ufoHe’s back and this week Self Made Man rues a rather flawed self-imposed ban on buying new music…

…that only lasted as long as it took a slew of new classic rock heroes to kick him into gear.

Read our resident classic rocker right here exclusively every week. 


A couple of years ago, I said enough is enough. I was not going to continue actively seeking out new bands.

Why should I? My CD collection was well over the 1,000 mark and on my iTunes library, I had enough songs to listen to for almost 58 days solid.

Not just that but I was discovering music from years ago which I’d either never heard or had only declared a passing interest.

Indeed, in the past 18 months, I’ve started listening to and buying music by bands such as Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers and Robert Cray while expanding my collections of artists such as Yes, Allman Brothers and April Wine.

But just ten weeks into 2014 and I find myself listening to three bands I’d never even heard of in January 1 and I expect their albums to feature high up in my Top ten albums of the year.

Blackberry Smoke may not have reinvented the wheel but this Southern rock band write superlative songs.

The splendidly named The Whippoorwill is inspired by the sounds of Lynryd Skynyrd, Bob Seger, Black Crowes, even the Counting Crows and The Eagles and it’s a CD I’ve listened countless times since buying it just last month.

So too Augustines’ self-titled release which will appeal to classic rock and indie fans alike. Multi-layered and brilliantly produced, it reminds me of Gaslight Anthem’s American Slang while there is definitely a Springsteen influence running through the tracks.

My third discovery Blues Pills (and don’t make the mistake I did and google Blue Pills!!!) have not released their debut album yet but judging by the two EPs they’ve made, it’s destined to be a stormer.

The American/Swedish/French quartet are fast making a name for themselves with singer Elin Larsson’s piercing vocals the closest I’ve ever heard to a reincarnation of Janis Joplin.

Like The Temperance Movement, who were my band of 2013, Blues Pills have been cleverly marketed so that there is genuine anticipation amongst a growing fan base ahead of their first album.

While my music collection is steeped in seventies rock, these new bands have captured my attention in a way that artists such as Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Bad Company, UFO, Rush, Deep Purple, The Scorpions and Aerosmith never did.

For I was not in on any of those band at their inception. All of them were formed before I had a real interest in rock music and in most cases, I only found out about them when they were well established.

Even Dire Straits, whose first single Sultans of Swing came out at a time when I was just getting into my music, didn’t make an instant impact.

Neil Young was someone I only took a passing interest in too. The fact I don’t own one vinyl LP by him tells you I got into him relatively late.

Indeed, while I’ve probably got more Neil Young CDs than any other artist, I don’t think I bought my first one until the late-90s.

Like a lot of music fans, I fell in love with many bands retrospectively. At 30 with a young family around me, music played a limited part in my life. By 40, I was 21 and hooked all over again.

So while I’m still more Planet Rock than BBC Radio 6, my decision a couple of years ago not to discover new bands was seriously flawed.

I doubt any of the three I’ve discovered this year will ever replace Zeppelin, Floyd, Young or UFO in my affections but the thrill I had in connecting with them on first listen made me feel 21 all over again.

Ian Murtagh