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Voices From The Cones (short radio edit)

from Voices From The Cones by Dan Whitehouse and John Edgar

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about

Voices From The Cones

Stourbridge glass was built on immigration by Huguenots (French Protestants) fleeing persecution from Catholics in their native France. The area provided all the perfect raw materials (sandstone, limestone, coal and clay) for glassmaking in abundance.

Several centuries later interviewee Brian Mason said “It’s sad to think that when they switched off the furnaces at Doulton it was the end of four centuries of glassmaking on the site. But we’ve kept it going in a small way, with the college and the studio workshops, there is still glass being made in Stourbridge.”

One of the most revealing in person interviews John Edgar and I did was with the site’s ‘last apprentice’ Malcolm Andrews. He spoke in a graceful, romantic tone and expressed pride at how he was introduced to the glassworks at just 2 years old, with many generations of his family having worked in the industry. The powerful words Malcolm used to describe his experiences were a creative catalyst for me, he talked of the ‘beehive of activity’ being ‘awe-inspiring’ and how he ‘never wanted to do anything else’. He felt glass making was his ‘calling’ and I could relate to this immediately - having felt the same way about my own craft of music making, after seeing Chuck Berry perform when I was a 10 year old child and then starting professional session musician work in Naomi’s touring band, aged 17, I’ve never looked back and neither has he, I loved this perspective of our parallel paths as artists and this helped me to begin writing the songs.

The opening lyric discusses the many employment opportunities there were within the Stourbridge area – voices within the oral histories archive spoke of the many trades you could choose from such as metal work, brick work, as well as glass. The second verse is taken almost word for word from interviews from the archive, detailing the precise glass engraving process and incredible teamwork involved in the production line.

lyrics

VOICES FROM THE CONES

In the fields of opportunity
You could choose your trade
Glass cutting was the one for me
Working as a team all day

A rougher and two smoothers
An apprentice alongside
A rougher and two smoothers
Learn the ropes, take your time

400 years on this land
And we haven’t finished yet
Voices from the cones
We never, never will forget

Words now etched in time
Memories, of sitting on the peddle riding up and down
As my father worked the lathe
My calling I had found

Practicing engraving
On jam jars and milk bottles
Started out 'tekin' in
And weighing items made

Let it pass through
29 pairs of hands
Let it pass

credits

from Voices From The Cones, released September 30, 2022
Voice: Kim Lowings & Dan Whitehouse
Guitar: Lukas Drinkwater
Harmonica: John Edgar
Pedal Steel & Synth: Gustaf Ljunggren

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Dan Whitehouse Birmingham

“Subtle and delicate melodies” The Sunday Times

“Nothing short of beautiful – **** ” RnR Magazine

Singer-guitarist Dan Whitehouse renews, reinvents and reimagines - touching listeners with his observations and moving them with his sensitivity and impeccable songwriting.
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