Hey! Manchester promotes gigs by folk, Americana and experimental bands from around the world in Manchester, England. Read more here, see below for our latest shows, check out our previous shows, contact us, or join our mailing list, above.

Upcoming shows: Lambert... Withered Hand & Darren Hayman... Holy Moly & The Crackers... The Rural Alberta Advantage... Islet... BC Camplight... The Unthanks in Winter... John Craigie... John Francis Flynn... Novelty Island... Junior Brother... Mull Historical Society... Rachael Lavelle... Beans on Toast... Nick Harper... Chris Brain... Jolie Holland... Ghostly Kisses... Francis of Delirium... The Handsome Family... The Lovely Eggs... Rain Parade...

When: 7.30pm on Monday 27 November 2023
Where: Low Four Studio, Deansgate Mews, Great Northern, Manchester M3 4EN

We’re excited to be working with Lambert again – this time, at Low Four!

Lambert is today an enigmatic star of Europe’s neo-classical scene, sustaining an impish mystique since condemning his given name to obscurity and donning an ever present, horned Sardinian mask in 2014. Before his current, strange fame, though, he was a dashing melodic improviser in Bill Evans’ tradition, a jazz man to his bones. During recent gigs, as he’s played highly melodic, limpidly minimalist piano in the style that made his new name, attentive audiences will have discerned the ghosts of that old life, in passages of assured improv. The jazz musician inside him was otherwise buried deep.

Now with his eighth album, All This Time, tellingly to be released on the great jazz label Verve (in partnership with his home label Mercury KX), Lambert’s musical mask is off – the improvisation unashamed, the freewheeling melodies unchained. Teaming up with bassist Felix Weigt and drummer Luca Marini, the trio blend jazz, modern classical and electronic elements and find a contemporary sound reminiscent of the likes of EST, Gogo Penguin and Portico Quartet but one very much their own. As his delicately bluesy piano rolls through Cry Me A River, immersing himself in its smoky mood as electronic washes shimmer, and on the title track All This Time, an affecting soundscape that demonstrates a delicate, reflective touch, Lambert is playing in the virtual jazz club of his dreams. As he recalls, it took lockdown’s privations to bring him musically home. ‘I called Luca and said, “Please, I want to make some jazz music. During the worst lockdown, maybe this way of making music might connect us.” It didn’t bring me back to jazz, though. It never went away. When I don’t know what to play, it’s always jazz I reach for.’

That love started in another lifetime under another name, when Lambert was a 12-year-old in Hamburg, rebelling at his classical piano lessons, and sent instead to a new teacher’s seedy digs. ‘He had a small apartment completely dedicated to jazz music,’ Lambert recalls, ‘and there was a feeling of a scene behind it that I didn’t completely understand, a secret club with arcane knowledge to be shared.’

By the time he was 17, Bill Evans’ Explorations was his lodestar, listened to obsessively while also learning to smoke and quaff red wine. A romantic ideal formed. ‘I had a certain picture of a jazz lifestyle,’ Lambert agrees, ‘and I kept on believing that this life must exist somewhere out there. I was completely sure that I’d one day be a touring jazz musician, and have my own style.’

Lambert’s studies at the Amsterdam Conservatory were often an exercise in disillusionment, as disapproving teachers brought him down. Moving to bohemian Berlin in 2008, its free improv scene was just as hostile to a young pianist who appreciated the popular, tuneful beauty of Bill Evans, and the further out melodic flights of Brad Mehldau and Keith Jarrett. A wild gig where the crowd roared on his Fender Rhodes solos aggravated more austere bandmates, who summarily sacked him. It was a turning point.’

‘I got a little lost in Berlin,’ he says ruefully. ‘I thought, “I have to become someone new.” That was Lambert. The mask has something to do with that background. I thought, I need this guy to reinvent myself.’

This new creation, bringing rock and pop notions of alter egos and mystery to neo-classical concert halls, was an instant hit. Lambert let the boy who’d been bruised by jazz become a new man. ‘When I started being Lambert, I was embarrassed by my jazz background,’ he says. ‘The first album, Lambert [2014], was promoted in the neo-classical world, I used a more classical touch, and I got a great reception. I kept secret that I still identified as a jazz musician.’

Beneath the mask, though, Lambert could be anyone. Liberated, he began to move between worlds. False (2020) and the Stimming x Lambert collaboration Positive (2021), combining improv with electronic production, dropped progressively greater hints at his secret musical identity. ‘And now,’ he says, ‘I feel free to make an album that actually sounds like jazz.’

