• Joe Solo // Fighting The Good Fight

    Joe Solo has in his time been a busker, a barman, a kerb counter, a warehouse hand, a copywriter and an engineer. His musical odyssey began in 1987 fronting a bash-em-out band at school, and has seen him play in seven countries either as the lynchpin of pop-punk upstarts Lithium Joe or hammering out his unique brand of folk, punk and blues in his own right.

    On top of releasing ten albums in the last eight years, Solo has written a book, and had one written about him; runs a research project on the Hull Pals Battalions in the First World War which he updates daily online; worked with underprivileged children to help them write their lives in song; recorded two audio books; and still found time to open for the likes of Chris Wood, Otis Gibbs, Robb Johnson, Edgar Broughton, TV Smith, Justin Sullivan, Emily Portman and The Blockheads; whilst his songs have featured on Mike Harding’s Folk and Roots Show on BBC Radio Two.

    Live, Solo has a growing reputation as both a performer and raconteur, being thought-provoking, comical and punch-the-air political often in the same breath. He is not an artist you forget in a hurry.

    Joe Solo lives in Scarborough with his wife and two children.

  • Hull Pals // MEMORIAL POSTS

    In 2011 Joe set off on a six year mission to tell the story of each and every man who died fighting for the Hull Pals Battalions in the First World War.
    The stories, compiled from Census and Military records together with a number of historical texts, are always poignant and often haunting.

    Day 278. Hull Pals Memorial Post. PRIVATE FREDERICK HILL 30288.

    Born 1897, the fourth of five children to James and Sarah Hill of 55 Grange Street, Fountain Road, Hull. Frederick was a Stoker by trade but enlisted in York in January 1916 and became 23668 in the West Yorkshire Regiment before being sent to the Pals to help fill gaps in the line.
    Perhaps the saddest part is that he lied. He gave his age as 19 years and 2 months in order to join up. He was 17. A boy.
    Frederick Hill was killed in action on 12th April 1918 somewhere near the French village of Bethune, fighting a rearguard action against the advancing German Army. His body was never recovered and his name is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial. He was 19 years old.

    here is a link to the Facebook group for the HULL PALS MEMORIAL POSTS. Please join up and join in.'

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    EXNE "OK… so we’re big fans of Joe Solo. This you may already know. In our humble opinion, he’s the finest singer songwriter in the North of England and a hidden treasure that deserves national exposure, especially during this shitty time of Tory bullshit, Lib Dem bollocks and Labour lethargy.

    For those of you who know about Joe, he’s a protest singer, a punk / folk legend and a washing machine repair man from Hull. He lives in Scarborough and is one of the hardest working guys in music. We interviewed him some time ago and discovered that, as well as postponing his wedding day for some recording time, he has released albums almost too numerous to mention and he is renowned for a raucous stage presence and a not too shabby love of shaky things and the Ukulele.

    A Revolution In An Empty Room is Joe’s eight millionth album. It may also be his best! It was born on a shitty Stockton evening in the back room of the now defunct Harpers Bar. The room wasn’t exactly empty. There were about 14 of us in total. 12 if you discount the lads playing pool. But Joe’s insistence that the numbers were irrelevant carried us along on a night of manic protest and revolutionary grandeur.

    And so here we are, over a year later and with a beautifully packaged CD screaming out to be played. “Remember What Your Voice Is For” proclaims the inside cover. The artwork and photography is beautiful and striking, much like Joe himself, except for the beautiful part.

    “I’ve been banging my head against a brick wall all day And what’s left of my soul is slowly wasting away But I ain’t gonna die here, alone in the gloom I’m gonna start a revolution in an empty room.”

    Now where-as Joe’s live performances are rather raucous and filled with snarls and venom, his self recorded albums are often a little softer. This is no exception. From the first song to the last, the album is littered with soft ukulele, beautifully timed acoustic guitar and some wonderful harmonica (it remains my favourite musical instrument when played well!) The album is really upbeat and whistles along with a cheeky grin at a faster pace than some of Joe’s previous offerings. New York City Girl is a crowd pleasing departure from the anarchic, revolutionary stance and whilst Joe may not have been fortunate enough to meet Joe Strummer or cop off with a lass from the Big Apple, he has been fortunate to inherit (or develop) a talent for producing wonderful music.

