NewMusicMondays – 7 December 2020

Picking up the threads from last week’s bonus track, the first song this week also has a Scottish theme – and, in celebration of it also being December, this is a Christmas song – certainly heartfelt, if perhaps a little ‘tired and emotional’ lyrics; a strong arrangement and beautiful playing; a tumbler with a halfway-indecent measure of whisky sitting atop the piano (metaphorically speaking); and terrifically supportive, and gently under-stated, backing vocals from the marvellous Karine Polwart. It even has a brass band. Of course it does – it’s a proper Christmas song. Here’s Ross Wilson, from Blue Rose Code, with his own ‘(I Wish You) Peace in Your Heart’:

This is another that came to me via ‘Keep Going Together’, the lockdown blog of Perth’s Horsecross Arts. The blog has been set up to provide daily posts celebrating the music and arts brought to the good folk of Perthshire by Perth Theatre and Perth Concert Hall as a means of staying connected during shutdown, with the specific intention of creating moments of culture and community for people to share.

The tune was intended to be Day One in an advent calendar featuring some of the many quality artists celebrated by Showcase Scotland Expo – hence the somewhat cheesy intro to the video. This was a great idea even if somewhat under-played ever since: I can’t find any reference to it otherwise on Showcase Scotland Expo’s own website and its YouTube channel is curiously under-subscribed (perhaps as a result of it having absolutely no content). Oh well.

If it stays 1 December for the rest of the month, at least this might give me a bit more time to do my online lockdown shopping – but, if not, this is a warming tune which, joking apart, reminds us of the importance when we are isolated from one another of telling our loved ones that we love them, not least as a way of bringing peace where there are unrested souls.

The second song this week is by East Reading’s own Thomas (Tom these days, it seems, perhaps with a view to the YouTube market) Sanders, formerly of Maiden Erlegh comp and then Pete and The Pirates and still of Teleman, whose ‘Düsseldorf‘ is one of the great tracks of the 2010s. Four years on, Thomas still has that wistful, wonderfully vulnerable, high register voice and ability to write perceptive lyrics, here with words of gentle admonition to his daughter that the world can be a tough place especially if, once we grow into adults, we continue selfishly to regard ourselves as the centre of it.

‘Little Human’ has been out since August, coincident exactly with me starting this series of posts, and it’s taken me a while to get around to it. However, Only Magic, the album from which ‘Little Human’ is the lead single, came out last Friday and you can pick it up directly via Thomas’s bandcamp – including on limited edition tropical pearl vinyl. And if that doesn’t grab you – well, I’ve got plenty more still up my sleeve 😉

Thomas Sanders – and his bands – has long been championed by BBC 6Music’s Marc Riley, on whose show on Thursday last week Thomas played a ‘live’ session (available for another three weeks or so – and hence the reason for getting around to it now). Three tracks for Marc Riley, plus another later on for Gideon Coe, has been a staple of my listening diet for around ten years now and it’s introduced me to a number of terrific acts, Teleman among them alongside others I’ve also featured during this series. It was great to hear Thomas, in a kind of interview in partial replacement of Marc’s informed, engaged and always enthusiastic chats with the bands featured on the show, also reminisce on Thursday about Reading’s live music venue The Rising Sun (RIP).

It’s fair to say that some of the station presenters have fared better than others during lockdown and Marc is clearly sorely missing the opportunity to get to gigs, discover new live music and to chat to bands. However, the sheer dedication of all of them to continue bringing music to us, recording shows in isolation in their spare bedrooms and sheds, is always to be applauded so this week’s post is dedicated to Marc, Gid, Craig Charles, Cerys Matthews, Tom Robinson and all the 6Music presenters and backroom production staff including, indeed, the channel’s social media team. Cheers everyone.

Finally, by special request, and taking us also back to the message in the song at the top of the post, this week’s bonus track is perhaps the earliest example of a track recorded in and for people in lockdown faced with the threat of this virus; and is posted here in celebration of the return last week of fans to football stadiums and, in particular, of a 2-0 win on Saturday for the mighty Royals, keeping us nicely in contention. Come on URZ! Altogether now:


8 thoughts on “NewMusicMondays – 7 December 2020

  1. Following on from your photo of Neil Diamond, the London Symphony Orchestra have brought out another CD which they seem to do just before Christmas each year, and this year it is Neil Diamond with some of his greatest early recordings.


  2. Yes Calvin, it is on there! The full list is Beautiful Noise; I am… I Said; I’m a Believer; Song Sung Blue; September Morn; America; Holly Holy; You Don’t Bring me Flowers (hope this track isn’t with Barbra Streisand!!); Play Me; Love on the Rocks; Heartlight; I’ve Been This Way Before; Sweet Caroline.


  3. There are two that are not so well known (to me anyway!) Heartlight and I’ve Been This Way Before, the others I know pretty well. He wrote I’m a Believer for the Monkees but I am sure you know that! America and Love on the Rocks he wrote for the film of The Jazz Singer.


    1. – the remake of which of course he also starred in, too: it was re-made especially as a vehicle for him. I have to confess to forgotting about ‘I’m A Believer’, though! Good that there’s a couple of lesser-known songs there too – and, as regards the rest, the collaboration with the LSO does indeed make them ‘songs sung new’. A nice way for him to bow out, probably, too.


  4. So pleased Tracy and I got to see him when he was on his world tour as it was soon afterwards he had to bow out through poor health.


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