecessor. This is both retro (some very psychedelic stylings) and bang up to date contemporary & he melds them together perfectly….

A languorous propulsive beat carries you along this rather fuzzy pathway with processed vocals pulsating around you: sometimes rather close, then receding further off. The images evoked include those of chasing the apparently elusive and also of life events breaking over you like waves: both come through the music effectively with the tune coming at you like sea breakers and the vocal running ahead of you down the forest path, challenging you to catch up with it. Levi has also gone for a sense of quiet desperation (which of course Roger Waters once memorably called "..the English way…") and that too is in there. There is a wooziness which may be the heat of a summer day or the effect of the self delusion that the pursuit is worth the prize: which Levi definitely questions.

So there you have it: a lot of mixed (and possibly incompatible) allusions from me, mirroring a rare old mix of imagery mashed together in a song which itself is a bit of a compendium of music of the last half a century as well as possibly being a self help guide. This is one of the Levi songs you could usefully replay & pick out bits over quite a period of time, though you'd better get started on that sharpish as they'll be a new one along very soon….

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'Hot Music Live Presents Volume Seven'

News

Fresh out today: 'Hot Music Live Presents Volume Seven': seventeen more great original tracks by Coventry & Warwickshire musicians, available for free download via this link: https://hotmusiclivepresents.bandcamp.com/album/hot-music-live-presents-volume-seven

As the aim of the project is very much to get the word out about the quality & diversity of Coventry & Warwickshire music, readers are very much encouraged to download & enjoy these songs, but also asked to share the link so that we can help build audiences for the artists concerned.

The tracks and artists are:

"Still Going Strong" by annA rydeR

"Lazy Hazel Heart" by The Giraffes

"Totally Together" by Brothers From Another Mother featuring Kirsty Brewerton

"Untelligent Behaviour" by Trust Club

"Sick Of It" by Never Apart

"California" by Reiss Pinder

"Thoughts" by Paul Mccormack

"Mermaid" by Paradise of the Titans

"HIGHHIGHHIGH" by Euan Blackman

"Disperse" by Ezza Brianna

"Yoruda" by RobinPlaysChords

"Mountains" by Dan Bygrave

"Too Long" by Contacts in the North featuring Ingela Wiklund

"Working On Your Chemistry" by The Eyes of Isabel

"SMILE" by Avidfan

"A Friend" by In Emerald Sea

"Peaceful Warrior" by Lemon Tones

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"Carrie, Baby" by Levi Washington

Review

If last week's magnum opus "Check 1, 2" gave ample evidence of Levi Washington's perfectionism then this week's single release "Carrie, Baby" certainly reinforces that. I am currently writing this review within minutes of his finding a mix he was happy with, and as you can see, it has taken him until Wednesday to do so, missing his customary release moment by two whole days in order to present his work as he hears it himself & to its best advantage….  And on top of this he has decided to move to two releases a week. If you factor in the myriad live events he is currently organising each week around the area via his Phoenix Collective, I can only assume that he has phased sleeping out of his life.

Anyway, I'd better plunge straight into "Carrie Baby" before the next one arrives… In fact like the proverbial bus (or at any rate like they used to be), if you wait for a succession of Levi singles, you will experience the odd existential one, some dark nights of the soul, the odd nod towards addiction or mental angst, but you know sooner or later a love song, or something quite like one will come along to carry you off.

And "Carrie, Baby" is pretty much like a love song, though it's rare for Levi not to twist our expectations of the genre or offer us a view from an unusual perspective to challenge our preconceptions. Despite the long hours spent honing the recording, apparently this was a pretty spontaneous affair in terms of the writing & much could possibly be said of the narrative it offers us…..

A primarily acoustic number, showcasing his gentler guitar playing style (you can really hear his fingers shift on the frets on the main part (there are some beautiful extra embellishments on a second instrument plus an exquisite solo and a tinkling piano providing some extra foundation), the direction is probably towards where folk bumps into country: the basic tune being fairly straight forward, with the melodic adornments coming from the vocal part which certainly goes up in the direction of the top of his range at times.

Is it a happy love song: not entirely: at least it seems to delineate a romance in progress, with hope being favoured over attainment. He sets out his expectations and while he clearly isn't there yet, and some pleading is needed, he certainly hasn't given up. If you had to sketch a spectrum of Levisongs, while not at the "deliriously content" end, "Carrie, Baby" is certainly nearer it than it is the opposite one... which can be a gloomy & forbidding place to say the least.

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