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David Ramirez, 24 April 2022

We’re Not Going Anywhere: At a historical moment of immense political, social, and ecological uncertainty, those four simple words comprise both a promise and a protest, a comforting reassurance of inclusion as well as a hearty cry of defiance. It’s a statement that offers no small sense of hope, in that sense matching the music contained on the album. 

On these vividly imagined and passionately performed songs David Ramirez takes in the world from his unique perspective: “Being half white and half Mexican has made this current political climate especially interesting. So many cultures in this country are being viewed as un-American and it breaks my heart. My family have raised children here, created successful businesses here, and are proud to be a part of this country. Most of what I’ve seen as of late is misplaced fear. I wanted to write about that fear and how, instead of benefiting us, it sends us spiraling out control.”

The album that bears that title marks a departure for Ramirez, who builds on the rootsy sound of his early albums to create something new, something bold, something anchored in the here and now. Scouting out unexplored music territory, these songs bounce around energetically, toying with new ideas and experimenting with new sounds, as barbed-wire guitars and retro-futuristic synths grind against his anguished vocals and evocative lyrics. 

“We flipped script a little bit and went in with a pretty specific vision: lots of keyboards and some out-of-the-box guitar sounds. I took a lot of notes from the indie bands I’ve been listening to and from the bands I loved growing up in the ‘80s, like the Cars and Journey. Let’s just live in this spacy world for a while and see what comes out of it.”

What came out of it isn’t just Ramirez’s most adventurous album to date, but a record that captures the mood of the country in its music as well as in its lyrics. While he does tackle some new subjects, Ramirez grounds these songs in his own perspective, which means every song remains both human and humane, outraged and generous. There are some break-up songs on here, sober and self-castigating: first single “Watching from a Distance” thrums with iridescent synths and a tight backbeat that sounds like lines on the highway measuring the widening rift between lovers. “People Call Who They Wanna Talk To” is Ramirez at his catchiest, marrying a playful earworm hook to a somber realization about romantic irreconcilability: “Don’t blame it on the distance, don’t blame it on the booze… people call who they wanna talk to.” A simple line, but completely devastating.

“This is the first album I’ve had properly produced,” says Ramirez, who either produced or co-produced all of his previous efforts. For We’re Not Going Anywhere, he hired Sam Kassirer, who has helmed albums by Josh Ritter, Lake Street Dive, Bhi Bhiman, and many other artists. “I needed to evolve and change things up a bit, which is why I chose Sam. He pushed me in a way I hadn’t been pushed before.” Kassirer challenged Ramirez to simultaneously simplify and complicate his songwriting, to find new ways to tell his stories. “He said, I want you to try to tell a story but use fewer words and more space. In other words, let’s not make a singer-songwriter record. Let’s make a band record. Once he said that, my mind just opened up in a way it never had before. It was fun to just be more straightforward lyrically. It left a lot of space for the music.”

In January 2017 Ramirez and his band decamped to the Great North Sound Society, an eighteenth-century farmhouse in rural Maine that serves as Kassirer’s studio. Especially in the winter, when the trees are bare and snow blankets the ground, the setting proved inspiring. “It’s very secluded, which was part of the appeal. We were able to get out of our touring headspace and stay completely involved with the record and what we were doing.” That allowed the band to concentrate on the music, to pursue ideas without distractions and misgivings, but it also removed them from the world during a momentous event. 

We’re Not Going Anywhere turns that distance into a big-picture perspective— engaged and informed, compassionately political but not necessarily partisan. “We’d take breaks during the day and watch the news and see all the rallies and marches and the disruption and the out-of-control feeling that was everywhere then—and, frankly, still is now. We were looking around and no one was around us. The closest house was a mile away, so it was just us. We were grateful just to retreat from that social tornado for a while and create something that we hoped would be very beautiful.” 

Looming over every song is the ghost of Ramirez’s great-grandmother, who inspired “Eliza Jane,” a deeply poignant and personal tune near the album’s conclusion. In gracefully plainspoken lyrics, Ramirez describes how she and her brothers left Oklahoma during the Great Depression, heading northwest to Oregon, where she played piano in a country band. “My mom was telling me this story and the song was writing itself. I wish I had known her, because I’m curious what drove her. I know what drives a lot of my musician friends, but I really want to ask a family member: Why did you do this? Was it just for fun? Was it a passion so deep-rooted that you couldn’t not do it?”

While he may describe the creative process as fun, Ramirez obviously has inherited a deep-rooted passion—one that will continue to drive him well into the future. “I’m not going to be so afraid to take risks in the future, like I have been in the past. I’ve been so stressed and concerned with every detail, but I learned to let that go. Let’s just have fun. Let’s get weird. I’ve never felt that way about my work. I still respect my older stuff, but I just didn’t want to be afraid anymore. That’s what I learned on this one.” 

Tickets: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/525308

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Grant-Lee Phillips, 29 January 2023

Grant-Lee Phillips’ latest album, Lightning, Show Us Your Stuff, is a turbulent and highly musical rumination that finds the veteran singer-songwriter addressing the strange fragility of life. His tenth solo release bears the markings of his prolific output, a melodic prowess and an ear for lyric in everyday conversation. 
The album offers a salve to a wounded world, struggling to regain equilibrium. This is Grant-Lee Phillips at his most reflective, wrestling with the most pertinent of questions. What we value, how we define security, our vulnerability – here Phillips takes stock of the deeper questions with intensity and humor.

