LAURA CANTRELL Queen's Hall, Edinburgh, Wed 23 Apr

You think you know the life of a country singer, don't you? Wandering the dusty backwaters of Tennessee with just a beat up guitar and an achey-breaky heart for company, waiting tables to make ends meet and finding solace at the bottom of a whisky bottle.

Then there’s Laura Cantrell. Some facts. She's got an English degree from Columbia University. She has a highly lucrative job on Wall Street. In her spare time she DJs on her award-winning New Jersey radio show. For which she doesn’t get paid. Her debut album was cited by John Peel as his favourite album of the last ten years. And it was released on Shoeshine Records, the tiny independent Glasgow label run by Teenage Fanclub drummer Francis MacDonald.

‘I was spurred on by Francis‘ absolute insistence that we make a record.‘ says Cantrell. 'I had all these crazy voicemails from him about how if we made a record he would put it out. I'd never met him before and I was like: “This guy has gone nuts - what's wrong with him?"‘

The result was 2000’s Not the Tremblin’ Kind, an amazingly fresh and simple country record that

mixed versions of the best old, obscure country tunes with Cantrell’s own original material. That record’s critical acclaim came as something of a shock to the singer, who remains delightfully modest.

‘l’d been hanging around New York a long time doing the radio show,’ she says, ‘and people knew me and dismissed my music a little bit, so it was very exciting to have it taken a little more seriously. The reaction definitely surprised me, though. I still look out at the audience now and think: “What are all these people

doing here?”

Cantrell now has a second brilliant album, When the

O. - Definitely not your average country girl

Roses Bloom Again, under her belt, the title track of which is a reinterpretation of an out-take from the Wilco and Billy Bragg collaboration on Woody Guthrie songs,

removed when they discovered it was actually written by

one of the Carter Family. It’s just this kind of in-depth country music knowledge and love of reinvention that sets Cantrell’s music apart from the crowd.

‘I love taking an old song and finding something new about it or something you can relate to in the moment,’ she says. ‘You shouldn’t treat a song like a museum

piece, you should always try to bring the life back into

it.’ (Doug Johnstone)

s assignments go. a fOur-day trip to Japan to do press would seem to be one that

would be placed more often in the 'cushy/jammy' categOry than any other. So it was With a spring in my step that I embarked upon this

mission, my mind filled wrth images of

untold gadgets to invoke envy in my bandmates (this was a solo trip) and nothing to w0riy about other than how Scotland were faring against Iceland at Hampden.

There are certain definates in life

that yOu can c0unt on. Such as that it will pish With rain if you forget to wear

a jacket. amaZing bands will annOunce shows in Scotland on the exact date that you won't be there


The rigours of rising in the east revealed . . .

and that almost all in-flight films shall star either Hugh Grant or Sandra Bulloch. OLiite what it is about these stars that the passenger-aircraft company folks feel Will add to the flying experience l'm not Sure. Maybe Al-Oueda terrorists have a particular aversion to these stars. if they do then we have something in common. On this flight I‘ve been spared this tOrture and instead saw Eminem's 8 Mile. It follows the blueprint of The Karate Kid With total preCision but replaces martial arts with hip-hop and Ralf Machio with Marshall Mathers. Very strange but oddly satisfying.

Landing in Japan my positive outlook seemed more than justified as my arrival coincided with Cherry

Blossom day. a national holiday to celebrate the spring blossoming of the cherry trees. which typify Japan. The pink blossoms of the trees in the sunshine were spectacular and went a long way to making me forget the reason for my trip and my utterly beleaguered physrcal state.

Following a typically brief and disruptive sleep my first night in Tokyo l was confronted With my interview schedule. My three days would see me do thirty-four interViews. the shortest being forty-five minutes and the longest three hours. Ab0ut ten hours into day two I started to feel nauseous. My dream of endless excurSions to gadget shops was shattered by the military preCiSion With which the interViews started and finished. Before my moaning becomes too unbearable. I can't really complain because at least folk want to talk about Our record. And hard as it was. I met some fine folks and somehow av0ided watching any films featuring Messrs Grant or Bullock.

42 THE LIST -\t" .‘


Surface noise

All the po . bop and slop in the won erfu/ world of mu3ic

POP KIDS CAN REJOICE that Scotland‘s annual pop froth marathon, Live + Loud, returns after last years torrential wash out. Blue, Liberty X, Gareth Gates, Sugababes, Mis-Teeq, Busted and Kym Marsh are among those due to be gracing Hampden Park on Hampden Park on 27 July. with more to be revealed in the coming weeks.

Mtiiil Mil tilt‘t\.:l 7‘ "-2 ' i”.

BIG BIG COUNTRY comes around earlier this year, with three weeks of the finest country artists around coming to Glasgow between 28 April and 17 May. Those up for a strum include Mary Gauthier, the Jayhawks, Chris Hillman and Oh Susanna. More details and tickets are available from the Tron Theatre on 0141 552 4267 or St Andrew‘s in the Square on 0141 353 8000. See next issue for full preview and listings.

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t‘xFS'. (,fL'éif. :l .T‘; it“; i‘: ’L’;""" "1,4: '.iii .ii'itirt‘nia ’..v 5‘: ’L...'.’,". U’OHVJHL’S Wilt; INK ’)'i it .’«'if (:7, of "‘.’(: "ms/L T"‘:Zt'.":. aw: Glut; eve-ifs ail out,” We Fill! 18181“; of The W: .. become ava'latilr; 80'," DlESEL-U-MUSIC IS searching for the most innovative unsigned bands and DJs. If you want to hear DJ Yoda (one of the previous winners) or some of the best entries from this year’s competition, then the Diesel- U-Music 2003 UK tour, sponsored by WKD, visits the Sub Club, Glasgow on Thursday 10 April. The first 100 in get a free bottle of WKD Silver. See competition on the Offers on page 11.