AND YOU WILL KNOW THEM BY THE QUEUE STRETCHING DOWN THE MOSELEY ROAD!! – yes, the incredible And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead celebrate 20 years of “Madonna” at the Castle & Falcon on Feb 2

and you will know us_a3 poster

Yes, you read that right- that much-vaunted and beloved US post-hardcore act, AND YOU WILL KNOW US BY THE TRAIL OF DEAD (or just ‘Trail Of Dead’ if you’re a lazy sod) are set to return to Birmingham on February 2nd, not to a corporate venue but to the wonderful CASTLE & FALCON, Balsall Heath!! (That’s the “Ceol Castle” for us old farts)

Moreover, it’s not just ANY old Trail Of Dead gig, but a very special one indeed. Because, thanks to the sterling work of the tireless team at Birmingham Promoters (in association with the Primary agency) the angular Texans will be performing their 1999 album Madonna– yep, you know, the one with the Siddhartha thingy on the cover- IN FULL. From start to finish. Or at least that’s what I’ve been told (so don’t start sending me irate emails if they alter the running order) And, of course, that still leaves time for a few choice selections from the remainder of their long, varied and fascinating career.

A full-on, raging show from one of the bands that pioneered “emo” in the 90s long before it simply meant a hoodie and an asymmetrical haircut, performed in one of the West Midlands’ most intimate, aesthetically stunning venues- what better way to spend a chilly Saturday night in February? Tickets are still available from Skiddle, Ticketweb, Gigantic and They-Who-Shall-Not-Be Named, but best of all, direct from the Birmingham Promoters site itself (in association with SeeTickets) priced at a reasonable £22.00 . Here’s the link:

https://birminghampromoters.seetickets.com/event/and-you-will-know-us-by-the-trail-of-dead/the-castle-and-falcon-birmingham/1290446

What else are you waiting for, a Fugazi reunion? Trust me, that ain’t ever gonna happen- so why not watch the next best (some might even say better) thing decimate the Castle stage in screaming colour? Oh, and in case you wondered- the doors open at 7PM, and the nearest bus routes are the 8, 35 and 50.

See you down the front (or in my case, up the back near the bar) Oh, and don’t forget to check the “previews” section for regular updates on this and other forthcoming shows.

DARIUS DREWE

 

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A Maid Of Constant Song: the one and only JUDY COLLINS hits Birmingham on January 29

The Glee Club organisation- owners of fine venues in Nottingham, Cardiff and our fair city of Birmingham- have long been renowned for their high-quality programming and presentations of several of the world’s finest comedians and musicians. And now, it finally looks as if they’ve excelled themselves in a manner hitherto undreamed of- as they prepare to bring the one and only JUDY COLLINS to their Birmingham stage on the 29th January 2019.

Yes, THE Judy Collins: alongside Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell and Bonnie Dobson, one of the last remaining classic female voices of the folk-protest generation of the early-mid 60s, and at 76, still one of the most socially and politically active today. The voice of an angel, wrapped up in the persona of an inspirational, motivational pioneer woman: a writer, singer and interpreter beyond compare. And now she’s coming to the Glee, performing a special selection of her own hits and her favourite songs by a chosen inspiration, Stephen Sondheim. If you miss this, you’re an extremely silly person indeed…

Tickets are available from the promoters (www.glasswerk.co.uk) or the venue directly (https://www.glee.co.uk/performer/judy-collins/) as well as Ticketweb, SeeTickets, Ents24 and all the usual suspects. Prices start at £25.00 plus £1.50 booking fee (from the venue) but may be more depending on the individual website. The Glee Club is located at The Arcadian, 70 Hurst Street, Birmingham B5 4TD: for telephone enquiries, please call 0871 472 0400.

In the meantime, please find below the official biography for the artist (as supplied by her press agency) and an interview concerning what she’s up to today.

