Holed-up writing and preparing for a new year and a fresh fight. There are new releases and new projects to run alongside the old ones, but here’s a quick run through where I’m heading.
Three new CDs will land early in 2020.
1. First will be the ‘We Shall Overcome EP’, seven protest covers all raising funds for the new #NotOnOurWatchCampaign (see below). The download is available now as well as the CD on pre-order, but they won’t land in your letterbox until the end of January when they are scheduled for delivery to Solo Towers. The EP features collaborations with Rebekah Findlay, The Hatfield Brigade and Commoners Choir.
2. Hot on its heels will be the reissue of ‘No Pasaran’ with the new artwork by Kevin Pearson which looks STUNNING. There are five bonus tracks and we also have 50 limited edition numbered A4 prints of the sleeve art for those who want it on their wall. There will be a launch gig for this in Hull and details will follow.
3. The new #LithiumJoe single ‘Answer Machine’ will be released in the Spring on CD and download, and potentially vinyl if we can make ends meet. The B-Side will be ‘Forget To Remember’ and ’29 More Stolen Summers’, and we can’t wait to get that out there. Michael Lee Toas has shot footage for a music video and short documentary, so that will be along too.
On the other side of things, the fight just got harder, which means I will have to dig a little deeper just to tread water.
That’s ok. I’m good for it.
We Shall Overcome will continue as before, and we’ll be looking to encourage more people to get involved so that every weekend we are hitting poverty where it hurts and getting help to the front line of need. I will continue to hit the road and head wherever I’m needed to support #WSO2020. Too many people need it.
My gigs will continue to be collection points for food donations, warm clothing parcels for #SocksAppeal, sanitary towels for #PeriodPovertySolidarityCampaign and I will continue with the Pauline Pocket for anyone who would like to get a few quid to The Station Hotel, Ashton Under Lyne for those daily packed lunches.
And the #NotOnOurWatchCampaign is my new battle. It has been launched in response to the people I’ve spoken to, or messaged, who are going without food and heating waiting for wage packets or benefit payments after the money has run out. I’m going to be building a fighting fund to help bridge those gaps for anyone who messages me in trouble. Can’t promise masses, but if £5, £10, £20 will get folks fed and allow them to turn the heating on, then I’ll sort it. Not a loan, not charity, just solidarity in action because that’s what Woody would have done.
So I hope to see you all out there again next year fighting on. I promise to hit every venue and festival that will have me, and to support every benefit gig and picket line I possibly can. The Struggle may have left parliament, but it leaves there bigger, bolder and better than it began and I genuinely believe we are stronger for it.
And f*** it, I’ve got nothing better to do for five years.