folk

‘Roses and Thorns’ – a song to the left

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve written a political song (or a blog on here, for that matter). Considering I consider myself a political songwriter that’s says something – mainly about the fact that I’ve genuinely just been too depressed at the state of it all.
But I really had to vent, because I think what is going on in politics at the moment is genuinely scary.
We’re all being stripped of our European citizenship because of a campaign arguably based on misinformation. Right-wing populism is growing in the UK, and across the continent. We have a Prime Minister seemingly set on ripping up everything that was good about the EU in these negotiations – with scant claim to a mandate.
And yet the left is in total disarray. I’m a proud Green, but I’m also a pluralist, and I think it really matters for the whole left that Labour is in turmoil – i.e. that we don’t really have a functioning opposition.
And as someone who wants a progressive alliance, it scares me that Labour are 17 percentage points behind the Tories. It’s too easy to blame one side of the party or the other, or to scream simplistic, mono-causal assertions about what’s led to this, because we are where we are, and there is fault on both sides. It’s churlish and dogmatic to deny it.
While it’s easier said than done, the left as a whole needs to learn how to communicate, how to work together, how to reach out beyond those who already agree with us, and find a some kind of a path forward. We have to.
Because if we don’t get our arses in gear we’re handing a free reign to those who want to rip up all that we value about this country – from our NHS to our diversity, from our social safety net to our internationalism. The situation is too urgent for us to waste time navel-gazing, name-calling and pointing fingers.
So, I’ve vented. Here’s the song I had to get off my chest. I’ll write much more positive stuff I hope soon, but for now this is a plea to all those who consider themselves progressive to turn their guns away from each other and to focus on the real battles ahead.
*Exhales*

Roses and Thorns

Now is not the hour
To be battling inside
Both sides hunting witches
When the fight’s to stay alive
To keep the red heart beating
To stir the fire sleeping
Because there’s few of us already on our side
 
And in these new times
A hard rain is falling
In these new times
The day is far from dawning
And it don’t feel like
Something better’s calling
So think faster
Dream deeper
This could be the last chance
We’re gonna get
 
And now is not the hour
To be arguing who’s clean
You’re writing just for rallies
When the fight’s to be believed
By the ones for whom the red heart
Doesn’t beat for them
Oh there’s roses but there’s thorns here
You’ll have to start again

Crowdfunded EP Luddite Ballads to be released in two weeks

I’m proud to announce that my new EP, the first release to be crowdfunded through Crowdshed, will be launched on the 31st of January – just two weeks time!

Luddite Ballads is an acoustic release, and includes the political anthem (if I can call it that!) ‘A Movement and a Reason’, as well as the title track ‘The Ballad of a New Luddite’, John Martyn’s epic ‘I Don’t Want to Know’, and an instrumental piece ‘Old Friends’. Hope you like it.

You can now sign up to pre-order it on BandCamp! Make sure to grab a copy for just £3 (£5 for a print copy) – https://josiahmortimer.bandcamp.com/album/luddite-ballads-ep-pre-order

It’s being released through York-based independent record label Rack Mount Records.

Here’s how Luddite Ballads has been described:

“Combining mellow sounds with defiant sentiment, Josiah Mortimer’s debut EP Luddite Ballads is a breakthrough collection of anthems for a disenchanted generation. Bound by masterful guitar and crisp vocals, Mortimer’s first offering paves the way for a new era of radical acoustic music.”

Luddite Ballads will be out on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and all the major online distributors (yes, I get the irony) at the end of the month.

Over £3,000 was made to master, print, distribute, and promote the EP. Thanks to everyone who contributed to make it happen!

Let me know what you think when it’s out. Fingers crossed and thanks for the support!

Political folk EP ‘Luddite Ballads’ smashes £3k crowdfunding target!

I’ve got some really exciting news!

The crowdfunding campaign for my new political EP, Luddite Ballads – my first professional recording – has just hit its £3k target after four weeks (with just a few hours to spare)!

crowdfund

It means we can now musically master it, publish it, get it on all the music websites (Spotify, iTunes etc), push it into music stores, print it, promote it online and offline, potentially get merchandise (!!!), launch loads of gigs, get some media coverage, and most importantly of all – get some political acoustic music out there!

I’m pleased to say it makes me the first musician who has successfully crowdfunded a recording through the UK crowdfunding start-up Crowdshed. The team at Crowdshed have been great.

More importantly though, Rack Mount Records, my York-based indy label, have been absolutely amazing in getting this off the ground and pushing it, so a MASSIVE THANK YOU to them. Check them out. Hopefully you’ll be hearing a lot more from them!

It’s been a great journey and has taken a lot of hard work (mainly by the Rack Mount team, Hugo, Tristan and Tom!) and I’m really excited for the year ahead. It’s gonna be a good ‘un!

WE DID IT!!!!! #SocialismWin

PS You can still support the project here (and in doing so pre-order your copy!) 😀

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Finally, some other little musical updates 😀

1. I’ve gone and got myself my first ‘abroad’ gigs – two gigs in Brussels next month!

2. A random listener has done a dub remix of my latest SoundCloud post, a spoken word piece about the Greens being excluded from the TV debates. My first remix Will share when it’s online!

3. I’ve been invited to play on the Sunday Breakfast show for BBC Radio York next month. Will keep you posted.

4. I’ve just passed 100 followers on SoundCloud – make sure to give me a follow http://soundcloud.com/josiah-mortimer

5. My recent parody of UKIP’s awful Calypso Song has just hit 700 listens in three weeks, which ain’t bad – https://soundcloud.com/josiah-mortimer/not-the-ukip-calypso-song

6. The album art is well on its way for my new EP – you’ll be able to see it if we hit the #crowdfunding target!7. The wonderful peeps at Rack Mount Records have been working on my new website – and it’s looking AMAZING

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Peace and solidarityJosiah x

Support radical acoustic music – crowdfund this EP

OK, I’ve got some big and exciting news: I have just started crowdfunding for my first proper, EP, Luddite Ballads – a collection of acoustic songs, some of which are political, which will be funded collectively.

I want it to be good. I want to get some acoustic, politically-aware music out there. More importantly, Rack Mount Records – the York label I’m signed to – really think it can work and are going to put everything into pushing the EP if I can raise £3000 in the next 37 days.

It’s a big ask, but I really want to do it, and get some radical folk into the public sphere. Please be a part of it!

So yeah. Please chip in a tenner or whatever you can to get a copy of Luddite Ballads, and to make sure we can get it national – on the radio, at festivals and everything in between.

Let’s do this!

All the best, and solidarity,
https://www.crowdshed.com/project/josiah-mortimer—new-ep-luddite-ballads

Josiah

(PS please share this post, repost it on your blogs and sites, share the link on social media – anything to get some socially-conscious music out there. I’ll make sure you get a thank-you, whether on the Rack Mount site, my own blog, and/or FB/Twitter. Thanks a million!)


https://soundcloud.com/josiah-mortimer
0745 439 7816
josiahmortimer@yahoo.co.uk
twitter.com/josiahmortimer

New songs, albums and radio stuff, plus a big move…

Some updates on my acoustic singer-songwriter side of life. Because you asked*.

I’ve got some new songs (you can have ’em for free)

As usual, they’re home recordings, i.e. I’ve stuck my phone on a random surface and hoped it came out OK. Most of the time it vaguely works. I think…

1. A cover of Defiance Ohio‘s brilliant rallying cry against modern society:

2. An instrumental piece inspired by Cornwall and the summer:

A new ‘album’

I’ve stuck together a collection of my recent demos in a free compilation thing called Luddite Ballads. Which I might use as the title of my actual new EP thing coming out soon from Rack Mount Records. More on that in a mo.

Actual new album thing

The proper EP I’ve been recording over the past year (feels like forever!) is finally coming out soon on iTunes and Spotify and all that stuff, so I’ll have something official for once. Which will be great. Keep your eye out! Just being mastered etc. at the moment I think so I’ll wack it on the blog when it’s all done.

On t’ Radio

I did a BBC Introducing session the other week with Radio York, as part of their York and North Yorkshire Introducing programme to get up and coming artists heard. You can still listen to it here. I’m 43:30ish in so listen out.

I play three of my own tracks, two of my favourite artists (Bragg and Guthrie) and have a general chat/interview about life, politics and music. It was good fun. Hope you enjoy it too.

On me travels

And with that, I’m off to Belgium to live for six months, working as a (paid!) intern with the Green European Foundation, a think tank linked with the Greens in the European Parliament. It should be exciting and a nice chance to live abroad (despite my lack of French/Flemish). I’ll keep the blog going and will keep strumming. See you soon.

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* That may or may not be true.

New Songs and Stuff

Just a quick update on the musical side of life. Since publishing my last post here I’ve recorded three new songs – all covers, for a change. As usual, free to hear/download/pirate/destroy/share/generally defame.

The first I recorded for St Piran’s Day – the Cornish ‘national’ day – and the song is the Cornish anthem Trelawney (or Song of the Western Men). Gets the patriotic blood flowing. Not that I’m in to patriotism generally, but Cornwall is pretty great so I don’t really mind.

The next is a cover of Bob Dylan’s beautiful Song to Woody, an ode to Woody Guthrie, the early 19thC socialist folk hero of America. Hope I’ve done it justice. If not, well, soz.

Finally, another Guthrie-related tune, This Land is Your Land, written by the great man himself. I’ve tried to ‘angry’ it up a bit. The lyrics are brilliant, and still very relevent.

The new EP is coming along slowly and should be released with a launch gig over the next month or so, and I’ve got a gig lined up at the Sage in Gateshead on the 29th April, as well as a couple of other speculative gigs lined up. Everything’s up in the air with the end of my degree, but music is a nice distraction.

Anyway, that’s all, folks.

PS don’t forget to visit my SoundCloud page where all my stuff resides/goes to die – soundcloud.com/josiah-mortimer. I’m also, inevitably, on Facebook. Have a gander, and ‘like’ that shiz.

Latest Songs from Josiah Mortimer Acoustic

For the past few months I’ve been busy with uni work, writing, deciding what to do with my life after university, and recording my new EP with Rack Mount Records (a new little independent label based in York). I’ve continued to record from home though and have a few new tracks, two of them political and one of them just, you know, about life. (The new EP by the way may be coming in two parts over the next few months – keep your eyes peeled).

The latest is ‘The Ballad of a New Luddite’, a message to abandon the superficiality and technological-dependence of the modern age. I’m as guilty as the rest of us, but hopefully it still rings true.

Next is my first attempt at writing a vaguely amusing tune, called ‘No Laughing Matter’. The topic should be pretty obvious – namely the government’s outright privatisation agenda. Hope you like.

Finally, another call to arms – ‘Hell in a Handcart’. Rough recording, but you get the picture.

In terms of gigs, make sure to come to the launch party of Rack Mount Records on the 18th January. Should be a cracking night at Gibsons in York. I’ll also be holding a launch gig for my new EP when its out. Watch this space.

If you missed my last post about new songs, you can still view it here – wp.me/p1b7Z1-b3, and don’t forget to visit my SoundCloud page with all my stuff on to hear and download for free – soundcloud.com/josiah-mortimer. I’m also, inevitably, on Facebook. Have a gander/like.