Art Theefe Kickstarter
My track "Reuben's Tune" from STRANGE NEWS FROM ANOTHER STAR was used in this lovely film by the Wildlife Trust about The Severn Estuary
I was invited to open for 9 times Grammy winner Diana Krall at Kenwood House - some photos, by Stephen Frak, are here Was a beautiful gig.
Radio 4 Catweazle documentary is here
The Guardian reviewed it here
Matt's song Still The Machine is to be the soundtrack of a film made by Greenpeace and Oxfam for broadcast on all the stages across this year's Glastonbury
New monthly residency with The Medicine, Matt on Radio 4, and some lovely local festivals coming up..
Matt sage & The Medicine kick off a new monthly residency at the loverly Duke's Cut pub (formerly Rosie O'Grady's) refurbished and run by the affable Mr James Knox, who used to be stage manager at The Zodiac!
On the 1st Sunday of every month, we'll be there doing our thing from 2pm, with guests planned for future sessions. The pub is open for Sunday lunch from noon, and they have a great big sun terrace over looking the River. FREE ENTRY.
Aug 1 etc.
Matt and The Catweazle Club is to be profiled on Radio 4 in June - more soon..
After a glorious week of launch-type festivities, Sharon Lewis and I, along with Max Moonlight, popped into the BBC Oxford studios to record this, our little hymn to hopeless love...
Let The Music Out Album Launch
My new album is now finished and about to be released.
Tis a pretty thing indeed.
Tuesday 9 Feb, The Catweazle Club, The North London Tavern, Kilburn High Road (Kilburn Tube)
Thursday 11 Feb, The Catweazle Club, East Oxford Community Centre, Princes St, OX4 1HU
Joining me will be some of the star players who feature on the recording, including Sharon Lewis, Colin Fletcher, Jane Grifiths and Barney Morse Brown. I hope you can make it too.
Hi. Been a while (as usual - must be too busy living).
My new album, Let The Music Out, is now done, save for the mastering and desiging a cover. Should be ready for release very soon (yeah yeah, I know). I've had a very interesting year, both challenging and inspiring: starting a new Catweazle Club in London, recently returned from California, moving back on to the Canal, and channelling all the treasure into my (frankly amazing!) new band, The Medicine - dates on the gig page. You can hear tracks from the new album on my myspace page.
Hope you've had the Summer of your dreams and that I get to meet you out there somewhere soon...
So, for those of you who read this stuff, my apologies for not having updated for a while. No news, you see. No news is not necessarily good news. It's just no news. That is until it is. News just in: I have found myself in the greatest band - The Medicine, and we are kicking off 2009 with a pair of debut shows in Oxford and London - Jan 10, Jericho Tavern and Jan 15 at the Cross Kings in Kings Cross. See the gig page for more info.
New album also in the closing stages and sounding great. Come and see us and you'll see what I mean. Know what I mean?
A hot September day. I rode the ferry to the Isle of Wight, that rejected slice of Old Hampshire, severed from mainland Britain during some seismic, ancient, oceanic incident.
Tomorrow I am playing at Bestival. After a Summer of festivals playing beautiful shows while enduring biblical camping conditions – and having gotten a bit of money for this gig - I decide to treat myself to lodgings on the island.
As I am driving across country, The Isle of Wight feels to me like some halcyon semi-rural suburban bubble from my half remembered 70's childhood. A little bit Famous Five: where girls still play hopscotch and boys go fishing. And sweet shops sell sherbert dib dabs. And, also, strangely Californian, with its lush greenery and quiet, open, country roads. Either way, I'm right in the mood.
My landlady, it turns out, is a dancer. She greets me at the door in full makeup, sequins and a leotard. She is very welcoming. I give her teenage daughter two guest tickets for the gig as it was a bit out of her price range and long since sold out.
Deeply refreshed after a spliff, a shower and a snooze, I meander over to the festival site, which is set in lovely open parkland, with views for miles and miles over open countryside, the sea and, in the far distance, England.
Here, there are 20,000 people in fancy dress. On drugs. They've really gone for it: a largely piratical theme has taken on all possible interpretations of the genre. And pompadours and doctors and nurses and Spongebob and reefers and vegetables and animals and minerals of every hue, and the characters from the Wizard of Oz. My favourite was a group of about 7 young men and women all dressed as Wally from the children's book Where's Wally, with red stripy jumpers, big round glasses and bobble hats – just fantastic!
I am not in fancy dress, but I am on drugs, and decide that they might rename this Bestival The Best Dressed Drugstival.
In the audience in a small tent I see Fionn Regan and Natasha Khan, from Bat For Lashes, both of whom I saw on telly the night before performing at the Mercury Music Prize ceremony. I wanted to tell Fionn Regan I really liked his song Be Good Or Be Gone, but I was just a tiny bit starstruck and he vanished before I had the chance.
Rob da Bank is a radio one disk jockey and 'curates' the Bestival. He also brews his own beer, Bestivale, for the occasion. I love beer very much and Bestivale is a properly good beer. I have much admiration for Rob da Bank.
After enjoying some outrageous politically incontinent stand-up, I am the only person not excited to go and hear The Beastie Boys (or is that Bestie Boys), and drive back to my hotel through the village of Apse Heath whose sign some wag has enhanced to now read Arse Heath. I am spared the prospect of going to bed thinking of a hairy naked person unknown, by flicking on the tv and watching Pink Floyd in concert followed by Carry On Camping. Perfection.
Video for The King Of Everything now up online!
A New Album
So we have begun. More than, actually almost done.
It has been interesting for me choosing to record this album in North London - where I grew up - and a place I've not revisited for many years. I've been staying at my Mum's (which has been a great opportunity to spend some time with her), waking with the birds at 5 each morning, mind jangling with the myriad facets of the work at hand, and taking myself for long long walks across Hampstead Heath.
On these walks I have been intimately taking the time to revisit the scenes of my unfolding youth: a first kiss here, an illicit smoke there, an innocence lost, a wisdom found; first love (real love). We are also having the very first Spring mornings of the year: warming air, birdsong, blossom - just divine. The combination of profound nostalgia, heavenly mornings and profound sleep deprivation is having an intoxicating effect on this recording!
I forgot what an intense and involved process it is, to realise the songs and arrangements in your head and then onto a round shiny disk and out into the world. Still, when I look at it that way, it's not so surprising. That we can do that at all is pretty cool. I think the songs know who they are - they are now looking to me to not let them down, and clothe their individual and unique personalities in the most appropriate, and most beautiful, way that I can, before clearing my throat, tapping my gavel upon a silver tray, and presenting them to the world.
Once more, I have called upon the superlative assistance of members of the Orchestra of Love for this task. Tom Hooper on drums, Colin Fletcher on bass, Adam Carpenter on Rhodes and Hammond, with me on guitars, form the backbone.
First four days were spent up at Steve Ancliffe's place smokin' through 13 songs with the quartet, powered by Hook Norton ale (appropriately labelled as 'local food' when I bought it at a rural shop in Oxfordshire near where I now live).
Then spent a day in Oxford at Johnny B's deluxe garden shed studio complex recording Abbie Lathe, Ellie Pavao and Kate Garrett on backing vocals, the following day capturing Jane Griffiths and Barney M Brown on violin and cello.
All tracks mostly down, I then took off for a week down to deepest Cornwall with the family - all sunshine, ice creams and buckets and spades: bliss!
This week is the home straight, getting the vocals right, bits of guitar, cutting away all the crap we don't want to reveal the bits that we do. And then there is the fiddly stuff like horn sections and Welsh male voice choirs.
Oh well, I'll write again when it's all over,
A New Start
I have begun the exciting process of recording a new album. A couple of weeks ago, I sat down by the fire at home and recorded 15 new songs live, voice and guitar. 12 of these I hope to polish up with a few of my favourite players and begin recording proper at a friend's mill house in the West Country in March.
Have a very clear idea of what I want for this record (yes, they ARE still called records round my way: albums remain a record of artistic expression and reflection of a moment in time). Anyways, I hope to invite a whole disparate bunch of arch overseers to the party including the hugely talented Isabelle Kluk and Patrice Rabille from the Parisian group Cannibal Elvis, computer guru Servan Keondjian at Qube, and Viarosa producer Steve Ancliffe.
Patrice was the drummer and arranger in one of my previous incarnations and is one of those extraordinary talents who was blasted Mozart while still in the womb. Isabelle is his lover (well they ARE Parisian!) singer, seer and all round cosmic reeler. Servan has a brain almost too big for his body, is an innovator, artist, scientist, healer and interplanetary surfer. Steve I have only just met but he has the gear and the sound oh yes (see Viarosa).
Talking of whom: I went to see them play at my local dancehall the other night, along with 80 or so other lucky souls, in support of Robyn Hitchcock when who should be in the audience but Messrs. Yorke and Stipe, the latter getting up for a few songs an all. That was weird for all concerned. Am I rambling?
My film for the King Of Everything (see below) has been shelved indefinitely due to lack of snow.
The King of Everything
Work began at dawn yesterday on a short film to accompany my song The King of Everything. I chose as the first location a spookily deserted St. Giles Fayre in the centre of Oxford - a gypsy fair which has been held here on the first Monday and Tuesday of September for the past thousand years. That's a long time. I want to try and reveal some of the kaleidospic majesty of this beautiful city, captured so eloquently in print by Lewis Carrol, Tolkein, Pullman et al, but never, to my knowledge, on film.
The fair seemed like a pretty good place to start and we went back last night for all the crowds and lights. I felt a little guilty getting this magnificent film set for free so went to pay a tithe to old Nancy Lee - she from way back down the line - who polished up her crystal ball in my honour and reminded me of a thing or two. Floated clean out of there.
I've been cycling around town with my little camera in this generous September sunlight committing some of my favourite vistas to tape. Dear Mr. E. Pope has graciously agreed to appear in this adventure which, at the moment, appears to be directing itself. Bring on the Autumn Gold. I also need a little snow to satisfy the inner vision but I guess I'll have to wait.
Recording with 1 Giant Leap
Ooh. I'm off to Majorca next week with my dear friend Sharon Lewis to lay down vocals on a track we have co-written for the forthcoming 1 Giant Leap album alongside some pretty big names such as Michael Stipe, kd lang, Baba Maal and Maxi Jazz (apart from kd which isn't a name at all, and not even in capitals). The theme of our song is forgiveness, which seems to me to be the vital component of human healing, love and compassion (we people aren't crap at everything y'know!). Keep yer posted, x
So we're back now. Beautiful, emotional, challenging and inspiring. What else could I have expected when working with such masterful magicians as these! They've got it seemingly so sorted: beautiful old farmhouse in the hills of Majorca (see pic on my pix page) choc full of state of the art technology, edit suites and recording gear. Utterly James Bond. But almost three years of working together on this genre-defining, pan-media, state of the world address is taking its toll on the creators, especially now that final deadlines are looming large.
These guys are entitled to be stressed. They have drained every ounce of their creative, physical and emotional selves to make what is going to go down as one of the greatest artistic achievements of modern times. Yes, it really is that big. So for me, it was an honour to glimpse a part of that and to add my own sprinkling of alfalfa to the big salad. Also lovely to spend time with and learn from the amazing Sharon (ok so there was more lounging by the pool and ping pong boogaloo than actual recording, but that wasn't our fault!).
I was fully challenged as both a writer and as a singer (can I really share a table with some of the greatest voices in the world: especiallly when lyric and melody changes were being hurled from the console every five minutes as 3 cameras rolled!) but I hope I rose to the challenge, whispering soft sonnets into the ears of my demons. So thanks to all concerned for a high old time. Look forward to the finished thing, released early next year.