By Stu Vincent

Hello again…what has been happening in my neck of the woods since our last chat?

 

I have been scraping ice of my car in the morning, cutting the grass in February and, as I look out of the Man Cave window, this morning we have had torrential rain then sleet. The sun is now shining and the sky is blue! Funny old world, eh?

 

Each month I have so many ideas for my next blog and then promptly forget things; I should really start making notes as I go about my daily business to write my blog more as a diary but some days seem to go at 100 mph and, before I know it, it’s time to write again.

 

Well.. I have some great concerts lined up including Molly Tuttle, Patty Griffin, Kaia Kater and before I go any further, I cannot resist the opportunity to listen to Molly’s ‘Million Miles’ recorded ‘live’ on Lightning 100 in Nashville.

The tickets for Molly Tuttle’s show are selling quickly and this comes as no surprise. Through her performances with The Goodbye Girls and John Mailander, Molly has been an acclaimed musician for some time now. In 2016, she won a Momentum Award at the 2016 IBMA Awards and then went on to win the Guitar Player of the Year Award in 2017 and 2018.

‘When You’re Ready’ will be Molly’s new release (from which comes ‘Million Miles) and this is officially released on April 5th which coincides with her UK dates which run from April 10th through to the 20th; we will be seeing Molly at The Stables near Milton Keynes on Sunday 14th – I believe that this has now sold out but it is worth checking and The Stables are very good at helping music lovers with ticket returns (which is how we managed to see Feast of Fiddles last year).

 

Before we get to see Molly, Patty and Kaia, we will be seeing Mile Twelve from Boston, USA.

 

This will be Mile Twelve’s first visit to the UK and a list of the tour dates can be found here and we shall be at

The South Holland Centre in Spalding on March 22nd. I recently spoke to Evan Murphy of Mile Twelve on Hillbilly Boogie and we chatted about the new release ‘City On A Hill’ which was produced by Bryan Sutton and engineered by Ben Surratt.

Mile Twelve’s reputation precedes them on this tour. In 2017, as a band, they won an IBMA Momentum Award and in 2018 Bronwyn Keith-Hynes and David Benedict won the Momentum Award for fiddle and mandolin respectively.

 

From their first CD ‘Onwards’ here’s a taste of Mile Twelve with ‘Ace of Hearts’

David Benedict has also had considerable success with his latest sole release ‘The Golden Angle’. On this recording, David is joined (amongst others) by David Grier (guitar), Missy Raines (bass) and Stuart Duncan (fiddle).

 

If you are a follower of David’s on Instagram then you will be familiar with his Mandolin Mondays where he features videos of some of the finest players around. This can also be accessed on his website – there are so many great videos to watch but I would recommend Lauren Price’s ‘Monroe’s Blues’, Adam Steffey’s ‘Old Time Medley’ and (one the nicest people that I have ever met) Cory Piatt’s ‘I’ll Fly Away’.

The level of musicianship within Mile Twelve speak for itself. Their previous recording ‘Onwards’ helped to bring them to the attention of Bluegrass audiences at many festivals and the release of ‘City On A Hill’ is certain to win them more fans. For me, one of the outstanding tracks on ‘City On A Hill’ is ‘Rialto’ but the most surprising is the opening track which is a Bluegrass version of Richard & Linda Thompson’s ‘Down Where The Drunkards Roll’. When I spoke to Evan, I remarked that taking on a Richard Thompson song is a bold move for anyone (Red Molly did a fine job though Del McCoury’s ‘Knoxville’ rather than ‘Box Hill’ always jars with me) but Mile Twelve have done a fine job. By all accounts, it was Nate Sabat (bass) who recommended ‘Drunkards’ and as Evan explained “…it wasn’t our intention to strip it of its sadness, but just to do what (maybe) Bluegrass music does best which is to tell a sad story with a lilting groove to it…..’ well, I think that they did a fine job of it but go along to one of the shows and decide for yourself.

I think that Bluegrass fans in the UK will be in for a treat if they manage to catch one of the Mile Twelve dates (and they will be severely disappointed if they don’t!).

This week I received a recommendation for an artist to play on Hillbilly Boogie and it delighted me that a listener in Chicago would recommend a UK artist but that’s what happened. So, Lynn, thank you for suggesting Frank Turner to me. I played two tracks from his ‘Tape Deck Heart’ release – ‘The Way I Tend To Be’ opened the show and one of my closing tracks really suggested itself because I spent a few hours on Thursday sitting under a buzzing needle with the incredible Holli so I really had to play ‘Tattoos’. As I said to Holli…I went it to get a leaf or two for my (tattoo) lizard to sit on and ended up with half an acre of Madagascar! Maybe I will share a picture next time.

 

As I said in the last Hillbilly Boogie, I always sign off with ‘Be Good’ and when I saw that Frank’s new release was called ‘Be More Kind’ then I had a feeling that this would be an album for me.

 

While, in some places, Frank has been likened to ‘campfire punk’ some of the songs are socially pertinent and some veer towards pop but I like it nonetheless. Maybe not the usual Hillbilly Boogie material but it is good to throw in something unexpected from time to time.

 

From ‘Be More Kind’ this is ‘Don’t Worry’

Now….talking on non-standard Hillbilly Boogie music, I have a bunch of great concerts lined up: I have tickets for Feast of Fiddles (featuring the wonderful Peter Knight of Gigspanner and formerly of Steeleye Span), Molly Tuttle and on the 26th April at Kings Place we go to see Pharis & Jason Romero.

 

In May we have Kaia Kater on the 10th and then Patty Griffin on the 14th at The Stables near Milton Keynes.

 

Then……and I am as surprised as anyone to find me writing this….hold tightly, dear Reader….on June 30th I am going to see Nile Rodgers & Chic! Seeing that he was playing at the rugby ground in my town it seemed such a great opportunity to just go to a party and have fun. I imagine that this will be a hit-filled evening with disco-lovers. This will be so far removed from any concert that I have been to but I think it’s going to be a hoot.

Will there be disco in Hillbilly Boogie….no. Will I be dancing on the 30th June….you bet !