Andrew Bird, Guy Garvey, and the thrill of hearing your name on the radio

When I was in my teens I listened to a lot of radio. I was forever entering competitions, responding to questions and generally doing anything I could to be “on” the radio. I loved hearing my name called out for whatever reason, and did end up speaking – or even singing – on air now and then. You’d think 25 years later, and having worked in radio professionally for a few years, the novelty would be gone. It seems not.

Guy Garvey, who is the lead singer of Elbow, comes across on the radio as a very lovely man. He presents a two-hour show every Sunday on the excellent BBC 6 Music. Titled Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour, it’s right up my musical alley, with a typical show taking in familiar (to me) music from the likes of Tom Waits, Neil Finn, Rufus Wainwright and Laura Veirs, and introducing me to an eclectic list of others that often end up becoming favourites. I try to listen to the show every week, which is possible thanks to BBC’s excellent iPlayer.

A few weeks back he said he was planning an episode that would focus on the use of loops in music and asking his listeners to suggest tracks he should include. (He doesn’t do requests – rather he calls the recommendations he solicits “songs for Guy”. See what he did there?) I happened to be at a computer at the time and quickly rattled off an email about…well, why not listen for yourself

I can tell you, I was as thrilled as the 13 year old me would have been to hear him read my submission out on the air. And it’s nice when someone you respect seems to respect and agree with your opinion.

In the email I actually recommended that, although Why? was an amazing song to see performed live, for the radio show it might be better to play one of Andrew Bird’s other songs. But he went with a couple of minutes of a live version of Why? anyway, not dissimilar to this version. Watch it for a little while and be amazed at how he builds it up and holds it all together:

If you find that a bit intense or just not quite catchy enough, try something else…like this:

If you’d like to hear more I suggest you start with his album The Mysterious Production of Eggs; and even if you don’t I strongly recommend that you make time to listen to Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour.