MUSIC preview


Stacey Earle Glasgow: King Tut's, Thu 29 Jul.

Stacey Earle chose the hard way of making her debut CD, rather than taking up an offer to cut it for her famous brother's label. The independently produced album, Simple Gear/e, has created a big stir on the roots music scene, although she didn't set out with that in mind.

'I’m an Earle and we have our pride - we just have to do things our own way. I'm proud to say that I'm Steve Earle's sister, but I wanted to do this on my own. It wasn't really meant to hit the market the way it has. I made it to sell at gigs, but I started dropping it off at radio stations and such, and then I started getting offers. I decided not to let it go, though, and I got a distributor myself to get it into stores, rather than license it.’

At 37, Earle is something of a late starter, having married at seventeen and dedicated herself to raising her kids after breaking up with her first husband. Touring as backing singer with Steve sparked her passion for music, and she played the Nashville song factory game briefly before taking her brother’s advice to write and sing 'like my own damn self'. 'Whatever I go through is what goes into my songs - I call that hole in the middle of the guitar the dumping ground for whatever

happened that day.’ Her vocal style is pitched somewhere between Nanci

Griffith's winsome sweetness and the grittier approach of a Gillian

Welch or Lucinda Williams - no bad place to be. The spare acoustic sound of the album is deliberate, ensuring that what her fans hear on record will be

reproduced on stage.

Going her own way does not preclude keeping things

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Going places: Stacey Earle

in the family. She will be joined in Glasgow by her band The Crown Jewels, named for her 93-year-old grandmother, Jewel Earle, and featuring her second

husband, Mark Stuart, on guitar, and her youngest son,

Kyle Mins, on percussion. (Kenny Mathieson)


Barra MacNeils

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Sun 1 Aug.

An outbreak of fiddle fever hits Glasgow at the end of July. Enthusiasm for Scots fiddle, nurtured for years in Glasgow by the city's ever-expanding Fiddle Workshop, is now such that Celtic Connections have joined with them to present a weekend of

52 TIIEIJS'I' 22 Jul—5 Aug 1999

Family affair: The Barra MacNeils

workshops, sessions, lectures, instruction and concerts at the Royal Concert Hall. The Fiddle Affair kicks off with a showcase from the recently formed Scottish Step Dance Company. Over the last ten years, their traditional fiddle-driven percussive footwork has made its way back from Cape Breton, where it Survived after becoming virtually extinct here in its native Scotland. The instrumental music of

that Canadian island has also been of crucial importance to celebrated Scots fiddler Alasdair Fraser. He headlines the Saturday evening concert, while the closing Sunday night event features the Barra MacNeils, a highly talented and sometimes cheesily entertaining multi- instrumental band of siblings from no, not the bottom of the Outer Hebrides, but Barra, Cape Breton. After their recent concert in Skye's Gaelic college, fiddler and singer Kyle revealed that the fiddle's survival in Nova Scotia has been just as precarious as in Scotland. 'It’s fantastic how the youngsters are taking it up. Now it’s hip, there's more pride in our culture. We don’t talk of it as Scottish music anymore it’s Cape Breton. And that all came from the first fiddle gathering, called together in the early 705, when it seemed the tradition might be dying out. About two hundred came. I was a boy then, but I could count on my fingers the number of people of my generation who were playing'the fiddle. If someone told me that twenty years down the line it would be like today, I would have laughed at them!’ (Norman Chalmers) . See folk listings for full details of Glasgow Royal Concert Hall '5 Fiddle Affair.

Personal Stereo

This issue: His name is Ginger, he used to front the Wildhearts, and his new band is called Clam Abuse. What was the last record you' listened to?

Sugar Plum Fairies by Willie Dowling, a genius of the most sickening order. What was the last album you bought?

Jet CD by a Japanese girl duo called Puffy, who seamlessly blend high calibre pop with high pungency cheese.

Which artist or record first made you want to make music?

The Sweet, playing 'Hellraiser' on TOTP. The misty specs haven‘t come off since. Name a song you wish you'd written. ’My Old Friend the Blues' by Steve Earle. Sums up, exactly, every lonely night you ever suffered

Who was the first pop star you had a crush on?

Dana, a beautiful Irish chanteuse with a voice as smooth as Jamesons and eyes like Bambi. Ahh.

What song makes you cry?

'Always on my Mind', by Willie Nelson usually does it, or 'I Will Always Love You' by Dolly Parton not to be confused with that piece of trash released by Whitney Houston a while back.

Name a band or artist who has influenced you that people might be surprised by?

Sparks. People may be surprised to hear that they released about 25 albums. That’s where my need for consistency came from. Damn them. Name a non-musical influence on your music?

Linda Blair from The Exorcist (big, big crush), and acid.

Who would be on your dream Top Of The Pops?

It would feature six or seven performances from me in different guises. Still got a small way to go on that one!

What do you play when you're getting ready to go out?

Whatever‘s in the machine, but I find the first Hellacopters

album Supersnitty To The Max usually gets the tubes pumping good.

What do you play as an aid to seduction?

Classical or something trip hoppy/dubby . . . something with no words.

What do you sing in the shower?

I work on new material; if I can sing it in the shower then statistically I‘m in good company.

I Clam Abuse play Glasgow 62 on Mon 26 Jul. Their album Stop Thinking is out now.