***GREENWICH THEATRE SHOW***

Joe Solo

On Sunday February 17th I’ll be playing my first ever headline show in London.

The venue is Greenwich Theatre.

It will be songs, stories, poems and, of course, ranting over two 45 minute sets so plenty of time to stretch my legs and play some of the stuff that rarely gets a live outing.

I’m REALLY looking forward to this and would massively appreciate your support.

If you can come along, please do. If you can share this blog, please do. If you can tell your family and friends, please do.

We’ve definitely sold enough tickets for a front row.

Would dearly love it if it wasn’t also the back row.

Tickets are £13 on this link:

https://www.greenwichtheatre.org.uk/events/joe-solo

Thanks everyone!!

New Year Revolutions

Poetry Logo

So from today ALL Joe Solo gigs will be WE SHALL OVERCOME gigs.
 
Anywhere and everywhere I play I will gratefully accept donations of food, warm clothing for #SocksAppeal, sanitary towels for #EndPeriodPoverty solidarity campaign, and anything else you think might help.
 
These will be divided up among a growing network of grassroots organisations desperate for help on the front line, and this year I am looking to extend that network.
 
Every £10 Joe Solo CD will be sold on the cast iron promise that £5 of your money will be going straight to Pauline Town to help fund her fight against poverty and homelessness from her base at The Station Hotel, Ashton-under-Lyne. The price increase last year to accommodate this has been a massive success in terms of being able to keep those food parcels going and help people off the streets, and I want to thank everyone who bought my music for directly helping and saving lives. It matters.
 
I will continue to support grassroots networks up and down the UK in fighting austerity and it’s devastating effects on our communities; in combating racism and fascism; in standing in the way of homophobia and transphobia; and in trying to build a future for ALL. And it starts from today.
 
I am one bloke with one guitar.
 
In the grand scheme of things I mean absolutely nothing.
 
But I am not alone.
 
There are more every passing year.
 
In 2019 We Shall Overcome will pass a THOUSAND events with a combined total of half a million quid of food, cash, clothing, bedding, furniture, electrical goods, footwear, tents and sleeping bags raised for those at the sharp end; and none of that was possible until the first person rocked up with a tin of beans.
 
So don’t sit there asking who is going to come along and change this land for the better.
 
The answer is, it’s YOU.
 
SOLIDARITY
Joe

2019: A Tempting Empty Page

Joe 1

So we stand once more on the imaginary precipice of another year, and as we kiss goodbye to the old one I’d like to wish each and every one of you all the best for the 12 months ahead. They may well come to define a generation.

We face challenging times for sure, but we must not let that turn us against ourselves.

We do that and we lose either way.

There are those who brought us to this point in history; and it is not simply those who voted a certain way in the EU Referendum but those who made our society so unfair, so unequal, so skewed in the favour of those at the top and for so long, that change became an absolute necessity. These are the people we should be directing our anger at; and yet if we continue down the path of 48% blaming 52% and vice versa, these same people are the only ones who will gain from it. We must unite and embrace whatever tomorrow brings TOGETHER. Only together can we build a future for ALL.

We need big hearts, yes, but big hearts alone are not enough.

Big hearts just mop up the mess after austerity, after casino capitalism, after those who put profit before all in our society. Those big hearts are essential, but we also need to fight back, to stand up for ourselves, to demand change and to support others in their various struggles to the same end. Only with both raised fists and helping hands can we move forward and beyond the current crisis. No change is coming. No good one anyway. Not unless we fight for it.

So 2019 may well be the most crucial year in our lifetimes. What happens, how it happens, and who pulls the strings will come to define us.

Let’s not be found wanting.

Tonight we celebrate.

Tomorrow we write the future on a tempting empty page.

Sharpen your pencils, folks.

And don’t be lost for words.

Joe

 

 

2018: That Was The Year That Was.

Not On Our Watch low res thumbnail

Well, that just about sees off another year and it seems only fair to pause and take it all in bearing in mind how twelve more months passed in a blur of mischief and mayhem at 100 miles an hour……just the way I like it.

Well it all began with the release of ‘Not On Our Watch‘, my 16th album and a record I remain phenomenally proud of; but in January something rather unexpected happened.

I wrote another.

During a couple of weeks R&R I’d read Brian W. Lavery‘s incredible book ‘The Headscarf Revolutionaries’, telling the story of the Hull’s Triple Trawler Tragedy and the subsequent grassroots campaign by a group of amazing women to improve safety aboard ship. I wrote the first song on February 21st and recorded the last one on March 22nd, and the album ‘Headscarves & Hurricanes’ was born. Course, it needed a few embellishments from Rebekah Findlay‘s amazing violin and a fantastic night in Leeds with Commoners Choir, but in essence it was done and the year was off to a cracking start.

