I’m very chuffed to announce that Up Here is all set to get a UK release through PIAS distribution in early January 2014. To support this we’ll be doing a couple of live dates in December, the first on the 13th at Ventnor Arts Club and the second on Monday 16th at the Slaughtered Lamb in Clerkenwell. Both are relatively small venues so buying tickets in advance is recommended. The album can be preordered here for £12 and any orders received before the end of December will receive a free copy of Songs Without Words when dispatched in early January.
December 3rd, 2013 · Live, News, Uncategorized, Up Here
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I’m very pleased to be able to share details of the forthcoming tour to promote the launch of ‘Up Here’ in October. There are several other dates to be confirmed and we haven’t even begun to look at UK dates yet.
All gigs listed here will be with the new band consisting of myself, Dave Godby, Rafe Spencer and Gaspar Sena, where possible we will also have my right-hand-man J.C Grimshaw in tow.
12.10.13 Bugewitz / Kulturverein Weitblick
13.10.13 Hoppegarten / Haus der Generationen
14.10.13 Dresden / Dreikönigskirche (tickets here)
15.10.13 Hannover / Café Glocksee
16.10.13 Magdeburg / Weinladen
18.10.13 Berlin / Kugelbahn
19.10.13 Gera / Clubzentrum Comma (tickets here and here)
20.10.13 Montabaur / Atelier Kunst und Therapie
22.10.13 Tübingen / Arsenal Kino
23.10.13 Stuttgart / Café Galao
24.10.13 Köln / King Georg
25.10.13 Münster / CD Forum (@Plattenladenwoche)
28.10.13 Zürich / El Lokal
29.10.13 Wetzlar / Franzis
31.10.13 Kiel / Hansa 48
01.11.13 (NL) Leijden / q-bus
15.11.13 Wien / Bluebird Festival
July 18th, 2013 · Uncategorized
So…. the new album is mixed, mastered and being pressed up as we speak. Unfortunately, budgetary restrictions mean it will not yet be released on vinyl, but CDs and downloads will be available from early October. The cover is a painting by my good friend Florian Mitgutsch and portrays me as a middle aged superhero in mid-flight.
The track-listing is as follows:
2/ The Morning After The Storm
4/ You Will Be Loved Again
5/ The First
6/ This Photograph Is My Proof
7/ The Bell-Ringer’s Hands
8/ The Speed Of Clouds
10/ My Apology
12/ Up Here
Recorded at Studio Humbug by Jim and Rob Homes, the lineup features Rafe Spencer on double bass, Dave Godby on lap steel, pedal steel, oud and hammer dulcimer, JC Grimshaw on mandolins and guitars, Jake Rodrigues on ukulele, banjo, piano, accordion and guitar, Rupert Brown on drums, Brian Sharpe on guitar, Paul Butler on sitar, charanga, kora, piano and horns percussion, Mari Persen on strings, Donal O’Riain on violin and Barklay McKay on piano.
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I was recently invited to appear on a very interesting show called Uwe Schenk Trifft (Uwe Schenk Meets) in Stuttgart. Filmed in front of a live audience in a train shed/theatre, each show takes the form of a chat show/live gig focusing on just one artist. And what an eclectic selection of performers they have had, from legendary percussionist Nippy Noya to off the wall exponents of C64 keyboards Goto80. The show is funded by local sponsors and the two hosts with the in-house band perform live adverts for each of the sponsors in an irreverant and extremely light-hearted manner. It’s a delightful format built around the endearing personalities of the two hosts Andreas Vogel and his piano-playing sidekick Uwe Schenk, and the unbelievable talents of the musicians. Following the adverts I performed a 20 minute solo set of mostly new material which you can hear here, after which I was interviewed by the two hosts and then I got to perform a selection of my songs with the band- what a treat. When the show is posted on-line you will hear just what a great job they did, superb arrangements played by some top players. A complete indulgence. You can check out some of the previous shows here
April 8th, 2013 · Uncategorized
With the new album all recorded I’m pleased to say a few gigs are starting to come in. Hopefully in most instances I shall be accompanied by a selection of musicians who perform on the new album. First up is a show at the Isle of Arts Festival on the 19th April at the Boathouse in Ventnor. Tickets can be obtained here.
Then on the 18th May I’ll be performing in Stuttgart on this show which involves a solo performance, interview and then a performance accompanied by the amazing house band. This will be filmed and broadcast online.
June is the Isle of Wight Festival (venue tba) September Bestival at the Bandstand and possibly a couple of other festivals tbc.
Finally, for the moment, a tour of Germany, Austria and Switzerland for October /November has almost been finalised.
I can’t wait to be performing the new material with the new line-up, and (if I lose enough weight) a new wardrobe (hehehe).
April 8th, 2013 · Music, News, Uncategorized
Very pleased to say that after a magical week in Studio Humbug (an old water tower on Queen Victoria’s Osborne estate), the new album is pretty much all recorded. We made good time and recorded much more than an album’s worth of material completely from scratch, and we all had much more fun than men our age should be having. The whole thing was a breeze, largely down to the talents of Rob and Jim Holmes who did an amazing job of making sure that everything was recorded with the minimum of fuss and the maximum of quality. The band featured a whole host of Island talent, Paul Butler from the Bees came and played (among other things) kora, piano, trumpet and sitar, JC Grimshaw was his usual brilliant self on mandolins and guitars, whilst the magical Jake Rodrigues also made it down for a few days to add some accordian, banjo, ukelele and guitar. Drums and other percussion was provided by the legendary Rupert Brown, I handed all the bass playing duties over to Rafe Spencer who did a much better job than I could ever do and Dave Godby shone on a vast array of instruments such as pedal steel, lap steel, oud, and hammer dulcimer. As if that wasn’t enough I even got the great Brian Sharpe to put down some guitar and vocals, Donal O’Riain did some fiddling, and Barklay McKay and Mari Person will also be making their contributions remotely via the wonders of technology.
