Wessex FM’s Maria Greenwood on the ever-changing ways of the music industry

Maria's band of the month - The Victorian Barbers

Maria's band of the month - The Victorian Barbers - Credit: Archant

A recent discovery during a spring clean brings back fond memories of being in a band, but would the original cassette tape of tunes impress a music mogul like Simon Cowell?

The joys of spring cleaning! When you don’t just clean the bits that people see, but you take a deep breath and decide to finally sort out “that” drawer. You know the one I mean. Every house has one. As I start to sort through mine, amongst the old party poppers, Christmas napkins from two years ago and odd light bulbs, I find an old photograph album.

These days I rarely print photos anymore. I used to love the excitement of taking a film to the chemist to be developed. And then the slight disappointment you felt when your pictures didn’t quite come out the way you hoped they would. Looking through the album, I find a picture of me in my first ever band, taken outside the art block of what used to be Hardyes School in Dorchester. (It’s now been turned into houses.) We must have been around 15 at the time the picture was taken. I was the singer and the band was my world. And we didn’t just rehearse in a garage. We did proper gigs, in leisure centres and church halls. (We were too young for pubs.) Lost in a fuzzy haze of nostalgia I’m suddenly brought back to the present day with a jolt when I realise, that was more than 20 years ago. So what happened? Why did we never make it? And why am I not writing this from my apartment in Sandbanks?

I guess it depends what you mean by making it. All of us still play music. We all still play in bands. We might not have hit records under our belts or stadium tours, although two of my former band mates have done particularly well. I think the bass player played on Top of the Pops with one of the Spice Girls. When I say played I think he actually mimed, but that was the show. The keyboard player has done gigs with Eddie Floyd and Geno Washington (there are a few stories there I would love to share with you, but sadly can’t.)

With TV shows like X Factor and The Voice we’re lead to believe there’s a quick route to making it in the music industry that just involves getting three yeses. Tell that to Steve Brookstein. Don’t know who he is? Exactly. But One Direction, who never actually won the show, seems to be taking over the world. One of their band members was recently quoted as saying they’re more famous than The Beatles. I just wonder whether we’ll be singing their songs in 50 years time.

Over the last decade the music industry has changed enormously, and I think that’s largely due to the internet. All the local bands I interview on the show now have their own websites and are producing their own albums which they’re able to release online in the hope that the right person somewhere will be listening.

Having another rummage through the drawer I find an old cassette with the name of my first band on it. I wonder what the likes of Simon Cowell would have thought of the songs we were writing. Well, there’s only one way to find out. All I need now is a tape player.

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Maria’s Band of the Month - The Victorian Barbers

Take a step back in time with this dapper duo that combines the gentlemanly musical talents of local singer songwriter Tom Caulfield (previously a guest on my show Unplugged) and drummer and percussionist Dave Hackett. The pairing explores a fusion of skiffle, bluegrass, folk, blues, and country music and what Tom describes as ‘old timey’ tunes too. Their instruments of choice include Tom on banjo and slide guitar, elegantly accompanied by Dave who’s recently taken up playing the spoons. The highly entertaining bearded Barbers also come dressed to impress. You can see them at The Waistcoat Festival in Sixpenny Handley on 17th May and at Wessex Folk Festival in Weymouth on 31st May. You can also follow them on Facebook facebook.com/TheVictorianBarbers.