Sneaking Out The Back Door

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Well I never been good at goodbyes
I’m gonna sneak out the back door
Nobody can say that I didn’t try
Gonna sneak out the back door
Let it ride, let the whole thing slide
Drift far from the shore
Don’t wanna be missed
Didn’t even exist
I’m gonna sneak out
Sneak out the back door

And when my life is over
I’m gonna sneak out the back door
Before the mood turns sober
I’m gonna sneak out the back door
Hadn’t much of a “Midas Touch”
No luck to be sure
Would you give my regards to the people in charge
While I sneak out
Sneak out the back door

A perfect goodbye to an old family friend.   Everyone has that family friend that you can call your ‘uncle’ or ‘aunt’ even though they are not related by blood, they are always there, and always great fun to be around.   This was Jim, he was uncle Jim and Aunt Marilyn (and Bob, Mitzi, Jura and Jess – the four legged friends).

The memories I have of my younger days of being up in Aviemore will always be a part of me until the day I sneak out the back door.   We often stayed with them in Glenmore in the summer as children and young adults, we watched movies with them, we went walks with the dogs, we travelled throughout the highlands, we enjoyed the holiday photographs on the large projector, we were captivated by the long conversations about live and recorded music.

Only recently after having Amélie and Leo I saw a different side to Jim, I saw a more fatherly side to him that I had never noticed with the dogs.   He was caring and held my children with so much love.   Perhaps he knew he wouldn’t be around for ever, and so had to take these times as precious as we all should remember to.    I’m so glad my children were able to meet with Jim, Amélie was so sad at the funeral, she was very fond of him and “He made her laugh”.   She’ll miss him dearly as will we all.

I am glad and honoured to have known Jim, the gigs I attended with him were always excellent and they always remained the best gig he had ever been to, until the next one.

We were lucky enough to catch many gigs throughout Celtic Connections as well Oh Susanna, Neal Casal, Josh Rouse, Hazy Malaze, Slaid Cleaves, Tom Russell, Ravi Coltrane, and many many more. . .  So, now its time to say Goodbye to an old friend, I’ll always take his memory to gigs he would’ve been at, and I’ll always cherish the times we shared.

See ye up the road ya rascal mccaskill!

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Books Books Books

This year I made a few resolutions, many involving books, and particularly music books.

I managed to enjoy;

Cowboys and Indies  – 5/5

Creation Stories – 5/5

How Music got Free  – 5/5

Appetite for Self Destruction – 4/5

Do Not Sell at Any Price  – 4/5

The Death and Life of the Music Industry – 5/5

The Dark Net – 5/5

Simply Thrilled: Postcard Records – 2/5

Electric Shock: From Gramophone to iPhone  – 2/5

 

 

Belladrum

Our annual trip to Belladrum – The Tartan Heart Festival as its affectionately known to all who travel up to Beauly, just outside Inverness.    This year we had real difficulty securing accommodation within our budget, and so jokingly suggested hiring a camper van.   As it turned out, it was the best option and we decided on a Rollerteam 694 which was perfect.

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One of the great parts of my working life is that I get the pleasure to work with and meet some very talented young musicians, singer songwriters, performers and people who are keen to be involved in the music industry in some capacity.    This year I had the pleasure to invite some of the acts to play at Belladrum.   I could imagine being 16 years old and being on the receiving end of that email and being asked to play my first festival.   It was great to offer this opportunity to these talented young folks.

We set off from Ayrshire, and took to the road on a beautifully sunny day and as we approached Pitlochry we had a stop with some coffee and switched drivers.   I took the spell into the highlands as we headed through Inverness into the site where we picked up our production passes.    An evening of cards, and beers as we listened to the end of the set by the Proclaimers.

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Over the weekend we managed to catch so many acts, all of the Music Plus acts included Hollie Atkinson, Alice Bentley, Michiel Turner, Jemma Tweedie, Beautiful Expectations, Chainsaw Tea Party, Something Someone, The Elephant Sessions, Josephine Sillars, Aylee and many more.   We caught Prides, Fatherson, Man of Moon, KLOË, King Creosote, The Mirror Trap, Martha Reeves & the Vandellas, Neon Waltz, Honeyblood, Hector Bizerk, Findlay Napier, and Model Aeroplanes.

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Leaving the site on the evening of the Saturday after the mighty show by Fatherson was a wise and calculated decision and allowed us to get all the way down through Aviemore to spend the evening on the banks of Loch Morlich before heading home in the morning to return the motorhome.

Discover and Stream

How we discover new music is changing.   Finding new artists is becoming easier and a quicker process, we share our taste in music freely on social networking sites, and now even the services that we use to listen to music can give us recommendations on what we will like next.

I’m a fan of Spotify, I have been since I was a free user when it first arrived on the scene.   I am now a fully paid subscriber and more than happy to pay £14.99 per month for my family account.    They have just launched their new ‘Discover Weekly’ playlist feature that provides you with a playlist of recommended music that you ‘may’ like every Monday.   So far, I’ve been impressed.

As well as Spotify as a means to discover new music, I listen to Gilles Peterson’s BBC6Music show, normally on catchup on the iPlayer app (which you can now save offline finally).   This is an excellent collection on new music that join the dots between hiphop, soul, funk, disco, world, house and electronic music.   I highly recommend it.

Lastly, I still use the mailing lists from Boomkat, Bleep, and Spotimy (a site that gives a list of all the new releases on Spotify that week).

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That said, I’m currently reading, “How Music Got Free” by Stephen Witt.   Highly Recommended also.

Access to Digital Music

Just returned from a trip to Riga, Latvia on Sunday night.  We were there for a European Music Council Forum on Access to Digital Music.  We arrived on the Thursday, and with a few hours to spare before registration, we managed to get around the city and find our bearings.    Throughout the forum it was great to meet some new faces from the world of music throughout Europe, and also catch up with some of the old ones.   Some photographs on the Flickr from the trip here.