The Dirty Band

I thought I’d try out a new swimming pool. I am living, for now, in a town that I don’t know that well. I know it through childhood visits with my Mum and am tentatively exploring it as an adult. 

I swim a lot. It makes me feel better. I’ve always loved the water and been a competent swimmer. I love the feel of the water, the sensation of moving through it. I love the brightly lit clean pool. I feel uneasy swimming when I can’t see the bottom and I don’t know what’s down there. It’s not my element. Although I do love to swim in the sea and rivers too. It’s not the same but I feel proud of myself afterwards.

Best of all is sunlight hitting the water and shimmering on the surface, ricocheting prism like under the water in the blue tinted chlorinated space. I glide, breath held, wearing nothing but trunks and my ear ring, pure and simple again.

I figure out where one local pool is and decide on a 35 minute walk over a 7 minute drive. It’s dry, I have time, I fancy a wander. My walk takes me out of the dull warren of streets full of similar ‘80s built houses, through a freshly mown green along a concrete path lined with young trees, and not much else. An overflowing litter bin has a poster on the side with two eyes, warning litter droppers that ‘we are watching you’. Of course you are.

I cross a main road and am soon on a path between two fields with cows in and a stream running through before emerging out into suburbia again, past a hospital and up into a place called Horton Crescent. Here the buildings are much older and grander and, I see, all owned by the local school which seems to spread campus like over many street and blocks. Security codes are needed to enter most gates, smartly dressed school children walk in between buildings in twos or threes. 

A maid in a black apron and cap is vacuumming in between tables set for lunch in one building. Next door high-ceilinged rooms look to be homely offices with paintings and large plants inside.

One boy crosses the road on his own, lever arch files and textbooks under his arm. He is wearing what must be the school blazer – a tasteful pattern somewhere in between tweed and plaid. He looks like privilege to me. And comfort. I see the black Land Rover his mother will pick him up in later, the bedroom in a detached house at the end of a long drive. Tonight he’ll eat ‘supper’ when other kids are having ‘tea’. I see his face now and I see it 15, 20 years from now in the well paid job ahead of him. 

I turn a corner and am confronted by this ‘emergency help point’ bollard with a button and holes to speak in to. I don’t understand. Is it a joke? A bit of Art? Part of me wants to press the button and ask: where am I? who am I? what shall I do? why are we here?! But I just do the done thing and snap it with my phone camera and post it on Instagram when I get home.

The pool is a little way on, through another park with odd seats that look like a metal bench has been cut into sections and divided into seats for one. Non-sharing benches. A band stand with a metal railing where the green paint has chipped away in places to reveal the red paint beneath it. 

It’s a very autumnal day and all the pavements are covered with beech, sycamore and horse chestnut leaves in all colours of decay. Two empty Matteus Rose wine bottles at the foot of one tree.

The pool is in a new, family orientated leisure centre. Communal changing rooms with cubicles, a glass front to the whole building. Cafe and shop, climbing wall, gym etc.

It’s just before 12pm  and only one lane is open making it impossible to actually swim as some older folks float-swim, hardly moving or simply stand in the water. A few grandparents are with the grandchildren treating it like a splash pool. I’m not a good sharer and I find it frustrating when people don’t swim in a swimming pool and infuriating when people just hang at the side and chat.

Fortunately the whole pool opens up after some lessons finish and I am able to swim over a mile in lengths before the lanes crowd up again. Diving down in the deep end, touching the bottom and shooting up for air, gliding through the clear space I can hear the drills and hammers of the workmen in the changing rooms at the side reverberate through the water in muffled tones.

A bit too crowded at lunchtime for my liking but I reckon it’d be good for an early morning or last thing at night swim. 

There is a disabled man with two helpers with him in the shallow end. They take it in turns to move him about with their hands around his waist, trying to excite him by the activity and sensation of being in the water. He clings to the side wearing his inflatable arm bands in between these little dances. I see him put his hand down to the feel the air filter pushing out air from the wall. He dangles his tongue in the water lapping over the edge and running along the shallow gutter in the side of the pool. 

I get out, dry myself and change back into my clothes. By the exit is a row of mirrors and hair driers. A man and a woman, speaking Polish to each other are there. He is drying and combing her hair, concentrating on his task as she puts make up on, looking in the mirror. Is that odd? Is it sweet? I’ve never seen that before.

I walk straight out to cool down in the autumn air. I eat a banana that I get from my coat pocket and retrace my steps. 

