Away from the charts - of course - as it comes to an end, there's little doubt that 2011 has been a great year for music in a creative sense. The reasons for this are complex, but looking at things simplistically, as a profession bar a handful of globally polished mannequins, the role of musician is no longer one at which it's easy to make a living. Paydays are scarce and sporadic: ten thousand i-Tunes downloads this month? That'll have earned you about enough to splash out on a Sausage & Bean pasty from Greggs. And that's before your label have recouped their recording costs.
Continue reading: Orienteers, Orienteers Album Review
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.