Friday, 24 December 2010

Vince Guaraldi Trio - "Skating ("A Charlie Brown Christmas")"

My wake up song this week is 'Skating' from a Charlie Brown Christmas. Vince Guaraldi provided some of the coolest music ever for a children's show ( my other favourite children's show with great music is 'Bod' ) and it's very difficult to choose just one track. However, 'Skating' is suitably joyous ! I'd also like to wish you all a Happy Christmas ! Eat, Drink & Be Merry !! Lots of Love tanita

Thursday, 23 December 2010

H.G. Wells, Tracie Bennett & End of the Rainbow

I've begun reading H.G.Wells so I was curious to see a production of 'The Invisible Man' at the Menier Chocolate factory [link]. It was enjoyable, and I loved the re-creation of an evening of good old-fashioned Victorian entertainment but the pace could have been faster. Also saw 'End of the Rainbow' at another charming small theatre the Trafalgar Studios [link]. Tracie Bennett gives a truly thrilling performance as Judy Garland during the the final months of her life shared with her last husband Micky Deans. I marvel at the energy of such a performance and the audience gave Tracie Bennett and the rest of the cast a deserved standing ovation. This production also gives me a good excuse to post a video of Judy Garland and Peggy Lee singing together. I don't want to be overly nostalgic but I think it's rare to find singers today who can sing so effortlessly. I hope you enjoy Love tt

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Captain Beefheart

Captain Beefheart has sadly passed away. He is considered a great musical revolutionary & critics often cite his most avant-garde work as influencing notable musicians like Tom Waits & Johnny Rotten but when I was in LA recently the Captain Beefheart song I was most drawn to was the more conventional ' Observatory Crest' - it's a song that makes sense when you are driving around with aimless contentment in the late afternoon sun... and it has one of those awesome bass lines that's busy but so laid back that it's perfect ! Love tanita

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Mina - Amor Mio

This week's wake up song 'Amor Mio' is performed by the legendary Italian singer Mina & written by the legendary Italian songwriting partnership of Battisti and Mogol. I've never properly understood the song - in my wobbly Italian Mina seems to be saying 'My Love, Who has loved you in this world ? only me. Me, on the other hand, have always been loved too much...but together, we can make it, you can reach me...' and emotionally I've always thought Mina was singing 'My Love, I'm enough !' but without the slightly strange suggestion of a Romantic popularity contest. Either way, I'm sure it's madness to pit my imagined scenario against my dodgy Italian translation. Simply this song contains everything I love best in Italian music, passion & wonderful melody. I hope you enjoy, lots of love tt

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Langhorne Slim / Singer-Songwriter

This week's TT Test is taken by American singer-songwriter Langhorne Slim [link] who I enthusiastically blogged about last December [link]. Langhorne's last album 'Be Set Free' remains one of my favourites from recent years, I'm thrilled to hear that he is working on some new songs & also that he has found the time to answer the TT Test ! What is your wake up song at the moment ? I recently got a copy of 'Bill Withers Live at Carnegie Hall'. Even the way he thanks the audience at the end of a song gives me the chills. The song 'Hope she'll be Happier with him' blows me away. Which work of art or single event has most influenced you in your chosen profession ? My mother and Grandparents took my brother and I to see a Broadway play when we were very young. I don't even remember which one but I remember how magical New York felt coming just a couple of hours from our small hometown in Pennsylvania. And I remember sitting in my seat and feeling so moved. I knew then that there was a world beyond what I knew, the world that I didn't relate to and that I was going to be alright. That was a pretty heavy feeling. If you could travel back in time, which period would you most like to visit and why ? 1957-Redhead. I love eating out and discovering new restaurants, can you please recommend one to me ? The Bye and Bye in Portland Oregon. It's down the street from where I live and is awesome! [link] What is the best advice you ever been given relating to your professional / creative life ? Go back to the cabin. BONUS QUESTION 'Langhorne Slim' is a stage name, can you explain a little about how you chose this name & what it refers to ? Langhorne is the name of the town that i'm from. I used it before I had a band and it stuck. I have always been a fan of nick names from my grandfather's stories of when they were young. All of their friends had cool names like Whistle or Lefty. All names are made up so you might as well grab one you like. When people talk about your music they often reference blues & gospel & American roots music in general , I also hear a bit of Cat Stevens from the classic early 70s period , would I be way off in thinking that? Not at all, I love that man. Harold and Maude forever !

