I walked round my local reservoir Welsh Harp with The Guardian’s Sam Wollaston and talked about environmental campaigning, birds, lockdown and my new record.
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Recorded during rehearsals for the Storm Damage Tour in January 2020, the mini-album is a stripped-back piano-and-vocals set that was due for release during my world tour last year, before it was held up by pandemic-related postponements and the ultimate cancellation of all my shows.
For a while I thought about abandoning them, but listening again I thought their unadorned spirit seemed to speak to something of the strength in adversity we have all looked for recently.
Storm Shelter contains two covers and four of my songs. The covers, Ten City’s house classic That’s The Way Love Is and Sharon Van Etten’s recent synth torch song Comeback Kid, both premiered online last year.
London film-maker Rahim Moledina, who wrote and directed films for Hendra and Sunlight Follows the Night, has made a new video for That's The Way Love Is.
The remaining recordings are new versions of three songs - Balanced on a Wire, Summer Ghosts and Sunlight Follows the Night - from Storm Damage, and one - Winter’s Eve - from my 2016 album, Fever Dream.
All the songs were recorded in one day at RAK Studios in London and are engineered and mixed by Bruno Ellingham.
I'm donating an advance on royalty proceeds to UK homelessness charity, Shelter. I have spent much of this year publicly campaigning to save my local reservoir in north London from decades of neglect. Aside from the ecological crisis, there is a human crisis of displaced residents from waterside redevelopment and shoreline rough-sleeping. I wanted to help shine a light on this too.
Storm Shelter is only available on stream and download for now.
Limited edition vinyl and CD versions are planned for later in the year.
As for touring, I have no concrete plans. I hope to return post-pandemic when the time is right. Enjoy the new music. Enjoy the video. Help Shelter. That’s it x
I may be best known as a musician, but in January 2021 I decided I wanted to do something to save my local reservoir from decades of neglect. Away from music I am a keen birder; my grandfather was also the first naturalist-broadcaster in the BBC in the 1930s and 40s, so maybe it is in the blood. Since January the campaign has built up momentum. I am indebted to fellow campaigners at other local conservation groups. Read my blog posts.
I’m afraid the ongoing pandemic makes my rescheduled STORM DAMAGE UK TOUR in May IMPOSSIBLE, and reluctantly I've now decided to stop these repeated postponements and instead officially CANCEL all dates. Refunds from point of purchase. Yes, many will be vaccinated soon, but not enough to justify indoor shows. We must consider the unvaccinated (musicians, crew, venue staff, public), the impact of widespread travel, demands on promoters and agents, keeping people safe. All other tour dates - NORTH AMERICA, JAPAN, AUSTRALIA and EU - have already been CANCELLED after multiple re-routings and postponements, and by now refunded. The long-haul legs were links in a travel chain; when one broke, the others alas followed. It is a great sadness to me - and the trio - that this album will come and go largely unperformed. Like many other artists caught up in this crisis, we now have to sweep the board clean and start again, but it is what it is, and others have it worse. Above all I need to retreat and reassess what and how I want to perform next. Much has changed for everyone since I first planned the songs and line-up for this album and tour in 2019. I aim to return when the moment is right. Thanks for your support x | Photo: Edward Bishop
Still using my Air Gap playlist every day to find some mental space. Updated today inc Pausal, Dedekind Cut, Williamette. Ambient, beatless, meditations. Now 60+ tracks, 4hrs. Hope it helps.