Tuesday, 22 July 2014

To the Bone: Reviews: Vapour Trails


" It is like being privy to an intimate confession."


Here is a fantastic review of 'To the Bone' from Irish writer Seamus Duggan on his fine site; Vapour Trails.
Seamus is a perceptive and fearless writer who inevitably gets... right to the heart of the matter.
Excuse the platitude but it seems apt here.
His is a sanguine world view; worldly and (yes, hallelujah!) wordy; once you have visited his knocking shop, you'll surely return.
Enter the Vapour Trails site here:


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

To the Bone: Reviews: R2 Magazine

This 5***** review just in from R2 Magazine (Issue 46/July & August).
Many thanks to Jeremy Searle.

R2

JONES
*****
To The Bone
(MEME RECORDS) http://www.miraclemile.co.uk           

Has there ever been a more gorgeous introduction to an album than that which starts ‘Phil the Hat’ on Trevor Jones’ latest outing? If there has this reviewer hasn’t heard it, and the rest of the music never slips from that peak. Jones is of course one half of perfect popsters Miracle Mile and his musical compadre Marcus Cliffe is all over this album, making it nearer to Miracle Mile’s sound than his previous solo outings.


It’s a masterpiece of subtlety and delicacy - songs to immerse yourself in; late night listening with a glass of something decent. Every couplet makes you think, every chorus makes you soar. The sound is richly layered but never over-polished, the vocals just so, the words exactly right. Writing a review of an album as good as this feels superfluous, mere gilding of the lily. It doesn’t need ‘articulating’ or ‘explaining’, its power and beauty is sufficient in itself. All that needs to be said is that you won’t hear a better album this year.


Sunday, 13 July 2014

Toronto Tim Says: Brooooce!

Here's where I hand my page over to my Canadian mucker Tim Patrick. I'm actually just copying in his latest email (hope that's ok Tim) but he's always an engaging writer...
Here comes TT

Musically, I'm currently on a "Bruce binge" - having finally picked up the Peter Ames Carlin bio... leading me to re-watch the DVD's of the making of ''Born To Run' / 'Darkness'. Always fascinating. I'm 2/3 way though the book's 500 pages, and thus far I don't hate Bruce. He was a wildly eccentric character in his early years. Brilliant, tempermental, humble, stubborn as a mule. His pursuit of his musical vision tireless & relentless. And there's no doubt that he is "The Boss". Some wonderful stories about how down-to-earth/miserly he was. My fave - Even just before 'Born In The USA' came out he was still touring in an old van, renting used cars, and living in a very modest rented house in Jersey with harldly any furniture other than a pinball machine and a bed. So Bruce and his girlfriend would drive around the neighborhod on trash-night, and pick up old furniture left at the curb. Love it!
However, 2/3 in, I'm at the the part where suddenly beef-cake Bruce is on MTV "Dancing in the Dark" with Courteney Cox, and the "compromises" begin, I'm afraid. So much for the "I'll never play stadiums / I'll never intentionally write a "single" for a record / I'll never make a video / I'll never mix politics & music, blah, blah, blah..." This is the place where I mutinied on BS temporarily back in 1984. We'll see what happens as I progress with the read... I'm pretty sure I'll be able to forgive him in the end, unlike some musician bio's I've read... Clapton / Van / Macca / Mozza / Eagles / Marvin Gaye, even Sir Cliff - narcissistic, self-destructive egomaniacs all. OK, Cliff's not self-destructive, but unbelievably vain & self-righteous. I've yet to read Mr. Sting's autobiography. 
Oh, we've come full circle!
Anyway, the Bruce binge has me revisiting glory days... Memories of a 1978 concert at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, indelible... even on my increasingly forgetful noggin. The 10 minute epic performance of "Prove It All Night" stands out as the most electrifying live performance I've ever witnessed. (I know you've seen this one before) but - It was exactly like this: 



Sunday, 29 June 2014

Toronto Tim Says: 'To the Bone': The Review

My good Canadian friend Tim Patrick occasionally hijacks these pages to wax lyrical. 
Usually about some new musical wonder that has sideswiped him.
His latest salvo is a little closer to home.
Here he assesses my latest album 'To the Bone' and, bugger me, he likes it!
He's also posted this on Amazon (as have, currently Fleetwood Mac and David Ashley.)
Thanks too for those who have done this in the past; they really do help.
Come on the rest of you, why not do likewise.
Help shout it from the rooftops!