BIO

Judy Collins has inspired audiences with sublime vocals, boldly vulnerable songwriting, personal life triumphs, and a firm commitment to social activism. In the 1960s, she evoked both the idealism and steely determination of a generation united against social and environmental injustices. Five decades later, her luminescent presence shines brightly as new generations bask in the glow of her iconic 50-album body of work, and heed inspiration from her spiritual discipline to thrive in the music industry for half a century.
The award-winning singer-songwriter is esteemed for her imaginative interpretations of traditional and contemporary folk standards and her own poetically poignant original compositions. Her stunning rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” from her landmark 1967 album, Wildflowers, has been entered into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Judy’s dreamy and sweetly intimate version of “Send in the Clowns,” a ballad written by Stephen Sondheim for the Broadway musical A Little Night Music,won “Song of the Year” at the 1975 Grammy Awards. She’s garnered several top-ten hits gold- and platinum-selling albums. Recently, contemporary and classic artists such as Rufus Wainwright, Shawn Colvin, Dolly Parton, Joan Baez, and Leonard Cohen honored her legacy with the album Born to the Breed: A Tribute to Judy Collins.
Judy began her impressive music career at 13 as a piano prodigy dazzling audiences performing Mozart’s “Concerto for Two Pianos,” but the hardluck tales and rugged sensitivity of folk revival music by artists such as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger seduced her away from a life as a concert pianist. Her path pointed to a lifelong love affair with the guitar and pursuit of emotional truth in lyrics. The focus and regimented practice of classical music, however, would be a source of strength to her inner core as she navigated the highs and lows of the music business.
In 1961, she released her masterful debut, A Maid of Constant Sorrow, which featured interpretative works of social poets of the time such as Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, and Tom Paxton. This began a wonderfully fertile thirty-five year creative relationship with Jac Holzman and Elektra Records. Around this time Judy became a tastemaker within the thriving Greenwich Village folk community, and brought other singer-songwriters to a wider audience, including poet/musician Leonard Cohen – and musicians Joni Mitchell and Randy Newman. Throughout the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and up to the present, she has remained a vital artist, enriching her catalog with critically acclaimed albums while balancing a robust touring schedule.
On September 18, 2015, Judy will release her first studio album in four years, Strangers Again.  She invited a cast of icons and young talents to sing with her on this fresh collection, from Willie Nelson, Jackson Browne and Jeff Bridges to Glen Hansard, Ari Hest and Bhi Bhiman.  Judy delicately soars over a revitalized “Send In The Clowns” and breathes new life into “Hallelujah.”  She puts her indelible touch on songs by Leonard Bernstein, Randy Newman, James Taylor and more. 
 
In 2012 she released the CD/DVD Judy Collins Live At The Metropolitan Museum Of Art which aired on PBS.  This special television program was nominated for a New York Emmy and won a Bronze Medal at the 2013 New York Festival International Television & Film Awards.  Based on it’s success, in 2014 she filmed another spectacular show in Ireland at Dromoland Castle.  Live In Ireland was released in 2014.  This program also won a Bronze Medal at the 2014 New York Festival International Television & Film Awards and the program will broadcast on PBS in 2014 and 2015.
Judy has also authored several books, including the powerful and inspiring, Sanity & Grace. For her most recent title, the memoir Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life in Music, she reaches deeply inside and, with unflinching candor, recalls her turbulent childhood, extraordinary rise to fame, her romance with Stephen Stills, her epic victories over depression and alcoholism, and her redemption through embracing a healthy and stable lifestyle and finding true love with Louis Nelson, her partner of 30 years. In addition, she remains a social activist, representing UNICEF and numerous other causes. She is the director (along with Jill Godmillow) of an Academy Award-nominated film about Antonia Brico – PORTRAIT OF A WOMAN, the first woman to conduct major symphonies around the world–and Judy’s classical piano teacher when she was young.

Judy Collins, now 76, is as creatively vigorous as ever, writing, touring worldwide, and nurturing fresh talent. She is a modern day Renaissance woman who is also an accomplished filmmaker, record label head, musical mentor, and an in-demand keynote speaker for mental health and suicide prevention. She continues to create music of hope and healing that lights up the world and speaks to the heart.

INTERVIEW

Wildflower Records
PO Box 1296
NY, NY 10025
Tel. 212-749-7221

Contact: Katherine DePaul
Katherine@artist.vision
917-442-6526

Q: How did your newest song, Dreamers, come about and can you elaborate on the inspiration?

