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Jez Lowe and the Bad Pennies
Hometown:
Web site: http://www.jezlowe.com/
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Biography:
March 28th 2010 - Within the last few days, Jez recorded an appearance on the BBC Radio 4 programme Open Country, due for broadcast some time soon. The programme was coming from Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, and Jez performed his new song THE LOST PIPER (which was featured in the recent Winter Almanac show), and was interviewed by presenter Matt Baker. We'll announce details of when it will be on the air shortly... On the LINKS page of this site, you can access both of Jez's MY SPACE sites, including the site set up for his JACK COMMON'S ANTHEM album a couple of years ago. We'd forgotten that among the songs on that site there is an unreleased live version of BLACK TRADE, alongside various album tracks and photos from the recording session with Show of Hands, the West Country duo who produced the album for Jez... Jez has run to ground somewhat in the last few days, so there's no more to report on the new album due later this year. Watch this space!

March 22nd 2010 - BIG NEWS! In an interview for the Northern Sky website, recorded last weekend at the Barnsley Acoustic Routes Festival, Jez finally confirmed that he will be making a new album later this year. It will be his first studio CD since JACK COMMON'S ANTHEM in 2007. No more details were given about the album, but the interview was full of interesting snippets, with mentions of the recent All Along the Wall project, the writing of songs for the new Radio Ballads programme, and even a bit about his song LONDON DANNY, who he reveals was "an 1980's yuppie"! You can hear the whole interview by clicking here. Meanwhile we await more news on the new album with baited breath... Details of last weekends's gigs have also filtered through. The Bad Pennies concert at Darlington Arts Centre last Friday had ex-Bad Penny Simon Haworth standing in on bass for David De La Haye (who is in Russia!) plus a guest appearance on some songs by ace Tyneside fiddler Hinny Pawsey. And that solo concert in Durham on Sunday was NOT an all-request show after all, though that is a concept being considered for later in the year, following a suggestion by Jez's agent Bob Gilchrist. How about some requests for this new album folks? We can certainly think of a few, given all the new material currently pouring out of Jez for one project or another!

March 17th 2010 - NEWS ROUND UP - A brand new song has appeared on Jez's MY SPACE page - to which there's a link on the homepage of this site. It's ARTHUR MY DEAR from the recent BBC Radio Ballads programme. This recording is the original demo that Jez submitted to the producers of the show. Jez has also written a piece about the song and it's subject matter on his MY SPACE blog... Another new song which is getting extensive airplay in the United States, is the live version of BARE KNUCKLE, recorded at last summer's Old Songs Festival in New York, and included on the free CD with the current edition of Sing Out magazine. This edition was delayed from last year, but is now available... Jez has written a review of the biography of Jack Common by Keith Armstrong, to be published soon in the periodical Scottish Affairs. We're unsure how freely available this publication is, but it is associated with Edinburgh university, and is due out in a couple of months... Jez's solo gig at Durham's Gala Theatre this coming Sunday is sold out. This is the rumoured "all request show", but we're still not sure if that is true or not... Dates for Jez's October tour of America will be appearing on the gigs page of this site later this week... The UK TV programme about the "Billy Elliott" movie, which featured an interview with Jez, was repeated in some regions last week...

March 14th 2010 - Next weekend is a busy one for Jez, starting on Friday, with The Bad Pennies in concert at Darlington Arts Centre in County Durham as part of their annual Spring Thing Folk Festival, followed by a trip down to Barnsley in Yorkshire on Saturday, where he appears solo with The Demon Barber Roadshow at the Barnsley Acoustic Music Festival. He then returns to Durham on Sunday for a solo concert at the prestigious Gala Theatre in Durham City, which we have seen touted as a "Songs of Jez Lowe - All Request Show" in one local listings source. We hope to clarify that with Jez when he returns from his travels later this week...

March 10th 2010 - Jez is helping his former musical partner Jake Walton prepare a songbook for publication in Germany next year by the Heupferd Publishing Company. It's a revised edition of Jake's 1984 book "Celtic Songs", and will include some of Jez's songs alongside originals and traditional songs from Jake's own repertoire. Irish singer Andy Irvine recently released a songbook as part of the same series... There's more film of the band on You Tube - a 2008 clip of them doing CALL FOR THE NORTH COUNTRY in New York during their US tour of the time... A cover of Jez's 2004 song CALICO appears on a new CD by American band The Hoolies, just out on their own label. The notes refer to it as "a song he wrote for Fairport Convention". We're not sure where that information came from... Jez and the band are in concert in Lichfield Staffordshire on Friday, then there's a batch of North East England gigs the following weekend, including a special solo show at the prestigious Gala Theatre in Durham...

March 5th 2010 - Lots of positive reaction to the latest BBC Radio Ballad - The Guardian newspaper hailed it as a potential "radio programme of the year"... We have revived the "Frequently Asked Questions" page on this site (click the FAQ button on the homepage). Some of these questions have been pending since last summer, and there are also a few more recent "probing" questions dealing with the new Radio Ballad show... Jez Lowe and The Bad Pennies now have a Facebook Fan page! All the band promise to update it on a regular basis... Jez is currently in Scotland, where he appears at Craigie Folk Club near Kilmarnock tonight. But please note that next weekend's solo gig at The Saville Exchange Theatre in North Shields has been cancelled due to a problem with the venue. The Bad Pennies concert at The Holy Cross Hall in Lichfield, Staffs goes ahead as planned. Full details of all future shows on the gigs page of this site...

March 1st 2010 - "The Ballad of the Miners Strike", the latest BBC Radio Ballad is to be broadcast on BBC Radio 2 tomorrow night at 10.30pm UK time, and will be available at BBC Online for the rest of the week. There is a preview of the show on Jeremy Vine's Radio 2 show tomorrow afternoon, and it is likely to be included on BBC Radio 4's Pick of the Week programme next weekend. There is also a piece in The Guardian newspaper on Wednesday.

February 26th 2010 - Set list from Jez's solo concert in London last week - Set One - WILL OF THE PEOPLE, A SMALL COAL SONG, BARE KNUCKLE, TAKING ON MEN, BALLAD OF TASKER JACK, THE FAN DANCER'S DAUGHTER, GULL'S EYE, VIKINGS. Set Two - OLD BONES, LONDON DANNY, THE JUDAS BUS, WE'LL HUNT HIM DOWN, DARLING'S OTHER DAUGHTER, A CHAMPION LIFE, TENTERHOOKS, HIGH PART OF THE TOWN. Encore - LONG IRON... Jez was included in the preview of next week's BBC Radio Ballads programme that was featured in Mike Harding's Radio 2 show earlier this week. The 1993 version of THESE COAL TOWN DAYS from the "Bede Weeps" album was played... Another YOU TUBE clip has appeared, this time of Jez and Kate Bramley performing Kate's song CARTER'S FAIR at their gig in Spain earlier this month... A posting on Facebook last week suggested that Jez may be touring in Europe with his old musical partner Jake Walton sometime next year... Dates for Jez's solo US tour in October are beginning to filter through, starting with a show at The Linden Tree in Wakefield Massacheusetts on October 16th. More to follow...

February 22nd 2010 - NEWS ROUND UP - Reports on a UK folk music website that Jez will be releasing an album of all his BBC Radio Ballads songs seems to be a misinterpretation of rumours that the entire 2006 Radio Ballads series is likely to be re-issued on CD later this year. The original albums were deleted a while ago when the record company closed down. The new releases (on a new label) may also include the forthcoming Miners Strike episode due for broadcast on March 2nd. Jez's record company Tantobie says there are no plans to release Jez's songs seperately... Jez and the band look likely to be added to the bill of Beverley Festival in June... Jez is coming to the end of his current run of solo gigs tonight with an appearance at the Folk and Blues club on The Isle of Sheppey in Kent. The Bad Pennies rejoin him for shows next weekend...

February 14th 2010 - NEWS ROUND UP - Broadcast date for the BBC Radio Ballad about the 1983 UK Coal Miners Strike is March 2nd on BBC Radio 2, and on-line around the world. Jez has two songs included, ARTHUR MY DEAR and THE JUDAS BUS, the latter a highlight of his current live solo set. The programme will be previewed on Mike Harding's Wednesday night BBC show the week before.... two songs from Jez's appearance at Lewes Folk Club near Brighton last Thursday have been put up on You Tube - just search for Jez lowe and they'll pop up along with all the many other clips currently up there. The songs are WE'LL HUNT HIM DOWN and GULL'S EYE, the latter a radical new arrangement from the original version on the Doolally album. A third song, A CHAMPION LIFE was also up there for a few hours on Friday, but was soon taken off... One recording from the recent WINTER ALMANAC tour has finally emerged - it's an ensemble version of Jez's song BACK TO THE LAND GIRLS, sung by Kate Bramley, and is being used to promote the impending UK theatre tour of Kate's play of that name, for which the song was originally written. It's being sent out to radio stations around the country, so listen out for it. No other recordings from the tour have so far emerged... Jez is solo in Colchester, Northampton, Lymm, Tamworth, Twickenham and The Isle Of Sheppey in the coming week...