No, YOU add a caption if YOU like.  (website of the book)

Red Pike, Buttermere, Cumbria.

Malham Cove, Yorkshire.

Wild Swimming, Otley, Yorkshire, 16/9/2015

Round and round and round they go.

Solvitur ambulando … but not in those shoes.

The Wes Finch Podcast #7

After a big vegan all day breakfast Wes sits down with Warwickshire based double bass player and songwriter Kel Elliott. They chat about food, music and working as a musician.

Also chat from Jools and Brad and Ben from the Wes Finch band plus the usual tom-foolery.

Nice one, Nige!

The bass/keys/mandolin player in my band: Bradley Blackwell

Artwork by Liz Crowley. Layout by Graeme Crowley.

‘Awena’ by Wes Finch, released Spring 2015

The Wes Finch Podcast #5

Christmas was a busy period for us in the Doc Brown Trio. We did record some tunes and some chat for you and got Matt and Garfield from By Lantern Light in for a chat too.

This is 1 hour and 22 minutes and 29 seconds of your life you can never get back…

It’s that time of year again (cold, dark, depressing, the ugly and skewed spectacle of consumer frenzy dolled up as ‘Christmas’ all around) that I dig out my book of stories by Breece Pancake. .

I love short stories. Not because of their brevity but because of the concise way a world or character can be created, with such precision and searing clarity. I find them powerful when done right. And that feeling you’re left with when the last paragraph ends. Knowing it’s the perfect place to end but always wanting more.

I’m going to read this volume again for the 4th time and this time twice on the advice of Joyce Carol Oates.

You’d be best to avoid the book if you’re looking for a pick me up or are already revelling in the warm fuzzy ‘festive spirit’. We’re talking rural poverty, hopelessness, the power of the past, badly portrayed women characters, drinking, fighting, hunting and whoring.

If you’re intrigued here are a couple of links to read up on and the Wikipedia page looks to have inks to full texts of a few of the stories. There’s not much critical writing on Pancake and only this one volume:

I never fully woke up for the solstice sunrise this year. I was roused from deep slumber and moved slowly out of bed, out of the house and into the passenger seat of the car. Sleep hugged my body like an opium-heavy blanket and my mind processed slowly; the hazy early light, the waking birds, the car tyres snapping the grass then crunching the gravel. There was a short drive to the beach, through a few lanes and along the badly potholed road at the far edge of Saltfleet and along the spit. 

At the edge of the dunes there were three camper vans: two modern white and cream, plastic windowed tourers and a converted ambulance painted dark green. The occupants all looked still unrisen but a 4×4 with a family had beaten us to the far edge of the spit and stood looking out at the fast changing skyline. This place is called Haven and the other side of the spit is Paradise, apparently. 

This small village of Saltfleet used to be a major port and market town in the 14th and 15th century with a waterway that ran all the way to Louth, now a good 20-30mins drive inland. To think of the activity that a 15th century port would bring and the changes that’ve brought it to be this peacefully empty and desolate point occupy and excite my mind every time I visit.  A handful of dilapidated boats still moor in the channel running out along the potholed track but no-one is working the salt from the marshes anymore. There’s a chip shop at the end of the lane to the caravan park. I wonder if they know where their salt comes from.

We sit on a blanket in the dunes, passing hot lemon and ginger tea between us and watching the horizon line and the constantly changing canvas of unbroken sky above.  At 4.35am the crescent of the red fireball of the solstice sun is visible above the sea which is already a good mile or two out and over another hour from its lowest. Up high the air is clear, lower down two jet trails cross the sky in opposing directions but don’t meet. Lower still there is a dense smear of cloud right where our sunrise should be with just a few slashes within it.

As the sun progresses, ascending to the right in its highest arc to the west, we see the curved edges appear in the gaps, intensely pink red, but never the whole sphere. The sky above is different every ten seconds. The tones, the shading in the clouds is constantly and subtly changing. The green of the dune grasses and the sea buckthorn behind us changes too, losing its grey and its surrounding haze and we hear stirring curlews in the salt marsh and mudflats stretching south to Theddelthorpe. The world is waking up. It’s a modest but no less beautiful show this year. I head back to bed for a couple hours to spring up later for breakfast.

