Jamie Webster and legendary activist singer-songwriter, Billy Bragg come together in the tall tale of Fickle Fran, a carousing, brass-and-choir door-kicker of an indie-soul anthem – OUT NOW.
Only the second preview of what lies in store on Webster’s third album, 10 For The People, confirmed for release on Fri 2 February 2024 on Modern Sky, the release follows the socially-aware, field-filling musician’s summer single, Voice Of The Voiceless, his busiest season of outdoor shows and lands just ahead of seven huge winter tour dates, including TWO SOLD OUT dates at Manchester’s O2 Victoria Warehouse.
Pulled into mutual orbit by their articulate depictions of working-class interests, Webster and Bragg’s inevitable studio collaboration follows Jamie’s performance on Billy’s specially-curated Left Field Stage at Glastonbury this summer.
Making headlines as well as records, with Webster famously going after rip-off ticket resale sites, and Bragg only recently rebuking Oliver Anthony’s problematic viral hit, both of their voices appearing on Fickle Fran, a loving and vivid depiction of a the precarious life of a door-to-door entrepreneur, offers a bridge from Bragg’s emergence in the early 80s and Webster’s recent rise. It’s a generational leap, yet both are the first to recognise how many people’s unchanged struggle to thrive has faced the same, predictable obstacles.
Webster says of the storytelling track: “’Fickle Fran’ is a song about the spirit and the defiance of the working class. I was thinking back to the days of a ‘salesman’ knocking door to door with clothes off the back of lorries. He was always both cynical and optimistic which is where the fickle idea comes from. He'd always moan about how his clothes weren't selling the way he thought, but come the next season of weather he had the perfect product that would make up for his shortcomings. This was before online shopping and also way before websites that sell fake products. I often wonder how he'd survive in the modern world. His defiance would always prevail however, as I remember his most unforgettable sign-off quote ...
“’Still though mate, I'd rather this than work in Dixons any day of the week!’”
Alongside Webster’s specially-invited guest, performing a master of ceremonies role as Fickle Fran enters the scene, the single displays the sense of ambition and adventure in which the artist and producer, Dave Eringa (Manic Street Preachers, Kylie Minogue) entered recording sessions to prepare 10 For The People. Piled high with orchestral flourishes, heart-filling vocal harmonies, razor-sharp guitars and no small measure of Motown-indebted soul swing, Webster’s already overflowing live set of people-moving anthems has gained one more big hit.
2023 has seen Webster tear through his biggest ever Glastonbury appearance, swelling the Avalon Stage tent to bursting in June, hit the main stages of both Glasgow’s TRNSMT and Reading and Leeds Festivals and enjoy two nights in front of a combined 24,000 people at two headline dates at Liverpool’s Pier Head. Not holding anything back in pursuit of his ambitions as he rises with his fans from his beginnings as an electrician dreaming of bringing his songs to wider audiences, Webster last month announced he will play a 40,000-capacity show at his home city’s Sefton Park for next July.
Before then, and ahead of more new music being released, Webster takes off on a huge winter UK Tour. With an added date in Glasgow, an upgrade in Sheffield and a showpiece night ahead at London’s iconic Roundhouse, all of his currently confirmed live dates are as follows:
Thu 9 Nov – Glasgow, O2 Academy – SOLD OUT
Fri 11 Nov – Glasgow, O2 Academy
Mon 13 Nov – Bristol, O2 Academy
Tue 14 Nov – Sheffield, O2 Academy - UPGRADED
Thu 16 Nov – London, Roundhouse
Fri 17 Nov – Manchester, O2 Victoria Warehouse – SOLD OUT
Sat 18 Nov – Manchester, O2 Victoria Warehouse – SOLD OUT
Fri 12 July 2024 - Liverpool, Sefton Park
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