Everything Is Awesome

I've been busy bringing out an album and meanwhile the whole damn world got Corbyn fever

Friends! What a time to be alive! When last I wrote to you it was midwinter and everything seemed steeped in darkness and pessimism. AND LOOK AT US NOW! In case you took the very sensible decision to hide in a nuclear bunker after the election of President Misogyny, I am thrilled to be the one to tell you that UK politics has come out in the eleventh hour and played a total blinder. Specifically, this country's young people, who I always said would be the ones to save us, have played a total blinder, by coming out and voting in droves for anti-austerity politics, an end to tuition fees, a rejection of the Rupert Murdoch-newspaper-endorsed political class, and of course everyone's favourite jam-monger and Pyramid stage sensation, Jeremy Corbyn. I can scarcely believe the difference in my, and the nation's, political mood from one short year ago when we mourned over Brexit. It's not all good news though; Theresa May despite losing is still running around Downing Street as if it were a wheat field but in order to get her majority she gave a billion pounds to a tiny batshit party who are even more gross and homophobic than she is. On the bright side, it does mean I think I can get another couple of months out of Farewell to Welfare so. Swings and roundabouts.

What have you been doing while you've not been writing blogs, Grace?

Well, I'm glad you asked! I've taken up a habit of asking myself questions to make my prose more interesting but in truth I'm not sure it's effective. But since I asked: the first six months of 2017 were a blur of gigs, gigs and more gigs. I was fortunate enough to get to tour once again with my wonderful COVEN in March, the supergroup made up of me, O'Hooley and Tidow and Lady Maisery. This year was our third tour and most successful yet - we had so much fun in 2015 and 2016 that we decided to record together for the first time. Our EP Unholy Choir is available on bandcamp here and I am very excited to say that we are also doing some FESTIVALS this year: you can see us at Festival at the Edge; Shrewsbury Folk Festival; and last but not least, the actual bloody (I guess I'll just accept I'll never get on...) CAMBRIDGE FOLK! All of this and more at the GIGS page.

That's all very well, but didn't you promise to bring out an album this year?

Well, yes I did and I've actually done that so I don't actually know why you're being so passive-aggressive. It's true folks - if you choose not to follow the inane, pointless drivel with which I pollute social media, you may not know that I HAVE A NEW ALBUM OUT! It contains lots of songs I've been playing live for ages (Including the Vegan Song and the Golden Record) and also a lot of things I've not played much at all before, so if any or all of that interests you, please do check out my new album, Heart First Aid Kit, which is available by clicking here.

Is that all you've been doing? You've been silent for ages

Look, what's your problem? Amongst other stuff I have done this year, I was lucky enough in May to visit Palestine in the company of the wonderful Martyn Joseph. I can't possibly explain here the impact that seeing that incredible and beautiful and heartbreaking country had on me or the impression left on me by the people there, but I would recommend you check out Martyn's brilliant charity Let Yourself Trust which you can find out about at Martyn's website. Here I am playing a gig at the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem in the shadow the separation wall.

Are you doing any touring or festivals this summer?

I'm glad I asked. This summer you can see me at a whole bunch of festivals including Indietracks, Festival at the Edge, Cambridge Folk, Sidmouth Folk Week, Hartlepool Folk Festival, Shrewsbury Folk Festival, Otley Folk Festival and Hartlepool Folk Festival.

If you are in CANADA....

Then there's a good chance I like you already! And happily for me, I'm flying off this coming Monday to Toronto where Caitlin and I are beginning a cross-country adventure incorpoating gigs in: Toronto, Meaford, Regina, Vancouver and Duncan and where we will be returning to our favourite place on earth, Vancouver Folk Festival. If you are in any of those places and want to come and see us, check out the GIGS page for information on how.

I will write very soon again when I return from Canada at the end of July but in the mean time, a sincere and genuine thank you for all of your lovely responses and kind words about the new album. Getting it done nearly finished me off, so I'm realy glad some people like it.

I love you all dearly

GP XXX

HARK! THE EP, ANGELS SING!

MERRY WINTERVAL TO YOU, MY DEAR EXHAUSTED AND EMBATTLED COMRADES!

When last I wrote to you it was high summer, six short months ago and what feels like a whole universe away. Never could I have imagined the political turmoil this extraordinary year would go on to wreak across the whole world. It's been the most horribillis of any annus (this is a take on a latin and not a blue joke FYI) that I have ever seen in my nearly thirty years of earth-dwelling. Britain made a really, really, really terrible democratic decision, even by Britain's terrible democratic decision-making standards, that resulted in Theresa May (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) becoming Prime Minister (someone really ought to write a catchy song about how she's a baddie,) and America decided that actually they wanted a racist man who likes to sexually assault women for their president (and those are basically his good bits!). Which has resulted in all sorts of zaniness, including but not limited to: some white supremacists have been given top jobs in the new US government; Donald Trump wants Muslim human beings to sign a big register, which was an idea utilized to great effect by Hitler! Not to be outdone Theresa May the Baddie also wants employers AND SCHOOLS! to give the government a list of the country of birth of all their employees AND PUPILS! I MEAN LITERAL CHILDREN! so we can better organise our racist policies.