A couple of years ago I got up to watch the solstice sun rise from a motte and bailey hill called the Tump in Brinklow, Warwickshire. On my own I’d risen in the dark, made coffee and driven from where I was staying in nearby Coventry. A couple joined me as I sat on the little worn shelf at the summit, amongst a few bits of teenage hang out debris. We exchanged sleepy quiet greetings and quietly faced the east from our secret high vantage point over the village and fields and city beyond. The sun had emerged slowly and cleanly, a full ball of distant fire, tinging everything with gold. I took pictures on my phone, kept retaking as the view changed and became ever more beautiful.

It felt like New Year, or at least what it should be and never is on that arbitrary calendar date. It felt something like a religious or spiritual experience except that this high point in the planetary cycles, this obvious and significant moment seemed more real and graspable than ornate statues and ancient stories. My prayer was just to feel grateful to be there, calm and happy. I made a couple of resolutions and promises to myself. I looked and marvelled and absorbed the light silently. The couple left before me and I reluctantly left myself, descending to my car in the lane, leaving the sun to its path, happy and hungry for breakfast.    

Monday nights is moth night.

For the past 7 weeks I’ve been going over to a local nature reserve and listening to a man called David Brown give a series of talks called ‘Winged Splendour’ between 7 and 9pm.

It’s about moths and butterflies but mainly moths. There are a lot more moths than butterflies.

David is an ex-teacher and is passionate about Lepidoptera (that’s what you call moth and butterflies). He’s a published author on the subject too and sets out a moth trap every night at his home in Warwickshire, when he’s not rushing off to Scotland or the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall and records whatever comes into them.

He reads the weather maps in the newspaper, collects the cut-outs in photo albums and looks for warm fronts coming in from the south in anticipation of rare migrants making their way to our shores.

His enthusiasm for the subject is infectious and his knowledge and identifying abilities extensive and amazing.

During the coffee break I like to go and see the glass fronted beehive in the next room. The colder it gets the slower they move. Thousands of them, all doing their part. I think that’ll be my next geek-out: colony living insects. 

On Monday nights I forget who I am the rest of the week and sit in a room of mostly much older people and nature geeks and pass around plastic containers of moths, take notes, listen and view slide shows.

Nobody knows who I am or what I do for a living and I’m happy with that. I keep my tattoos hidden for fear of scaring the older folk. I sometimes ask a question but mainly I just listen and enjoy. 

Last week David recounted a fantastic story of driving from north west Scotland to the Isle of Wight in the hope of seeing a certain species of moth, He did see it and his car broke down and he camped in a nature reserve for a week before calling the AA. The car never ran again and was towed all the way back to Warwickshire. That sounds like something I’d do. Or I’d like to do.

Three weeks ago I came home and found one of these moths in the corner of my room – a feathered thorn moth. They’re a pretty autumnal looking moth. I put it in a jar and got a good look then opened the window and sent it on its way.

I got back in the saddle earlier today, to write again. To write something on tumblr that I know a maximum of 5 people might read. It was OK, y’know. It was about exposing myself in a small church in Cumbria. Being nekkid in the house of God. Well, that’s how I pitched it. Really I was changing into some dry clothes after a walk around Lake Thirlmere in the pissing rain last month. Maybe I’ll do it again another day…the blog that is, not the walk in the rain.

So I thought I’d write something about finding clothes instead. 

When I say ‘finding’ I’d like you to see the broad spectrum from long lost and discarded through to perhaps temporarily mislaid and neglected items of clothing. 

My friend Ben brought to my attention that I may have a reputation for this recently when he saw me eyeing up a fleece in a pub as we were leaving after a gig, after closing time. However, eyeing it up was all I did. I wouldn’t have taken that fleece. There are rules.

I love hand-me-down clothes. My friend Miles gave me a cosy woolly cardigan he didn’t want and was planning to give to a charity shop that has again come in handy now the weather has turned colder. My buddy Jim passed on a Harris tweed flat cap that I love to wear. These things are better than those gems of charity shop finds. They’re free!

But the found stuff, that gives the real buzz…

I have a scarf that I found in a cliffside bush in Devon, covered in slugs and dirt. I don’t know if it started out that shade of green but after washing thoroughly that’s what it stayed like. A nice trip souvenir.

My thermal gloves I found one snowy, cold day. Just as I had been riding my bike bare handed to work and thinking I could really do with a pair, there they were on the self checkout counter in Tesco. Nobody around. Black, a perfect fit…. c’mon! I was very hard up at the time and saw them as a gift from above. Would you have gone back to look for them once you’d got back in your car?

Please don’t judge me.

