One Run For Boston is a non-stop relay race spanning the width of the United States to raise money for The One Fund, a charity set up to provide assistance to victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. Over 1000 runners are taking part, passing on the baton to a new runner every couple of hours for 3 weeks night and day, and due to cross the finishing line of the Boston Marathon on June 30th. So far they’ve managed to raise over $50,000, with more coming in every day.
Danny Bent, one of the organisers, asked if Feet Don’t Fail Me Now could be their official theme song, and of course I didn’t have to think very hard before saying yes. Best wishes to all the runners involved, they’re part of something very special and it’s a fitting response to a terrible tragedy.
I was also approached recently by Bon Collins, remarkable founder of The Little Bird Foundation, whose response to being diagnosed with a serious bone condition was to set up a charity to help others in a similar position. Despite living with a highly debilitating illness, Bon has been working hard to raise funds for others who may not be able to afford the essential equipment they need.
Spending a lot of time in a wheelchair or with restricted movement might explain why Feet Don’t Fail Me Now became an important song for her too, and I’m delighted for it to be the charity’s official theme. I find Bon’s reaction so inspiring and I was honoured to accept her offer of being The Little Bird Foundation’s first patron.
Although I didn’t know it at the time, the night I first met John Parker and Luke Concannon from Nizlopi in 2010 became quite a significant one where every act on the bill split up and started playing music with each other.
Since then I’ve been lucky enough to share a stage with John regularly as he brought his double bass to life on my songs. The end of Nizlopi was very hard for him, but over time he’s developed into an irreplaceable session musician for lots of great artists.
Moving on was hard for Luke too, but he’s managed to record an exceptional solo album, and now they’ve agreed to their first set of dates back together since the split:
Sunday 16th June – support from Paper Aeroplanes and Rob Bearsby
Monday 17th June – support from me and Antonio Lulic
Both nights will be at The Borderline, London and sold out in a few hours. If you got a ticket for the Monday, I look forward to seeing you there.
Things seem to have moved forward quite a bit recently. In the space of a week I met some engineers and producers and spent two days rehearsing new songs with the band. I’m starting to get a crazy feeling in my belly… maybe it’s time to get into the studio again??
There are 16 songs on my current list. Some feel like the best I’ve ever written, others less so. The current plan is to record the first batch soon, release some, then just keep going.
In the meantime I have a stack of gigs this month:
|4th May 2013||Miss Peapods||Cornwall||TIX|
|9th May 2013||The Angel||Suffolk||FREE|
|11th May 2013||Bucks Student Union, supporting Everything Everything||High Wycombe||INFO|
|13th May 2013||Gaslight Club, Oporto||Leeds||FREE|
|16th May 2013||Guitar Bar||Nottingham||£5/£3|
|20th May 2013||Moles||Bath||£3|
|23rd May 2013||Full Moon||Cardiff||£4|
|31st May 2013||South Devon Arts Centre||Totnes||£8|
I’m so sorry there are such big holes on this list… London, Manchester, Bristol, Brighton and many more, I’ll be releasing a stack of Autumn tour dates in the coming weeks. I really do want to play everywhere then, we will leave no town unturned.
Much love, will do tour blogs for this month’s dates too, see below for the first one.
“Yarrrgggh” the grizzly bear roared.
“Yargh yourself” I replied, darting behind him in one smooth motion and leaping high on his back, pointing towards the sunrise. “Let’s explore the wilderness”.
Well anyway I think I’m coming to the end of all that nonsense now, so here’s an idea.
How about we go to a really small venue, maybe 30 of us or something. I’ll play mainly new songs and together we’ll get a feel for which ones are good, and which ones are, quite frankly, amazing.
What I’ve got in mind is a ‘Work In Progress’ theme. Be prepared for me to stop a song half way through because I’ve been hit by the crushing realisation that it’s rubbish. I’ll talk a bit about the songs, and you should feel free to voice your opinions if you want to.
We could do it sort-of-regularly as the songs develop into an album. Maybe once every couple of months in London, and in other parts of the UK as well if possible. Because it’s not the finished article, I’ll make sure the tickets are as cheap as possible, basically just enough to cover the pyrotechnic display in the finale.
It’s not a focus group or anything – just a chance to play new material to people who will be honest and will forgive me if I make the odd foray into a genre or subject one should never foray into.
If you think that’s you then let me know, along with where you live and we’ll try and make it happen.
Or just stay tuned for when the ‘Work In Progress’ dates are announced.
