Mark Pountney discusses the Grateful Fred night 2 October 2019, supporting Alice Wallace:
I recently performed at one of my favourite venues, the Atkinson Theatre in Southport. It was a Grateful Fred’s night, and these nights, in particular, have a long history of bringing quality artists over from the States to perform, supported by local artists. I was supporting Alice Wallace.
I performed a mix of material from (Mark Pountney albums) Mark I, Mark II, Mark III and Live at home. It’s always a pleasure to perform in front of an attentive audience, and the crowd at the Atkinson is certainly that. I started off the set playing alone and was joined, for the second half of the set, by Paul Dance on bass guitar. The songs I performed included Footprints in the Sand, Sorrow Killers, Diamond of My Mind and Don’t let me go.
Topping the bill was Alice Wallace, a California born Singer-Songwriter, who was about to embark on a UK tour. This was the first date of the tour. She was backed by two excellent musicians, Joe Coombs electric guitar and Scott Warman on upright bass. Together they played a fantastic set of original songs and some covers. Alice has certainly mastered the art of yodeling and had found a way of integrating the technique into her material. I particularly enjoyed a song called the Same Old Song.
A local trio, The Hard Way Home, kicked off the night, super tight harmonies and strong original material.
Thanks to Paul Dance for bass, the staff at the Atkinson for light / sound and hospitality, Colin Maddocks for the invitation and support. Also, wishing Alice and the guys the best of luck with the rest of the tour.
Earlier this year I was asked play some pedal steel guitar on a couple of recording sessions. The first session I played on was for Shadow Captain, (aka Stuart Todd). The songs were Goodbye and Clandestine Lover. I played drums on that on too. That’s due for release late 2019/ early 2020. Andy Fernihough, who is well known as a musician and as the studio manager at Crash Rehearsal Rooms, has been working on those recordings. So when the Sums, formerly known as Smaller were looking for some different sound, Andy suggested that I could do some steel on their new album, Better. I played on two tracks, Contraception Is Rife and Salt of the Earth. I first saw, lead singer, Digsy perform with Smaller at the Liverpool Lomax, supportingOasis. Later I played on the same lineup a few times in venues like the Picket, when I was in the Marbles.
I bought the steel from a friend in about 2006, some of it was hand made but it has a Ronnie Bennett pickup on it. It’s hard work to play the mechanisms are very stiff, but I’ve persevered and managed to get some good things out of it. I need to practice more. Some of my favorite steel players are Buddy Emmons, Buddy Cage (New Riders), Jerry Hogan (Heads Hands and Feet), JayDee Maness (Sweetheart of the Rodeo), Red Rhodes (Mike Nesmith), Weldon Myrick (Areacode 615) and of course Jerry Garcia,
As well as perfoming three songs; You Got it All, Nothing Lasts Forever and The Key, I discussed early influences, songwriting technique and some of the session work I’ve been doing on Pedal Steel. I recently recorded some steel for the Sums on their now album, Better, and Shadow Captain, the artist formally known as Stuart Todd’s new album. The interview was streamed live on facebook.