Oh, you already have.

My woolly hat I found on the floor at a music festival.

I had a great hoody I found hanging in a tree on Warwick Uni campus.

My swim kit bag I found on the astroturf at the same uni. One of the few good things about my ‘grounds keeper’ job at the time – the finds!

I once found a cool green fleece jacket on the common but it was covered in glue (?) and beyond saving. I suppose that’s why it was chucked. Still, disappointing… 🙁

I recently found a flat cap in the changing rooms at the swimming pool. I was the only one in there. It fit. I debated about leaving it with reception but by the time I’d dried and changed I’d decided and I walked out one hat richer.

Now, all these items are mass produced, easily available and relatively inexpensive and although you may think of me as slightly callous I would always try and return or just leave for a returning, searching owner anything that looked either very expensive or home made and of sentimental value. I might be a bit trampy but I’m not mean and I’m not a thief. Abandoned items only.

I’ve lost my fair share of hats, jumpers, gloves etc over the years and that’s all just how it goes. Attachment to material possessions and all that. But there’s one thing I wish I could get back.

I only ever knew one of my grandmothers; my Mum’s mum who I called Nan. Hannah Elizabeth Jones. She was a great knitter and I would like a word alone with whoever stole the wonderful scarf that she knitted for me when I was at university. They took the scarf but left my jacket, dumped in the corner with everyone else’s whilst we danced to the Ozric Tentacles. Maybe that’s why I do it, Doctor?! I’m only trying to get Nan’s scarf back!

I still have a couple of things she knitted for me – a pair of thick blue socks that are my winter slippers and a patchwork blanket I keep on my bed. And I wont be leaving them anywhere if I can help it.

So, that’s what I’m sharing with you today. I don’t think I have a problem. Do you? There are rules! I keep standards!

Incidentally, if you have any clothes you are throwing out or giving to charity I would be more than happy to pick them up and take them for you.  🙂 

A black eyed dog he called at my door
The black eyed dog he called for more
A black eyed dog he knew my name
A black eyed dog he knew my name
A black eyed dog
A black eyed dog.

I’m growing old and I wanna go home
I’m growing old and I don’t wanna know
I’m growing old and I wanna go home.

A black eyed dog he called at my door
A black eyed dog he called for more.

The Wes Finch Podcast #4

Featuring chat from Wes Finch, Ben Haines & Jools Street

Tunehouse at the Townhouse (Leamington Spa)

Music from Chris Tye, Supine Orchestra, Dan Wilde and Wes Finch

It hurts to walk. I’ve sprained my ankle and as much as I’d love to be out on this bright sunny Autumn day I’m in bed and a bad mood.

Shut your face.

I thought I’d learn to play an approximation of this Sam Amidon tune on my banjo. I love it; the instrumentation, production and performance and the lyrics evoke someone specific for me. 

I had a dream last night that I was on a boat in a part of Lincolnshire that doesn’t exist on a large lake that doesn’t exist either. I can even remember the map. There were three huge lakes and some coastline that doesn’t fit anywhere in reality. The lake we were on was the largest and was fed by a river that I’d spent days walking along in a previous dream. 

The skipper was taking the boat into town and I decided to go and sit at the prow and watch the scenery as we moved. I never saw him until we arrived. The boat was able to miraculously glide over roads using conveniently spaced puddles.

There was a market in town, which was in fact more like a music festival site without the music stages. Outside of a stall selling batteries and cassette tapes and many other things all neatly spaced on a trestle table I spoke to the skipper. 

He was a friendly guy with long curly hair tied back and was excited that his punk band was playing in town that afternoon. I looked forward to checking them out. They apparently got ‘dolled up’ with safety pins, ripped up clothes and mad hair.

I was really disappointed to find out that the skipper wore a wig instead of spiking up and dying his own hair but I didn’t feel like I knew him well enough to say so. Then I woke up and my leg hurt. And I had this tune in my head.

A letter to Jeff Goins…

Dear Jeff, 

Hi, it’s Wes. I bought and read your e-book the other week. The one about writing and being a writer etc. I started doing a bit more writing. It inspired me quite a bit. I even wrote about reading the book. Thanks!

I did a lot of thinking about writing and planning in my head and then I did exactly what the book said I might do and found lots of reasons not to write and thought myself out of writing.

