This June, Ben Watt of Everything But The Girl will head Stateside for his first-ever solo performances. Watt will headline Joe's Pub in New York City on June 11th and 12th followed by a performance at the Echoplex in Los Angeles on June 13th. Joining him will be ex-Suede guitarist and collaborator Bernard Butler.
On April 29th, Watt will release Hendra, his first solo album in more than 30 years. NPR Music is currently offering an exclusive stream of the album through their First Listen series, with an accompanying piece written by Ann Powers.
Yesterday, Entertainment Weekly premiered the video for the single "Spring." Watt explains, "In January I held a short film competition for songs from my new album, 'Hendra'. The winners were co-judged by friend and ace filmmaker Mark Cousins ('The Story of Film: an Odyssey') and me. Here is the winning entry for 'Spring.'Made in San Francisco by David Vespremi. The song is about drawing strength from small things as you get older. As Mark says of the film 'It hints at people - a boy, surfers, a woman at a window - who stare out into seascapes and cityscapes. It is lovely, mysterious and melancholic.'"
Hendra was released in the UK earlier this week to great praise, including four-star reviews from both Q and Mojo.
Uncut magazine has made Hendra their Album of the Month and said "Stripped-down folk aesthetic couldn't be more contemporary. What's new is the worldview, and that is what gives Hendra its stark power. These are beautiful songs penned from mid-life."
Recorded in London and Berlin, the music is a meeting of worlds: languid folk, distorted rock and buzzing electronics; in part a result of the album's two central collaborators, ex-Suede guitarist Bernard Butler, and Berlin-based producer Ewan Pearson.
The album also includes one other unexpected stellar cameo - Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, who adds plangent slide guitar and backing vocals on "The Levels." Watch Watt and Gilmour perform the song live via Guitar World.
Also to be released this year is Watt's memoir "Romany and Tom", which will be published by Bloomsbury Press in North America this June. The Financial Times called the book "a poignant, life-affirming work" while novelist John Niven said "Forget Morrissey: 'Romany and Tom' is the most beautiful, compelling memoir by a musician you'll read for a very long time.”
US Tour Dates:
6/11/14: New York, NY - Joe's Pub
6/12/14: New York, NY - Joe's Pub
6/13/14: Los Angeles, CA - The Echo
Ben Watt is available for interviews and performances. Hendra is now available for pre-order in the US: