Found this on youtube - I didn't go to this showcase as I was working and would have only caught the tail-end so I went to see Carlene Carter instead. She was wonderful, so no regrets there, but still wish I'd gotten to this one...
18 Oct 08
21 Sep 08
17 Mar 08
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13 Mar 08
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10 Mar 08
09 Mar 08
08 Mar 08
08 Mar 08
Here are a couple of pictures from the Bluebird - as you can see Robert was entertaining everyone...
08 Mar 08
07 Mar 08
06 Mar 08
Quick one this. Here's the photo of me & Marty...
06 Mar 08
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28 Jan 08
05 Nov 07
03 Nov 07
01 Nov 07
31 Oct 07
08 Oct 07
13 Sep 07
19 Aug 07
Facebook - what's it all about? I have no idea, but I'm on there, so if you are too, come find me - email address I use is karen.miller -at- btconnect.com
TMTHT is now going out on Radio Six International. Came as a bit of a surprise, but a good one. The show is going out at 11pm on Fridays, repeated 8.30am on Saturdays (UK time). Good station, reminds me of SpydaRadio in it's eclecticism and attempt to champion the unsigned bands out there.
I'm also on CMR Nashville of course. Thursdays 4pm, repeated through the night and Sundays.
Loomer are still in the country (the UK that is), go and see them if you can. 7 of them this time around.
The CMR Nashville shows I mentioned are going out, which is great news. If there's any interest I'll post the playlists on this site somewhere - let me know firstname.lastname@example.org, the next show broadcasts on www.cmrnashville.net on Thursday at 4pm. It features Robbie Fulks, Tim Carroll, Elizabeth Cook, Jim Lauderdale, Mark Chesnutt, Buddy Miller and more. I'm going for the country/familiar end of the Americana genre to begin with, and I'm really enjoying the ability to play anything I like again, not that that will stop me featuring some of the independent artists I've found through TMTHT.
15 Nov 06
02 Oct 06
Apologies for the lack of new shows of late, what with Nashville / post-Nashville and a weekend away from my flat/computer/internet there just hasn't been any time. I am aware though that it has been 3 weeks and I promise that The Miller Tells Her Tale will return in all it's glory this coming weekend.
And, just so you know, there's a prettier version of my Nashville diary on this website now, just choose Nashville Sept 06 from the menu, it has some pictures. And, you can listen to the Brand New Country Nashville special if you go to Radio Scotland's listen again service until Friday 6th October - good show.
24 Sep 06
22 Sep 06
21 Sep 06
20 Sep 06
19 Sep 06
16 Sep 06
Nashville & The AMAs Hello
This is just a quick note to say that there will be no new shows for the next couple of weeks, because I'm off to Nashville today for the Americana Music Awards. It's going to be a really busy week, but I'm looking forward to it.
I do plan to add daily updates here and on my myspace page, so if you're interested check back here over the next week. Also have a listen to BBC Radio Scotland's Brand New Country show on Friday 22nd (www.bbc.co.uk/radioscotland) when Bryan Burnett, live from Nashville, will be given a guided tour by former Maverick Robert Reynolds and one of our favourite singer-songwriters Jim Reilley. Should be good! (hour 2 is a Jeff Finlin House Concert)
31 Jul 06
Nashville here I come! Yes, I'm now definitely going to Nashville for the Americana Music Association Awards. I've been looking at who will be there and it sounds great. Ok. so I'll be working, but it's good work. Now I just have to figure out who I want us to interview. I'll be going with Bryan Burnett for BBC Radio Scotland's Brand New Country show, so there'll be plenty of content from the trip on that show on my return, and I might record some things myself for TMTHT, who knows.
Apologies for the lack of a new show last weekend, I was in Ireland for the Midland's Music Festival. It was the inaugural festival and the line-up was impressive, if not all to my taste. Artists such as Guy Clark, Nanci Griffith, Emmylou Harris, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Dwight Yoakam, Kenny Rogers, Jackson Browne, Glen Campbell, Don McLean, Van Morrison and more. I imagine they must have made a huge loss having to fly all these "names" into town! It was a very well organised event, great sound, good line-up, a nice selection of food not overly priced and a decent campsite, although it could have done with a few more toilets! The rain fell on Saturday, but it wasn't cold and cleared up mid-afternoon. I'm not sure I had any highlights as such, but I enjoyed everybody (except Kenny Rogers).
Talking of new shows, sadly I don't think there'll be one this coming weekend too. I'm away (again!). But normal service will resume after that - I promise.
30 May 06
Very quick blog this.
I saw the Alejandro Escovedo Quintet at The Arches last week on the final night of the Big Big Country Festival. very good show - much better than expected. The band were excellent musicians and the songs arranged well for strings.
Here's a photo taken of myself with John Collins, my Neon Productions work colleague and Greg Keelor, Bob Egan and Jim Cuddy from Blue Rodeo. The session goes out on Brand New Country this Friday evening (8-10pm BST). You can listen again at www.bbc.c.uk/radioscotland - just click the listen again button and select Brand New Country.
21 May 06
Apologies for my silence here, I've been busy working and playing.
I've been listening to the new Justin Currie (Del Amitri) songs on his myspace page - brilliant. If you're a fan of heartbreaking songs then check out "What Is Love For" - one of the songs of 2006 for me, "No Surrender" is also excellent. Hopefully his album will be released soon. There are also new Del Amitri songs on their myspace page, but they aren't so impressive sadly.
My social life of late has revolved around pregnant friends and gigs (not both at the same time - the pregnant friends tend to be in bed before I even get home from work!) Most of the live shows have been excellent. Last Sunday I travelled down to Dumfries to see The Willy Clay Band supported by Stumblin' Harris (you can check him out on myspace too - he's one of my friends). I've seen the WCB before and knew I wouldn't be disappointed. Great three part harmonies, good playing and more than decent songs. I think they are going to do very well for themselves. Nice bunch of guys too.
On Monday we interviewed Josh Ritter for Brand New Country and he played 3 acoustic tracks for us (broadcast 26 May for a week), he's an intelligent guy and a lovely, friendly person. I still remember the first time I saw him play. It was at SXSW a few years ago. He was performing in a perfect venue - the theatre at the back of a coffee shop - comfy seats (very important!) and no bar in the room, so everyone sat and listened. He was thrilled to be there and it came across - I instantly warmed to him. Anyway... since then he's become pretty big in the Americana world, and now tours with a band. This I think is a shame. I love his albums and but the songs sound better live when played acoustically. At Oran Mor on Monday night, the drums were very boomy and his vocal was lost in the mix. Maybe he plays this way to appeal to the younger audience who come out to his live shows, I don't know... but the only tracks that worked for me were the ones when the drums and bass stayed silent.
Tuesday was Blue Rodeo. You may remember the last time they came to Glasgow. We were supposed to be interviewing them for BNC, I was very excited, they were one of my favourite bands (had been since the late 80s), but they never showed, and we only received a call 30 minutes after they were supposed to be at the BBC, and no apology either. The gig that night was very disappointing too. Lots of lengthy jams, obscure songs and very few Jim Cuddy ballads (the best thing about the band IMHO). So... I approached Tuesday with trepidation. We again organised a session with the band (no interview this time), and on this occasion they did turn up - 45 minutes early. Therefore they were in a foul mood by the time I collected them from reception. However they soon cheered up and we recorded 4 tracks including a great version of 5 Days in May. It was good to finally meet Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor and also nice to see Bob Egan again with whom I was in touch a few years ago. The gig that evening was much much better too. Only a couple of extended instrumental breaks which is fine, lots of "hits" including many of the JC ballads this time. I was surprised, but delighted to hear House of Dreams, one of my favourites from the Diamond Mine album. They encored with the seminal "Try". I left happy. Plus they said I could play their music on my show, so look out for lots of Blue Rodeo in future shows.
I took Wed and Thurs evenings off gigging, although I could have seen Tift Merritt supported by Luke Doucet, Ed Miller (my uncle), or Howe Gelb. But I had to draw the line somewhere (I also caught a cold from which I'm still suffering).
Friday was the turn of the legendary Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham. I had tried for weeks to sort out an interview with them and it looked unlikely until a week before the show. We were granted 15 minutes before the soundcheck at the venue (The Arches). In fact we got more than 15 minutes of excellent material from Dan and Spooner. They are interesting guys. Dan is very honest, he says what he thinks which is great. The interview is available via the BBC Radio Scotland listen again service until next Friday - well worth a listen believe me!!
The gig itself was great. It's the first time I've seen either Dan or Spooner live. They were very relaxed and played all their famous songs - Dark End of The Street, I'm Your Puppet, Do Right Woman etc, I don't care what anyone says, but Dan has an amazing voice and does justice to all these songs he wrote for black soul singers. The room was full which was great to see too.
When Dan was finished I went across to The Tron Foyer Bar to see Laura Kenny with her band. She's a Glaswegian singer-songwriter who has recently released her debut album "Drive". She has some nice songs and a good on stage persona. I hope she has some success.
So that's it for last week. Tomorrow I'm going up to Banff in the North of Scotland to record a house concert with Eliza Gilkyson which will be broadcast on Brand New Country in June. It's the first time we've organised one of these ourselves so hopefully it will all go smoothly. I'm also going to see the Jesse Dayton Band, Sarah Harmer and Alejandro Escovedo next week.
25 Apr 06
You might have spotted the new way of listening to my show on my main page - it's so cool!
Thanks, again, have to go to myspace. I came across this on the Tartan Podcast's myspace page and knew I had to have it! And it's free. Amazing.
So... you can now stream my show, kinda like you could do with SpydaRadio shows. All the (podcast) shows are available and it will update automatically.
Please feel free to copy the code and add to your website too - spread the word!
17 Apr 06
New show later today. I decided yesterday morning to do a back-up of my ipod. Great idea, something I should do more often, but I didn't realised that 43GB would take 17 hours to copy! So... as I use my ipod in the creation of the show, I was unable to do anything yesterday. It's finished now though and normal service can be resumed. I have some great music to play this week too.
Tallking of great new music, there are some excellent new releases out now (or soon). Favourites this year so far are Mark Erelli "Hope & Other Casualties", Josh Ritter "The Animal Years", Jeffrey Foucault "Ghost Repeater". I've just received the new Ron Sexsmith, but yet to listen properly. Also very good Tres Chicas, Radney Foster, Heartworn Highways... And I can't help but love the new single from the Dixe Chicks.
It's been a quiet time for gigs since SXSW, I think I've only seen Cam Penner/Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash and The Sunshine Delay. However, I have Caitlin Cary and Thad Cockrell this week, Teddy Thompson next week and then Kilkenny. After that it's Big Big Country in Glasgow including Dan Penn & Spooner Oldham, Jesse Dayton Band, Sarah Harmer, Eliza Gilkyson, Willy Clay Band. Oh and Blue Rodeo play that week too, although I'm yet to forgive them for their last visit and the disappointment of the interview/session not happening.
That's it for now. Hope everyone is having / has had a good Easter break.
27 Mar 06
I'm just about recovered from my US trip although the clocks going forward hasn't helped my jetlag any!
I tried to put together a SXSW show yesterday but failed miserably as my home pc is freezing every 5 minutes. It's off to see my brother tonight to see if he can fix it. Very frustrating!!
However, you can now read an enhanced version of my SXSW diary - click the SXSW link on the menu bar. It will also guide you to my photographs. I spent ages on the yahoo site putting them in order and now they're all mixed up again. huh.
Hopefully there'll be a new show sooner rather than later, I'll keep you posted.
23 Mar 06
Went to Guero’s for lunch – burrito, very good. Had some time to kill before Chicken Shit Sunday so wandered around the shops on South Congress. We were heading back towards the river when a car horn stopped us in our tracks. It was Kevin Montgomery in town for a gig at a barn dance that evening. We joined him for coffee at Starbucks and he introduced us to the extra functionality of MySpace.com…
We left Kevin to go out to Burnett, and Ginny’s Little Longhorn for Chicken Shit Sunday. Dale’s role has been taken over by Redd Volkaert and Cindy Cashdollar which was good news. Redd isn’t as cool as Dale but he’s a good choice. Lonestar was only $1.50 so I drank a couple of them and watched the band play. I didn’t actually see the chicken at work this time, but it was good to be back. No sign of the Radio 2 crowd this time around either.
After dinner with my family who I hadn’t really seen all week, Emma and I went to The Saxon Pub, as I always do on the final Sunday, for the Resentments. Jon Dee Graham was absent sadly, but the other 4 were there (Stephen Bruton, Scrappy Jud Newcomb, Bruce Hughes and John Chipman). The former three took turns at singing during the first half, and in the second half they were joined by Al Anderson who sang a number of songs and showed what a good guitar player he was. Waylon Payne also came on stage and sang Help Me Through The Night. He’s the guy who played Jerry Lee Lewis in the Walk the Line film – not that I recognised him! It was a good show as always. The Saxon was jam-packed although there were no familiar faces there which surprised me – everyone must have been at The Continental for the Alejandro Party.
We arrived at my Uncle’s to find Ed and Nora glued to the television watching the incoming storm. Initially It was supposed to pass to the South of Austin, but it soon became apparent that it would pass right over head. We went and sat on the covered deck to watch – the sky would light up every few seconds and the thunder grumbled in the distance. Eventually the rain came, the thunder got louder and we could see the flashes of lightning that was lighting the sky. Wow. The road outside the house turned into a river almost instantly. It passed pretty quickly but was pretty severe whilst it lasted. I shot a short video on my camera and caught the lightning, I’ll see if I can post that.
I’m now sitting at the airport for the 2nd time – I tried to leave yesterday but the incoming flight from Denver was so badly delayed that I’d have missed my connection, so I had an extra day in Austin – in the sun – finally!!
It’s been an enjoyable year again. No new discoveries in the artists I saw live this time around, but I’ve seen some excellent shows. The stand out gig was without a doubt Marty Stuart & The Superlatives at Antones, I honestly can’t imagine seeing a better show this year. However also excellent were Redd Volkaert & Cindy Cashdollar at Cedar St. Café, Jimmy Rankin and Jon Randall at the same venue, Radney Foster at Antones, Eliza Gilkyson, Rodney Crowell and Lyle Lovett at The Parish, Kris Kristofferson at the New West Party and Sam Baker at the Hilton. I don’t think I saw anything sub-standard. It was also great to meet Korby Lenker and Sam Baker for the first time.
I love the SXSW week. I know so many people here, people I only see when I’m in Austin, regardless of where they are actually from. There have been criticisms that the festival has become too big, but I’ve had no problems seeing everyone I wanted to. Only regret is missing Wanda Jackson at the Continental. The other thing I love about SXSW is that everyone has a unique experience. I sat with friends the other day and although we have similar tastes we’d all been to completely different shows. I probably saw slightly less music this year than in years gone by, but all of it was good, and that’s the important thing.
Nashville was really good again this year, again it was different from last year, but that’s a good thing I think. Hopefully I’ll visit both again next year.
19 Mar 06
This was a more relaxing day due to rain and sheer exhaustion. After a good Mexican lunch my friend Emma and I wandered round some shops before meeting another friend at Opal Divines. We watched Elizabeth McQueen again and then Anna Egge who is coming over to the UK next month. Ok…
I spent the entire evening at Stubbs, it had stopped raining fortunately but wasn’t very warm. What Made Milwaukee Famouse were first up. Initially I didn’t like them at all, way way too loud and bassy, but they did get a bit better as the hour progressed. I think the album might be good. Rhett Miller was next up, he’s the singer from the Old 97s and has a new solo CD out The Believer. He wasn’t bad. Stubbs was now pretty much jam-packed. It’s a nice enough venue, good sight-lines, tones of places to buy drink and food but only about 10 toilets, so consequently there was a massive queue – I decided just to abstain from alcohol for the duration! Rosanne Cash was next, she had Larry Campbell and Jim Leventhal with her on guitar. It was an upbeat set featuring songs from the new Black Cadillac as well as a number of classics – Tennessee Box Top, Seven Year Ache (with Lyle Lovett) and others I can’t now remember. I’m now looking forward to seeing her in Edinburgh in June.
Lyle followed her on stage. Same band as last night (Viktor Krauss, John Hagen and a drummer). It was a really nice set, sounded great, with lovely playing from Viktor and John, but it didn’t suit the venue or the time of night. He probably should have been on before Rosanne and I’m also glad I saw him the night before in the intimate setting of The Parish.
Final act last night were The Pretenders. I’m not really a fan and only know the hit singles. They looked great, good stage presence and I’m sure it was an excellent show, if you like the band… Me, I was tired, the first 3 songs were unfamiliar and Chrissie said that they’d be playing tracks that only die-hard fans would know. That was all I needed to call it a night.
It’s now Sunday. I’m planning to go to Chicken Shit Sunday. I hope it’s as good as last year because I’ve persuaded a number of people to come with me. Dale won’t be there sadly. Wet and dull here again. This is my 6th visit to SXSW and the weather was only worse the very first time I came. Frustrating given that there’s just been a 3 month drought with temperatures up to the 90s!
19 Mar 06
I then realised that I hadn't yet been to D&L's Texas Cafe, now renamed Becks, so, as I had a little free time I popped in and saw (again!) the final two songs by a girl called Amanda Cunningham. She sounded pretty good and had a really nice band, so I bought her EP. She was followed by David Insley with the same band (+pedal steel), but this time I had to leave after 2 songs to get down to the Firehouse for David Mead (I wanted a copy of his new CD). This time he was solo and played keyboards or mandolin. I'd have preferred a guitar but still... he did one song from the new album totally acappelo. I'd heard about a girl called Amanda Shires, a fiddle player and singer from Lubbock, she was playing with her band at the Fat Caddy Records showcase (I didn't actually know this was on and would have liked to have seen Austin Collins). Again, I arrived in time for the last couple of songs and it was good enough that I'd have liked to have seen a bit more. Amanda gave me her solo CD and has a band album coming out soon.
No time for a breather, I then went to the Town Lake for Little Willies. I'd have liked to have seen Josh Ritter, but it was a longer walk than I had anticipated. The Little Willies (feat Norah Jones), were very slick. It sounded very good, but I like something a little rougher round the edges. Norah does have an amazing voice though and I'm glad I saw them.
I didn't stick around for Rosanne Cash, I'll see her on Saturday. I had so many choices for 8pm, I would have liked to have seen Colin Brooks or Billy Joe Shaver, but instead I decided to go to the Hilton for Sam Baker and I'm so glad I did. I bought his CD on the recommendation of a couple of people last year, and it's recently been released by Audrey Auld Mezera. I've always like it, but seeing Sam perform the songs live really brought them alive. He's a great raconteur, lovely to meet him too.
I hadn't been overly excited when I'd looked at the schedules for Friday, but actually it turned out to be a consistently good evening. I went to The Parish for Eliza Gilkyson, and arrived in time to see most of Al Anderson's set. I'd seen his name in writer credits on a lot of albums but that was pretty much all I knew about him. However it transpires he co-wrote "All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down" by the Mavericks. He performed that last night as well as a Stephen Bruton track and NRBQ's "That's It, I Quit". He had a great band including a drummer who featured in Neil Young's film, the keyboard player from Double Trouble and another guy who has played with Mark Knopfler. Glad I caught it.
Eliza was up next and I'd managed to get right to the front. She was excellent as always. It was the first time I'd seen her with a band which included her son on drums. The version of Man of God was brilliant. She returned to the stage during Tom Russell's set as did Gretchen Peters. I'm not a huge fan of Tom Russell, he's fine, but all the songs sound kind of the same. Next up was Rodney Crowell with Will Kimbrough. They did a brilliant version of Walk The Line Revisted with Will taking the part of Johnny Cash - close your eyes and it could have been Johnny! Rodney's set comprised songs from his last 3 CDs.
Now, I had no idea about this when I arrived at the Parish but there was to be a special guest at 1am. This guest turned out to be Lyle Lovett which was great because although I should be seeing him on Saturday at Stubbs, I was right up at the front for this set. He had Viktor Krauss on double bass and John Hagen on cello. I only stayed for 4 songs because I was absolutely knackered but I'm really pleased I saw him.
So it turned into a really good evening, and I have lots of photos to show for it too, which I'll put up on my return to Scotland.
Dark, wet and dreary today with electrical storms forecast which might cause problems for Stubbs.
19 Mar 06
this is slightly out of order - i don't know why it never appeared...
Before Antone’s I went back to the Cedar Street Courtyard where Redd Volkaert and Cindy Cashdollar started the evening. They had a band (drums and bass guitar) and the guitar and steel playing were of the highest calibre. Redd sang a few but most were instrumentals. He’s a funny looking man, a bit like a gnome who has grown to man-size, he has stubby little fingers but plays the most amazing guitar. Very funny too with all his comments about “The ladies”.
I arrived at Antones in time to catch the end of Stephen Bruton’s set. This time around he had a band which suits his music as his songs are quite rhythmic and bluesy. He had the same band he brought over to the UK last month.
Uncle Earl were next up, an all girl bluegrass band. Their music didn’t suit Antones at all (it’s really a rock club), the sound was very tinny from their acoustic instruments. I can’t say I paid much attention… Radney Foster, however, was considerably better. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen him play live and he reminded me a little bit of The Mavericks sound-wise. He looks like a university professor, side-parting in his hair, thick rimmed glasses, but that didn’t detract from his music. He has a new CD out in April and played songs from it. He was great, but totally over-shadowed by Marty Stuart and the Superlatives (featuring Kenny Vaughn on guitar). Wow, my friends and I stood with smiles of amazement and sheer joy on our faces throughout, and we weren’t the only ones. Again, he’s a funny little man. Big hair, now 50% white, a black scarf tied tightly around his neck and tight black trousers with large silver studs running down both legs. His band had on nudie style suits. But wow, what a performer he is (as is Kenny V). He began with a full on country track and continued in that vein with the exception of 1 track each from Badlands and Souls Chapel – during which he, the drummer and bass player stood around one mic with only marty playing guitar. Incredible. It was without a doubt the highlight of SXSW 2006 and possibly 2006 itself.
Nothing could surpass that and my feet were killing me, so I stayed for only one song from James McMurtry. I like him a lot and see him every year, but on this occasion he just couldn’t compare.
18 Mar 06
Friday was another busy day. It took a while to get going as I had a few things to take care of, but I saw tonnes of music, even if, in many cases, I arrived just in time to catch the last couple of songs of the artist I'd gone to see!
I began at The Firehouse where Korby Lenker was playing, I had no idea what time he was on, and so arrived whilst he was playing Papercuts, one of my favourites. One more song and he was finished. Oh well... sounded good though even if the corner he was playing in had no lights so he was almost entirely in the dark! I met him afterwards which was great as we've been in touch for years.
I then saw the last song of my uncle's St Patrick's Day Mother Egan's set, before going up to Threadgills. This time I managed to see the whole of Walter Clevenger & The Dairy Kings and their tribute to Nick Lowe (they released an album last year with lots of special guests). They were joined on stage by James Inveldt and Rick Shea as well as a couple of others. Good set, although I'm only familiar with a handful of Nick Lowe songs.
more in a bit - time for tea and croissants
16 Mar 06
The Nashville part of my US trip is almost over, I’m currently sitting at the airport with an hour to kill before my flight to Austin.
Nashville was a very different experience this year, less tourism, more socialising. I spent some time with Paul Deakin (Mavericks / Roadtrippers), visiting him and Robert Reynolds at the Sixteen Tons recording studio where they are working on an album with a singer called Harry Louge. Sounded pretty good. It’s a lovely studio, not at all what I expected. There was a comfortable reception area with amazing Alan Messer Johnny Cash photographs on the wall, and the sound desk in the studio was beautiful. Parts of it came from the BBC in Norwich, other bits from the Abbey Road studios.
On the Sunday evening Rod Picott, my friend Emma and I went to see Jo Rathbone play – I’ve featured a couple of tracks from his CD on my show over the years. Monday night we went to a restaurant called the loveless café for some home-cooked fried chicken with creamed corn and mashed potato and gravy. We then went to the Station Inn for the Time Jumpers. They were amazing. There were 11 of them on stage including 3 fiddle players who could segue seamlessly during tunes, a pedal steel, electric guitar, double bass, drums, acoustic guitar (played by Ranger Doug) and 2 vocalists. They performed a collection of western swing classics: Roly Poly, Cherokee Maiden, Route 66 amongst others. It’s a great little venue too, packed full of character.
Today we met Jim Reilley “The Man Who Had Everything”. He was holding court in Fido’s – apparently we just missed Steve Earle’s son, but were introduced to the drummer from 10,000 Maniacs. It was lovely to finally meet Jim, since I’ve been playing his music for a long time. His new CD, produced by Robert Reynolds should be out sometime this year – you heard it first on The Miller Tells Her Tale! We discussed some interesting ideas for Nashville 2007.
In our final few hours we found the time to go to the Country Music Hall of Fame to see the Ray Charles Exhibition. It’s not the biggest exhibition in the world and focuses almost exclusively on his role as a country singer – I thought this was odd until I remembered where I was! It was interesting though and has some great memorabilia and video clips. On our way out we stopped to watch the latter half of a video about Tim McGraw and Faith Hill on tour. It was horrible. There was a long interview with Tim, inter-cut with footage of their children, talking about how important their family was to them, and how they spend all their free time on the road with the kids, visiting zoos! Later however Tim told the interviewer how he spends all his free time watching football on TV or mucking about with his crew… believe what you like!
I’ve enjoyed my time in Nashville this year, but it hasn’t been long enough. In an ideal world I’d love to spend a month here, just hanging out, meeting people and soaking up the music, but I can’t see me ever being able to afford that sadly.
I’m now looking forward to Austin. Ir’s funny though, because Nashville has been so good, I’m not as excited about SXSW as I was. Although I’m sure that will change later today.
Didn’t do anything other than spend time with my family on Tuesday evening which was really nice. However I embraced SXSW with open arms on the Wednesay. During the morning I had to register, which was a fairly painless experience and then sort out wristbands for friends. I then popped into Waterloo Records where I bought the new Jessi Colter as well as a couple of CDs by complete unknowns – Dickie Lee Erwin and Wade Bowen – don’t ask why – the covers spoke to me or something! I’ll let you know if they are any good.
I then went to Opal Divine’s, arriving just in time for Nels Andrews to take the stage. He played some of the excellent tracks from his outstanding debut “Sunday Shoes” as well as some new songs. He has apparently written a new record, he just needs to record it. He and AJ Roach are booking a UK tour for October.
I then went up to Guero’s for some of Laura Thomas’ ComboPlate Booking show. Elizabeth McQueen and the Firebrands were first up, and it took me back to the same event last year when my friend Emma and I sat huddled together in the freezing cold whilst Elizabeth and her band were on stage. It was just as good a performance as last year featuring songs from “Happy Doing What We’re Doing” and the “Fresh-Up Club”. She was followed by Nels Andrews, with a different band this time.. He had Colin Brooks, whose CD I’ve played a lot on my show on lap steel as well as Jason Daniello (who gave me a CD) on guitar.
[I’m going to have to pausew this to menti0n that there’s a weird Japanese man standing on a table playing air guitar close to me…]
The band who followed Nels weren’t my thing so I returned to Opal Divine’s hoping to catch Stephen Clair, but was an hour too late, instead I found Edinburgh musician Dean Owens on the stage, sounding pretty good and he had a decent audience which was nice.
When Dean finished I moved across the road to Mother Egans for the Tres Chicas. I caught the end of Stan Ridgway but didn’t like that very much, but the Tres Chicas were excellent. They have a new CD out now and played songs from it. Lovely harmonies and good songs.
I began and ended the evening at the same place – Cedar Street Courtyard. Initially I saw Monte Warden. I’ve heard a lot of positive things about him, but must admit the CD I own never moved me and the best way of describing him is as “nice” – nice songs, nice harmonies, nice clothes and nice looking. He has no edge though. I left a little disappointed as I had expected more. Next up was David Mead at the Soho Lounge. He was joined by David Henry – a celloist and producer – he produced David’s Indiana CD, Rod Picott’s Girl from Arkansas and co-produced the forthcoming Slaid Cleaves album (featuring cover versions of songs by Texan artists). David showcased songs from his forthcoming album “Tangerine” which is releases in May. The sound wasn’t great but the songs sounded pretty good.
When he was finished I moved on again, this time to the 18th Floor of the Crown Plaza. This is a hotel at the far end of 6th Street, the venue is on the top floor. The sound here was perfect. James Talley had just begun when I arrived, he was accompanied by a double bass and Bill Kirchen on guitar. I like his re-released CD “No Bread…” a lot and live the songs hadn’t dated at all. He reminded me a little of Guy Clark. I stuck around for the next guy (primarily because I had a seat) but he wasn’t my thing at all. Horrible acoustic guitar playing amongst other things. He had big audience though, so maybe he’s an aquired taste.
