Billy Bragg campaign to lift prison ban successful

Billy-Bragg-2014

A campaign led by Billy Bragg has successfully seen prisoners in British jails be allowed to use steel stringed guitars.

Musicians such as Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien and Philip Selway, Elbow’s Guy Garvey, Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour and Johnny Marr also supported the campaign to overturn the ban.

Bragg, who founded the Jail Guitar Doors rehabilitation initiative said: “As an incentive to engage in rehabilitation individual access to steel strung guitars can really help the atmosphere on a prison wing. I’ve had a number of projects involving guitars on hold which now will be able to go ahead, and will allow those using music in prisons to get on with this important work.”

In a letter published in The Guardian earlier this year 12 musicians, whose number also included Richard Hawley, argued that “music has an important role to play in engaging prisoners in the process of rehabilitation” and that this was being undermined if inmates were not allowed to practice.

The campaign was also led by Cardiff West MP Kevin Brennan, who commented: “This is a victory for common sense and I’m pleased after months of campaigning the UK Government has listened. The power of music to help prisoners to rehabilitate is well documented. I started the campaign after prisoners wrote to me explaining how they had saved from their small prison wages to buy guitars and how therapeutic learning to play the guitar had been for them before the ban.”

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New Judas Priest LP ‘Redeemer Of Souls’ enters UK Top 20

Judas Priest 2014 Band Shot 640x360

British heavy metal legends Judas Priest have entered the official UK Top 20 with new album, Redeemer Of Souls.

Their 17th studio album currently sits at No.12 in the chart, their third best placing of their entire career. Only their 1980 classic album British Steel and it’s follow up Screaming For Vengeance have placed higher.

Speculation was rife that Priest might split up following departure of guitarist KK Downing in 2011, but speaking in interview on Nikki Sixx’s Sixx Sense radio show, frontman Rob Halford said Redeemer… wouldn’t be the band’s last LP: “No. Absolutely not,” he replied when asked.

He also revealed that Redeemer Of Souls’ title track is his current favourite, explaining: “It’s very precise, articulate song and it carries all the classic vibe of Judas Priest.”

You can listen to the title track from Redeemer Of Souls below:

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