DC’s “Pop Art” album tops Mark Daly’s half-year charts!

So yeah, I do know Mark – we met a few times when he used to live in Melbourne and we keep in touch occasionally. He’s a good guy! He makes it clear that I’m a friend in his review. But I was incredibly chuffed to read the nice things he’s said about my latest music. He writes beautifully and I feel like he “gets” my music in the way I would like it to be “got” (if you know what I mean!) He’s given me kind permission to quote him in full so here it is…


 

Marky Awards: Album no. 1

I just couldn’t wait until tomorrow to announce the number one album for 2015 (so far) in the ‘Marky Awards’. I don’t know if the suspense was killing you, but it was certainly killing me!.. Now, part of me thinks I need to justify my selection. That’s because the gong goes to an independent release by a friend from Melbourne. It’s not unheard of for me to fawn over minor releases, look at Ka and Josef Gordon as examples. Look at Shane Howard down at number 10 on this list following a crowd-funded release. Look at every other act you’ve never heard of but which has appeared on my lists since 2012. Now look at DC Cardwell as he knocks it out of the park with his fantastic sophomore album, “Pop Art”.

DC's new album, Pop Art

DC’s new album, Pop Art

I was lucky enough to get my copy of this album last November before it officially went on sale at the beginning of this year and, I kid you not, it has not been out of the CD player in my car since I got it, it also gets played on Spotify at home or when I’m out and about. DC Cardwell makes no secret of his love for The Beatles and their contemporaries, but rather than engaging in inane, jangly guitar homages like many fans tend to do, or effectively re-recording the actual releases with a few minor variations (as The Rutles did so well, though with tongue firmly planted in cheek), he has found the essence of what made The Beatles’ songs so special and distilled it into a completely original album. Even the cover (not a Beatle song) is recorded such that it’s immediately familiar, yet completely new. It’s a hard gig but DC Cardwell, with help from a few family members, has pulled it off with aplomb.

Something which isn’t immediately apparent until you get to know the songs intimately is the astounding ‘honesty’ in the recordings. Whereas the Brian Wilson album (which took the number 2 slot) is well polished, it feels a little cold. It’s all very precise and clean. You know there’s a plethora of computers and electronics standing between the artist’s performance and what’s coming out of your speakers. The thing that’s missing on many of the albums released in 2015 is a soul, something that reminds you that the instruments are being played by an actual person. In The Beatles recordings the reminder might have been a squeak from a shoe or piano stool (depending on which text you read) followed by a sharp shushing by Paul McCartney, it might have been Lennon coming in too early for his vocals or Harrison too early for his guitar solo… or Ringo at all – here, it’s the occasional clunk as, presumably, DC’s guitar connects with the microphone stand in his home studio in suburban Melbourne.

So what of the songs themselves? Well, you know what you’re in for when “In The Cloud” kicks off the album. You get the immediately familiar ‘oompah, oompah, stick it up your jumpah’ beat from the “Magical Mystery Tour period” which inspired Jeff Lynne’s production style and which all came together again on “Free As A Bird” exactly 20 years ago. No sooner has the song settled into a groove then it swirls away into a crescendo of Harrison-esque lead guitar and McCartney-style ivory-tinkling. The song, which has just reminded you that the physical things we used to hold dear are now nothing more than a collection of ones and zeros stored in a gigantic supercomputer on the other side of the world, then settles back into a comfortable ‘calm after the storm’ ending after just over four minutes – the average length of most tracks on “Pop Art”. Perhaps the next track “Don’t Know Why” is a tribute to the white album. Is it “Martha My Dear” or is it “I Will” that we’re supposed to be thinking of here? Or is it neither one and we’re just supposed to be thinking of the world as it was when that album was made (if you were around then of course)? Next we have what sounds to me more like DC’s own voice and own writing coming to the fore, “The Sun, The Moon, The Stars” is possibly the most original song on the album, it’s certainly one of my favourites and in analysing it I find myself wanting to talk about some kind of fusion between The Byrds and The Velvet Underground… even though I can’t say it sounds like either of them – perhaps it’s DC’s voice that sounds a bit like Roger McGuinn’s while the guitar does a very good job of sounding like a 12-string Rickenbacker. “Have I Got News For You” feels a bit like a throw away tune, one that DC’s put together because he knew he was a song short or, more likely, the creative muse to flesh it out found a home on other tracks. It feels a bit like “Dig A Pony” from “Let It Be” but, at the same time altogether different… though similarly, slightly unfinished. Next we have “Magic For Everybody”, a fantastic cover of the Sam Philips song, re-imagined as what ELO might have done had Jeff Lynne gotten his mitts on it back in the 70s when he was recording “Evil Woman”. That takes the listener to the half-way point of DC Cardwell’s stunningly good album – I suggest you experience the rest of it for yourself! – I’d also recommend his previous album “Some Hope” which itself has some fantastic material on it (even if I do like “Pop Art” better!)… I’ll add a comment with links about how to buy it or congratulate DC Cardwell on a job well done for the album, and being the winner of the ‘Marky’ award for best album of 2015 (so far!).

