STOCKI'S AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY PLAYLIST 2022

American ear buds

(a soundtrack for American Independence Day...)

 

LAND OF THE FREE - THE KILLERS

(single)

 

AMERICAN SOUL - U2

(from Songs Of Experience)

 

AMERICAN TUNE - INDIGO GIRLS

(from Closer To Fine single)

 

LONE STAR - ROMANTICA

(from Shadowlands)

 

TUPELO - JASON ISBELL & THE 400 UNIT

(from The Nashville Sound)

 

WESTERN SKIES - DARDEN SMITH

(from Western Skies)

 

TUSCON TRAIN - BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN

(from Western Stars)

 

CALIFORNIA - DREW HOLCOMB & THE NEIGHBOURS

(from Souvenir)

 

TIME SPENT IN LA - DAWES

(from Nothing Is Wrong)

 

LOS ANGELES - LUKE SITAL-SINGH

(from A Golden State)

 

OOH LAS VEGAS - COWBOY JUNKIES

(from Songs For The Recollection)

 

LOS LUNAS - OVER THE RHINE

(from Love and Revelation)

 

ON A BUS TO ST. CLOUD - GRETCHEN PETERS

(from Trio Live)

 

SOUTHERN ACCENT - LUCINDA WILLIAMS

(from Running Down A Dream: Tribute To Tom Petty)

 

GRACELAND - CHRIS MARTIN

(from BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge 2017

 

NEW YORK MORNING - ELBOW

(from The Take Off And Landing Of Everything)

 

BROOKLYN BRIDGE - ANAIS MITCHELL

(from Anais Mitchell)

 

NEW YORK CITY - JOHN LENNON

(from Sometime In New York City)

 

MONA LISAS AND MAD HATTERS - THE KILLERS

(from Revamp; The Songs Of Elton John and Bernie Taupin)

 

SUMMER NIGHT IN NEW YORK - JANI IAN

(from The Light At The End Of The Line)

 

INDIANA - CHRIS WILSON & THE HERESY

(from Downfall EP)

 

THE GHOST OF CINCINNATI - BIG RED MACHINE

(from How Do You Think It's Gonna Last)

 

AMERiCAN LANDFILL - SAM PHILLIPS

(from World Of Sticks)

 

THIS IS A MY COUNTRY - MAVIS STAPLES & LEVON HELMS

(from Carry Me Home)

 

BIRMINGHAM SUNDAY - RHIANNON GIDDENS

(from Freedom Highway)

 

GLORY (from The Motion Picture ‘Selma”) COMMON & JOHN LEGEND

(from the single) 


STOCKI'S SUMMER READING PILE 2022

Lucy Caldwell These days

I always head off on summer vacation with a big pile of books, seeking which will grab my attention over weeks of rest. I'll not get to read them all but this is my pile!

 

LUCY CALDWELL - THESE DAYS

Recognised as one of Northern Ireland’s finest new writers, and there are many, I am excited to read how she recreates my home city during the Blitz.

 

BRIAN MCGILLOWAY - THE EMPTY ROOM

Stumbled by chance on Blood Ties earlier in the year. Loved it. A Strabane crime novelist who can really write. 

 

AMOR FOWLES - THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY

I read A Gentleman In Moscow last summer and look forward to a car trip across America with him this summer… as I sit in Ballycastle!

 

RICKY ROSS - WALKING BACK HOME

Deacon Blue frontman Ricky Ross has his memoir due for August. Cannot wait. 

 

DAVE THOMPSON - YELLOW

My mate’s romantic comedy about love between a fan and a steward in a hi vis jacket.

 

MICHELLE GALLEN - FACTORY GIRLS

A novel about our small towns in Northern Ireland and yes the sectarianism. Roddy Doyle calls it, “Vital, bang on and seriously funny”. 

 

DECLAN O’ROURKE - THE PAWN BROKERS REWARD

I am a little fascinated by The Irish Famine and Declan O’Rourke, one of my favourite songwriters, has written an astonishing album about it. This is his novel.

 

HENRIETTA MCKERVEY - VIOLET HILL

So we found out that one of the knitters at the Fitzroy knitting group has a novel writing daughter. Let’s give her work a lash in this. Joseph O’Connor is a big fan.

 

NEEMA SHAH - KOLOLO HILL 

We haven’t been to Uganda for a few years because of Covid. So I might read this one set on a street where I once spent a happy hour in a Kampala traffic jam.  

 

ANTHONY DOER - FOUR SEASONS IN ROME

Wanted to read this while I was in Rome but I had to come home too soon. Maybe I'll get back to it.


STOCKI'S TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2022 SO FAR

Staples helms 2

Here are my favourite albums of the first half of 2022. It is always interesting to see where they will find themselves on the eventual Records Of The Year...