I thought about what I might write about and then thought it wasn’t quite good enough and thought I’d wait until something better occurred to me. Then I thought it wouldn’t be any good anyway. Then I thought there wouldn’t be any point to it and that nobody is going to read it and generally went in a negative spiral like that. I made a cup of coffee and did a massive sigh and looked out of the window at the shitty grey sky and the rain against the window and little brown birch leaves that had stuck to it and picked my nose.

I went to visit some friends in Cumbria. You probably don’t know Cumbria, Jeff. It’s an area in the north of England that has lots of big hills and lakes and famous poets used to hang out there. It’s where people go to go hiking and it rains a lot. It’s beautiful and inspiring to a lot of folks.

I love it as I love all places where there are more trees than people and I have some friends in a tiny village up in the hills who I like to visit and catch up with. We sit by the fire and go to the pub and watch films and eat food and drink wine together. 

So, I went there to do some walking. I thought: ‘maybe I can write something about how privileged I am to be able to do this and about my week when I come back. I’m not going to take my laptop and I can’t write with a pen in a book! so I’ll write when I come back. I’ll just enjoy it, and think about how to write about it.

On my first day there, after a day of heavy rain the skies cleared and I set out to walk around a lake called Ennerdale. No, Jeff, not ‘Emmerdale’. No, you’re getting confused with the long running but now ended English soap opera set in the fictitious village of the same name. This is Ennerdale, a lake by the village of Ennerdale Bridge.

I set out early, full of porridge (I think you call it oatmeal?) and joy at the prospect of a day in the sun in that beautiful scenery. An hour and a half later, on the rain slicked stones along the lake shore, during a few seconds of distraction by some approaching walkers, I slipped and twisted my ankle horribly, first one way and then the other.

It hurt so much that I felt sick. I sat on a nearby boulder, trying to convince the concerned couple who had stopped to check on me that I was all right as I felt the blood drain from my head and the tears well up in my eyes.

I hobbled along, resting every few minutes, alternating between anger and upset. Suddenly the beautiful day had turned sour and all I could think was how that once I managed to get home (which was a long way off) I would be sofa bound for a at least a few days and definitely wouldn’t be walking up Scafell Pike,  the highest peak in the area, with my friends on Friday. I was angry because one of my life’s great pleasures had been taken from me in a moments distraction. I was upset too, with the pain I was feeling but every time I sat down to have a moment of self-pitying sorrow some fully agile walkers came past. 

Knowing I was hours from my car or even the possibility of a thumbing a lift I pressed on, wondering what lessons I had to learn from this and whether it might be a good thing to write about. I wrestled between feeling screwed and in pain and on focusing on the beautiful sunlit slope on the other side of the lake, the delightful autumnal colours.’ It could be worse, right?’ and so on.

“Ow, ow, ow, you IDIOT!  The stream is so clear! Ruined, the hole week is ruined! Those larch trees look wonderful with the sun behind them up on that ridge I can no longer climb up!” …

I refuelled on some fruit and nuts I’d brought with me. I wondered if bathing my ankle in the lake might help reduce the swelling and as I did so found a strong staff to help me hobble on.

Two hours later a family began to pass me like this; a grimacing staff wielding walker. They stopped to ask if was OK and offered to walk on and return with their car to drive me to mine. I gratefully accepted their kindness and as they all moved on at their comfortably fully mobile pace young Connor stayed behind to keep me company.

I think Connor was actually just bored and tired of walking and was hoping for a lift too be he kept me distracted and entertained with conversation as we kept moving slowly along the lakeside path.

Connor Liam O’Shea was 9 years old and did not like walking. I told him I didn’t either when I was his age but that I loved it now but that’s no kind of consolation to a 9 year old.

He’d been away on a sailing holiday with his family last week but he didn’t like it as much as his brother. He told me how he and his Mum spent a day off the choppy waters and that he drank 5 bottles of water as they waited for the rest of the family to sail around the peninsular. 

He told me how his Mum’s hand was broken on a wing mirror by a thief in a stolen car before he was born and that they were able to find the driver by his DNA..

He told me there were 5 wasp nests outside his school classroom and that they were not allowed to open the windows because of that.

The time passed quickly and my self-pitying misery evaporated in Connors company and Mr O’Shea turned up along the dirt track in his Vauxhall Corsa in no time with Connor’s brother and their friends piled in the back. We rode back to the car park, boot (‘trunk’, Jeff) open and holding two boys and Comet the dog wearily trying to keep up.

When we got to the car park we realised that it wasn’t the one I was parked in and Mr O’Shea dumped the boys and took me further around the lake to find my car. It was a long way away and I don’t know if I’d have made it before dark.

I was very touched by their kindness and can only hope it gets paid back to them in some way. I didn’t know if it was appropriate to ask for some contact details – what would I do, offer them a few £s petrol money? Send a thank you card? I just let them know I was very grateful and decided to leave the rest up to karma/the universe etc

The next few days I spent on the sofa, having drinks and food brought to me, hopping to the toilet and feeling very invalid. ‘I could write about this’, I thought. But, maybe I should wait, the whole experience, the week isn’t fully over. Maybe there will be some insights I can gain…

Then I found myself with a stinking head cold, developing to include a double eye infection and persistent cough. Lovely. Perhaps the result of all my white blood cells concentrating around my swollen and blue-ing ankle and leaving everything else open to infection. Either way, this didn’t help with my motivation to write – my general disposition being very fed up and gloomy. Woe was me. 

I suppose it was slightly funny that my friend thought she had a walking stick to lend me but actually found a spade in her wardrobe she did not know was there. I used this to get around one day. You could hear me coming.

A few days later I felt fit to drive, albeit in some discomfort, as I had a gig to play with my covers band. So, I can’t write that day, right? I have to drive and then play the show. And then I’d better wait until this cold has shifted completely before I get my head around writing. Then I have some rehearsals in the week and I have to go and see my folks, and I really want to finish that book…

So, Jeff, I guess I lost momentum. And it wont be the last time. You told me so!

A week later I’m still fighting this cold off and my ankle is the colour of blueberries. I’m grumpy and fed up but at least I’m up and about and don’t have to do stairs sitting down.

I’m not sure what great lessons I’ve learned from all this. There’s a few things that have been re-learned I suppose, but here, I’m writing. Yep, it’s pretty lame (pun and self put down intended). all about ME, still fairly direction-less and searching for my ‘voice’, but at least I’m DOING it, eh?

thanks again Jeff, and I hope you’re well,


Filmed by Tim Copeland in York, 2014
Youtube: tcopelandfilm

Crows on the line, crows on the common

Like the circus your love left town, right on time

Now you see the blossom

is everything forgotten in time?

I know you travel around, the coast up to the mountains,

they say you’ve got one in every town.

but count one more, my love

there stands another

there’s no denying you in those green eyes

Don’t let the smiles fool you – it’s all beeswax and grease paint

I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt a bit.

Don’t let the day fool you; I didn’t feel so bad until the sun went down

I’d still dig your grave with a silver spade, you know I would.

Stan from stfphotoagency filmed me at The Tin in Coventry. This is my last track from the set I played opening for Dan Owen 22/10/14 – ‘Jackie’s Stone’ from the next album Awena (spring 2015).

I hate it: watching my stupid little face do lots of strange shapes but it sounds alright. Not a bad rendition of the song. It’s probably different for you. I hate my face.

Thanks Stan.

People write diaries for many reasons: to put a brake on time, to excuse or aggrandise themselves, to keep a kind of intellectual ledger in which they may glimpse some pattern in the normal muddle of their existence.“ – Richard Mabey.

Read more

The Wes Finch Podcast #3

Featuring Si Hayden – foul mouthed guitar virtuoso, Jo Taylor – foul mouthed video gamer and digital media maker, Shanade Morrow – awesome singer and lady and not foul mouthed & The Doc Brown Trio in conversation.

A&R = Anticipation & Rejection.

See that? That’s a sketch of the work in progress for the album art for ‘Awena’ by Liz Crowley. Like it? (I’m using it for the cover of the Demos Album but you only get to hear that if you were a top tier pledger on the Kickstarter funding campaign… or if you’d like to donate a similar amount towards album mastering costs! 😉 )

I’m eagerly awaiting the return of the final tracks from producer Gerry Diver and then will begin working on the sequencing of the tracks for the album as soon as I have them. It’s a simple but often crucial decision deciding the order of the songs on an album. I’ve had some really good feedback about the songs on the Asthill Grove album working as a whole and flowing well, so at least I got it right once before!

I’ve had my first rejection from a label that I was interested in working with but I’m getting over it! (and I still love you and your stuff, P!). Although not right for that particular roster I can take away the compliment from them that my songs were “lovely; dangerous, fragile, unpredictable.” I’ll take that any day over the opposite.

