Welcome to the first installment!
I couldn’t be more pleased to have the opportunity to provide you, the CKUA listener and supporter with updates on artists’ careers, whether the news is of a local or global nature, set alongside information focusing on CKUA personalities. From time to time we’ll take a look at the personal journeys of those producers and announcers, and more focused looks into what keeps everyone from Antonelli to Ward individually inspired and what fresh sonic spices are being stirred into shows ranging from Baba’s Grooves
to World Spinning
We’ll be able to wipe the slate clean on a regular basis, and one week we might be a conduit to performances found on the electronic press kits, of both emerging and established artists. The following week we could be reminding you that there is a terrific new book on the shelves dealing with your favorite artist, or one that adds a fresh perspective on your favorite genre or subgenre of music.
So where do we start?
Well having accepted this new mission, the obvious place was my desktop, not the electronic variety, but the piece of furniture I sit at on my fifth floor office here at CKUA in Edmonton
Covered in press releases, bios and one pagers announcing tours, new releases and re-issues, one wonders what happened to the prediction that our world would become all but paperless with the advent of email and computers. Tell that to record company publicists, artist agents, and promoters who still annually send out small forests worth of hype, some of it accurately describing the project at hand. Other memos, no matter how eloquently and passionately written, amounting to no more than wishful thinking in the descriptions of their artists and albums.
One of the most enjoyable hours I have spent in the last few months was interviewing famed producer, author, and label founder Joe Boyd
, who has been a force and guiding light on the global music scene since he first jumped feet first, into the world of tour management, concert promotion, and production in the mid-sixties.
During the two hours of music and conversation with Boyd that were aired on Points North we scratched the surface of his career, but weren’t able to address so many of the achievements and ongoing projects, of the man who bounces between America
and the U.K.
, where he officially resides.
While Boyd talked on Points North about first being introduced to the music of Nick Drake, and reflected on recording and producing the classic Drake albums – which are chronicled in his acclaimed book White Bicycles/Making Music
in the 1960s – we didn’t touch on Boyd’s ongoing quest to take the music of the British tunesmith, who committed suicide in 1974, to both longtime fans and new audiences.
Boyd continues to produce and curate concerts with a revolving cast of artists, drawing from the deep well of Drake material, found on cherished recordings like Five Leaves Left
and Pink Moon
. An October six date swing consisting of four concerts in England
and two in Italy
, brings together an impressive and diverse cast that includes Teddy Thompson, Vashti Bunyan, and Robyn Hitchcock. Produced under the banner Way To Blue, Boyd is central to all the performances, conducting post concert interviews with the artists and introducing a screening of the Drake documentary A Skin Too Few
Join Boyd’s mailing list
, the man is a compass to great music. Maybe one day we’ll be fortunate to catch one of his live and multi-faceted theatre productions like Way To Blue, or his readings meet music presentations with Geoff Muldaur or Robyn Hitchcock, in this part of the world. Just head to joeboyd.co.uk and click on “join the mailing list.”
As for Boyd’s White Bicycles, the book still rakes in rave reviews, and the following excerpts of reviews succinctly sum up why this book is an essential read for music buffs.
"The simple brilliance of... an irresistible tale. Boyd's wit and candor are rare enough, but what truly makes his writing stand out are his insights into an era when rock 'n' roll still seemed exciting and strange." - New York Times Book Review
"Boyd tells...this thoroughly entertaining memoir....with the kind of tender precision that raises 'White Bicycles' far above the ordinary rock bio and into the realm of valuable cultural commentary." - BOSTON
"One of the most balanced and engaging look-backs of the '60s yet" -NY DAILY NEWS
"A deliciously detailed memoir." - David Fricke, Rolling Stone
The latest album to hit the number one spot on the CKUA charts was a much anticipated affair from Sarah Harmer
, and CKUA producers and announcers are not alone in championing Oh Little Fire, this latest effort from the artist and activist .
Currently on a six week tour of the U.S.
, Harmer’s stateside swing is being fueled by rave reviews for her long awaited first album in five years.
Here are a couple of examples:
"Oh Little Fire," her winning follow-up, is bright and contagious at times, buoyed by cleverly engaging lyrics and an unabashed pop production. Calculated? Maybe. Refreshing? No question.” - Washington
“Elsewhere the pace rarely shifts from a relaxed shuffle, cobweb-clearing opener The Thief aside. But therein lies the appeal – penetrate its silky exterior (not a hard task) and you’ll be privy to delights such as the slide guitar-tinged Silverado (a duet with Neko Case), the massive romantic streak present in songs like The Marble In Your Eye, and the paean to solitude that is Washington. Quietly, unassumingly lovely.” - bbc.co.uk/music/reviews
Next on the agenda, coming up with a handle for this blog. Feel free to e-mail