Provisionally entitled ‘Up Here’ the album is due for release in October. I can’t let you hear any of the recordings until then but here is a demo I did at home of one of the songs that will undoubtedly make it on to the finished version.
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January 10th, 2013 · Uncategorized
A happy new year to one and all. It’s been a long time since my last post here so thought it about time that I update on everything that’s been going on with Paul Armfield musically and, more importantly, my plans for the coming year.
Although 2012 saw very little activity in my own right, I spent some of that time helping out both JC Grimshaw and Angelina Grimshaw on each of their records. As brother and sister their work has always been joined at the hip, so to work with each of them in isolation has been a fascinating and enjoyable experience. JC’s took him two painstaking years of self production, whereas Angelina’s took just a couple of weeks produced and engineered by Rupert Brown (who produced my own Blood, Fish and Bone), two very different ways of working and two very different, but very great records.
Here’s a track from Angelina
And one from JC
2012 also saw me putting on my own gigs under the banner SHHH. The idea was to create a quiet environment to put on acts that I felt merited a more reverent and attentive audience. And it worked. Three gigs and a host of amazing talent including Max and Laura Braun, Blackhouse Crow, Jan Kubon, Kim Janssen, Mary Hampton and Puzzle Muteson. More to follow in 2013.
2013 marks the tenth anniversary of my first album Songs Without Words, and to celebrate this my label Artful Sounds have decided to release the album on vinyl for the first time. It will be released in the spring to coincide with Record Store Day. Although growing up with Vinyl, it is only recently that I have begun once more to enthuse about its merits, the main one being that it encourages me to take time to listen rather than to just have music on in the background. So I shall be very pleased to add this to my collection. There’s even talk of a limited edition coloured vinyl.
And finally, in February I go into the studio to record what I hope will become my 5th album. Armed with a year’s worth of new songs and a very special line-up of musicians (including as many of the Four Good Reasons as I can muster), I am more than a little excited by this. The scheduled release date is October/November and two weeks worth of European dates are being penciled in. Who knows, we might even get some interest in the UK this time round. Fingers crossed!
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I’ve never been a great fan of the Olympics but this year I’ve found myself already caught up in it’s wake. So despite my disapproval of Union Carbide’s sponsorship (the people behind the Bhopal disasters for which I shaved my head) I already have tickets for several paralympic swimming events to cheer on my superhuman cousin Ellie Simmonds. Furthermore I was recently asked by my old friend and house-mate Louise Giblin to compose a short piece of music to accompany her exhibition of body cast sculptures of Olympians. Louise has made body casts of various olympic athletes including Kriss Akabusi, Beth Tweddle, Dame Kelly Homes and Sally Gunnell onto which she adds motifs and designs reflecting the model’s career/life/achievements, they are then cast in bronze, brass or aluminium. I spent a day with her and blind paralympic swimmer Darren Leach as we watched him train and then go through the process of being cast as you can see here. By chance and synchronicity the 2012 Olympic slogan is a quote from Tennyson’s Ulysses :“To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield”, so I was able to tie this into my last album ‘Tennyson’. I produced a short film to explain the process, and here is the final piece: To strive
March 22nd, 2012 · News, Uncategorized
Using up all the very last scraps of my annual leave, I’ll be once again zig-zagging around Germany and Austria on the wonderful Deutsche Bahn to play my songs to those who’ll listen. The first seven dates will be solo and then in Stuttgart I’ll be joined by my old friend JC Grimshaw and label boss/van driver/keyboard maestro Daniel Zein. I look forward to getting some new material on the road and hopefully using the time to write something new too.
On my return I’ll also be performing at the Southsea poetry club Tongue and Groove.
And then it’s festival season!
Click on the picture for dates
February 23rd, 2012 · Music
After a couple of years sat on my hard-drive, I’ve finally gotten around to getting this track to an almost finished state. Starting life as a quick sketchy recording built around a ticking clock, I emailed an MP3 out to various friends asking for contributions if they felt so inclined. And everyone did. First back was Barkley McKay’s piano, then Trevor Smith’s toy drum and keyboards, followed by Adam Kirk’s electric guitar. Then for a few more surprises- a full string arrangement from Mari Person, some backing vocals from Tim Charlton, and to top it off some Addleresque harmonica from Jake Rodrigues. At the time my poor old Mac couldn’t play all the files at once, only with the purchase of a slightly more able machine this year was I able to put it all together and re record my double bass, guitar, vocals and some minimal percussion.
The song recalls a night spent sweaty and sleepless recalling all my wrong-doings. A chance to apologise to all those girls I mistreated in my youth. I’m not one for regrets or looking back, but we all have nights like that. Don’t we?
So, now the inertia that followed Tennyson has been broken and the urge to create is back. I have some new songs that are, oddly all fairly retrospective, nostalgic even, which has surprised me given that I tend to be forward looking. Despite how it may sound I’m not having a midlife crisis, I’m quite at ease with the ageing process, but obviously on some subconscious level I must be aware of my high vantage point, at the top of the hill looking down on youth on one side and old age on the other.
So hopefully I’ll continue to record at home, and hopefully my good and talented friends will still be willing to contribute by proxy.
In the short term I’ll be working on a new piece to accompany a short film following extremely talented sculptor Louise Giblin as she takes casts of olympic athletes and turns them into her incredible personalised bronzes.
Until them, have a listen.
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