LITHIUM JOE TICKETS OUT NOW!!

Tickets are now available for the Lithium Joe gig at the Adelphi in Hull on Sunday December 1st.

We play twice that weekend in what will be our first shows in almost 20 years, and I can’t wait.

Both gigs are for We Shall Overcome, with Saturday at The Station Hotel, Ashton-under-Lyne raising funds to help Pauline Town battle homelessness in Greater Manchester; and Sunday’s ticket money will all go to Hull Help For Refugees.

Tickets for the Adelphi gig are available from:

Home

But be quick. They went on sale Sunday night and half are gone already!

I also did an interview with Nick Quantrill which you can read here:

Welcome back to Joetown

In the meantime there is a LOT of solo mischief to get through first…

WIGAN DIGGERS FESTIVAL #9

Had a truly incredible day at Wigan Diggers Festival yesterday. After a week of the worst of this country I saw the best, and it fully recharged my batteries for the struggles ahead. Great spirit, great people and great performances. What more can you ask?

There were fantastic sets, with Attila The Stockbroker, Darren Poyzer and Jess Silk being personal highlights, but headliners The Men They Couldn’t Hang put in one of the best shifts of their 35 year career last night and just blew us all away. I’m slightly biased as a teenage dream came true when I was invited on stage to sing ‘Ghosts Of Cable Street’, one of the most important songs in my life, and one I consider among the best ever written. What a moment. Truly unforgettable.

There were others too. I was officially there on ceremonial duties to hand my We Shall Overcome Big Sis, Pauline Town, this year’s Gerrard Winstanley Gold Spade Award for outstanding contribution to Socialism. A lot of famous names have won this accolade, but there can be no-one more deserving of it than this incredible warrior for the downtrodden and the dispossessed. To get the square singing ‘One Life At A Time’ and to hand it over was very special indeed.

A festival is made by an awful lot of hard work behind the scenes, and I want to pay tribute to the committee who set the tone every year with their kindness, their selflessness, their hospitality and their solidarity. When you are welcomed and looked after as a performer you take the stage with a skip in your step; when you are welcomed, respected and valued as an audience you generate a spirit in the crowd that artists tap into. It becomes a two way street and the atmosphere slowly builds through the day. It takes a great band, like The Men They Couldn’t Hang to then make the kind of magic we witnessed last night, but it exists in the first place thanks to the year-long hard graft of the Diggers Committee and the sound and lighting staff who make the whole thing tick. Respect comrades ✊

Right. Stockton today. Best get ready.

La lucha continua.

We Shall Overcome- How You Can Help

We Shall Overcome #WSO2019 takes place over the weekend of October 4/5/6.

At least the main thrust does.

Since the turn of the year activists and organisers have been badging their gigs WSO and raising help for those who need it, whenever and wherever that need is greatest.

It really is that easy.

You can build your own event, or you can badge up something which already exists; if you’re a band on tour you can ask for donations at that weekend’s gigs, or rattle the bucket the whole way round.

It doesn’t even have to be music. We have had poetry and spoken word, history walks, art auctions, lectures, snooker tournaments, boxing nights, battle of the bands, bake-offs……we have done the lot and it was all amazing.

There have been more than 1000 since October 2015, and each has raised help for food banks, soup kitchens, homeless outreach, crisis centres, refugee support, youth projects; basically wherever help is most needed on the streets of your town.

We are NOT a charity. We are a ramshackle alliance of people who aren’t prepared to sit and watch others suffer while we have it in our power to help. We don’t collect donations centrally, everything raised stays where it is and goes straight to the grassroots in the town who raised it.

We Shall Overcome is a metaphorical banner to march under. We help give your local gig a national identity and we help promote it. The scale of our collective efforts gives us all a sense of belonging and a sense of solidarity with like-minded people the four corners of the UK. It gives us a political voice, and it empowers others who may have felt they could not change things and now see they can.

And we can.

We all can.

Those 1000+ gigs have raised food, cash, warm clothing, footwear, tents, toiletries, sleeping bags and sanitary towels to an estimated total of £450,000; and from the first tin of beans to the last 20p piece, it ALL mattered.

It mattered because every last penny says we are not beaten and we will fight til they lose.

JOIN US! BRING A GIG TO THE PARTY!!

Remembering Peterloo

Incredible day at Peterloo March for Democracy in Manchester and a massive thank you to the organisers for putting together a blinder to remember the slaughter of Working Class men, women and children on the 16th August 1819.

I was running on empty after last night’s gig in Bradford and two hours kip, but I was soon energised by the trip to pick up Pauline Town and drop off donations from gigs up and down the land. When I arrived at 10.15am Big Sis had already made 50 sarnies for her homeless family. Puts things in perspective don’t it?

Great to march in with Ian Hodson, Sarah Woolley and Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union – BFAWU comrades, together with the amazing folks of Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign and the equally brilliant company of Lesbians and Gay Men Support the Miners. Our procession was so cool that if we hadn’t already been stopping the traffic, we would definitely have stopped the traffic 😂😂😂

Great to arrive in Albert Square in the shadow of Manchester’s incredible City Hall and see so many comrades from up and down the land. Special respect reserved for the Bolton comrades who had marched 12 miles with their banner to be there.

Loved speaking to so many brilliant people and singing from the FBU fire engine, looking out across a sea of smiling faces and banners.

Even the tiny number of fascists who shamelessly came to disrupt an event remembering the slaughter of people whose Class they claim to represent, couldn’t dampen proceedings. We all know if this was 1819 they would have been dressed in the uniform of the Yeomanry murdering for the rich instead of fighting for their own. Same as it ever was.

