The Importance of Being Local

Whether you’re travelling from the borders of Sherwood Forest or the Derbyshire wilderness; it’s best to take a spare set of strings.

When Chris asked a few of his closest muchachos, amigos y compadres if they would mind surrendering some of their time, effort and finger movements to write more blogs, reviews or various other musings, my first reaction was simple.

Go away, I’m working.

Alas, if only that had been the case. On the contrary, the work and effort applied by the Roots Live Music team around the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire areas has been paramount to the growing success of this local scene. Moreover, let’s consider for a second the impact it may have on the performing artist themselves.

It’s a Saturday night. You’re 18-and-a-bit years old. Your kicks, pumps, converses, whatever, are torn at the seams. Worse more, you have a 12-year-old guitar in your lap- presented as a gift from Argos from a family member or overly-enthusiastic-possibly-pushy relative. The A string seems to be missing. Hang on, which one is the ‘A’ anyway? Well, it hardly matters, because you’ve just spent that night learning the ‘classics’ (the acoustic versions of tunes you’ve accidentally discovered on YouTube after hours and hours of superfluous browsing). There’s a G in there…and a D…possibly an A minor, but you can’t quite remember, but it seems to flow and sounds like something that’s popped up on your Spotify-suggested list.

Well, you see, after the first couple of covers learned, mimicking, re-writing, re-imaging…or simply copying…these well-known songs becomes a little too easy. Occasionally, an artist will make that leap between cover and original and attempt the impossible, unthinkable and unimaginable…

But the thing is, this also becomes addictive. Like a honey badger with a pair of human genitals, a dog with a bone, or me with ‘owt to do with Star Wars, the process of songwriting becomes sheer fandom. This could be for many reasons- pride, a sense of achievement, or just for the f**k of it. Nonetheless, it soon moves to the very next step- the final Orc guarding Mordor- performing these said songs.

Ben Mark Smith
I get by with a little help from cute ‘lil library workers

See, the thing is, this is the case for quite literally hundreds of bands, artists or poets around the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire area; scratch that, nationwide. Performing and songwriting must start from somewhere. The toad was once a tadpole, afterall. And that, you see, is where promoters like Roots come in.

Roots don’t just slap on live entertainment for the sake of satisfying a pub’s locals. Although, of course, that is fantastic when that becomes evident. Roots act as an anchor for local artists to be able to showcase material live. The fact of the matter is this: music lovers want to hear stories about chocolate biscuits, festivals, funny anecdotes, crippling heartache and sheer drama, which is of course no different from other forms of media ranging from books, magazines to social media itself. F**k it, isn’t that what all major soap operas base their foundations on?

I bet Wellington himself even liked music. Weird.

The only difference, of course, is that there’s a communal aspect to sharing these various emotions and fables, particularly when it’s coming from somebody who perhaps shares a similar cultural, social or even geographical likeliness to the audience. All these factors are circling the room in the 3 and a half minutes it takes to sing a song…we just don’t fully comprehend it yet.

Get me in a drink my friend; I swear that i’ll repay

What Roots pride themselves in is not simply music. We’ve had that for ages in Western society. And believe me, mainstream-wise, it’s only getting worse. So why not go ‘back to basics’, and see someone pour their heart out, shiver with nervousness so the chord shape seems wobbly, or stand on a table and make you forget that it’s Tuesday night and you’ve a date with the rat race the morning after? Community and melody go hand in hand with us. Ambition and performance compliment each other. Interaction and alcohol wink at each other like naughty friends. And, arguably most importantly, new music is born into the world…

…it could be at your local watering hole…

…in the middle of a crowded town, someone could be telling the greatest story ever told…

….probably in the key of C.


Roots Live Music

Now my life’s a little crazy, but I don’t give a s**t…