I BLUES PREVIEW
Robert Cray Glasgow: Royal Concert Hall, Mon 26
Jul. Music industry awards are not
always an accurate barometer of talent. But if Robert Cray's seven consecutive Grammy nominations aren’t enough of a recommendation, the fact that Muddy Waters named the multi- talented singer. songwriter and guitarist his 'adopted son' should be enough to convince even the most jaded among us that Cray
might well be worth a listen when he comes to the Royal Concert Hall. Nor is it just fans of the blues who should make a note in their diaries. Cray's recent album, Take Your Shoes Off, takes in everything from Motown soul to boppy R8rB, all of which benefit from his sugar-sweet vocal sound. Deservedly compared to the likes of Sam Cooke, it lends even the bluesiest of his material a distinctive soulful edge.
According to Cray, this is no conscious decision to test new musical waters, but more of a natural progression. ‘Over the
years, I started to break out of the blues mould a little and allowed different kinds of music to come through. The new record doesn't really symbolise any change of direction; more a broadening out.’ In the past such tendencies were put to the test on collaborations with artists as diverse as Keith Richards and Bonnie Raitt, but Cray’s influences are rooted as much in his parents' record collection as in his experience with greats from practically every genre. ’I grew up listening to jazz, the blues, the Beatles and pretty much anything that came on the radio. I'm taking more of a soul direction at the
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Morton Feldman
ggaiglow: BBC Broadcasting House, Fri
'Yes, that's rrry Star Wars bit.’ No, this rs not another piece of movie hype, but
New York born composer Morton
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Beckett. in space. with gongs: Morton Feldman
Feldman talking to conductor Richard Bernas about his one-act opera Neither. Though it was written over twenty years ago, rt is only now that Neither wrll be heard in the UK, thanks to the efforts of Bernas and the BBC $50. This important premiere forms part of a series labelled 'Hear and Now’ winch brings new mus'rc to Scotland throughout the 1999/2000 season.
Good for the soul: Robert Cray
moment, simply because that's how the songs I have been writing turned out.’
Despite his track record as a writer, and a back catalogue spanning two decades, Cray still sees himself first and foremost as a performer. 'I have to be playing,’ he says. 'lt's where I get my groove!‘ His audience can expect spirited renditions of blues and soul standards mixed with Cray originals dating back to the 1983 chart- topper ‘Bad Influence', all featuring his trademark clean, fast guitar sound and honey—smooth vocal skills.
the Star Wars brt Feldman refers to is described as ’extr'aor‘drnary' by Bernas. ’There are five tam-tarns [gongsl all playing rnrredrbly quretly wrth cor- arrg/ars on repeated A flat. It's like waves on the beach, ebbing and tlowrng ’ The piece can, says Bernas, be approached from different angles. ’Frrstly, us a stratospherrcally high setting for solo sOprano of a handful of lines that Samuel Beckett wrote at Morton's request They are repeated, rrrulled over, and it becomes an interior monologue as opera. It's very parallel Wrth Beckett‘s late plays.’
Feldman was part of New York’s 50s generation ol abstract expressionists. 'So you can alo look at Norther as a large canvas,’ ~.ays Bernas, 'delic‘ately but rrrajestrcally coloured.’ Scored for a large orclmtra, Neither is a very quiet piece wth pallr'ltlx \Nllltll repeat In a seemingly rrrrrrrrrralrut Way but With subtle dlii'ldilrﬂl') Autuldlltg to Bernas, there are now rrtlly three composers in Germany capable at filling concert halls wrth tin rrrrtlvr 308 John Cage, Ltrrcir Null/J .zlr..‘ i-.lr_~rtorr ivltr'rrrari, (CtilUl lvlrrrll)
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Musical news, feuds and rumours
T IN THE PARK was disappointingly low on good gossip, although feted Edinburgh dance chaps Kojak were delighted to see Robert Carlyle and Steve Lamacq pop by the dinky Sunday Mail/PR5 stage for a glimpse of their set. Hot spot of the weekend was the laid back and lovely Rizla Tent, where Basement Jaxx grooved the day away on Saturday and the likes of the Jengaheads and Unabombers manned the decks. James Dean Bradfield was the size of a house, Blur were great and Travis‘s delayed appearance almost caused a riot. Then they were rubbish. Our local heroes were the Delgados and Peeps Into Fairyland. The latter will
soon be seen at The Carling
Weekend Festival, and their appalling name must not be allowed to obstruct their rise to stardom.
MOGWAI FOLLOWED UP their own triumphant appearance and controversial anti-Blur graffiti antics with an unbilled support slot to God Speed You Black Emperor! at Glasgow's GZ. 'Lanarkshire scallies improbably capable of producing insanely beautiful tidal waves of noisel' said a witness. Concisely.
IS THEIR ALBUM good or is it rubbish? The debate rages, but The Beta Band carry on regardless, and will bring chaos and anarchy and stuff to Glasgow Barrowland on Sat 25 Sep. Old punks may wish to note Joe Strummer will play the same venue on Fri 29 Oct.
‘ QUICK! SEND A DEMO to the (deep
breath) BT Scotland Festival Revue Popcom Band Showcase! The deadline is Mon 26 Jul. Heats take place from Mon 16—Wed 18 Aug, and the final's on Thu 19 Aug. You get to win amazing stuff. Send tape and details to Drum Central, 66 South Clerk Street, Edinburgh EH8 9P5.
OCEAN COLOUR SCENE and Martine McCutcheon will appear at the Radio 1 Roadshow, hosted by Zoe Ball, at Queen's Link, Aberdeen on the morning of Fri 26 Jul. Come on, look excited. They're very famous pop stars, you know.
Basement Jaxx having tea in their parkas
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