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We would love to hear your comments about music, your

favourite artists, words of praise, gripes, etc, etc, Please send them to: Editor Alan Cackett, Maverick Magazine, 24 Bray Gardens, Loose, Maidstone, Kent, ME15 9TR or email

What a blistering article on GB! [Garth Brooks]You have expressed

exactly what I feel about him. Your writing is muscular and incisive, as always. I came across him by accident. I was working in television at the time in Aberdeen—with Grampian Television, on both sides of the screen (early-mid-90s). This was at the beginning of the Thatcher revolution that did away with role demarcations and led to the ubiquitous ‘multi-tasking’ that now rules. We were, of course, sent an elaborate publicity pack. I was not working in the newsroom at the time and paid little attention. Someone asked if I wanted a ticket to a show at the big arena and I declined—I can’t remember whether I asked for two or not—there may only have been one on offer. During this particular phase of my life, I had sort of lost contact

with country music. Anyone who works in the broadcast media knows that there is no time for anything else! I grew up in the Outer Hebrides. Because of the atmospheric conditions there, the American Forces’ Network (AFN) broadcasting from Frankfurt was much clearer than Radio Luxembourg. Because of that I listened religiously to the Grand Ole Opry and the Louisiana Hayride. My great heroes were Hank Williams, Hank Snow, Skeeter Davis, Hank Locklin, Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves, etc. Country music has deep Celtic roots—not least because many tunes are written on the ‘gapped scale’ of the bagpipes. Indeed, there are some country tunes that are based on Gaelic airs. Because of this affinity there has always been a big following for the music among the Gaelic (and the wider Scottish) community. On the other hand, my peers were turning more to the pop output and eventually we were all swept away by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. But I never lost my deep connection with country. Unfortunately, when I became a performer myself there was simply no question of playing anything remotely country. Anyway, my wife suggested we go to see GB—we were vaguely

aware of If Tomorrow Never Comes—which I thought a bit saccharine. We were simply blown away. I had never seen a performance like it—except for Rod Stewart and Robert Plant in their primes. He descended from above onto the stage in some sort of contraption. It was a mixture of rock’n’roll and western swing (with a very strong nod to George Strait—now I know why), although he also excelled at big ballads, when you could hear a pin drop. He strutted and roared and postured—and he was pin-perfect. I decided it was too over the top—but he took me with him despite myself. He had big names in the band. It so happened that this was the very last gig of a huge World Tour (in fact his second last). They were all on a high. He finished (rather incongruously to my ear) with the full long version of American Pie. Then we got him back for THREE encores. Truly a night to remember. He gave an interview to a local paper. He said he was tickled

by the fact that he could walk down Union Street (‘Main Street’ as he called it) and try out guitars in a local music shop without being recognised. Mind you, it was quite usual to see men in Texas Stetsons on Union Street. Because of the oil boom and the wealth it brought, the place was teeming with Americans. I think Aberdeen was the only gig he did on UK Mainland soil. There was a circuit then (still is, I think) that included 2 or 3 concerts in Ireland, but nothing elsewhere in UK. I think GB came to Aberdeen because of the American presence—as did a number of other big names while I was living there— Willie Nelson, Don Williams, Tammy Wynette. On his last (we did not know it would be, as far as I can

remember) tour he came to Ireland, but we were prevented from going by a long-standing commitment I had. Thanks again for the article. I think the obits are worth doing. We need to be reminded of the

heritage of the music and the legacy these people have left us. I suspect that those that come to the music in its Americana guise are not aware that some of the greatest musicians ever were a part of the early development of the music.

Don MacLeod (via email) 112 Maverick I have spotted my letter on the Letters Page, so thanks so much

for that. You may be pleased to know that I haven’t anything to write in about at the moment so I hope other subscribers contribute letters in one form or another. Thanks for the mention you gave Brandi by the way, and I’m glad your comment helped to advertise people receiving updates on line. I hope the information I sent on Brandi awhile ago may come in helpful if ever she agrees to an interview for Maverick. Just to add to that, her fans have been voting for songs they would like her to sing/record, songs she didn’t write of course, and interestingly the top choice so far is Jolene the Dolly Parton song. That may be as they know the main singer Brandi would like to meet and sing/record with is indeed Dolly Parton. I think if that ever happens Brandi will be ‘over-the-moon’ and an ambition fulfilled as she loves Dolly and her music. If only I could wave a magic wand, that is what I would make happen, as if she is happy so will I be! Thanks too for including an article on Caroline Herring. She is

maybe little known in the UK but I do have a couple of her albums including TWILIGHT and LANTANA (love the song All The Pretty Little Horses on this album), and I shall shortly be getting her new album CAMILLA. My friend and I have booked up to see Oh Susanna at

St.Bonaventures here in Bristol on Monday 26 November so another date for you to add maybe when you send out a forthcoming tour/gig dates list email. I have been looking through your tour dates lists but sadly for us in and around Bristol there is no one we shall be able to see perform, though several are on my list of ‘would go to see if I could’. These include Mary Chapin Carpenter & Shawn Colvin, Leonard Cohen (with the Webb Sisters), Eliza Gilkyson, Diana Jones (ok we are greedy as we have only just seen her!), Kris Kristofferson, Madison Violet, Karine Polwart, Lucinda Williams. I’m sure your contributors will attend all or most of these gigs so I look forward to reviews in due course. My son Jeff wants me to ask you a question. He ‘borrows’ my

issue and gives it a good read, especially the New Releases and often he finds singers/albums he is interested in reading about, though his taste in music is much more eclectic than mine so covers many genres of music. He would like to know why, when giving star ratings for albums it is marked **** (then an uncoloured star). Does this mean you rated it 4 stars, 5 stars or maybe 4 and a half stars?

Pauline Mitchell (via email) Many thanks for your comments and news, the uncoloured star

represents ½ I’ve been a subscriber to MAVERICK for only 7 months but I

am thrilled—it’s a wonderful and most enjoyable magazine. You probably have someone to write a piece about the Cambridge Folk Festival which took place last weekend but if not I’d be happy to put something together. I focused on country/Americana music and wrote a diary. And there was some amazing music to be heard. Thanks for your great work with MAVERICK and best regards, Peter Herkenrath, Cambridge, UK

Many thanks for the kind offer, Hazel Davis was also at the Festival

and her review is on page 22 Thank goodness for Will Banister. At last we have a young man

who writes and performs real country songs. I’m no purist and I do believe in music moving on and up into the next genre phase but each week when I log on to the Billboard Country Music chart to see what’s new, all I find is yet more and more pop ballads masquerading as country. Now I’m no purist and I’ve nothing against pop ballads but some weeks they sound so similar it’s hard to tell where one song stops and the next one starts. I’ve already sent off for my tickets to see Will at Leeds and very much looking forward to seeing him perform live.

John Ward, York

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