Category Archives: folk

Wknd to release The Venopian Solitude single June 7

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Just got an awesome update about a unique artist I wrote about a while back: The Venopian Solitude, stage name for a young woman from Malaysia with a great voice and even better tunes and lyrics.

The Wknd, a Malaysian magazine that promotes indie music, held a contest and put out a call for demos and The Venopian Solitude won. She is the first ever recipient of the Wknd Recording Fund. The fund will get her a professionally produced single, which Wknd will market and make available for sale through their website.

Wknd writer Faiz Fadzil commented in my “about” section, “We’ve finished recording her first single. It will be launched on Friday 7th June 2013. We’ll be announcing the Soundcloud links to her tracks on that day as well.”

Congratulations to a very talented and deserving musician. I’m proud to have had a chance to find her early and see her mature as an artist.

Check out my blog post about her from 2010: The Venopian Solitude – unique voice from the global village

Edit:

Here’s the link if you want to check it out http://the-wknd.com/music/new-music/the-venopian-solitude-warkah-narcissus/

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Filed under experimental, folk, indie, music, one to watch

Latest find – Austin singer-songwriter Shakey Graves (This guy’s gonna be huge)

Shakey Graves – an Austin musician with a big future, mark my words.

Every now and then I make a music discovery that is so good and so unexpected it stops me right in my tracks. Last night I was playing the free downloads from the Eye in the Sky Collective and I suddenly heard a song I never heard before that sounded like it might have been around forever – a sure sign of talent and inspiration. “Built to Roam” by Shakey Graves. Just a perfect, perfect song.

And after a bit of digging I got more shocks: Shakey Graves, aka Alejandro Rose-Garcia, is from Austin and has been featured by the Austin Chronicle and on KUT – by other people who were affected the same way by his music. I could have seen him live at South By Southwest if I had known. I will definitely be on the lookout for new chances to see him play.

Furthermore, I listened to his album, Roll the Bones on Bandcamp all the way through, and loved every song. His style is a blend of classic blues, alt country and folk music. Mainly just great songwriting. The picking in some of his songs make me think of blues legends like Bukka White. The songs are available on a “pay what you want” basis. Give it a listen and see if you don’t think it’s worth paying for. We need to keep this man in business. He’s brilliant.

Here is his Tumblr page, which includes dates for upcoming performances. If you’re in the Austin area, you can see him at the Hole in the Wall on Thursday, March 29 and at the White Horse on Saturday, March 31.

Shakey Graves will be performing at the Kohoutek music festival in Claremont CA on April 28 and is looking for other venues in the West – New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, etc. (E-mail him at shakey.graves@gmail.com if you have any ideas.)

“Like” him on Facebook to find out more.

And check out this video I just found, wherein he tells how he got his stage name and plays a really good song:

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Filed under alt-country, blues, country, folk, indie, music, one to watch, Uncategorized

SXSW 2012 bands I’ve seen that you should too

Once again I’m finding that you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to see good shows at South By Southwest. Just RSVP for a bunch of free parties (you don’t even have to be sure you can make it, just do as many as you can find), get there early, and have a good attitude.

Be prepared not to care if the line is long and you don’t get in. Just go hear some other bands in some other place. If you miss something good, you might find something else even better. I made some great discoveries over the weekend, artists I think everyone should see. We’re still in the early part of the festival and you can catch several of them. If you’re in Austin for SXSW, see if you can still catch them.

Here are my recommendations based on what I’ve seen so far:

Peelander Z

I saw them Sunday night, March 11 at the Beauty Ballroom on East Riverside. I haven’t stopped smiling since. A friend told me to expect a hell of a show, but beyond that he couldn’t really get across just what they were like. And for good reason. They are well-nigh indescribable. I understand the band is from Japan, based in New York, but to hear them tell it, they are from another planet altogether. I could almost believe it. They wore funny costumes, a bit like overgrown Power Rangers.

