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Albuquerque Appendix

I’ve been fighting a cold for the last few days of this US tour, and it seems like, despite my best efforts, I’ve lost. The show in Denver last night was off the scale in terms of the awesome crowd, but there’s no disguising the fact that my voice totally collapsed in on itself under a torrent of coughing and snot. So it is, with a heavy heart, that I have to announce that we’re pulling tonight’s show in Albuquerque.

The good guys in Andrew Jackson Jihad and Into It Over It will still be playing a show at the Launchpad, it’ll be $5 on the door. Ticket holders for the original show will be refunded. I will do everything in my power to make it back here again as soon as possible for a make-up show. I now have two days to get my pathetic body back in shape for the Phoenix show; all other shows on the tour are good to go as planned.

I don’t want to wallow too publicly in my self-pity here, but there really are few words to adequately describe how fucking useless I feel when this kind of thing happens. I feel like an appendix, fit to be cut out and discarded. My deepest apologies to anyone disappointed, I’ll make it up to you.

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Busking In Wessex

Hello from Austin TX. Since my youthful indiscretion of writing silly songs about Texas before I knew anything about the place (see “Nashville Tennessee”), and since getting my Texas tattoo at SXSW a few years back, I’ve grown to love this place. A lot. Like, if I was going to move to this country (which I well might some day) I’d move to Austin. It’s sad we’re only here for the one day. So: time to make it count!

In other news (and hence this blog post), the powers that be have decided that the song “Wessex Boy” is going to be a single at the end of this year. That’s great news, I love the song, and it’s about my hometown, Winchester. One problem though: we’re not actually going to be in Winchester between now and the end of the year, which makes shooting a video there impossible. And yet, a video for that song which doesn’t feature the city would be, well, just  bit odd.

So! As per usual, a slightly last-minute, frantic but fun plan has come together. It so happens that Winchester is one of the few cities (if not the only one… any legal experts reading this?) where you can busk without a license, thanks to an ancient byelaw. My good friend Mr Ben Morse, who has made plenty of videos for me before, is going to be putting together a busking expedition in the old city next Sunday, 9th October. If you’re the kind of person who busks, who has an acoustic guitar and sings, and who generally likes to get stuck in to things in life, then please do get in touch by emailing this address: wessexboyvideo@gmail.com. Ben asked if you can send your full name and a pic of yourself to that email, and he’ll get the rest sorted out, send you the chords to the song, and all other details, and so on.

As per usual, many thanks for your help in all things, friends.

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Florida Forever

I write from the tour bus, which is currently parked out the back of The Social in Orlando, Florida, USA. The North American tour is in full swing. We’ve had awesome shows from Connecticut to West Columbia and everywhere in between; most gigs have been sold out. The guys in Andrew Jackson Jihad and IntoItOverIt are tearing it up every night onstage and being thoroughly lovely off it. It feels great to be back in the USA again, I have an awful lot of love for this country. OK I’ll admit it, I missed Denny’s.

Speaking of shows, there’s some good news (for me at least) of sold out venues to report. Vancouver has gone, tonight has gone, and many of the upcoming shows are getting close, so buying tickets now is probably a good idea. Looking further afield, the show in Amsterdam in November has sold out, while both London and Birmingham are days away from joining Manchester in the no-tickets-left aisle. Good times.

Not masses more to report for now, other than the fact that my boys the Sleeping Souls now have their own twitter feed, on which they are posting an alternative view of the tour shennanigans. Right, I’m off to Park Ave CDs for an instore!

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Fuck The Fire

I’m guessing everyone knows about the riots in London last month, and more specifically the fire at the PIAS Distribution warehouse. Just in case you don’t, basically the little arsonist fucks succeeded in burning down the warehouse where pretty much every independent UK record label keeps its stock, including Xtra Mile Recordings, my label. Everything was destroyed (more than 3 million records), all back catalogue lost, it was a body-blow for an industry that’s already in a fragile state. Not good, in short.

