The term alternative, when applied to music at least, seems to have a very predictable meaning these days. Which is ironic. Hear it, and you think of leather-jacketed, skinny-jeaned indie kids with a complicated hair and all the right designer labels playing music just left of mainstream. Hardly an alternative at all.
This latest single from Chris Connelly and Monica Queen, however, earns the label alternative without seeming to even try. And the reason being? Alternative approaches to creativity are all about states of mind and how you view the world rather than fads and fashions to be surfed. Some people make alternative art. Others just are alternative, naturally. Connelly and Queen are definitely the latter.
Taken from the album The Birthday Poems, a fictionalized account of the romance between celebrated Scottish poet and author George Mackay Brown and his muse Stella Cartwright, as well as Stella’s friendship with Edinburgh born poet Stanley Roger Green, My Father Took Me Everywhere is a gorgeous slice of….well, it’s hard to put into words. But I’ll try.
It is folky and accessible, dark and delicious, echoes with the voices of jazz club divas, musical theatre and pub singers, it is built around a precise narrative but it swirls and swaggers, ebbs and flows, beats and bounces, wanders and waltzes with ragged beauty. You can hear Waits and Cave and Cohen, PJ Harvey and Jackie Leven all singing along whilst cursing the fact that they hadn’t had the presence of mind to have written it. It is both a sound from the past and a song for the here and now. It’s an extraordinary song about extraordinary people delivered extraordinarily.
When was the last time that you stumbled across that?