Craig F photo by Zen Lael

“SONG FOR EWE” is the feature where artists & music people beloved by VELVET SHEEP choose an obscure song they’ve been listening to that day. Today’s guest is from a band I loved from back in the days of the original zine who have announced today that they are re-forming, yay!

God Is My Co-Pilot starred in four Peel sessions and were the doyens of many riot grrrl era zines I used to pick up from Rough Trade. When I lived in the ‘burbs, I’d often hop up to town on a school night to catch a gig at the Highbury Garage and then run like the wind to get the last train home and it was on one of these forays that I made it to see GodCo play a blistering set (circa 94). They must have played forty or fifty mostly sub minute songs in an hour, it was a sparky onslaught of Contortions style jazz punk mixed with the Her Jazz sass of Huggy Bear who were just starting out and who they must have inadvertently influenced. So enthused by their show and the spectacle of a stage packed with bile, sass and sardonic self awareness, I used my next trip into town to pick up the next best thing to the live show which was a (CD sorry) copy of the anatomically titled, surgically covered “Tight Like Fist: Live At The Knitting Factory” from Tower Records. When I got it home and stuck it on, it inexplicably had just Spanish language songs on it which didn’t quite correspond to how I remembered the gig. But given that they were prolific of output and experimental of style I considered anything was possible. Specifically though from the Garage show I loved the song “4 Steps Down The Road To Trouble” and that definitely wasn’t on there despite the track-listing so I dutifully returned to exchange it for the proper CD. In any case, I was hooked on God Is My Co-Pilot, so it was a pleasure to find Sharon Topper had mutual friends on social media. She pointed me towards fellow singer Craig Flanagin who agreed to choose a “song for ewe” and also had very nice things to say about Velvet Sheep. A bit of time passed, although I’m very glad it has since not only was the wait worth it for Craig’s choice, it also transpires that God Is My Co-Pilot is back, and heading this way soon. Sharon is no longer part of the fray but has given her blessing to new vocalist Normandy R Sherwood, while the GodCo originals Craig F and Jason Blackkat are also being supplemented by some “crackerjack new members” including drummer/composer Kate Gentile and drummer Kevin Shea whose chance dinner encounter with Craig helped persuade him to put the old band back together and get out there!

It was an awesome decision and I’m very excited, not least because Craig is right here on these pages with some exclusive chat and his great “song for ewe” choice(s). Welcome (back) to Velvet Sheep, Craig Flanagin!

He’s sent some great photos from last week’s show in NYC, but first let me indulge you with one of the God Is My Co-Pilot Peel sessions…

Here’s a great pic of part of the new line up in action!

God Is My Co-Pilot 2018 edition: Normandy Sherwood on vocals, Kevin Shea & Kate Gentile on drums. Photo by Michael Jung

But enough chat from me, over to my correspondence with Craig…

“Hey Nick —

I like the “Song For Ewe” feature, and was delighted to be asked to contribute ; but I’ve been a little bit stalled on it for some time now, because my music listening is sporadic, and pretty much outside of the kind of thing most people seem to be contributing. I didn’t want to come across as flippant, or as some wilfully obscure type, so I kept putting it off.

That said, your email had sat in my “draft replies” folder for a little minute, so today I decided to just fess up: it’s been a few years since I listened to anything other than east european music (various folk, a lot of tanchaz, and my secret weakness, chalga!) — so allow me share with you my biggest recent enthusiasm: the Sonidus youtube channel !

Let me mention also that God Is My Co-Pilot has re-booted, and has been playing in NY lately, with the ambition of returning to the UK — possibly as soon as this March if we can sort it out (Nick: this is happening, see tour dates at the bottom of the piece) — So we are available for tours, interviews, recording dates, and social dancing at any opportunity.

Thanks for waiting on this, hope you like it,

Craig F”

God Is My Co-Pilot photo by Michael Jung

and without further ado, here’s Craig’s “song for ewe”…

“Hello Velvet Sheep readers ~

Every week I have a new favorite song, and for the last few years they’ve all come from the “Sonidus” youtube channel: 


Sonidus is an amazing resource of Hungarian music of every type — but not filtered through a concert-music/ folk festival lens like most of what is presented as “folk” — rather, it’s performed by non-professional country players, so all its glorious idiosyncracy comes to us intact ~

There are too many wonderful things there to give any kind of a survey, so I’ll just share my current favorite: “409 Stejaru Goat dance. Kecskés tánc” must be seen & heard to be believed! The video is a classic, with a bounty of pumpkins, and nagymama wandering around the farmyard (what is she kicking around 0:31?) — the performance is informal & blazing ; the fiddler’s intonation is better than perfect, and when the musicolgist accompanist joins in, the beat hovers between a heavy swing and an odd number until he catches on, and then drops into a driving 7/8.

Wait, I know I said I’d just recommend one, but I’ve changed my mind:

You have to check out “729 Ördöngősfüzesi csárdás dallamok és ének” too. Everything about this is perfect — at the top, the singer reminds the band how the tune goes, the country setting is beautiful, the strings are in the old style, with the fluid fiddle, the short bow on the double bass (which may have just 3 strings? I can’t tell — often they do) & most important, the droning viola with the flat bridge, which is called the kontra.

see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kontra

All in all, gorgeous! Note that the same combo appears without a singer in #730. Oops that’s three songs.

(Here I should mention for those interested that Sonidus has been a major inspiration not only for Nem Alszunk, the instrumental combo I play with, but also in the new songs of God Is My Co-Pilot, who’ve always lived in that place of odd numbers and alternate tunings, and are happy to find it so populated.)

Thank you for your attention; enjoy!”


God Is My Co-Pilot 2018 edition continued: Hajnal Pivnick on violin, Jason Blackkat bass. Photo by Michael Jung

here’s those tour-dates, please note there’s a couple of gaps, so if you’re a promoter than enjoys a bit of punk spirit and social dancing, get to it…

we’ll make quick work of this soft urge
Tour: United Kingdom : March 2018


thursday mar 08 LEITH DEPOT – LEITH
saturday mar 10 TBC
sunday mar 11 WHARF CHAMBERS – LEEDS
monday mar 12 PILGRIM’S PIT – STOKE
tuesday mar 13 JT SOARS – NOTTINGHAM
wednesday mar 14 ~ make us an offer ~
thursday mar 15 MANCHESTER
friday mar 16 TBC
saturday mar 17 CAFE OTO – LONDON