Thankfully, there is a silver lining to this cloud. The good folks at Xtra Mile, with the help of the people at Pledge Music, have set up a frankly amazing scheme, “Fuck The Fire“. Basically it’s a plan to organise small-scale pressings of old releases, so that, if enough people want it, you can get hold of old items that were destroyed. It means that those smaller or older releases are not lost forever to the flames. As soon as the minimum number of people have pledged to buy a release, it gets manufactured. Simples.

In addition to the bare-faced awesomeness of the plan, if you order something you also get a digital download of a bunch of Xtra Mile rarities (including a quick new song about the riots by yours truly). And on top of that, Xtra Mile and Pledge Music will also be donating a chunk of the proceeds to UK Disaster Relief, who are helping the people made homeless in the riots.

So, it’s all totally ace, in short. The only drawback is that, for now, this is only open to people in the UK; I know, I know, that sucks for everyone else, but we’re working on sorting that out. Updates will follow.

And finally, a link to the website itself: Fuck The Fire.

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World Tour Starts Here

I’m pretty sure I’ve packed everything. In about 15 minutes it won’t matter much because I’ll be on my way to the airport and headed for Ireland. From there I’m solidly on the road through until Christmas, and quite possibly for the next four months of 2012 as well. Passport, check; wallet, check; guitar, check; toothbrush, check. The rest is trimmings.

Ah yes, Ireland. It’s fun to be spending a little more time south of the border this time round. Tonight I’ll be in Kilkenny for the first time in my life. I’m excited. There’s some slightly annoying news about the Belfast venue – Mandella Hall are experiencing technical difficulties, I’m told, so the show on Saturday has been moved to the Stiff Kitten (venue details here). All original tickets are still valid, and you can still buy yours here if you haven’t got them already.

Also on the subject of Ireland, after much faffing around I can finally and happily confirm that my good friend Mr Ciaran Lenehan will be opening all the shows. Take some time to familiarize yourself with his tunes right here.

Right, I’m heading for the airport. See you all somewhere along the road.

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Sponsor My Little Sister

A little bit of nepotism for you on a Monday morning. My little sister is many things – sweet, lovely, tough as nails, charitable of bent and slightly mental. Later this month she is trekking, solo, along the Appalachian Trail in the USA. Closer examination reveals this involves fucking miles, loads of mountains, and possibly bears. Insane. But she’s doing it to raise money for a good cause, Help For Heroes, so why don’t you head on over to her page and make a donation, eh?

Thanks. I am solidly listening to the new Jim Lockey & The Solemn Sun record, and you should too.

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Gear Change

Well that was one hell of a weekend. The Northampton warm-up show was, though I say so myself, one of my favourite gigs I’d played in quite a while. It was, nevertheless, soon to be topped by Reading & Leeds Festivals, with two shows on each site. They really were a different level for me and my guys, a gear change, if you like. To top it all off, I made friends with the Descendents, thereby completing another life goal.

As Monday rolled around, two things happened. First of all, for people in the UK, the single of “If Ever I Stray” was officially released on iTunes, complete with “Sailor’s Boots” as a brand new B-side. Secondly, the Manchester show from the November UK tour has officially sold out. The rest of the shows on that run (and indeed quite a few from Europe and the USA / Canada) are close behind. Wowzers.

In the aftermath I’ve been hiding in a studio in London working on Jay Beans On Toast‘s new record, as a producer (which is a first). A few days in and we’re nearly done. I’m not sure of the details but it’ll be out on Xtra Mile Records before the end of the year, I’d guess.

One quick point of order. I mentioned, in an interview with the NME at Reading, that I have plans to do a hardcore (ish) band as a side project sometime soon. This is true, but I want to clarify a few things. Firstly, this isn’t anything to do with Million Dead. Secondly, the line-up is set, we have some ideas starting to float around, we’re not, sadly, looking for band members. Thirdly, this isn’t going to be a real, music-releasing going concern until next summer at the earliest. And finally, it’s a project, not a career-shift. What I’m doing now is my main concern. Hope that clears some of the internet rumours up!

