T’SHED TRANSFORMED

I just wanted to post my heartfelt thanks to all who contributed to the ‘Save T’Shed Appeal’ over the Summer. Here’s a final update on what is an incredible transformation.

As you know, T’Shed is more than any old outbuilding, it’s my rehearsal room, recording studio, and since March, my only venue. Sadly, after years of neglect and more than a few makeshift repairs, she began to leak significantly in more than 30 places and the main beam in the roof snapped threatening to collapse the whole thing. I propped it up as best I could and carried on through the cold, the damp, the mould, and the imminent danger, because I had nowhere else to play and not enough money to fix it.

Then slowly the other struts in the roof began to bend under the extra strain, and my hand was forced.

So we ran an appeal at ‘Live From T’Shed #4’ and the rest I’m delighted to say, is history.

Thanks to the incredible skills and work ethic of Mark and Alfie McKay, we went from this…

Through this…..

And a little bit of this….

Plus a little of this….

To this….

It truly is an INCREDIBLE transformation, and thanks to your solidarity and the amazing work put in by Mark and Alfie, I am now warm and dry and safe, and surrounded by inspiration.

So I guess it must be time for a new album.

I cannot begin to describe the joy and relief this has brought me, and as soon as we are able I’ll be out there saying thank you the only way I know how.

And that is a promise.

#LockdownSolidarity Smashes It

#LockdownSolidarity the massive merch giveaway I started soon after Covid killed the gigs smashed £10,000 raised a couple of weeks ago so it’s worth taking stock with what has happened.

Here’s my Facebook post tonight….

Every once in a while it is worth taking stock of what has been achieved with your incredible support during Covid.

We kept Pauline Town going for the year thanks to WSO Isolation Festival on Easter Saturday.

We raised more than £2000 so far for Hull Help For Refugees with you sponsoring my daily mile.

We’ve helped support WSO musicians through WSO Fight The Good Fight Club.

And there’s #lockdownsolidarity.

Here are the totals so far.

WK1 £125 for Mesopotamia Cafe in Nottingham
WK2 £130 for Teardrops in St. Helens
WK3 £540 for Dundee Food Bank
WK4 £532 for The Florrie in Liverpool
WK5 £501 for East Worthing Food Bank
WK6 £335 for Help The Homeless in Glastonbury
WK7 £346 for Kitchen For Everyone in York
WK8 £915 for Feed Newport
WK9 £635 for LoveGlasgowHateRacism
WK10 £453 for DN7 Food Bank
WK11 £713 for East Durham Trust
WK12 £630 for Unity Shop in Hull
WK13 £462 for Tommy’s Kitchen in E17
WK14 £448 for IDAS (Independent Domestic Abuse Service)
WK15 £450 for Bradford Metropolitan Food Bank
WK16 £350 for One Heart in Bangor
WK17 £430 for Leeds South and East Food Bank
WK18 £400 for the Tony Smith Solidarity Fund
WK19 £330 for Little Sprouts Health and Well-being in Stockton-on-Tees. WK20 £364 for We Are One in Grimsby
WK21 £323 for Furness Refugee Support
WK22 £175 Helping Hands in Bournemouth
WK23 £238 for Fans Supporting Foodbanks
WK24 £143 for PCS Tate Commerce Strike Fund
WK25 £230 for Women Shall Overcome in Widnes
WK26 £110 for We Shall Overcome Sussex/Leeds
WK27 £240 for The Welcome Centre in Huddersfield.

on top of that #RefugeeSolidarity has managed…

WK1 £100 for Sea-Watch and Furness Refugee Support
WK2 £166 for Sea-Watch and Care4Calais
WK3 £155 for Sea-Watch and Safe Passage
WK4 £160 for Sea-Watch and Hull Help For Refugees.
WK5 £85 for Sea-Watch.

Plus we have hat-matched more than 20 beanie hats for WSO Homeless Outreach from sales of the new Joe Solo woolie hat.

And the £5500 raised from the Live From T’Shed gigs.

……and I haven’t forgotten you got me back online when my laptop blew and re-roofed t’shed digging me out of two crises of my own.

More than six months and still no end in sight, but I won’t let up until we see the other side of Covid.

Thanks for your incredible support so far.
Solidarity Joe

LIVE FROM T’SHED #5

‘Live From T’Shed #5’ takes place Saturday September 5th at 8.30pm in my dedicated live stream group on Facebook, and it’s a performance of my ‘Headscarves & Hurricanes’ album about Hull’s Triple Trawler Tragedy and the subsequent campaign by the ‘Headscarf Revolutionaries’ to change maritime safety law.

This may sound like dry folk history, but the story is not only poignant, it is a lesson in community solidarity and direct action that is every bit as relevant today as it was in February 1968.

There will be a short introduction by author Brian W Lavery whose books inspired the album, and it will be an honour and a pleasure to be introduced by such a damn fine writer and damn fine comrade.

You can join my live stream group here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/joesololivefromtshed

and this time round the GoFundMe appeal is a little closer to home. My poor shed, which is second home, rehearsal space and recording studio to me, has had a serious roof collapse and is leaking water badly when it rains. The contents have slowly moulded and rotted away and it hasn’t been a very pleasant place to sit for many months now. I’m hoping to fund a replacement roof for ‘T’Shed’ via:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/save-t039shed-fundraiser

And any merch sales this week are going to Furness Refugee Support as part of Wk21 of #LockdownSolidarity.

Hope to see you there, folks!

#LockdownSolidarity Now Indefinite

I always said #lockdownsolidarity would continue until we were able to gig again and I could do what I do in person; but it is becoming increasingly clear that not only is that a long way off, but owing to the government effectively throwing the grassroots music scene under the bus, the world we eventually return to will be a very difficult place to run fundraising events just when they will be needed most.

With this in mind Lockdown Solidarity will continue indefinitely.

Every Sunday I will shift cause and attempt to spread it around as I have this last 18 weeks, because it must be clear to everyone now, we are at the start of a very long journey through the aftermath of Covid-19, and millions will carry its burden for years to come; and while it might be a bottomless pit I’m shovelling merch money into on a weekly basis, I have to do SOMETHING because something has to be done.

So proud to be working with Hull and District Trades Council on the new Unity Shop; and with my brothers and sisters at We Shall Overcome who will continue to innovate and inspire in whatever form the live music scene allows (and no doubt some forms it doesn’t) including our WSO Fight The Good Fight Club supporting the musicians who support us. Grassroots organising is going to become an increasingly vital tool over the coming years, and we will be there on the frontline as per.

The knock-on effect of giving all merch money away is that Joe Solo releases will become streaming and download only for the foreseeable future. There will be a vinyl compilation of my work with Rebekah Findlay, which will hopefully be crowdfunded, but after that the songs sell so little there’s no real point in physical formats anymore- they cost money, and that money would be better spent helping folks.

And helping folks is what I will spend the rest of my days doing. A virus on top of decades of appalling leadership, corruption and greed have sealed that fate.

But f*** it. I’m good for it.

We fight til they lose.

#LockdownSolidarity- Tony Smith Hardship Fund

Wk17 of #lockdownsolidarity raised £430 for Leeds South and East Foodbank which I will send them over later.

Wk18 is a slight shift in emphasis, but is no less a vital act of solidarity than any other.

I’ll fill you in on the story.

A couple of years ago Tony Smith was at the heart of a hugely successful strike at the FCC refuse collection site in Hull. One of the lads had undergone extensive cancer treatment yet the company offered no sick pay scheme for its frontline workers forcing him into a choice between turning in for work mid-chemo, or losing his home on Statutory Sick Pay.

I first met Tony when I sang on their picket line, and I was proud as punch when that strike won Sick Pay, not just for the handful who’d fought, but for 2500 men and women nationally.

This was symbolic as it was the trade union movement on the offensive for once and making gains, not just fighting rearguard actions trying to stop pay and rights being taken away.

Since then Tony has been a target for a management revenge campaign which came to a head when he raised the issue of remnants of asbestos waste being declassified to allow them to be disposed of more cheaply by the company which was clearly putting profit before the wellbeing of its workforce.

Tony raised this, which as Health & Safety Officer he was duty bound to do, and FCC have responded by suspending and then firing him on manufactured charges to keep him quiet and get him out of the way.

This leaves a comrade, a brother and a friend without income from the middle of this month, and while we rally to his side with appeals and protests on one level, and lobby the council to not renew FCC’s contract on another, the immediate concern is getting him through and keeping his bills paid; in short #Wk18 of Lockdown Solidarity is raising money for a support fund for Tony Smith.

You take on one of us, you take on all of us.

You know the drill. All merch money from Bandcamp goes to a different cause every week, so all you need to do is bag CDs or downloads, t-shirts or tote bags, bundles, bandanas, artwork prints or mugs and I’ll do the rest. If you’ve got all that but still wish to donate to helping Tony, message me for PayPal details and it will all go to the same place.

We stand together and we fight for each other. It’s the only way we’ll ever win.

Solidarity
Joe

WSO FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT CLUB LAUNCHES!!