Joe and Commoners Recording

The gigs came thick and fast and I sang everywhere from picket lines to Children’s Wards; for everything from strike funds to food banks and back again; and the madness hit: Hull, Manchester, Stockton-on-Tees, Ashton-under-Lyne, Market Weighton, Hartlepool, Leeds, Scarborough, Wigan, Croxton Kerrial, Rotherham, Filey, Barnsley, Dublin, Durham, Bolton, Wakefield, Oldham, Warrington,  Glastonwick, Doncaster, Mansfield, Southport, Bradford, Goathland, Glasgow, Llangollen, Huddersfield, Whitwell, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Chesterfield, Darlington, Cleethorpes, Skegness, Liverpool, Warsop, Stainforth, Glossop, Ulverston, Middlesbrough, Harrogate, Stourbridge, Grimsby and Scunthorpe…..many of them more than once…..and en route I had the time of my life. Highlights everywhere and too many to mention so here’s a few pics to sum it all up.

The third May Day Festival Of Solidarity was probably our best yet. Tony Wright and I had put together what we felt was a classic line-up, and the roof came off Old Schoolhouse in Barnsley so many times that weekend it was genuinely hard to keep up. Superb performances from all, but there were moments that brought tears to my eyes and tingles up my spine that I will remember forever. Again, the pics tell the story, but it was IMMENSE.

Everywhere I went I met amazing people giving their all for live music and for the cause of humanity, and that is the best thing about being out there on the road, the politics isn’t an abstract concept because you see it in action, you see how much people give for others, you see socialism in action away from the books, away from the dry text and the arguments over the small-print- you see real people helping real people through real troubles and it inspires in a way that nothing else can.

Whether that was an unbelieveable night at Stainforth Pit Club opening for Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott….

Stainforth Paul Heaton

Heaton Solo Abbott

Or on the ‘Armistice Tour’ alongside the truly amazing Rebekah Findlay…

Midd 2

Be that in Edinburgh…

Edinburgh castle

Glasgow…..

Joe 2 Stephen Mitchell

Dublin…..

Connolly

Or Stainforth…..

Lindsay Team

You see it, you feel it, and you know it because it’s there beating in your chest and in the hearts of thousands of others. I love that. I never tire of it. Whether the gig is to 6 people or 600, the message is the same. The future needs us, and we’re good for it.

So from the handful of FCC workers whose strike won sick pay for 3000 people up and down the land…..

FCC Picket April 2018

To the Unison choir bringing Xmas cheer to poorly children on hospital wards…

Joe Solo and the Elf Service Singers

There is hope out there if you know where to look.

The trick is to never stop looking.

Joe and Corbyn BFAWU 2018

In June I FINALLY got that selfie with Mr Corbyn when I sang at the BFAWU Conference in Southport. It was a something of a rushed meeting, but I know he is 100% behind the work we are doing with We Shall Overcome which hit its fourth year in #WSO2018, and with Universal Credit being rolled out into more and more areas, causing poverty like never before wherever it lands, our amazing family of artists, organisers and activists were needed more than ever before…..and boy did they respond.

We added 208 more events to our grand total which will top the 1000 mark by the middle of 2019, and our best estimates tell us the help we will have raised for those at the sharp end of austerity will be close to half a million quids worth of food, cash, clothing, bedding, furniture, electrical goods, sleeping bags and tents; and on top of all that, Pauline Town‘s incredible work over in Ashton-under-Lyne has secured hundreds of people a future off the streets and into places of their own where they can dream of a fresh start. The hope this brings is immeasurable. Pauline is an absolute mountain of a woman and was rightly presented with a community award for her incredible achievements earlier this month.

Speaking of awards. September was quite a month.

I became the first non-famous person to be presented with the Gerrard Winstanley Gold Spade Award for Contributions to Socialism. The only other winners have been Tony Benn, Maxine Peake, Jimmy McGovern and Ken Loach; so when I was handed this amazing plaque by my good friend and comrade Attila the Stockbroker at Wigan Diggers Festival, it was a truly magical moment.

But perhaps the moment that best summed up my year, and the amazing people who have made it so special, came earlier that day when I took to the stage amid driving rain and looked out on to an empty square as the crowds huddled in the beer tents for shelter. Thinking it was going to be a tough gig playing to an empty space, I set myself up and heard the introduction so I looked up, and there before me was a square full of people braving the weather to watch the show……and we made the rain stop!!

Unforgettable.

