We are so sorry that last night’s performance by Rick with Jo Jukes at the Hermon Arts Centre had to be cancelled. With so many local roads closed and flood conditions in the area it became the only sensible response. We have now fixed a replacement date of Friday 1 December. All ticket holders will be contacted by the Hermon Arts Centre box office.
Rick’s upcoming album ‘Observer – Participant’ is currently in the manufacturing stage and should be ready for release in October. There will be a limited release of 50 CDs, and the album will be available to listen to and download at bandcamp.
Follow this link to access the site: rickwilson.bandcamp.com
The 14 songs on the album are all originals and Rick is accompanied here and there by close and inspired collaborators.
Hot news for 2024! ‘When Mountains Meet’, the Scottish / Pakistani project very successfully premiered in Edinburgh and Glasgow over the past year has resurfaced with a strong likelihood of a Scottish tour in Spring 2024 as well as a recorded work and, hopefully, a presence at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival next August. Watch this space for more details…
“Beautiful”, “Ethereal”, “Uplifting”, “Earthy”. Just a few of the responses to “Weaving the World”, Rick’s latest album made in collaboration with the multi talented Jo Jukes. This is Jo’s first musical recording: Rick’s part in it started out with help and advice but grew to a share in arrangements, mixing, instrumental performance and even vocals. There are still just a few copies of the CD available at £10, but the album is also available to stream and download from Bandcamp for £7 here.
The songs from the album had their first public performance in the welcoming and relaxed setting of “In Good Hands” in Frankwell, Shrewsbury on May 26th. The cafe was packed with old friends and regulars, many of whom had heard some of the songs in development while others were hearing them for the first time.
Rick and Jo seemed completely at home in performance together: Jo introducing the songs with snippets of the stories behind them and sharing the significance of the places that gave her inspiration.
The audience sat spellbound and there really was a magical quality to the atmosphere, with some songs drawing listeners into their stories and others setting heads nodding and feet tapping. Someone commented afterwards that it seemed incredible that there was such variety of sound and style from just two musicians and a limited range of acoustic instruments. Jo has been learning drumming from Rick and the two played together both on hand drums and, in a grand finale, on a home made set of tuned slates. Mostly though, Jo led with voice and guitar with Rick providing accompaniment on varied percussion instruments and zither.
Not only did the audience get to hear all the tracks from the new album but there were new songs too: clearly this is just the beginning! There are plans for more performances too, including Hermon Chapel in Oswestry on 20 October – watch this space, or follow suitablyrick.wilson or jukes.jo on Instagram, or either Rick or Jo on Facebook, for details.
Many thanks to Jason Smalley who contributed most of the photographs for this post.
“Weaving the World” is an album of 11 songs written and sung by Jo Jukes. Rick has contributed a wide instrumental palette to these songs and has engineered and mixed the collection. Hence, the album is jointly credited to both.
The album will be released in CD and bandcamp formats on May 1st. Rick and Jo will be playing all the songs on the album and more live at In Good Hands, 88 /89 Frankwell, Shrewsbury SY3 8JR on May 26th at 8pm. Places are limited so come early.
Rick has been working with two fine musicians over the last few months, helping them capture their personal stories in recording and performance.
To find out more about his work with Anne Wood, take a look at our Events pages. “When Mountains Meet: Jub Milain Pahaar” is a fusion of Scottish and Pakistani influences and performance, telling Anne’s own tale of trying to trace her roots. The project has its own website, where you can read about its artistic development and see snippets of work in progress, including Rick in performance: https://www.whenmountainsmeet.com/
Back home in Llansilin, his current studio work involves engineering and playing on an album of songs by author / singer / songwriter Jo Jukes. This particular collection of songs is an audio accompaniment to her recently acclaimed book ‘Finding Home’. You can find more about Jo on her website. The album is to be called “Weaving the World” and will be available on Bandcamp and on CD. One song on the album honours Old Man Lime, an ancient tree on Wenlock Edge.