In the meantime, I’ll be doing short sets in Nottingham, Bristol and Bury next week, with other dates planned for April and May. My gigs page has more info: http://www.jakemorley.com/gigs
Big grizzly love
Sometimes after a run of great gigs I find myself about to start the next one thinking “surely this one will screw up”. Maybe I do a rushed sound check and the panic and self-consciousness sets in, which feeds itself until it’s some sort of Jaba the Hut / Henry VIII fat king, laughing at me from behind its ugly dribbling face. The more self-conscious I feel, the less natural I act, and the less natural I act, the less natural everyone else acts too. “ooh I’m not sure about this guy… maybe he’s no good…” chatter chatter chatter… it spreads and suddenly everyone closes up like traders on the stock market. Or meercats or something.
The reverse is also true though, sometimes it doesn’t take much to make me feel confident and comfortable, a comment or tactful bit of space from someone, a last minute change to a setlist that was bothering me, the look on someone’s face in the crowd. When that feeds itself it becomes King Gandalf Liono Skywalker The Fat Demon Slayer. Suddenly the whole room feels great. ROCK!
Amazingly, I’ve had 6 of those totally epic gigs in a row here in Canada. I’ve been playing as well as I’ve ever played, to small packed rooms of people who have gone mad for it.
In between I’ve been able to see some of the country:
and made a few new friends along the way:
It’s put a lot of things into perspective too. After my last album I felt like I needed to shut everything down and start all over again with loads of new music. But playing old and new songs together has helped me realise that the next album can be quite different whilst still being a continuation. That makes me all the more excited to make it.
My memory isn’t so good. I like to think that’s on purpose, because memories can be quite heavy and holding onto them feels unhealthy. Or maybe I just have a rubbish memory and have invented a rationale for it afterwards? Either way I’ll just spin through the last few days for my own benefit, so if this bores you then just skip to the end…
Thursday started with a group of us going snowshoeing. Snowshoes are just giant feet which spread out your weight more so you can walk over deep snow. We walked in a snowy forest and then stopped in a clearing for hot chocolate, granola bars, apples and peanut M&Ms.
That night was my set at Coldsnap Festival, which went so well it set the tone for the rest of the week. People are fond of apologising for Prince George in Prince George, but they shouldn’t. It’s a beautiful town with lots of people looking out for each other. Also playing that night was a great songwriter called Matt Epp, a tall, grizzled hulk of a man with a fur coat and long, braided blonde hair that made him look like a Viking warrior. When asked if he was vegetarian, he replied “I eat vegetarians”. Hanging out with him, Linda McRea, Amanda and Sheila from Dala and all the volunteers at Coldsnap was a big highlight.
The next day Ben Beattie and I played to the international students at the College for New Calendonia. After we played, students overcame their nerves about speaking in English to give presentations about where in the world they come from. I learned that Chile loves tennis and they mainly speak Dutch in Suriname.
We then drove to the foothills of the Rocky mountains to McBride to play in their high school auditorium. Despite a town population of only 713, we got a big crowd of people out and had a great gig. Seth who did the sound also produces his own biofuel out of old cooking oil from local restaurants, and Rick the promoter has a man-cave with a fully-functional bar, a big soundsystem and a wall-sized TV screen.
Saying goodbye to that part of Canada, I flew down to the beautiful city of Victoria, going straight from the airport to a little theatre built into the house of a professional puppeteer, Tim Gosley. He’s such an interesting guy, having done work on Sesame Street and the Muppets he’s now planning a show about a flying penis. I mistakenly owe him $25. Sorry Tim I won’t forget. It was another special gig with a special crowd, opened by Liz Beattie who’s a beautiful soul.
House gigs can always be unpredictable, hence the uncertainty I was talking about at the start. People tend to relax more in someone’s house though, and the 40 friends Sarah and Peter had crammed into their place the following night were so up for this gig. We all had a shit hot time and walked away a little dazed from how good it felt.
Lastly was a trip by ferry into my last gig of the tour – Vancouver. After the most crappy day, thank the FSM for Tim who rescued me from despair, poured a beer down my throat and levelled me out. The Railway doesn’t seem like the kind of venue people are always silent in, but my set was the perfect end to the tour, with loads of new friends made and much-needed late night shenanigans.
So now I’m sitting in Vancouver airport (this is the view from my seat by the way – this place is beautiful)
feeling very grateful to everyone who came out to the gigs and to the promoters, agents, sound guys and my uk people who got me here.
Most of all I want to thank my hosts along the way, Jo, Greg, Ben, Liz and Simon (&Colleen), Tim and Marissa. They’ve shown me around, driven me to gigs, given me beds to sleep on and put food in my belly. In between we got to know each other and I’ve loved that every bit as much as the gigs.
