This Music Made Me

This Music Made Me: Idlewild’s Roddy Woomble



Roddy Woomble, front man of Scottish indie survivors Idlewild, put out his third solo album Listen To Keep in 2013, since when he has been back with his bandmates working on new material.

The band’s latest long player, Everything Ever Written – a record described in our review as “more grown up, more reflective and more sincere than their previous work” – is their eighth album, and arrives some 20 years after the band formed.

Ahead of the release, and a launch event featuring an album playback and their own Scottish Fiction IPA beer, Woomble dug into his extensive record collection for his This Music Made Me – and revealed himself to be something of a jazzhead in the process…


R.E.M. - Murmur R.E.M. – Murmur

Along with the Smiths, R.E.M. are the band who got me listening properly to music and getting really into bands.

Up until that point I had mainly listened to metal, and mainly because that was what my peer group listened to. I got Murmur for my 13th Christmas: something clicked and everything changed.

It was literate, mysterious and full of strange & catchy songs. I still find it fascinating and play it on a regular basis.


Minor Threat - Out Of Step Minor Threat – Out Of Step

I bought this on tape in 1989 when I lived in Greenville, South Carolina – I was a pretty serious fan of US post hardcore/punk rock in my later teens.

What appealed to me about it was the attitude and the DIY nature of the movement – anyone could have shot, and it was much more about the exchange of ideas rather than ‘good’ musicianship.

Shortly after me getting into all this music Nirvana exploded and the Underground US rock scene went into the mainstream. An exciting time to be a teenager for sure.


Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Ragged GloryNeil Young And Crazy Horse – Ragged Glory

My favourite Neil album, partly because it was the first one I heard and I bought it the week it came out.

Neil was known as the ‘godfather of grunge’ at this point (1991) and lots of 14/15 years olds like myself were discovering him through this album. It is packed with totally simple yet totally rocking tunes.

Crazy Horse are the worlds greatest rock band. It is the classic case of limitation = freedom.


dEUS - Worst Case Scenario dEUS – Worst Case Scenario

dEUS were my favourite band for a number of years.

They combined all the things I loved about indie-rock, but also had an experimental & jazzy edge combined with a good bit of sophisticated European mystery. Their first three albums I’d consider classics of their genre.

I saw them live at the Edinburgh venue in 1994 and it blew my mind. It is the only gig I have ever stage dived at.


Patti Smith - Horses Patti Smith – Horses

Around 19/20 I started to discover all the records that came out of New York in the late ’70s – television, talking heads, Ramones – but for me, Horses blew them all away.

It sounded so simple & basic and yet poetic, illuminating and unlike anything I’d heard. I have seen Patti Smith live more than any other performer.

I remain a pretty huge fan.


The Band - Music From The Big Pink The Band – Music From The Big Pink

One of the most listened to records in my collection.

I consider the band to be an ultimate group of sorts – in terms of musicianship, attitude, charisma, performance & songwriting. It’s hard to think of anyone who does it better.

Some albums feel like they are going to be with you for life, and the moment I heard this when I was about 23 I knew this was one of them.


Wilco - A Ghost Is Born Wilco – A Ghost Is Born

This came out in 2004 as Idlewild were in California recording our album Warnings/Promises.

I remember buying it the day it came out and listening to it on repeat in the car as we drove around LA. I have been a Wilco fan right from the start and loved Uncle Tupelo before that. Their constantly evolving sound over the years has been an inspiration.

It remains my favourite Wilco record as it balances their experimental side so well with Jeff Tweedy’s wonderful songwriting.


Grateful Dead - Live From Europe '72 Grateful Dead – Europe ’72

Another 2004 Californian purchase/discovery.

I’d heard of the Dead and knew a few songs, but that summer I bought a lot of the live albums. Up to that point I didn’t know much about them other than they were fond of guitar solos and LSD.

It was a real revelation finding them to be such rootsy, groovy rock band with incredibly inventive, jazzy solo-ing, great singing, songwriting and harmony work. Still a summertime favourite.


Chet Baker - Sings Chet Baker – Chet Baker Sings

Over the years I have become quite a jazz fan, particularly of the jazz vocalists.

I suppose I listen to jazz more than anything else nowadays. Don Cherry and John Coltrane are some other favourites. Chet baker has such a wonderful voice, delivery and style I could listen to him everyday.

I have a great album Chet Baker And Strings which is also played often in this house.


Vetiver - Tight Knit Vetiver – Tight Knit

I wanted to include a new release – even though this album is seven years old.

The band are bringing a new LP out next month, which I am excited about, and it’s sure to become a favourite. One of America’s great understated songwriters – Andy Cabic’s style is very west coast, very reflective, and the band have a meandering and mellow sound. Their albums just get better and better the longer you listen.

Tight Knit came out just when my son was born and as we all moved from the city to the Scottish islands. So it’s a record that has soundtracked a lot of positive change in my life.


Idlewild’s album Everything Ever Written is out through Empty Words on 16 February 2015; a review follows.

To mark the launch, the band are having a party on Friday 6 February in Summerhall (Edinburgh) featuring an exclusive playback of Everything Ever Written, their own beer called Scottish Fiction IPA (with a download code for an acoustic recording of A Film For The Future and a DJ set from the band.

Full tour dates and further information can be found here.

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More on Idlewild
Idlewild @ Roundhouse, London
Idlewild – Everything Ever Written
This Music Made Me: Idlewild’s Roddy Woomble
Idlewild – Post-Electric Blues
Idlewild – Make Another World