Right. Must sleep now.

Before I go though, as Pauline and me walked back to the car she stopped to buy a homeless man a sarnie and drink. She was 8 miles from home, way off anyone else’s beaten path, and yet she still knew him by name.

Proud to call her my friend.

#LoveGlasgowHateRacism 2019

Glasgow I f***ing love you.

Phenomenal night at #LoveGlasgowHateRacism with amazing people from all over this wonderful world.

Absolutely blinding sets from Mick Hargan & Andy McBride, The Twistettes and I’ve said before but I’ll say it again, The Wakes playing their hometown is f***ing euphoric!!

Fantastic to see Chip Hamer and Nadia Drews represent Poetry on the Picket Line after nine hours on a train; and Tony Kinsella, soaked to the bone after being caught in a Glasgow squall, loving every second of the night with a great big grin on his face.

Loved meeting the legend that is Richard Jobson too. An absolute gent and a blinding compere.

Big shout out to Glasgow St Pauli comrades for putting the night together and for doing such damn fine work helping Scottish Refugee Council, United Glasgow FC and the wider fight against racism, fascism, bigotry and intolerance.

Big shout out also for Safe Gigs for Women and the work they are doing up and down the land.

…..and to Dave Griffiths for making a nine hour round-trip pass in the blink of an eye.

Right. Recording today, We Shall Overcome Special of The Joe Solo Show tomorrow, and next weekend I’m at Shuttle Shuffle Festival. 17th – 18th August 2019 on Saturday and Peterloo March for Democracy on Sunday.

World won’t change itself ✊❤️👊

Tolpuddle & More- A Weekend To Remember!

Backstage with Donna Paul and Naomi

Well that was quite a weekend.

986 miles. Three gigs. Seventeen hours at the wheel.

And wouldn’t have missed a single second.

Well, ok…..maybe the part around 2am on Sunday morning when still an hour from my front door I was having to punch myself in the face to stay awake, but apart from that not a single second.

With Sean Hoyle

It all started when I sang for the RMT at the Bob Crow Exhibition Centre in Doncaster, as their traditional garden party got rained on once more. But did that stop us? Course not. No fair weather trade unionists in the RMT, especially not when there’s a free bar!

Hehe.

Then it was home to take Mrs S for a long-promised night out.

That box-ticked I had to point the car south after 90 minutes sleep and drive the six hours to Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival. Not easy, but that’s what coffee is for.

I LOVE Tolpuddle.

In 2016 I had an absolute blast, and this year was no different. Such a great atmosphere. Sun shining, comrades assembled from up and down the land, music and politics everywhere I turned, and amazing people I don’t get to see anywhere near as often as I should living up north.

I was booked to play the ‘Martyrs Marquee’ at 7pm, but managed to squeeze in a slot at the open mic, and on Steve White‘s ‘Tolpuddle Unplugged’ stage too. Amazing response everywhere I went and the smiles and singing will live long in my memory.

With Ian Hodson

Hard to overstate what that means to a relatively unknown bloke who has travelled six hours on no sleep. I know it’s a musician’s job to put the wind back in folk’s sails and recharge their batteries for the struggles ahead, but the feeling really is mutual when you are greeted with a response like the Tolpuddle crowd gave, and hand on heart, that was one of the most moving days of my life. Loved it.

And as if that lot wasn’t enough I was asked to join Naomi Bedford and Paul Simmonds on stage to play Woody Guthrie‘s ‘Ain’t Got No Home’, and there was no WAY I was turning THAT down! Thirty years ago when I was learning how to play solo and how to write Folk songs, it was Paul’s many classics for The Men They Couldn’t Hang which formed the bedrock of the busking repertoire I bashed out on street corners up and down this land and beyond; so to join him on stage and share verses written by our mutual inspiration was literally a dream come true. Unbelievable stuff really.

Can’t thank Keith and the Tolpuddle team enough for inviting me, encouraging me, and keeping this amazing festival going year in year out; and I can’t thank everyone who hugged me, shook my hand, gave me badges or money for We Shall Overcome enough either. You made my spirit soar.

On stage with Naomi and Paul

So I hauled the six hours home, slept as well as I could, and hurtled south again to play the Tramlines Fringe event at Shakespeares in Sheffield to a brilliant late Sunday crowd who sang me over the line in style.

Joe at Shakespeares Sheffield 2019

Now I need rest, fluids, fewer crisps, and more weekends like that one please!

See you out there soon x

Durham Miner’s Gala 2019

Saturday saw 300,000 of us gather in Durham for the Big Meeting, on what is up there with my favourite days of the year.

I once more marched with the Hatfield Brigade, an honour in itself, but made a hundred times more so by being handed a pole and asked to carry that incredible symbol of Working Class solidarity and defiance, the Hatfield Main banner.

So good to meet comrades from up and down the land and share a day celebrating everything we spend the rest of the year fighting for.

Especially great to catch up with the inspirational Mike Jackson of LGSM, who marched directly in front of us, with Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign comrades just in front of them.

A great day in the finest of company.

The speeches weren’t bad neither!

Especially Laura Pidcock, who SMASHED it.

I dropped into People’s Bookshop on my way back through town and gave them a rendition of ‘With Banners Held High’, which pretty much sums up what being handed that pole by the Hatfield Brigade had meant to me.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2295192373850930&id=206528372717351

Amazing day.