A song of mine, Your Truest Faith, has just been selected for the playlist of internet radio station South California Singer-Songwriter Radio based in Rosemead, near Los Angeles. It’s probably not a career-changing moment but for myself, who saw the California singer-songwriter scene of the late 70’s and 80’s as the holy grail for anyone with enough ambition and musical snobbery to be a ‘real’ songwriter, it’s a significant thrill.
As the rest of the UK, went from Punk to New Wave, I, never a compass towards rock ‘n roll cool at the time (except for a growing obsession with the East Coast hard-edged grittier sound of Bruce Springsteen) absorbed myself in artists such as Jackson Browne, John David Souther and Dan Fogelberg who represented the high temple of introspective, melody driven songwriters.
Along with these came Don Henley and Glen Frey, the creative driving force of The Eagles, the band who eclipsed everybody from the area in terms of global identity and record sales.
My romantic notion of Los Angeles took in warm summer evenings and endless highways, the perfectly pitched harmonies of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and even my favourite British singer-songwriter at the time, Elton John, sang songs of the American west penned by the lyrics of his musical partner Bernie Taupin.
Indeed, Elton’s American breakthrough came at a run of gigs at the LA Troubadour in 1970, heavily featuring songs from his recently released Tumbleweed Connection album. It was actually at the Troubadour that Elton shed his skin as a folk singer-songwriter, kicking away his piano stool to leap into the air on the song Burn Down The Mission, thus reincarnating himself as the rock performer that would go on to fill huge stadiums to this day.
Well I’m no Elton John. Or Jackson Bowne. My little song will be played three times daily for the next week in the International Section of the show, it will no doubt then disappear into the ether filled with independent artists trying to get their songs heard amongst the powerhouse of streaming madness.
But for a few days the song will be heard in a smattering of homes and on phones and maybe the odd car stereo system in California. And for the kid from a small town in northern town in England who used to look to the far away golden horizon of the musical canyons of LA, the feeling will be sweet.