For 15 years I've been a huge fan of the Scottish indie rock band, Idlewild. I especially like the lead singer's voice, and even more what he communicates through his lyrics. In addition to being a musical artist, Roddy Woomble is an avid hill walker, literary aficionado, foodie, and arts and culture lover. And not only does he sing rock music, he also creates folky, singer/songwriter kind of music with another band. Back in 2013, I had the chance to catch a couple of Roddy's folk gigs on the Scottish isles of Mull and Iona. This gave me the chance to chat with Roddy and get to know him a little on a personal level. Interestingly, I shared a plane ride back to Ireland with the former Idlewild bassist and occasional Roddy collaborator, Gavin Fox, who only lived a few miles from my old home in Dublin. Gavin joined me and some friends for a card game at my place one Saturday evening and arranged for me and some others to catch one of his new band's gigs at the famous Dublin venue, Whelan's. I stayed in touch with Gavin after that, and though I wouldn't describe our relationship as a friendship, he is a friendly acquaintance.
One of the things I like about Roddy's lyrics are that he takes on a prophetic role, by observing and commenting on society from the margins. There's much in our modern world to love, but there's also much to question. The lyrics from Roddy's song, The Last One of my Kind especially resonate.
No you don’t read books,
You just use them to block out the view.
But we don’t own ourselves
If our wishes don’t come true.
So you write like you can,
To show that you don’t need to.
Cause don’t expect to read this like ordinary news.
And did the life run out of money,
Or did the money run out of life?
You know knowledge can be bought
With the change left over
From the books you didn’t buy…
And in an election year, I love Roddy's words from the Idlewild tune, Nothing I Can Do About It.
You can make sure the bookshelves are alphabetical, poetical, not political...and there's nothing that I can do about it...