February brought with it some big decisions.

First up, to spend the bulk of the gigging year upright. After 19 years of the chair, the maraca, and the tambourine, I figured a change was in order. Some gigs suit that- it’s more intimate- but others need me on my toes and in-your-face.

Now you can have both.

Second, is the next album will be delayed until March 2024.

That’s a strategic decision as I want to include ‘The Last Miner’. This is the song scheduled as the next Joe Solo & The Hatfield Brigade single. It’s about the political and historical importance of Durham Miner’s Gala and NEEDS a brass band, but delays writing the arrangement for brass mean it will now be released to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Miner’s Strike instead.

This is something I’m happy to embrace under the circumstances. It gives me an extra few months of writing new songs too. I want it all killer, no filler, so that fits the agenda; but apologies to those anticipating the annual album around now. There’s still plenty to listen to on all streaming sites……links to which can be found here:


February saw me gig Sheffield, Newcastle, Stourbridge and Hartlepool for Punk 4 The Homeless, Durham Miner’s Association and We Shall Overcome; the highlight of which was Jess Silk‘s birthday party at Katie Fitzgeralds aka Rebel HQ, which finished with a three-way ‘No Pasaran’ sung by Jess, Matt Johnson and myself. A highlight of the year when I look back, no doubt.

The Durham Miner’s Association fundraiser in Newcastle led to my following RMTs Mick Lynch to the mic, not an easy job these days, Mick having almost single-handedly galvanised the trade union movement for its current struggles and steeled the resolve of activists everywhere. Another great night.

I stood on as many pickets as time would allow, and I will continue to support strike action throughout March, either here or at rallies. The stakes could not be higher. Defeat now would cripple the trade union movement and leave the Working Class at the mercy of a callous and vindictive government; victory would re-energise the Left at a time we are needed more than ever.

Next month should witness the arrival of two new Lithium Joe songs, ‘Answer Machine’ and ‘See You When I Get There’, recorded last November at Fairview Studios and just waiting on videos before we schedule them for release. Almost 22 years since our last recordings, this is like a dream come true and I can’t wait for you to hear them.

I’ll also be playing Bradford, Bolton and Sheffield if you’re in the area….

Lastly, February brought the sad news of the passing of Country Joe & The Fish legend Bruce Barthol, a man I had the good fortune to sing alongside on a couple of occasions. Bruce had a pedigree in the protest movement most can only dream of, from the Berkeley Riots through Vietnam to the present day, and it was through Bruce my songs reached Barry Melton whose childhood home in New York had played host to both the International Brigaders and many a late night session with Woody Guthrie. For Bruce to have put my songs in that proud lineage meant the world to me, and I was very sorry to hear we’d lost him.

We will fight on, my friend.

Right. March is upon us.

The world won’t change itself.

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