Latest Blogposts

A Rich Sample of Nottingham - Great Guitar It’s rare to hear folk guitar played so that every string rings out clearly when a chord is played, while at any moment the musician may switch modes and start playing lead or flatpick; where the strumming is not out of time but neither is it metronomic, in the sense that Charlie Parker stated harmony which wasn’t strictly within the bounds of the written changes but it still sounded right; where the player changes styles on a whim, just like Davey Graham. Earlier this year, guitarist and now singer-songwriter Richard Sample, based in Nottingham UK, released Don’t Stop… Read More
The Benefits of Incapacity - Some recollections have popped up relating to Kill or Cure, a CD I put together in 2007-8, which I thought I would share. In the summer of 2006 many people I knew were either turning forty or getting married. I had been a grateful recipient of Gordon Brown’s government’s Incapacity Benefit for two years. I was getting migraines for as many as five days a week. Sometimes these came with a rash. I rang NHS Direct (the helpline of the UK’s National Health Service) once and they thought I had leukaemia. On another occasion I had to get off the… Read More
Background to an EP - A few notes on the EP ‘If You Want Love (Have Mine)’, now available on Bandcamp: I tried to get a few record companies to release the Bahaudin album (made between 1999 and 2001) on the basis that it was produced by Nigel Stonier, featured Rod Clements and to a lesser extent Thea Gilmore, all of whom had solo albums out on independent labels. There were other recording projects which followed, but the main lesson I took from the experience of self-funding an album, and then trying to tout it around, was that it would have been better to do… Read More
Goin’ Viral - A new song built on the foundations of an old one. The current world health crisis can’t be described as inspiring but for those of us fortunate to be safe and healthy it has afforded the opportunity to sort through the cupboards and rearrange the furniture…… Read More
Let’s Fall in Love - We expected to be playing at Grossman’s, Toronto, on April 10th but it’s been cancelled due to coronavirus. So here’s us playing a cover of an Ugly Bug Band song. Michael Kaler (of the Ugly Bug Band) wrote it and plays bass. Tim Shia plays drums in the alcove. Many thanks to them!… Read More
Let’s Talk - It was fun to do this song with its composer. Tim Shia is on drums.… Read More
The Great Neil Innes - It’s tempting, when explaining to people who Neil Innes was, to immediately associate him with the world-famous English exports he had connections with. But I think the first I heard of him was not as a hanger-on of The B**tles or M*nty Pyth*n but as a solo act singing How Sweet to be an Idiot on television in the nineteen-seventies. That song, from his first solo album in 1973, seems to be pure Neil. What he appeared to do most in his songwriting, however, was inhabit other characters. These could be specific people, like J*hn L*nn*n, Elton John, Elvis Presley,… Read More
All the Same - Based on a riff by Mike Pierce-Goulding.… Read More
The Police: One Generation Later - In nineteen eighty-three there were some kids I knew at school who were just starting to play what could loosely be called ‘rock’ music. It was the New Romantic era, a time when synthesizers, sequencers and one particular hairstyle were all the rage. These kids needed some pop stars to admire and be inspired by. Britain had lost, grieved over and moved on from The B**tles. The schoolkids I’m referring to were not yet intellectual enough for Pink Floyd. Queen were too theatrical and a bit poncy for us provincial types. U2 were not yet a global force and their… Read More
Stuart Ross's poetry books 2008-19 King of the Harbour - On Spotify, Apple Music and elsewhere, there now exists a digital version of the joint release with poet Stuart Ross An Orphan’s Song: Ben Walker Sings Stuart Ross. It was recorded with another friend, Richard Ashrowan, in the Scottish Borders in 2007 and manufactured in Toronto by fellow traveller Seb Agnello. Dead Cars Stuart Ross is an extremely prolific writer. He’s also a consummate performer. In 2008, the year I came over to Toronto from Britain to play An Orphan’s Song live, DC Books of Vancouver published Dead Cars in Managua, a book in three sections. The first part combines… Read More