A Journey Begun – To The Islands

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Time is fickle thing, at turns hot and angry and at others suddenly languid and longing – a burning silver thread that plays in the wind. For my part, I have a condition that paradoxically causes me to both long to speed time up and ache to slow it down.

I am making an album now. I can feel it. I want to be done already, to be sitting excitedly in the glow of it, and yet the journey has only really just begun. I will promise nothing about when it will be done this time, I’m in it for the long haul and it will be done when it’s ready. Already, many people have helped equip me for set out on the road this time and there will be more companions to share the horizon than on the last one, and that fills me with joy at the fun we’ll have and difficulties we’ll overcome together.

But I just wanted to tell you all, that in spirit, I’ve started and I’ll send you postcards to mark the way – To The Islands. x

New sounds are brewing…

These guys…xML guysThese

The warm glow

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Just to say a huge thank you to everyone who came down to the Green Note last night. It was a great evening and so wonderful to play all the new songs for the first time – I’m very excited about their future! There are plans a-foot, and I just want to get on now and get them out to you. Samantha Whates was excellent as ever and it was a pleasure to play clarinet with her with Jesse Moncrief on violin.

As I was about to go onstage Alabaster Deplume got in touch to send me this link of us playing together (its me on keys) at the last ‘Peach’ night. I think it really captures the spirit that Gus creates and which I feel very privileged to be a part of – check it out:

Album 3 ‘To The Islands’!

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It’s become a strange habit to start my updates to you with an apology at the delay since the last one. The honest truth is, I worry about troubling you unless I have something great to share that is truly worth your time.  I tread perhaps a little too cautiously sometimes, but know that my silence is not neglect, nor is it taking any of your for granted, quite the opposite. I couldn’t do this without you, so thank you! So, with the explanations out of the way, a lot has been going on since we last spoke – including having raised over £800 for the Campaign Against Living Miserably from the sale of ‘Love of Too Much Living: Remakes’. Thanks to all of you who have got behind it and all the artists involved.

But a new year is rushing on and I have been adventuring! I could tell you many stories over tea and home brew of wide red deserts and sweet sage tea, the salt of the Dead Sea, parrots on a plane in Amman, Melbourne’s stifling heat and the crystalline breaking of a heart, snakes on the beach in northern NSW, the queer thrill of watching huge men compete to chop logs in half, narrowly avoiding getting hit by lightening, and swimming silently in a sacred lake, as still as sheet of obsidian, black with the oil from the tea trees all around. I could also tell you about love in its many colours, and how powerfully bittersweet it breaks over you, how it ebbs and flows, how different it looks in the morning, quite in the afternoon, hot and angry at night.  In the midst of it all, I took my guitar and began keeping a diary.   Since I’ve been back, and throwing myself like willing jetsam into the great wave that is London life, I’ve made time to pause for breath during these mornings, cold and fresh and at times movingly beautiful in all their early spring breaking. Life it seems has a restless habit of moving on, and on.

In short then, and with a full heart I am overjoyed to say that I have nearly finished writing the music for what will be my third Magic Lantern album.  I’m delighted to say that is has the working title of ‘To The Islands’. All I can say at this stage is that it will not be a solo record and I hope to begin recording later this year. I’m very excited, and I hope you will be too! I have a few exciting concerts coming up in the next few weeks and months where I will be playing most of these new songs, so please come down if you can and hear them – I can’t wait to play them to you.

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Until then, you can listen to this setting of the poem ‘The Inside of a Heart’ (by Alabaster Deplume), that I made as part of Danny Green’s (of Laish fame) We Come Alive covers project.

I have also been working with an amazing string quartet as part of the Phaedra Ensemble for whom I’ve been making some arrangements of new songs and singing some quite far out contemporary classical music which has been a really exciting challenge. I have also been recording some more songs as part of my new project with Joe Webb as ‘Elephants’ – you can hear our latest single ‘Robin’ here – the debut ‘Elephants’ album will be out soon! I will also be appearing with Sam Lee and the Roundhouse Choir at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards at the Royal Albert Hall later in April. Onwards!

