Friday, 2 October 2015

Germany Headline Tour

Dear Germany (and Solothurn, CH),

I'll be with you in December!

I'm really pleased to announce this run of headline solo shows where I'll be performing songs from my latest album, 'The Toerag Sessions', as well as throwing a couple of new ones into the mix.
I'm also really excited to have some special guests opening the shows. They are The Dead Lovers, John Allen and Rob Moir...

Hope you can make it along to one of the shows...

Tues 8th Dec - Desi, Nürnberg
Weds 9th Dec - Goldmark's, Stuttgart
Thurs 10th Dec - Altes Spital, Solothurn (CH)
Fri 11th Dec - Theater Blauer Hirsch, Saarbrucken (w/ John Allen)
Sat 12th Dec - Pop Bar, Haldern (w/ John Allen)
Sun 13th Dec - Dreikoenigskeller, Frankfurt
Mon 14th Dec - Studio 672, Köln
Tues 15th Dec - Fabrik, Hamburg (w/ The Dead Lovers)
Weds 16th Dec - Privat Club, Berlin (w/ The Dead Lovers)
Thurs 17th Dec - Beatpol, Dresden (w/ The Dead Lovers)
Sat 19th Dec - Milla, München (w/ The Dead Lovers)

See you out there!

Best wishes,

Applewood Road: from Nashville to London

Hello there,

I've just got back from an incredible trip to Nashville where I did three shows with my new project, Applewood Road, for Americana Music Association Festival. It was so great to get the band on stage for the first time - previously we've only played together in the studio when we made the album back in March! And next week we'll be switching up locations and the girls, Amy Speace and Amber Rubarth, will be coming to the UK for a couple of shows and some promotional activities.
You can catch us here...

Weds 7th October @ The Prince Albert, Stroud (8pm)
Saturday 10th October @ Union Chapel, London (12 - 2pm)

Or tune in to BBC Radio 2 on Saturday afternoon to hear us live in session with Dermot O'Leary (we'll be on after 5pm).

Hope you can make it along!
Best wishes,

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

A couple of years ago I was asked to write a song based on Susanna Clarke's award-winning novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. The BBC had commissioned a TV adaptation of the story, and a friend who was connected to the production team suggested that if I wrote a song, they would pitch it to the director and producer for use as the theme.

So the following day I wandered down the valley to my local bookshop in Stroud, where I found the book on the ‘recommended’ fiction shelves at the back of the store. My initial thought was “you’ve got to be kidding”, as my hand struggled to fit around the spine and take it off the shelf for closer inspection. Being over 1000 pages long and printed in one of the smallest fonts I’d ever struggled to see, I have to say I was initially quite reluctant to commit myself to such an undertaking. But I bit the bullet and bought the book...

…and very quickly my life was entirely taken over by the story of the two magicians, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. With such superb story-telling and evocative imagery, there was no shortage of inspiration for a song.

Shortly after finishing the book, I sat down at my piano. After some time, a chord progression emerged, along with a melody; then came the lyrics; then came the ideas for the arrangement. I recorded the sound of different bells in my house and around town (this will make sense if you have been watching the series or have read the book); I asked my friend Misha Law (Truffleshack, Other Mother) to lend her violin skills; Dom Coyote provided backing vocals; and… voilà, my demo of ‘Beneath the Skin of England’ was complete. I sent it off and crossed my fingers...

…but perhaps I should have tried a spell instead. As is often the way with ideas we throw out there, it didn’t end up being used. The score had already been written and, sadly, there was no room for my song.

But when the series was shown on the BBC some eighteen months later, it reminded me of the song and I thought now would be a good time to share it...

Friday, 1 May 2015

Germany here I come!

Hello everyone,

After a week-long writing retreat in South Devon (pictured above) where I've been working on songs for the next album, I'm now heading over to Germany to play some shows in record shops and hifi stores!

Come and catch me at one of these May shows...

Tues 5th @ 25 Music, Hannover 5pm (free)
Weds 6th @ Zardoz Schallplatten, Hamburg 5pm (free)
Weds 6th @ Audiophonie, Hamburg 7pm (reservations only)
Thurs 7th @ Dodo Beach, Berlin 5pm (free)
Thurs 7th @ Boxengross, Berlin 7pm (reservations only)
Fri 8th @ Analogue, Bonn 7pm (reservations only)
Sat 9th @ No. 1 Guitar Shop, Hamburg 3pm (free)
Sat 9th @ Downtown Blues Club, Hamburg 8pm
Tues 12th @ Hifi-Studio Achterholt, Bremen 7pm (reservations only)
Fri 15th @ Strandgutfischer, Hamburg 8pm (free)

Best wishes,