I then returned to the Cedar Street Courtyard for Jimmy Rankin. He was one of the members of the Rankins from Nova Scotia, but his own material is a lot more rocky. He had a four piece band and although there were technical problems with his guitar it was a very enjoyable set. One to look out for I think. He was followed, after a 20 minute wait by Jon Randall, one of my absolute favourite artists. He had 5 musicians with him including Dave Pomeroy on bass and Rob Ickes on dobro. They kicked off with a long instrumental which I really enjoyed, followed by a selection of tracks from Jon’s new CD “Walking Among The Living”. Jessi Alexander joined in on harmonies on 4 songs including an amazing version of “Whiskey Lullaby” – the harmonies were top notch. I saw Jon last year but this perfomance far surpassed it. A great end to the evening.
I took a while to get going this morning after a late night on Wed. However I did make it into town in time for the New West Records party at Club De Ville. This is an annual event, which always takes place at the same time and place. This year the bill included Joe Ely, Stephen Bruton, Kris Kristofferson, Tim Easton and Drive By Truckers. I stayed for the first 4. Joe Ely was joined by an accordion player and performed some of his classic tracks and included a tribute to the late Jesse “Guitar” Taylor. He ended with Billy Jo Shaver’s Live Forever. Stephen Bruton played solo featuring songs from a selection of his albums, including one of my favourites “Day Drinking”. He remained on stage when his set was over and played guitar and mandolin for his good friend Kris Kristofferson who was just wonderful. This was the second time I’d seen Kris play at arms length, and brought back memories of his secret show at The Continental Club 2 years ago. Okay, he hasn’t got the best voice but live it works somehow. He has a real presence and even though he had to compete with loud, drum-heavy bands, playing next door at the BBC Radio 1 party he did so with good humour. He’s also amazing photogenic and I have many more photos to add to my Kris portfolio! I only stuck around for the beginning of Tim Easton’s set, but he was accompanied by 2 fiddle playes which was something a little different for him.
So that’s it so far. I haven’t heard anybody completely new to me as yet although I M currently listening to the Wade Bowen CD I bought in Waterloo and it’s sounding pretty good.
Tonight I’ll be at Antone’s for the duration – Radney Foster, Marty Stuart, James McMurtry and Hank III – sounds good to me!
09 Mar 06
48 hours from now I'll be landing in Nashville - not that I'm counting or anything!
I'm going to try and post a daily diary right here every day I'm away, but if you'd like it emailed to you then please let me know asap. It's basically my way of remembering everything I've done, but I'm happy to share it with anyone interested.
There won't be any new shows until I return and then I'll do my SXSW special. I might well, however, be doing a report on BBC Radio Scotland's Brand New Country on the 17th March (Fri 8-10pm). Of course I need to find the time (and technology) to put something together when I'm out there, but hopefully it will happen.
I've had plenty of new CDs to keep me going on the journey. The latest batch of Live from Austin TX CDs are great, especially the Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings albums. The new Shawn Mullins is considerably better than his last effort, much more stripped back and rootsy. Josh Ritter's The Animal Years is excellent and, although nowhere near as good as my album of 05, Subtitulo from Josh Rouse isn't half bad either.
Oh yes, I mentioned this in my latest mail out, but it is now possible to review podcasts on iTunes. If you enjoy my show and download it that way (or even if you don't!), then please leave a little review, it all helps spread the word and introduce the music to more people. Thanks!
22 Feb 06
Only two and a half weeks until I depart for Nashville then SXSW - not that I'm counting! Both the official and unofficial schedules are beginning to appear and it's looking good. It'll soon be time to try and figure out how I can see as many artists as possible.
I went to see Buddy Miller and Hayes Carll on both Monday and Tuesday nights. Hayes was very good, singing a mixture of songs from his 2 CDs (both highly recommended). He didn't however have any to sell which must have lost him so much money. Buddy was, as always brilliant. He is one of my favourite musicians and never disappoints. He had 2 members of Irish band the Amazing Pilots playing drums and bass who did a good job. We heard many of his best tracks from the new CD and earlier in his career. He comes across really well on stage too, it's hard not to like him.
We interviewed both of them for Brand New Country on Tuesday morning with a couple of live tracks from each. Hayes will be broadcast on the 3rd March and Buddy 24th. Well worth tuning in for. Oh, and they've both given me permission to use their music, so I'm delighted!
27 Jan 06
Another couple of good gigs this week. Capercaillie were really great on Wednesday evening. I was a fan back in the mid-90s when I bought the CDs and saw them live a couple of times, but the more recent output never really did it for me. However, live they were brilliant, it's a band of talented musicians (Michael McGoldrick, Charlie McKerron and Donald Shaw especially) and Karen Matheson has such a beautiful voice. On Thursday night I saw Kim Richey, supported by Laura Kenny. I'm going to play something from Laura's album on my next show (which will be a Scotland / UK special). Kim was good, she had bass and guitar players with her and performed most of the familiar songs and some new ones. She's also humourous and intersting between tracks which I always enjoy.
I'm going to see the Johnny Cash film on Monday which I'm looking forward to. I have to admit that until 18 months ago I wasn't much of a JC fan, however, working on Brand New Country has changed that view. The one thing I loved prior to that was "Hurt". I remember vividly when I first saw the video - I was at SXSW, in the Austin Music Hall at the Lost Highway showcase. The Hurt video was played between every single act, it was quite possibly the most moving video I'd ever seen, and, of course, with Johnny and June both dying not that long after it, it became all the more meaningful. I've recently read the excellent biography by Steve Turner "The Man Called Cash" which is one of the best books I've read in a while, very interesting and personal, the first chapter which talks about the death of June is so sad. It's a fascinating, entertaining and moving read so I'd recommend it to anyone, even if you're not a Cash fan. (It's £5 in Fopp right now & worth every penny!) I'm intrigued to see how the film handles his early life. I've heard mixed reports. I'll report back next week...
23 Jan 06
It's still only January and I'm already gigged out!
On Tuesday I was at the Nashville showcase which is part of the Glasgow Celtic Connections festival. Last year it featured the wonderful Jon Randall and his girlfriend Jessi Alexander, this time it was the turn of CMA Horizon Award Winner Dierks Bentley and relative newcomer Jace Everett. They were both surprisingly good. Jace had only a guitarist accompanying him, Dierks had a full band and reminded me a little of a slightly more Nashville version of Charlie Robison. He has a lot of the right influences and performed songs by Buddy Miller and Jamie Hartford.
We interviewed them for Brand New Country on the Wed. morning and Bryan Burnett, the presenter, was presented with the CMA International Country Broadcaster 2005 Award, won last year by Bob Harris. This was a huge honour for Bryan and for the production team. It came as a complete surprise to Bryan - I'd known about it since July - and boy was it difficult to keep a secret!!
On Wednesday evening I returned to the Tron Theatre for the Rounder Women evening. It featured Alana Levandoski, Caroline Herring, Lynn Miles and Dar Williams. Each came up in turn to perform about seven songs. I admit, I only stayed for the first half (Alana and Caroline). It would have been considerably better if they'd presented the show in an In The Round format. Still, good to hear Caroline again and I was fairly impressed with Alana.
Saturday night was Teddy Thompson, with band. Great show, I'm still in love with his CD Separate Ways. Decent crowd too, which given all that was going on in Glasgow that night was great news. Finally, last night I went to the recently re-opened Old Fruitmarket for With Strings Attached, a collaboration between Blazin' Fiddles, Justin Currie, Eddi Reader and Colin MacIntyre. This was a really enjoyable show, Justin performed primarily Del Amitri songs - This Side of The Morning, Be My Downfall, Sleep Instead of Teardrops and Nothing Ever Happens, as well as one new track (which he also did last year) No Surrender - how he remembers all the words for this I don't know! Eddi did lovely versions of Gallileo, All or Nothing, Town Without Pity amongst others. As I said good show, but would have maybe benefited from the artists performing different songs from their show last year and Justin didn't do the wonderful What Is Love For.
I've got a couple of gig free days now, but then it's Capercaillie at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. I haven't seen them live for about 10 years so looking forward to that.
15 Jan 06
New show coming as soon as I have a chance to record it (been away all weekend).
However, imagine my amazement when I returned home after a Chuck Prophet gig (excellent) in Newcastle to find an email from someone saying I was in the Sunday Times today. I immediately rushed out the house, bought the paper, and yes, it's true! Doors Section, hidden away at the back of Sport for some odd reason.
I was contact back in December by the Sunday Times to ask if I could have my photo taken for an article on podcasting which was to appear in the Digital Buzz Words of 05 feature. The photograph appeared hundreds of photos were taken, but I didn't make the article. I was disappointed, but at the same time unsurprised. So the fact that I'm there this week, with a whole paragraph and a horrible photo (the photographer took hundreds, there must have been a better one!!), is amazing.
This is what was said:
"Fans of country-tinged rock and other Americana will love Karen Miller's podcast radio show, The Miller Tells Her Tale, which delivers a terrific selection of rarely heard music directly to your computer, dripping fresh with bourbon-sozzled heartbreak.
Broadcasting from her home in Edinburgh, the radio-mad Miller is one among many web innovators taking their first steps in the interactive depths of broadband internet. Fed up with playing "miserable songs" on Red Dot [Radio], an Edinburgh hospital radio station, she quit and started her own country-music podcast. The rapid take-up of superfast always-on connections has transformed the internet into a worthy mouthpiece for her passion, winning her an international audience of music fans who scour the web looking for such treats. You can download The Miller's output from www.themillertellshertale.co.uk or head to a search engine such as www.ipodder.org to set up a subscription."
So there you go! I'm stunned. I would like to point out though that I didn't quit Red Dot (I'm still an associate member) to set up my podcast. In fact I did the Spyda show and Red Dot concurrently for a couple of years until lack of time and a lengthy daily commute meant I had to stop doing my show on hospital radio. Still, the article was mostly accurate.