When Mountains Meet – Jub Milain Pahaar
Rick is this week and next intensely absorbed in rehearsal and preparations for the first full work-in-progress performances of When Mountains Meet/ Jub Milain Pahaar. Featured as part of “Keeping it Lit”, the 2022 Scottish International Storytelling Festival, the performances will take place in Edinburgh at Assembly Roxy on 27 and 28 October. Booking details are on our Events pages.
Gig theatre, storytelling, Scottish/South Asian influenced music and striking visual images combine to recount the adventures of Anne Wood as she leaves Edinburgh for an unforgettable voyage through Pakistan.
“My mother is Scottish. My father was Pakistani. In my early twenties I found the father I had never met … but I was taboo in a culture to which I longed to belong.”
Inspired by Anne’s true story and 75 years after the creation of Pakistan, a live band plus storytellers and singers celebrate cultural diversity and difference in this tender, surprising and heart-opening show, summoning majestic mountains, mesmerising sounds and mouth-watering tastes.
The atmosphere will be relaxed and accessible, with performances either audio described or with BSL interpretation. The team will be hosting a short, facilitated feedback session after both performances to which all are welcome.
The production is funded by Creative Scotland. For more information about the project, click here.
Part 10: Under the Influence?
The tenth in an occasional series from Rick about his life as a musician – where it all started and what it has come to now.
Making lists of preferred drummers inevitably seems like name-dropping to an extent but it gives me some rationalisation about what gets through to me and what REALLY gets through to me.
Some players who have made the difference and why…….
Ginger Baker (in Cream) and Mitch Mitchell (with Jimi Hendrix) have been referred to in a previous blog as very early inspirations so I’ll skip past them here.
Amongst classifiable genres, there are many players of funk, reggae, rock, jazz, free improvisation, African and Latin music and beyond that have touched me at different times, but, if I had to name my special seven, they would be, in no particular order…..
Tony Williams – a once in a lifetime talent. Always exciting, always innovative, never obvious, fast hands – a powerhouse.
Elvin Jones – highly polyrhythmic, sometimes hard to fathom, intense and driving – supercharged.
Jack DeJohnette – an ingenious ability to circumnavigate and imply a rhythm and swing it simultaneously.
Mike Clark – Pioneered a way of shifting rhythmic emphasis – rhythmic displacement – whilst keeping totally in the pocket.
Christian Vander – Apart from his visionary concepts and singular compositional sense, he can always up the ante but, equally, can use very slight touches to similar dramatic effect. Dynamically, second to none. He can find corners of rhythm like no other. Plays each beat like it might be his last – ecstatic. Has kept his band Magma creatively on task for over 50 years.
Han Bennink – Original, supremely innovative, inspired, unpredictable, highly entertaining. Arguably, he has done more than any other to inspire free playing. Funky as hell playing a matchbox or sitting on the stage playing his shoes. When required, he can swing with the best of them.
Mattanur Shankaran Marar – a master of the south Indian chenda drum.
Can turn any rhythm upside down and inside out. Has untold reserves of creativity and power but can gently purr like no other. My teacher – a man of huge stature but great humility.
Amongst the many players who come from a rock background, five stand out for me who were active before and during my formative years.
Robert Wyatt – was, perhaps, the first drummer I saw who confounded conventional ways of playing a kit. Whilst never the greatest technician, he taught me that any part of the kit could be a starting point and that a singular vision was, at least, as important as technique.
John Bonham – a powerhouse drummer. Within the confines of a fairly straight ahead rock composition, he usually created deceptively simple/complex syncopations with nothing wasted. Very clear, almost architectural player.
Levon Helm – showed me that less is more. He never played anything that wasn’t essential. Always served the song in full. He could sing a bit too !
Bill Bruford – had a wonderful and immediately recognisable snare drum sound. Always distinctive, he could navigate complex music with a great balance and light and shade. Sometimes used to feature rickety bits of percussion but really made them swing.
