Speak, Brother

Updates and musings from the guys

Trying to stop Autumn (Chaos Pt 2)

I’ve been wanting to write this for a couple months now as a follow up to my previous entry way back in October. It’s just been crazy busy. It’s that crazy time of year with so many mixed emotions for many. And busyness reigns.

For me too, it does feel I’ve been hit with a fresh dose of chaos in my life. With some circumstances coming up make for a good amount of uncertainty in my life than otherwise. Sometimes it’s exciting, but sometimes it’s just tiring. Where it’s hard to hold onto any answers or come to any solid conclusions.

But enough of the excuses, here I am finally, writing this on the first day of Winter having sailed through Autumn like it didn’t happen.

Gutted! As Autumn is my favourite season.

However much I wish we had the feature – you can’t ‘live pause’ the Seasons. Regardless of however fast we move around each beat in the Rhythm of the seasons, it won’t change. It remains a steady, effortless rhythm. And from the Atom to the Solar System and everything in-between –  everything has it’s own movement and rhythm.

Even our own breathing just happens to us without effort.

Autumn, I suppose is the exhale of Nature. It’s the season of dying. But it’s funny how it’s arguably the most beautiful of all seasons to witness.

Just as a leaf, full of all it’s vibrant colour and energy. Once confident, proud of it’s summer growth, now in pure disruption, chaos and uncertainty as it falls to the ground. It slowly disintegrates and is now formless as it’s life and energy breaks down into the soil. Enriching the soil for next season’s growth.

There’s a strange beauty isn’t there, in that dying is the same act of giving life.

The leaf can’t stop death. Just as we can’t bury uncertainty.

But it happens. Bad stuff happens. And it’s so hard.

I wonder though if the more we can just sit with the uncertainty. Accept the chaos. Allow it to happen rather than denying and trying to stop it. We might be surprised by the life giving possibilities that come from it.

It’s a risk though. Sitting in the moment is a vulnerable scary place to be. Because you have no idea what could happen next and past hurts and pain have a tight hold on you as always.

Who know’s how things will unravel..

How does this chaos resolve?

One thing for certain is that what is happening, is happening.

It is, what it is, what it is.

Just as the Beatles said:

“And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me speaking words of wisdom, let it be”

Painting by Wildflower Design

You never sing in the shower any more.. (Chaos Pt 1)

I think, like most people, I have the drive to control. To understand. To have something certain to hold onto when it’s tough.

But life seems to be so fluid and full of surprise. For better or worse, who really know’s what’s around the corner? We can try and calculate and predict, but we can’t fully control anything.

Some days it feels like I’ve got this. Sometimes I just want to run away.

I hadn’t thought it through properly really. I suppose you just muddle through the routine of the day like a rock in an ocean current. Except for times like when my wife said to me recently –

“You never sing in the shower any more”

We’ve all got our own problems. But on top of that there’s Trump, Brexit, The Syrian crisis, War in Yemen and everything else.

And then our brothers and sisters who don’t have the luxury of reading this blog on their phone iPad or laptop device – Who’s ever nagging thought is how they will feed their family.

A couple months ago we put the call out inviting anyone to share what Chaos means to them. The following week we had a 3 day stint in a cabin booked to write and record a new song and all we had was the song title:

Meet Me In The Chaos

You truly met with us in that and we had pages and pages of honest, open, gritty stories, poems, imagery, artwork, photos. 

It was heavy and real.

But it was beautiful witnessing the courageous vulnerability in the sharing of people’s darkest times.

There’s something in it. Maybe a spark of movement. A tiny jolt of life. A brooding growth that slowly binds us together as we become more and more aware of our brother and sisterhood.

Take away the labels that divide us. The homeless guy on the corner on the way to work. The refugee trying to get into the country. The colleague who always gossips. The stranger sitting next to us on the train.

Take away those preconceptions and judgments we use to put people in boxes, and what we are left with is the same story of Joy, suffering and chaos as in our own lives.

Despite all the gadget connectivity, 53% of 18-34 year olds have felt depressed because they felt alone, while 11% say they feel lonely often (The Lonely Society, Mental Health Foundation)

It’s no secret Mental Health is a huge problem in the West. 

Chaos isn’t far. You’ll likely find it raging, hidden somewhere under a tired smile.

Meet Me In The Chaos – Out Nov 16th. Be notified by joining the Inner Circle.

Meet Me In The Chaos Tour Dates:

  • Birmingham, 18th November
  • London, 19th November
  • Bristol, 23rd November
  • Salford, 25th November

Details and Tickets

Massive thanks to Wildflower Design for allowing us to use this drawing. (Prints are available on request)

Young & Brave: Song stories

We’ve been absolutely blown away from all your feedback from the Album.. It’s kind of a funny to feeling to be working on something for so long for it to be finally out there and finished. Of course, there’s barely time for a breather these days. We’re already making some exciting plans for the next 12 months and can’t wait to share them with you!

Some people say they love the stories that lie within our songs. We were asked to give a short commentry on each song by Cross Rythyms for an article on their site, but thought I’d publish here too.

#1 Magnificent

Remember the last time you held a new-born baby? It’s powerless, frail and vulnerable as it rests in your arms. It has no idea just how precious and beautiful it is. Isn’t it weird to think that we were once a baby, just like that? We all start from that place of Magnificence. I penned all the words to this song in bed one evening after watching the film ‘Fences’. Based in gritty 1950’s black America, it’s a tough story to watch. It takes you through a few generations of a family whose upbringing was dark, lonely and hard, but the last few scenes focus on this beautiful young daughter whose eyes were full of hope and purity. This song is an attempt to capture those emotions. In spite of the fears and pressures that come later in life, this is a song of joy and celebration of the beauty and incredible value each and every human that has ever walked this earth contains.

Lyrics  /  Listen

#2 When We Were Young

When we sat down to start writing the album, this is the first song that came out. Thematically, it actually carries the sentiments from the last track of our previous EP ‘Light Runs After Us’. In a way it also represents the main theme of the album and contains the lyrics of the album title. The song is a little bit of a nostalgic look back over my childhood. Where did my insecurities come from? When did I first begin to fear, or experience treachery? I remember as a kid at school I collected pogs. Remember those? I had quite a nice collection. I was having a game with a friend. It was my first game ‘for keeps’, and it was the day I first learned the concept of gambling. I lost the game and he started pulling all my pogs towards himself and I just burst into tears when others stopped me stopping him. It’s funny to think of my naivety, but that day I lost a little of my innocence as I felt bitter against my friend. As a kid I was unaware of anything. I just wanted to build Lego, explore woodland, discover caves, climb trees, but somewhere down the line I started to fear. Deep down, I still want to do all that stuff. I want to love fearlessly. I don’t want fear to get in the way of my creativity. My work. My relationships. This song is yearning to awaken that fearless inner child again.

Lyrics / Listen

#3 Pond Boy

“Pond Boy” is a song about learning to live life outside of our comfort zone – our “pond”. Our comfortable, familiar, safe little pond. Nothing changes here. Nothing new. Aspirations are managed and dreams are contained or let go completely and there is no vulnerability. I think this was where we were at before we decided to crowdfund for this album. It was always a risk. What if we don’t reach our target? What if we can’t find a producer? What if we can’t write good enough songs? What if we fail? We didn’t know what would happen. But adventure has to include risk. . . right?

Lyrics  /  Listen

#4 Magnesium Burn

This song is the summary of the build-up of frustration of being contained and restrained from the padded safe nature of the pond. It’s a desperate answer to the call of doing something different. Something with meaning. To put a foot out into the unknown. If Pond Boy was the call, then perhaps Magnesium Burn is the spark of a response.

I love what David Bowie said when asked about creativity:

“Always go a little further in the water than what you feel you’re capable of being in. . . When you feel like your feet aren’t quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.” 

If we ever had a song suitable for running to, then this would be it. Just before recording the vocals, Matt and I decided to jump out of the studio and run down the street till we were gasping for breath (which didn’t take long for me). It was the quickest way to feel the body, and really helped to embody what we were singing about.

Lyrics / Listen / Watch Video

#5 & #6 Father

As babies and young kids we were so unaware of failure. So blissfully ignorant of racisim, sexism, or any cultural divides. This song is an attempt to look back through those wide fearless eyes again and maybe when we look out to other groups of people we can find a brother or sister and our own world becomes a much bigger place. Interestingly, ‘Father’ sums up quite well the core theme of the Young & Brave Album.

Again, this song looks back at the child we were, but looks up and around to see that we aren’t alone in this. That although we are all different and beautiful in our uniqueness, we are all the same. All brothers and sisters, sons and daughters and not on our own in our suffering.

It’s a song about inclusiveness, and I love that we managed to get loads of voices on it. It features the beautiful voice of Kirstie Smith (Dan’s wife) and a gospel choir at the end. I can’t tell you what the strange words at the end of the song mean. Gavin Monaghan, our producer, who convinced me the end needed something, told me to get into the vocal booth and “channel my inner goat herder” (whatever that means ha ha). So I just switched all the lights off and in the pitch black I sang what ever came out.