31 Dec 05
...and here's the FAR Chart of 05:
ALBUM OF THE YEAR #1 Marti Brom Sings Heartache Numbers: (Goofin) 2 John Prine: Fair & Square: (Oh Boy) 3 Caitlin Cary & Thad Cockrell: Begonias (Yep Roc) 4 James McMurtry: Childish Things (Compadre) 5 Eliza Gilkyson: Paradise Hotel (Red House) 6 Rodney Crowell: The Outsider (Columbia) 7 Mary Gauthier: Mercy Now (Lost Highway) 8 Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives: Souls' Chapel (Superlatone) 9 Dwight Yoakam: Blame The Vain (New West) 10 Jimmie Dale Gilmore: Come On Back (Rounder)
DEBUT ALBUM #1 Miss Leslie & Her Juke Jointers: Honky Tonk Revival (Zero Label) 2 Sarah Borges: Silver City (Blue Corn) 3 Amber Digby: Music From The Honky Tonks (Yellow Rose) 4 Abigail Washburn: Song Of The Traveling Daughter (Nettwerk) 5 Shooter Jennings: Put The O Back In Country (Universal South) 6 Hacienda Brothers (Koch) 7 Robyn Ludwick: For So Long (Late Show) 8 Dave Insley: Call Me Lonesome (self) 9 Twilight Ranchers: Who Stole That Train (Cow Island Music) 10 Wayne Scott: This Weary Way (Full Light)
VARIOUS ARTISTS/TRIBUTE ALBUM #1 Los Super 7: Heard It On The X (Telarc) 2 Tribute To Billy Joe Shaver (Compadre) 3 For A Decade Of Sin; 11 Years Of Bloodshot Records (Bloodshot) 4 Elizabeth McQueen & The Firebrands: Happy Doing What We're Doing (Freedom)
REISSUE/HISTORIC ALBUM #1 Blaze Foley: Wanted More Dead Than Alive (Waddell Hollow) 2 Terry Allen: The Silent Majority (Sugar Hill) 3 Bob Dylan: No Direction Home (Sony Legacy) 4 Johnny Cash: The Legend (Sony Legacy) 5 John Lilly & Ralph Blizard: Blue Highway (self)
FEMALE ARTIST #1 Marti Brom 2 Mary Gauthier 3 Eliza Gilkyson 4 Elizabeth McQueen 5 Audrey Auld Mezera 6 Adrienne Young 7 Amber Digby
MALE ARTIST #1 John Prine 2 James McMurtry 3 Rodney Crowell 4 Jimmie Dale Gilmore 5 Dwight Yoakam
SONGWRITER #1 James McMurtry 2 John Prine 3 Mary Gauthier 4 Rodney Crowell 5 Eliza Gilkyson 6 Tim Grimm 7 Cary Swinney
BEST IN THE INDUSTRY #1 Joe Swank/Yep Roc 2 Thais Fletcher/Bloodshot 3 Martha Moore/So Much Moore 4 Lynn Lancaster & Lindsay Reid/Sugar Hill 5 Vickie Lucero/Propaganda Group 6 Al Moss & Melissa Farina/Al Moss Promotion
THE 100 CLUB 303 Marti Brom (Female Artist) 280 Blaze Foley: Wanted More Dead Than Alive (Reissue/Historic Album) 223 Los Super 7: Heard It On The X (VA/Tribute Album) 187 Mary Gauthier (Female Artist) 160 Tribute To Billy Joe Shaver (VA/Tribute Album) 150 John Prine (Male Artist) 146 Miss Leslie & Her Juke Jointers: Honky Tonk Revival (Debut Album) 139 For A Decade Of Sin; 11 Years Of Bloodshot Records (VA/Tribute Album) 138 Elizabeth McQueen & The Firebrands: Happy Doing What We're Doing (VA/Tribute Album) 133 Eliza Gilkyson (Female Artist) 130 Marti Brom Sings Heartache Numbers: (Album Of The Year) 123 Yep Roc/Joe Swank (Best In The Industry) 117 James McMurtry (Songwriter) 115 Terry Allen: The Silent Majority (Reissue/Historic Album) 112 John Prine (Songwriter) 112 John Prine: Fair & Square (Album Of The Year) 108 Mary Gauthier (Songwriter) 106 Rodney Crowell (Songwriter) 102 Bob Dylan: No Direction Home (Reissue/Historic Album) 101 Sarah Borges: Silver City (Debut Album)
31 Dec 05
I hope you all had a great Christmas. Mine was a fairly quiet family affair, but nothing wrong with that! I've been in Paris for a few days which was lovely even if the journey home took 5 hours longer than it should have (Charles De Gaulle seemed incapable of dealing with a light snow shower) & BA weren't much better!
My two Best of 05 shows are recorded, the second will appear shortly. I had to miss out quite a lot of my favourites due to lack of permission to play them, or time - 80 minutes isn't very long really.
Therefore here are my favourite albums of the year:
Josh Rouse - Nashville
Hayes Carll - Little Rock
Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion - Exploration
Caitlin Cary & Thad Cockrell - Begonias
Alex Ryan - Bloom
Rod Picott - Travel Log Live
Stephen Clair - Under The Bed
Tracy Grammer - Flower of Avalon
Robbie Fulks - Georgia Hard
Jon Randall - Walking Among The Living
And my favourite songs (in no particular order):
Blue Rodeo - Don't Get Angry
Robert Reynolds - Pretty Like You
Lee Ann Womack - I May Hate Myself in the Morning
Trisha Yearwood - Georgia Rain
Alex Ryan - Alice
Rod Picott - Torn in Two (live)
Hayes Carll - Take Me Away
Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion - In Lieu of Flowers
Hanna-McEuen - Something Like A Broken Heart
Caitlin Cary & Thad Cockrell - Please Break My Heart
Arthur Godfrey - It's All Part of the Story
Austin Collins - Leave Me For Dead
Tandy - Evensong
The Sundowns - It's You
Willy Clay Band - Soldier
And finally... favourite gigs of 05:
Jim Lauderdale - Antone's SXSW 05
Ray Wylie Hubbard - Antone's SXSW 05
Buddy Miller - Cactus Cafe SXSW 05
Dale Watson - Chicken Sh*t Sunday, Austin
Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez - Bein Inn, Glenfarg
Rod Picott - Bein Inn, Glenfarg
Mark Erelli - Bein Inn, Glenfarg
Thanks for listening and supporting the music throughout the past year(s). Here's to a music-filled 2006.
15 Dec 05
I went to see Justin Currie on Monday night in Glasgow. Del Amitri are my absolute favourite band and have been since I first saw them live at St Andrews Student Union back in 1989. If you've never heard them pick up an album, it's very well worth it! The gig was billed as the inaugural night of the Misery Club, and it took place in a dingy and very smoky little club on Queen St. in Glasgow. Justin played keyboards and acoustic guitar and was accompanied by Stuart Nisbet on electric guitar, and also a bass guitarist and drummer (who did some vocals). He only played two 25 minute sets, but it was mainly (I think) from his forthcoming solo album and the songs sounded great. Definitely an album to look forward to!
Last night I went to the album launch of Andi Neate's third album "Paper Animals". First time I've ever had to do origami at a gig - and I failed miserably on step 2 of the butterfly I was trying to create! Still, the music was good. Andi was joined by a number of different musicians for each track which added to the variety.
That's 2005 over as far as live music is concerned for me. It's been a pretty good year for gigs. All my favourite UK gigs took place at The Bein Inn, in Glenfarg - Mark Erelli, Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez, and Rod Picott. My other favourites were all Austin gigs - Jim Lauderdale, Jon Randall, Ray Wylie Hubbard to name three of many. Here's to 2006 - plenty to look forward to already - Chuck Prophet, Buddy Miller, Hayes Carll, Caitlin Cary & Thad Cockrell, Eliza Gillkyson...
There's still time to send me your favourites of 2005. Thanks to those (few) who have already done so.
