COUNTRY Northern Comfort: An Evening Of Alternative
Glasgow: King Tut's, Sun 23 Apr. Country music has more than just a stigma attached to it, it’s got Garth Brooks. That he’s long been country's biggest selling star has been a tough pill to swallow for those who prefer to follow the American roots music trail blazed by the likes of Hank Williams, Neil Young and Gram Parsons. Taking these artists as their heroes and borrowing from folk, rock and even punk, practitioners of ‘alternative country’ live in a world far from rodeos, rhinestones and rednecks.
In Scotland, where the love for country music is rivalled only that of golf, the scene has found an epicentre in the small west coast town of Helensburgh. Set up by local DJ Paul Shields in November 1998, Stateside Sounds, has, as well as bringing acts over from America, constantly striven to promote home-grown talent. The exclusive line-up at the Easter weekend showcase will feature The Good Sons, The Felsons, Scott MacDonald, Freeloader and the Cosmic Rough Riders. Hailing from the North-West of England, The Good Sons are rapidly becoming the UK’s premiere alt.country act and Shields comments that their appearance 'adds a wee bit of prestige to the night.’
With the exception of The Felsons, the bands are west coast-based and as Daniel Wylie of the Cosmic Rough Riders points out, there's a strong sense of community inherent in the scene: ‘There's no egos involved here. It’s quite close-knit which is unusual because bands are usually at each other’s throats.’ United also in their stand against a common foe, it's by sheer coincidence that the showcase clashes with Scotland's first annual Country Festival at the SECC.
This has not dissuaded all involved from going ahead
’The line-dancers can go down to the SECC and people who like real music can
come and see us.’
with the gig, as Brian McGonigal from Freeloader says: ’The line-dancers can go down to the SECC and people who like real music can come and see us.’ Scott MacDonald adds to this saying: 'We're not worried because it's a totally different market. Hopefully it will just show that there's a big country music scene going on and that there's a choice within that.’
But just what is it that makes country so popular in Scotland? MacDonald, whose sound has been described as a meeting ground between Celtic and alternative country, puts it down to the roots of country music as a whole: 'It comes from here — folk, bluegrass, country, all of it basically.’ Dean Owens of Edinburgh band The Felsons comments ’There's definitely something in Scottish people. I think it's to do with the loneliness, the drinking and the losing.' The appeal of alt.country specifically is put down to a 'resurgence of interest in songs and melodies' by Brian McGonigal while Scott MacDonald says: 'lt’s real dope smoking music, that’s the thing.’ (Catherine Bromley) $95 The Felsons and The Good Sons also play at The Star Club, The Attic on Mon 24 Apr.
'The songs take control of themselves but if we're as good as we know we are, it
control of themselves,’ he says unworried, ’but if we’re as good as we know we are, it all works out OK.’ Fair enough, but can they do it live? Yes, indeed. On stage is where these boys come alive, strutting their way through the songs like they're the best band in the world. Which means they probably are.
Where have they been playing then? Where haven't they been playing, more like. Last year saw them take in BBC Live Music Week, Liverpool's In The City and a riotous T in the Park show, captured on camera by BBC documentary program, EX-S.
Sounds good. I want some. Then you
Bringing you the brightest new gems from the darkest recesses of planet pop. This issue: Stylus Automatic.
What have we got here, robot DJs or something? Shut it. Stylus Automatic are five feisty rock 'n’ roll lads from sunny Paisley.
What's so great about this bunch?
all works out okay.’
Just listen to their debut EP, Learn How to Feel The self-belief and energy on show hasn’t been seen around here since a certain Gallagher pair first brawled in public.
Uh-oh, not Dadrock are they? Far from it. Influences on the EP range from folk and pop to psychedelia and kick-ass rock 'n’ roll. Lead singer Johnnie Crossan describes how the tunes came about. ’The songs take
shall have some. They're playing at King Tut’s to celebrate their EP launch this month. Oh, but before you go, Johnnie’s got a message for the world: ’Let the people know not to be afraid of dying,’ he says with typical attitude, ’cos once you’re afraid of dying, they’ve got you.’ (Doug Johnstone)
gag Stylus Automatic play King Tut’s, Glasgow, Fri 27 Apr and ’Learn How To Fee/’ is out Mon 24 Apr on their own Fidus Achates label.
All the brats, chats and spats from the wonderful world of music
WE CAN EXCLUSIVELY reveal that Morcheeba have been confirmed for this year’s T in the Park as has Roger Sanchez, who is going head to head with DJ Sneak for a four-deck battle. Others scheduled to appear include Beth Orton, Moloko, Lynden David Hall, Looper, Les Rhythmes Digitales, LSK, Groove Armada, Dark Star, Sandi Dillon, Uresei Yatsura and the Justin Lewis Orchestra.
THE ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT Glasgow Green, rumoured to feature Oasis, Stereophonics and Primal Scream has been delayed until late April. Other acts in the country for that weekend, but not as yet confirmed to make the trip to Scotland, include Eminem, Foo Fighters, and Placebo. We will have full details of the line-up in next issue.
THIS YEAR'S BIG Big Country Festival has been confirmed for 24 May-4 June with the likes of Warren Zevon, Steve Forbert and Laura Cantrell among the acts performing. STIRLING'S LE WEEKEND, the experimental music weekend is scheduled to run on 26—29 May. Sonic Youth's Lee Ronaldo, Hoahio and the Bill Wells Trio are among the artists confirmed to play.
JEWEL AND ESK College as part of their Diploma in Music Industry Managment, have started a record label called Aposse Adesse. Bands interested in submitting demo tapes for consideration should send them to Aposse Adesse Music, c/o Adam Armit, 24 Milton Road East, Edinburgh, EH15 2PP.
RADIO i’S REPLACEMENT for their roadshow, the Big Summer Tour is confirmed to be stopping off in Falkirk on 28 May. Those scheduled to appear include IdIewild and Artful Dodger.
Talvin Singh and Cleveland Watkiss play the Arches on 29 May and Jurassic 5 offshoot Ozomatli at the same venue on 20 June.
Other shows announced: Rachel Stamp, The Cathouse, Glasgow, 8 May; The Silencers, Liquid Room, Edinburgh, 13 May; Shooglenifty, Liquid Room, Edinburgh, 23 May; The Fall, Liquid Room, Edinburgh, 16 Jun; Eric Bibb, Queen's Hall, Edinburgh, 20 Jun; Alice Cooper, Barrowland, Glasgow, 16 Jul (rescheduled date); Mel C, Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, 9 Sep.
13—27 Apr 2000 THE “ST 43