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Les Tee-Shirts sont arrivés !! Das T-Shirts sind Eingetroffen !! Le magliette sono arrivati !! Las camisetas han Ilegado !!

The new TT tee-shirts have arrived, Hurrah !! They have been designed by Sylvie Bardet who also designed this blog and my website and they are based on four of my song titles : 'Out on The Town', 'Sun Face', 'Happy Taxi ' & 'Leaving the Party'. They are really cool, 100% organic, Fairtrade & funky... what's not to love ?!! Please check them out here :) Lots of Love tttt

Monday, 15 November 2010

Tami Lynn - I'm Gonna Run Away From You

My wake up song this week is Tami Lynn's 'I'm Gonna Run Away from You'. This Northern Soul classic was recorded in the mid 60s but did not become a hit until it was re-issued in England in the early 70s. I love the bass line, it's groovy and also quite formal. I still hear an echo of an earlier kind of dance band in it. The lyrics are wonderful, Tami Lynn's voice mighty, and recently when I heard it again after many years I had to put it on repeat as I was so knocked out by it ! Love tt

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Katerina Athanasopoulou - Engine Angelic

My friend katerina Athanasopoulou is a very talented animator [link] this is her new short 'Engine Angelic' [watch here]. I'm really impressed by it but also a bit disturbed ! To find out more about the different processes that were used to construct the film just follow this link [link]. Hope you enjoy ! love tt

Monday, 8 November 2010

Shun-kin / The kids are alright

Spent a nice evening in the Barbican centre [link] last night (this has to be my favourite arts centre !), quickly browsed the 'Future Beauty: 30 years of Japanese Fashion' exhibition. At this kind of event the crowd is actually more interesting than the exhibition. I think they all secretly want to be spotted by photographer Scot Schuman and posted on 'The Sartorialist' ! And saw another wonderful production from the theatre company Complicitie [link]. 'Shun-kin' is the second production I've seen by them and even though the play may deal with adult themes I always feel as engrossed as a child by the magical way they tell stories. Earlier in the week I saw ' The Kids are Alright' which I loved. A few friends were less enthusiastic, maybe it comes down to whether you think characters in films should be exemplary representatives of a particular group or rather flawed like most of us... anyways, lots of great stuff to see & think about ! love tt

Monday, 1 November 2010

Grant Lee Phillips / Singer-Songwriter

This week's TT Test is taken by Grant Lee Phillips whose musicianship as writer,vocalist and multi-instrumentalist is inspiring. He first came to notice with the band 'Grant Lee Buffalo' and has continued to make great music as a solo artist, with highly acclaimed records, writing music for independent movies as well as appearing regularly on the TV show 'Gilmore Girls' as the town troubadour. I'm delighted that he has found time to answer the TT Test! What is your wake up song at the moment ? I’ve been waking up with The Left Banke’s “Walk Away Renee” in my head for the last few weeks. I’ve always loved the song but I have no idea why it’s enjoying a comeback in my mind. It’s so melancholic, perfect for the rainy weather. Which work of art or single event has most influenced you in your chosen profession ? It’s hard to place the blame on one culprit but I have to imagine it was the Beatle’s film “Help” and that particular song that lured me in, made me want to be a musician and began my love of heavy overcoats. If you could travel back in time, which period would you most like to visit and why ? I’ve always been drawn to that period between 1860’s - 1890’s. It was the golden age of sideburns, Laudanum and revolution. It was a bit like the sixties, but in sepia. I love eating out and discovering new restaurants, can you please recommend one to me ? Breakfast, right behind dessert, is the most important meal of the day. The Pacific Dining Car [link] in downtown Los Angeles has one of the best. It’s a step back in time, ordering Eggs Hussarde in a 1920s railway car. An endless flow of black coffee makes for one of those easy mornings that last all day. What is the best advice you ever been given relating to your professional/creative life ? Aside from being tipped off about the Eggs Hussard ? I’ve been the beneficiary of great council many times. Among the many artists, writers, musicians and professionals in my life, the words of my wife have meant the most however. She sees far down the road, when I can hardly find the wheel. BONUS QUESTIONS : You have such a unique & wonderful singing style, is there a singer that particularly influenced you as you were discovering your voice ? My grandmother was an incredible singer. She had a voice like Mahalia Jackson. She sang in a little country church but she also loved the blues. I’ve heard she sang in clubs when she was young. She was never really a performer in the time I knew her but she poured herself into her voice. She greatly encouraged me to play the guitar and sing and that made a huge impact on me. I also have a slightly silly question or maybe just an observation, I don't know if you are aware of the Canadian writer & actress Anne Marie MacDonald but you have a very striking resemblance to her ! I just googled Anne Marie MacDonald. I can see the resemblance and I’m flattered. I hope she is.
Photo Kenneth Scott

