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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A Reckoning Bell – Out Today

RELEASE DAY! My fourth album ‘A Reckoning Bell’ is out today!

I wrote these songs because I had to. They were useful in helping me come to terms with watching a hairline crack become a chasm – a drip become a flood. Singing them for the first time gave form to a reality I could no longer deny. Now living with them, arranging them, recording them and finally starting to perform them, they have grown into a body of work I couldn’t be more proud of.

My sincerest hope is that these songs may now become about you.

May they be useful. 

All love

Jamie x

The Relentlessness of Self-Promotion

There is something relentless about the necessity for constant self-promotion particularly among independent musicians (and I’m talking about myself here). This comes from many sources but among other things it perpetuates an anxiety many of us already have that we are not good enough and are somehow failing even as we continue to find ways to make and release new work. 

This too often leads us to measure the value of our work (and each others) in categories given to us by the advertising platforms we can’t help but use to communicate about it, and the streaming platforms we can’t help but use to distribute it. 

The abundance of available metrics encourages us to believe that art and music is a measurable popularity contest and the goal is a kind of validation via algorithm. And yet the fact bananas out sell apples doesn’t tell us anything important about either – not how they taste, how they smell, which one works better in a pie, which you put in a smoothie etc. 

I’m aware this could all sound like the preemptive self-justifications of another grizzled independent artist before their new record comes out. But as I get older and as I work with younger musicians as a teacher, I think a lot about how I can continue make this sustainable, not just financially, but mentally and artistically too. I feel this as part of a community of musicians in London and the UK, many of whom I know often feel two steps away from packing it all in. And they’re amazing. 

I salute everyone who has the gumption and determination to have an idea and see it through. This is always worth celebrating. For our own hearts we ought to measure the depth not just the breadth of the connections our music makes. Of course we all try to spread the word to as many people as we can but the final tally represents the success of our marketing campaign not the value, quality or usefulness of the work, and that’s important.

So let us be that person who shares their friends work and remember that it’s the human connections we make through the music that what will continue to sustain and nourish us, not the first weeks streaming numbers…

Big love 

J x

There’s a Light

RELEASE DAY! My new single ‘There’s a Light’ is out today! I am so happy to share it with you. STREAM / WATCH VIDEO / BUY ‘THERE’S A LIGHT’

Over the past couple of years I’ve come to embrace the radical certainty that no matter how difficult life gets, nevertheless it goes on. There is something beautiful in that. That the world doesn’t stop for you, no matter how much you may want it to. And as it continues, so do all the incidentally beautiful things that add up to make you realise that it is possible to be crying your heart out and still feel joy at what remains.

Today’s going to be a good day
I decided that while I was crying
You can’t keep folding a tragedy
Over and over again.

This is the last single I’ll be releasing from ‘A Reckoning Bell’ before the full album is released on 5 November. In many ways, ‘There’s a Light’ is the album’s emotional centrepiece and I hope it can be useful for you.

Huge love to Chris Hyson who produced it and all the players for the spirit that brought to it.

All love

Jamie

‘A Reckoning Bell’ – Tour

I am thrilled to announce the ‘A Reckoning Bell’ tour in November and December. Tickets are available from my gigs page.

I am over the moon to be opening for my absolute top pals This Is Kit on the first half of the tour while the second half will be our own headline dates. 

One of the strangest things about making this album was not having the chance to come to understand these songs in communication with an audience – with you. This has been such a fundamental part of my process for years that it was nerve racking and exciting in equal measure to record them before they’d ever been heard live. 

As a result I am doubly excited that this is my biggest tour to date and to be heading to some of my favourite venues and cities across the UK from Totnes to Glasgow and my first Irish show in Dublin, to share this music with you.

Can’t wait to see you out on the road!

Big love 

Jamie x

Poster by Campbell Sibthorpe
Photo by Dave Hamblett, treated by Raimund Wong

‘A Reckoning Bell’ – 5 November

Pals,

I am so excited to announce that my fourth album ‘A Reckoning Bell’ will be released on 5 November and you can pre-order the album now!

Of special interest is the beautiful limited edition first pressing on heavyweight black vinyl which is limited to 300 copies. These will go pretty quickly so please get yours now if you would like one.

You can also pre-order the lovely eco-sleeve CDs and the digital version of the record.

I’m so excited for your to hear the album. It means the world to have you on this journey with you.

Big love

Jamie x

Blades of Grass

My new single ‘Blades of Grass’ is out today! You can stream or buy it from your favoured site here: 

LISTEN / STREAM / BUY ‘BLADES OF GRASS’

I think of ‘Blades of Grass’ as a joyful song for a desperate time. It is the second single to be taken from my upcoming fourth album ‘A Reckoning Bell’ and celebrates our unavoidable human fragility and wild need for companionship. 

If the past few years have taught me anything it’s the freedom to be found in the emotional honesty of life’s tougher moments – that nothing matters more than love and sometimes all you can do is be there. The song and cover artwork feature my wife Rhia who has taught me so much about the quiet resilience of the human heart.