Following the grand calling of Pond Boy (Track #3) and the sprint-like energy of Magnesium Burn (Track #4), this song is separated by a super chilled instrumental track we called ‘The Wild’ (Track #5) – A brief hault before entering the wild unknown and uncertainty.

Lyrics  /  Listen

#7 Princess

I read a news article a few years ago about a young girl of 12 who was found in a park hanging from a tree. She had written on her arms words like:

“The voices told me to do this. They told me I have no purpose. So there’s no point of me being here.”

Naturally, I was heartbroken and angry. How could this happen? What led her to the point where she felt she wasn’t worth being alive?

The words she wrote on her arms really stuck with me. I’ve heard the same words from my own mouth. I’ve heard them from people I love dearly. It’s glaringly clear to me that the sense of having no purpose in this world is so harmful to our own well being. That purpose and identity are at the core of what it is to be human.

This song is like a love letter to that girl, and anyone who needs to hear that the world really needs them. The world needed that girl. And it needs you. You are not slaves of your own feelings and thoughts, but you are royalty. Beautiful, Magnificent.

A work in progress, yes. But a work in progress of discovering the beauty you are, rather than trying to be beautiful.

The words in the middle section are those of someone dear to me in the depths of depression. A kick back I guess. Such is the nature of depression. There’s no quick fix. It takes time, patience, love and then a little more time and patience.

Lyrics / Listen

#8 Lions Roar

Inspired by a moment I had with my nephew, Liam. He was very young and it was his first time at the seaside. His first time looking out at the endless horizon. I walked him to the waves, holding him steady. It was a chilly British seaside evening and the wind and waves were loud. Liam was a little scared and he was about to cry. It must have been very new, threatening and uncertain. But suddenly he let out his loudest roar. As if to silence the waves. Like a little fragile boy could stand up to the forces of nature? But as long as I held him there, and his mum wasn’t far off, he was as strong as a lion. It’s that strength from knowing who we are and that we’re not alone even in the midst of uncertainty, inspired this song.

Lyrics / Listen

#9 Man of Honour

Man of Honour is probably the darkest sounding song on the Album. Written by Dan, it was inspired by a friend of ours who was a police officer. He told us about an incident he was in where a man was in crisis and was at the end of his will to live. He was on his own with this man, trying to talk him round while at one point wrestling with him while he had a knife, trying to keep himself and the man from being harmed.

The self-sacrificial heart and willingness to go deep into a brother or sister’s mess when it’s so much easier to avoid it is poignant and beautiful.

Lyrics / Listen

#10 Two Bands of Gold

A song dear to me about my grandparents and their life together. I guess, in the midst of my own insecurities growing up, their dedication to each other right till the end demonstrated to me the power of real, vulnerable, self-sacrificial love and the purpose of marriage.

I wrote it at a time between my grandad passing just before my nan passed and got to play the song at my nans funeral a few months before my own wedding so there are many emotions mixed into one for me here. Hope you enjoy.

Lyrics / Listen

#11 Empire

A song dear to me about my grandparents and their life together. I guess, in the midst of my own insecurities growing up, their dedication to each other right till the end demonstrated to me the power of real, vulnerable, self-sacrificial love and the purpose of marriage.

I wrote it at a time between my grandad passing just before my nan passed and got to play the song at my nans funeral a few months before my own wedding so there are many emotions mixed into one for me here. Hope you enjoy.

Lyrics / Listen

The full Album Young & Brave is now available on CD, 12″ Vinyl and Stream and Download. Listen here

Racing Red Wagons and Den Building

These days seem to be so flippin’ complicated and hectic at times don’t they? I used to think it’d get easier as I grow up as I make my own decisions, but actually life used to be so much simpler didn’t it?

I walked past a house with a really cool metal red wagon outside it which brought back some sweet memories.. It looked just like the one in the picture above. Yep, that’s me.. The little chubby squishy thing sitting in my cousin’s rusty old red wagon. When I was a little older, I had one for myself.

I loved that thing..

Yeh, typically I’d drag all by best stuff around with me, particularly to and from the Dens I’d make. But we lived on a large hill. And the best thing you could do was sit inside the wagon, pull back the handle, turning it into the coolest go-kart ever, and push myself down this crazy big rocky hill..

Didn’t it feel like we had all the time in the world back then? Now there doesn’t seem to be enough time..

I don’t know about you, but I’ve hit plenty of times where I’ve tripped and fallen out of the hamster wheel and thought ‘why am I doing this’?

But why should we be these serious robots, to work all the time, accept the crushing pressures, to just get on with it, stiff upper lip, life goes on, working harder and harder and seemingly getting no where?

Well, we all have responsibilities now.. there’s not much you can do about that can you??

Of course, there’s so much more stuff we have to do and be responsible for as we grow older. And that’s awesome..

But as a young kid, I didn’t compare myself with others. I didn’t continually put myself down because others were better or further along than me. I didn’t care I was obviously a chubby little tyke either! I just enjoyed life. Building stuff. Racing stuff. Playing with friends.

There’s something in that childlike simplicity that I don’t think should grow old. There’s a Joy in the risk taking freedom. Isn’t that our natural state with which we are born? Joy. I think it’s time to rediscover it.

Maybe complexity in life isn’t really that bad.. In fact, when looking at it with child-like enthusiasm, it’s kinda fascinating. Something to be discovered, chased down, figured out.

Maybe then even build something. Like we did out of lego, sand or a even a Den in the woods.

These thoughts and more are all threaded in the upcoming Album Young & Brave.

The first installment is out Sept 22 which you can Pre Order here if you like.

Speak soon,


The “He’ll Fight” Story

Hope you had a great Easter weekend..

It’s been amazing hearing feedback from the He’ll Fight song and video.. It means so much to us as we’re so passionate about it’s story..

I was reading a terrible news story here this week stating that 4000 kids last year alone called Childline saying they’re lonely. I can’t think how many more boys and girls are suffering who don’t know Childline, or feel they can’t talk about it.

As heartbreaking as it is to read it, I wasn’t surprised. For so many reasons loneliness is a massive issue in our ever more busy, preoccupied, ‘social’ media culture and it’s the root of so many other problems.

It adds fuel to the fire in reminding me why we write music and how important we feel music and all other art is in giving voice to these things..

He’ll Fight is inspired by a true story of Grace, where a judge in court believed in a young woman when no else would – and didn’t give up. 

I heard the story on the radio last year. I can’t remember the crime, but it could have been a 1 year sentence. But the judge in hearing the full story understood that it was in fact it was her addiction to drugs that was the root cause. And so gave her community service and rehab.

She completed that and a couple years later the same judge heard that the girl had re-offended with the same crime! She had got back in with the same crowd she was in with before and was taking drugs again. She then stood trial again and the judge (a different judge) sentenced her to prison.

Now, the first judge was angry as he knew this wasn’t the best for her. He actually contested, then when that failed he visited her in prison and later became her mentor. She eventually was independent from drugs and now lives a fulfilling life.

You could say that this girl did not deserve that. Many people were angry she didn’t get a larger sentence! But it’s a beautiful story. To have someone fight for you and believe in you like that when the world is against you..

Where ever you’re at, there’s always Hope. Always. A timely story and more inspiring to me than even a chocolate egg. The kind of story anyone feeling lonely should know.

That’s what SO much of the Album is about too. Will share more on that this week as we get closer to finally record it!


Watch the video here:


Here we are…

.. another brand spanking new year. In between seeing family and pigging out, I’ve locked myself away in my room over the last few days. My desk covered in scribbles and books and a voice recorder always close to hand as I write these songs..

What a year 2016 has been. Generally, I’ve heard the year called all sorts of names.. Most of them bad. The rest, really bad. Ha! Ok a touch dramatic I guess. But it seems there’s so much change. So much fear, separation and disconnection. Wars, tails of deception and more devastating terror attacks all over the world. It literally feels social and political tectonic plates are shifting like crazy below our feet and it’s a wonder we’re still standing. All topped off with what seems so many of our most favourite pioneers of arts and sources of inspiration have passed away.

More and more however, I believe, in these times of fear, confusion and desperation that we’re all in, there will be more and more opportunities for us each to connect with people around us. Each of us has a purpose in this together. And I think, we’ll see more positive change from the ground up. We are all brothers and sisters on this little golf ball of a planet after all, right?

My challenge to myself is to not become stretched too thin, to be too busy, too overwhelmed to forget that. And to try and not forget how bloomin’ blessed I am to be alive and breathing.

I’m glad, now we’re in 2017, we can look forward with a sense of optimism. Which is what a I love about this time of year. It gives you an opportunity to react positively. A fresh start. Just like a chilly bright frosty morning after a long night.