We launched the brand new We Shall Overcome initiative ‘Fight The Good Fight Club’ on August 5th with a cracking night live from an increasingly dilapidated shed.

FTGFC is a Wednesday night music club which runs from 9-10pm each week bringing you a live stream from an artist who has helped support WSO this last five years but now, thanks to Lockdown, has lost the gigs which pay their bills. It is the movement standing in solidarity with those who are its lifeblood in better times, and we would love you to join us in the dedicated group here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/FightTheGoodFightClub/

Next Wednesday we have one of the most exciting singer-songwriters around, and one of lockdown’s undoubted stars, the brilliant Jess Silk.

The following week the mighty Naomi Bedford and Paul Simmonds…

Then Edinburgh’s Calum Baird…

Through September we’ll be bringing you Carol Hodge, Johnny Campbell, Efa Supertramp, Paul Carbuncle and Matt Hill.

All you need to do is JOIN THE GROUP at:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/FightTheGoodFightClub/

And be there at 9pm on a Wednesday. You’ll be in the company of great friends and great music.

Be great to have your company x

#MileAMorning4Refugees

Every morning between now and Christmas Eve I’ll be running a mile before work and asking for donations for Hull Help For Refugees. I started 32 days ago in response to an urgent appeal for tents, and so far this sponsored pain has raised £769 for the cause via a dedicated GoFundMe at:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/joe039s-mileamorning-for-refugees

I have 137 more miles to run.

If you can spare a donation, no matter how small, please hit the link and help me help them. A tent costs roughly £13 so we have already made a significant difference, but so much more can be achieved between now and when I finally hang up my jogging shoes for the Winter.

It would be fantastic to have your support.

WSO Fight The Good Fight Club

INCOMING

WSO FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT CLUB

New Wednesday night live stream music club starting August 5th.

Each week from 9pm we will introduce an artist who has helped support We Shall Overcome, only this time out we will be helping to support THEM.

As Lockdown continues for musicians we wanted to put together a regular night where instead of gigging for a cause as we are forever asking them to do, we ask for donations to help support them through these desperate days. So there’ll be links to throw in a few quid as they play, and opportunities to chat on the threads afterwards and to share links to merch.

I’m playing the first one on August 5th to raise money for Help Musicians UK and to introduce the night itself. After that the next three will feature Jess Silk, Bedford And Simmonds and Calum Baird.

Join the group and help us support those who have done so much for WSO.

Solidarity
Joe

https://www.facebook.com/groups/200008358074039/?ref=share

HULL UNITY SHOP

‘Live From T’Shed #4’ and my #lockdownsolidarity money from last week raised £1500 to help kickstart this brand new collaboration in Hull.

‘Unity Shop’ is part food bank, part advice centre, part place to call in a crisis and will be based at the Kurdish Community Centre off Spring Bank.

My £1500 has been matched by trade unions to give us a fighting fund we will be putting to good use as soon as possible.

Massive thanks to Joe Francis and all at Hull and District Trades Council for listening to my rants about the need for grassroots street level involvement right in the heart of communities so often abandoned by party politics, and consequently all too often breeding grounds for the Far Right. In the new post-lockdown financial reality there needs to be Unity Shops up and down this land demonstrating the sort of solidarity and spirit we preach but often don’t practice. Now is the time to walk it like we talk it, to get ahead of the future and change tomorrow for the better.

If you are struggling to make ends meet, having to choose between heating and eating, living under the shadow of eviction or any of the multiple often invisible tragedies of life on the bread line in work or out, we will be there.

As ever my comrade-in-crayons Kevin Pearson has delivered us a logo, and as ever my comrades in Hull are the first to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in, could not be prouder to stand with all.

Can’t say how much it means to be offered space by the city’s Kurdish Community, and we stand in solidarity with them as we look to shape a better future for all.

So if you see me banging the drum for this, you’ll know what I’m ranting about.

You can find out everything you need to know about Hull Unity Shop here:

https://sites.google.com/view/the-unity-shop/home

and it is absolutely fantastic, so please do.

This is just the start.

***NEW MERCH INCOMING***

Joe in t-shirt 2020

New range of merch designed by my comrade-in-crayons Kevin Pearson of Vagrant Art launched today.

We got t-shirts, tote bags and bandanas so far all available on Bandcamp as per:

https://joesolomusic.bandcamp.com/merch/lockdown-solidarity-t-shirt

All orders arrive to you direct from Steve Nevard at Reloadedmerch so it will solve any stocking problems with sizes.

And of course all money is going to #LockdownSolidarity supporting a different grassroots cause each week.

Bag it folks!