Here's Toronto Tim:

Toronto Tim says:

Jones

To the Bone


'To The Bone' - by Trevor Jones. Musically, the album title is apropos; the understated arrangements certainly a brave move, considering the majority of Miracle Mile/Jones discography tend to lean toward relatively polished & expansive productions, which I do happen to adore. However, sometimes a change is a good thing. The songs at first had me wanting for more, but then after a few listens, I realized they possess all that is needed. In fact, it's the deceptively simple arrangements that allow the poetic and profound lyrics to shine here.

The title also applies to the album subject matter... very personal, honest and sometimes heartbreaking. Seems like a record perhaps Jones needed to make as a form of catharsis, rather than necessarily wanting to be made. As with all Miracle Mile/Jones work, the words are extremely thoughtful and moving, yet lyrically oblique enough that the listener can take ownership in such a way that they become quite individually special. I dare anyone with a heart to listen to "Somewhere North Of Here" and not be forever touched. A perfect blend of brilliant melody/musical arrangement and intensely moving poetry. A stunning song of empathy, encouragement, perseverance, & devotion...

So, is there any chance that an introspective, sparse record from a barely recognizable artist will be a hit in this day & age? Not really. I just feel sorry for the throngs of folk who won't even know this wonderful record exists. With over a dozen albums worth of exquisite music made for thinking/feeling adults under his belt, I have to honestly say - IF THERE'S A BETTER SINGER/SONGWRITER IN THE UNIVERSE THAN TREVOR JONES... I DON'T KNOW WHO IT IS.


Saturday, 28 June 2014

To the Bone: Radio Play


To the Bone is starting to pick up some local radio play.
Here's notice of the latest, on the excellent singer/songwriter/radio presenter Johnny Coppin's show on BBC Radio Gloucester.
Johnny's latest album 'Borderland' is a lovely thing and here's a review.
You'll read that has covered on of my own songs 'Homeward'; I'm more than chuffed with the result as he re-imagines my grumbling guitar ballad on the piano with a quiet and delicate grace...
Details of the show are below, including the initial playlist.
Talk about a thorn between two roses...
Why not listen in?

BBC RADIO PLAYLIST – on BBC Gloucestershire,

on Sat 28th JUNE 2014 at 5.30pm


1. SUZANNE VEGA – Don’t Uncork What You Can’t Contain (3.31) Track 1 – single from new album TALES FROM THE REALM OF THE QUEEN OF PENTACLES on Cooking Vinyl FRYCD 573P (Suzanne Vega- PRS)

2. JONES – Phil The Hat (3.40) Track 1 from new album TO THE BONE on Meme Records CDMM 18 (Trevor Jones – PRS)

3.   CARA DILLON – Moorlough Mary (3.46) Track 4 from new album A THOUSAND HEARTS on Sony 8884 3069482 (Trad arr Cara Dillon/ Sam Lakeman- PRS)

4.   PETE COE AND ALICE JONES – One Summer’s Morning (4.56) Disc 1 Track 1 from new double CD – IN SEARCH OF FIVE FINGER FRANK on Backshift Music BASHCD 61 (Trad arr Pete Coe/Alice Jones- Backshift Music)

5.   PETE COE AND ALICE JONES – Shule Agra (3.33) Disc 1 Track 10 from new double CD – IN SEARCH OF FIVE FINGER FRANK on Backshift Music BASHCD 61 (Trad arr Pete Coe/Alice Jones- Backshift Music)

6.   CARRIVICK SISTERS – Making Horses (3.41) Track 5 from OVER THE EDGE on own label CVCD 2013 (Charlotte Carrivick – PRS)

7.   HOME SERVICE – Alright Jack (2.59) Track 1 from LIVE 1986 on Fledg’ling FLED 3085 (John Tams/Home Service – PRS)

Thursday, 26 June 2014

To the Bone: Reviews: AmericanUK

This review just in from AmericanaUK.
See the review below or better still go directly to the AmericanaUK website here.
Many thanks to Jeremy Searle



JONES “TO THE BONE”
Meme Records, 2014
Near-perfect explorations of the human heart


Another day, another slice of musical heaven from Miracle Mile man Trevor Jones. He strives for perfection, the perfect words, the perfect melody, to accompany his articulating of human emotions. Often he finds it, to such an extent that coming across a song that’s “just” very good, is something of a shock. With each new release he moves a little further along his personal road, a few steps towards that perfect album. He probably thinks he’ll never get there, which is exactly what artists should think. But some of us might beg to differ.
If you feel that emotions can’t be expressed except through blood, grit, dirt and raw howls then “To The Bone” will come as a revelation. When, on “Somewhere North of Here” Jones sings “I will walk beside you and you will know I’m there/I will touch you gently, to comfort your despair” his compassion is infinite, his reassurance total. When, on the opening “Phil The Hat”, he muses on an old friendship, it’s nostalgic but clear-eyed. When he describes a relationship slowly breaking up on “Man behind the Moon” he says more in ninety-seven seconds that most writers manage in an entire album. Ally lyrics of this power to equally good tunes, and tunes with hooks and gorgeous melodies to boot, and you have a magical listening experience.

Comparisons have been made (and validly) to the Blue Nile and Paul Buchanan’s work but really Jones is in a class of one. There’s a spiritual sense to his music, not in any religious sense, but in his search for the essence of what it is to be human. This is an album that does indeed cut to the bone. Buy it. Buy it now.

9/10
Jeremy Searle

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Lovesong: Nick Drake

It's Nick Drake's birthday today.
He would have been 66.
I love this photo of him.
You can see why Brad Pitt wanted to play him in the Hollywood take on his life.
I'm glad that particular project remains 'on hold'.
I'm always saddened and humbled by his music...

Why not join me and have a Nick Drake day?
Play all of his albums in order.
Could be the best 90 minutes (plus injury time) of the weekend.







Wednesday, 18 June 2014

To the Bone: Reviews: Onda Rock

This just in from Gianfranco Marmoro.
I'm unsure of the translation but… I think that he likes it…

Passionate, sincere, profound, essential, the music of the Miracle Mile seems to have finally found the perfect architecture "In Cassidy's Care" point of reference for his consecration. He arrived at the third solo album, the singer Trevor Jones is well aware that the emotional power of his music is the added value of a well-established style that is unlikely to continue to evolve.
In "To The Bone" the artist prefers to rediscover notes and harmonies aside, pending a more intimate diary in which to flow these beautiful and fragile sketches. Marcus Cliffe is always behind the scenes to grace the 14 tracks on the album without ever suffocating, and stressing with beautiful arrangements ofpedal steel and piano tone more sad and personal, where regret, resignation and silence, dream and hope they try to piece together a sense of bewilderment that Jones has lived with anxiety in the past tormented years.

For an author constantly striving to put music in the most secret emotions and sometimes harsh, it is necessary to give the healing power of music the key to the increasingly difficult journey towards maturity and old age. He has never hidden his admiration for the Blue Nile, and it is clear that intensive listening " Mid Air "Trevor Jones has given to the energy needed to face the inevitable melancholy starvation, which occurs when dreams run every time seem closer, making it necessary to start over.
The refined and sophisticated pop of Trevor always moves between known coordinates: Prefab Sprout,Elvis Costello and the whole heritage of the best songwriters Anglo-American, but his most recent passions seem to be Joe Henry, Tom Waits , Leonard Cohen , precisely the Blue Nile, Talk Talk and the Lilac Time, it is not difficult to see their poetry in the pages of "To The Bone", which is a nostalgic reminder of the value of friendship in "Phil The Hat" or the dreamy picture of "Dream Horses" (a beautiful ballad for piano and orchestra).