Upcoming Concerts

  • 21 April – Green Note, London
  • 2 May, Rich Mix, London
  • 11 June – Kings Place, Hall 2, London

Big love

Jamie x

 

It’s Alright With Me…

‘Love of Too Much Living – Remakes’ – Released Today!

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I’m so pleased to say that today the ‘Love of Too Much Living – Remakes’ is finally out! It is available to download now, and to buy a very limited number of hand made beautiful CDs – I’ve made, with a ‘remade’ design by Ollie Hammick.

I can’t thank all the artists involved enough. Huge love to Emilia Martensson and her band, the amazing Hot Feet, Zac Gvi, Wallis Bird, Sam Brookes, Kate Stables and Jesse Vernon of This Is The Kit, FaceOmeter, Alabaster Deplume, Rozi Plain, Shama Rahman, Barnaby Keen and Greg Sanders, Max and Anouk of RAN and Ellie Rose Rusbridge and Tom Varell.

All proceeds from the sale of the record go to the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) who campaign to prevent male suicide. They’re amazing. Follow their work here.

Last night’s Stroud launch party was amazing. Huge thanks to Hot Feet for putting the gig on and for playing brilliantly, it was pretty nerve racking playing ‘No One’s Fault’ with them! Wonderful to hear Leonie Evans play again as well and to follow the progress of her collaboration record she is currently making.

Can’t wait for tonight’s big London launch at ‘The Shed’ at Kansas Smitty’s Bar in Broadway Market. There are so many special guests i don’t honestly know how we’re going to fit on the stage, but the love will be over flowing. There are a very, very small handful of tickets left so get them quick. Tickets available here.

Onwards! Love!

J x

Remakes Preview no.8 – ‘Different Paths’ by Rozi Plain

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Today’s Remakes preview is ‘Different Paths’ remade by the throughly awesome Rozi Plain at home in London, she sampled the drums from ‘Monopolise Me’ by the Ogyatanaa Show Band:

You know when you meet someone and you just have that feeling that you’re going to be pals? It’s like we all have this inner wave-length detector that spends most of its time jumping all over the place as we navigate the trials and tribulations of our ever-moving lives, but that sometimes, in the midst of the crowd, zeros in on someone who sees the glass as full, as oddly shaped and as full of life as you do.

I knew of Rozi before we met. We both lived in Bristol and she would make cool little videos and play ace DIY shows around the city just as I was starting to get it all together. It wasn’t until I moved to London a few years later through Kate of This Is The Kit (Kate and Rozi are OLD pals and Rozi plays bass for TITK – see my earlier posts about musical communities/families..) that we met. That wave-length detector calmed all of a sudden and I had that sense that we were going to get on famously, and to my great joy, so it has proved.

Rozi’s music is all about the sound. A lot of musicians spend there lives searching for their own and never find it, but what Rozi has is very special – and you can recognise it from the first bar. Her songs are hard to catagorise – elliptical, unusual, always grooving and a with lightness of touch that nestles a song in your brain – that at first you just really dig it’s feel, but as it keeps running around your head, impossible to ignore, slowly unwinds present something you didn’t expect, an odd lyric that just captures something, a change your didn’t notice at first, until you realise what a strange and wonderful creature this song is. It is a rare gift to make something so light to pick up but so strong to hold.

In talking so much about pals and friendship, it makes sense that Rozi should choose ‘Different Paths’ to remake and in her hands it becomes something i could never have imagined – and you can even dance in your kitchen to it!

You can check out Rozi’s great new album ‘Friend’ out on Lost Map records and see all the great things she’s up to at her website www.roziplain.co.uk

Remakes Preview no.7 – ’29 Years Old’ by FaceOmeter

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Today’s Remakes Preview no.7  is ’28 Year’s Old’ which has become ’29 Year’s Old’ by one of my oldest friends, FaceOmeter. He recorded a little introduction to it here:

You can hear his wonderful version here:

When describing the ‘Remakes’ project to people, I’ve spoken a lot about the musical community I am lucky enough to be a part of, how it has supported and sustained me, and how when it matters most – in the perceived face of the worlds indifference – it has picked me up, dusted me down and sent me right back out there. Right there in the middle, in the nucleus’s nucleus (i’m being artistic science fans, no letters please) is Will Tattersdill aka FaceOmeter – one of my oldest musical pals.