They are at once hard-rocking and funny as hell. They mostly played a kind of punk rock – and it did indeed rock, but the music was only part of it. The main point was the performance, just loads and loads of silliness that completely swept up the crowd. Highlights included the premier of the video, “Star Bowling,” metal dog dishes and drum sticks passed into the crowd for extra racket, the bass player dressed in a big red alien suit jumping rope in the middle of the crowd, and human bowling. Songs were about such topics as “Get Glasses,” “Medium Rare” (How do you like your steak?) and “Mad Tiger.” At the end of the show they got members of Electric Eel Shock up on the stage jamming with them.

I would put these guys in the category of “Do not miss.” Catch their show if at all possible. They have several shows coming up, including Wednesday, March 14 at Elysium; Thursday, March 15 at Kebabalicious; Friday, March 16 at The Liberty; and Peelander-Fest on Saturday, March 17 at the Grackle. You can find a list of those here on Do512. Several free shows, several need RSVPs.

Just a very small taste:

Electric Eel Shock

This heavy metal band from Japan kicked a major amount of ass. They could really play their instruments and had a ton of charisma, especially the singer/guitar player. They were the second opening band for Peelander Z on Sunday March 11 at the Beauty Ballroom, but I would’ve been happy to see them as the headlining band. The singer is great at getting the crowd involved. The bass player displayed some great theatrics, playing atop the amp stack and at one point playing while hanging upside-down from the balcony. And last but not least, they had a hell of a drummer, who would’ve had my attention even if he had worn more clothes than the sock over his penis.

Beware if you can’t deal with seeing an almost-naked drummer…

Hailey Tuck


Wonderful local singer I discovered at a showcase of folk and world music called The Amazing Obis Bros. Medicine Show the Butterfly Bar at the Vortex Theater Backyard (next door to Salvage Vanguard Theatre on Manor Road).

Hailey is a torch singer, a throwback to another, much classier era. She performed jazz songs and standards accompanied by a guy on electric piano and another on trumpet/trombone. She has a hell of a voice and is really cute. She could be one of the next big names to come out of Austin. If you like Adele or Amy Winehouse, you’ll love this girl. She will be performing at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 14 at Waterloo Ice House at 38th St. and Lamar Blvd. I think it’s free and I don’t think you have to RSVP.

Whiskey Shivers

This is a local band from Austin. I saw them at the Swan Dive on Red River. Kickass hillbilly music. More country than country, like something straight out of Appalachia. They got so into it, they went into the crowd and did an acoustic set as the next band set up.

Check out the “Shows” tab on their website, WhiskeyShivers.com. Their official SXSW show is March 16, 1 a.m. at Maggie Mae’s, but they have a lot of other shows and parties scheduled. You can see ’em sans badge pretty easily.

Wild Child

An Austin band that plays what I would call folk-rock. Some traditional “folk” instruments like fiddle and ukelele, but with a trap set and electric keyboards. Some of the songs were quite catchy. I’m gonna keep an eye and ear out for these guys.

They will be playing Tuesday, March 13, 8 p.m. at Beale Street Tavern. That’s an official SXSW show, so you’ll need a badge or a wristband. Not sure of the time, but you can also catch them on Friday, March 16 at 5 p.m. at a Free Showcase which runs all day Friday, March 16 and all day Saturday, March 17 at Shiner’s Saloon.

That’s a free showcase, but you need to RSVP. And btw, it looks like there are a lot of other good bands in the. I’d like to see the TonTons, a band I’ve blogged about before – they’ll be playing Saturday at 4 p.m. You can get a schedule for that showcase here.

Ghost Knife

An Austin band featuring guitarist/lead singer Mike Wiebe of Riverboat Gamblers (also a member of the High Tension Wires and a standup comedian). It took me a while to warm up to them as they warmed up for Peelander Z at the Beauty Ballroom on Sunday night, but a few songs in I really started getting into them. They reminded me of some ’80s hardcore punk band I can’t quite put my finger on. Maybe some of the Minutemen at their most radio-friendly, maybe a bit of early hardcore Devo? Anyway, they had a lot of charm and rocked hard. I’m not finding any more Ghost Knife shows scheduled in the next few days, but there is a nice list of shows Mike Wiebe will be involved in on this blog. (Including a free show with Riverboat Gamblers on March 16 and a free day show with High Tension Wires at The Grackle – again with Peelander Z).

