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BBC Four hails singer-songwriters

BBC Four hails singer-songwriters

The series of programmes, which starts on Friday October 1, will feature some of the world's best known pop and rock singer-songwriters, including Richard Thompson, Suzanne Vega, Lyle Lovett, Joe Ely, Chris Difford, Elton John and Cat Stevens.

The channel's celebration will include Singer-Songwriters At The BBC, alongside classic BBC In Concert shows and recent concert acquisitions such as James Taylor and Carole King at The Troubadour.

BBC Four controller Richard Klein says, "BBC Four is the home of contemporary music and to have some of the best singer-songwriters playing for us in specially created concerts is a real delight."

In the new series Songwriters' Circle, artists will perform their classic songs in turn, while helping each other out musically with harmonies and the odd guitar part. The four shows are filmed live in a small London concert venue, with the artists only meeting an hour or two before going onstage. In between performances, the artists will take the viewer inside their work, chatting about their songs, their history and background.

Richard Thompson, Suzanne Vega and Loudon Wainwright kick off the series, swapping songs at West London's Bush Hall, including signature tunes like Thompson's Vincent Black Lightning, Vega's Luka and Wainwright's The Swimming Song.

Future shows in the new series feature Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt and Joe Ely, as well as Chris Difford, Justin Currie and Boo Hewerdine.

Singer-Songwriters At the BBC will transmit alongside Songwriters' Circle on Friday evenings throughout the month. The four, hour-long episodes explore a rich vein of BBC archive singer-songwriter performances, across shows like The Old Grey Whistle Test, Top Of The Pops, In Concert and guest appearances on shows hosted by the likes of Twiggy and Shirley Bassey.

Artists featured include Elton John, Neil Diamond, James Taylor, Carole King, Cat Stevens and Billy Joel, alongside lesser-known but cult artists from the US - Tim Hardin, Judee Sill, Harry Nilsson and Jesse Winchester amongst many - and from the UK - Roy Harper, Al Stewart, Michael Chapman and Bridget St. John.

BBC Four will accompany these two series by airing classic In Concert performances from the early Seventies, featuring James Taylor, Carole King, Neil Young, and Cat Stevens, as well as recent concerts by the likes of James Taylor, Carole King and Leonard Cohen.

BBC Music Entertainment creative head Mark Cooper says, "The singer-songwriter genre really took off at the dawn of the Seventies, as a new breed of confessional singer-songwriters emerged with a gift for translating their own individual experience into poetic songs that touched their own generation and have endured remarkably well.

"In classic Broadway and Tin Pan Alley writing, the aim was to write popular songs that might be true to personal feeling but whose job was to touch a nation and whose emotion was controlled by form. The singer-songwriters of the early Seventies were more concerned with doing justice to what they felt personally, their own truth was what motivated them. Perversely, the truer they were to their own experience and impressions, the more universal their songs often became."

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