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New UFQ album, Fairport, Joss Stone, MFY artist in residence... 

The New UFQ album is finally here... Joe's thoughts are below and you can buy the album on the UFQ site...

Joe was very pleased to have been featured as arranger and fiddler on the new Fairport Convention album Myths and Heroes. It'll be quite a year for albums because Joe is also featured (with Paloma Trigas) on Joss Stone's new album Water For Your Soul which is due for release this year.

The fantastic Music for Youth organisation is about to announce that Joe is to be their Artist in Residence, a challenge that Joe relishes having already done some incredible projects with them over the last few years.

Don't forget to head out to the UFQ tour, all the details are below and as promised here is Joe's own ramblings about the new album..."The Escape"!

"These are the exciting weeks.

When the latest album is off being pressed and all the frantic last minute listening is over. I like to have a complete break from any album that I’ve produced during those weeks between the final mastering and getting the new album in the post with its lovely cover and shiny shrink wrap.

Sometime around the 20th April the new UFQ album “The Escape” will arrive on the doorstep of UFQ HQ and we’ll see the real thing for the first time. I’ve played on over 150 albums but it’s important to keep excited about these events (sometimes it is easier to get excited about than others though if I’m honest!)

Unfortunately in this world of unbelievable marketing saturation it’s hard to enthuse about the new music you’ve just made without it melting into the background noise of people selling themselves. I’m not criticising anyone and of course by writing this I am promoting the new album but I do find it frustrating to know that whatever I write will still be heard through business-tinted ear muffs. (Is earmuffs one word?)

So, to be honest and to hell with it…

For the last 25 years I have been trying to make an album like The Escape. There you go, I said it. I never wanted my music to be completely out-there, I love to entertain people but having been brought up on every style of music on the planet I love lots of different things. When I put together the UFQ the first thing I said was that I wanted it to be exciting and something original but balanced with tunes, songs and grooves that almost anyone could get into… which is harder than you may think!

Our first four albums were about capturing the band sound live in the studio or indeed in front of an audience and about reproducing only what we could play live. The new album is about giving the audience all those extra bits of information that are in our heads when we write the music…On a big African groove you actual get a whole percussion section, on the Spanish song you get the string section, the congas, all the backing vocals… all those luscious things that make a real proper studio album what it should be. We also did some recording and the mixing/mastering at Gighouse Recording Studios with the truly amazing Andie Thomson… He’s made it easily the best sounding album I have ever been involved in. Andie, you truly have magic ears!

The only “rules” that I laid down for the album were that it would only feature the four of us, that we would play only instruments that we use live (with the exception of using an electric bass rather than just octave pedal on the guitar) and that it was still all UFQ material that will be in the new live show. All of that we have stuck to I am pleased to say.

I hope that you get to hear this album because I’m very proud of it. If you buy it you’ll also help us pay our mortgages, eat and have time to make more music for you. There are more songs on it than previous albums due to the addition of banjo wizard/singer Dan Walsh and I think there’s also some of our strongest and most danceable (if not always subtle!) instrumentals to date.

These are the exciting weeks when something you’ve really toiled over is about to be released to the world and you hope that people are a bit cheered up by it, a bit moved and maybe have a little dance to in their own living rooms, offices, maybe in the garden on BBQ day or on the headphones whilst walking back from the pub…

Joe x"


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