Hello and welcome to the March edition of the Pennyblackmusic Magazine.

February was for Pennyblackmusic a month of both great highs and also unfortunately great sadness.

We were saddened and shocked to learn of the death of Robert Fisher from the Willard Grant Conspiracy on February 12th. We had interviewed Robert many times over the last eighteen years, and the Willard Grant Conspiracy had headlined four of our Bands Nights in London, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Robert was one of the most charismatic musicians that we have known. He was both a riveting interviewee and recording artist and on stage with the Willard Grant Conspiracy, a consortium which extended for live work from him by himself to anything up to eleven or twelve members depending on who was available from a line-up of approximately forty-five, he was a magnetic presence. In ‘Ten Songs That Made Me Love…’ we look at some of his songs and reflect on the Willard Grant Conspiracy’s extraordinary musical career.

On a happier note, we ran what we felt was one of our best ever Bands' Nights at Gullivers in Manchester on the 18th February, 'an evening of indie pop' which featured reformed 80’s act Chesterfields; Karen, the new band of Davey Woodward of the Brilliant Corners and the Experimental Pop Band; and melodic acoustic duo Charlie Big Time. Marie Hazelwood for our ‘Photoscapes’ column has produced some beautiful photos of the night and of both the Chesterfields and Karen’s sets.

In our lead interview for this month Ben Howarth speaks to Craig Finn from the much acclaimed New York alternative rock band the Hold Steady about his forthcoming third solo album, ‘We All Want the Same Things’.

Our other main interviews are with Mark Farner, the former front man with Grand Funk Railroad, who discusses his long musical legacy and current solo career; Fairport Convention bassist Dave Pegg on his group's fiftieth anniversary this year and their latest album ’50: 50@50’; and legendary New York-based singer-songwriter Garland Jeffreys about his next album ’14 Steps to Harlem’, which is due out in April.

There are also interviews with 80’s post-punks and John Peel favourites Red Lorry Yellow Lorry about their new four CD box set, ‘Album and Singles 1982-1989'; Glasgow-based alternative folk duo Doghouse Rose about their first album in six years, 'Lost is Not Losing'; and London-based 'urban country' outfit Morton Valence about their new album 'Europa', which has been recorded in reaction to Brexit.

Other highlights for this month include articles on Townes Van Zandt; Elf, the first blues rock-influenced early band of Ronnie James Dio of heavy rock giants Rainbow and Dio; and the four-day Florida-based Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival.

Amongst our regular columns there are further ‘Ten Songs That Made Me Love…’ on Van Morrison and alternative act Car Seat Headrest. Dave Goodwin in ‘Vinyl Stories’ meanwhile talks to one of our longest-serving writers Anthony Strutt about his favourite vinyl records. Keith How in the second of his new column 'Under the Radar', in which he will examining the great but often under-rated, investigates Cambrian Records, the micro-label of Welsh guitarist Toby Hay. Lisa Torem in her 'Raging Pages' book column examines a new book 'The Train Kept A-Rollin’, which looks at the history of train music.

There are also twenty-five new album and single reviews.

We have a new writer and photographer this month, L.Paul Mann. L. Paul has contributed both the articles on the Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival and a live review of Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Thank you to L. Paul. Thank you also to Carl Bookstein, Kimberly Bright, Malcolm Carter, Nicky Crewe, Dastardly, Nick Dent-Robinson, Anthony Dhanendran, Dixie Ernill, Tony Gaughan, Dave Goodwin, Tommy Gunnarsson, Marie Hazelwood, Keith How, Ben Howarth, Fiona Hutchings, Adrian Janes, Steve Kinrade, Erick Mertz, Mary O’Meara, Spencer Robertshaw, Anthony Strutt, Lisa Torem and Paul Waller, all of whom have contributed to this edition. Special thanks to our webmaster Richard Banks.

We will be back in late March with an album and singles reviews only update, and then towards the end of the month with a full update with interviews, features, live reviews and more album and single reviews. We hope to feature interviews then with Aimee Mann, Doris Brendel, the Distractions, the Beatrix Players, the Brooders and Dodson and Fogg’s Chris Wade on his debut film ‘The Apple Picker’.

Please don’t forget to check out our regular Facebook and Twitter updates.

Thank you as always for reading Pennyblackmusic,

John Clarkson
Magazine Editor
Email: john.clarkson@pennyblackmusic.co.uk

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