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In Need Of Friends

by Steve Lawson

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Recorded live at Birmingham's Warehouse Cafe, In Need Of Friends is the first album I have released publicly in 2024.

The title has two meanings. It's a play on one of the frequently shared stupid comments I got in the early years of playing solo, where people would ask if I played solo because no-one wanted to play with me! But it's also because the venue where it was recorded is the HQ of Birmingham Friends Of The Earth, an incredible life-bringing, government lobbying, climate-protesting network of activists and supporters. The kind of people our shitty government are trying to label as extremists, when in fact they are the truest friends of this earth that we rely on, and by extension every creature that relies on it. This is a planet greatly in need of friends. Friends of peace, friends of reduction, reuse and recycling, friends of active travel and sustainable living. Friends like Friends Of The Earth. Thanks for letting me play weird music in your building 🥰

They are also, in the realest sense, heroes. Every day people going out of their way to make sure there's a livable planet for us and for future generations. So they are the Heroes at the opposite end of the Dialectic of Heroics to Taylor Swift. Swift's extraordinary exploration of fame and its attendent follies forms the 2nd half of the piece, revisited to squeeze a new emotional landscape out of it. It's Me, Hi, I'm The Problem, It's Me and it's echoes of GK Chesterton in 1905* is an amazing thing for an artist at the top of their game to say in 2024, not least of all because it brings with it accusations of being self-absorbed and performative in trying to wrestle with one's place in the world. I have zero time for such cynicism about T-Swizzle, so keep it to yourself ;)

And Wonderful World/Thou Shalt Not Kill is another dialectical framing, this time of hope and the absence of supporting evidence for it. A hope expressed by declaring the world to be wonderful in the face of it being anything but, but also a reminder of the admonishment at the heart of so many spiritual and metaphysical traditions to stop fucking killing each other.

There are so many reasons we come up with to build more and more effective ways of destroying life, more and more ways of defining people as other, as lesser, in order to eradicate them. From Ukraine, Gaza, DRC, Sudan, countless other places where wars rage on for a whole range of insane reasons. Bruce Cockburn prophesied the prevalence of the glorification of war on social media when in 1985 he sang "every psycopath gets his own magazine these days, I just learned about how I can kill in a hundred ways". But he didn't highlight the ways that resistance would also shine. Look for the helpers. Thanks Mr Rogers.

Let's wage peace. It is indeed a wonderful world, we just need to start living as though it is. In the absence of reasons to have hope, perhaps we need faith that things will be OK, that the arc of the moral universe is bending towards justice. Faith is apparently being sure of what you hope for, presumably without evidence. So when we're lost at night, we can still know that dawn will eventually arrive despite the darkness we're in.

These are common themes in so much of the music here. Maybe that'll change when the world does...

So here's the gig in its entirety - as always no edits or overdubs, just exactly what I played as it was played. Enjoy x

*“In one sense, and that the eternal sense, the thing is plain. The answer to the question , ‘What is Wrong?’ is, or should be, I am wrong.’ Until a man can give that answer his idealism is only a hobby.”
- GK Chesterton, Letter to the “Daily News”, August 16, 1905, “What is Wrong”

credits

released April 5, 2024

Recorded at Warehouse Cafe, Birmingham on Feb 23rd, 2024.
Mixed masters at LawSound 2, March 2024.

Steve - bassing, mixing, mastering, writing.
Cover photo by the Vandalorian

Massive thanks to Shaz, Birmingham Friends of The Earth, Jakob Tu Aimes for opening the show and EJ for carrying stuff and taking photos.

Gear: Elrick SLC MkII SE 6 string bass, MOD DuoX, Nordstrand Starlifter Preamp, Keith McMillen K-Mix, Quneo and Softstep 2, Dunlop volume, wah and expression pedals. Mixed and mastered in Reaper.

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Steve Lawson UK

The UK's most celebrated and prolific solo bassist - alternating between solo and collaborative releases - have a rummage around and see what you find. The subscription is by FAR the best way to keep track of the many musical goings on!

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