February 11th 2010 - Jez is currently playing gigs in the South of England, and is including lots of new songs in his set, by all accounts. Meanwhile, reaction to the recent All Along The Wall project continues to stir up excitement. You can read an article about Jez and his current adventures from last week's Croydon Guardian by clicking here. He's back with The Bad Pennies for two shows in South Yorkshire and Lincolnshire this coming weekend, before heading south solo again next week.

February 5th 2010 - Jez returns from gigs in Spain today to start a busy month of UK club and concert shows... Andy May has his first solo concert at Gateshead's Sage Auditorium tonight, as part of the series "Kathryn Tickell Presents". He rejoins Jez and the band tomorrow for their Shining Friends Concert in Bromsgrove... The Bad Pennies have contributed a track to a compilation CD out soon on Navigator Records, called "Folk Against Fascism". No word on what track will be featured... No word either on the Sing Out Magazine issue which will include Jez's BARE KNUCKLE on it's free CD giveaway... Photos of Jez at last week's BBC Folk Awards show him in deep conversation with Tom McConville and Flook's Sarah Allen... An extra date just added - a solo concert at the Saville Exchange Theatre in North Shields, Tyneside on March 13th... Jez did an interview with the Croydon Guardian newspaper last week to promote his show next Monday, with some interesting comments about current folk events... Reviews of last week's All Along The Wall concert are glowing! We'll try and get links to these soon...

February 1st 2010 - Last night's ALL ALONG THE WALL concert was quite an event, according to our eye/ear witness. After a week spent collaborating in an isolated farmhouse, just north of The Roman Wall, the seven participants managed to produce a reportedly outstanding set of pieces, both musical and spoken word. The concert presented them all on stage together, with everyone contributing to the performances of each piece. It wasn't made clear who had collaborated on what in terms of writing/composing, but Jez's main vocal contributions were on three songs, ALL ALONG THE WALL (which recurred several times throughout the show), HALTWHISTLE APPLES and BOWNESS BELLS - exact titles uncertain. One late-night blogger wrote that it compared very favourably with last year's "Darwin Project", though with more humour in evidence this time. The concert was recorded for release on CD, so hopefully it won't be long before we all get the chance to judge for ourselves.

January 26th 2010 - The ALL ALONG THE WALL project has now started with all the participants ensconced in the Writers House near the village of Once Brewed in Northumberland. You can find a special MY SPACE page devoted to the project, with photos and blogs and more by clicking here.

January 22nd 2010 - Jez recorded his contributions to the new BBC Radio Ballad programme earlier this week with John Tams and Andy Seward. He has two songs in the show - ARTHUR MY DEAR and THE JUDAS BUS - which is due for transmission in mid-March. There is also a possibility that it will be released on CD, along with a re-release of all the other 2006 Radio Ballads shows... The new song that Jez performed at a gig last week has been repeated at other gigs since, and is indeed a new original, written for yet another BBC programme. The song is called THE OTHER DARLING DAUGHTER... The tracks from "Fighting the Tide" have been removed from jez's MY SPACE site, apparently at Jez's request, and have been replaced by songs from earlier albums - THE BERGEN from 1986's "Two A Roue", FATHER MALLORY'S DANCE from 1988's "Bad Penny" and DONNINI DOOLALLY from 2004's "Doolally"... Jez has been added to the bill of Barnsley's Acoustic Roots Festival on March 20th... Jez has solo gigs this weekend, at Bingham tonight and Grimsby on Sunday, before the start of the "All Along the Wall" project on Monday. Tickets for the concert in Maryport on January 31st are now on sale...

January 16th 2010 - Details of the ALL ALONG THE WALL project, which runs from January 26th through to the all-star concert at Maryport's Wave Centre on January 31st, are coming through. There will be a special MY SPACE site dedicated to the project available early next week. Details of the concert can be found on the Wave Centre website, linked from the GIGS page of this website. All tickets are £12... Jez's concert in Oxford DID go ahead last night, and the capacity audience were apparently treated to a new song, which according to our correspondent was about Northumbrian heroine Grace Darling! Whether this was a new Jez Lowe song or some sort of cover-version is not known. Other songs played last included THE JUDAS BUS, WE'LL HUNT HIM DOWN, GULL'S EYE, A CHAMPION LIFE and a rare outing for LONG IRON, one of our favourite songs from the "Honesty Box" album... Meanwhile there's advance notice on the GIGS page of Jez's involvement in a amazing "Celtic Cruise" in the USA at the end of January 2011. More news on this as that time approaches no doubt!

