'I got an e-mail from Billy Bragg' ; NOTTINGHAM SOUND Quiet LonerJake Bugg, Dog Is Dead, Indiana, Ady Suleiman, Seven Little Sisters, Six By Seven... they all represented Notts at Glastonbury this year. But so did the elusive Matt Hill, who performs, rather fittingly, as Quiet Loner. And he was invited to do so by Billy Bragg. Jane Renton reports
Glastonbury...what was it like? It's almost become a cliche but it really is unlike any other festival.
I think people think of it as just a music festival but it's a performing arts event so there is so much going on. It's an incredible experience to be immersed in and such a thrill to perform there.
Was there mud? There's always mud.
The last two years I went the mud was like some sort of Biblical scene. It overshadowed everything else. But I'm pleased to say this year was so much better.
Did you catch any other of the Notts acts? - Indiana, Jake Bugg, Dog Is Dead, Ady Suleiman - and what did you think of them? I'm afraid I didn't get to see many other bands. The only Nottingham band I saw was Seven Little Sisters and I was so pleased they got back together recently. I did play for them briefly around 1993 and that was a big influence in getting me switched on to country and bluegrass. I hadn't realised so many Nottingham bands were at Glastonbury. But it's great that Nottingham finally has a music scene. We missed out in the beat boom of the 60s, punk in the 70s, electro pop in the 80s. Bar the odd exception it's always seemed like Nottingham would never produce a decent band - but now we have loads!
You were invited to play by Billy Bragg - how did that feel? It felt pretty good! I got an e-mail from him out of the blue. He's a songwriter I've admired for many years so I was honoured. To sit on the stage alongside him was fantastic. What he's doing at Glastonbury is very special. He curates his own stage - the Leftfield - and he gives slots to lots of young and older unknowns. There was loads of debate about politics and how we can create a more just society. Being part of Leftfield was very special - and I got to camp round the back of the stage and see John Humphries (from Radio 4's Today programme) in his wellies.
You performed songs from your latest protest album, Greedy Magicians, can you describe the inspiration behind it? One song on the album was inspired by growing up in Thatcher's Britain. I wrote it after watching This Is England '86. It took me back to being in Eastwood, right near Moorgreen pit, and I remember things like the flying pickets marching down our street and Arthur Scargill speaking with a megaphone up at the Miner's Welfare. At the time I had no idea what was at stake, or even what it was all about. But over the years I've educated myself about it.
Eastwood boy? Yes. I went to Beauvale Juniors and Eastwood Comp. My parents are both from Aspley and moved to Eastwood in early 1960s. Mum and Aunty Val ran Kimberley Post office for many years.
You're an Americana artist and Magicians was a departure for you - will you do a second protest album? I'm not sure yet. I have a lot of material, some of it is political some of it isn't. So maybe the next album will be more of a mixture. I've never been shouty about my politics so it was hard to come out and make a political record, yet I'm so pleased I did as it's led to some amazing experiences.
Although it's a political album it does still feel like an extension of my first two records.
Politics are personal. The decisions that are made by governments affect our lives directly.
What is Americana exactly? Tricky. Everyone has a different view. But for me it describes music that is primarily influenced by the American country/folk/blues/gospel styles.
And you have some famous family... Saint Raymond is Callum and he's my cousin. His mum is my dad's sister. We're all so proud of him, he's achieved so much in such a short space of time and I can't wait to hear what he does next. I think he's a great songwriter with a real natural talent for melody. I was writing songs when I was in my teens but it's taken me 20 years to get remotely good at it. He's got it nailed already, what a talent!
Anyone else we should watch out for? My nephews are both very creative.
Jono is just 20 but has his own online vintage clothing business and his brother Jacob helps do the design and branding for it. Both are also brilliant musicians, so we're just waiting to see where their talents take them.
Find out more about him at facebook.com/quietloner.
WHAT THEY SAID The wordplay is pure Costello. Delicate songwriting, with hints of folk and Americana. Bleakly beautiful. - **** Uncut An outstanding record. Uplifting and inspiring - **** Maverick The Loner's acoustic guitar-gilded explorations shine. - **** Daily Mirror An anthem for resistance - 10/10 Americana UK Probably the most important record of the year' - 5/5 Maverick Magazine A powerful rallying call from Quiet Loner - Billy Bragg
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