j.mp/markys-album-2015A


 

Marky Awards: Song no. 1

DC Cardwell “Magic For Everybody” – I covered the ‘why’ yesterday for why DC’s “Pop Art” nailed the top spot for albums released in 2015 so far. It’s usually pretty consistent on these lists that the top 1 or 2 albums spawn the top 1 or 2 songs. It’s not a fait accompli that the number 1 album holds the number 1 song, though, in fact this is the first time it’s happened. Now for the ‘what’…

Of the 10 tracks on the standard “Pop Art” album it was a difficult ask to work out which one really stood out as a cut above the rest. As with “The Avener” (album 6, which was admittedly all covers) the stand out track on “Pop Art” was a cover, this time of “Magic For Everybody” by Sam Phillips from her 2010 album of the same name. Like every great cover, though, DC’s treatment of the song works with the source material and makes it better – there’s no point doing it if not. He’s picked up what is, to my mind, a nice but ultimately uninspiring song and made it his own – made it his own by re-imagining it as a rediscovered Electric Light Orchestra track. I mentioned in my review of the full album that this song sparks comparisons to “Evil Woman”, however on reflection I’d say it would have fitted in nicely on 1977’s “Out Of The Blue” (maybe straight after “Sweet Talkin’ Woman” and replacing “Across The Border” as track 4). I think “Magic For Everybody” just beats out “The Sun, The Moon, The Stars” as the best track on “Pop Art”, I think it’s the familiarity we all have with the in your face jauntiness that so many ELO tracks start with that grabs your attention. If you’re not familiar with ELO then you might need to choose a favourite from the other 9 tracks (but I’d suggest “The Sun, The Moon, The Stars” is a good place to start…)

j.mp/markys-song-2015A

Sam Phillips doesn’t blog often, which is a pity because…

My musical drug Sam Phillips doesn’t blog often, which is a pity, because not many musicians possess her wisdom, or, if they do, they’re not letting on.

In this latest one, I like the way she contrasts her station in life to that of heiresses and scientists.

“A young heiress thinks I’m poor, a scientist thinks I am wealthy and have an interesting life”

Read it here!

Sam Phillips Blog - click to read

Thought You’d Heard All Of The Basement Tapes? Think Again!

What an incredible body of work Dylan has put out, and he (or his record company) continues to do so at an ever-increasing rate, both new material and, with the Bootleg Series, a large archive of previously unreleased music. And for fans, almost all of it is precious in one way or another.

The Basement Tapes

Marjorie and I fell in love with the original Basement Tapes when we got the album way back just a few years after it was finally released on LP, a staggering eight years after it was recorded. I know, it doesn’t quite seem the eon that it did at the time. In 1975, 1967

Bob Dylan-basement-tapes-Bootleg-Series-Vol-11

seemed almost antediluvian!  And these recordings, made by Dylan and the band in the basement of their Woodstock abode, Big Pink, and in various other domiciles, had become the stuff of legend. Some of the tapes had been passed around as demo tapes for other artists to cover, and had found their way into the hands of collectors, eventually being released on what is considered the first ever bootleg, The Great White Wonder.