Dedicating his early life to jazz, Lambert dutifully followed other people’s paths, and found only roadblocks and rules telling him he was wrong. The masked character of Lambert built his own path, which he was free to walk down as he wished. And now here he is, a jazz musician after all.

‘It took me a long way to get here,’ he agrees. ‘And when I tour this album I will have a classic jazz band with drums and double-bass. As soon as people see that, what I’m doing will be clear.’ The romantic jazz ideal he longed for, the secret world of knowledge, creativity and a Bill Evans-style trio – Lambert’s finally living it all.

Local support comes from Test Card Girl. Test Card Girl is a solo project by independent synth-folk Manchester singer-songwriter Catherine Burgis who started writing songs in 2019 to escape a life of perpetual admin. Having spent a year as a musical comedian, travelling the country with a miniature Yamaha keyboard, Catherine won North West Comedian of the Year before re-purposing the tiny keyboard to write her first single Holds Me Down. The song featured on BBC 6 Music and Radio X, and she was named amongst Steve Lamacq’s ‘Ones to Watch’ in 2021.

Catherine received an Arts Council grant to record three more singles in 2021 and released her debut EP Fly in September 2022. The EP was recorded at Airtight Studios in Manchester and ranges from stripped back indie-folk songs to large-scale synth-pop singles featuring guest performances from drummer Andy Hargreaves (I Am Kloot) and bass player Nathan Sudders (Miles Kane, Guy Garvey, Nadine Shah). In January 2022 she was announced as one of ten Manchester International Festival Sounds Artists and longlisted for the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition. She’ll be touring the throughout 2023.

‘Life-affirming Mancunian electro-pop’ – Tom Robinson, BBC 6 Music

This show takes place at Low Four – a recording studio situated on Deansgate Mews in the Great Northern warehouse. This intimate venue features a Bechstein grand piano, plus a Cloudwater bar.

This is a 14+ show. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

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When: 7.30pm on Wednesday 29 November 2023
Where: Night & Day Cafe, 26 Oldham St, Manchester, M1 1JN

PLEASE NOTE: Doors will now open at 7.30pm, with the show itself beginning at 8pm.

We’re delighted to be presenting a co-headline show featuring Withered Hand and Darren Hayman!

Dan Willson (aka Withered Hand) is a beautifully original songwriter whose work takes in grief, love, and elation. The music of Withered Hand sparks a heartbreaking response in his devoted audience.

Similarly revered are the compositions of Darren Hayman, both in his solo work and with cult band Hefner. Darren effortlessly weaves sorrow, pain and humour through his 20 albums.

Dan and Darren are also best friends, meeting in 2010 and Darren producing a mini album for Dan. After many years of sporadic shows together they found themselves sharing a cabin in a Norwegian fjord together earlier this year.

Dan and Darren laugh easily together and wanted to share their best work and friendship with you on stage. Expect two headlines sets alternating each night and some songs and chat together too.

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All shows are 18+ unless otherwise stated.
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When: 7pm on Thursday 30 November 2023
Where: Band on the Wall, 26 Swan Street, Manchester M4 5JZ

We’re excited to be welcoming Holy Moly & The Crackers back to Band on the Wall!

Holy Moly & The Crackers are the innovative and fiery folk-rockers from Newcastle upon Tyne, who mash together unique flavours of Americana, rock and indie with a punk-ish edge, and have become renowned for their blazing live shows. Building a loyal and enthusiastic fan base over the years, Holy Moly & The Crackers first tasted success with the release of their second album Salem (released 2017) on their own Pink Lane Records, when lead single Cold Comfort Lane was picked up by Hollywood and used in the vibrant, stick-it-to-the-man blockbuster Ocean’s 8 in 2018.

Already a powerhouse live proposition, they went on to sell out live shows across the UK and Europe and graced the stages of innumerable festivals, including Glastonbury.

Working again with Salem producer Matt Terry (Mogwai, The Enemy, Snuff), they recorded and released their follow up album Take a Bite in 2019, described as a ‘swaggering album that showcases a riotous blend of styles’ by Louder Than War.

Once again, the band hit the road in full throttle, joining ‘shanty punks’ Skinny Lister on tour around Europe, before appearing at over 30 festivals, and finally undertaking a victorious headline lap of the UK, culminating in selling out their biggest show to date at Sage Gateshead on the banks of the Tyne.

