This song comes to me every now and again but i’ve never sung it, so this mornings practice has been listening to as many versions as possible while getting my tongue around it. Amazing to hear how malleable the song is and in particular, the difference between the male and female singers. Sammy Davis Jr though. This. Is. The. Real. Deal.

Smugglers Festival

FullSizeRender (2)

I had the great pleasure of playing at Smugglers Festival yesterday afternoon. Broken finger, grey skies and a current antipathy to gigs in fields not withstanding, all the weight I feel like i’ve been carrying recently fell away. Half way through my set it started raining and the faithful crowd threatened to leave so i quickly played Sunny Side of The Street whereupon the rain stopped and sun came out. I am claiming 100% credit for that. The rest of the afternoon was one amazing act after another, Hot Feet playing cracking new songs, Cocos Lovers bringing the house down, but my personal favourite was a the duo of Max Baillie on violin with Sura Susso on kora. I hadn’t seen Sura’s brother Modou (also an incredible kora and djembe player) for nearly 8 years since we played some pretty bizarre Manu Chao style west african/spanish reggae with El Pato Band in Bristol (yes it was as odd as it sounds). All in all, a wonderful time to see old friends and be reminded how much this is a community that we make, we share, we’re a part of. Big love to everyone at Smugglers Records and Onwards!

Less Haste, More Speed

FullSizeRender (3)

Speed has a funny effect on the mind. Wizzing along on an early morning train under febrile Turner-grey smudged skies, the summer is ending. And as it leaves, without grace and in too humid drizzle, everything turns to new beginnings. Terms starting, jobs commencing, another final push towards the endless summit. So much is happening, as it always is, and time passes. I’m heading to Stroud to play a gig this afternoon (2.30 on the Cornhill stage) and I’m surrounded by a crowd of familiar thoughts, of self-doubts and worries, of excitement and the déjà vue of long experience. I don’t know what any of this means, or if it means anything at all. But I am speeding somewhere. I am turning up. And I’ll do it all again tomorrow.

Green Note Gig 20th August & New Songs!



The Green Note is by far one of my favourite venues to play in London. First big gig in London for a long time. Mighty music from Manchester’s finest unhinged reed, word and string botherer Alabaster dePlume , left-field stories, contested poems and general in the moment inspiration/silliness from Wilf Merttens, impeccable sound and quite possibly some astral predictions from Oscar Cainer and some new never before heard songs from me + everyone who comes gets a high five and an enlivening evening of existential exploration delivered with humour and lightness of being, promise!

Here’s how Wilf describes what he does in his own words:

“Whatever you do, please don’t tell me a BORING STORY. I smash boring stories with my griot stick: whack! whack!, says my stick as I go, moving through the jungle at incredible speed, dodging spiders, tigers, ghosts, hungry ghosts – and then, BANG! I’ve fallen into a pit, I’ve stumbled into a bandit’s den, I’ve turned into a fox, I’m being chased by hunters, I’m chasing a rabbit, the rabbit’s making me soup, selling me stones… next thing I’ve turned into a bird!: I’m free to dance up from breeze to breeze, free to soar in the sky… But then a mountain rises up abruptly in front of me, blocking my path. I wish, I wish to be the man digging a tunnel through the mountain, but the sun is beating down on his head like a hot soft hammer, so I wish to be the sun, then I’m the sun burning everything up, but the clouds are blocking my way, so I wish to be clouds, but the birds are flying through my belly and tickling me, so I wish to be BIRD, but then a mountain rises up abruptly in front of me, blocking my path… so I wish to be a storyteller, who can move mountains, fly like bird, burn like sun, billow into any shape like the clouds that march across the sky. I am STORY TELLER! I RULE EVERYTHING I SPEAK OF! And it’s gone straight to my head.”

Mbira Lullaby Demo (Rough as guts)

Its miserable tonight so I started writing an idea for a lullaby on the mbira. Rough as guts but there in spirit. Love x

Friendship by Agnes Martin

anges 2

Publishing Deal With Karousel Music!


EXCITING NEWS! I am very, very happy to announce that I have just signed a publishing deal with Karousel Music. Woo hoo!

Karousel are an amazing bunch of people, as much a collective of musicians, songwriters and music industry professionals as a traditional publisher – and importantly as a non-profit organisation, share the same ideas as I do about the music industry and the importance of treating people ethically. I’m very exited to explore the new opportunities that will come from working together.

Together we are stronger. Forza! Onwards! x

Beautiful spaces


I feel super lucky to get the opportunity to play in some amazing spaces of all different shapes and sizes and for that reason I am very much looking forward to playing in Magdalen College Chapel in Oxford tomorrow tuesday 19th May at 7.30pm. If you know anyone in Oxford let them know, I think its going to be quite special!

F Spot Live Session & Record Store Day

FullSizeRender (17)


Finally the sun is out and the cricket season beckons. Ive made the executive decision not to play many festivals this year having decided that my music doesn’t really work in that setting. So ill be spending the summer writing songs for a new album, enjoying the sunshine and playing cricket. Woo hoo!

The last few weeks have been pretty busy though with some great gigs around and about. Last saturday was Record Store Day and very exiting that Smugglers Records have opened a new record shop in Deal. I went down there and played instore alongside Will Varley, Cocos Lovers and Liam from Syd Arthur – it was great day. We all recorded songs for a unique one off record which was made in a day at the store. You should be able to get your hands on a limited number of copies from the shop! I also had the great pleasure of doing a live session and interview on Blues and Roots Radio. You can listen again to my F Spot Live Session that went out last friday below. Thanks to everyone at Folkstock Records for inviting me down, Daria for the interview and Lauren who engineered it all so wonderfully. I play 6 sings and talk a lot about why i do what i do, the funniest things left on trains, philosophy, songwriting and the future.

J x

The F Spot Live Sessions 24 – The Magic Lantern by Daria Kulesh on Mixcloud

Don’t forget to breathe!


It’s not everyday that a recovering drug addict tells you that your music has changed his life, but today was that day. That’s what playing in a hospital will do for you – that and the amazing woman who danced, and i mean really danced, not more than two meters from me for the entire gig. Thanks to the great volunteers at Breathe who put today’s gig and all the lunch time concerts at St Thomas’s Hospital.

Tomorrow night i’m super excited to be playing alongside moroccan gnawa master Simo Lagawi and Electric Jalaba at Club Inegales in Euston hosted by the Nest Collective. The show is being organised as a showcase in partnership with Help Musicians UK, British Underground, Brunel Institute of Composing so it promises to be a great night. I’ll be on at 8pm sharp so make sure you’re there early so you don’t miss it! If you are a musican and would like to attend the talk before hand on management and agenting its free and from 6 – 7.30. More details below:

Then on wednesday night i’m thrilled to be playing my first gig with the good people at Karousel music who I have a feeling I’ll be doing a lot more things with the future. The gig is in association with Pledge Music and features Tom Baxter, Rory Butler and Sherika Sherard on the bill too. Check out FB for details below.

Then on saturday i’ll be heading to play at the Hothouse Festival at Halsway Manor in Somerset. All sorts of amazing, beautiful and heavy things will be going down so come along if you can make it. I’ll be playing at 7pm on saturday 4th April.

Big love x