I’ve been listening to that original release again very recently and it’s still amazing. Sure, you have to have a certain appreciation of absurd humour to appreciate most of the original songs, seemingly composed on the spot in many cases. And it’s not glossy, it’s jammy, offhand playing, although it’s actually a lot more sophisticated than the home-recorded circumstances might have suggested.

The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11

So now we have SIX CDs of it to look forward to!

Newly discovered tapes have added to the archive, and the compilation has been overseen by Garth Hudson and Canadian music archivist and producer Jan Haust.

The original release focused on original songs, but this hugely expanded release ranges from traditional folk, country, blues and gospel to more recent and contemporary songwriters such as Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, even the likes of Bob Crewe and Curtis Mayfield.

I actually found out about this when I reloaded the fascinating and ground-breaking iPhone app: “Bob Dylan: The Bootleg Series“, which originally only dealt with the recent expanded Self Portrait release. The app takes the old art of liner notes to a new level, being an extensive compendium of photos and information about the music, and the ability to play the songs while reading about them.

Bob_Dylan_and_The_Band_-_The_Basement_Tapes

Cover of the original 1975 Basement Tapes album

Anyway, as I was saying, I went back to the app last night and discovered that there’s a new song on there! “Odds And Ends” from the upcoming expanded Basement Tapes! How cool!

There will also be a 2-CD condensation for the more casual listener: BOB DYLAN- THE BASEMENT TAPES RAW: THE BOOTLEG SERIES VOL. 11

Listen to the preview track, courtesy of Rolling Stone, at the link below from Dylan’s official website:

http://www.bobdylan.com/us/news/bob-dylans-basement-tapes-complete-bootleg-series-vol-11-set-november-4-release

And look at the mouthwatering track listing!

John Lennon at his most eloquent – enhanced!

To me, this is John Lennon at his most eloquent, his thoughts beautifully animated in this short film produced in 2008 by Jerry Levitan, who interviewed him as a 14-year old in 1969.

You should watch this if you’ve got five minutes, and even if you don’t agree with everything John says or the way it’s interpreted, you might agree that a masterful work of art has been built on his generous impromptu interview.

The film was directed by Josh Raskin and the illustrators, James Braithwaite and Alex Kurina, have beautifully enhanced and elevated an amateur “rock interview” with arguably the greatest rock star of them all.

I Met The Walrus - screenshot from video

Click on the screenshot to watch the video!

PS: John’s kindness to this kid, in contrast to the more acerbic (or worse) way he might often treat other people, reminds me of the scene in that Imagine film where the stoner guy comes to the door of his house, and Lennon really goes out of his way to spend time talking with him and try to help him. It conjures up in me an idea that he may well have been being similarly nice to Mark Chapman in his last moments.


DC Cardwell now on Pandora Radio!

My music is now on Pandora!

I think this is good! To tell you the truth, I’d never previously used the service before, although I’ve signed up for it now, as a user as well as an artist. I’m sure a lot of you are already familiar with it. (At least those of you who live in the US, Australia and New Zealand – it’s restricted to those territories for the time being.)

What is Pandora Radio?

DC Cardwell on Pandora Music

Yes, that’s me on right after Fairport Convention

It’s been around for a while. Much longer than Spotify, in fact it was founded in 1999 – that’s the last century! A long time ago in the world of music streaming. Many years ago I was visiting a new acquaintance and, to my amazement, she and her teenage kids were happily enjoying music streamed from Pandora into their living room. I’d vaguely heard of it but was actually quite surprised and impressed that people I knew were actually using it! It seemed a bit Jetsons to me. In a good way. Oh yes, this was just down the road, but my friend was American so that explained why she was using something so cool and modern! Some things never change – she probably had a microwave too.

