Ben Watt – Solo. Live, In store at Pie&Vinyl

Ben-Watt-Photo-by-Tom-Sheehan-2016-DSC_9292_b-MASTER-2500px-300dpi

Are we lucky girls and boys or what? As if the bands playing to celebrate record store day wasn’t enough…well to get you ready for the big weekend, We are very excited to announce the extremely multi influential BEN WATT to the store.

BEN WATT is a British musician, singer, songwriter, author, DJ and radio presenter, best known as one half of the duo Everything But The Girl

Ben will be playing a few electric and acoustic songs from his brand new solo album, Fever Dream, as well as some from 2014’s award-winning Hendra, plus some old gems (who knows, maybe even from the EBTG cannon – fingers crossed) – We are most definitely in for a special night!

You can see the FREE ENTRY show at 7:00pm on Wednesday 13th April  (we’ll be opening our doors at 6:45pm, with a first in the queue, first to be let in policy….)

BUT…We offer you the chance to secure a comfortable spot at the in store by pre ordering the record BEN WATT – FEVER DREAM HERE 

You will then be invited to arrive earlier than advertised to collect your record, and grab a spot near the front. We will e mail you details near to the time of the event.

We’ve also invited Ben into our virtual ‘Pie Lab’, and he has created the delicious FEVER DREAM pie! with Chicken, Mushroom, Fennel AND Absinthe. So you can add alternative pie chef to his list of many talents. These bad boys will be available on the night.

So; get your supper, tap your foot and synchronise your fork to mouth movements whilst your ears and belly harmonise together, which will bring a big curl upwards of your lips – you are in a happy place.

Ben will also be appearing at the Wedgewood Rooms on Wednesday 8th June, with his 4-piece band featuring BERNARD BUTLER on lead guitar  – you can pick up tickets for that event HERE and also in the store on the night of this intimate solo show for Pie&Vinyl.

ANYWAY – more info on the new record below.

BEN WATT – FEVER DREAM

 

9/10 in Uncut

4 Stars in Mojo

It was in 2014 – after sixteen years and nine albums as songwriter-performer-producer with Tracey Thorn in best-selling duo Everything But The Girl, a further ten at the helm of his award-winning electronic label Buzzin’ Fly, and a radio residency on BBC 6Music – that Watt returned to his roots as a solo singer and songwriter with Hendra, his second album. Arriving thirty-one years after his UK Independent Chart No. 1 debut, it met with wide acclaim at home and abroad for its eloquent lyrics and stripped-back aesthetic; it featured prominently in end-of-year round-ups and pipped Anna Calvi and Blood Orange to win Best ‘Difficult’ Second Album at the AIM Independent Music Awards 2014.

Fever Dream – self-produced at London’s famous RAK Studio 2, and mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering in Maine – takes Hendra’s sonic template of open-tuned folk-jazz, distorted string-bent rock, and soulful rumination, and adds a fresh grainy intensity. It renews key partnerships with Hendra’s vaunted guitarist-sideman Bernard Butler and engineer Bruno Ellingham, and sprinkles guest vocal cameos from Boston’s dream-folk singer-songwriter Marissa Nadler and Hiss Golden Messenger’s M.C. Taylor.

‘At the album’s heart I just wanted to deepen existing relationships,’ Watt says. ‘Two years of playing live with Bernard has created a strong bond; the music we make feels spontaneous, ardent, unsentimental. We just went in and did most of it live. Small room, small band. A harder edge. Instruments spilling into each other.’ The pair are joined by drummer/percussionist and longtime ally Martin Ditcham (Talk Talk’s Spirit of Eden) and new double bassist Rex Horan (Laura Marling’s Once I Was an Eagle / Neil Cowley Trio), who in Watt’s words ‘brilliantly blurs the boundaries between folk, jazz and rock’.

‘I chose the guests to suit,’ he goes on. ‘Marissa’s sound is gothic and gauzy but tender and revealing. I pictured her with me on the key closing track [New Year of Grace] – which is a kind of answer to the album’s opener [Gradually]. She was in London for twenty-four hours recently. I just doorstepped her on Twitter, and she said yes.’

Watt’s non-fiction writing and lyrics have been integral to his recent acclaim. His second memoir Romany and Tom – a portrait of his parents’ marriage – was longlisted for the prestigious Samuel Johnson Prize in 2014. (His first, 1996’s Patient was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year). Novelist Jonathan Coe recently commented Watt is ‘beyond doubt one of the great British singer-songwriters’, while The Guardian’s senior rock critic Alexis Petridis called the writing on Hendra ‘pretty much perfect’.

Of the new songs, Watt says: ‘I got back from tour with a few notes for a new book, but life got in the way. Close friends were falling apart, my own relationships were being tested. I found I wanted to capture smaller snapshots about how love shifts over time, what endures, how we cope. And they became songs. Some came out darker and more troubled, others softer and more hopeful. And that then became the album structure. First half heavier, second half lighter. A sense of transformation, rather than just a collection of songs. I hadn’t done that before.’

It was in 1981 that Watt first appeared in London as a precocious nineteen year-old singer-songwriter-guitarist. His breakthrough 1982 EP Summer into Winter featured alt-folk icon Robert Wyatt and drew comparisons with Tim Buckley. His early solo work may be overshadowed by his subsequent successes with Tracey Thorn, but his 1983 debut solo album North Marine Drive reached No 1 on the UK Independent Albums Chart.

‘The music I heard in my teens – jazz, folk, art-rock – still cuts the deepest with me,’ he says. ‘I recently spent over ten years exploring instrumental electronic music and clubland [he was nominated for Outstanding Contribution to Dance Music at DJ Magazine Awards 2009; and was a resident DJ on BBC 6Music’s 6Mix from 2010-2014] but have come back to language and that band-in-a-room spontaneity. The raw human voice, unaffected words, pushing simple instruments to their limits – that is now what fascinates me again.’

TRACKLISTING:

  1. Gradually
  2. Fever Dream
  3. Between Two Fires
  4. Winter’s Eve
  5. Women’s Company
  6. Faces of my Friends
  7. Running with the Front Runners
  8. Never Goes Away
  9. Bricks and Wood
  10. New Year of Grace

 

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