2020 saw Holy Moly & The Crackers blast out of the blocks. They were set to play 27 dates across 10 countries on their biggest European tour to date, as well as support Frank Turner across France and Germany, then return to Glastonbury for the festival’s 50th anniversary. But, well, you know what happened next.

This band’s answer to the challenge of a world flipped on its head is Solid Gold. Mixed by six-times Grammy award-winning engineer Vance Powell (Jack White, Chris Stapleton), it is the group’s fourth studio album and is scheduled for release in 2023.

Equally their mellowest, deepest, most playful and heaviest album, Solid Gold inverts any expectation of what could or indeed should come from such a wild live group. Leaning into Americana influences, as well as indie-folk, the sleek beats and production of Danger Mouse and the pounding riff-o-rama of Jack White at his most crazed, Solid Gold could only be made in 2022 but feels like it could have been exhumed any time from 1970.

But this is no pastiche. No other band could twist their own DNA in such a way whilst still standing so tall, still inviting the chaos, the glory and catharsis of a sing-a-long folk-rock gathering.

Special guests are Hardwicke Circus. People only end up in Carlisle by accident. It’s on the boundary of England and Scotland, on the edge of the Lake District but not the countryside. The centre of Carlisle is an iconic business, Stobart Logistics, whose sole purpose is to take things away from Carlisle via the city’s best known roundabout, Hardwicke Circus. Another export making their way through the towns, villages and cities of the United Kingdom is Carlisle’s own Hardwicke Circus, a five-piece band winning praise from all quarters.

This is a 10+ show. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

This show is a co-promotion with Please Please You.

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When: 7pm on Saturday 2 December 2023
Where: YES Basement, 38 Charles Street, Manchester, M1 7DB

PLEASE NOTE: All tickets for this show have already gone! Watch this space for details of future Rural Alberta Advantage shows in Manchester.

We’re excited to welcome The Rural Alberta Advantage back to Manchester!

With the seismic shifts that have rolled out across the world over the past couple of years, The Rural Alberta Advantage (The RAA) has embarked on a distinctly divergent course for releasing their recent new music. An ongoing series of new songs and The Rise EP have been shared over the past couple of years with accompanying live shows across North America to support each release.

The Rise & The Fall, the fifth full-length album from the trio, will follow on 6 October via Paper Bag/Saddle Creek Records. Its release is preceded by Conductors, a rousing track dedicated to the universal question of why we run from the things we love.

The RAA’s most recent single Plague Dogs was workshopped live over the band’s sold out Canadian tour through autumn before returning home to record, and follows their continued efforts to record and release new music in real time. The song’s accompanying video features live performance footage from the band’s sold out hometown show at Danforth Music Hall in Toronto.

The new single follows last year’s six-song collection The Rise EP, which featured the single CANDU and garnered praise from Stereogum, Under the Radar, CBC Music, Exclaim, amongst others. CANDU is a rustic anthemic reply to a once-booming Northern settlement that was abruptly forgotten and the band’s lament on the common connections that emerge when you’ve unknowingly tied your hopes to a sinking ship.

‘My mum’s uncle worked up in Uranium City, Saskatchewan in the late 70s/early 80s, when it was a small but very active mining settlement,’ notes Nils. ‘We went to visit and it was the first time I was ever on a plane – as a young kid then, I’m not sure if the pictures in my mind now are real or just something from a dream. Candu was the local high school and only open for a couple of years while the town was booming; it was abandoned like everything else after the mines abruptly closed in the early 80s leaving most families stranded without work, and now sits completely vandalised. Growing up in a mining town myself, it’s hard not to think about who or what would have remained for me if the jobs all suddenly dried up, and where my friends and I would have ended up.’

The RAA’s music connects us to untold stories and an unpacked history we all have a part in owning, reflecting on, learning from and possibly seeing from a different vantage point: the overview effect. The trio continue to bring their thundering drums, hammered keys, furious acoustics and crystalline harmonies back to the fans, as they continue to road test new music in the works.

Tour support comes from Zoon. Zoon created Bleached Wavves with extremely limited, often broken gear. They worked through frustrating, lengthy delays and yet managed to reverse engineer a masterpiece of a debut. With sophomore album, Bekka Ma’iingan (Bay-ka Mo-Een-Gan), a broad spectrum of possibilities, lush orchestration, resources, collaborators and friends all supported the process.

