Clipped Wings

The weather has turned a little colder here in Stoke-on-Trent, it’s raining outside and I’ve been practicing a new picking technique from a book I picked up in a charity shop a few weeks ago.

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Everyone else in the Folk world seems to have a variety of picking methods available to them. I’ve watched the likes of Martyn Joseph and Chris Wood effortlessly using a whole range of different methods. This book looks like a great introduction to this new world.

The one I have been practicing is the ‘thumb pluck variation in 4/4’ which goes like this:

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I’m sure I will get the hang of it very soon, at the moment concentrating on playing the right chords, singing the right words and using the new picking style is quite tricky, especially on this song ‘Clipped Wings’ as I’m still finalising the words on it and haven’t learnt it all yet:

 

 


Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

There’s an eclectic mix of posts on here, from writing and poetry to banjos and guitars, art, photography and computing, so feel free to dive in and have a look around,

New to this site? Click here to visit my About Me section.

Follow me @ponyfolk on Instagram for my multi-medium art and @shadowthepoet on Twitter

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Go well!

James

Grassroots music: the rebirth of political folk

“The content of folk songwriting at the moment can be amazingly radical, but I’m not sure the audiences are with them all the time. You have your very wealthy, white, Telegraph-reading folk-club regulars who are happy to hear a song about the peasants’ revolt, but if you talk about food banks in their town, that’s seen as really uncouth. You notice this awkward shuffle go across the room.” – Grace Petrie

Full interview from the Observer here:

https://amp.theguardian.com/music/2019/mar/10/grassroots-music-the-rebirth-of-political-folk-grace-petrie-lankum-lisa-oneill-younguns

 

 


Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

There’s an eclectic mix of posts on here, from writing and poetry to banjos and guitars, art, photography and computing, so feel free to dive in and have a look around,

New to this site? Click here to visit my About Me section.

Follow me @ponyfolk on Instagram for my multi-medium art and @shadowthepoet on Twitter

Want to introduce yourself, your art, your blog or you world and discover all that is new in the world? Click here for my ‘Join the Revolution’ page.

Go well!

James

Sunset Over Freshwater West

The sand dunes of Freshwater West in Pembrokeshire are so extensive they’ve built a road through them. This was a little mind-blowing.

This is a short video of the road and the setting sun as we drove back out from the coast. The backing track is an early version of ‘Something’s Changing’:

#visitwales #pembrokeshire #ponyfolk

Chamberlain Road – Stoke-on-Trent

An updated version of my music video ‘Chamberlain Road’, with some video scenes from around Stoke-on-Trent:

 

Chamberlain Road

D                                             A
The incinerator’s burning late tonight
Hanging a cloud over all that I’ve known
The voices are calling out united
As they’re singing they’re victory home
D     C      Em
And I’m running down Chamberlain Road
D   C                Em
I’m running down Chamberlain Road

Walk with the old man to the Commercial
Sunday afternoon and a drink with the boys
They all wonder now if it was worth it
All those years of blood, sweat and toil
And I’m running down Chamberlain Road
I’m running down Chamberlain Road

We stood and watched in mourning
As they tore the old stadium down
No more Saturdays in the Victoria
When you’re queuing for the bus out of town
And I’m running down Chamberlain Road
I’m running down Chamberlain Road

The doors of the the Spode are all boarded
The factory’s a museum of what it used to be
They took all our coal and they burnt it
What did they leave for you and me?
And I’m running down Chamberlain Road
I’m running, I’m running down Chamberlain Road

 

Thinking On

Every day I walk these streets I try to take them in. Every detail, the pall of smog from the incinerator smokestack separating the oily black of the night sky from the neon glow of the streetlights lining the A50 below. The football stadium stands like a citadel in the middle of the middle distance and the drone of the traffic rises up to meet me.

Chamberlain Avenue draws up from London road in a exponential steepness dragging its way upwards from the kebab shops and oatcake shops, broken windows and broken paving slabs. The discarded sweet wrappers, beer cans and broken glass are suddenly gone and fallen leaves take their place in piles of brown and gold. Council workers blow and sweep the leaves into the back of their pickup but they don’t pick up the rubbish in London Road. Chamberlain Avenue leads to Penkhull, London Road is Stoke. Stoke Town. One of the six towns of Stoke-on-Trent.

I take in these details, because one day when I have left here and find my peace, these things, these memories and sights and sounds will become words and stories and songs. But for now they weigh heavily and it is the best I can do to take them in at all.


January 2019 and these thoughts did distill into a song carrying the essence of some of my Stokie experiences:

Chamberlain Road – James Laurie / Pony Folk – Stoke-on-Trent version 2

https://youtu.be/Rj10g1D3CX8