The birth of a band? I sincerely hope so. They are Wheatley’s Arcadians: Martin Wheatley on all variety of guitars and other stringed instruments; Tom “Spats” Langham, guitar, vocal; Mike Piggott, violin; Louis Thomas, string bass. The excellent cinematography is by guitarist Dave Kelbie (of the Dime Notes and more). Here’s what I consider their “demo reel” — a montage, hinting at some of the things the Arcadians do so well:
and, just posted today, a complete performance of RUSSIAN LULLABY:
One I nearly missed — which is great fun — DON’T BE ASHAMED OF YOUR AGE:
Messrs. Wheatley, Langham, Piggott, and Thomas might not be (from my vantage point) the most aggressive promoters, preferring the joy of making music to the thrill of sending emails, but I hope fervently that festival promoters, concert bookers, clubowners, the BBC, PBS, NPR . . . . you name it — that people rush to engage this most engaging band. Arcadia, as you will remember, was seen as a utopia, a place of pleasure and peace, harmony and serenity. This quartet might not be the only soundtrack one could imagine, but it does summon up a world before the tyrannies of the smartphone.
And a side-note: slightly more than a year ago, Messrs. Wheatley and Langham went into the studio to record what might be their first duet CD, THE LAND OF MIGHT-HAVE-BEEN. It is one of the more touching recitals in my collection, and I have one copy shelved under W, another under L. Beautiful playing and singing, with repertoire that — although sometimes obscure — instantly becomes precious: MUSIC, MAESTRO, PLEASE; EVERY DAY AWAY FROM YOU; TOO LATE; MY IDEAL; THE FIRST WEEKEND IN JUNE; THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS; SAY WHEN; THE THRILL IS GONE; P.S., I LOVE YOU; YOU’RE DANCING ON MY HEART; THE LAND OF MIGHT-HAVE-BEEN; GOLDEN EARRINGS; HOW DEEP IS THE OCEAN. In the ideal world of the previous century, I might have been able to write, “You’ll find it wherever better records are sold,” but I fear that this is no longer the case. I am sure that Martin could be prevailed upon to offer a copy for sale if asked nicely here. Perhaps he and Mr. Langham could bring several copies — if there are any left? — to their gigs?
I greet these sweetly expert swing stars and hope for more Arcadian manifestations. We need beauty like this. Seriously.
May your happiness increase!