JC: I didn’t understand what I had at first, and then I was in Seattle in February and my husband said to me, ‘You know, you should really sing that song.’ I said, ‘Well, it’s not ready. I’m playing it on the piano and I’m trying.’ He said, ‘Just sing it a cappella. Just sing it. You need it. We all need it.’ So that’s what I did, and the results speak for themselves. All of us are immigrants who have come here to escape fascism, religious persecution, crime, dictatorships and in the case of many, starvation. We have been the haven for democracy through our history. Now a tide of hatred, prejudice, name calling and cruelty has infiltrated our nation. The Dreamers and the people seeking asylum in our country have become the canaries in our mine. We must remember who we are and save our democracy.

See DREAMERS video here

Q: You and Stephen Stills share such an amazing history, and have been on tour for the past two years with almost 150 shows under your belt. Are you having a good time out on the road?

JC: We’re having a fabulous time, and he [Stephen] says that it’s the happiest he’s been in a partnership. and we’re both so happy doing it. The band we have with us is so wonderful, and our crew. There’s no reason to stop now. And, you have no idea how much fun it is to be on stage together.

See HOUSES video here

Q: Your collaborative album with Ari Hest,  Silver Skies Blue, was nominated for a Grammy in 2017. How did you and Ari connect, and what was it like to receive a nomination after 50 years?

JC: Being nominated for a Grammy was a healthy injection into my career, because then the larger music family notices you and talks about you to promoters, who then get you jobs. But, I discovered Ari Hest about four or five years ago and loved his voice. I’ve never found anyone else I could sing with so comfortably. Writing the songs together for that album was a natural progression. After we worked together on Strangers, Ari and I met up for lunch, and he said he thought we should try to write together. And I said, “Fantastic.” It was very unpressured. We had no thoughts about where it would lead. We just did it for the love of it. He lives in New Jersey, and he would come across the river, so to speak, and we would work in my studio. We’d have lunch, talk about our various friends and families, and then we’d go in and sit around for an hour or two with songs. That allowed me to dig into my writing in a different kind of way.

See STRANGERS AGAIN video here

Q: How are you able to stay so prolific when it comes to music and writing?

JC: I’m always making resolutions about my career, and two years ago, I decided to start a “90 in 90” project, which meant I wrote a new song every day for 90 days. Just to keep the wheels oiled. But then [it was suggested] that I do it for the whole year — that way I’d have a book of poetry/songs by the end of the year. So that’s what I did in 2016.

Q: Your latest book, “Cravings” details your struggles with addictions? How do you think this book will help people who are struggling.

“Cravings” explores my addictions and how I really worked through them and overcame them. I really wrote the book so that I could help people understand there is a solution and they don’t have to go through all the years of struggle that I went through. We are addicted to sugar, grains, flour, wheat and junk, and they will increase the chance of bulimia, obesity and anorexia. Those (foods) contain alcohol and they set up a craving and a compulsion to have more. I don’t have any cravings now, and for years that was the problem.

See CRAVINGS link here

LOONEY TUNES ARE HERE AGAIN- MADNESS PREPARE TO HIT ARENA BIRMINGHAM

It’s going to be odd seeing them in (a) a seated indoor venue (and (b) one that’s not in London- but, seeing as those lovely personages at SJM Concerts have been kind enough to stick me on their press list for MADNESS at Arena Birmingham on Saturday December 15, I thought the very LEAST I could do would be to deliver a little preview (to be followed a few days later, of course, by a review)

The North West London ska-popsters have been a staple of my listening diets for nearly forty whole years now: having been born in London myself in the 70s, and being a schoolboy when songs like Baggy Trousers hit the top 10, I was naturally the perfect age for them. They went away for a while between 1986 and 1992, but they’ve been back ever since, releasing brilliant album after brilliant album: their most recent effort, 2016’s Can’t Touch Us Now, is probably their best, darkest and most lyrically outstanding release since 1983’s Rise And Fall, although I’d be surprised if they play that many songs from it in the set. What we’re most likely to get instead is a hit-after-hit experience, ideal for the festive season and reminding anyone who’s forgotten just how great the band are: as an added treat, support comes from Scots pop-rockers THE FRATELLIS, so get there early.

Some tickets (prices ranging from £43.58 to £57.14) are still available: all the relevant info can be found here. http://www.arenabham.co.uk/whats-on/madness

Stage times will be announced nearer to the day itself.