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Babel - Nortec Collective

Today is one of my favourite London weather days - chilly but gorgeously sunny, everything & everyone radiant & alive ! So logically, this week's wake up song is from Mexico. I wonder how much of our listening is shaped by the weather ? Some people see music in colours but because of my English education I see music as a meteorological report ! The groove of Nortec Collective's track from 'Babel', is joyous, it just tumbles & makes me dance around my apartment in the morning, hope it does the same for you ! Love tt

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Metropolis, Brigitte Helm

I caught a screening of the recently restored and reconstructed version of Metropolis this week [link]. It's the first time I've seen this 1927 classic and I was mesmerised. I know the movie bankrupted a film studio but it was probably worth it to create such an amazing work of art !! When Brigitte Helm who played the dual role of Maria and the Maschinenmensch ( machine human ) is in her first incarnation as Maria, I was thinking 'ok, this is a good performance but it's your standard vision of the innocent & virginal young woman that you find in most silent films' but when she becomes the diabolical and very worldly Machine Human I was petrified ! She's able to express every sin just by raising an eyebrow - and she was only 17 when she played the role !! Brigitte Helm was clearly a strong character in real life as well, in 1935 angered by the Nazi control of the German film industry she retired to married life in Switzerland and never granted even one interview about her film career. Of course, that just makes her more fascinating ! Love tt

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Video Journal - The Mellotron & the Chamberlin (HD)

This a video journal I recorded when I was in L.A. It's about two of the vintage instruments that belong to my producer Paul Bryan which I find very interesting and will be heard on my new record. Hope you enjoy, love tt.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Museum of Everything

Yesterday, I discovered the Museum of Everything [link]. Perhaps, I have been sleeping under a rock because it's near my neighbourhood & I should have noticed such a wonderful thing much sooner ! Artist Peter Bake has curated the collection, you will find Walter Potter's Museum of Curiosity, rather sinister dolls, Punch & Judys', miniature fairgrounds among other delights & the buzz of being in a genuinely exciting space. They also serve tea for free ! What stronger recommendation could you want :) love tt

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Jamais Seule - Loane

This week's wake up song is 'Jamais Seule' by French singer-songwriter Loane. It's so jolly & bouncy it's the perfect way to start the day ! I hope you enjoy, lots of love tt

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Catch Up !

When you finish making an album, there's the euphoric bit ' Wow, I've just made a record ! ' and in the weeks that follow there's the bit where you feel slightly lost. I'm experiencing that bit right now. So, I've been catching up on some theatre, I saw 'Deathtrap' [link] with a great cast led by Simon Russell Beale, miraculously I did not know the story & was the perfect audience member, jumping out of my seat with every twist in the plot. I also saw 'A disappearing Number' which had a brief revival in the West End. This was the second time I've seen it - why am I so fascinated by a show which has so much mathematics (by far my worst subject at school) ?! Well, it is poetic and ends up being as much about love & loss as mathematics and there is the comforting thought of all the infinities :) Saw the film 'Winter's Bone' [link] great performances, you will either be a little frustrated by the vagueness of the plot or find that the most compelling thing about it. I'm also listening to a lot of music in a wonderfully intense way, the process of making a record makes you hyper aware of every nuance of other records not just your own. I was listening to the radio & discovered the American librettist & lyricist Dorothy Fields [link]. One track after the other, 'I can't Give you Anything but Love, baby', 'The Way You look Tonight' and 'If they could See Me now' came on & I was just floored. The lyrics are extraordinary. I've started Field's biography and I'm sure I will discover more of her great music. Anyway, please enjoy Judy Garland's live version of 'I Can't Give You Anything but Love', it's heartbreaking & glorious, lotsoflove tt

