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GUEST,Miss Moneypenny Jim Moray- new face of folk? BBC R4 now (92* d) RE: Jim Moray- new face of folk? BBC R4 now 08 Jul 03

My my my this is all very interesting isn't it! I wonder if Jon Boden would stir up such strong feelings, or indeed Kate Rusby, Eliza Carthy or any of the other 'stars' of folk. The fact that you are even discussing Jim Moray in this way indicates that the guy is doing something right. He has given you something to think about, made you question the way folk music is performed, made you wonder why English folk music is always the poor sister to Irish and Scottish music, made you look to see how many 'young' people there are out there involved in the folk scene. Quite an achievement for guy whose debut album only came out a week ago.

So who was that idiot up above who implied that folk artists shouldn't have degrees? Do I detect some jealousy or perhaps some personal regret? Artists by definition should be pushing barriers, and in that quest, knowledge is power. Recent interviews on Front Row, Late Junction, The Andy Kershaw Show and more have shown Jim Moray to be a very valuable ambassador for folk music who can speak intelligently and knowledgably about a vast array of music genres but chooses to speak up for folk music. Be grateful and give the guy some support.   

As for the question of media interest, there is little point in putting a record out and not telling people it is available to buy, so, anyone with any sense would ensure that the press have copies of said record. However the artist has no control over the kind of reviews he gets, and over whether he gets reviews at all. To date this album has been reviewed in The Times, The Telegraph, The Independent (4 star review), The Independent On Sunday (4 star review), Songlines (Top Of The World CD of the month), The Word, Time Out, Uncut, with rumours that it will be Folk Album Of The Month in next month's Mojo. He has also had tracks from the album played on The Mike Harding Show, Travelling Folk, Late Junction, The Andy Kershaw Show, Front Row, The Verb.... Now I might be wrong, but I don't think all of those media people were interested in him because he had a degree. You don't get that kind of coverage with any kind of music unless you are doing something very special, but to get that kind of coverage when you are unheard of and doing folk music of all things is nothing short of a miracle.

So why don't you go back and listen to that album again, and this time with an open mind. Put your headphones on and listen to the complexity of what this guy has done. Remember just because he doesn't sound like Harry Cox doesn't make him unworthy of your consideration. He's 21 years old! He can't sound seventy-five even if he tries. And why should he try? But he can sound like a guy who has listened to Radiohead and The Smiths and Martin Carthy, absorbed those and many other influences - vocal, technological and interpretive - taken what he has admired from them, and in the true folk tradition come up with his own versions of some great English folk songs. Good on him!

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