 

10. JOHN MELLENCAMP - STRICTLY A ONE-EYED JACK

 

9. FONTAINES DC - SKINTY FIA

 

8. THE HEAD & THE HEART - EVERY SHADE OF BLUE 

 

7. JANIS IAN - THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE LINE

 

6. COWBOY JUNKIES - SONGS FOR THE RECOLLECTION

 

5. RS ROWEN - BATTERY AND ELECTRICAL

 

4. ARCADE FIRE - WE

 

3. ANAIS MITCHELL

 

2. MARY GAUTHIER - DARK ENOUGH TO SEE THE STARS

 

1. MAVIS STAPLES & LEVON HELM - CARRY ME HOME


PAUL MCCARTNEY AT GLASTONBURY - MIND BLOWING

Macca Glasto

Paul McCartney at Glastonbury was mind blowing at a variety of levels. 

The most obvious is that McCartney is 80. I was more than worried. I almost just recorded it to watch on my own so I wouldn’t have to watch the sad demise of my hero live.

And yes, the voice is huskier, far from its glorious breadth but it was the only hint that this man was older than much of the crowd’s grandparents. He didn’t shy away either. The Wings screamer Junior’s Farm is second up and Helter Skelter was his 33rd song of the night. 

There is no doubt McCartney’s band have his back. For over twenty years Rusty Anderson on guitar, Brian Ray on bass, Abe Laboriel Jr on drums with Wix Wickens acting as musical director as well as playing keyboard have allowed McCartney concerts to soar. They have beautifully arranged the vocals in order to cover any of the boss’s frailties. They were all rocking Glastonbury for the second time.

Perhaps most amazing to me was the set list. I mean when you have the biggest bestest recorded catalogue in rock history where does Paul begin. Yet, usually it is hit hit hit in machine gun fire. Of course most Macca songs are hits in some sense but tonight’s set list dug deep cuts. Junior’s Farm? Letting Go? For The Benefit of Mr Kite? I think there might have only been about 5 number 1s!

Then there are the new songs. Paul even highlights before he sings New calling them black holes when no one cheers. We don’t care he adds and tonight he genuinely doesn’t seem to. We get songs from four of McCartney’s last 5 records but interestingly nothing from McCartney III. We even have a post song crowd singalong on Fuh You.

Overall we get a personal and rock n roll history. Love Me Do to I’ve Got A Feeling and McCartney is very respectful and inclusive of his mates Ringo, George and John commentating as he goes. Lennon even sings along through the wonder of technology on I’ve Got A Feeling which must have been moving for McCartney and also his band who have now played with Lennon too. 

All of that and other film footage on the screen does suggest that the product McCartney’s gig is aiming to sell is Let It Be and the Get Back film. 

From Paul’s story we move to rock’s story and the special guests Dave Grohl and Bruce Springsteen. Nice surprises indeed! Two powerful voices to give Paul’s a break. Grohl’s howl through I Saw Her Standing There was sensational. Bruce’s Glory Days sent Paul into glory days mode and we got a Beatles fest plus the very very underrated but great Live and Let Die.

Even in this concluding climax the set list surprised. Yes, there was Let It Be and obviously a long sing-a-long Hey Jude but I Wanna Be Your Man and Golden Slumbers before ending the gig as the chronological Beatles albums ended with The End. Fascinating. 

So almost two and a half hours later and we are in awe of an 80 year old still holding the attention of the current coolest music audience on the planet. He and his mates conquering the planet 60 years ago is one one thing but still reigning at 80 mind blowing! Into a Covid-still-with-us and war torn world he pours out hope and joy and positive vibes. To think I doubted!


WALKING IS THE PACE OF THE SOUL - MENTAL WELLBEING

Night Night BC

(This is the script of my Pause For Thought on Vanessa, BBC Radio 2, on June 29th 2022... The theme was Mental Wellbeing)

 

I coined a phrase last year that says “we sometimes don’t learn what we have learned”. We learned so much over these last two strange years. Are we going to travel on into whatever the new normal is and leave the learning behind.

I mean surely most of us rediscovered how good a walk is for our mental wellbeing.

They say that when we walk we move at the same pace as the soul. If that is true, I need to slow down. The diary flies - planes, trains and automobiles and all that. 

Personally I find that my mental health is closely connected to my emotional health and even closer to my spiritual health.

I had an interesting experience last summer. I have mentioned before how much my wife Janice and I love Ballycastle beach on Antrim’s north coast.

For some reason this particular evening I was walking back home along the beach on my own. My soul had last slowed down to the right pace but I still had my head racing. 

I can only describe it as God shouting at me when I sensed someone saying that I needed to get rid of the ear phones. So, I hastily turned off the recent Wallflowers record and breathed in.

Suddenly I was able to take in all that was going on around me. From the distractions cluttering my life I started focusing in on every refraction of sea and sand and sky.

Turning off the music I got to listen, to really listen to the quiet of the ocean’s big blue wonder. Of course it wasn’t silent. But the quiet rhythms of the sea. Gentle waves landing and then that sweet soothing sounds of water lapping on the shoreline. 

The sand Martin were swooping down around and back. The sun was doing that wonderful thing it does before it says goodnight, throwing a beam of light across the sea. I felt I could nearly walk across it.

It was like I’d tuned in to the earth’s allure, the night sky’s encryption. It was like God had prayed a benediction of blessing over my mind and heart and soul. When I got home I felt so refreshed.

More of it over this summer time.