If you’re not familiar with it, basically, the deal is that you tell it some of the artists you like, and it suggests other music that it feels is similar to what you like. You can then give  thumbs up or thumbs down to what you hear, and Pandora will refine the music it plays for you.  You can listen to it in a web browser (i.e. what you browse the internet with) or with an app on your iPhone or similar smartphone.

The Music Genome Project

This is all done by a combination of science and human experts, as far as I can tell. You may have heard of the Human Genome Project, which was (very loosely speaking) a massive scientific project to identify the components up of human DNA. Well, Pandora is based on The Music Genome Project, which, according to Wikipedia, was “developed by [Will] Glaser with musical input from [Tim] Westergren. The idea was to create a separate, individualized radio station for each user having just the “good” music on it, with none of the “junk” that other users like. In order to achieve that goal, they had to bring different styles

The Beatles followed up by John Lennon live on Pandora

The Beatles followed up by John Lennon live on Pandora

of music together into a predictable pattern for analysis. They created 400 specifications for each song that is then compared to the listener’s preferences in order to suggest other songs or artists with similar characteristics.”

The writer of this article assumes that “Pandora’s team of curators expects excellence from all the music they accept. As Tim Westergren, Pandora’s founder, has said:  “You have to earn your way into Pandora.”

So that’s nice 🙂

Is it Really A Good Thing?

There has been some controversy recently about Pandora’s rates of payment to the artists. I’m not really interested in getting into that argument in this post.  At this point in my career I only know one thing for sure – that my main aim is to get my music heard by as many people as possible! And it seems to me that Pandora is a good way of getting it into the ears of the very people who might like it, but would never have heard it otherwise. We all know that algorithms are changing our lives in ways that would have been unimaginable a generation ago. Well, for me, right now, I’m happy to have the Music Genome Project’s algorithms on my side.

What can YOU do to help?

Don’t sign up for Pandora simply because of me! But, on the other hand, it’s easy to signup, and, well, I’ve had it trundling along in another browser tab while writing this post and, I have to admit, it’s been really effective at playing music I like.

I’m really fussy about the music I listen to (“No! You’re kidding!”my sarcastic friends), but it has kept it on the right path so far – I have enjoyed practically everything I’ve heard, to my amazement, really.

OK, I’ve helped it out by clicking the “Add Variety” button and typing in the names of artists I like, and you can do that to, but it’s also come up with a lot of other artists I wouldn’t have normally listened to. I’ve given two or three thumbs down, that’s all. (Not telling you who to!)

So if you’re already using it, or fancy giving it a chance, you could help me by typing in MY name. Or just find me at http://pandora.com/dc-cardwell – and when my songs are playing, click on the THUMBS UP button!

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How To Get Your Music On Pandora Radio

Having said that, until recently it really was difficult to be featured on Pandora unless you were signed to a major record label or publisher. But they have at last made it possible for anyone to apply for submission. There are certain conditions you have to fulfill, and even then you’re not guaranteed to be accepted. Obviously they still want to maintain their reputation of serving up good music for their listeners. But if you’re an artist, you can submit your music at Pandora Submission Page.  You should set up your own listener account first, unless you’re in a country which doesn’t have the service, in which case you should first email musicandcomedy@pandora.com and they will help you.

– DC  (http://pandora.com/dc-cardwell)

Goodbye Farewell (Larry Norman song) with Lyrics and Chords

From our Numubu webcast

on 26th April 2014: our cover of Larry Norman’s beautiful song “Goodbye Farewell”

Samuel is playing our Tanglewood TW15CE-B  guitar and I’m on my old Mugen “the ’78”

DC and Samuel on webcast

Still from the video

To receive news about future webcasts, please sign up to our newsletter using the form to the right, or simply go here!

