Tell us about yourself and what you do?
I'm a singer, guitar player and songwriter and I write mostly on acoustic guitar. I like to play without a pick most of the time. I record and perform with a lot of different musicians and in different combinations: it keeps it fresh and fun for both us and the audience.
How did you start out?
I've always played and sung but only developed the confidence and drive to write and perform in front of people after doing a year of solo travelling. I started out playing with a group of musicians in my local scene who were enthusiastic about my early song writing efforts and made a record with them as The Dirty Band.
What is your current release/future release?
I'm currently putting some finishing touches to my third album for which I still have to decide on a title for. There is also an EP I'm doing at the same time of some new recordings of older songs that have become live favourites. I wanted to re-record them with the drummer and bassist (Ben Haines and Bradley Blackwell) I play with mostly now and show how they've evolved over the last few years of playing them together live. It'll be a bonus disc that will be available along with the new album when I sell it at shows.
What is the best part of being in a band/singer/song writer?
As a songwriter it can be a long process from pooling the ideas inside your head and creating the core of the song, to communicating that to others then learning to play it and eventually record it with a band. It's great to hear it evolve layer by layer from the abstract thing in my head to the fully formed track. Seeing everyone enjoying playing the song live and having the audience enjoy it too and show their appreciation is an amazing sense of achievement. It's the same in the studio when the song feels like it's really come in to being.
What is your most significant moment yet?
When someone who I've never met before name checks a song or a lyric of mine it really lifts me up. As a huge fan of music myself I've always wished to be able to have people enjoy something I've done in the same way that I've enjoyed other artists myself. Sometimes people feel able to come and tell you they've enjoyed a certain song or record and that's significant to me. I suppose you could just call it ego stroking but it's still rare enough to be a novelty for me so I hope you can let me have that one?
What are your biggest musical influences?
Stylistically and for pursuing his own influences regardless of current fashion over a huge back catalogue, Tom Waits. The same could be said for Dylan too. Two people whose lyrics and sounds I aspire to.
As finger style guitar players Kelly Joe Phelps and Paul Curreri have influenced me a lot and I love the writing and harmonies of people such as Gary Louris & Mark Olson, Gram & Emmy Lou, Richard & Linda Thompson.
What venue/gig do you most want to play?
I'd die a happy man if Bob Boilen ever asked me to play a Tiny Desk Concert for All Songs Considered on NPR. That or I'd like to get in a Dolorian with Doc Emmet Brown and go back to the The Winterland Ballroom in 1976 to open up for The Band's Last Waltz.
What is your best/favourite song you have written?
Good Morning, Captain! From my new record is one I'm pretty pleased with. In composition it's a little fancy with having a couple of key changes but I'm pleased with how it flows lyrically, in sound and theme. It's the first time I've incorporated a violin and a brass section too and I really like the results.
What’s your favourite album of this year?
I don't really do favourites but I have enjoyed Fleet Foxes Helplessness Blues and Paul Simon's So Beautiful So What this year. And I'm looking forward to checking out Wilco's The Whole Love in the very near future.
What does the next six months have in store for you?
I'll be getting as many people as possible to hear my new record as I think it's going to be great, making some videos, possibly robbing a bank.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Hopefully with another decade worth of songs, enriching experiences and good memories.
What’s the best thing about Americana-UK?
Americana-UK interviews and reviews a huge amount of artists that come under the 'americana' music banner without being exclusive, sensationalist or trying to be fashionable. It's the music I like, covered in a slick and intelligent way.