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Native Harrow, April 17, 2021

“I dug myself out from the well to make Closeness a record about love”, professes Devin Tuel, from the Eastern Pennsylvania home she shares with her partner, Stephen Harms. Together the two make up the folk rock outfit, Native Harrow. “When I sat down to begin what would become Closeness I felt that above all, I wanted to make it clear that, while the clock is moving, we can hold onto one another and maybe there will be tears but there will also be laughter.” Closeness , the fourth LP from Native Harrow, exists at the intersection of two winding roads; time and motion. The album opens like the shot of a cannon with “Shake”, a rocking confessional about riding anxiety’s elevator. If this is any indication of where the band have been since last we heard from them (2019’s, Happier Now ), time has moved on and with it life has evolved and unfolded. Time moves away, takes what it can carry … I have seen how it ends, thru the edges of time … Time turns away so quickly, quiet as it goes … It’s the same every time … Time’s gonna get harder but you’ve gotta carry on … Watch the weeks go by, my how the years have gone by … I can’t quiet my head of the sounds of time rolling by … From the winding years, there is a season for all to unfold … Time moves forward, and I gave up that chase. Today, the band are reflecting on not only this new record but how now, months after its recording wrapped, it feels ever prescient. Tuel takes us back to when she was writing the album and the early days of Closeness ’ conception, “For this record I really wanted to tell stories. Our stories from the last two years, from the weeks leading up to recording, tales from other lifetimes, and stories from where I fear this world is heading.” When it came time to record the songs, the band decamped to Reliable Recorders in Chicago, IL to once again work with drummer and engineer, Alex Hall. The 10 tracks of Closeness were recorded over two sessions; three December days in the dying light of 2019 and the first three new days of January 2020. Similar to the process of making Happier Now , the sessions were firstly focused on documenting trio performances that captured Tuel’s master vocal takes live in the room, guitar in hand, with Harms on bass and Hall on drums. Closeness elaborates on the group’s radiant warmth and timeless nostalgia with the inclusion of new sounds and experiences. The combustible fuzz-driven opener “Shake” gives way to slices of 70s FM groove (“The Dying of Ages” and the desert funk of “If I Could”), 60s art pop (“Even Peace” and the expansive orchestral “Sun Queen”), and the kind of graceful folk (“Smoke Burns”) and folk soul (the compassionate conviction of “Carry On”) the band is best known for. The intricate polyrhythms and grinding Moog synthesizer (“Same Every Time”), the fully realized vintage jazz combo (“Turn Turn”), and the exquisite piano ballad (the penultimate “Feeling Blue”) provide glimpses down previously unexplored streets and find the band stretching out and confidently illuminating their expansive aspirations.

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This Is The Kit, March 13, 2021

A special double show to celebrate 40 years of live music at the Railway. Tickets on sale now:

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, March 26

We hope this show will go ahead as normal. It’s a bit late but we couldn’t celebrate 40 years of live music at the Railway without Peter Bruntnell!

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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/

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sc4m at Rhythmtree – postponed

Postponed until Saturday, July 10, 2021.

The line-up remains the same:

John Murry

The Little Unsaid

Maz O’connor

The Blood Choir

March

Tali Trow

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Two very special house concerts with Robyn Hitchcock – rescheduled

Rescheduled to 18 and 19 September 2021. Tickets remain valid.

Supports:

18th: Lucy Kitchen

19th: Lucas and King

Two unique and intimate shows with one of the world’s most distinctive singer-songwriters. Hampshire connections make this a must, as Robyn performs in a house concert setting for just 35 people. This is a private show with all income going to the artist. To secure a place for one of the shows, you can make your contribution by getting your ticket here.

Robyn Hitchcock is one of England’s most enduring contemporary singer/songwriters and live performers. A surrealist poet, talented guitarist, cult artist and musician’s musician, Hitchcock is among alternative rock’s father figures and is the closest thing the genre has to a Bob Dylan (not coincidentally his biggest musical inspiration).

Since founding the art-rock band The Soft Boys in 1976, Robyn has recorded more than 20 albums as well as starred in ‘Storefront Hitchcock’ an in concert film recorded in New York and directed by Jonathan Demme. 

Blending folk and psychedelia with a wry British nihilism, Robyn describes his songs as ‘paintings you can listen to’. His most recent album is self-titled and marks his 21st release as a solo artist. Out on April 21 2017, the album is produced by Brendan Benson (The Raconteurs). Hitchcock describes it as a “ecstatic work of negativity with nary a dreary groove.” 

It has received rave reviews from UNCUT, Rolling Stone, Paste, Tidal and more. 

