Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin: Mynd And Meteorology

Phillip and HannahThey say that the world is a lot smaller these days, what with news, culture, art, fashion and all sorts of events traveling at supersonic speed through Earth’s inner space. For a few days last week it seemed that everyone posted something on their social media weapon of choice about the passing of Nelson, and today I’m seeing pictures and music of Lennon and tomorrow it will be remembering Sandy Hook. Or snow. The weather is of utmost interest. And in fact, I had a flashback tonight about weather or rather the forecasting of it at the little Chinese restaurant in our village as my sixteen year old son and I shared dumplings, ribs and sesame chicken. And oh yes, we did have brown rice so that made it all ok and healthy-like.

But I was riffing on the fact that although long range forecasts say that in six days we’re going to have a snow storm, three days from now the forecast will likely change to being sunny with highs in the upper fifties. Nobody will remember what the weather person on the tube said just a few days earlier, as long as they get tomorrow’s weather right. And then I entered the Wayback Machine.

When I was a kid there was never a long range weather forecast on television news. It was relegated to a couple of minutes about 24 minutes into a 30 minute show, and the guy…it was always a guy…came on screen with a map behind him with little cloud, sun, rain or snow cut-outs stuck to it (and this is before Velcro), and he’d tell us what tomorrow would be like. He was right usually, or at least half the time.

WeatherwomanBut then somebody got a great idea. Why just a one or two day forecast…when you can have a week’s worth! A long range forecast. And it didn’t have to be right or even real, because as each day went by you could keep changing it. All you had to do was increase the odds for tomorrows weather prediction from 50/50 to (let’s say) 75/25, and the rest would just march into place and you’d be a genius. It was at this moment in time, probably the early seventies as I recall, that weather became big. Fat men with bow ties were replaced with handsome male models, later to be replaced with blonde women except in Latin America. And that’s not a gender stereotype. It’s just that women weather people spend a lot of time telling us about the weather while out on location, and their hair is naturally lightened by the sun.

Anyway, back to the music.

I was thinking about the end of the year reader’s favorite album poll tonight and making sure that I wasn’t missing anything, when thanks to the webbie thing, I discovered that there is this duo in England that seem to be on everybody’s list back (or is it ‘over’) there. Last year they received a Spiral Award (have no clue what that may be) for Best Duo, and they’re up for the same award this year (well…actually they call it the 2014 award…I don’t know why) from the BBC Folk Awards. I’ve heard of the BBC.

They are Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin. And the album they released this year is called Mynd.  So I Spotified it tonight and love it to death. They are damn good. He’s a slide guitarist and harmonica player and she is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Someone named Mike Harding, whom I don’t know, wrote (or maybe he said) “On hearing the first notes of the first track I knew that I was listening to a modern classic. One of the most exciting albums I’ve heard in years” And Martin Chilton of the Daily Telegraph wrote (I’m sure) “An imaginative and innovative album – songs that linger in the memory held together by the fine musicianship of Henry and Martin. Strong and original – an unusual treat.”

So with such a small world we live in, it’s astonishing to me that here in our midst we have a truly wonderfully produced and executed roots album from just five or six hours away by air, and most of us I’d venture to guess never heard of it. And probably won’t. Unless Rick Rubin produces the next one for Lost Highway or T-Bone puts them on his next Coen soundtrack. I don’t know.

I went to You Tube, and found that they have quite a few songs and visuals up. Some are well produced. And then there was this one. A lonely little cover song from James Taylor, with just a paltry 163 views. Miley Cyrus gets a 163,000 views in a nano-second. And this is far from their finest performance or best song (in fact, I don’t think its even recorded on their albums), but it says a lot. Listen and watch. This is music happening in some small club, on any night, at any time, in any corner of the world. And we miss it. In a blink of an eye, it’s over. But now, here in the 21st century, we have ways to capture and preserve. And we do. Which is pretty cool.

I heard it’s going to snow on Saturday.

When I originally published this piece at No Depression, I titled it: I Was The 164th Person To Watch This Video