This tour always felt like a bit of an indulgence, I’d play to a few people, get to explore a new country, and lose a ton of money in the process right? Standard. But the crowds just rocked it, the country is beautiful, the people are great and the numbers add up. Where next? Europe? The US? Australia? Let me know and we’ll see what we can do. In the meantime, Canada – yes. Let’s do this again soon. Now that’s what I’m talking aboot.
Some spambot or international hacking movement deemed it necessary to hack my site. No demands were made, so I presume I just have to write better songs.
Sorry to anyone who wasn’t interested in The Darwin Awards or rare Christian books, it’s all fixed now. Who does this and why?
It’s permanently set up for live music, with drums, piano, guitars, amps, a double bass (yes John Parker) and a pool table. Speaking of pools, there’s actually a swimming pool under the stage which they don’t really use. The trapdoor is under the drum stool…
If there’s one thing they have here in Canada it is space. It’s not much more expensive to build a big house than a small house, so they figure why not make a room like this? After 20 hours of travelling to a foreign country, this is what you want to see when you arrive.
I’ve been working on a song forever now called Watch Yourself, it’s been the source of a lot of love and stress for me, perhaps too much. I even broke down into a sobbing mess about it last week, not much of a cryer so that came as a bit of a surprise. Anyway I made a bit of a breakthrough on the plane journey, writing some new words on a sick bag (hey even if the lyrics are rubbish it’s gotta be a better destiny than the sick bag was expecting). So feeling a bit better about that.
If there’s one thing they… ok one sec if there’s two things they have here in Canada it is space and extremely lovely people. I’m staying with a wonderful family, who are friends with many other wonderful people, all of whom seem to smile warmly, show genuine interest in other people’s lives, and have interesting jobs like “geo-technical engineer” and another long job title I heard which basically consists of walking in the woods with your dogs. I’m starting to see what all the fuss with Canada is about.
My gig at Coldsnap Festival tomorrow night has sold out now, and it’s a lovely room, so the scene is certainly set. Dala, Derek Joyce and I did a songwriter’s workshop today where we talked about songs and played songs in an independent bookstore (was just the right side of hippy). It was hosted by CBC Radio One which is the equivalent of BBC Radio 1, only they have fewer banging beats. Dala are lovely, have exquisite voices and songs that people love on first hearing. They’re very popular in Canada, and had the crowd eating out of their hand at their gig tonight. Compared to them I feel like my stuff isn’t as easy for people to like, which initially gets me down, but ultimately I’m cool with it. Everyone has to be themselves right? I don’t mind if my music is less accessible.
If there’s one thing… ok bored of that joke now. Another thing canada does is snow. This is proper snow, not sunday league amateur dramatics snow. Snow where you could accidentally walk into a wall of it and never find your way out again. Tomorrow I’m going snowshoing, which I’d never heard of until I got here. It’s basically walking, only with big shoes to stop you sinking in the snow. Something like #jakemorleysnowshoeing was apparently trending on twitter here, tho I think the person who told me that was exaggerating because like everyone here she was really friendly. Or maybe she didn’t know the threshold of how many tweets make a trend. Still I can’t wait, tomorrow we’re walking on snow, doing two more radio shows then a sold out gig . Yes. Yes please.
Yesterday I got a late-notice invite to play a gig in Camden for Signature Brew. They work with musicians to design their own custom beer and they’re good guys who love their music so I said yes. Besides I fancied getting in some stage time before going on tour to Canada next week.
Gigs have a way of holding up a mirror to you, and I guess I looked like I’ve got a few rough edges, but I’m feeling passionate about what’s to come and excited to share it. Bring on Canada, will be very pleased to meet you.
Also – loving this setlist lying around backstage from a previous gig:
Atoms For Peace was always my favourite song on Thom Yorke’s solo album The Eraser. One of the vocal melodies in it is so good it’s worth applauding it loudly while you listen.
His new band of the same name are about to release their first album. Love the production on this, like the bits at the end where they take the reverb on and off the claps. Even if it’s not to your taste keep looking for new music, there’s always more to create. Let’s push things forward!
Spending every day only playing your own music is the best way to lose all possible perspective about music. Maybe some great artists do their best work by avoiding perspective, but I kinda like it.
Liz Lawrence has made a wonderful album, and I got huge amounts of joy playing bass on it. Even from her early demos she had real fire in her belly and a stubborn sort of confidence that often characterises the best artists. She ain’t just mucking about…
She’s ready to release it now, and you can even name your price to buy it on her bandcamp page. Well worth a listen: