A brand new collection of some of my solo Americana songs has just been released on iTunes by the French soundtrack label, Super Pitch. Yes, you read that right. An Englishman makes an Americana album for a French label.

Find it HERE.

BLAZE OF GLORY is a set of ten songs produced by none other than Enemies guitarist, Riley McMahon, and commissioned and curated by future Parisian media moguls, Gregoire and ThomasCouzinier.

Primarily acoustic and full of harmonies, this is not your typical Spottiswoode record. Still, it runs through a classic jumble of emotions: heartbreak, insanity, even some uncharacteristic moments of optimism.

Many of the songs are old ditties I'd hidden away in the basement. A couple, like my personal favorite So Much To Do, I only wrote a few weeks before tracking. There's also a country duet. The extraordinary chanteuse and former Enemies backing vocalist, Jennifer Middaugh, upstages me shamelessly on Off The Merry-Go-Round and then contrives to sing the closing track on her own.

How did I let this happen? I was following orders. In fact, I barely had to make any decisions at all. Bliss.

Plus it's always fun working with Riley. We tracked one song a day. I laid down acoustic guitar and layers of vocals and then watched Riley play everything else: banjo, electric and acoustic guitars, bass, keyboards, lap steel, glockenspiel, piano, drums, whatever a track required.

Thanks to Gregoire and Thomas of Super Pitch for commissioning these songs and sending them out into the universe. Their primary goal is to find placements in film and television and they've already had success. The title track was recently featured in a French television commercial for the charity, Fondation de France.

Fall Tours Recollected by SPOTTISWOODE

Glitter Gun at the Deej

Insanity, insanity, insanity. A trek through the vineyards of upstate New York to balmy Cleveland, Ohio where we share a basement dressing room at The Beachland with a zoftig burlesque troop and later serenade Glenn Tilbrook of Squeeze without knowing he's there till he introduces himself afterwards. Fall foliage twinkles and flutters and wishes us bon voyage. Columbus, Chicago, Milwaukee do the same. A blur of sets. Violently committing to songs whether the audience is enraptured, texting or simply absent. Invading the homes of friends and strangers and relying on my Enemies to charm them as I sleep and sniffle. Wonderful hosts everywhere! Angels, we call them. Angels! And somehow we have slalomed through the sun-addled cornfields to Minneapolis. A game of croquet with my brother and two of my nephews? How did that happen? No, we're in Dubuque Iowa wowing the sound man. Yes, sound men like us. And now a new motto: Not as bad as Des Moines. Not one I recommend for Presidential hopefuls. 

A brief respite and then a daring foray south of the Mason Dixon Line. Still too exhausted to remember any of it. A show without our bass player in Ashland Virginia earns a standing ovation. Another ovation in Charlotte with Mr. Young back in the fold. They would have ovated in Atlanta as well but there weren't enough people to do such a thing. But the fabulous sound guy raved, yes he did. Did I mention sound guys fancy us? Birmingham Alabama, thank you for nurturing our remarkable host Charles Essington Walton IV. Oh yes, we played a show too to a wonderful crowd, but who cares about the music really? That was written a long time ago. It's the meetings with remarkable men, the diamonds in the thicket, the random celestial collisions. And how did we contrive to get to Augusta, Georgia after James Brown left the building? Turns out his soul had migrated just a few hundred miles away and possessed the undimmable Danielle Howle. Two historic sets with the Duchess of South Carolina, one in Columbia, the  other in Charleston. Sandwiched between these two inexplicable events an encounter with a goat while on stage in Awendaw Green. Not as complimentary as I would have liked her to be but at least she didn't spend the song staring at her smart phone. Hello again, North Carolina. Goodbye again. A frozen night in Virginia, then swallowed up in the mid-November glow of the nation's capital. Friendly faces, raucous crowd, reinforcements from the Union in the shape of General McMahon and our bugler, Corporal Cordt. Turns out the English Dream never really materialized. The Wild Goosechase Expedition continues...


Photo by Clare Elliott

Photo by Clare Elliott

Here I am in sunny London having my nineteenth nervous breakdown, wondering what the future holds. Looking forward to some shows with Matti Muller and Angi Stricker in Germany this September and then some tours with my Enemies in the States during the autumn. After that? Well, I suppose that's plenty to think about for the time being.

There's also this strange collection of basement "Americana" songs that a French soundtrack label will be releasing very soon. It's called BLAZE OF GLORY. Nine of my songs, each produced in one day by the genius Riley McMahon. I don't have much idea about what the label, Super Pitch, wants to do with the collection. They have complete control. I'm honestly very happy about that. Don't let the monkey think too much. 

What else? I've just completed the 8th draft of a thriller that has occupied me off an on for a few years. How many more drafts? Of all my deluded ambitions, being a novelist was never one of them. A New York agent put paid to that and craftily lured me into this most recent humiliation.

One of the blessings of trying to write: it's a good excuse to read. Have been on a David Mitchell binge recently. Someone who can write a sentence AND tell a story. It's so easy for him he makes things more complicated than perhaps they should be, but a master gets aways with it. I thought writing a novel might be easy. Like writing a long song. Hmm.

So, basically I'm floundering about with a wonky rudder, taking on water and not sure which way to steer. Perhaps one day we'll crash into each other?

Love from the Thames,