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Jay Bellerose / Drummer

This week's TT Test is taken by the awesome Jay Bellerose, a drummer who you may have heard playing with Alison Kraus & Robert Plant, B.B.King, Beck and Ray LaMontagne amongst others. His sound is very special as he collects & uses vintage drums & percussion whose inconsistency may be off putting to some drummers but for Jay add a certain drama to the sound. Having had the privilege of working with Jay on the new record I was so blown away by how he builds a groove, layers & brings structure to the track... I was sometimes surprised by his choices but ultimately always persuaded by them. The only problem is now that I've played with Jay every time I hear a song I think, 'I wonder how Jay would approach this ?!' What is your wake up song at the moment? My favorite music at the moment is the sound of my dog Buster snoring away. It gives me great comfort right now. My espresso machine starting up is a close second followed by Hank Mobley's soul station record. Which work of art or single event has most influenced you in your chosen profession? My most influential moment was when my brother Nelson saw me at age five lose my mind over a set of drums. He put me on the path and has guided me since. If you could travel back in time, which period would you most like to visit & why? I would go back to the 20's, 30's & 40's. I'm really in love with the music and over all style from that period. I love eating out & discovering restaurants can you please recommend one to me? Casa mono in NYC is a current favourite of mine [link] What is the best advice you have ever been given relating to your professional/creative life? The best advice for me so far came from T Bone Burnett. "Own it". BONUS QUESTION You are in Ray LaMontagne's band The Pariah Dogs who feature on his new album, how does it feel to be in a band as oppose to a session musician? Being in a band isn't so different other than a bit more acknowledgement.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

All Because of You - Karen Carpenter

This week's wake up song is from Karen Carpenter's solo record that was recorded in New York in 1979 & produced by Phil Ramone. I just love this song & performance & can't understand why it is not more widely known. It's not really a wake up song, it's actually the perfect song for a delicious bout of late night melancholy, and easily stands up next to the great Carpenters' ballads. Tantalisingly, when she was making this record the legendary songwriter Rod Temperton played her very early versions of 'Off the Wall' and 'Rock With You' but Carpenter turned them down on the grounds that they were too funky. Of course, the rest is history and they ended up being recorded by Michael Jackson but it would have been fascinating to have heard her take on those songs, love tt.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010


Last week I spent a lot of time trying to decide upon the sequence for the new record. It was quite difficult, it's one of those records where once you change the position of one track you have to go right back to the beginning and listen to the new sequence and it is very stubborn about what will & won't work so that process seemed to go on forever. Usually, I just listen to the tail end and intros of songs & the sequence is logical & easy... I think on this new record there are a lot of big personalities vying for space so it has not been so straightforward ! And also I usually I have a sort of story sequence in my head but this record... I think this one just wants to do it's own thing ;) love tt

Monday, 6 September 2010

Mark Creswell / Song-writer, musician

This weeks TT Test is taken by one of my favourite musicians, guitarist Mark Creswell. I first met Mark when I was 18 and was the opening act for the band he was in Brendan Crocker & the Five O'Clock Shadows. I was immediately entranced by his joyous, spirited playing and recently when I began writing a new set songs and was searching for a way to bring more groove & movement into my songs I immediately thought of Mark as a co-writer. You'll have to wait till next year to see how the songs have turned out but I for one am extremely happy with the results !! His answers are very interesting and strangely - if I could travel back in time it would probably also be to 18th Century Germany so I could eavesdrop on Bach improvising, I hope that's a good omen that we are suitable musical partners ! Lots of love tt. What is your wake up song at the moment ? An all time favourite and regular player on my juke box MP3 is the wonderfully eccentric 'Persian Lovers' by Holger Czukaybut [link]. If I need something to really bounce me into the day it would have to be 'Do I Love You ?' by Frank Wilson [link] for it's joy & best bass line to boot. Which work of art or single event has most in your chosen profession ? The invention & development of the electric guitar in the 20th Century. What's not to like ? They sound great, look fantastic... and you can use a wah-wah pedal with them too ! If you could travel back in time, which period would you most like to visit & why ? I would go back to 1720 and be beamed into Bach's life at the time when he was director of music for Prince Leopold in Germany. I would of course speak fluent German and have been inoculated for all possible diseases! I'd take with me a good stereo compact recorder and record him whilst he was improvising & composing the cello suites or violin sonatas & see how he worked & how he played & how he sounded on the instruments of his own time. See just how 'well-tempered' he was :) I'd also take back with me Bach's Complete works in printed manuscript & leave them with him, including the ones that he hadn't thought of yet, just to help him out a bit & make life in those times a little easier... upon my return to the now see what ripple effect & repercussions my little visit had upon the history of music & in particular Rock 'n Roll ! It's a sort of chicken & egg thing like in this favourite 'Bowie's in Space' sketch by Flight of the Conchords [link]. I love eating out & discovering newrestaurants can you please recommend one to me ? I don't get to eat out much except when I'm with you & that's always rather tasty. I prefer simple food so I'd recommend 'Corner Cafe ' in Leeds [link] a small, friendly family run restaurant which just hits the spot. What is the best advice you have ever been given relating to your professional/ creative life ? Seeing as my chosen career is music, the best advice to which I've never heeded is 'Get a Job !' BONUS QUESTION How was the experience of recording the new songs that we have written together & are you happy with the way they have turned out ? Recording these new songs was a really great experience for me, we somehow fell on our feet through a series of odd events & coincidences that landed us both in LA, recording with a set of amazing musicians & brought together by the awesome Paul Bryan's production. Playing with these guys really opened up the songs beyond all my expectations & left me with the resounding affirmation that music is at it's best when it involves the interaction of souls & minds together i.e musicians ! These recordings have so much life & vibrancy that I hear something new on every listening giving them a magical, timeless quality that I love.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Brendon Chase Theme Tune - Paul Lewis

Do any of you remember the early 1980s television adaptation of the classic children's novel 'Brendon Chase' ? It was on British Force's TV when I was growing up in Germany, most of the kids in my class were obsessed with this show, a few of us even created a game in honour of it re-enacting the thrilling fugitive life of the boys during our rather dull lunch hour - alas I have never met any one in my adult life who has actually seen it ! Recently, I looked up the show again, just to ensure that it really did exist and re-discovered Paul Lewis' wonderful theme tune: after thirty years it still fills me with excitement & a strong desire to run off & live under a tree in the forest ! I hope you enjoy, lots of love tt

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Video Journal # 6 (HD)

Abbey Lincoln

I was saddened to hear the jazz singer Abbey Lincoln has passed away. Recently, before I began recording the new album I was emailing with my producer, Paul Bryan, about favourite music and he sent me this recommendation : 'Jazz of the day : Here's some awesome and soulful 5/4 for you. Blues and elegance to boot... Abbey lays it down and the boys fall in line. ' Of course, I lost a couple of days trying to count in 5/4 but what a wonderful way to introduce such a powerful artist !

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Ryan Freeland's wake up song

This week the wake up song is chosen by Ryan Freeland who is the wonderful engineer [link] on my new record. It is the song 'Be nice to Me' by Todd Rundgren which is a completely new to me so I'll be discovering it at the same time as you ! lots of love tt.

Thursday, 29 July 2010


Sorry, I'm moving around a bit and will post a new video journal over the weekend. Can I just recommend, if you happen to pass through Sacramento, the California State Railroad Museum [link]. It houses a collection of 20 lovingly restored locomotives and railroad cars and a second floor dedicated to model railways. One of the happiest mornings I've passed in a museum it fulfilled my every romantic notion of steam travel and a slower pace of life (although the museum also documents the difficult journey to build the railroads). Sacramento itself is a charming city, much more to my taste than Las Vegas !! Love ttPhoto (c) Sylvie Bardet