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: Ariel Sharratt & Mathias Kom... Giant Sand... Melanie Baker... Sophie Hutchings... Jerron Paxton... Ghostly Kisses... Sounds From The Other City 2024... Francis of Delirium... The Buffalo Skinners... The Handsome Family... Robbie Cavanagh... Memorial... His Lordship... Florry... Bad Bad Hats... Dana Gavanski... Caoilfhionn Rose... The Lovely Eggs... James Yorkston... Rain Parade... Matthew and the Atlas... Gratis: Makushin... Lightheaded + Mt. Misery... Charlie Parr... Ryley Walker... Erland Cooper...

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

PLEASE NOTE: This show has now sold out!

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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All shows are 18+ unless otherwise stated.