Bleached Wavves provoked us to face many difficult questions and reckon with a deeply uncomfortable and painful history. Bekka Ma’iingan continues to explore their Indigenous and life experience, and while still clutching to the unresolved, it moves us more softly and sweepingly towards acceptance.

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When: 7pm on Friday 15 December 2023
Where: YES Basement, 38 Charles Street, Manchester, M1 7DB

We’re excited to welcome Islet back to Manchester!

Islet is a Welsh quartet whose free-spirited invention and exuberant intensity is hypnotic, exhilarating and defiantly unique.

Their fourth album Soft Fascination (Fire Records) is a wild excursion into the latest incarnation of this ever-changing Islet. They began in Cardiff when Emma Daman and brothers Mark and John ‘JT’ Thomas resolved to form a band with one rule: that anything was possible. Soon joined by Alex Williams the band quickly became known for their instrument switching live shows full of joyful abandon and unleashed energy. They released two albums and a handful of EPs, melding psych rock with ethereal atmospherics and jagged post punk.

In 2019 Islet signed to Fire Records, releasing their third full length album Eyelet in 2020, and their fourth Soft Fascination in 2023. This Islet is more defined, more direct; for the first time each band member is assigned one instrument. Emma’s’ vocals shapeshift from airy to unleashed against a synth-driven sound with unexpected shifts of rhythm. Self-produced and with the instrumentals recorded live with few overdubs the effect is in your face and immediate. Soft Fascination is an assurgent album infused with hope, grit and beauty.

Islet is all about being subsumed in sound, with a fierce urge to challenge, to embrace, communicate, excite and, ultimately, set their audience free. They are following their own course, awash with synthesisers with a rhythmic pulse creating a delicate balance between repetition, volume and the romance of time, an ecstatic experience through music.

‘The perfect mix of experimentation and entertainment, brain and heart engaged simultaneously’ – Stewart lee

‘Wandering, woozy, glitch-bedded mood pieces fusing trance-era textures and fragmented melodies’ – MOJO

Special guest is Raz Ullah. Born in a decaying Northern mill town beneath the shadow of Pendle Hill – scene of the infamous witch trials of 1612, Raz Ullah’s childhood obsession with cassette recorders, long-wave radio broadcasts and Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds has led to a lifetime interest in sound as a material for expression, experimentation and play. His works incorporate analogue and digital elements, interactive software, video projection and DIY instruments.

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When: 7.30pm on Tuesday 19 & Wednesday 20 December 2023
Where: Hallé at St Michael’s, 36-38 George Leigh Street, Ancoats, Manchester M4 5DG

UPDATE: The Wednesday show sold out in under a day, so we’ve added a second show on Tuesday 19 December. Buy tickets now.

We’re delighted to present two intimate grand piano solo shows with BC Camplight!

Is there a curse that says Brian ‘BC Camplight’ Christinzio cannot move forward without being knocked back? That the greatest material is born out of emotional trauma? Whilst making his new album, The Last Rotation Of Earth, Christinzio’s relationship with his fiancé crumbled after nine inseparable years. The album follows this break-up amid long-term struggles with addiction and mental health. The outcome is an extraordinary record, with Christinzio describing it as ‘more cinematic, sophisticated and nuanced than anything I’ve done before’. He goes on to describe how the separation altered his creative focus and caused him to ‘scrap 95% of what I’d already recorded,’ finishing The Last Rotation Of Earth in two months and making what he believes is his most vital album.

Still, Christinzio doesn’t see any of this as a story of redemption. ‘This is not a story of victory,’ he says. ‘It is a document created in the shadow of incredible darkness. One from which the creator hadn’t planned on escaping, and still doesn’t. Hence the title of the album. It is the result of an illness that I’ve battled my whole life. It isn’t something that the world has done to me. It’s the world I live in and it’s no one’s fault.’

That Christinzio has bettered his previous album is an achievement, given that Shortly After Takeoff received the best reviews of his life. ‘A masterpiece,’ said the Guardian’s five-star review, ‘a half hour or so that roils with anxiety, stuns with beauty and, occasionally, provokes laughter.’ Even then, fate intervened when the album was released in April 2020, just as Covid and lockdown kicked in, so he was unable to tour the record until late 2021. The Philadelphian then joked, ‘I can’t wait to make an album that isn’t surrounded by some awful tragedy.’