If I sound glib about all this, it's only because I honestly don't know what to say. I don't want to stop fighting or trying and I don't want my negativity to make you guys feel like the fight is too hard either. The only thing I can do is of course keep on writing my daft songs to try and make sense of this strange and often sad old world, in the hopes that perhaps I might stumble on something that helps some of you make sense of it too.

I HAVE A NEW EP!

It is with that somewhat bittersweet segue then that I would like to tell you that I have an EP out TODAY! It's called THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS A PROTEST SINGER, which is of course a line taken from my love song to the Guardian that you may remember from Spring of this year, and the artwork (below) is heavily inspired by that theme.

We reached out to the Guardian for a comment, and they said in a statement, "WHO'S THERE?? I CAN'T SEE YOU! I CAN'T HEAR YOU! LEAVE US ALONE!" (they didn't say that). The EP was recorded (live!) by wonderful pal John Helps and features the Guardian song plus 5 more new ones, and was designed and packaged beautifully by equally wonderful pal Tim Morris. Thanks wonderful pals! Me and the Benefits Culture did try to make an album this autumn but I just had too many bloody songs so you can expect a full band album in the Spring, cross my heart pinky swear and no backsies.

There will be 500 copies of this EP on CD; 250 will be on sale online from this website ONLY, 250 at gigs in the flesh. For the first time ever I am also on iTunes and iSpotify! (So that's exciting I suppose?) Get your physical copy HERE.

I'm looking forward to playing songs from the record on my December tour which starts TONIGHT at London's Nambucca for........LEFTY CHRISTMAS! MERRY LEFTY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL! I'm also coming to LIVERPOOL, OXFORD, BRIGHTON, NOTTINGHAM and LEICESTER in December and you can get your tickets for those shows on the Gigs page.

I HAVE A GIG WITH BILLY BRAGG!

I'm also very pleased to announce to you that I've been invited by none other than Mr Billy Bragg to be his special guest at an evening exploring protest song at Bridport Electric Palace. We'll be singing and talking about the relationship between music anc politics and, I suppose, what the bloody hell we're supposed to do with the landscape we find ourselves in now. I am completely honoured and thrilled to be asked to appear at this. Its on December 22nd and will be my last gig of the yea and a lovely way to end 2016.

I hope that those of you who want a copy of the EP get one and more importantly, I hope that you all have a lovely festive season filled with love and warmth and comfort. 2016 is not one, on the whole, that will be inducted into the Golden Hall of Fame of the Funnest Years Of Time, mostly because that's not a real thing at all but also because it was largely on the unrelentingly dark side. I am convinced that things are going to get better across Britain and the world but I think it will take a lot of energy and love from those of us who want things to change. I wish you all health and happiness this Christmas, and roll on 2017.

Much love,

GP xxx

MORE FESTIVAL NEWS...

Hello friends! It seems that I am allowed to give you a few more festival announcements for this summer, hooray!

BLISSFIELDS

I'm delighted to be doing BLISSFIELDS for the first time, at the invitation of lovely pal and top comrade Beans on Toast. If you're coming I'll be on Larch stage at 7m as per this lovely poster below!

BLISS POSTER.jpg

LIFE IS A CABARET OLD CHUM

A couple of weeks back when I announced I'll be at GLASTONBURY (below) I mentioned I might get one or two other gigs over the weekend besides Leftfield at 3pm on Sunday. I can now tell you I will playing for the first time at the CABARET stage! Both as part of our special Glasto JC4PM show on saturday at midday, and also - excitingly - for a whole half hour set on Sunday night at 9.35pm. It's a chuffing massive stage and I'm already having almost-nightly anxiety dreams so if you'll be at Glastonbury please drop in! I'll be the nervous one.

LATITUDE

I'm thrilled to be returning to lovely Latitude this year. I'll be in the Film and Music Arena on Sunday afternoon, and I'll be bringing lovable-vagabonds Jess and Caitlin (aka The Benefits Culture) with me too. Here I am on the lineup rocking some 2011 hair.

There's plenty more gigs coming up over at the Gigs page and more to be announced next week so keep your eyes peeled :)

AND FINALLY...

My band and I are playing a special misummer's concert at Leicester's beautiful Guildhall next Friday, 17th. This will be a very special show, because in place of a support act I'll be playing as part of a duo with BBC Folk Award nominee, Coven comrade, Lady Maisery star and incredible all round folk musician, Hannah James. It's a world premiere (and depending on its success it might be a one-night-only phenomenon...) so please do snap up tickets by calling the box office on 0116 2532569.

I think that's all for now. Merry summer to you all.

GP x