[EME— Country outlaw
Kenny Mathieson looks at the tangled career 01‘ country sing ‘1‘ turned movie star Kris Kristot‘t‘erson.
l.ike Willie Nelson. Kris ls'ristol‘ierson may not have been blessed w ith one oi the great yoices. but w hen he stands on a stage and sings. the et‘t‘eet is utterly compelling. Charisma is what it e are talking about here. i‘olks. and ol‘ Kris has it in spades. When you throw in a gilt for writing great songs. it adds tip to a major artist.
(iiy en that equation. it is hard to get away from the conclusion that he has neyer really li\ ed up to the promise oi his tirst waye oi important songs. He has continued to write good material and make good records oyer the years. but rarely anything to touch the peaks oi his halcyon days in late-(wits Nashyille.
'l‘he son oi an .-\ir liorce (ieneral. the Texas-born ls'i istoi‘i‘erson turned his lite on its head in 1065 by resigning his commission at West Point. leaving his young tainin in 'l‘e\as. and heading tor \ashyille ty ia a iob tlying helicopters in the (iultoi‘ Mexico). lle scuttled on the city's \ltisic Row i’or seyeral years. li\ing hardworking menial iobs and trying to sell his songs.
‘lherybody thought I had gone era/y. but going
straight to the bottom was a liberating e\perience for
me. it took me li\ e years to make money at anything btit a daytime iob. but I was a tanitor at ('olumbia. and l was able to w ateh guys like l.et't_\ liri/zell in the studio one day. and the nest it would be Bob
The picture started to change when Roger Miller
recorded w hat was to become ~ in the hands oi‘lanis Joplin one oi the anthems oi the late (it)_s. ‘Me and Bobby .\le(ihee‘. Johnny ('ash did ‘Sunday Morning (‘omin' Down‘. Ra} l’riee had a big hit with ‘i-‘or The (itititl ‘l‘imes'. and (iladys Knight took ‘l-lelp Me Make It ’l‘hrough the Night into the pop charts. Kristoilerson had arriy ed as a hot property.
By the early 7tis. he was established as a singer as well as song-w riter. and was moving into movie- acting. He married singer Rita ('oolidge. and cut three albums with her bei‘ore their diyoree in W70. but was also associated with a group oi artists v Willie Nelson. \Vaylon Jennings. 'l‘ompall (ilaser-
w ho had crossed to er into the rock audience with a rougher. more rebellious sound. dress and set oi Values than the eonsei'yatixe country audience could readil} absorb. .\ decade later. Kristol'ierson teamed up with Nelson. Jennings and Johnny (ash. when the so-ealled ()utlaws became the Highwaymen.
‘lt's ama/ing how well we get on. because when l was a ~ianitor at ('olumbia. you couldn‘t get two oi those guys in the same room. neyer mind three oi
Kris Kristofferson: feel the charisma
them. I think we all genuinely appreciate each other's work. Sure. we get mad at each other sometimes. and some of my political things sure rub Waylon the wrong way. btit we have common ground that's above all ot‘ that.‘
He is non-commital on the specifics oi‘ i'tnther Highwaymen projects (the band now have three albums). btit his own much-delayed xi .i'lmumr of Former album. produced by Don Was (whom he describes as ‘one ot‘the good people in the business he reminds me ot a good iiim director. somebody like Alan Rudolph) iinally saw the light late last year.
He no longer brackets himselt‘ in the country category. preferring to be seen alongside singer- songwriters like Bob Dylan. John l’rine. or .\'eil Young rather than the present crop oi’ Nashville ‘Stepi‘ord musicians‘. but the roots oi the music are ineradieable in his work.
Kris Kris/tt/ft’rxun is (1/ I/I(’ (i/(ts'gmr It’nyu/ (‘nmrrl
Hull (HI ‘l‘m' //.
m, Appliance of | science
Music and science may not be an immediately obvious pairing, but it is the great talent for innovation among Scottish scientists and inventors 3 which has inspired the latest piece by Edward McGuire. Commissioned by Glasgow Chamber Orchestra, one of the leading instrumental forces in the city, and Glasgow Caledonian University, with support from the Scottish Arts Council, Caledonian Muse is the first of a series of three
Edward McGuire: reads New Scientist
i ’14. theories.’
annual commissions, the subsequent composers being John Maxwell Geddes and Sally Beamish.
‘Because at the association with the University,’ explains McGuire, ‘I thought I would like to do something that exploited their name in the title, as well as being a celebration of Scottish science and learning.’ The piece is in one movement, but initially plans were ditterent. ‘At first,’ says McGuire, ‘I thought I would do a movement each to describe these thinkers and scientists, but it’s hard to describe the subtleties of the thinking of people like Kelvin, Watt, Dewar or James Clerk Maxwell, without whom Einstein couldn't have thought up his
A composer who reads New Scientist for kicks 1 to pass the time on train journeys,
Edward McGuire’s knowledge of science is more than most. ‘The piece tries to unite four different musical elements and, although it might sound a bit far-fetched, it symbolises the fact that arising out at all these thinkers, people today are trying to unite the four forces of nature — gravity, electro-magnetism, tiny atomic forces and the large atomic forces which make the stars.’ And it that is all too much for your brain to cope with, don’t worry, McCuire’s love of romance and melody, particularly Scottish traditional music, means that there are some lovely tunes as well. (Carol Main)
Caledonian Muse is performed by Glasgow Chamber Orchestra at Stevenson Hall, BSAMD, Glasgow on Sat 8 June.
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