Talk about tempting fate. But it’s true to say that Christinzio has made his best music under immense duress, and The Last Rotation Of Earth is an inimitable work; a heady, heavy slice of lustrous hooks, moods bursting with classical sophistication and fractured paranoia. Christinzio’s signature dizzying progressions and U-turns are executed with a masterful hand. A notable feature of the album are periodic conversational voices, as if a cast of people were delivering their lines – which was exactly part of Christinzio’s thinking. ‘I wanted to make the songs resemble little films, with lots of ideas,’ he says.

There is no better entry to the Camplight school of sound and vision than the opening title track and lead single. ‘For the first time since I arrived in Manchester,’ he says, ‘I thought, why am I here? I came to find my music, and to find her, and she’s gone. I do everything in my power not to be dramatic, but I didn’t want to be alive anymore. So, I imagined what your last day on earth would be like. Though the lyrics are often quite sweet, like appreciating the looks that strangers give each other, from the perspective of a guy soaking up every last bit of life.’

The audio-verité approach is clearest on track two, The Movie, a fully-fledged dramarama with ‘scene one’ and ‘scene two,’ directions. ‘I don’t find writing cathartic,’” says Christinzio, ‘but this was one exception. To step outside as the narrator to my own life did help in some psychotic way. It ends with a verbatim exchange of my break-up, but with humour. I don’t want to say how shitty everything is over a 38-minute record. I’m still capable of being funny and alive.’ The Last Rotation Of Earth is the best example yet of these musical and lyrical powers, and the increasing impact that he has been making, across his fan base and his peers. Humour has long served as respite within Christinzio’s art.

The Mourning is a slow, wordless elegy that takes the album out on a low note. ‘No grand finale, more, “I wonder what happens next”,’ says Christinzio. ‘After everything people have been through, they’re suspicious of happy endings. Like I said, this is not a redemption saga.’

So, what does lie ahead? And can Christinzio ever trust the future? When he began releasing records in 2005, backed by members who would eventually join The War On Drugs, and guest-starring on Sharon Van Etten’s Epic album, the future looked bright. ‘But if I’d stayed,’ he once mused, ‘I’d be dead. Period.’ So Christinzio took a friend’s advice to escape his alcohol and drug addictions in Philly and move to Manchester, leading to his debut album for Bella Union, How To Die In The North; though just two days before it was released in 2014, he was deported. Back in the UK (with an Italian passport), he made Deportation Blues but just days before it was released in 2016, his father died, triggering a breakdown that inspired Shortly After Takeoff, the last part of what Christinzio calls his Manchester Trilogy.

So, he must begin again; new album, newly single, clean slate. And without tempting fate again, before the last rotation of earth, BC Camplight and his band will tour The Last Rotation Of Earth, including his biggest headline shows to date, at London Shepherd’s Bush Empire and Manchester’s Albert Hall. ‘It’s wonderful to realise the songs in front of that many people,’ says Christinzio, ‘I know I’m never going to be Coldplay, but ten years ago, I was certain I wouldn’t make music again.’

Ten years later Christinzio is still making important music, still channelling the forces that have beleaguered him and making the most honest and candid work he can.

For this intimate show, Brian will perform solo on grand piano. This will be one of the first public concerts in St Michael’s since its recent re-opening, having been closed since 2004. The Roman Catholic church was founded in 1859 and became the heart of the Little Italy Community in Ancoats.

Age restriction: 14+. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

Wednesday has already sold out, but you can buy tickets for the Tuesday show now.

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When: 7pm on Wednesday 20 December 2023
Where: Albert Hall, 27 Peter Street, Manchester M2 5QR

We’re delighted to be presenting The Unthanks in Winter – at Albert Hall!

At this point in their almost 20 years together, it’s easy to imagine that The Unthanks must surely have done a seasonal winter album already, but no! Known for their genre- blurring creativity, The Unthanks premiere their dream-like winter fantasia – embracing both the dark and the light in the most ritualistic of seasons – moving in and out of focus – like a memory – a hymnal to our shared winter experience. Echoes of winter tunes known throughout the western world, mix with the traditional and the newly written, all passed with great care and love through The Unthanks filter.

The heartwarming pathos and glacial majesty present in their music to date makes a winter concert a mouth-watering prospect. The Unthanks are the perfect band to bring us an abstract new work capturing the magic and wonder of the turn of the year; the end and beginning of the circle of life.

The Unthanks have been described as ‘a take on tradition that flips so effortlessly between jazz, classical, ambient and post-rock, it makes any attempt to put a label on them a waste of time’.

Using the traditional music of the North East of England as a starting point, the influence of Miles Davis, Steve Reich, Sufjan Stevens, Robert Wyatt, Antony & The Johnsons, King Crimson and Tom Waits makes The Unthanks a unique band, earning them a Mercury Music Prize nomination and international acclaim along the way.

The Unthanks tells stories that capture children. They make music cutting edge enough to be BBC 6 Music regulars. They can equally be found on Radios 2, 3 and 4, reframing history and drawing together the worlds of folk, jazz, orchestral, electronic and rock music. The believability of their storytelling is admired by some of our best storytellers – Mackenzie Crook, Elvis Costello, Maxine Peake, Nick Hornby, Martin Freeman, Robert Wyatt, Charles Hazelwood, Ben Myers and David Mitchell, to name a few.

At the nucleus of a constantly evolving unit is the traditional upbringing of Tyneside sisters Rachel and Becky Unthank and the arrangements and writing of composer, pianist, producer and Yorkshireman, Adrian McNally.

‘They run from the very root of folk music to the very tip of the branch’ – Elvis Costello

‘It’s quite a rare thing now. They’ve really got everything you could want from music. And I’m very fussy’ – Robert Wyatt

Special guest is Katherine Priddy. Since emerging with her debut EP Wolf in 2018, UK artist Katherine Priddy has quickly become one of the most exciting names on the British scene. Declared ‘the best thing I’ve heard all year’ by Richard Thompson, who later invited her to join him on his Irish tour in 2019 and UK tour in 2021, Priddy’s haunting vocals and distinctive finger-picking guitar style have seen her sell out a headline tour and support world class artists including The Chieftains, Loudon Wainwright III and Vashti Bunyan. Over the past two years, she has performed at the BBC Proms and played well-earned spots at prestigious festivals in the UK and abroad such as the Glastonbury Acoustic Stage, where she also performed live on BBC Radio 2, plus at Green Man, Cambridge Folk, where she was awarded the Christian Raphael Prize, End of the Road and Beautiful Days.

Her much anticipated debut album, The Eternal Rocks Beneath, was released in June 2021 on Navigator Records to great acclaim. The album singles received 200-plus plays across national radio including BBC 6 Music and BBC Radio 2, and upon release, the album received a five-star review in Songlines, a four-star review in the Observer, reached No. 1 in the Official UK Folk Charts and No. 5 in the Americana charts. Folk Radio UK made Priddy ‘Artist of the Month’ and said of the debut LP: ‘Foundations rarely come stronger than this. A debut of true substance, it’s like searching for a simple shelter and stumbling upon a diamond mine.’ The album was later chosen as Album of the Week on RTE Radio 1 in Ireland, and made the list of Top 10 2021 Folk Albums in Mojo Magazine as national radio plays continued months after the release.

2022 got off to a flying start with Priddy taking her music abroad for the first time with a series of shows in Australia, including a performance at Port Fairy Folk Festival, as well as a showcase in Kansas City USA as part of Folk Alliance International. This was then followed by an invite to perform one of her songs as part of the world-renowned BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall, accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra. Now in 2023, Priddy’s momentum is showing no signs of slowing. April brought with it a new single on Chrysalis Records as part of a double LP of Nick Drake covers from artists such as Self Esteem, Aldous Harding, John Grant, Bombay Bicycle Club and more, as well as a show with Guy Garvey at The Roundhouse. Her live performances are engaging, moving and amusing by turn, delivering original songs with emotional maturity, depth and particularly noteworthy lyrics. Despite the delicate nuances of her sound, Katherine Priddy is not a fragile wallflower, but a determined young woman making her mark.

‘Utterly brilliant… one of my favourite voices in contemporary music’ – Guy Garvey

This show is promoted by Hey! Manchester, Manchester Folk Festival and Albert Hall.

This is a 14+ show. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

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When: 7.30pm on Tuesday 23 January 2024
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW

We’re delighted to be welcoming John Craigie back to Gullivers!

Portland, Oregon-based singer, songwriter, and producer John Craigie adapts moments of solitude into stories perfectly suited for old Americana fiction anthologies. Instead of leaving them on dog-eared pages, he projects them widescreen in flashes of simmering soul and folk eloquence. On his 2022 full-length album, Mermaid Salt, we witness revenge unfurled in flames, watch a landlocked mermaid’s escape, and fall asleep under a meteor shower.

