I have been intrigued by Hannah Peel since she arranged the strings on Paul Weller’s Live at the Royal Albert Hall album. I heard she was from Northern Ireland. Eh? How did I not know that. There was so much I wanted to learn.
Well, this afternoon by personal delivery the third issue of Dig With It came through the door and right there on the cover - Hannah Peel. I now know that she grew up in Craigavon until the age of 8 before moving to Yorkshire. I know she now lives in Bangor and what she’s been working on this year. Paul Weller has been very good to her.
This is what I love about Dig With It. With the strap line Music, Arts & Nordy Culture this magazine launched early in 2020 throws insight across our burgeoning local arts scene.
The brain child of our most legendary rock journalist Stuart Bailie and his designer daughter Betsy, Dig With It comes out quarterly and is crammed with great writing, interviews and reviews about those who dig with pens, guitars, brushes and cameras - a nice tribute nod to Seamus Heaney.
As well as Hannah Peel, the current edition that literally landed on my mat today has Stuart talking to Sinead O’Connor as well as a brilliant article by Anthony Toner about the late great Bap Kennedy. There is always more and all three issues have had me discover what’s absolutely new on the Nordy music scene and giving insight to what I had already discovered.
Issue 3 has me comparing my thoughts on Joshua Burnside's astonishing record Into The Depths Of Hell with Kristen Sinclair's review, off chasing a new Jealous of the Birds record, introduced me to poet Micheál McCann and excited me about Kerri ni Dochartaigh’s new novel Thin Places coming out in January.
There is loads more, far too much to share. If I haven’t convinced you can I also add that the magazine is so well produced that it is a piece of art in its very self. In this edition Lily Bailie works with Hannah Peel, Kwa Daniels, Oona Doherty and Siofra Caherty to create flags, banners and emblems that illustrate those 4 creatives' lives.
Yeh, that Bailie name again. They are like a wee arts dynasty. We should be proud to have them. Dig With It has a much wider team but there is still a sense of family cottage industry. The best of what we Nordys are inside the magazine and in its making.
Subscribe or give it as a gift - DIG WITH IT