    No Stopping Me is a blues homage with a vocal that stretches Joe’s lungs to the point where you can hear his every breath exhaust itself amongst perfectly pitched notes and beautiful blues guitar riffs. Never Let The Light Go Out is as beautiful as it is poignant. “You’re never gonna win a hand… have fun with the aces.” The fella’s just a God damn inspiration! He’s barking and he’s biting … he’s going down fighting. The album just continues to deliver thought provoking lyrics; a cocktail of socialist anger, Northern wit, a nod, a wink and a sledgehammer voice to drive it all home.

    “Give a man a gun, he can rob a bank, boys and girls. Give a man a gun, he can rob a bank, boys and girls. Give a man a gun, he can rob a bank, boys and girls. Yeah but give a man a bank and he can rob the whole damn world.”

    I’m sure George Osborne is a big fan.

    I love track 8, Strollin’. A chilled out blues classic for the working man. But then again, I love the whole bloody album. Joe’s always got something interesting to say. It’s glorious to listen to. To me, the whole album is like a slow stroll through the back streets of Hull, or South Bank, or Wallsend. A trip through a working class heartland of cobbled streets, missed opportunities, litter piled high, broken windows, broken ambitions and broken teeth. But at the end of it all, in true Northern working class style, it retains the cheeky grin, the optimism of the Northern soul and the pent up fury of a pissed off washing machine repair man. Is there such a thing as “A Crazy Little Thing Called Hope”? Well Joe thinks so… and by heck he can’t half sing about it!" Paul Mcquade, EXNE Magazine.

    "You have to love Joe Solo. Or at least I have to, and you ought to. He strums and picks, he sings and rants, and writes great songs; songs sung in some northern accent I can't quite work out. Joe has melody and heritage and care and passion all wrapped up into a big ball, and this album -hopefully- is the album that unravels it in public, and lets everyone hear.

    'Post-Psychosis Blues' is a long title for a gorgeous little ditty, accompanied by ukulele; 'Learning To Crawl' is a typical (if there is a typical Joe Solo?) and beautiful ballad that sticks its neck out, asks questions, and wonders, all with the aid of a memorable tune.

    And there's Joe Solo's optimism, his strumming and singing about that 'Crazy Little Think Called Hope', both sincere and honest - and at a time when acoustic music is dominated by tradition, here's something new that folk can aspire to." **** Boff Whalley, R2 Magazine.

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  • Potters Field // the love and loss

    The Potter's Field Project is a series of songs and stories attempting to tell a People's History of the 20th Century by concentrating on the love and loss, the dedication and sacrifice of ordinary people, from the trenches of the First World War to the present day. Started in 2009, the intention is to create a five volume set of books and cds. The links below take you to Volumes I and II, with a third planned for 2014.


    Companion-piece to "Stories From Potter's Field" also available on bandcamp, this album is 13 character songs set in and around the First World War. Originally released in 2009, the cd itself is available from bandcamp priced £5.

    "an exceptional album...Solo uses the horror and pathos of that period in history as his clay and moulds from it an inspired set of compositions". *****(on "Music From Potter's Field") R2

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    Stories From Potter's Field Vol I.

    Spoken word version of the book "Stories From Potter's Field Vol I" by Andy Wilson & Joe Solo. Book itself available from bandcamp

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    Vol II of Joe Solo's acclaimed 'Potter's Field' collection, following the lives of First World War soldiers as they journey back home and try to pick up the pieces of the lives they left behind.

    "Something as stark and ghastly as WW1 shouldn't have been capable of producing songs as fragile and beautiful" ****(on "Music From Potter's Field") Maverick. Available from Bandcamp

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    Stories From Potter's Field Vol 2.

    Stories From Potter's Field Vol II' will be available in paperback from Summer 2012. The book contains the stories and song lyrics plus letters and poems not included in the audio file.

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  • 1


    A collection of songs about empowerment in one way or another, about not rolling over and giving up...

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  • 2


    This is a five and a half year mission to commemorate every single soldier who lost their life fighting for the Hull Pals ...

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  • 3


    Find out where I am playing next and all up coming gigs

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  • 4

    Stories from potters Field

    by Andy Wilson and Joe Solo

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  • 5

    Lithium Joe

    Between 1991 and 2001 Joe fronted pop-punk upstarts Lithium Joe....

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  • 6

    Wilfred Owen

    I have recorded these poems with the sole intention of trying to raise funds for the War Memorials Trust...

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  • 7


    With this record I wanted to imagine the kind of things Woody Guthrie would see if he woke up tomorrow.

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