 

This is taken at a bit of a clip, I think! But you can hear the songs at a more stately pace in this old video of me performing it a few years ago:

LYRICS & CHORDS
(written by Larry Norman)

Goodbye, farewell, we’ll meet again (D, Bm, F#m,)
Somewhere beyond the sky. (D, Bm, F#m, A7)
I pray that you will stay with God (G, Em, D, Bm)
Goodbye, my friends, goodbye. (D, A7, D-G, D-G)

The light grows dim but in this hour (D, Bm, F#m,)
I have no tears to cry. (D, Bm, F#m, A7)
My heart is full, my joy complete. (G, Em, D, Bm)
Goodbye, my friends, goodbye. (D, A7, D-G, D-G)

I feel no loss of hope as I’ve grown older. (Bm, G, D)
Only this world’s weight upon my shoulder. (Bm, E7, Em7, A7)

My heart beats to a slower song, (D, Bm, F#m,)
So softly in my veins. (D, Bm, F#m, A7)
The night is warm, but in my sleep (G, Em, D, Bm)
I dream of heaven’s reign. (D, A7, D-G, D-G)

Everything I am I’ve tried to show you, (Bm, G, D)
In this life I’ve been so blessed to know you. (Bm, E7, Em7, A7)

Goodbye, farewell, we’ll meet again (D, Bm, F#m,)
Somewhere beyond the sky. (D, Bm, F#m, A7)
I pray that you will walk with God (G, G#dim, F#m, Bm)
Goodbye, my friends, goodbye. (Em, A7, Bm, E7)
Goodbye, my friends, goodbye. (Em, A7, D)

For my original music videos go to http://www.youtube.com/DCCardwellsMusic

More covers at http://www.youtube.com/dccardwellcovers

Thanks for listening! ~ DC

Rod Cordner and Jean-Pierre Rudolph tour England, June 2014

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see Cordner & Rudolph in England!

Exactly 26 years ago, on 7th May 1988, we left Northern Ireland, but for nearly 10 years before that we played all over the country with Rod Cordner and spent a huge amount of time with him, his wife Jennifer, and his whole family, to whom we are eternally thankful for their inspiration, friendship, prayers, love and kindness.

In those years we also became great friends with French virtuoso violinist Jean-Pierre Rudolph, who became Rodney’s musical partner when he toured all over Europe, which he did frequently. And, again, we have much to thank Jean-Pierre and his wife Anne for – we even managed to avail ourselves of their generosity when we were in their home town of Strasbourg, France and Anne put us up for a few days even though we’d never met her before!

We catch up with Rod and Jenny every time we’re back in Ireland, and their home is still the haven it always was for us when we visit Portadown, where we both grew up.

Sadly, I haven’t seen Jean-Pierre (or Paddy-John as we used to call him) since we both happened to be back in Ireland at the same time in 1996, and I would love to be able to see the two of them perform together again. But if you’re in England you have a chance to catch them on this short tour in June.

If you do make it along, say hi to Rod and Jean-Pierre for us. And if you can, grab a little bit of video on your mobile phone and share it with me, OK? 🙂

– DC
Rod-Cordner-Jean-Pierre Rudolph-tour-poster-2014

Here’s a photo that I took of them when they played at Greenbelt Festival in England in 1986.

Greenbelt-Jean-Pierre-Rudolph-Rod-Cordner-photo-by-DC-Cardwell

Tuesday 3rd June 2014
Bradford BBC Radio 106.6FM
Drive programme with John Hebden, 4-6 pm
www.bcbradio.co.uk
Listen LIVE HERE!

Friday 6th June 2014
Hartlepool TS24 0QJ
Contact David Taylor (see poster for phone no.)

Saturday 7th June 2014
Chapel A House Concerts
Leeds LS7 4LF
Contact Alan Gibson (see poster for phone no.)
www.chapelahouseconcerts.co.uk

Sunday 8th June 2014
Old Royal Oak
Knaresborough HG5 8AL
(see poster for phone no.)

Monday 9th June 2014
Bishop FM 105.9
The Folk Show with Terry Ferdinand 9-11 pm
Listen LIVE at www.bishopfm.com

Wed 11th June
Ravenscourt Arts
London W6 0UH
Contact Darren Hirst (see poster for phone no.)
www.wegottickets.com/event/271690