“A gifted melodist, Hitchcock nests engaging lyrics in some of the most bracing, rainbow-hued pop this side of Revolver. He wrests inspiration not from ordinary life but from extraordinary imaginings…” – Rolling Stone

“These 10 gems slither, rock, roll, glide and shapeshift, coalescing around Hitchcock’s typically anxious, strained but striking and immediately identifiable vocals.” – American Songwriter

“Beloved of everyone from Led Zeppelin to REM, Hitchcock has only enhanced his status with this wonderful outing.” – Hot Press

“Witty, moving and seriously catchy, Robyn Hitchcock is a glorious return for a man who wasn’t really gone in the first place.” – Paste Magazine  

Robyn Hitchcock
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Railway 40 – a Double Show with the Felice Brothers on June 20 – rescheduled

RESCHEDULED

These shows have been rescheduled for June 19, 2021. All tickets remain valid.

There will be two shows at the Railway Inn in Winchester: an afternoon show at 2pm and an evening one at 8pm. You can buy an afternoon or evening ticket for £20 or a double ticket for both shows for £35. The shows will not be identical. Tickets will go on sale on January 17 at 10 am.

Cut live to tape with very little overdubbing, the new Felice Brothers album Undress was recorded in the late summer of 2018 in Germantown, New York. Band members Ian Felice, James Felice, Will Lawrence (drums) and Jesske Hume (bass) teamed up with producer Jeremy Backofen to record their most personal and reflective album to date.

Undress follows the band’s 2016 album Life In The Dark, and finds the group in a very different place three years later. Between personnel changes, families growing and the political landscape, the result is a tighter, more-paired down release. “Every song is a story,” said James Felice. “On this album everything was a bit more thoughtful, including the arrangements, the sonic quality and the harmonies.”

“Many of the songs on the new album are motivated by a shift from private to public concerns,” says songwriter Ian Felice. “It isn’t hard to find worthwhile things to write about these days, there are a lot of storms blooming on the horizon and a lot of chaos that permeates our lives. The hard part is finding simple and direct ways to address them.”

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Banjo on my Knee out now!

It’s the perfect gift for anyone interested in music, travel and Americana. Available from Amazon, or any bookshop, or direct from me.

Part travelogue, part guide book, part music memoir but mainly observational nonsense – Banjo On My Knee shows you how to survive a three-week journey through the music of America’s South and avoid some of the pitfalls of US travel.

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Jeffrey Foucault at the Railway, April 1 – CANCELLED

We hope to be able to re-schedule this show in 2021.

In two decades on the road Jeffrey Foucault has become one of the most distinctive voices in American music, refining a sound instantly recognizable for its simplicity and emotional power. He’s built a brick-and-mortar international touring career of multiple studio albums, countless miles, and general critical acclaim, lauded for “Stark, literate songs that are as wide open as the landscape of his native Midwest” (The New Yorker), and described as “Quietly brilliant” (Irish Times).

In April 2020 Jeffrey Foucault will tour the United Kingdom in support of BLOOD BROTHERS (Blueblade Records, 2018) his sixth collection of original songs, with his longtime drummer and tour partner Billy Conway (Morphine) on drums. Ry Cavanaugh (Session Americana) opens the tour.

Since 2013 Foucault and Conway have toured relentlessly together, refining a primal, stripped-down stage show: two men, two chairs; a beat-up Gibson J-45 and an electric guitar tuned low and played through a 5-watt amp; a suitcase kick drum, a low-boy cymbal, a snare drum. The pair plays only what they can carry into the club alone in one trip, and cover all the territory from blues and country, to rock ‘n’ roll and folk, with a laconic ferocity and timeless cool. Their dynamic partnership – as nimble as it is sonically powerful – is the bedrock on which BLOOD BROTHERS builds its nuanced and poignant lament.

THE NEW YORK TIMES:?“Sometimes his songs run right up to the edge of the grandiose, and hold still, and that’s when he’s best… Close to perfection.”

UNCUT MAGAZINE (UK): “The music of Wisconsin native Foucault is the kind so many aspire to but never attain: beat-up troubadour folk whittled to dolorous perfection…”

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Jerry Leger, April 26 at the Railway – CANCELLED

We hope to be able to re-schedule this show in 2021.

Jerry Leger has a thing for ghosts. The Toronto singer/songwriter confirmed it a couple of years ago when he went on a personal journey to explore many of Ontario’s largely unknown ghost towns, having been inspired by the writings of historian Ron Brown. Leger has immortalized one of those towns, Burchell Lake, on his new album Time Out For Tomorrow, containing 10 portraits of the impermanence of life, love, or simply catching a glimpse of a shooting star.

