Lauren Housley will kick off her UK Winter tour on 4th November at iconic London venue The Half Moon, Putney, which has seen the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Who and John Martyn grace it’s stage in years gone by. An almost two-month long stint of shows in the UK will follow, with concerts in her current hometown of Sheffield (Yellow Arch) and previous hometowns Manchester (Deaf Institute) and Newcastle (The Sage 2). Lauren’s third album “Girl From The North” was released on her own label Lovebird Recordings earlier this year to widespread acclaim, including within the Americana, Country and Folk scenes where it charted in all 3 Official charts: #4 Country, #8 Americana and #13 Folk, making Lauren one of the only artists to gain spots in all three charts. Supporting Lauren on all dates and playing acoustic guitar in her band will be 2020 UK Americana Award winner Robbie Cavanagh, Mark Lewis on Bass (Yola, John Smith), Thomas Dibb on Electric Guitar (John Smith, Magpie Arc) and Manchester session drummer Xavier Winton.
We last spoke to Lauren in the spring ahead of the release of “Girl From The North” which you can read HERE and after the news of this upcoming tour announcement we had a good old catch up to hear what she has planned for it.
The tour kicks off on Thursday 4th November with the London date at one of the cities most iconic venues that despite being my side of the river is somewhere which I personally have not yet had the opportunity to visit so we began talking about what I can expect from my first trip to The Half Moon in Putney. “We have played there once. It was one of the last gigs on tour. I went on tour with a band that I’m in called Chorlton Country Club and we did the London date there. I had heard a bit about it and some people said it was a bit of a dive and why are you playing there but others were saying it was amazing so I think it’s just personal preference. When I got in there, I thought it was amazing and it reminds me of Nashville where they all play in those kind of venues with the old school layout, big backdrop, the corner stage and it just feels like a smaller version of The 5 Spot which is the cool East Nashville hangout so I love it! It’s the first date on the tour which is wild really because I don’t think many people start their tour in London but that was just how it worked out with the rescheduling so it will be a nice one to kick off with.”
The sixteen-date tour runs through November and ends just before Christmas on December 19th in Billericay, so is quite extensive heading all around the country so there must be some new places that she will be playing for the first time? “Do you know what? There are loads of new places, I think apart from the big cities and maybe a couple of the smaller ones like Kirton in Lindsey and Billericay, most of them are new. A lot of the arts centres are very new and there are quite a few in the South West where I have never played before like the Abbotsbury Church but I’ve heard really good things about it. There’s quite a lot of new places and it’s going to be the longest tour I’ve ever done which is funny because I have got a baby to think about now.” From here I asked Lauren how planning is going with juggling her tour as a musician along with her main full-time job as a mother for the first time? “The good thing is that the tour originally was going to be a bit more compact to be about three weeks then with the rescheduling and availability of venues has meant that it has become a bit more spread out. I’m quite glad that it has because now it means that we can go away and do a couple of gigs then come back where Noah can either stay with grandparents for a couple of nights or there are a couple of slightly longer stints where he is going to come with us so I’ll tell you about how it works bringing a child on tour afterwards!”
Finally getting to tour “Girl From The North” and being able to play live in front of audiences once more is obviously very exciting for everyone involved and we chatted about getting back into the swing of being back on the road and what we can expect from the shows on the tour. “Getting to play live again in person and play this record to people for the first time is so exciting. It does make you realise that logistically and the touring schedule is quite gruelling, which you forget because everybody has taken such a long break so things like stamina and keeping yourself nice and healthy is really important when you are on the go and travelling so much. Even when you think you have got loads of time you are constantly rushing back and forth so there is a lot to figure out but when I think about the actual playing side of performing the songs for people that is so exciting. I think the band just sounds unbelievable and we’ve had some really special gigs as one offs and really nice festival slots so it does feel like we have played the songs for people and you are thinking should we put some brand brand new ones in but this is the album tour and most people haven’t heard these songs live. You do start getting excited about the new things that you have been writing but I’m thinking this tour is all about this album being played live, some of the older stuff and some really cool covers as well thrown in, then once this tour is over I’ll be thinking more about the new music even if it is very tempting to try and do things with the newest things right now.”
“Girl From The North” was released back in April and was acclaimed by critics along with having considerable charting success so considering she had described (during our last chat earlier in the year) the album as something that nobody was waiting for or expecting, the reaction to the project must have felt wonderful. “It feels weird now that we are only thinking about touring six months later after we rescheduled again after the release but I was really pleased with how the album went down. I’m glad I released it when I did because I think people got to spend a lot of time with it and it did really well. It made the UK Official Charts in three genre categories and I’ve never charted with an album before so that was pretty cool and they all were in the top ten too. All the radio stuff helped introduce to a lot of new audience members and BBC Radio 2 getting behind it was a big and really nice surprise so as an independent artist, I’m not sure it could have gone much better really and I feel like we gave it everything that we could at that time so I’m very grateful to everyone for listening to it and supporting it.”
Lastly, we talked about bringing the songs from the album into a live environment with her band of Thomas Dibb, Mark Lewis and a very familiar face in the UK Americana community; Robbie Cavanagh. “I’ve known Robbie for a while now, we played together in the Country Club Review tour that we did and Tom was playing in his band. We were looking for someone that could play great acoustic guitar and sing really well because there are a lot of harmonies on this album as we felt like we needed an extra voice really. He’s obviously an amazing singer and was having a bit of quiet time with his solo stuff but I know he is getting busier and busier again now but I think he just wanted to get involved as well then when we got in a room and played a couple of tunes, thought this sounded great. Mark (Lewis) is playing bass but he can play great guitar and he sings really well so with him, Robbie and Tom I joke it’s like having Crosby, Stills and Nash behind me which is a really cool thing. I’m buzzing about how it is sounding, it’s a little bit different to how it sounded in the past but in a really nice way because I think we can play around a lot with this line-up. Some of the shows are a tiny bit more stripped back and we won’t have drums but even with the introduction of drums, the four of us are basically just doing the same thing with a bigger sound. It’s got a cool vibe because even stripping it down with one microphone up works as well. We did a live stream concert online for the album launch as the four-piece line-up and it was so chilled with the guys sounding amazing so I’m looking forward to playing it live!”
Lauren Housley Tour Dates 4th Nov - London, Half Moon Putney 6th Nov - Filey, Evron Centre 13th Nov - Brighton, Komedia 18th Nov - Fareham, Ashcroft Arts Centre 19th Nov - Newton Abbot, Abbotsbury Church 20th Nov - Bath, Chapel Arts Centre 25th Nov - Manchester, Deaf Institute 26th Nov - Biddulph, Biddulph Town Hall 3rd Dec - Stavely, The Roundhouse Theatre 4th Dec - Gateshead, The Sage 9th Dec - Hexham, The Vault 10th Dec - Sheffield, Yellow Arch 11th Dec - Kirton in Lindsey, Town Hall Live 17th Dec - New Milton, Forest Arts Centre 18th Dec - Aldershot, West End Centre 19th Dec - Billericay, Emmanuel Church Lauren Housley begins her UK tour through November and December at London’s Half Moon in Putney on November 4th. You can find ticket information for all dates and her latest album “Girl From The North” HERE and you can keep up to date with Lauren socially on TwitterFacebookInstagram
True country music is honesty, sincerity, and real life to the hilt. Garth Brooks