10 Dec 05
#1 Bobby Earl Smith: Turn Row Blues (Muleshoe) *CP/*DJ/*KD/*RH/*RS/*RW 2 Blaze Foley: Wanted More Dead Than Alive (Waddell Hollow) *KC/*PP/*TA 3 VA: For A Decade Of Sin (Bloodshot) *KB/*LG/*SF/*TJ 4 Tim Grimm: The Back Fields (Wind River) *EB/*HT 5 Miss Leslie & Her Juke-Jointers: Honky Tonk Revival (Zero Label) *BP/*CS 6 Jimmie Dale Gilmore: Come On Back (Rounder) *AA/*ST 7 Marti Brom Sings Heartache Numbers (Goofin’ [Finland]) *BL/*KF/*MM 8 Rick Shea & The Losing End: Bound For Trouble (Tres Pescadores) *AN/*MDT/*MP 9 Merle Haggard: Chicago Wind (Capitol) *AB/*DF/*NA 10 Four Dead Batteries; Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Hightone) *DC/*MA 11 Dale Watson; Heeah!! (Continental Song City/Koch) *EW/*FS 12 Robyn Ludwick: For So Long (Late Show) *JS/*T&J 13 James McMurtry: Childish Things (Compadre) *BH 14= Donal Hinely: Giants (Scuffletown) *MB Tim O'Brien: Fiddler's Green (Sugar Hill) *FW/*WT Marty Stuart & The Superlatives: Soul's Chapel (Superlatone) Hank Thompson: My Personal Favorites (Thompson Enterprises) *TR Joy Lynn White: One More Time (Thortch) *GS/*RC 15 Nancy Apple & Bob McNurlin: River Road Or Rail (Ringo) *BR 16 Susan Cowsill: Just Believe It (Blue Corn) *GM/*N&T 17 Elliott BROOD: Ambassador (Six Shooter) *JR/*SR 18= Cari Lee & The Contenders: Scorched (Star Tone) *JA Little Rachel: 'Cause I Feel Good (self) *JF 19= Billy Joe Shaver: The Real Deal (Compadre) *RJ Cary Swinney; Big Shots (Johnson Grass) 20= Bobby Bare: The Moon Was Blue (Dualtone) *JM Rodney Crowell: The Outsider (DMZ/Sony) Mary Gauthier: Season Of Mercy (Lost Highway) *WR Justin Trevino: More Loud Music And Strong Wine (Heart Of Texas) *MT 21 Colin Brooks: Blood And Water (Skywater) 22= Daddy: Live At The Women's Club (Cedarcreek) *3RC Johnny Nicholas: Livin' With The Blues (Topcat) *TG Wayne Scott: This Weary Way (Full Light) *CL Joe West: The Human Cannonball (Frogville) 23= Arlo Guthrie: Live In Sydney (Rising Son) Jefferson Pepper: Christmas In Fallujah (American Fallout) *JT 24= Antsy McClain: Time-Sweetened Lies (DPR) *DS Eric Taylor: The Great Divide (Blue Ruby) *MF Jim Wilson: This Old House (Ringo) *TF 25= Joan Baez: Bowery Songs (Koch) *MR JJ Baron: Brand New Stranger (Rhody) *JB DeSoto Rust (self) *GG Krista Detor: Mudshow (Tightrope) *ND Neil Diamond: 12 Songs (Columbia) Jerry Douglas: The Best Kept Secret (Koch) Drunk Stuntmen: Trailer Life (self) *T&C Great Big Sea: The Hard And The Easy (Zoe) *JMB Michael Hill: The Vanishing Season (MPH) *BB Dan Israel (Eclectone) *DY Jill Jack: Moon And The Morning After (Pearl's Influence) *BK George Jones: Hits I Missed... & One I Didn’t (Bandit) *B&C Mark Lemhouse: The Great American Yard Sale (Yellow Dog) *JP Patty Loveless: Dreamin' My Dreams (Epic) Nethers: In Fields We Will Lie (Box Theory) *FD Dan Penn & Spooner Oldham: Moments From This Theatre (Proper) *SC Cam Penner & The Gravel Road: Felt Like A Sunday Night (self) *BS The Silvertones: Ride In My Cadillac (Deep South) *HP Uncle Earl: She Waits for Night (Rounder) *DO VA: Banjoman, A Tribute To Derroll Adams (Rising Son) *BW VA: Walk The Line Motion Picture Original Soundtrack (Wind-Up) *DV Jack Williams: Laughing In The Face Of The Blues (Wind River) *SMJ Beth Wood: Marigold (self) *SM Adrienne Young & Little Sadie: The Art Of Virtue (AddieBelle) *ES
...I forgot to vote, but had I remembered I would have put Cam Penner & The Gravel Road at my No1.
Current favourite CDs I can't play on my show are Allen Dobb "Rosetown", Teddy Thompson "Separate Ways" and Jamie Hartford's tribute to his father "Part of Your History" - all excellent.
I'm currently tearing my hair out trying to figure out my favourite albums of 2005. There will be 2 official podcast Best of the Year shows, I'll maybe put them up at the same time, but maybe not... Can't decide!
I finally forced myself to watch the Country Music Awards coverage on the BBC last night - almost everything about it was horrible - the scripted links, music, outfits..! The only musical moment I enjoyed was Willie Nelson singing Still Crazy After All Those Years. Apart from that I was pleased to see Lee Ann Womack pick up a couple of awards and always good to see Jon Randall, even if Whiskey Lullaby was featured heavily in the 2004 awards too. I came away from it understanding why country music has such a bad name. Take Keith Urban, nothing country about him at all, more AOR, he received entertainer of the year and talked about how important country music and the industry were to him. Yet when he came to the UK he refused to be seen as country and wouldn't even allow his CDs to be sent to country music shows/country press. Crazy!
08 Nov 05
No new show last weekend - sorry about that, but the last one didn't appear on itunes until Thursday, which is where most listeners get it from, so I decided to have a weekend off. Plus my ipod which plays an integral part in the compilation of the show has had to be sent back to Apple due to its regular bouts of amnesia which were proving very frustrating!
Talking of itunes, I discovered something really cool - if I mention an artist I'm playing in the rss file for the show, then itunes picks up on that, so that if you look that artist (for example David Mead or Darden Smith) up you'll find a link to my podcast. Now that's clever! I must start listing all the artists I'm playing in the file each week!
Finally, booked my SXSW flights last night. 4 nights in Nashville followed by 6 in Austin. I just wish March wasn't so far off...
01 Nov 05
October's FAR Chart Top 20:
#1 James McMurtry: Childish Things (Compadre) *DN/*GV/*N&T/*T&C/*TA/*TR 2 Miss Leslie & Her Juke-Jointers: Honky Tonk Revival (Zero Label) *BP/*EW/*KD/*OO 3 Blaze Foley: Wanted More Dead Than Alive (Waddell Hollow) *BL/*CP/*GS/*MT/*TG 4 Marti Brom Sings Heartache Numbers (Goofin’ [Finland]) *LB/*MM/*VL 5 Joe West: The Human Cannonball (Frogville) *BB/*JW/*RC 6 Billy Joe Shaver: The Real Deal (Compadre) *PP/*RA/*RJ 7 Arlo Guthrie: Live In Sydney (Rising Son) *KM/*RH/*WR 8 Bobby Earl Smith: Turn Row Blues (Muleshoe) *NA/*TF 9 Shaun Young: Wiggle Walk (Goofin' [Finland]) *DC/*JF/*JZ/*LG 10 VA: For A Decade Of Sin (Bloodshot) *JM/*3RC/*TH/*TJ 11 Jimmie Dale Gilmore: Come On Back (Rounder) *DT 12 Marah: If You Didn’t Laugh You’d Cry (Yep Roc) *GM/*TM/*TW 13 Marty Stuart & The Superlatives: Soul's Chapel (Superlatone) *BF/*JD 14 Cari Lee & The Contenders: Scorched (Star Tone) *AN/*KC 15 Dar Williams: My Better Self (Razor & Tie) *ES/*JB/*SMJ 16 Wayne Scott: This Weary Way (Full Light) *DA/*MP 17 Ryan Adams: Jacksonville City Nights (Lost Highway) *RU 18 Paul Kelly & the Stormwater Boys: Foggy Highway (Cooking Vinyl) *BS/*JR 19 Tim Grimm: The Back Fields (Wind River) 20= Eliza Gilkyson: Paradise Hotel (Red House) *TT Robyn Ludwick: For So Long (Late Show) *ND
My No1 was Arlo Guthrie "Live In Syndney" and my No2 Arthur Godfrey "Amen".
26 Oct 05
Apologies for my silence, life's been busy and in my spare time I've been a little distracted by Series 6 of the West Wing DVDs (excellent as always).
I haven't been to very many gigs (for me that is), this October, although on Monday night I saw Kate and Anne McGarrigle at The Queen's Hall in Edinburgh. Truth be told, I was a little disappointed to be missing Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion who were playing that same evening, but as it turned out Kate and Ann were very good. They had a 4-piece band including a nice and quiet drummer, they took turns at singing with some lovely harmonies. Good audience too.
Last night we recorded a Darden Smith house concert for BBC Radio Scotland's Brand New Country show (it will be broadcast on the 25th Nov). Darden is a nice guy and good performer. He did 2 sets of songs primarily from the last 3 albums - Sunflower, Circo and Field of Crows to an appreciative audience of around 25 people. Good stories too. We also recorded the sound-check for broadcast on my show - 2 tracks, which sound great (thanks John). So I'll include them in show 137.
I mentioned this in my last mailing list, but I received a really good CD last week, it's the new double live album from Arlo Guthrie - Live in Sydney. I admit I didn't know much about Arlo but it's a great CD, he's very very funny between songs. I haven't had permission yet to play it though, fingers-crossed I do. I've also received the new albums from Daddy, American Ambulance and Blaze Foley (his "lost" country album), so there will be tracks from them on the next show.
Thanks to everyone who has been in touch, I'm continually astonished and gratified by the response I've had from listeners and musicians to the podcast version of this show.
Oh yes, one final thing. TMTHT will soon also be broadcast via Hot and Gold. More details very soon.
03 Oct 05
Latest FAR Chart Top 20
#1 Miss Leslie & Her Juke-Jointers: Honky Tonk Revival (Zero Label) *CP/*DB/*EW/*KD/*ND/*RH/*TH 2 Eliza Gilkyson: Paradise Hotel (Red House) *CD/*DJ/*SM/*TJ/*TT 3 James McMurtry: Childish Things (Compadre) *GC/*GM/*GV/*OO/*PP/*RC 4 Joe West: The Human Cannonball (Frogville) *GS/*RE/*RS/*T&J 5 Marti Brom Sings Heartache Numbers (Goofin’ [Finland]) *BL/*JF 6= Marty Stuart & The Superlatives: Soul's Chapel (Superlatone) *BF/*DF/*KC/*TG Cary Swinney; Big Shots (Johnson Grass) *AA/*BH 7 Jimmie Dale Gilmore: Come On Back (Rounder) *CS 8 Corb Lund: Hair In My Eyes Like A Highland Steer (Stony Plain) *BS/*DP 9 Arlo Guthrie: Live In Sydney (Rising Son) *MR/*TR Billy Joe Shaver: The Real Deal (Compadre) *PTT 10= Kinky Friedman & The Texas Jewboys: Mayhem Aforethought (Sphincter) *HP/*ST Wayne Scott: This Weary Way (Full Light) *FW/*RM 11= Caitlin Cary & Thad Cockrell: Begonias (Yep Roc) *JS/*SB Rodney Crowell: The Outsider (DMZ/Sony) *JP Waco Brothers: Freedom & Weep (Bloodshot) 12= Colin Brooks: Blood And Water (Skywater) *TF Calexico/Iron & Wine: In the Reins (Overcoat) *SF The Woodys: Telluride To Tennessee (Everett Family) *BR/*KR 13 Kate Campbell: Blues & Lamentations (Large River) *JA 14 Bob Dylan: No Direction Home (Columbia/Legacy) *K&V/*SMJ 15= Grayson Capps: If You Knew My Mind (Hyena) *JB/*MP Delbert McClinton: Cost Of Living (New West) *MB 16= Tim O’Brien: Cornbread Nation (Sugar Hill) *R&H/*RJ Rod Picott: Travel Log; Live 2005 Vol 1 (Welding Rod) *HT/*KM 17= Janet Beazley: 5 South (Backcountry) *EB The Blasters: 4-11-44 (Rainman) *JZ 18= Jeff Black: Tin Lily (Dualtone) *MF Jordan Chassan: East of Nashville, West of Knoxville (Strong) The Modern Sounds Of The Knitters (Zoe/Rounder) *TW 19= Dan Penn & Spooner Oldham: Moments From This Theatre (Proper) Dwight Yoakam: Blame The Vain (New West) *MM 20= Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash: Mile Markers (Texacali) *RV Steve Dawson: Sweet Is The Anchor (Undertow) *BK Amber Digby: Music From The Honky Tonks (Yellow Rose) *SH
02 Oct 05
No new show this week. I've run out of space on my audio server (libsyn.com - highly recommended for podcasts), until 6 Oct, and don't want to drop any existing shows.
