Tis The Season

A day off in Berlin, one of the greatest, most vibrant cities of the continent, and I’m holed up in a hotel room in my pants drinking tea and watching German TV. I guess we’ve been out on the road for a long while now, huh. The whole Christmas thing is looming again with predictable regularity (bah Humbug etc.), but there’s some good news to impart here and there, so let’s begin.

First off all, I’m over-the-moon happy to announce that the mighty Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip will be joining me and Billy Bragg at the Wembley show in April 2012. They’re a truly amazing pair of musicians, and it’ll be great to have them up on stage with us. There are a few more people to announce for the bill, but we’re still finalizing the details, so I’ll get those names to you as soon as I can.

Secondly, we’ve added a whole bunch more shows to the Spring tour of the USA. As well as extra shows in Ventura and Pomona (with Social D) and Boston (with the Dropkick Murphys), we’ve added headline shows in El Paso TX, San Luis Obispo CA, Eugene OR, St Louis MO, Columbus OH, and Bloomington IL. Check them out on the “upcoming gigs” tab right up there at the top of the page.

Finally, in my previous blog I mentioned the fact that Farida guitars are working on a limited run of a signature model guitar for me. There are more details right here, check it out.

Right, sleep time!

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World Takeover Going Well

I write from Rostock. Not been to this part of the world before – former GDR areas always fascinate me. It seems crazy (and sightly worrying) to me how quickly the sufferings of communism are fading out of popular consciousness. It’s worth taking time to remember, it’s only been 20 years or so. As usual, people here seem delightful. I’m looking forward to playing. It’s good to be back in the swing of touring again after a mad trip to Ireland for the TV show “Other Voices” on my day off, during which the bastarding fucknuts at British Airways contrived to lose my guitar (got it back eventually) and make me miss my flight to Hamburg. Grr.

In happier news, some points of interest! Firstly, I’m happy to say that “Wessex Boy” is record of the week on the Greg James show on BBC Radio 1 this week, which is great news. Also, the show in Heidelberg has now sold out. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, standing tickets for Wembley are also sold out. Which is just bonkers, actually. Happily, there are still a ton of tickets left in the rest of the venue, and we’ll be announcing more supports (alongside Mr Bragg) very soon.

Next, a quick heads up. The good people at Farida guitars are in the process of making a limited run of signature acoustics with my input and name on the headstock. There will be 25 of them, and they’ll be out and about next year. I’ve been playing the prototype recently, and it’s a beautiful instrument. More details on this coming soon.

Finally, some bits and pieces of video for you. Firstly, here’s a tour trailer for you, a teaser of all the stuff that the great Greg Nolan has been working on on this tour. Secondly, here’s me covering a tune by my friend and peer, Mr Tim Barry. And finally, here’s us playing live at Crossing Border Festival in Den Haag last month.

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Beans On Toast

Earlier this year I found time to produce the third album by London folk-singer extraordinaire Beans On Toast. He’ll probably be familiar to many of you; Jay is an old friend, an honest sounding board for my ideas, and star of more than one song of mine. I’ve never produced a record before, and I’m fiercely proud of the resulting music.

Well, today being Jay’s birthday (happy birthday Jay!), the album, “Trying To Tell The Truth“, is now out. You can get it from Xtra Mile Recordings here, and from iTunes here. As a little taster, here’s one of the videos Jay has made:

You can see more of the same by following his username on YouTube. Enjoy.

For myself today, well, if you have a spare moment, you can head over here and vote for me in this year’s NME awards. Have fun.

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6 Music

Hello from Glasgow. We’re midway through the UK tour and it’s going swimmingly. I’ll have more to say about it when it’s done, but for now, thanks to everyone in Bournemouth, Newport and Birmingham for being ace.

Tonight, between 7pm and 8.30pm, I’ll be taking over the playlist on BBC 6 Music. It’s kind of like Desert Island Discs, but with interaction via Twitter. I’ve picked a few songs I like for the start, but after that I’ll be picking them live as I go, with suggestions from people on Twitter. So you need to hit me up on there (@fthc) with the hashtag #fthc6music. We can discuss stuff I want to play, you can make suggestions, the works. And together we have ourselves a kick-arse playlist, cool? Get involved!

Two other quick things. First of all, as you may have seen, the legendary Mr Billy Bragg has confirmed that he’ll be playing a set at my Wembley show in April next year. I know, it’s totally nuts right? Tickets still onsale here.

Secondly, after a few days up on blocks for a refit, the forums are now open again. Play nice.

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European Linkfest

I’m in a cafe in Den Haag; this is my first time here, tonight we play at Crossing Border festival. A Dutch breakfast and cornucopia of European languages around me accompany my blogging. How terribly metropolitan of me. I often read John Betjeman poetry when I’m away.

Some updates for you all! Hurrah! First of all, the Second Three Years is nearly upon us. People from the UK can, as ever, happily order a copy from Xtra Mile Recordings. I know, I know, many of you are not from my little patch of land, and wish to know how you can get a copy in Australia, USA, Canada or Europe (or further afield). Well. Unfortunately legal schmegal shennanigans means Xtra Mile can’t just ship out to everyone. The good news is that we’re sorting a scheme to get it out to everyone as fast as we can, and I’ll post detail when I have them. In the meantime, you can check this link to see about picking up a digital copy in most parts of the world. Thanks for your patience.

The tour is going well. Actually, scratch that, the tour is going great. Everywhere has been sold out so far, after a long US tour and a short rest we’re at the top of our game, and the crowds have been fantastic. Shows in Cologne and Glasgow are now sold out too, and other shows, in Bournemouth and most of Europe, are selling fast, so get your tickets now. In Germany, we’re especially looking forward to the Festival Van Cleef shows coming up next month, in Bielefeld, Trier and Dresden; check out the details here.

Also on the subject of (sold out) shows, and indeed Twitter (it’s the 21st century, egad!)… I usually try and retweet people who have tickets they want to sell for sold out shows, though I pass on people looking for them, in an effort not to clog up people’s feeds with my wittering. Well, the scale of people trying to exchange tickets has now got a little out of hand (these are big shows, after all), so I think I’m going to have to calm down on that front a little. If you have a ticket you want to sell for one of my shows, by all means tweet about it, but I may not be able to spread the word for everyone; the forum on my site is a good place for making exchanges.

And obviously, we’re talking about people making an honest sale or swap here; no fucking touts.

Finally, a scattershot of various links. Here’s some video of me at the recent AIM awards, basking in the glow of victory and whisky. I was fortunate enough to do a session for the lovely folks at Daytrotter recently in Austin TX, which you can check out here. And finally, here’s a video of me mangling the German language. Enjoy.

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Back To America

Sometimes I feel a little geographically incontinent. I’m sat here in Amsterdam, getting ready for the first date of the European tour, and I’m writing blog posts about more shows in the USA (where we just were). The mind boggles. Anyways, we have a whole bunch of shows announced now at the start of next year, in the west with old friends Social Distortion and much of the rest of the country with new friends Dropkick Murphys. Check the dates out here.

Some thoughts on the shows, incidentally. The Sleeping Souls will be on all of them. Contrary to what was announced in some places, we will not be playing in Milwaukee or Toronto with the Dropkicks. Sorry about that, but it’s just the way it worked out. The good news is that there are a bunch more shows to be added to the run, both extra shows with those bands and headline shows of our own on days off, so keep your eyes peeled. I also have extensive Canadian plans for next year as well.

Looking closer to home, I’m pleased to say that my buddy and photographer Greg Nolan will be joining us in Europe and the UK. He’s documenting the tour, and I want him to get more involved with people at the shows! So, he’ll be filming interviews in the queue before the show, and in the crowd during and afterwards. The pictures will be posted on my Facebook page, and you should also follow Greg’s Twitter feed for updates on his whereabouts. Get involved!

Finally, for the UK, as many of you will know, we have the wonderful Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo opening the shows. You should get down early and check them out, here’s a taster!

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I’d Like To Thank My Producer…

I spent last night at the first AIM Independent Music Awards ceremony in London. I’d been invited to play (which I did with a stripped down Sleeping Souls, Matt and Nigel). I’d been tipped off that I was going to win the award for Hardest Working Musician, which is very flattering, not least because I came in ahead of Beardyman and Random Hand. I was also nominated for the live category, but assumed that I wasn’t going to get it because no one had said anything.

So I was genuinely pretty surprised when my name came up for my second award, Best Live Act. It’s one hell of an accolade. And it was also decided by a popular vote. So I need to say thanks to everyone who voted, whilst also pointing out again that I do what I do (both working hard and playing live) with the help of the Sleeping Souls. So, thanks everyone. This morning I had a horrible hangover. Result.

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The Second Three Years

In a development that has slightly blown my mind and left me checking diaries, asking random strangers who the president is and so on, it seems like the time has rolled around for the Second Three Years. With the good folks at Xtra Mile Recordings, I’ve put together a 23-track collection of songs that didn’t make the last two albums, including unreleased songs, reworkings and covers. The details are here. For the time being there are no vinyl plans (this may change). Enjoy.

The US and Canadian tour is done, which is weird and sad in some ways, but the tour was absolutely awesome from top to bottom, so I have nothing to complain about. Thanks again, as ever, to the Sleeping Souls, my crew, Into It Over It and Andrew Jackson Jihad for an amazing time, and for everyone who came out to the shows.

Also, my friend Jon Spira (who made the video for “Photosynthesis“) has made an amazing documentary film about the history of the Oxford music scene, which includes cameos from Nigel Powell and Jamie Stuart (of Dive Dive). You can (and should) find out more here: http://www.acpgthemovie.com.

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Generation Records

Just a quick one; on Thursday, the day of our second sold out Bowery Ballroom show, I’ll be playing an instore show (solo) at the wonderful Generation Records at 6pm. It’s free, but you will need to get a ticket from their website to attend. See you there.

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Jimmy Kimmel

So we recently played on the Jimmy Kimmel show in Los Angeles, and it aired last night. It seems to be a pretty big deal over here, which is nice, and Mr Kimmel seemed like a good guy. Fun times. Here’s some videos!

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