A song-writer of 2 excellent albums, numerous EPs and collaborations, as well as supremely talented lecture in English at Birmingham University, FaceOmeter is a man capable of extraordinary linguistic feats and bottomless kindness. The most talented wordsmith I know, his songs manage to pierce the skin of a situation with a light-footed humour that belies the emotional weight underneath. We started writing songs together at school and have been constant musical companions ever since, travelling up and down the country and championing each others music wherever we can. As an acapella song ’28 Years Old’ is both the sparsest as well as one of the most obviously personal songs on ‘Love Of Too Much Living’ and so it felt right somehow that Will should take it and make it his own – his version is called ’29 Years Old’.

I am delighted to say that I will be joining FaceOmeter tomorrow night, 7 December, for the launch of a new live music night he is running in Birmingham called ‘Hatstand’ at the Kitchen Garden Cafe.

FaceOmeter’s new album ‘Why Wait For Failure’ is out now and available at his website, along with his amazing blog and video updates www.faceometer.tk

 

 

Remakes Preview No.6 – ‘Stitches’ by This Is The Kit

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Today’s Remakes Preview is ‘Stitches’ remade by one of my very, very favourite musicians, This Is The Kit at home in Paris.

Kate Stables is one of my favourite people. Forget about being one of my all time favourite song-writers and singers, that’s so much a given, but one of the very best people. Her songs, which she plays and writes under the name This Is The Kit together with the amazing Jesse Vernon and band, have been an intimately important part of my life since I first heard them at the Slaughtered Lamb in Farringdon about 8 years ago. We were on the same bill and when Kate started singing, cosmic pieces of the great puzzle starting falling into place. Her first album, Krulle Bol has been a constant companion ever since. When releasing their second album, Wriggle Out The Restless, Kate asked me if I wanted to do a cover of one of the tracks for a little covers record. Together with Son et Lumiere and an old typewriter, I remade ‘Spinney’ which you listen to hear, but I thought it was a wonderful idea and it stayed in the back of my mind until I was about to release Love of Too Much Living when it came to me that if would be a wonderful idea to try and do something similar. So, in many ways, the Remakes project, owes a lot to Kate’s idea. But more than that, it means so much to me that Kate and Jesse are involved in this and their version of ‘Stitches’ is fascinating for being so different to the original but so amazing in its own right. As a songwriter, and an independent musican, Kate, Jesse and everthing and everyone that is This Is The Kit, has been a huge inspiration, and themselves, great friends over the years. – Don’t let the fire go out, let it burn. x 

You can check out all of This Is The Kit’s music and see their upcoming gigs here:
http://thisisthekit.co.uk/music/

 

Remakes Preview No.5 – ‘Stiches’ remade by Sam Brookes

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Today’s Remakes Preview is ‘Stitches’ remade by the honeyed voice of Sam Brookes,recorded
by Phil Wood at his studio in Barnes.

I’m not a religious person so I don’t believe that people can be ‘blessed’ but if you take the meaning in a secular sense, then Sam has been blessed with one of the most incredible voices you will hear. I have been very lucky to have sung a lot with Sam over the last 4-5 years as part of the sea shanty, harmony trio, The Ballina Whalers. Its a curious and personal process learning to blend with someone else’s voice and partly through that, together with many long days and nights spent touring and playing and the fact he is as lovely as he is talented, means that it is I who feels blessed that he agreed to be apart of the Remakes project. As anyone who has heard me perform ‘Stitches’ live will know, it is a song that I had to write and need to play, but one day I will be able to stop playing it and that will be an important thing. Sam’s version gives it a different life, a more muscular different feel somehow and a power all his own.

To check out Sam’s own music, his most recent album Kairos is out now, go to his website here:
www.sambrookes.com