There is a new sensibility, however, behind the always beautiful ballads to electro-Jones and harmonic turns hugging each other, creating delicate uptempo songs that sound familiar, and perhaps a little innovative, but they are all pervaded by a spiritual novel. The formal perfection and the bombast of "In Cassidy's Care" is set aside in favor of a recklessness that as a gentle wind storm leaves decanted and the fears and thoughts without evidence or seek solace.
"To The Bone" is for sure the solo album more akin to the music of the Miracle Mile, but here everything is simpler, more minimal and straightforward. "We can discuss every word read or can we make love," Jones sings in "Books To Bed", but it is a last-ditch attempt to romance, just an invitation to talk about himself without metaphors or obstacles. "I will reveal my truth and you show me yours," he whispers again, while a police siren sounds far away.

Everything is on hold or waiting for a response in "To The Bone": a touch of country-western "Some Kind Of Surrender" try to soften the defeat of yet another waiver, almost sterile minimalism to Paul Buchananof "Pardon Me "sets to music the dismay and fear of going blind or perhaps only of being confused and distracted, and the sirens back on stage in the solo piano instrumental of" glimpsed And Gone "by opening the doors to the title track that seems to tighten for a moment the doors of suffering with an elegiac choral prayer Celtic folk style.
"Man Behind The Moon" and "Fireworks" seem to have escaped a project of the band-mother, with their romance more defined and the recurrent specter of a failed relationship or inert. It is behind the crystalline and limpid simplicity of episodes like "The Fullness Of Time" that hides however the essence of the new project of the musician, which gives an unexpected duet with Lucinda Drayton in "Angelicana", an uptempo track that evokes the past then sink your hands into a contagious and passionate soul.

Like any adventure, there is always a sound artist attention to detail not only lyrical but also theme: touch the innermost chords is very painful, but in this process of collective catharsis almost with his audiences Jones sees a hope that rely on "Somewhere North Of Here", a languid ballad immersed in the sound of the pedal steel Melvin Duffy ("I will walk beside you and you will know that there are, I touch you gently to comfort your despair").
It is an album destined to repeat the great success of the last album of the Miracle Mile, but certainly a testimony of a sincere and profound artistic profile that is unmatched in modern British pop music scene;too softly, the music of Trevor Jones remains one of the deepest pleasures of our mad passion for seven immutable notes.

7.5 Gianfranco Marmoro

(17/06/2014)


Monday, 16 June 2014

'To the Bone' is Released Today.

Thanks for your many messages of support and for the kind words from folk who have heard the record.
It seems to have struck a certain chord…
You could help me out by scribing Amazon and iTunes reviews; they really do help.
If you'd like a copy you can buy direct from me here.
If you want a deluxe HR download you can get it through Linn Records here:
Or you could go to iTunes here:
If you like the album please pass it on to as many folk as possible.
Cheers,
Trev

Sunday, 15 June 2014

To the Bone: Reviews: Elsewhere

With 'To the Bone' released today (June 16) what better way to celebrate than with another great review, just in.
This one is thoughtful and… funny.
I don't usually incite 'funny'...
It's from Graham Reid, a New Zealand journalist who writes for the online arts magazine 'Elsewhere'.
Thanks Graham.
I'm not sure about the 'beautifully modern home' though.
You should see my guttering…
Read the text of the review below or, ideally go straight to the source at Elsewhere here.