I've also had a trying time with my ipod and its back-up. I've lost 3000 songs, which is REALLY frustrating! I use it for my radio show and for work, so there's a lot to add back on to it. aarghh!
28 Sep 05
Managed to catch 3 of Rod's gigs, all of which were excellent. Highlight was, by a whisker, the Bein Inn gig - smalled audience, but nicest room, and best selection of songs, including Torn in Two, On and On, The Leaving Kind and Workshirts and Turpentine. I think Rod's songs work very well with the steel/dobro. We recorded a session for Radio Scotland, which will go out soon. It's also excellent.
I've also been to see Chatham County Line this week. I'd seen them in Austin acting as the backing band for Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion and was impressed then. They didn't disappoint when performing their own set in Edinburgh. Nice length of set, good variety, good players and entertaining in between songs. Plus I don't think I've ever seen anyone change a guitar string so quickly, and whilst still singing!
Received some excellent new CDs this week, none of which, at the moment anyway, I can play on my show. However, please do check them out:
Dan Penn & Spooner Oldham - Moments From This Theatre
Jim Henry - One Horse Town
Peter Bruntnell - Ghost In A Spitfire Stephen Bruton - From The Five
I've given the new Ryan Adams one listen, not bad, but I think there are too many songs. I think I'll like them better when they come up individually on shuffle on my ipod.
24 Sep 05
I've changed the name of my show on the various podcasting directories - it's now "Americana - The Miller Tells Her Tale" - it's a blatant attempt to get more listeners (and to move up the alphabet!) Shouldn't affect automatic downloads though as the files all remain the same.
Saw Rod Picott with Matt Mauch on Tuesday night in Glasgow. Fabulous gig, lived up to all my expectations. The sound was perfect, the set long and the songs sublime. Looking forward to tonight's gig, here in Edinburgh.
Also saw Matt Mayes & El Torpedo on Thursday night. Supporting Hayseed Dixie. Good band, and I think the audience took to them. We didn't stick around for Hayseed though, the room was very full and I've seen them before. Good players but three or four songs is enough for me.
15 Sep 05
I saw Jeff Finlin the other night, accompanied by Sally Van Meter on steel and dobro. Very nice, long set from Jeff. The steel and dobro perfectly complemented his music - Sally is a great player. Jeff played for about 2 hours, with songs from his last 3 albums. Great to see him again.
Lots of good gigs coming up, next for me, and one I'm REALLY looking forward to is Rod Picott, also with a steel and dobro player - Matt Mauch. I just received the live CD "Travel Log", also featuring Matt, and it's great. Some lovely re-interpretations of songs from Tiger Tom Dixon's Blues. I'm promoting Rod's Edinburgh show - 24 September, Village Inn, Leith. So please come along if you live close-by.
Also coming up are Chatham County Line, Matt Mays (supporting Hayseed Dixie), David Mead, Mike Ferrio and Jim Roll, Believers and The Hacienda Brothers. I'm going to be busy.
Still no news re. Spyda... But the podcasts seem to be going down well.
02 Sep 05
I also meant to say that as of my next show I'm cutting the length by half. My podcasts will in future be approx 90 minutes long. I think this makes more sense for downloads given that everyone doesn't have the ability to download 3 hours in one go.
However, I'm going to try and put up a new show every week, so you'll still get 3 hours worth over a 2 week period. AND! Each show will be available for a month or so (or until I remember to remove them!)
02 Sep 05
The August FAR Chart Top 20:
1 Marti Brom Sings Heartache Numbers (Goofin’ [Finland]) *BL/*DB/*JF/*KD/*KF/*LB/*MP/*RC/*RT 2 Eliza Gilkyson: Paradise Hotel (Red House) *AA/*AB/*BF/*ES/*SB/*TT 3 Jimmie Dale Gilmore: Come On Back (Rounder) *BP/*CP/*JM/*RH/*TF 4 Rodney Crowell: The Outsider (DMZ/Sony) *BK/*JB/*JP/*R&H/*SG/*TR 5 James McMurtry: Childish Things (Compadre) *KB/*LW/*OO/*RV 6 Delbert McClinton: Cost Of Living (New West) *DS 7 Miss Leslie & Her Juke-Jointers: Honky Tonk Revival (Zero Label) *MT/*TC 8 Waco Brothers: Freedom & Weep (Bloodshot) *AN/*TW 9 Bear & The Essentials: Two Time Fool (self) *DC/*LG/*RS 10= The Knitters The Modern Sounds Of The Knitters (Zoe/Rounder) *TM Nickel Creek: Why Should The Fire Die? (Sugar Hill) *HP/*JMB/*N&T 11 Tim O'Brien: Cornbread Nation (Sugar Hill) *KM/*RJ 12 Dwight Yoakam: Blame The Vain (New West) *BH 13 Laura Cantrell: Humming By The Flowered Vine (Matador) *MDT/*SF 14= Janet Beazley: 5 South (Backcountry) *FW Son Volt: Okemah And The Melody Of Riot (Transmit Sound/Legacy) *JS 15 Tim O'Brien: Fiddler's Green (Sugar Hill) *BR/*JT 16= Stephen Bruton: From The Five (New West) *ND Bobby Flores: Too Many Rivers (Yellow Rose) *RW Billy Joe Shaver: The Real Deal (Compadre) *KC/*KR 17 Cary Swinney; Big Shots (Johnson Grass) *GS/*TO 18 Ry Cooder: Chavez Ravine (Nonesuch) *DJ/*TJ 19= Terry Allen: The Silent Majority (Sugar Hill) *PP Hackensaw Boys: Love What You Do (Nettwerk) *T&C 20= Danny Barnes: Get Myself Together (Terminus) *T&L Maria Muldaur Sweet Lovin' Ol' Soul (Stony Plain) *B&C/*MR
I had a bit of a blank when filling it in and remembered lots of great albums when I saw the chart! I put Tim O'Brien's Cornbread Nation as my no 1, sadly I can't play it on the podcast, but it's very good as is his other new release Fiddler's Green.
Talking of CDs I can't play anymore, can I recommend the following:
James McMurtry: Childish Things Sexsmith & Kerr: Destination Unknown (brilliant) Dale Watson: Heeah! Jackie Leven: Elegy for Johnny Cash Gretchen Peters: Trio Shannon McNally: Geronimo
22 Aug 05
SpydaRadio's still down, and probably will be for a while. I apologise on behalf of the presenters for the fact that the Spyda site has gone completely - I've no idea why a holding page hasn't been put up explaining the situation rather than dropping the site - it doesn't really give the right message...
However I've come up with a couple of solutions. Firstly I'm going to start a Live 365 station, it will only play music (which I'll change every week or so) with no links and it will have adverts, however, it's a chance to listen to some of the music I would have been playing on Spyda. I may experiment with adding 1 hour shows instead but I'll see.
Secondly, I'm going to start an official podcast beginning this week. I've emailed many of the artists/record labels with whom I'm in touch asking for permission to use their music on the podcast and I've had an amazing response. It just goes to show how the licensing laws purportedly there to benefit musicians are actually preventing their music from being heard - crazy!!! Why prevent a station broadcasting when the musicians themselves want their music to be heard by as many people (potential customers) as possible? I've had such a good response to my plea for assistance that I have tonnes of great music, by some of TMTHT favourites, to play on the podcast version of the show. Hopefully permission is all I need to avoid penalties!
To be honest I think podcasting is the way forward, especially now that iTunes is offering it too. I'd like to think a TMTHT podcast will increase my listenership thereby helping the artists. The first podcast show should be available on Wednesday - you can add the link to podcasting software (iTunes or iPodder for example, or right click and download manually). It means you can listen to the show, off line either on your pc or on your MP3 player.
18 Aug 05
Firstly, let me just apologise for the lack of service on the streaming version of TMTHT, and all Spyda shows infact. We are in discussion with PPL over licenses. It all sounds quite complicated, but basically we didn't realise that a license from them was required (we do pay MCPS and PRS) but they are now threatening legal action. Therefore all services have had to be withdrawn, hopefully temporarily. It's all very irritating. But what I am planning to do is withdraw my downloads too (I have to) and then to contact artists and ask their permission to use their music for podcasts/download. At least then most listeners will still be able to hear all the great music I'm sent and want to share with you. And it will be legal under current guidelines. If anyone reading this knows of other streaming internet stations who might be interested in my show please let me know.