In the meantime…GOR BLIMEY GAVNAH, GET DAAAHN THERE!!! Or, to put it another way: HEY YOU, DON’T WATCH DAT, WATCH DIS!! DIS IS DE HEAVY HEAVY MONSTER SOUND, DE NUTTIEST SOUND AROUND!!! You know the rest.

JANE SIBERRY plus NICOLA HARDMAN, KITCHEN GARDEN CAFE, TONIGHT (December 10 2018) A final reminder….

RIGHT YOU LOT- just a short note (again) to remind you of the wonderment and joy that will be descending ‘pon Kings Heath’s Kitchen Garden Cafe venue this evening, courtesy of the unique talent that is JANE SIBERRY.

Nearest bus routes are the 11a/c, 35 and 50: other than that, all the relevant details, as taken straight from the venue’s site, are printed below. What are you waiting for? Time to let your ears do “the walking”….

Mon 10th Dec

Jane Siberry plus Nicola Hardman

8pm (Doors 7.30pm)

Iconic and enigmatic, Jane Siberry is one of the world’s most unique and gifted singer/songwriters. Blessed with a sincere integrity and emotional depth, her work has spanned three decades, with the release of 14 studio albums and performances on concert stages around the world. Her 1985 album The Speckless Sky was a huge critical and commercial success and the follow up albums The WalkingBound By BeautyWhen I Was A Boy and her signature song Calling All Angels cemented her status as one of the world’s foremost performance artists.

Jane’s recent albums Ulysses’ Purse and Angels Bend Closer have been released to rapturous acclaim and she will be performing tracks from this alongside her classics. A Canadian native, Jane’s songs have been covered by numerous artists, with particular success by k.d Lang on her renditions of Love is EverythingHaint It Funny and a stunning rendering of The Valley. This is guaranteed to be a very special evening with Jane performing some of her most beautiful music..

Tickets:  £18

Tickets available from the Cafe or www.wegottickets.com

Bound By The Beauty…in BRUM!!!

Glad tidings, you lot- for it seems that despite earlier inconveniences, I shall shortly be seeing the one and only JANE SIBERRY, to my mind Canada’s greatest actively recording singer-songwriter, in concert after all!!

Due to illness, I missed her appearance in Malvern on November 30th: naturally, this caused me much grief at the time, but it turned out alright in the end, as I found out afterwards that she was shortly due to appear- on this coming Monday 10th December, in fact- at Birmingham’s most stunningly intimate acoustic venue, The Kitchen Garden Cafe (Kings Heath)

Yep, you read that right- JANE SIBERRY!! The one and only, accept no substitute, playing live and unaccompanied in South Brum. Although technically, this is far from a “rare” outing for her, being as it is her third Midlands appearance this year alone, to say I’m excited about the prospect would be an understatement: not only do I get to finally witness an artist I’ve long admired i the flesh, but it’s in an accessible venue as well, which serves excellent food and real ale!!

The official promotional info can be found below: if you live in the Midlands, have ANY interest in unique and individual songwriters (think: Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush, Rickie Lee Jones, Aimee Mann) and haven’t seen Jane yet, do yourself a massive favour and come along.

 

Mon 10th Dec

Jane Siberry plus Nicola Hardman

8pm (Doors 7.30pm)

Iconic and enigmatic, Jane Siberry is one of the world’s most unique and gifted singer/songwriters. Blessed with a sincere integrity and emotional depth, her work has spanned three decades, with the release of 14 studio albums and performances on concert stages around the world. Her 1985 album The Speckless Sky was a huge critical and commercial success and the follow up albums The WalkingBound By BeautyWhen I Was A Boy and her signature song Calling All Angels cemented her status as one of the world’s foremost performance artists.

Jane’s recent albums Ulysses’ Purse and Angels Bend Closer have been released to rapturous acclaim and she will be performing tracks from this alongside her classics. A Canadian native, Jane’s songs have been covered by numerous artists, with particular success by k.d Lang on her renditions of Love is EverythingHaint It Funny and a stunning rendering of The Valley. This is guaranteed to be a very special evening with Jane performing some of her most beautiful music..

Tickets:  £18

Tickets available from the Cafe or www.wegottickets.com