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Filed under country, folk, jazz, live show, metal, music, punk, Uncategorized

Peter Doran looking for patrons to help fund his new record – help put him over the top

Back in the heyday of TheSixtyOne, I discovered a wonderful singer-songwriter from Ireland named Peter Doran. I haven’t written about him yet, but it’s been on my to-do list. Peter is working on a new album and needs help from fans to bring it to completion. He’s using Pledge Music, which is essentially a European version of Kickstarter. Last time I checked he had collected 99% of what he needs, with about 4 days left to get the final amount. I have a lot of respect for Peter and his music, so I thought I’d put out the good word.

Check him out and pitch in if you can.

And check out some of his songs on his website if you haven’t heard him before.

Here is one of my favorites:

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The Chubby Knuckle Choir: roots music from a country that never existed – but should have

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Ever mix foods that don’t sound like they should go together and find out they really really do? Like peanut butter ‘n’ banana sandwiches? Sounded weird at first, but trust me, it’s a combination that was meant to be.

I recently discovered a musical example: The Chubby Knuckle Choir, a band with a funny name and an even stranger combination of styles, with members from Bastrop, Cedar Creek, Elgin, Waco and Liberty Hill.

It’s almost impossible to pin down their sound. Americana doesn’t quite do it. Blues, bluegrass, country, rockabilly, Cajun, R&B, funk… They’re all part of the mix. It’s such a weird combination of styles, but it sounds rootsy and natural, like folk music from a country that never was, but should’ve been.

The band has five members: Rory Smith of Elgin on vocals and percussion; Perry Lowe of Bastrop on percussion; Tres Womack of Waco (formerly of Bastrop) on guitar and vocals; Slim Bawb Pearce of Cedar Creek (by way of Sacramento, California) on mandolin and other stringed instruments and vocals and Dave Gould of Liberty Hill on string bass.

The percussion is a bit unusual, with Rory pounding on congas, scratching on a frottoir (rub board) and at times a Jew’s harp given to him by his Swedish mother-in-law. Perry plays a Brazilian box drum known as a cajón (that doubles as his chair) and an African drum called a djembe.

Each member brings something into the mix — styles, instruments and songs. Tres adds a country music flavor. Slim Bawb adds Louisiana and bluegrass influences (although he’s from California). Rory and Perry contribute R&B, funk and soul. Dave Gould, who also plays in the Watts Brothers Band, brings his skill on the bass fiddle.

“People compare us to the Gourds, but I think we’re more unique,” said Tres, who helped kick start the band. He hosted  an open mic night that featured Rory and a CD release party where both Rory and Perry turned up to sing harmony. They enjoyed working together so much a musical relationship was born. In time they picked up Slim Bawb Pearce and Curtis Farley (the previous bass player).

“Tres, Rory and Perry had been playing together for a while and they needed a picker,” said Slim Bawb. “I played some slide mandolin and we meshed really quickly. It’s fun to play in this band. We have a lot of harmonies and you never know what’s gonna happen. There’s a lot of improvising going on.”

Slim Bawb moved to Cedar Creek from Sacramento five years ago. Before he became a transplanted Texan, he spent 20 years with a group called the Beer Dawgs, which was inducted into the Sacramento Area Music Hall of Fame in 1998.

Curtis, who owns Twisted Twig Studio, is still involved with the band on the production end. He came up with the name Chubby Knuckle Choir while poking fun at the musicians’ middle age spare tires and chubby hands. The musicians were having a jam session and singing harmonies. “Curtis was picking on us and said ‘y’all look like a chubby knuckle choir’ and the name stuck,” Rory said.