The beautiful video that accompanies the song is another experiment in distance collaboration. It was made by and features my amazing friend, the musician Leena Culhane in Santa Monica, California and centres around our everyday acts of finding joy in desperate times and the memories we carry with us wherever we go. You can watch the video here. 

I hope this music can be useful for you. 

Onwards with love and fierce determination.

Jamie x

Bound for Glory

What can loss teach us about love and how do love’s many small acts give a life meaning? 

These are some of the questions that have preoccupied me as I’ve been making music over the past couple of years while trying to be a good husband and son, friend and colleague and helping to care for my Dad with Alzheimer’s disease.  

Making music has always been a way of working out what I think, but in the midst of this intensely emotional time, it has also been a raft when the ground has given way. I believe that music has a social function in allowing people to project themselves into and onto songs to come to know themselves and their own lives better. That is the spirit in which I make music that is how I offer it to you, that it may be useful if it’s what you need. 

In some sense I’ve always been writing about love and loss, our search for meaning and the irrepressibility of joy for a decade from my first album ‘A World In A Grain of Sand’ (2011) and through my other records ‘Love of Too Much Living’ (2014), ‘To The Islands’ (2018), and my two recent EPs ‘The Life That I Have’ (2020) and my first instrumental EP for solo piano ‘My Soul Is A Strange Country’ (2020). 

As I’ve grown I’m finding there’s no bottom to the well of human experience, that it just gets deeper and more complex. But that is life and the light always finds a crack. And there is nothing more beautiful than that. 

‘Bound for Glory’ the first single from my new album it is out on 4 June 2021. 

Big love

Jamie x

‘My Soul Is A Strange Country’ EP

I’m excited to announce my first release for solo piano, ‘My Soul Is A Strange Country’ out on 11 December. ⠀

The piano is the first instrument I learnt as a kid, and I have always been inspired by piano writing, particularly the contemplative pianism of Bill Evans and the harmonic approach of composers such as Debussy and Ravel. ⠀

But until now the piano has been an instrument I have played mainly for myself. I wrote these six pieces initially as private responses to the emotional upheaval of the past few years. I intended to release them in April but in amongst the initial pandemic chaos, it didn’t feel right. But now as the pieces must somehow be put back together I hope this music can be helpful in the rebuilding. ⠀

As with all the music I make at moment, I recorded the EP whilst helping to care for my Dad with Alzheimer’s and without noticing it I found myself drawn to collaborate on with two older men – brilliant engineer Patrick Wood and artist Bryan Hawkins who created over eighty artworks in response to the music. This EP artwork is one of them. My good friend, the poet @jackmiguel_ also wrote a poem to accompany the EP. ⁣Big thanks to @campbellsibthorpe for the cover layout and design. ⠀

The result is a study in masculine vulnerability and power of using space to convey the yawning depth of what’s being lost, among the fragile beauty of what remains. ⠀

I look forward to sharing more of the project with you over the next few weeks. ⠀
‘My Soul Is A Strange Country’ is out on 11 December 2020. You can pre-save it now at this link: https://show.co/q7084wJ⠀

Big love ⠀

J x⠀

Better Once Than Never

7 years, give or take, is the time it takes for the human body to regenerate all of its cells (apart from the cartilage/teeth). It’s also the time it took to bring the music on this EP to you, the listener. Why it took the time it did is a long story, one entangled in the bonds of friendship that gave life to this journey in the first place. The dreams and ambitions of November 2013 gave way bit by bit to the present realities. Music was lost. As time passed and each of us grew we no longer felt some of the convictions we once did. What might have been a full length record, with original contributions from all members of the band, was cut down to the 3 tracks you hear on this EP. 

“Better Once Than Never” is a telling of our collective voyage into the unknown, a story with two endings, one where all is gained, the other all lost. “Les Travailles de Swindler” is a ballad in pidgin French with a pungent bouquet of Bohemian decadence, a homage to the esprit libre of the heady days when we got to know each other. “Harvest Moon” speaks of love, loss and the inescapable allure of human relations.

More than anything else, this little collaboration is a document of the friendship we had, how it’s changed and evolved and it’s power to endure. I hope you enjoy the music x

If I Had A Hammer


Rhia and I did this cover of Pete Seeger and Lee Hays’s beautiful civil rights song ‘If I Had A Hammer’ for last Sunday’s fifth and final live stream of the series i’ve been doing. 

I had the best time doing these live stream concerts. Thank you to everyone who tuned in from all over the place these past weeks. To feel the warmth of community around my music has helped me more than you can know during these challenging times. 

To have music as a tool to express and connect at this time of anger, confusion, sadness and rage, reminds me how lucky and privileged I am. I hope to use this music as a tool for hope and my body and instrument for change. 

For last sunday’s concert I asked for any donations to go to the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, so if you enjoy this tune or any of the concerts, please consider donating to them at the link below. 

https://www.stephenlawrence.org.uk/support-us/donate/

Finally, I wanted to thank my top pals Tim Hawkins, Rhia Parker and Campbell Sibthorpe for their help and support with these shows, I couldn’t have done it without them. 

Big love

Jamie x