Walking round town about a month ago with my family, we came across a band busking in the street. Half way through their set – programmed with the casual shopper in mind, so heavy on classic rock anthems like “All Along The Watchtower”, “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?” and “Come Together” – I suddenly realised that this was the first live music I’d seen for 14 months. Jolt over, it made me realise how much I’ve missed the profound pleasure of seeing four people play amplified music together. Long may it continue.
We continue to celebrate the return of live gigs in this month’s Uncut where we carry reports of shows by Eliza and Martin Carthy and Black Country, New Road – both, coincidentally, reviewed in Brighton. Meanwhile, in just a few months’ time, the Uncut team will be heading en masse to Wiltshire for the End Of The Road festival. More on that nearer the time – but suffice to say for all of us, End Of The Road will be an unmissable highlight after being deprived of live music for so long. Incidentally, you can find further updates and lineup information at here and on uncut.co.uk.
Elsewhere in the issue, we also have our first face-to-face interview for many long months – with Leon Bridges, who Stephen Deusner meets in his hometown of Forth Worth, Texas. It’s a welcome change from the Zoom chats that have constituted our interviews lately. Ah, I can almost smell the coffee brewing in Leon’s local, the Cherry Coffee Shop.
What else? Exclusives with Lindsey Buckingham – he brought up the subject of Fleetwood Mac first, I’m reliably informed – and also Big Red Machine, the collaborative project created by The National’s Aaron Dessner and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. For this, their second album, they’ve recruited Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold among other notable guests. His presence finally unites on record three contemporaries whose eclectic, progressive and ambitious music has been a critical part of Uncut’s aesthetic for the past 15 years or so. Laura Barton corrals Dessner, Vernon and Pecknold for her excellent piece – and I’m pleasantly surprised to learn that Vernon and Pecknold have only ever met once so far, in a lift in Phoenix, Arizona.
There’s more, of course. For our Revolver cover, we’ve asked 14 Beatle heads to each talk about their favourite song from their 1966 masterpiece. Our panel consists of fellow ‘60s luminaries including Brian Wilson, Roger McGuinn and Steve Cropper, card-carrying fans like Johnny Marr, Norman Blake, Margo Price and Wayne Coyne and also two Beatles’ scions – Sean Ono Lennon and Dhani Harrison, both of whom make plausible cases for Revolver as the band’s greatest album (it is).
Beyond that, there’s Curtis Mayfield, Curtis Mayfield, Steve Gunn, Ripley Johnson, Mercury Rev, the Sugarcubes, Lovin’ Spoonful (it is summer, after all), Martha Wainwright, Springsteen, Bowie and much more.
Before I go, I should also pay tribute to Alan Lewis – IPC Magazines’ former editor-in-chief, who helped launch Uncut back in 1997. Alan had a brilliant, intuitive understanding of magazines, as evidenced by the many successes he was involved in – from Melody Maker, NME and Sounds to Loaded, Kerrang! and many, many more. He was a lovely, self-deprecating person, too – full of wisdom and advice and always great company in Uncut’s old local, The Stamford Arms.
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