Now Listening ~ The Shires

It’s not often I talk directly about music on this here blog. It’s not because I don’t love music, because, of course I do. I’ve written before about my evolving music tastes (something I was thinking about earlier as I listened to a Smiths song – something my fifteen-year-old self would never have done!), the simple pleasure of listening to a favourite song and singing along very loud, and the ten best solo Spice Girls singles.

All of that preamble is a way of saying that sometimes I like to write about music, when I find something I truly, truly love, and want to share with the world. Or at least the readers of this blog. And that’s what I am doing today, but I’ll stop short of pretending that I’m going to make a regular series out of it, because I’m rubbish at making a regular series out of anything.

First up, we have The Shires. I heard them on Bob Harris Country (how far into a post did you think we were going to get before I mentioned Radio 2?), and since them their song Nashville Grey Skies has obviously been added to the BBC playlist, because it’s getting an awful lot of airtime. I also just listened to it three times in a row on Spotify. I’m obsessed!

The Shires are a British band, and they are actually the first ever UK country act to be signed to a major Nashville label. If you have a listen to their song, you’ll understand why. They are just about to record their debut album in Nashville, and I can’t wait. On the basis of Nashville Grey Skies, I’m sure it’s going to be amazing.

If you want to take a listen to The Shires on Bob Harris Country, you can do so here. And if you’re a country fan and you’re not already listening to Bob Harris on a regular basis, you’re missing out. He’s my second favourite Radio 2 DJ.

Music, Music Everywhere

This is one of those silly blog posts that is going to seem as though I have been paid to write it, because I’m going to gush, but I really haven’t (as far as I know, the BBC don’t go in for paying bloggers to gush).

I’m a big radio listener. I always have been really; I grew up in a house where the radio was always on. My mum had a radio in the kitchen from as far back as I can remember, and it was always tuned to Radio 2. At least, it was in my living memory. When I was a teenager, I went through a phase of thinking that Radio 2 was really uncool, because they never seemed to play any music that had been produced in recent memory. That phase didn’t last particularly long, because I came to realise that the joy of Radio 2 is that they play all sorts. It’s true that you’re less likely to find a chart hit there than you are on Radio 1, or a commercial radio station, but they do play current music, just as long as it’s good current music. No Robin Thicke here, no sirree. Additionally, you get to hear all the oldies that you adore.

Anyway, the long and short of all of this is that I still listen to a lot of radio. My station of choice is still Radio 2, but there’s often some Radio 4 or Five Live in there for good measure (I even listen to the World Service if I’m awake very late). I listen on the DAB radio in the kitchen, I listen through the television, and I listen through my tablet. When I was younger, I used to hate it when you would hear a song that you loved, and you’d wait until the end of the song to hear what it was called, and the DJ wouldn’t say it. So frustrating!

This is why I am now completely enamoured with the Playlister function on the BBC iPlayer Radio app. (And this is where it starts to sound like a sponsored post!) While you’re listening to the radio through the app, if you hear a song that you love, you can click a little button, and the song is added to your own personal Playlister. When you’re ready, you can export this list to Spotify, YouTube or Deezer, and listen to your heart’s content. I’m listening to my playlist on Spotify now; I have the likes of Johnny Cash, Mike Oldfield, Lindisfarne, and Van Morrison on my list, not to mention the latest John Legend song, which I adore. If you have any inclination to do so, you can check out my playlist here.

The Playlister function is honestly one of my favourite things ever. I’m fairly easily pleased.

Evolving Music Tastes

The other day I heard One Love on the radio, and as I was happily singing along, I realised that, had you asked me a few years ago if I liked Bob Marley, or indeed reggae music, I would probably have said no. That got me thinking about how my music taste has changed and evolved as I have got older.

Maybe it’s a case of trying to stay below the radar when I was younger. At school, it was safer to profess a love of mainstream chart music rather than step outside of the norm and tell everyone that you were a big fan of reggae, or swing, or world music, for example. I remember being a geography class once, where the teacher was asking us to name all fifty states of the USA. He was giving us clues for the ones we were missing, and when he said “It’s a Bee Gees song,” I responded with “Massachusetts.” Now, I wasn’t a huge Bee Gees fan, but I knew the answer, and I got teased relentlessly for it. People assumed that I loved Bee Gees, and because they weren’t cool, I got some unwanted attention!

Nowadays, I don’t care if people know that I listen to the Bee Gees (I don’t, very much, as it happens). My Spotify account is linked to my Facebook account, so anything I listen to on there is shown on my Facebook profile. This means that my friends can see when I am listening to a cooler band, like Haim or Bastille, but they can also see when I am listening to Let Loose or Blue. I have no qualms about this!

But as well as not wanting to stand out as being too different at school, I genuinely do think that my music tastes have changed. As much as I still like to listen to pop music as I did in my teens, I now have a greater appreciation for different types of music. I have already mentioned reggae, but I also enjoy listening to country and folk, and I don’t think my fifteen-year-old self would necessarily believe you if you told her that. These days I rarely know what the number one song is; a big change from my teenage years when I would listen to the charts religiously on a Sunday afternoon. I now much prefer to listen to old music, whether it’s The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan or Tears for Fears. Still not particularly cool, maybe, but certainly very enjoyable for me!

I think more than anything, it’s because, as a proper grown up (apparently), I am willing to try things more readily than I was before. I won’t know I don’t like it unless I give it a try, and I could be missing out on something incredible!

Earworm Wednesday

Remember when I started Earworm Wednesday? Yeah, me neither, it was so long ago! I’m guilty of doing this a lot; starting a series and then forgetting all about it. But as I was listening to a particular song on repeat this morning, I realised that it is Wednesday, and I can therefore resurrect Earworm Wednesday.

And this one is a proper earworm, because I’ve had it in my head all day, and I love it. I discovered like I discover most music: on a playlist on 8 Tracks. It’s a song by Andy Grammer called Fine By Me. It’s an upbeat pop song, and I have come to realise that these are my favourites. It’s very American too.

I would recommend some more of his music, but I haven’t really got around to listening to any of it. This one is stuck on repeat.