So... there will be a short break whilst I get enough artists to respond to my email but then I hope to be back in some form or other. Hopefully SpydaRadio will be back up and running too.
I went to the Tartan Heart Festival last weekend. It has the potential to become a major event in the UK festival calendar although it's location means it's likely to have problems with rain (see below!). There was an eclectic line-up including well known bands such as The Proclaimers and Alabama 3, some Americana - Karl Broadie, Jason Ringenberg, Alex Ryan, The Duhks, and many other bands including Karine Polwart, Aberfeldy, Ricky Ross, Jim Hunter etc etc.
The weather on the Friday wasn't too bad. Not exactly sunny but it wasn't raining. I watched The Duhks on the main stage (still don't see what the fuss is all about) and then moved to The Grassroots tent for Jason Ringenberg. Supported, as he often is in Scotland, by Iain Barbour on electric guitar, it was a good, tight, upbeat 45 minute set. Jason has had the tendency of late to talk for up to 10 minutes between songs which I'm not keen on, but in this kind of setting he wasn't able to do that and his performance benefited from it. He was followed by my current favourite, Alex Ryan. He performed 4 songs from his EP "Bloom". Although solo-acoustic he sounded great, good vocal and the songs are just brilliant. I couldn't tell you how many times I told him I loved his music over the course of the evening! He was followed by the Karl Broadie Band. First time I've met Karl although we've been in touch for years. The band were very good playing songs from Karl's latest album "Black Crow Callin'".
That was pretty much it for Friday. Saturday was a little disappointing. Not because of the line-up but because of the torrential downpours that lasted for up to 30 minutes at a time, at intervals all day. The Belladrum Estate was turned into a mud bath in seconds. I wasn't really prepared for this and am not a muddy, wet festival goer. Therefore I missed much of what was on, and only managed to catch a full set from Karine Polwart. I also caught a little of Ricky Ross (joined by Davy Scott) and Aberfeldy. Margaret Bennett took to the stage before Aberfeldy for the most moving part of the weekend when she sang one of her late son's songs "Glen Lyon" totally unaccompanied. Lovely and sad.
The festival definitely has potential. It's a large estate and they organised the 3 stages very well, everythin ran pretty much as scheduled too. Lots of stalls and plenty of varieties of food. I'd recommend it, but would give these words of advice - bring waterproofs and wellington boots, don't camp if the weather forecast is bad; get there very early as the queues to get in were VERY long and slow moving.
No gigs this week. September and October sound as though they'll be busy months though.
02 Aug 05
It's occurred to me that I haven't really publicised this blog as yet, so well done if you've found it!
After my Blue Rodeo rant (it's only because I care!), you'll be delighted to know that my next trip to King Tut's was a more enjoyable experience and definitely lived up to, if not exceeded expectations. This was for Rodney Crowell & The Outsiders. He brought 2 guitarists with him - Will Kimbrough and Jedd Hughes who also served as the opening act, playing 3 songs each. I've been enjoying Jedd's solo album "Transcontinental" for some time now, so it was great to see him play, even if he did sing primarily cover versions. I'd have liked to hear a bit more.
Rodney's set however was 2 and a half hours long. Comprised primarily of songs from his most recent three albums, he and the band sounded great. t was a rocking set, with a smattering of cover versions and audience sing-a-longs (Like A Rolling Stone & Pancho & Lefty). I had been sceptical about seeing Rodney and his band at Tuts (last time it was a seated occasion at Edinburgh's Queen's Hall), but the venue suited the show.
I had so many things to do last week and domestic disasters to deal with that I never got around to submitting my choices to the FAR chart (although I did manage a new show - just). However here is the Top 20:
#1 Marti Brom Sings Heartache Numbers (Goofin’ [Finland]) *BL/*BR/*CP/*GS/*JA/*KC/*LB/*MA/*MP/*RA/*RH/*RS/*S&D/*TF/*WT 2 Laura Cantrell: Humming By The Flowered Vine (Matador) *AN/*BK/*DF/*MDT/*NA/*TW 3 Eliza Gilkyson: Paradise Hotel (Red House) *AB/*FW/*JB/*JR/*TA 4 Caitlin Cary & Thad Cockrell: Begonias (Yep Roc) *BF/8S/*DO/*3RC/*T&C 5 Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez: Red Dog Tracks (Back Porch) *AA/*CS/*RJ/*ST 6 John Hiatt: Master Of Disaster (New West) *DY 7 Terry Allen: The Silent Majority (Sugar Hill) *GC/*HP/*KB/*MF 8 Son Volt: Okemah And The Melody Of Riot (Transmit Sound/Legacy) *GG/*GM/*JM 9 Adrienne Young: The Art Of Virtue (Addiebelle) *R&H 10 John Prine: Fair And Square (Oh Boy) *JS 11= The Knitters The Modern Sounds Of The Knitters (Zoe/Rounder) *HG Delbert McClinton: Cost Of Living (New West) *JZ/*DV 12 Carolyn Mark: Just Married: An Album Of Duets (Mint) *DWT/*FS 13 Dwight Yoakam: Blame The Vain (New West) *OO 14 Bear & The Essentials: Two Time Fool (self) *DA/*TC 15 Rodney Crowell: The Outsider (DMZ/Sony) *WR 16 Keith Gattis: Big City Blues (Smith Entertainment) *BH 17 Grayson Capps: If You Knew My Mind (Hyena) *TT 18 Chris Hillman: The Other Side (Sovereign Artists/Cookin' Vinyl) *N&T 19 The Bel Airs: Got Love (Hightone) *JP 20= Ry Cooder: Chavez Ravine (Nonesuch) *SMJ DeSoto Rust (self) *BB Graham Parker: Songs of No Consequence (Bloodshot) *JF Michelle Shocked: Don't Ask, Don’t Tell (Mighty Sound) *SG
...other than the no 2, I can't really complain about the Top 5, although I'd have placed Caitlin & Thad and Eliza above Marti Brom. My favourite CD right now, without a doubt, has to be this week's featured CD, from Alex Ryan. I've given 6 of the 7 songs a 4 or 5 star rating on my ipod - it's great.
21 Jul 05
As you can probably tell from my last entry I was more than a little excited about both the Blue Rodeo interview/session and the evening gig on Tuesday evening. However things didn't go quite to plan...
So, the Opry team are all in the studio, getting things ready for the imminent arrival of Jim and Greg when I receive a phone call - 10 minutes after they were scheduled to arrive. They're not coming, pluggers can give no reason and are very apologetic. Apparently we were the only interview they had scheduled and they blew us out. No idea why. We weren't best pleased and sadly it means no interview on the show on Friday and it'll be difficult to play anything from them in the future. Given that the band have a tiny UK following this was an ideal opportunity to gain some exposure and maybe attract some Brits rather than Canadians to their UK gigs...
I wasn't therefore in the best frame of mind for the evening show at King Tuts. It transpired the band were playing as a six-piece with Oh Susanna's keyboard player and Bob Egan on steel. This initially pleased me as I'd only ever seen them as a 4-piece before (2 x guitar/vocal, bass and drums). However what this meant during the set was that the band indulged in very long instrumental breaks within many of the songs which were completely unnecessary. Everything sounded great but the song selection was very strange. A smattering of songs from the new album "Are You Ready", only the title track from "Palace of Gold" and a number of songs from their extensive back catalogue including "Joker's Wild" from "Outskirts" and a lengthy "Diamond Mine". There were none of the classic ballads or even any of their better known songs. Greg did about 85% of the lead vocals, Jim sang very little, but just played guitar, sang some backing vocals and chewed gum. Given that Jim's songs are my favourite this was very disappointing. Nor was there any real communication with the audience, they came on, sang their songs, went away, did a two song encore, one song of which was sung by Matt Mays, and that was it. It was a long set, but the extended instrumentals meant less songs were played than could have been.
So it really wasn't the day I had hoped for... The support - the Matt Mays Band - were pretty good though. Matt's new material and band are very different from the Guthries, much more rocking. I'll play a song from their album (which I haven't listened to yet) on my next show.
18 Jul 05
I decided that I might as well join in the whole blog craze and start my own Miller Tells Her Tale blog. I'll talk about gigs I've been to, albums I'm enjoying and I'll post my submissions to the FAR and Euro-American charts as well as anything else I can think of!
After a fairly quiet few weeks on the gigging front I've been to a couple in the last week. First off were The Bottle Rockets who played at The Cluny in Newcastle. Given that I live in Edinburgh, this was my first trip to the venue, and the first time I've been to Newcastle for years. Decent venue, although the sound could have been better. I'm not too familiar with the Bottle Rockets other than the Songs of Sahm CD, but it was a pretty good gig, if a little on the loud side (but that's partly my fault for standing next to a speaker!). Friends of mine who are long time fans of the band thought the set was terrific. Hopefully next time around they'll cross the border.
The better gig for me though was Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez at the Bein Inn accompanied by John Platania on guitar and a slightly strange Swedish guy on double bass who had fallen asleep prior to the gig resulting in a slightly delayed start to the show whilst his band mates attempted to wake him up! Good player though even if he did have the oddest facial expressions when playing! The venue was sold out and Chip and Carrie put on an excellent show featuring songs from all 3 CDs as well as a few of Chip's older tracks (Wild Thing, Angel of the Morning). They're a class act.
Next gig for me is Blue Rodeo at King Tuts tomorrow. They've been one of my favourite bands since I first saw them on Much Music during a Canadian holiday back in 1987 performing "Try". We're interviewing them for Radio Scotland's Brand New Opry, which is very exciting!! The interview and session will be broadcast on the Opry on Friday/Sunday (22/24 July).
John Conquest who compiles the FAR Chart has asked the contributors to name albums which we believe have no weak tracks. Very difficult. It would be interesting to hear your suggestions though - post them on the message board, and if I have them I'll play a track. I'm still mulling over my list...