Regular visitors to the little Salut! empire - and no, I don't just mean the one or two that come to this particular corner of it - know that the pages of all four sites are open to guest writers. Step forward Mike Dennison*, whose first contribution might have seemed more likely to be at Salut! Sunderland. Instead, noticing that no review of Danny Thompson's album Connected has appeared here, despite having been available for some months, he volunteered one of his own. Read on ...
Salut! Live has a substantial archive that the sidebars allow you to explore but, when it comes to new material, the site necessarily falls victim to other demands on my time. Bourgeoise as this will sound, I need to earn a living. Labours of love are fine, but cannot always be allowed to get in the way of proper work. But a promise is a promise, and I said elsewhere that a review of Ange Hardy's album would appear this weekend ...
And so I had. A cheeky, speculative e-mail had been sent to the right people, the recipient had intended a positive response. Both sender and receiver then promptly forgot all about it; with just days to go before the big return to France from UK hibernation, it was looking less touch than go.
But two dates remained possible, albeit with long trips from London, and one was turned to reality. Thank heavens it wasn't the Berwick one. Fairport's tour was duly caught at the wonderful venue that is the City Varieties in Leeds and everyone, including the nephew who interrupted the customary starvation diet of student life to accept a bumper plate of steak and chips followed by chocolate dessert at the adjoining White Swan, was happy.
No sooner was my back turned than Kate Rusby, who once seemed destined to remain a teenager forever, reinvented herself as a mother-of-two with mumsy babble about little Daisy and Phoebe and the doting grandparents over from Coleraine.
And the growing up phase has spread to the music, too.
Someone had to kickstart Salut! Live again - loads to catch up on; sorry - and Pete Sixsmith was the man to do it. He seems to have enjoyed this one ...
The Sage, Gateshead hosted the final night of the Transatlantic Sessions last Thursday. Packed house, great music, and marvellous evening – just as was the case last year and probably will be next year as well.
When you leave a concert hall where spectators have been dressed as if for the opera, many of the women dripping with jewellery and perched atop high heels, it is easy to forget you were there for a spot of folk music. The sense of incongruity sharpens on crossing the road to see that the shops in this part of town have Rolls-Royces and Bentleys for their window displays.
The remarkable phenomenon that is Joan Baez, touring at 70 with the energy of a woman half her age, had reached Monaco.