Tickets: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/523920

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John Murry – Full band show, Nov 20

plus support The Mostar Diving Club

Our favourite songwriter returns to Winchester, which has such significance in his career, promoting his new album The Stars Are God’s Bullet Holes.

Tickets: https://www.wegottickets.com/event/525160

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Elliott Brood at the Railway, March 29, 2022

From the mountains of Utah to the trenches of Vimy Ridge, Elliott BROOD’s songs have travelled the gore and glory of history in equal measure for nearly a decade. With the stomp and thrash of their early albums, Elliott BROOD carved their niche drawing from history and memory. As heavy and harrowing the past can be, for Elliott BROOD, it is also a generous companion, giving the gift of appreciation for times of peace and grace. 
With Keeper, Elliott BROOD’s seventh album, the trio deals with the past in more personal terms. The title, which speaks to loyalty and longevity, sets the tone for an album that explores the strength of conviction, and how that strength is tested, again and again, over time. Thoughts of worthiness and dedication, and their emotional flip sides, inform a collection that sees the band exploring those battlefields much closer to home. 
From the Polaris Music Prize short listed breakout album Mountain Meadows to the JUNO Award winning Days Into Years, the well-traveled trio of Mark Sasso, Casey Laforet and Stephen Pitkin have created a body of work that is at once meticulous and boisterous, substantial and entertaining.

https://www.wegottickets.com/event/516978

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John Blek in the Swiss Cottage, November 10 2021

Blek is an artist with a story to tell. With his timeless emotive voice and layered fingerstyle guitar you will be transported from scene to scene as his expansive songbook unfolds.

John Blek is Cork City born and bred currently residing only a mile or two from his childhood home but listening to his music you can hear the influence of travel and experience. His parents, both of whom were primary school teachers, had to bribe him to stay in school after his 16th birthday with the promise of a new guitar on the completion of his final exams. Such was John’s belief in his ability and chosen path in life that he was willing to forgo the more traditional education sought by his peers. This conviction carries through to his art.  His music is written from such a personal place that it creates the sense that he grew up with these songs, that they are in his blood – and in a way he did, they are his thoughts, his words, his sounds and his stories. Though not all autobiographical, like many of the great painters, an element of the artist exists in every portrait.

Tickets: https://www.wegottickets.com/event/516979

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Jerry Leger and the Situation, 4 May 2022, Railway

“One of the best Canadian songwriters….Time Out for Tomorrow is his masterpiece” -Rolling Stone
“…from the top drawer.” -UNCUT
“Jerry Leger has that spark that all the great songwriters have. He’s the real deal.” -Ron Sexsmith
“Great songs, great voice…right in my wheelhouse of music.” -Tommy Stinson (The Replacements, Bash & Pop)

Tickets: https://www.wegottickets.com/event/516977

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The Mastersons, February 1, 2022

at the Railway Inn, Winchester, with special guest Bonnie Whitmore.

The Mastersons are singer-songwriters/multi-instrumentalists Chris Mastersonand Eleanor Whitmore. When they’re not touring the world as valued long time members of Steve Earle’s band the Dukes, the musical and marital twosome make inspired albums of their own emotionally vivid, deeply humanistic songs. The duo’s fourth set of original compositions is the appropriately titled No Time for Love Songs. The Mastersons, who now call Los Angeles home after stints in Austin, Brooklyn and Terlingua, Texas; recorded No Time for Love Songs at L.A.’s legendary Sunset Sound Recorders withShooter Jennings; the album was engineered and mixed by five-time Grammy Award-winning engineer, Ryan Freeland. Shooter had recruited The Mastersons to play on his albums Family Man (2012) and The Other Life (2013), and they’d recently reunited to work on Tanya Tucker’s acclaimed comeback album While I’m Livin’, which Jennings co-produced with Brandi Carlile.

Support comes from Bonnie Whitmore:

“Defiance and hope flow through every song of Last Will & Testament, testifying to Whitmore’s passion for her community and showcasing her ingenious ability to find just-right words and phrases to express anger, disillusionment, protest, hope, and love.” – No Depression

https://www.wegottickets.com/event/515532

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This Is The Kit, November 7, 2021

A special double show to celebrate 40 years of live music at the Railway. Both shows are sold out.

Matinée: https://www.wegottickets.com/event/503436
Evening: https://www.wegottickets.com/event/503437
Double ticket for both shows: https://www.wegottickets.com/event/503439

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Peter Bruntnell Band plus support, October 8, 2021

At the Railway Inn, Winchester

Pete and the band will be playing songs from his newest album Journey To The Sun, to celebrate 40 years of live music at the Railway!

 

https://www.wegottickets.com/event/515654

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Loco-Motion

A full-colour, 32 page magazine detailing the history of the Railway Inn as it celebrates forty years of presenting live music. Available to pre-order now here: https://sc4m.co.uk/order-loco-motion/