To the Bone
Jones

On the basis of this, his previous solo albums and those with Miracle Mile (with Marcus Cliffe, the multi-instrumentalist here who also produces) you'd imagine Britain's Trevor Jones this way: it's late afternoon in his beautifully modern home with a view over the Med and he's in a wicker chair by the pen glass door, the book of Romantic poetry lying in his lap, a glass of fine wine on the table nearby and his eyes on the distant horizon as he thinks of the lost love.
A breeze ruffles his hair and the melancholy mood is completed as the red sun sets and he walks to the piano to play a slow and graceful ballad . . .
If that isn't Jones in reality (and it doubtless isn't), then that is certainly the mood his songs often evokle (enhanced by his gentle spoken word pieces).
There is sensitive heart and poetic impulse at work and his music is most definitely for those over 35 with a few life experiences behind them. "Don't make it into a movie" a character says on Pardon Me, a line that some of us might have had the misfortune to have heard as a relationship unravels.
But Jones -- as my intro here implies -- has the ability to evoke exactly that: the exceptional opener here Phil the Hat starts "Hand on heart, I never saw this coming, it's like you never left the room . . ." as it reflects on the passing of a friend ("Let's raise a glass to our younger selves") and you feel there in the room as he thinks the "false alarms and happy endings" through.
Musically very little here will set pulses racing, but that's not Jones' intention: he takes you into a place where thinking is more valued than action, that reflection is its own reward ("all that should have been" on the equally lovely Some Kind of Surrender) and that on a cold night taking books to bed while wearing fingerless gloves is the kind of simple shared intimacy (and need) . . . and a seduction adults can understand.
If the overall mood is turned down low, the gentle embellishments of these songs -- mostly supported by piano -- with pedal steel and dobro in places (by Melvin Duffy) adds even more atmosphere. Angelicana ("you crave dusty roads") is another highpoint.
Over the 14 songs Jones' intimate and poetic style and that consistent mood might pall for some, but put yourself in this place. It's late afternoon and you are in your beautifully modern home with a view over the Med . . .

Graham Reid

To the Bone: Out tomorrow

So, 'To the Bone' is released tomorrow.
June 16th.
I'm hoping that it'll stir up some interest but fear that it might pass unseen.
It's always an uneasy time around release date.
You want the world to tell you that your latest baby is beautiful, but secretly fear that it might have to abide in the cellar with all of the other slightly wonky, cross eyed offspring…
If that sounds dark, wait until you:
a: hear the album
b: see the Uruguayans kick Stirling up in the air on Thursday

You can order the album direct here.
You could also really help its cause by offering up reviews on Amazon or on iTunes.

Early reviews have been encouraging:


‘Music to stir the senses… a genuine gem’
Roots and Branches

‘Achingly tender’
Folk Radio UK

‘Gorgeous ambient touches. Another corker… possibly his best yet’
HiFi News (Album of the Month)

Here's a track (courtesy Macwood Fleet) to whet the appetite.


Saturday, 14 June 2014

Lovesong: Olafur Anders: Hægt, kemur ljósið

'… and they have escaped the world of darkness' might just be one of the most sonically perfect albums that I own.
If you are unfamiliar with the music of Olafur Anders then start here, you'll be sure to progress.
He has some amazing stable mates too, the likes of Nils Frahm and Peter Broderick.
Here's a 'Hægt, lemur ljósið' from the album followed by an amazing video of 'Ljósið'.
It's all too beautiful...

Friday, 13 June 2014

Lovesong: Joe Henry: Sign


'Invisible Hour' is brilliant, beguiling, beautiful.
Evidence: A sure Sign of greatness and compassion...


And then see this intimate live performance for KEXP:


Thursday, 12 June 2014

To the Bone: Reviews: Roots and Branches

Another fine review for 'To the Bone'.
This one is from Steve Morris at 'Roots and Branches'.
I've copied the text below but why not read the review on their site here or on Steve's new blog here, the magnificently title Winklesea Press.






Roots and Branches
To the Bone


I’ve had a copy of this record for ages now, so long it’s become a first choice ‘go to’ when I need music to stir the senses. It’s been with me soundtracking train journeys through English landscapes both lashed by rain and painted in pre-summer sun and it’s been ideal for both.

Jones – Trevor Jones, one half of the mighty Miracle Mile – is both a deft lyricist and composer with a beguiling ability to find a commonality in his personal situations and to then couch it in both words and tunes that, to borrow his title get right ‘to the bone’. And if that suggests a mood of reflection throughout the record, it’s spot on. Jones addresses friendships, relationships and the fragility of life itself within these fourteen songs often provoking a strong emotional / cerebral response with a phrase or observational angle that hits home in the listener. Indeed a damp eye has almost become a hallmark response to new works from the man.

