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Discovering yourself

April 29, 2017

I came across Suzanne Vega by accident. It was long ago, in the days of cassette tapes. I had set my Technics sound system to record the radio. Not sure who, Elvis Costello maybe. Early ’80s I guess. Anyway there she was. This wonderful voice. At the time I didn’t realise it was Suzanne. 

Yes I would have heard “Luka” and “Tom’s Diner” in passing. But this time I was engaged and curious. Stories emerged and were told. “The Queen and the Soldier” especially stood out and grabbed my attention. I needed to hear more. CDs were purchased, and eventually we managed to see her perform live. Several times now, at the City Hall, Salisbury and once at the Village Pump Festival at Farleigh Hungerford, billed as Trowbridge. Always a joy. 

We waited in anticipation. She was late. Her inbound flight to Heathrow had been delayed. Then she appeared. Straight into the set. Ever the professional. Lots of energy. Very precise. Impressive. You soon forgot about the delay. 

There is something magical about live performances, in the right venue, they can be close up and personal. We saw Kate Rusby in the Memorial Theatre, Frome when she was very young. Just her and guitar. Then at Sidmouth Festival, out in the open, under the stars. A night to remember. 

As was Robert Palmer at the Dome in Brighton, and Xavier Rudd much later, but also in Brighton. Eric Bibb on several occasions. The Wailing Jenny’s again at Village Pump and in Fareham. And then there has been Van Morrison, Beth Neilson Chapman, Mary Chapin-Carpenter, James Taylor at the BIC in Bournemouth. Listening to Juan Martin playing at The Anvil in Basingstoke moved me to tears. A stunning musician. And then we saw The Eagles play live in Birmingham. There have been many more. Jools Holland, The Waterboys, and Elvis Costello at the Royal Albert Hall. 

Music has always been a big thing in my life. Since early days in The Folk Club in Wootton, Isle of Wight. The Isle of Wight Festival at Afton Down in ’70. The Nice in concert in Southampton. 

Taking our son James to see Tunng at the Bill Chill, several Larmer Tree Festivals and that night in Sidmouth. 

Listening now via iPod and iTunes brings back lots of happy times. 25,000 tracks. 

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