After selling out shows consistently coast-to-coast and earning acclaim from Rolling Stone, Glide Magazine, No Depression and many more, his unflinching honesty ties these ten tracks together.

The album comes from the solitude and loneliness of lockdown in the Northwest. Someone whose life was touring, traveling, and having lots of human interaction is faced with an undefinable amount of time without those things. So, he began writing new songs and envisioning an album that was different from his past records. The sound of everyone playing live in a room together was traded for the sound of song construction with an unknown amount of instruments and musicians – a quiet symphony.

Rather than steal away to a cabin or hole up in a house with friends, Craigie opted to set up shop at the OK Theater in Enterprise, Oregon with longtime collaborator Bart Budwig behind the board as engineer. A rotating cast of musicians shuffled in and out safely, distinguishing the process from the communal recording of previous releases. The core players included Justin Landis, Cooper Trail, and Nevada Sowle. Meanwhile, Shook Twins lent their signature vocal harmonies, Bevin Foley arranged, composed, and performed strings, and Ben Walden dropped in for guitar and violin plucking parts.

‘Instruments were scattered around the theatre and microphones placed in various spots,’ he recalls. ‘It’s hard to say who all played what exactly.’

As such, the spirit in the room guided everyone. On Distance, warm piano glows alongside a glitchy beat as he softly laments, ‘I could lose you to the loneliness, vast and infinite’. Then, there’s Helena. A jazz-y bass line snakes through head-nodding percussion as he relays an incendiary parable of a mother and son in exile. He croons, ‘She said fire was how we’d make ‘em pay. As I ran across the fields, she would scream, “Light it up son”,’ uplifted in a conflagration of Shook Twins’ harmonies. Strings echo in the background as his vocals quake front-and-centre on Street Mermaid.

Elsewhere, the guitar-laden Microdose beguiles and bewitches with an intoxicating refrain dedicated to a time where he ‘Microdosed for months and months, dissolve my ego in the acid’. Everything culminates on the glassy beat-craft and glistening guitars of Perseids where he sings, ‘There’s always a new heart after the old heart. Maybe a new heart is enough.’

During this period, he explored the environment around him ‘from the Oregon coasts to the waterfalls’ and read books about Levon Helm, Billie Holiday and Ani DiFranco.

‘I got time to silence all the noise and chaos of touring and look inward,’ he observes.

Craigie had reached a series of watershed moments in tandem with Mermaid Salt. Beyond headlining venues such as The Fillmore and gracing the stage of Red Rocks Amphitheater, his 2020 offering Asterisk The Universe earned unanimous tastemaker applause. Rolling Stone noted, ‘tracks like Don’t Deny and Climb Up bridge a Sixties and Seventies songwriter vibe with the laid-back cool of Jack Johnson, an early supporter of Craigie,’ while Glide Magazine hailed it as ‘one of his best records’. Perhaps No Depression put it best: ‘For many weary and heavy- listeners hearted, the album might be exactly what they need.’ Along the way, he generated over 40 million total streams and counting, speaking to his unassuming impact.

In the end, Craigie offers a sense of peace on Mermaid Salt.

Tour support comes from Maya de Vitry. Maya de Vitry’s dynamic and vibrant voice seems to rise out of some necessity of bringing songs to life, embracing listeners with what Folk Alley calls a ‘soulful intimacy’. She grew up in a musical family in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, understanding music to be a place of gathering, a way to spend a summer night around a campfire. Maya first traveled and performed as a fiddling street musician, and then in bars, theatres, and on festival stages as a founding member of The Stray Birds. When the band parted ways in 2018, Maya embarked on an ever-evolving musical path of solo work and new collaborations. Her recordings and live performances embody both sincerity and playfulness, and a compelling reverence for the power of songs to be a place of gathering – whether played on stage, or around a campfire.

Maya tours in a variety of formats, each featuring a fluid lineup of inspired collaborators. She also enjoys the art of warming up the stage for other artists and she has been invited to support a variety of tours, from innovative singer-songwriters like John Craigie and Aoife O’Donovan, to bands like Mighty Poplar and The Wood Brothers.