January 13th 2010- Another gig has been cancelled due to bad weather - tomorrow's gig at Maudsley has been postponed until later this year due to more snowfalls in the area. Friday's concert in Oxford is still going ahead at this point - watch this space.

January 10th 2010 - Jez is back on the road, with his first gig of the year last night at The Cellar Upstairs in London... Meanwhile, two major projects have been announced for later this month - Recording starts next week for the new BBC Radio Ballads programme, a one-off show scheduled for March 2010, with the 1983 UK coal-miners strike as it's subject. Jez has written and will perform at least two new songs... Then at the end of the month, Jez is included in an illustrious list of names for the ALL ALONG THE WALL songwriters project, initiated by the Brampton Live Folk Festival, and based closely on last year's Darwin Project, although Jez is the only one of the Darwin composers to be involved in this new enterprise. The writers will be asked to come up with songs and music inspired by The Roman Wall, built by the Emperor Hadrian as a barrier between England and Scotland in the second century A.D. The results will be performed at a special concert at The Wave Centre in Maryport, Cumbria on January 31st, which is being recorded by Fellside Records for release on CD. Other performances will follow later in the year. Among the other writers involved are Boo Hewerdine, Rory MacLeod, Ruth Notman and Julie Matthews. Jez and Julie (who will also be involved in the Radio Ballads programme) were interviewed about the project by Carlisle's local press last week. Information about tickets for the Maryport concert will be made available soon.

January 7th 2009 - Tonight's gig in Whitstable has been called off due to the bad weather conditions. The gig at The Cellar Upstairs in London on Saturday is still set to go ahead at this point.

January 6th 2010 - Despite the snow currently causing havoc across the UK, Jez's gigs in Whitstable tomorrow and in London on Saturday are still going ahead. If there's any change to this, we'll let you know here immediately... On Jez's MY SPACE site, which you can access via the link on the right hand side of this column, there are now four tracks from the (now deleted) FIGHTING THE TIDE soundtrack album, issued in 2002 to accompany the Badapple Theatre production that was on a nationwide tour at the time. The play was a somewhat surreal look at the global warming debate, and consequently the songs that Jez wrote for it were quite unlike his usual style. Some of them (ALL TRAWL AND NO TICKLE and THE SUN AND THE MOON AND ME on the "Northern Echoes" album, and cover versions of THE NET MY FATHER LEFT ME by Tom McConville and FIGHTING THE TIDE by John and Di Cullen) have reached a wider audience, but the MY SPACE selection offers up THE POSTMAN'S SONG, BLESSING AND CURSING, SIRENS SONG and FIGHTING THE TIDE, the latter pair with Kate Bramley on vocals. The play itself is slated for a revival in 2012, ten years after it's first production...

January 1st 2010:

Happy New Year! It’s 2010, and welcome to another year with Jez Lowe and The Bad Pennies. 2009 saw Jez play over 160 performances, in six different countries as well as the UK, (New Zealand, Australia, USA, Spain, Switzerland and Holland). CD sales were the highest since 2002, despite no new album being released on to the market during this period. It was the year of The Darwin Project, The Winter Almanac Tour, and The Indie Acoustic “Album of the Year” Award for NORTHERN ECHOES. Thanks to everyone who has supported and encouraged Jez and the band over the last twelve months, and for so long before that too! 2010 looks like being another year to remember... On the WINTER ALMANAC page of this site, there is a review of the final show of the tour, the sold-out appearance at The Sage Gateshead on December 27th, giving something of a taste of what went on for those who missed it... There’s no word on when any of the recordings from the tour will be made public... Fellside Records have told us that all of Jez Lowe’s albums for their label (1980’s JEZ LOWE, 1983’s THE OLD DURHAM ROAD, 1985’s GALLOWAYS, 1988’s BAD PENNY, 1990’s BRIEFLY ON THE STREET and 1993’s BEDE WEEPS), are being made available for download via i-Tunes over the next few months... The tour of North America slated for later this year is definitely going ahead, and will be a solo tour for Jez, starting on October 4th, and taking in both USA and Canada gigs... Unconfirmed reports also hint at Jez being invited to participate in another song-writing collaboration experiment along the lines of last year’s Darwin Project. This could be happening quite soon, we’re told. Watch this space...











Jez Lowe and the Bad Pennies
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