November 2012 tour!

Did a little tour in November with Serious Sam Barrett, returned to some places we’ve been playing for years and played some we’ve never done before.

Started off in Sheffield with an Opus Acoustics show at the Riverside. These guys are great and always put on a good show for us. There’s this guy who sits at the front and draws pictures of the performers, this is us in action:



Saturday night we did the Tap and Spile in Harrogate, it  was a rowdy do, there wasn’t a real PA so we just unplugged and tried to shout over everyone, which was quite fun, guess that’s how most of the human race have managed to perform.

Sunday we managed to fit in two shows at the north east. Firstly went up to Newcastle to do an afternoon slot at the Cluny then down to the Waiting Room in Eaglescliffe. Must have been years since I first played there with Ben Wetherill (in his acoustic days), been going back in various guises, probably the one place outside Leeds I’ve played the most. Luke always gives us a warm, if eccentric, welcome. Still not sure if he’s forgiven us for messing up accompanying him on First Time Ever I saw Her Face when he got up to sing with the Lovesick Cowboys a few years ago…

Then south to London to play at What’s Cookin’ At the Birbeck Tavern in Layton. It was a great regular night they had down there with a local following and all kinds of Americana, Folk and Country people playing there. Unfortunately the owners are moving on shortly but hopefully they’ll be getting the night up and running at another venue, possibly in the north! Stayed with some friends, drank some whiskey then headed down to Folkstone to play The Chambers. Played here back in April and love this place, get treated well by Chris the landlord. Looks line a 1920s Parisian cafe from the outside, most of the action goes on downstairs in the massive underground bar. Stayed over in the same place we shot some videos last time. You can see the coast of France from here.

The next week was the southeastern leg, where we experienced incredible hospitality from Nuala Honan during our time in Bristol. Played at her Live in the Lions’ Den night at the Golden Lion then did a bit of busking during the day before playing at the Canteen in the evening. I remember good food and booze at this place. Saw this guy watching while we were busking.

Dog in pram


Had a day to get to Stroud to play at the Prince Albert. Fortunately there was a petrol station with a fried chicken department.Chicken Stop


At the weekend we drove over to play Glossop dropping in at Sam’s Aunty’s house for dinner on the way. She lives on Snake Pass and the postcode area is several miles along that road. There is also no phone signal round there. After snooping round several potentially possible farm houses we asked in a pub. We were an hour late but quite relieved not have been eaten by wolves.

The final date was at the Manor Folk Club (soon to be renamed Wallesy Folk and Acoustic Club) on the Wirral. This night has connections with various other nights such as Radical Liverpool and the Woody Guthrie Folk Club. The left is still strong over there! The compare had us in stitches, was a tough at to follow! But think we did it.

That’s it for now, hopefully see you on the road in 2013!



I supposed it has to happen at some point if you’re driving a ’96 Escort…

“This ’96 Escort’s done me well, there’s no need to complain”

On our way to Liverpool Sam’s car emptied itself of water 5 miles out of Leeds… Some kind passers-by gave us water but we couldn’t get enough so we called the RAC and headed back to Leeds to get my car. 5 hours later me made it to the View Two Gallery in Liverpool just in time to play Liverpool Acoustic Live. Another civilized affair, a great promoter and my family were there, we somehow got it together to play. Did two encores!


We had a day off then played at the Great Northern Wine Warehouse. It’s an amazing venue, great audience and lovely owners.  But I didn’t take any photos or films so you’ll just have to take my word for it. Played there a couple of years back with Tom Attah and remembered the audience were one of the most attentive and enthusiastic I’d played for. The best sound we’ve experienced all month, can hear every breath and somehow sing almost every note in tune. A bit of excitement on the way home as I thought we might run out of petrol on the moors but we made it back if 19 miles left in the tank (apparently). Ripon’s a good looking town. Think it has a cathedral.

South West

Just spent a few days down in the other bit of the south First we were in Stroud (not to be confused with Strood which is way on the other side of the south) where we were invited to play on Stroud FM which was quite exciting. We stopped off at my Uncle’s house and listened to the station for a bit, they were playings some pretty good country music. Here’s Sam getting prepared:

Sam at Stroud FM

We were on at the Prince Albert, it’s always a strange rolling up to a place you’ve never played and have no idea what it’s going to be like, but so far, a chalk board is a good omen…

The Prince Albert, Stroud

And we were greeted by chilli and beer, doesn’t get much better than that!

Sam enjoying some chilli by the fireplace

We were there early so made a few videos in the beer garden

Think it’s raining now. and the landlord may be sawing some wood in this next one.

We did one round the fire, amongst the locals. Nearly burned our asses off.

Gig was fun, drank some beer, stayed at my Uncles.

The next day we only had to go to Oxford, but due to the complications in Sam’s life we took a hundred mile detour to pick up his new records which had just arrived in London. Got to see them arrive on a fork-lift truck so it was worth it.

Yadig Records

Got to St James Church in Oxford with plenty of time so we went for a busk. As soon as we put money in parking meter it started to rain. Happy days. Sun came out later though, here’s some graves

And here’s Sam doing an old folk song. If you can hear him over all the birds.