Rory and Perry chose their percussion instruments for two reasons: 1) their cars weren’t big enough to hold trap sets and 2) they provide rhythm without overwhelming the vocals.

Tres also liked the idea of using those instruments to make the band’s sound more unique, and offset his strong country influence. The frottoir was a nod to Slim Bawb’s Cajun influence.

“What makes it work is we all like each other,” Rory said.

The Chubby Knuckle Choir has had its share of local success, performing at South By Southwest in 2008, 2009 and 2010. They have also opened for Austin musician Guy Forsyth, former member of the Asylum Street Spankers at Nutty Brown Café outside of Dripping Springs.

Most of the time they perform at the Lumberyard in downtown Bastrop or in Quoffer’s in Elgin, but they also play in other venues around the state and are slated to play in Elgin’s Hogeye Festival next October.

They are not trying to become a national act — although they are open to possibilities if they somehow strike it big. “We’re all at that age where we have responsibilities,” Rory said. “Perry has a couple of toddlers. If we get a following that’s great, but  it’s not on the agenda. We just love what we do.”

The band is working on songs for the debut studio album, which should be finished by the end of the year. In the meantime, you can buy CDs of their 11-track album “Live at the Lumberyard” for $10. E-mail rolow86@yahoo.com.

The Chubby Knuckle Choir’s next show is at the Lumberyard is 8 p.m. Friday, June 10. The band will perform at Quoffer’s at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 23.

This one may be my favorite:

Ethylene

These are quite impressive as well:

Herville

It’s Always Something

The Live Experience

I caught the tail end of one of their shows at Quoffer’s bar in Elgin and went to see them again a few weeks ago in Bastrop in a really cool venue called the Lumberyard (it actually used to BE a lumberyard).

The audience was a mix of old and young who from time to time got up and danced. The band obviously a small but dedicated following (that recently grew by one).

Their set list featured some great original songs, along with some inspired covers. “Freakshow,” “It’s Always Something” “Farmer’s Tan” and “Ethylene” were among my favorite originals.

They did excellent covers of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,” the gospel standard “Jesus on the Mainline” and Lee Dorsey’s “Ya Ya.” Venue owner Jeff Brister joined the band on trumpet during “Ya Ya.”

Another highlight was Storytelling, a band tradition. Band members take turns telling stories from one concert to the next. The stories are supposed to be true. Rory told one about raccoons taking up residence in his attic.

Every story ends with “and I heard a song on the radio,” followed by a cover song. The one that night was AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long.” Never expected to hear a bluegrass version of that, but it really worked.

Very entertaining live show. I’ve been looking for a band to fill the empty place in my soul left by the breakup of the Asylum Street Spankers and I may have finally found it – right in my back yard.

Check out The Chubby Knuckle Choir Reverbnation page for announcements of upcoming shows.

And here’s a sample of their live performance:

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Filed under alt-country, blues, country, folk, indie, interview, live show, one to watch, r&b, review, roots, Uncategorized, world music

Folkville musician reunion is May 15 — hear folk music, eat ice cream and honor a great man

Weldon Brewer

Think Austin is weird now? How does the idea of making music in an ice cream parlor strike you? The Folkville Ice Cream Parlor was just such a venue, serving up helpings of folk music by such artists as Townes Van Zandt, Nanci Griffith and Lyle Lovett — and that was 30 years ago.

On Sunday, May 15, starting at 4 p.m., some of the musical artists who performed in that venue will gather at The Thrice (formerly Cafe Caffeine) at 909 W. Mary Street to pay homage to the late Weldon Brewer, the man who helped make that odd, magical fusion of dessert and sweet music happen.
There will be a toast to Weldon Brewer, great music, and of course, ice cream. The show is all ages. Donate what you can for the music at the door.

The Therapy Sisters, Bill Oliver, Norm Ballinger, Ky Hote, Gail Lewis, Carolyn Norulak, Brenda Ladd, Frank Hill, Brian Cutean, Jan Seides, Marilyn Cain and others will perform into the evening — perhaps a Lounge Lizard or two.
“Everyone likes to say, ‘Keep Austin Weird,’ but this is one of the things that made Austin weird in the first place,” said Brian Cutean (QTN) who is organizing the event to honor his good friend Weldon.
Folkville Ice Cream opened in 1981 at the corner of 29th and San Jacinto (where Crown and Anchor Pub is today). Folkville followed two other ice cream music venues: You Scream Ice Cream, and Nothing Strikes Back, a psychedelic black-light ice cream parlor on Guadalupe St.
Brewer, a retired 30-year Navy Commander, hosted three or four sets a night by anyone who wrote and sang music. He passed a Star Wars Stormtrooper helmet around for donations after each set.
“Folkville was a classic Austin venue,” said Cutean. “It gave a lot of great musicians a chance to develop a following in Austin. Music is something eternal. The people who played there are still playing and writing great music 30 years later. They are the survivors. We want to give a belated salute to Weldon for bringing us all together.”

Check out the logo for the old Folkville Ice Cream Parlor:

I love that last line: Used Tire(s). As if ice cream and music in the same joint wasn’t a weird enough juxtaposition. 🙂

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Pickering Pick’s tuneful English folk is a Sparkling Thing

Singer-songwriter Pickering Pick

Singer-songwriter Sam Pickering Pick is a man after my own heart — a man in love with words, words sung and words written. Setting his words to music, he paints beautiful pictures and tugs at the heartstrings. I also love his sense of melody and his guitar work. Low key and humble as he is, I think he has huge potential among folk music fans and beyond.

Originally from England, he has been living in the United States for eight years and now makes his home in Sacramento, California. Though his singing accent is a bit soft, he notes that his “speaking voice is just as English as ever.”

Sam has made nine albums to date, plus two EPs. His latest, The Boy in the Back, was just released this year. He is in the process of remastering his other albums in his home studio.

Though I find his guitar work quite beautiful, Sam doesn’t consider himself a hot shot musician. Lyrics are his main focus. “I played guitar and a bit of piano growing up, neither one particularly well, I might add. I’m really not a ‘good musician,’ and I’m just lucky to have long fingers and a sense of rhythm, so that fingerpicking a folk guitar is relatively easy for me. I have always been much more about the words than the music, so Paul Simon and obviously Dylan had huge appeal for me.”

I recently asked Sam what he thought of British singer-songwriter Donovan since I get a bit of a Donovan vibe off his music.

“You know, Donovan is an interesting one,” he said. “A couple of his songs are spectacular, but often I think he’s a bit too sweet for my taste. His fingerpicking is lovely, though. I love that scene in Don’t Look Back where he’s playing in a room of Dylan groupies and Dylan is just really mean to him, but Donovan plays much better. I think the English folk singer I most identify with is probably Cat Stevens [aka Yusuf Islam].” He is also a big fan of English folk singer Richard Thompson.

Sam recently turned 32. He grew up in a town in England called Cheltenham “in the Cotswolds, in the south-west Midlands.” He describes Cheltenham as a “posh town with posh schools, but lots of problems”

Sam himself did not grow up in a posh family, but his father is a notable figure in the music world. David Pickering Pick is a record producer and serial studio-builder who built studios from the ’70s up to the present. Musicians recording in David’s studio include Luther Grosvenor from Mott The Hoople, The Vigilantes of Love, Decameron and Bill Mallonee. “I think Judi Dench was there the other day doing some voice work. Anyway, a lot of English folk royalty over the years…” His studio company is FFG Recording.

“I grew up in Cheltenham, went to school, listened to all my dad’s old folk records from the mid- ’60s through the early ’70s — he gave me a whole stack when I was about 11 or 12,” Sam said. While his friends were listening to Guns ‘n’ Roses, Sam notes, “I grew up on James Taylor, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan. Later on, there was Fairport Convention, Sandy Denny, Incredible String Band, etc., but earlier on it was the American folk singers I adored.”

After leaving school, Sam went to London to study architectural history. “Around that time, my first year, I wrote the songs for The Attic Tapes, and recorded them with my dad producing at his studio,” he said.

