Billy Bragg

Grace and No Favour

For those who don’t know, and far few do, Grace Petrie is solo artist with agift, not seen since Billy Bragg’s formative years to write anti –Tory protest songs and love songs with wit, charm and often, heart-breaking emotion.

Petrie, hailing from Leicester, is four albums in to her career now, and whilst she has a small band of loyal fans, we are certain this should be more. So, in 2017, could Grace Petrie ever be played on daytime Radio 1? It would appear not, so, why not?

Can it be that her blend of punk, folk and pop music is not what they are looking for? Well, loathed as we are to mention Ed Sheeran, he ticks two of those boxes. As for punk, their daytime playlist currently hosts Foo Fighters, Enter Shakiri, 30STM, and Royal Blood so it’s not that.

Maybe it’s her song ‘Ivy’, a loving tale of friendship and kindness as she sets off to meet the new born protagonist. The sense of hope and the swelling of love as Petrie and her friend drive all night from Glastonbury is so unifying, so ready made to tug on heart strings for the millions of us who have been in similar situations. Does it matter, should it matter that she came from left wing Left Field stage? The press love a media spat so, when she decrees “who gives a fuck about Kasabian”, isn’t this just another tick in the box for airplay?

If that wasn’t enough, there are name drops for Billy Bragg and Phil Jupitus and an ode to Dolly Parton’s ‘9 to 5’ in the closing moments.

Our main suspicion lies with her left leaning politics. Perhaps R1 are concerned with balance? Something I’m sure they agonised over when play listing Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ or every time Eminem’s peroxide French crop comes to town. If it is acceptable for Thicke to sing “I tried to domesticate you” and “Me fall from plastic / Talk about getting blasted” then surely it’s fine for Petrie to objectively sing about Edward Woollard throwing a fire extinguisher of the roof of Tory HQ in 2011:

“Well how quickly thrown, Was all your judges stone / Oh how quickly the obliteration of your reputation / So detested so deplored so unyieldingly appalled /  By elected officials who, had recently committed fraud”

Maybe the beeb enjoy being systematically dismantled by the privateering party but, if they don’t, may we suggest playing some tunes that might provide the ballast against a predominantly right wing press.

Hell, Coldplay are first name on the team sheet for R1. Where do they think they stand on immigration, gay rights, the EU and austerity? They’re not exactly skipping through fields of wheat despite how boring they are.

Yes music is subjective, so maybe they just don’t like her. However, it stinks of something more than that. It took Frank Turner, a straight white middle class male, selling out Wembley Arena in 2012 for R1 to pay attention his blend of folk and punk. Is this answer for Petrie, and anyone else who has an image and sound beyond grasp of Simon Cowell?