Alex Cornish is a singer-songwriter from Dunbar. He has produced five home-made albums to date, with his latest being Hang On The Word, out on 14 August.
What is remarkable about these home recordings is how well they have been received – songs on the BBC Radio 2 playlist, repeat sessions for BBC Radio 2, BBC 6 Music and BBC Radio 1; songs have been used in Hollywood movies, in TV shows; “a beautiful album that has Mercury Music Prize nomination written all over it” said The Sunday Times; and of the latest single, the title track from the new album, “magical, exquisite, classical and crafted”, said BBC Radio Scotland’s Roddy Hart.
Paris Texas. I think this is where the band Travis got their name from, Travis being the main character. It’s the photography, the pace, the story and direction from Wim Wenders combined with the score by Ry Cooder, which makes this a classic for me. And it’s a part of America I would love to visit but haven’t been able to yet. When I was teaching myself guitar as a teenager I got myself a slide, listened to the score and learnt how to play the main theme tune. I still play it from time to time now and imagine myself walking through the desert.
I think the best pop single there’s been in the last few years is Somebody That I used to Know by Gotye. Three chords of pop genius. Quite a lot of the stuff these days has incredible production but not a very good song to prop it up. You could sing this song accompanied by a two stringed ukulele and it would still be untouchable.
There’s a lot to choose from but like a lot of singer songwriters it’s got to be Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks. I have been listening to this for years and it never gets old. Incidentally, there’s a good interview by Ian Rankin with him on the internet. I was trying to find a Van Morrison interview where he wasn’t being grumpy but Ian Rankin gets some great chat going.
I went to see Elvis Costello and the Imposters at the Barrowlands last year and it was faultless. A barrage of some of the best songwriting that there’s ever been and musicians at the absolute peak of their game. A privilege to watch.
Every book written by John Steinbeck. I read some Albert Camus short stories recently too, that a friend had lent to me, and I lost myself in those for a few days.
Alex Cornish, The Voodoo Rooms, West Register Street, Monday, 3 July, doors 7.30pm, £10, 0131 556 7060
For more about Alex Cornish, visit www.alexcornish.com