Yet, other ghosts reside much deeper in Leger’s songs. Whether they’re the voices of Roy Orbison, Lou Reed, Gene Clark, Rick Danko or Ronnie Lane, they naturally complement the universal truths at the core of Jerry Leger’s music, along with his undying faith in rock ‘n roll as a way for all people to find common ground.

Time Out For Tomorrow continues Leger’s run of consistently high output and displays the finely honed artistic vision that has been evident since 2005 when, at age 19, he released the first of nine studio albums, along with three more with his side projects The Del-Fi’s and The Bop-Fi’s. It’s added up to a body of work that was recently celebrated with the European-only compilation Too Broke To Die, aimed at Leger’s growing fan base in Britain and the EU.

Most of those listeners didn’t discover Leger until his 2014 album Early Riser, his first with Michael Timmins of Cowboy Junkies handling production duties, as well as the first to be released on the Junkies’ label, Latent Recordings. The combination of Timmins’ capture-the-moment production aesthetic and the Rolling Thunder-esque chemistry of Leger’s longtime band The Situation (plus a few special guests) now appears unbeatable. And although Time Out For Tomorrow may not be as expansive as Leger’s previous Timmins-produced effort, the acclaimed 2017 double album Nonsense And Heartache, its more concentrated dose of everything Leger does best is just as potent.

“I got the name for the album from an early ‘60s dime store collection of science fiction short stories a friend gave me,” he explains. “Everything around me seems like science fiction these days, and the phrase ‘Time Out For Tomorrow’ fit these songs and my mood in one way or another.”

In highlighting some of the album’s key moments, Leger points to the opening track “Canvas Of Gold,” on which he sings, “Everything was almost decided when we were young, you’ll stay poor like your family before and I’ll keep hustling.” It’s a reference to Toronto’s well-known gentrification projects in recent years that have put tremendous pressure on the city’s artistic communities. Jerry adds, “Close to where I live there’s a condo development starting at $400,000 called ‘The Poet.’ I don’t know too many poets who can afford that. I’m living in a time that is harder and harder to do what I at this point involuntarily do. What I have to do.”

He also takes aim at tensions stoked by hate groups on the inspiring “That Ain’t Here,” another seemingly endless battle in which artists have been forced to engage. However, the mood on Time Out For Tomorrow often abruptly shifts to showing off Leger’s genuine love of early rock ‘n roll, as evidenced by the gripping ballad “Read Between The Lines.”

“I originally wrote that one for The Del Fi’s, but many people I played it for convinced me to keep it for myself, so I did,” he says. “It has a great energy and feel, and I think this album more than any of the others really succeeded on getting the perfect feel for each tune. It’s hard to do; usually the songs come across better live, but I think with this record we managed to capture that spirit.”

In keeping with his love of all things vintage, Leger is a voracious vinyl collector and notes that when recording Time Out For Tomorrow, the two albums he was listening to most often were Lou Reed’s Coney Island Baby, and Nick Lowe’s The Impossible Bird. He says their influence had more to do with the overall sound he wanted to project rather than any specific musical or lyrical content.

“Coney Island Baby was the first solo Lou Reed record I heard, probably around age 14, and I’ve always loved it,” he says. “The production just glides along and really puts the focus on the words. My song ‘Justine’ on this record benefited from that the most.

“I got into Nick Lowe through Elvis Costello, and with The Impossible Bird, there’s a real brightness to that album—the sound just makes me feel good when I hear it. It’s the same feeling as when I throw on an old Everly Brothers record like ‘Cathy’s Clown.’ It gets me out of a depression every time, even though it has depressing lyrics! I wanted Time Out For Tomorrow to have that same kind of open arms sound to it while still presenting lyrics about the human condition for better or worse. I think my song ‘I Would’ is one Nick Lowe might dig.”

Indeed, other songwriters of Lowe’s caliber, such as Ron Sexsmith, and outlets such as Rolling Stone, PopMatters and the Toronto Star have sung Leger’s praises. He’s also shared stages with The Sadies, Justin Townes Earle, Deer Tick, Dawes, and others, along with making his debut at Holland’s Take Root Festival in 2018 alongside Neko Case, Kurt Vile, Father John Misty, Shakey Graves, and Alejandro Escovedo.

Canada may be known more these days for punching above its weight in the global pop music field, but its long and storied tradition of singer/songwriters refuses to die. Jerry Leger is carrying that torch, and if there’s any further proof needed that he’s at the vanguard, just listen to Time Out For Tomorrow.