Beware The Risen People

So that was the year that was. I have been tremendously lucky to have been the places I have been and met the people I have met. I know that. Stuff like this doesn’t happen to everyone, and it’s important to recognise that, to love every moment, and to appreciate the good fortune that brings stuff my way.

A massive thank you to everyone who supported both me and WSO throughout the year, either by coming to the gigs, buying the music, sharing the posts, making the posters, running the shows, snapping the pics…..or in the case of the amazing Sean Mcgowan at the RMT, making me cry by handing me a birthday cake and award.

I vow to fight on in 2019 and do everything in my power to live up to my promises, to fight the good fight harder than ever, and to be there for as many people as the road permits me.

We start with two new records….

a brand new May Day Festival of Solidarity.….

May Day 2019 Flyer

And more love and enthusiasm than ever.

Not bad foundations on which to build.

2019 here I come x

May Day Festival Of Solidarity 2019

May Day 2019 Flyer

The good news is MAY DAY FESTIVAL OF SOLIDARITY returns to Old School House, Barnsley next year.

The GREAT news is the INCREDIBLE bill!!

Tony and myself have pulled out all the stops to bring you a day I’m sure you’ll agree is worth every penny of the ticket.

You can bag them for £12.50 early bird price on this link:

https://www.seetickets.com/tour/may-day-festival-of-solidarity

but BE QUICK! We know Grace Petrie has gone up several levels this year and will be opening for Frank Turner on his arena tour of the UK early next year where she’ll be playing to crowds 20 times as big as we can fit into the Old School House; and with the rest of the bill made up of some of the very best live acts around, this is sure to be a pretty busy year.

So take advantage of the early bird price and GET EM ORDERED!

This will be MINT!

Last Gig Of 2018…..

Lindsay Team

My last gig of 2018 is the Annual Hatfield Brigade Knees-Up at Central Club, Stainforth on Friday December 14th. I’ll be joined by Rebekah Findlay on fiddle and vocals, and the material will mostly centre around the songs from ‘Never Be Defeated’ and the three Joe Solo and the Hatfield Brigade singalongs, but there will be a few surprises thrown in for good measure.

Everyone is welcome and it’s free entry, although it is also my last We Shall Overcome gig of #WSO2018 so we’ll be making a collection of groceries for the local food bank, warm clothing for #SocksAppeal and sanitary towels for #EndPeriodPoverty solidarity campaign.

Please get there if you can.

It will be the last time I raise a guitar in anger before the new year hits and the whole job starts again, but I will be singing songs in local hospitals over the weekend of December 15th/16th as part of a Unison-inspired series of events to bring a little cheer to children unable to make it home for Christmas. There’ll be some old seasonal favourites hammered out on the uke and hopefully we’ll be able to raise a smile or two.

After that it’s back to the job of changing the world.

And there are already some absolute BANGERS confirmed for 2019.

Watch this space.

How You Can Make Songs Save Lives This Christmas.

Poetry Logo

I have always tried to make my songs mean something more than just words and tunes.

Music saved my life.

Over and over again.

And I have always used my own to help save others.

Here’s how it is all going to work this Christmas.

  1. DOWNLOADS
    If you download ANY Joe Solo songs from Amazon, I-Tunes, CDBaby, Googleplay or Spotify the money will go to the ‘DN7 Hardship Fund’ set up by the Hatfield Brigade to help people struggling to make ends meet in the pit villages of South Yorkshire. This has been running all year and we will be making a sizeable donation to the local food bank this Christmas.
  2. CD SALES ONLINE
    I only sell CDs on Bandcamp. They are £10 and of that tenner £5 goes to Pauline Town who moves mountains in the battle against homelessness in Greater Manchester. Those fivers become daily packed lunches, or deposits on flats, or any number of other amazing things. Pauline is an expert in making that money stretch in order to have the biggest impact, and she is saving lives on a daily basis.
  3. CD SALES GIGS
    Again they are a tenner, and again £5 of that goes to Pauline so when you bag yourself some Joe Solo songs you can rest assured that half of the money you just handed over will be helping someone within days. The other fiver? Well that pays for more CDs and the whole things starts again.

On top of that all my gigs are collection points for groceries for food banks through We  Shall Overcome, warm clothing for street homeless as part of my #SocksAppeal, and sanitary towels for my #EndPeriodPoverty solidarity campaign. I will never turn donations away, and all of them are shared according to where need is greatest.

So if you want to make a gift of Joe Solo songs this Christmas, or you want to fill a gap in your collection, then please do. You can do that knowing you might just have save someone’s life into the bargain.

You can start here:
joesolomusic.bandcamp.com

Thanks folks x