Old graves

Dunno what he’s doing on this one but I thought it was nice so it’s here:

It was as mixed line up that night, some folk, some avant garde… And that was it, we had to drive back as Sam had to get his records to shops for record store day on Saturday. Snoop Dogg and Relentless all the way home.

Southern Leg Part 1

Our first southern show was in Folkstone so we set off early. This gave us plenty of time to hang out in roadside cafes, which are abundant on the A1. Here is a fine specimen:

Sibbington Diner

They were showing Bargain Hunt which reminded me of home

Bargain Hunt

We got to stay in a B&B! The Southcliffe Hotel. This doesn’t happen very often. Pretty good view:


We had some time before the show so we made a cup of tea then we had a play in the room. I mean a practice. Here’s a traditional song, Silver Dagger:

And this is one of Serious’s:

One the way to venue we did another:

The Chambers, Folkstone

The venue was really nice and they treated us right well. Yep, that’s a gormet steak right there.

Sam Avec Steak

The weather was good when we woke up and we had a few hours to spare

Sam with sea view

so we did another couple of songs. This is a rock n roll number

and one of mine

This is just a car


We arrived in London midday to record some songs for Imperial College student radio. It costs about a weeks rent to park round there so we went through a load of stuff as quick as we could. There is some video from it but I might wait till the recordings are ready to put them up.

Imperial College Studio

Headed over to Camden, Sam had a bit of a skate while I felt like a dad, had a beer then went to sound check at the Green Note. We’ve played here a few times and we’d sold all the tickets in advance! Good to see a few people we hadn’t seen for a while. We don’t hold it against them for moving to London. Not much…

When Sam gets lonely away from home he sleeps with a toy shark

Sam and his shark

The Brighton show was cancelled but we went down anyway as Sam’s friend had sorted us out with a last minute show nearby. We had a busk in the day then went for a quick nap on the beach.

Us ont Beach

We were playing at the Duke of Wellington in Shoreham, filmed a folk song in the beer garden before hand. It’s about a massive sheep.

Went to a rock n roll night afterwards which was just what we needed.

Had to get up early as we were playing in the afternoon in Norwich. And the south is bigger than I though. And it was the Brighton marathon.


As we had no time for breakfast (and Sam’s trying to put on weight…) we had some chicken on the way. We didn’t eat for another 10 hours after that…

Bargain Bucket

Our names in chalk

Fat Cat Brewery Tap

It’s a long way from Norwich to civilization, stopped off at a diner I’d played at before with the Lovesick Cowboys. They’re still worried about the Germans down there…


Met lots of nice people in the South but was confused by the way they served beer. Back to Leeds for a few days. Slept very well.



North Yorkshire sky

North Yorkshire sky

Sunday night played in at the Blues Bar in Harrogate. It was bank holiday on Monday so everyone was out to have fun and there’s a gang from Harrogate who always come see us and make things exciting. Wildest gig so far! Here’s Sam singing of heartbreak:

Serious Sam

After the show a Polish man confronted Sam and told him he needed to be as confident as me. I spoke to guy from the south who said we need to play more Irish songs when we’re down there.


Saturday afternoon we played the Cluny in Newcastle, Sam had been there a few times before supporting bands like the Wilders but it was my first time. In fact I think it was the first time I’d been to Newcastle.  Me and Sam played either side of local country swing band Shipcote then we did a party set together at the end. Kev from the High Hollers happened to be there so I got him up to play some harmonica on a few, he did a roaring job of Careless Love.

Sam preparing himself at the Cluny

Planning to film us playing our songs while we’re on tour, did our first couple outside the Cluny. Still working on the art of cinematography so they may be a little ropey but hopefully they’ll get better. And we decided to film next to a fan which you might be able to hear. It’s our biggest fan.

He’s drinkin’ like George Jones since she went away. I know what you mean Sam…


Think I played this a bit too fast as we’d ordered some burgers and they were nearly ready

Bad Friday

Friday night was supposed to be in Bradford but it was called off due to illness. Goddamnnit. So after trying to think of a plan B the best we could come up with was to go and busk in Leeds. In the cold. It wasn’t bad though, we made a bit and got some smiles. And some potential gigs.

The highlight of the day was I found that someone had hidden a potato in my guitar case. Can’t work out when this could have happened, can you tell the age of a potato from the length of it’s tentacles?


Plan C was to go and see if they’d have us play at the Grove in Leeds. It was closed. Do pubs usually close on Good Friday? Dunno. Hopefully tomorrow’ll go better…

Grove was closed. Troubling.


On the Road Again

We were supposed to start this tour on the 1st April but the first show was cancelled, which was a bit of an anti-climax. So we were even more raring to go and play Sheffield. The good guys at Opus Independents put us on, knew we could count on them! We’ve both played for them a few times before and it’s a good crowd down at the Riverside.

It’s been a while since me and Sam did some serious playing together, last time we did a tour like this was back in 2008, damn, time goes fast. Sam did a blog about that one, had some good times.

Got an encore though so I think we still got it…