Stylistically, it’s easy to draw comparisons to Paul Buchanan and Paddy McAloon, both artists who’ve similarly refined and distilled their craft over the years but it’s also possible to find glimpses of other craftsmen in these songs. Indeed the work of Johnny Mercer / Henry Mancini is alluded to a couple of times towards the end of the record.

One thing that can be easily overlooked is just how fine a singer Jones is; it’s a very English soulful sound he makes, not great in a classic vocal sense but emotionally available and intimately fragile, both great and rare qualities. It helps that Miracle Mile partner and producer Marcus Cliffe captures this with breathtaking clarity. And speaking of Cliffe, mention must be made too of the gorgeous textures he weaves behinds Jones’ vocals and the excellent sonic quality he brings to their work. Spotlight too on Melvin Duffy whose pedal steel and dobro filigrees are a joy throughout.

What is perhaps most astonishing is that Trevor Jones, whether solo or as a part of Miracle Mile, has released some sixteen or so albums to date with each being a genuine step forward from the last. One reviewer has already tagged this one the best yet – until the next! And I really can’t add anything to that except to say that this is a genuine gem that you really do need to hear – often.

Steve Morris

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

To the Bone: Reviews: Folk Radio UK






Another review for 'To the Bone' just in.
Thanks to Mike Davies for his kind words.
Visit Folk Radio UK to read the review direct or see the text below.

Jones – To The Bone

Under both his solo soubriquet and as Miracle Mile, erstwhile teacher singer-songwriter Trevor Jones has a thing for break-up albums. Loss and the collapse of a relationship anchored both of his band’s last two releases and was a constant presence on his two previous solo albums. The same applies here on To The Bone, a collection of songs born of what he calls “a period of instability”, the lyrical content ranging between bewilderment, resigned acceptance, regret, reflection, longing and hope, the songs couched in uncluttered, simple arrangements, inspired by Paul Buchanan’s Mid-Air and pared “back to the bone” (the writing process and the therapeutic nature of silence documented in the part-spoken Cabin Fever) to mirror the rawness of the emotions.
As ever, he’s joined by regular contributor Melvin Duffy on pedal steel and dobro as well as Miracle Mile partner Marcus Cliffe, who shares production and arrangement credits as well as playing everything else save acoustic guitar. For those familiar with Jones’ work, it’ll come as no surprise to hear it’s hushed and melancholic, his gift for folk and country shaded melody and open-heart lyrics undimmed, his soft, dusty tones variously evocative of Martyn Joseph, Ricky Ross. Paddy McAloon and the more wistful side of Costello. For those yet to discover him, these are just some of the pleasures in store.
“Hand on heart, I never saw this coming,” he sings on the opening lines of the album’s bitter-sweet first track, Phil the Hat, a nostalgic reflection on friendship as he adds “let’s raise a glass to our younger selves, remembering how it used to be” and sets the tone for what follows. Both etched out on piano, in the achingly tender Dream Horses memories provide both solace and hurt while the descending scales of Pardon Me addresses the confusion of being blindsided as he replays every detail of “the how and the where and the when”.
Underpinned by pedal steel, bells and a shuffling rhythm, Some Kind of Surrender kicks up the tempo slightly, the seeming rapprochement of “I reach out to you, reaching back to me” offset by “as we wave ourselves goodbye”.
The mood oscillates throughout; on the drone-backed Books To Bed he sings “we could discuss every word that we’ve read or we could just make love” while the yearningly brief Man Behind The Moon details those telling signs (“there’s something in the way you worry with your hair”) of a fracturing relationship whereas Fireworks celebrates the hopes and dreams that light up the grey skies as he defiantly sings “I’m done with defeat, let the victories begin”.
Elsewhere, Lucinda Drayton adds vocals to the soulful Angelicana, an Americana-shaded number about a restless spirit featuring slide guitar and, perhaps, a passing hint of Just My Imagination, Glimpsed And Gone is a piano instrumental behind which can be heard the sound of a police siren and the title track features the sort of Celtic choral chorus to have the crowd swaying with their scarves on the terraces of Bruised Romantics Utd.
Having weathered the storm, the album closes on a hopeful note with light peering through the clouds; Jones singing “I will walk beside you and you will know I’m there and I will touch you gently to comfort your despair” to a backdrop of keening pedal steel on the devotional Somewhere North Of Here and, on slow waltz Row, “I knew from the moment I saw you, that you were my forever girl…will you be sailing away or …row row row the boat gently back to me” before the piano notes fade soothingly away to the sound of distant female laughter and the heart lives to beat another day.