Sam moved to the U.S. in 2002 after meeting an American girl in London as a 20-year old. He and his wife married in 2000 and recently celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary. They have two children, a 7-year-old boy and a 3-year-old girl. He has been a stay-at-home father since their son was born.

Sam’s sister Sera recently made some very nice videos of him singing in his home studio. “Sparkling Thing” may be my favorite from the new album:

I’ve always loved “Unseen Hook” as well:



Visit Sera’s Youtube channel to see the rest.

Below are some of the topics Sam and I covered during a recent interview, including RateYourMusic, Bandcamp, TheSixtyOne, LastFM, and his dream of becoming a published novelist.

RateYourMusic

I discovered Sam on RateYourMusic, an amazing website that has grown into a thriving community with a very impressive database of albums and artists. Like me, he was one of the early members of that site back in 2002. I beat him there by just a few months.

“It was a tiny website back then,” he said. “It’s amazing. I’m so happy to see it turning into the resource it has become – one of only a tiny handful of extraordinary truly social media.”

MM: “Me too. [Site owner and creator] Sharifi is such an amazingly awesome guy. Sort of Zuckerberg’s good twin.”

Sam: “I owe him a HUGE amount. Seriously, w/o Sharifi and RYM, I wouldn’t have recorded all the albums I did. And I wouldn’t have reached the people I have reached.”

MM: “I certainly wouldn’t know about you. Or about tons and tons of my favorite music.”

Sam: “He’s on top of my Christmas card list for sure. RYM pretty much changed my life musically.”

MM: “How so? Just by giving you a venue and some networking?”

Sam: “Well, let me see… First of all, it opened up my eyes and ears to a whole world of music I wouldn’t have discovered, which influenced and changed me as a musician. Then, importantly, it provided a platform for me to experiment with listeners. I had played live in London for a while before moving to California, but I never had the feedback I got from RYM. Then, of course, the viral nature of a social website like RYM made distribution of my music very easy in way I had never imagined… I mean, RYM was not conceived as a venue for unsigned/under-the-radar musicians to upload their music, right?”

MM: “From my understanding it was an experiment, to create a database others would contribute to. That part definitely works.”

Sam: “But with the help of [RYM users] Matti, Kevvy, Jon Bohan and a few others, and tremendous support from many more, I was able to use the site as a personal musical forum.”

MM: “It’s an amazing database at this point.”

Sam: “Probably the only one of its kind – almost too complete! Lots of very anal music fans with too much time on their hands… I used to think I was a music geek, but now I know otherwise.”

MM: “There are levels of geek.”

Sam: “I am low-level for sure.”

Aspiring writer

Growing up with a music producer for a father had a big impact on Sam, but he has another passion: writing.

“Music was everywhere when I was growing up. Musicians of all kinds in and out of the house. I used to sit and watch the sessions from time to time, but I don’t remember ever thinking I wanted to be a musician. By the time I was in my mid-teens, I wanted to be a writer and that has never gone away.”

He has written two novels and would love to become a published novelist, but notes, “music is just as much a love of mine.

“You know, writing is just enormously satisfying. The writing process — I get a huge kick out of it. I finished the last novel this summer, right before i started working on The Boy in the Back and when I was done, I felt bereft.”

His novels cover a variety of subjects, including wasted youth, anxiety, sexual tension and murder. His last book was a comedy, which he refers to as “fluffy teen fiction, like Gossip Girl.” He pitched it to some agencies but didn’t have any takers. “I used to work in book publishing, so I know how it works. New authors never get a look-in. Only established names. You have to know someone or be someone.” But he notes, “people will continue to seek out good writing.”

He has toyed with the idea of giving his books away through digital downloads, the way he does his music. “There’s a way it could work. For the Kindle generation.”

Bandcamp

Like other indie musicians I’ve spoken with, Sam is a big fan of Bandcamp.com, which lets unsigned artists stream, give away and sell their music. “I never made anything from my music until I put the albums up on Bandcamp,” he said.

