Saturday, 17 October 2009
All at Sea
Jools Holland has restored my faith in Popular Music. I think there must be some kind of criteria for performing on his show, something along the lines of 'no regurgitated junk'. But when I had almost lost faith in our current chart-ranking wannabes and the music movement of today, Jools came along with a cracking line-up on his weekly show; a show I've always dreamed of one day performing on.
Tonight's show featured such an eclectic mix of musicians, each with totally differing backgrounds and styles but each with the same levels of appreciation for one another's perception on music today. Paloma Faith for example, is a breath of fresh air for the female vocal market. She sounds like an American songstress, a showgirl from the 40s with an image to match, and even talked about regularly playing music through the decades at her shows, starting in the 1920s and working her way up. Her brand of motown-pop is catchy yet inspiring, displaying a great awareness of writing a modern song whilst capturing the sparkle of age-old magic. The riff-tastic Wolfmother also played, not a band I'm aware of much but certainly worthy of their spot on the show; they have a great sound with bags of energy and a greatly unique sounding front-man. But the real saviour tonight was living legend Seasick Steve. He manages to strip music down to its very core, the very genuine foundations on which popular music is built on, yet with all the passion and feeling of now. His simple soapbox songs are probably note-perfect to those he used to sing around the fire when travelling in his Gypsy caravan, of which he still lives in, and I love that this, let's face it, old man has been given this shot so late on in life. The very fact that he has sold so many records and is performing at all kinds of events, from Glastonbury Festival to Later... prove that there is hope for anyone with any dash of creativity and any glimmer of hope. I can only imagine the culture-shock he gets when thinking back to how different life used to be as he sips champagne at award ceremonies, but he tips his cap to anyone with a dream, living proof that you don't need to 'know the right people' or, more accurately, 'line the right people's pockets with Daddy's money' to get somewhere in this fickle business. As an aspiring musician still in education, I love what I do and know that one day I WILL make a living making music, whatever form that might take, but I also know that this is the hardest thing to get into and it's going to take nothing but hard graft, a topic all too familiar in Seasick Steve's songs. The man is fantastic, a real awe-inspiring performer with so much originality and awareness of timbre and texture in his delicate yet foot-stomping songs. If I had a hat likes yours Steve, I'd be tipping it.