While on a tour in April 2023, Maya felt deeply moved by the musical chemistry, emotional immediacy, and joyful spontaneity of her live band. She reached out to Nashville-based engineer Lawson White to arrange a recording session for this specific ensemble. But as far as the material for the session, she felt certain of only one song. Stacy, In Her Wedding Gown – a captivating portrait of a deeply creative working mother, inspired by one of Maya’s former co-workers at the Nipper’s Corner Starbucks – had become a staple in her live show and could be a centrepiece of the collection.

With the band booked and the session on the calendar, Maya wrote several new songs with the ensemble in mind, and chose one cover song for the collection. The resulting EP, Infinite, is performed with astonishing depth and tenderness, shimmering with a loose, human beauty from start to finish. Produced by Maya de Vitry and engineered and mixed by Lawson White, Infinite features Maya de Vitry (acoustic guitar, vocals) and members of her touring band – Joel Timmons (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, vocals), Hannah Delynn (vocals), and Ethan Jodziewicz (upright bass, fretless electric bass). It is a powerful 23 minute journey that invites listeners into the space of warmth and freedom that Maya has so devotedly created.

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When: 7pm on Wednesday 24 January 2024
Where: YES Pink Room, 38 Charles Street, Manchester, M1 7DB

We’re excited to welcome John Francis Flynn back!

John Francis Flynn will release a new album Look Over the Wall, See the Sky on 10 November 2023, following on from his critically acclaimed debut album and accompanying live performances. Look Over the Wall, See the Sky picks up where I Would Not Live Always left off.

John masterfully unpicks traditional songs and rearranges them with an emotional force. They float in a surreal space between the past and the present, the analog and the digital, between love and tragedy. The unconventional use of instruments and jagged arrangements gives the work a magnetism by drawing you into its curious orbit of experimental folk.

Look Over The Wall, See The Sky is a re-imagining of traditional Irish music: powerful, hopeful and free.

John Francis Flynn is a singer and multi-instrumentalist who creates contemporary music using traditional and folk material. His debut album I Would Not Live Always was released on Rough Trade imprint River Lea Records in 2020, earning rave reviews and winning two awards at the RTE Folk Awards.

‘I Would Not Live Always offers a singular and striking clarity of vision’ – 4 stars, Uncut

‘John Francis Flynn’s My Son Tim is an extraordinary piece of music’ – Clash

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When: 7.30pm on Thursday 1 February 2024
Where: The Castle Hotel, 66 Oldham Street, Manchester M4 1LE

We’re delighted to be welcoming Novelty Island back – this time, to the Castle Hotel!

Novelty Island is the project of Liverpool-based songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, Tom McConnell. McConnell grew up between Newcastle and Liverpool and takes inspiration from the pop music, surrealism and melancholy of the North.

After a series of psychedelic EPs, the debut Novelty Island album How Are You Coping With This Century? was released in Autumn 2021. It led to the Novelty Island live band performing at Glastonbury Festival and supporting Sea Power and The Pale White around the UK.

McConnell then turned to recordings he’d made at Abbey Road Studios and Damon Albarn’s Studio 13 for the second Novelty Island album, Wallsend Weekend Television. The album was released in March 2023 and followed by a 10-date UK headline tour.

Both Novelty Island albums have received five-star reviews from Shindig and R’n’R as well as support from Mojo, BBC Radio 6, BBC Introducing and Absolute Radio. McConnell also creates the surreal imagery around Novelty Island in the form of papier-mâché props, dreamy animations, claymation videos and a never-ending Instagram account.

Main support comes from J. Madden. J. Madden (James Madden) first drew praise as songwriter in off-kilter BBC 6 Music favourites Hooton Tennis Club. In 2020, with an abundance of time, Madden began bedroom recording and sowing the seed for the solo project that would become J. Madden. His debut album Same Day as Yesterday was self released in 2021 and pressed to 100 records. J. Madden returns in 2023 with cinematic single Dawn; his loungey ode to home.

Debris Discs will open the show. Debris Discs is the solo venture of former Coves & Caves/My Side of the Mountain member James Eary. Nestled up in the hills of the High Peak, James crafts homespun dreampop epics with an arsenal of dusty synths, drum machines, effects pedals and a trusty old telecaster. The debut album from Debris Discs, Post War Plans, is out now through AnalogueTrash records. Electronic Sound Magazine say the album is full of ‘shimmering, electronic anthems’, while Bandcamp’s New and Notable describe it as ‘spaced-out synthpop with a psychedelic edge’. For this show, James will be reimagining tracks from the album using live-looped guitar, synths, beats and bleeps.

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