Keeping fit has never seemed so Orwellian but Roddy Woomble has the stomach for it.

I It feels like we've going through some sort of food revolution at the moment. or maybe it's just because I’ve started to notice it a bit more now that I've started taking an interest in growing vegetables and reading books about soil types. Still, queuing up last week to get into the organic food fair in Glasgow's Fruitmarket was a surprise. I love markets. and fairs and anything with stalls and handmade things so much more interesting than big shops. Also, I‘ve become quite a fan of asking the seller about their product. You‘d be surprised what you can learn, about red wine, coffee beans, pumpkin seeds, ale and pork sausages if you ask. People seemed happy there too, maybe it’s a result of an organic, healthy lifestyle. or maybe it's because the fact that so many people showed up to a food fair. that the tides are slowly turning. I hope so.

We been trying my hand at getting fit recently too. Much to the amusement of those around me I've joined a gym and have been swimming and going on the fake rowing boat machine. It's a different environment for me, that's for sure. Seems nice enough, although I feel a bit like a rag doll compared to the tight lycra, muscle shirts of my fellow fitness fanatics. Rowing backwards and forwards and getting nowhere, in a line with a lot of other people rowing backwards and forwards (and going nowhere) has a certain Orwellian quality that I'm actually getting into. All this, and I now have much more energy. Bonus!

ll Roddy Woomb/e plays the Queen's Hall, Edinburgh, Fri 8 Dec.

84 THE LIST Hi 30 New 2006

()OUNIHY Bl UELS KELLY JOE PHELPS A802, Glasgow, Thu 30 Nov

Whether they like it or not, any musician will admit that reinvention is the mother of longevity. Tempting as it can be to plough on head down when an idea sticks, as the best will testify - not least Dylan and Springsteen - it pays to step back and freshen things up from time to time.

This process is one that American singer/songwriter/guitar man extraordinaire Kelly Joe Phelps is going through again, so openly in fact that his sixth and latest studio album is titled Tunesmith Retrofit. “It’s a reference, as a musician or songwriter, to taking the structure which is relatively sound - but figuring out what it could use or benefit from,’ he says down the phone from his Portland Oregon home. ‘It might make it last longer, or able to withstand more abuse or something.’

Heavily inspired by jazz in his early days, Phelps was initially recognised in his youth as a guitarist, being possessed of a uniquely idiosyncratic and emotional

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In his current modification, Phelps says he’s more concerned with stripping back and making the songs themselves more the heart of his craft. ‘lt’s something that’s been going on over the last number of years,’ he says. ‘Kind of retrospectively looking at my songwriting and playing, and continuing to try and understand simplicity and subtlety - what’s necessary and what isn’t.’

As roots orientated music enjoys a popular resurgence care of The White Stripes, Ryan Adams et al’s lead, how much has this influenced his ‘retrofit’? ‘I don’t pay much attention to newer stuff which goes on around me,’ he replies. ‘But I am conscious of that happening, and that makes me happy. There are new bands round here in Portland that are just killing old time music - playing it with so much zest. But I still spend a lot of time with old folk music and stuff. That’s a lifelong study. Or, at least, I’ve made it one.’ (Malcolm Jack)

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