Support - 8-8.30pm
Ben Watt - 9-10.30 pm approx
In the Cafe Bar
In 2014 – after sixteen years and nine albums as songwriter-performer-producer with Tracey Thorn in best-selling duo Everything But The Girl, a further ten at the helm of his award-winning electronic label Buzzin’ Fly, a DJ residency on BBC 6Music, and two prize-nominated books – Ben Watt returned to his roots as a solo singer and songwriter. Hendra, his second album – arriving thirty-one years after his indie chart No. 1 debut – met with wide acclaim at home and abroad and pipped Anna Calvi and Blood Orange to win Best ‘Difficult’ Second Album at AIM Independent Music Awards 2014.
Fever Dream - self-produced at London’s famous RAK Studio 2, and mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering in Maine - takes Hendra’s sonic template of open-tuned folk-jazz, distorted string-bent rock, and soulful rumination, and adds a fresh grainy intensity. It renews key partnerships with Hendra’s vaunted guitarist-sideman Bernard Butler and engineer Bruno Ellingham and guest vocal cameos from Marissa Nadler and M.C. Taylor.
‘At the album’s heart I just wanted to deepen existing relationships,’ Watt says. ‘Two years of playing live with Bernard has created a strong bond; the music we make feels spontaneous, ardent, unsentimental. We just went in and did most of it live. Small room, small band. A harder edge. Instruments spilling into each other.’ The pair are joined by drummer/percussionist and longtime ally Martin Ditcham (Talk Talk’s Spirit of Eden) and new double bassist Rex Horan (Laura Marling’s Once I Was an Eagle / Neil Cowley Trio), who in Watt’s words ‘brilliantly blurs the boundaries between folk, jazz and rock’.
It was in 1981 that Watt first appeared in London as a precocious nineteen year-old singer-songwriter-guitarist. His breakthrough 1982 EP Summer into Winter featured alt-folk icon Robert Wyatt and drew comparisons with Tim Buckley. His early solo work may be overshadowed by his subsequent successes with Tracey Thorn, but his 1983 debut solo album North Marine Drive reached No 1 on the UK Independent Albums Chart.
Fever Dream is released on Unmade Road through Caroline International on April 8 2016. The Ben Watt Band feat. Bernard Butler is on tour from April.
Bernard Butler is an English musician and record producer. He has been noted as one of Britain's most original and influential guitarists.
In 1989 he forged a songwriting partnership with Brett Anderson forming the group Suede. In 2004 Butler formed a new band with Brett Anderson, The Tears.
He has worked extensively as a producer, making records for The Libertines, Tricky, Black Kids, Kate Nash, James Morrison, to name but a few and has played guitar on records by Bryan Ferry, Roy, Orbison, Ben Watt, Neneh Cherry & Aimee Mann
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