Live at the Greystones

Filmed live at the Greystones in Sheffield at the end of our Neighbour of the Year tour earlier this year, here are three clips – “Not Now, Horse”, “March, March” and “Straw & Hay”.

We had filmed the full show with the intention of sharing it in its entirety, but sadly there were sound issues with the recording beyond the control of Rob and Jasmine who kindly filmed it for us (you can occasionally hear some slight distortion on these clips when the volume reaches a certain level, but these ones are largely free from issues).

Apologies to anyone who was looking forward to seeing the whole thing again (you’ll just have to come and see us again eh?)


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Songwriting course

A few months ago, I was invited to contribute to a songwriting course – “How to Write Your First Song” – being offered by the University of Sheffield, which is now available for registration. It’s an online, six week course and it’s completely free.

You’ll find me talking about my own songwriting techniques and giving out a few tips, as well as performing a song along with some other musicians – including our very own Katherine Jackson on drums for a change. Other contributors include Tom Ravenscroft, Martin Simpson, Kate Jackson and Neil McSweeney.

Find out more and sign up!

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I wrote a whole post about politics, especially focused on food issues, but then I deleted it. Instead I’m just going to plug a few good, on more than one level, gigs coming up in Sheffield – see below. All I will say is that I hate that we are living in a country where the poorest are not only being kept poor, but are being asked by the government every day to be a bit poorer while they’re at it. Vote for Policies.

For the Common Good

My next gig is in support of the Sheffield Greens, as part of the “For the Common Good” festival. I’ll be at the Neil McSweeney gig this evening, which is also part of the festival.

Sheffield Food Collective

Sheffield Food Collective have just announced another show with the marvellous Diane Cluck. I highly recommend that one too.

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Neighbour/Dog Combo Power Up

“You don’t need a dog to run in the woods, to talk to the trees and the birds” – My neighbour, Mike

I’ve gone on a fair bit about both dogs and neighbours over the last year, but get ready for this…it’s all come together:

I arrived home yesterday to find that one of my neighbours, Mike, had posted a card through my door. Not only was the card full of kind words about Dog, it also contained a CD. Mike had written a sort of response song to mine. I went to thank him earlier today (and of course I gave him a Neighbour of the Year sticker) and to ask if he would mind if I shared the song with you. Here’s Mike’s song, ‘Beware of the Dog':


Thank you Mike (and Gillian too!)

Let’s look at that picture of my friends’ dog Ace wearing my hat again shall we?


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I Can’t See You

Here’s “I Can’t See You” from the new album.

A few people have asked me why we don’t do this one live. It’s because it’s made up of several layers of my voice and guitar, and to create a live version we’d have to quite significantly alter the arrangement/instrumentation to fit the band, which in my mind would change the song quite a lot. I like it how it is too much to do that but maybe one day we’ll give it a go and see if it’s better than I imagine. We’ll see!

Lyrically, this is the part in the anxiety cycle that came after the really low point of ‘I’ve Been Shot’, but at a time when I was experiencing some panic attacks and – as you can hear pretty plainly – when I wasn’t feeling myself at all. But at least I knew I wasn’t myself and I knew there was a better, happier me I had to find again.

This is the one that I wanted to sound like it could be in a Tim Burton film too – those harmonies towards the end.

The mirror’s wrong (Are my eyes open yet?)
It’s not my face (I saw you turn away)

I can’t see you (stopped dead in the road with your hand over your mouth)
I can’t see you (just glass I’m looking through)

I let her go (she wasn’t having fun with me)
She’s been around (come back, you took the best of me)

I can’t see you (you melt off the curb with the last of the snow)
I can’t see you (just glass I’m looking through)

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Richard Dawson came to Sheffield earlier this week and several of his songs are still on rotation in my head a couple of days later, keeping me company. I imagine it’s the same for most of the people that were there. This one’s particularly incredible:

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Nothing says romance like a year old home recording. You’re welcome:

Free download

May I also recommend an excellent podcast from my friend Johny in Australia too – his anti-Valentine’s special of his Right Time Wrong Speed radio show:

Listen here

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