I’ll leave you with the news that Boy George allegedly thinks I’m fit (thanks twitter) and this little video from Reading…

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Sailor’s Boots

I’ve just made it back to London after a pretty tumultuous weekend. As I’m sure most of you know, the Pukkelpop Festival got cancelled at the weekend due to a freak storm which wreaked havoc, causing 5 people to lose their lives. All this rock’n’roll bullshit seems a little small at times like these. It was a tragedy, and my heart goes out to those who lost their lives, who were hurt, and everyone who lost out with the cancellation. The Souls and I ended up in Belgium on Saturday without much of a plan, and in the end I played a last-minute show in a bar in Ikkerbeek, which was a wonderful occasion which kind of reminded me why, actually, music ain’t so weak after all. Strange and sad times.

Some news for you. First of all, I have a brand new song called “Sailor’s Boots” doing the rounds, which you can check out right here. Die-hard fans may know it as “Rod Stewart”, but the title got changed (sorry). It’s the B-Side for “If Ever I Stray“, which is out as a single online on August 29th. That song is currently single of the week on XFM Radio, which is ace.

On the live front, the ticket links for the European shows are now all up on the gigs page, check that out. Also, my set from this year’s Cambridge Folk Festival will be broadcast tonight on Sky Arts.

Finally, I stopped being lazy and got round to editing and posting the next two installments of the tour diary from Europe this summer. Enjoy.

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European Tour Dates

The European tour dates for the end of the year are finally here!

  • 15th November – Melkweg, Amsterdam, NL
  • 16th November – Bei Chez Heinz, Hannover, DE
  • 17th November – Sputnikhalle, Munster, DE
  • 18th November – Crossing Border, Den Haag, NL
  • 19th November – Crossing Border, Antwerp, BE
  • 29th November – Gloria, Koln, DE
  • 30th November – Wagenhallen, Stuttgart, DE
  • 1st December – Backstage Hall, Munich, DE
  • 2nd December – Postbahnhof, Berlin, DE
  • 4th December – Fabrik, Hamburg, DE
  • 5th December – Mau Club, Rostock, DE
  • 7th December – Divan Du Monde, Paris, FR
  • 8th December – Schurr, Luzern, CH
  • 13th December – Meskalina, Poznan, PO
  • 14th December – Powiekszenie, Warsaw, PO
  • 17th December – Abart, Zurich, CH
  • 18th December – WUK, Vienna, AT
  • 19th December – PPC, Graz, AT
  • 20th December – Karlstorbahnhof, Heidelberg, DE

All shows will be full band. Tickets go onsale on Friday. There are a couple more shows to add here and there, and supports to announce. I know that there are no Italian, Spanish, Portuguese or other Southern European dates on this run – sorry for that, but we have a plan to get out to those places early next year. Spread the word!

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Newcastle Show, Saturday Night

I was due to play at Ignition Festival in Newcastle on Saturday. As most people have now heard, the festival has been cancelled. I have neither the knowledge nor the desire to get involved in arguments as to why; the guys at the festival were cool with me all through and are bitterly disappointed that it’s not happening, that’s all I know for sure. Whatever the case, that show isn’t going ahead.

Naturally, me being me, I’ve been trying to sort out a replacement show for tomorrow in Newcastle. We now, finally, have a plan.

We (the Sleeping Souls and I) will be playing at the Newcastle O2 Academy tomorrow night. Doors will be at 7pm, and the show will run until 10.30. If you have an Ignition Festival ticket, entry will be free. Otherwise entry will be £10, tickets on the door. The venue is smaller than the festival, so it’ll be first come, first served. The age limit is 14+.

We’ve spent the last 24 hours going through a million permutations, trying to cover every aspect (age restrictions, time, location, venue size, ticket holders etc.) and this is, as far as anyone can tell, the best option. I’d like to say a special thanks to Paul and his staff at the Academy, Joanna (my booking agent) and Graham (my tour manager) for working their arses off to pull this together. I know it doesn’t replace an outdoor festival, but I think it’s a great effort for the last minute!

Incidentally, according to the Ignition Festival website, they will be refunding tickets, so keep hold of yours whether you can make it to the show or not, hopefully you’ll get your money back. See you all tomorrow night.

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