In fact, during our interview, he interjected, “Cool! Someone just bought an album on Bandcamp! While we were chatting. What a coincidence…”

Sam still thinks the website could be better: “It is really cool — but it isn’t perfect. It’s not a cohesive site. There’s no ‘web.’ It’s like a stack of pages, but no cross-references. So one artist is pretty much isolated from all the others and there’s nowhere for fans to comment on artist pages.”

MM: “Yeah, I’ve noticed that. It’s like each artist has an independent website, which is cool in a way, but not very lively for the music explorer.”

Sam: “Exactly exactly exactly. Great for me as an artist, not as a consumer.”

But speaking as a blogger, Bandcamp is pretty doggone convenient as it lets me embed songs and albums like so:

 

Live performances

Sam isn’t currently doing live performances, but doesn’t rule them out in the future. He is a bit stage-shy, but while in London he performed in some important folk venues. “I even played the 12-Bar on Denmark Street one time, probably my most prestigious performance,” he said. “It was nerve-wracking but well-received.” He explained that Denmark Street is “pretty much the epicentre of folk music in London and the UK, and the 12-Bar is the focal point — a live folk club for acoustic artists.”

He finished building a proper home recording studio last year and wants to get comfortable in it. “I am not opposed to playing live, but having been away from the live scene for so long, it is hard to know how to get back into it again,” he said. “I’m not keen on open mic, but i do appreciate that listeners want to see their favourite artists playing ‘in the flesh.'”

TheSixtyOne

I’m the one who talked Sam into joining TheSixtyOne.com. I was gratified to see how quickly he formed a bond with other folk musicians and found his audience. I was a little embarrassed later on, when the site changed into its current artist-unfriendly format, stripping away all those social networking tools. I’m relieved to find that he still thinks his time at T61 was well-spent. His songs are still on the site, though he isn’t seeing much activity there.

Sam: “T61… well… You introduced me to it and I was very excited at first.”

MM: “Yeah. I was trying to win a quest. The Evangelist or something. Plus I thought highly of your music and I thought you would do well there — and you did.”

Sam: “I had had a long hiatus from writing and recording, but something kind of clicked and I was excited about writing again. That was amazing — to be able to be involved in the process, watching people respond to my songs. It was very addictive.”

MM: “It was quite a supportive environment wasn’t it?”

Sam: “The charts, and the front page, etc., the comments I received were encouraging.”

MM: “Yeah. your fans rooting for you, trying to get you on the home page, helping you strategize.”

Sam: “And then, boom. It just ended.”

MM: “Your songs are still up right?”

Sam: “I guess — I never go there any more. Wouldn’t know how to get rid of them.”

MM: “I would leave them. The more places, the better.”

Sam: “I don’t disagree.”

LastFM

Sam also enjoys the popular music website Last.fm, which gives him valuable exposure as a musician. “I have a good relationship with Last.fm,” he said. “They’re good people.” He admits the site isn’t perfect, but is still a fan.

MM: “They’ve got issues too. That duplicate artist thing is a mess and a half.”

Sam: “Oh, yeah, that’s true. There were a couple of Pickering Picks last time I checked… One’s a Sam Pickering Pick I guess. But the communities and groups are cool.”

Speaking of which… A quick Internet search will come up with quite a few Pickering Picks.

Sam: “Ha ha. There are a few notable Pickering Picks. Thomas Pickering Pick is probably the biggest. My family were all famous surgeons. Surgeons to the royal family, etc.” (Gray’s Anatomy was co-written and edited by Thomas.)

With a bit of luck and perseverance, I’m betting that one day, Sam Pickering Pick the musician will be the first Pickering Pick folks think of when they look up his family.

Check out Sam’s website, listen to some of his songs and maybe send a little love his way. I think he deserves a few bucks at the very least for the musical gift he’s given us.

http://pickeringpick.com/

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Filed under folk, indie, indie pop, interview, music, one to watch