Arthur Hatton is a connoisseur of music and the founder of Linescratchers, a site that highlights LDS musicians who play music other than LDS-themed music. We’re pleased to have him as our guest for a special series of posts.
When I created Linescratchers, I began with a desperate hope that I wasn’t commencing on a long wild goose chase. After all, the idea that I could create a website featuring talented LDS musicians who don’t write LDS music was based wholly on two premises: 1) that they exist somewhere, and 2) they are easier to find than, at minimum, Bigfoot. The next two years of hard work have completely paid off. I’ve been tirelessly scouring the Internet for musicians who happen to be LDS, and I’ve been surprised to find out that LDS musicians are EVERYWHERE. They’re just not always open about their faith, so sometimes they’re
hard to pin down.
There are a few reasons for this. If I went into all of them, I would end up wasting lots of space here, but the short answer is, their record labels don’t take kindly to them yapping about religion all the time, and the Mormon community doesn’t seem incredibly interested in financially supporting music that emotionally challenges them. I could lament this last bit, too, but that’s not my intention in this series.
I’ve decided to write a series highlighting, one at a time, the Top 10 LDS musicians I’ve encountered all around the world. This isn’t meant to be all-inclusive of course, I might end up having more than just 10, and I make no claims to objectivity. These are just my all-time favorites. Each one is unique and special. I’m proud to say that these musicians would be in my playlist even if they weren’t LDS, and that’s the great thing about these people. So now, without further ado…
Just a few months after I created Linescratchers and started promoting it, I got an interesting email suggesting that I interview a British violinist, singer, and songwriter named Roxy Rawson. The email was adorned with lavish praise and, of course, written by Roxy’s mother. Now, my own mother thinks my music is really good, proving that sometimes familial ties overcome a person’s rationality and good sense, but lo and behold, when I did a Google search of Roxy’s music I was astonished beyond all measure.
Of course, when you ask her, Roxy gives credit where credit is due, but her music really is out-of-the-ordinary in very good ways. She has the most delightful bouncing, yipping vocal style, punctuated with unorthodox pizzicato violin strumming (a very talented violinist, she often eschews the use of her bow and prefers plucking the violin in front of her like a guitar). Her songs are each hand-crafted, with tiny flourishes and quirks to reward the careful listener. And her lyrics are curious word-paintings, with light-hearted references to culture and philosophy, the latter of which she has studied extensively.
I started to find my own way to express myself… rather than rendering homage to other peoples’ music… not that that is not a worthy pursuit in music, I think I was looking for my own way. That seemed more important at the time… I don’t think I would have started to write my music in the way it is now, unless I had started on some journey of shedding things I learnt before in my training…
– Roxy Rawson, interview with Linescratchers
I think yes, a lot of what I write is about escape from earthly things… or wrestling with earthly things and the non-sensicalness? Of life… Often things feel absurd to me…
In short, Roxy’s music is a breath of fresh air to anyone who grows weary of factory-made popular music nowadays. I admit, for this reason, her music is not for everyone. Still, Roxy has made enough of an impression to be signed to Ambiguous Records, an independent music label in London, and her uniqueness is attested to by the fact that on her Ambiguous profile page, the only “related artist” they came up with was… Roxy Rawson. Her EP, Changing Things, was released by this label in May of last year, and every track is singular and memorable, including “Riddle It” and “Philanthropy.” Here is a short TV performance.
Roxy has spent her life in England, and thus hasn’t spent much time touring the United States. She was able to play a couple shows in New York City last September, and pictures of that trip can be seen on her MySpace. Apparently her live shows are quite a treat. I expect quite a bit more out of Roxy. She’s really only scratched the surface of what appears to be quite a well of talent.
P.S. – Roxy’s mom is super smart and nice.