Interview: Roots Acoustic

Broadcasting online and with nights in eight venues across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Roots Acoustic, run by Chris Barlow, is supporting singer-songerwriters at a grassroots level.

We caught up with Chris for a quick Q&A about how it all got started.

How did Roots Acoustic get started? Did the station or the events come first?

“My sister used to run a pub which was pretty dead on a Tuesday so I suggested to her to maybe start a quiz or open mic night. She didn’t really have the time to do it herself so I agreed to help out.

“Our first night was unplugged with a few locals coming, then the following week we had a PA and the fantastic David Lacey arrived, which was a turning point for me. I was amazed by the talant that was right on the doorstep. I was blown away.

“We started the radio station a year after we began the acoustic evenings.”

Why did you particularly want to support acoustic acts?

“We’re not totally acoustic. In my mind acoustic means to me no backing tracks but as long as musicians are actually playing their instruments that’s what it’s all about.”

How many listeners does the radio show have?

“We have a app on iPhone, Android and Blackberry and we have had about 400 downloads so far. We are getting about 900 unique IP hits a month. There is always someone listening in!

“We are in the early stages for the station and hope to build on this more soon.”

What do you think is special about grassroots music in the current ‘X Factor’ type climate?

“It’s just the rawness of it. You can get to know the singers and I’ve made so many really good friends. We have had nearly 300 individual acts over the last two years. We are so lucky to have them.”

Is there a community of support which grows out of the events and station? Artists collaborating or helping each other out?

“Definitely roots is becoming a community in itself. We all help each other out, friendships have been formed and even relationships founded.”

Are you a musician too? What is your own story with music? How did you first start promoting bands?

I don’t do anything musically and wasn’t really bothered by it much until I started all this. This was my entry to love music.

“I couldn’t tell you what the latest number one is or what mainstream bands are doing but I could probably tell you everything about our local musicians and theirs songs.

“I hope that everyone can appreciate the sheer talant that’s right on our doorstep.”

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