Ritchie Hayward – blended rock and funk with a subtle touch when necessary and with a full-blooded roar at other times. Never an obvious player, he was always bubbling just below the line.
And to the many that ought to be mentioned………….that will have to be another list.
Rick’s latest album is out now, with an official release date of June 5.
The album is called ‘As I Live and Breathe’ and is a collection of 13 original songs. Rick sings and plays most of the material but he is also indebted to Roxane Smith, Barry Edwards, Niall Ross and Gary Foote, who all made valuable contributions.
Within this collection, the ideas that are given voices are ones that periodically return to face me – the replenishment of wonder provided by the wider world, and the inspirations, mysteries and transformations that occur. Couple these with the chasing of shadows and illusions and the tricks played by our senses, with the possibilities of inner resourcefulness and the vitality of the present moment. Mix all this with some timeless weighing of reason against emotion and most of the ingredients are then laid out.
Rick’s work is often influenced by the written word and at other times by remarkable people. On this album, the second track (Le facteur Cheval) is inspired by a French postman who stumbled one day on a strangely shaped stone and went on to build a fantastical palace. You can read more about his extraordinary story here.
The album is in two forms. First, as a limited edition CD (£10) or as a download (£1 per track, £8.50 for the whole album) from
where you can take a listen first.
You can also order a copy of the physical CD by sending us a message via the ‘Contact us’ page, or coming along to
one of Rick’s regular monthly drum circle events at the Hermon Chapel Arts Centre in Oswestry.
Image credit: Otourly, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Part 9: The Question of Sampling
The ninth in an occasional series from Rick about his life as a musician – where it all started and what it has come to now
In previous pages I was remembering how I used to take a cassette recorder around with me to record anything of interest. This could include machinery sounds from a factory or building site, snatches of conversation or sounds of the natural world. Cassettes would accrue and my audio library expanded accordingly. Before the invention and manufacture of the Sampler in the 1980s, a few people I knew were already using ‘found’ sounds in their own music. This could include snatches of other people’s music. Once the Sampler was on the market and out there, this trend became commercially rampant in the ensuing years and the inevitable cries of ‘rip off’ could be heard widespread. There were a few high profile court cases involving the richer, or more visible, musicians and record companies. Settlements were arrived at through the legal process. Lower down, more tacit agreements were achieved. Lower down still, you just took your chances.
Some artists are outraged by such ‘referencing’ but some are flattered. Some had their careers re-ignited by someone else’s use of their music. It remains a lively debate. Personally, I try to always avoid the obvious. Though I have never owned a Sampler, I have used extracts of other people’s music over the years. I never use it verbatim or wholesale. I always put it through some creative process of transformation to sculpt it to suit my purposes. It often becomes unrecognisable from its source. It is this process of transformation which, for me, justifies such action.
If I were ever to be sampled by someone else, I hope that I would welcome it as an affirmation of a good idea. I can never imagine that there would ever be any question of financial remuneration.
When Mountains Meet/Jub Milain Pahaar is a music theatre and visual art project that connects Scotland and Pakistan both culturally and geologically. It is inspired by the first hand true story of musician Anne Wood, whose mother is Scottish and her father Pakistani.
Anne, an old friend of Helen and Rick’s, has drawn together a multi cultural team of performers and artists. Throughout the pandemic they met over Zoom and, when they could, in person to share music, stories, food, visual arts and responses to landscape.
Rick is part of the musical side of the team which is weaving these threads into a story. They held some development events last year and hope to create a touring production within the next two years. The planned production will include live acting / storytelling and digital imagery as well as live music.
Rick’s early contributions involved an intensive creative week with the whole team in the Highlands of Scotland. Click here to see him playing customised fishing buoys with fellow musician John McGeoch.
Although ‘When Mountains Meet’ is not yet ready for performance, Rick is working on three or four pieces for an EP that will show some of the different musical directions at work in the piece.
For more information about the whole project, blogs about the stages so far, images and more extracts of music, follow the link to the project website: www.whenmountainsmeet.com