Review by: Mike Davies

Lovesong: Cherry Ghost: Herd Runners

Sods law.
A year of fairly routine releases and then, just as I'm about to unleash my latest masterwork upon an unsuspecting public and claim my rightful place in the pantheon of pop, a whole glut of gloriousness hits the airwaves to keep your hearts from me.
Sorry if that sounds a bit DLT but…

Upbeat and brow beaten are usually oil and water.
Not here: Simon Aldred raises the bar; he has shaken and stirred a divine cocktail of love and longing and yet it all sounds intoxicatingly uplifting.
It's the aural equivalent of wearing your favorite comfy winter sweater to a BBQ; this album could become the sound of the summer for me.
Mojitos and misery anyone?


Monday, 9 June 2014

Lovesong: Joe Henry: Invisible Hour

I take all this to be holy

If futile, uncertain and dire

Our union of fracture, our dread everlasting

This beautiful, desperate desire

This morning I read a piece by Andy Miller in The Guardian about how we are losing the ability to read.
You could read the article here.
Yup, you've rumbled me; I wasn't actually rustling a broadsheet but prodding at the online version… a case in point I guess.

"Although we love to argue about books, acquire them, express strong opinions about them, etc, etc, more than ever we seem to be losing the knack of reading them."

It seems to Miller that we are faking cultural literacy; consuming 'Art' has become more about ticking boxes and basking in culture's reflected glory rather than in its actual glow. 
He quotes the writer Eleanor Catton's perception: 

"Consumerism," she writes, "requiring its products to be both endlessly desirable and endlessly disposable, cannot make sense of art, which is neither." 


Could we add that we are also losing the art of listening? 
Particularly listening to music. 
Is your iPod and Spotify on 'Shuffle' folks? 
Do you rely on suggested Playlists for your musical ennui?
I know that I do; and I rally against such thoughtless behaviour.
We all do it and deny ourselves the pleasure of a progressive listen
I believe that artists still ponder long and hard on segues. 
I know that I do...
Come on. 
What was the last album you listened to top to tail? 
Be honest now.
Please list them below; I need some inspiration.
This morning I listened straight to the new Joe Henry album 'Invisible Hour'.

"It wasn't peace I wanted and it wasn't peace I found..."

These are his first words and I'm totally connected. 

"… and our very blood tastes like honey now". 

And then, before I knew it… the album finishes.
I'd been lost; an invisible hour indeed.
I hit replay and… it's even better 2nd time.
I'm currently on my 4th rotation and… not one cup of coffee needed.
Songs really matter to Joe.
Have a look at this excellent short documentary on him:
'The Song That Changed My Life'

"What matters to us, awash in petabytes of data, is not necessarily having actually consumed content first-hand but simply knowing that it exists."

Please, and you'll thank me for this, find your new favorite 'album' today. 
I recommend Joe Henry's new 'Invisible Hour' but Roddy Frame's 'Seven Dials', Simone Felice's 'Strangers', Cherry Ghost's 'Herd Runners' and John Smith's 'Great Lakes' are up there too.
I'm not going to post tracks from any.
Pretty obvious why.
I know that I'm probably preaching to the choir but… it's great to rediscover a lost pleasure.
It made me remember my first listening of Springsteen's 'Darkness on the Edge of Town'.
I was quivering like a shitting dog; at the end of side two I was singing like a tuning fork.
I know, it's bleeding obvious advice, like 'don't drink too much' or 'floss', but some times we all need to be reminded of the bleeding obvious.
So…
Turn off the TV, lose your phone, let the laptop battery go flat. 
Source (or even buy) one of the above albums and for 40 minutes, sit back and reevaluate your losses.
Then make those losses beloved!
Here endeth...