Meanwhile, I’m beginning plans for a wee EP – it may be a good while before Awena sees any official release and I’m not about to turn the creative taps off, so expect something in between now and that.

Some dates for your diary:

23rd November – The Glee Club, Birmingham – although not playing I will be attending the launch of Chris Tye’s new album there. I rate him and it highly and will be there myself to support.

30th November – The Clap Hands Music Club – Blue Bistro, Coventry. Playing and co-hosting with Steve Jones (aka Stylusboy) a night of music, interaction, prizes, food and drink in a beautiful old building. Pay what you want entry fee.

7th December – live with full band at the newly opened Fargo Village in Coventry. Details tba



Sutton on Sea, Lincs.

Ben’s bathroom light pull.

Album Recording Complete

Old blog was here:

New blog is HERE. Here.

Last week I went down to that London to record the 11th and final track with the formidable Gerry Diver and am really chuffed that Jools Street made it with me to put down a violin line on the final song, Corin/Corinne (not decided on the spelling yet). This is great as it means both Ben and Jools feature on a song on the new album. I would’ve have loved to get Bradley to play a bass line at some point but we never quite found the right time. At the moment he’s off having the trip of a lifetime in the States, playing, visiting people, experiencing and enjoying himself. Come back in one piece Brad! We have a gig in a couple of weeks.

Whilst down there I got hear Gerry’s work on a new version of Ring On The Riverbed (sounding big and epic), Love Me Tender (from fragile phone demo to sonic apocalypse!) and Red Coat (featuring Sandra Kerr’s fantastic concertina line). They were 80% done when I heard them and l loved what I heard. I can’t wait for you to hear them.

Siblings Liz & Graeme, two great artists whose work I love, are developing some artwork for the album. I’m also contacting labels and PR people and hope to have some news on that front for you soon.

Meanwhile, life continues to be busy and productive. The second podcast is now out and available on iTunes and here on Soundcloud. If you could leave us a (preferably 5 star) review that would be awesome.

Anyway, I must go, the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle beckons; I must make some chutney.



The Wes Finch Podcast #2

Contains a tiny bit of rich language from the foul mouthed Matt Lakey, Singer-song-writer from Coventry


  1. Matt Lakey: Nice & Slowly, Three Rifles, Hey Louise (live)
  2. Wes Finch – I’ve Been Told
  3. Instrumental Music – Wes Finch & Ben Haines

The Tin Music and Arts, Coventry

Joel RL Phelps and the Downer Trio, David Sanders

The Tin Music and Arts, Coventry

15th September 2014

Following the release of the excellent Gala album, Joel RL Phelps and the Downer Trio embarked on their first European Tour. Louder Than War’s Adrian Bloxham caught up with them in Coventry.

The Tin Music and Arts is a venue that is almost hidden, it’s tucked into the side of Coventry’s Canal Basin so you find yourself walking around truncated areas of water and silent barges to get there. Inside its curved ceilings are low and bricked. A warm friendly venue. Tonight decked out with tables and candles in anticipation of Joel Phelps and his band.

First on is David Sanders, he and percussionist Marc take the stage from the table just in front of it. Marc plays drums with his hands on a wooden box that sounds like a drum kit. David introduced himself and plays guitar. It’s gentle and soft folk music; they are slow building torch songs, sad and lonely. He jokes about a Dylan cover being obligatory for acoustic sets and his is heartfelt and loud. For the most part the music is maudlin and sad with the odd moment of strummed noise, it’s a good set and I will look out for him again.

Joel RL Phelps sits on a small, black wooden table and sings up to the microphone. He is slight, wearing a hoodie and jeans and is utterly absorbed in the music he is making. William is a solid presence behind the drum kit, playing either with brushes or sticks depending on the song, he keeps it all going, Robert, possibly the tallest man in the room, stands and plays the bass, all of them intense and all fitting together perfectly.

The first song is long, slow and dark. The darkness seeps into the set, captivating you and making you feel the wildness just under the surface. It feels like music you would listen to on a cold winter’s night as you are running out of Rum and cigarettes. It feels like the noise is one step away from breaking out completely but the band are holding it in check through sheer willpower.

– See more at:

The Wes Finch Podcast #1

UK musician and songwriter Wes Finch experiments with podcasting, with the assistance of drummist Ben Haines. Talking about music, the life of musicians and anything else they like until the whole thing evolves and defines itself over time.

Interviews with other musicians and friends to promote what they do and make, live and exclusive music and hopefully some laughs.