Dream big this year.. and write it down in permanent marker. A lot can happen in a year. If this time last year some one told me we’d be in the middle of recording a proper full length fan funded Album with Ian Grimble this year, I’d laugh in their face. ‘Not on your nelly!!’ I’d say. Yet here we are.. I’m still waiting for someone to wake me up ha..

On that note, back to songwriting! Wishing you your best year yet!

Much love and speak soon,


The blind lady that could see for miles…

A few weeks after the release of Light Runs After Us and I just wanted to share some thoughts on the final song ‘See for Miles’…

It was one of these weird, warm fuzzy feelings.. A little like seeing a friends new born baby for the first time. A pure kind of feeling that pushed away any selfish ambitions or emotions that often contaminate and consume our everyday busy lives.

At a gig a couple years ago we caught sight of this lady. A ‘normal’ looking lady. In that there weren’t any particular features about her that stood out other than you could tell she was in fact blind. There was something about her that was different though.

It was one of these audition type gigs in the hope of playing a festival. Now, I’m not really fond of performing against other artists. Find it really gets in the way of enjoying the art of music. Back then though, we were a little more insecure with our own sound and abilities, than we perhaps are now, and inevitably, all we could think about was ourselves and our performance.  So we were very much in our own little ‘bubbles’. Which just goes against the grain of everything we set out to do.. Because how can you connect with people, if all you’re thinking about is yourself?!

Anyways, some way through the night, we caught site of this blind lady. And in complete contrast to what was happening in my own little world, she seemed to glow and radiate Joy. Completely standing out from what seemed like a room made up of weighed down, weary and disheartened souls. You could tell she just loved music. She just expressed herself without inhibition. Smiled, laughed, clapped her hands. Pretty much dancing in her seat.

There was something beautiful about her. Something simple. The biggest thing for me, is that it seemed she just didn’t care what others thought of her actions. Complete at peace within herself.

Blind from birth.. Yeh, I have no idea how hard it must be. I mean, to never see the ocean? But then I think what would it be like to not be exposed to the huge amounts of pressure on us on how to look, how to act. To perform in life every single day and to be judged on your performance.

The media and marketing push it relentlessly, first making a perceived need, then sell you stuff to fill it. We all know this, but it’s hard. The success of marketing is built on how well you are convinced you’ll never be quite good enough. A constant message of discontent to make a sale, we need stuff, and they need money. A sick dependency really.

But seeing her, blissfully unaware of the whole deal, was a beautiful moment. She doesn’t know and doesn’t care that there’s someone apparently better out there. It seemed that all she knew was that she loved where she was and nothing got in the way of being full of Joy.

Somewhere down the line, we’ve forgotten that we were beautiful right from conception. This song serves as a reminder to us to look out for the Joy in life and turn a blind eye to anything that says otherwise.

Here’s the lyrics video. You can also listen on Spotify or grab a CD / Download here:


“If only”s and “What might be”s..

So here’s something that’s been on my mind recently..

Have you ever found yourself imagining a life that is better than what it seems you have right now?

Mmm.. Yeh thought so..  Sometimes it’s a new car. Or a bigger house. A better job. A new phone. To be debt free. Or even as innocent as a simple holiday with the family. What ever it’s for, the daily routines of life can just be a constant reminder that these dreams are no closer than when first dreamt.

We’re often looking out ahead, or sometimes behind. Those “If only”s, or the “What might be”s that often fade into the distance.. They’re sometimes the fruits of regret or the fear of failure. But most of the time, they are the result of the overriding pressure that’s on us, everyday.

The pressure is this:

“Where we are or have is not good enough and we somehow need more to be happy, successful or comfortable.”

I’ve often said things like this concerning Speak, Brother. The band does take up a lot of head space and although it all seems like for a good reason, I often try to take things so far to the point of being completely consumed with making the most of everything.

This pressure can drive us away from the very thing that I believe we truly, desperately want. Companionship. Love. Friendship. But instead, all that falls by the wayside and true happiness and content is far away.

It wasn’t until a few key points in my life, which the song ‘Slow to Now‘ describes, where I remembered what I was leaving behind, in my pursuit for so called ‘success and happiness’.

It’s not found in tomorrow, next week, or some day. But right now. Dreams and desires are good. But what good are they, if you run with them on your own?

I think I’m realising that Dreams and desires are only attained when doing them with other people around you. Never go solo.

‘Slow to Now’ is now a constant reminder to me every time we play it to make the most of the people around me, right now.

So that’s me.. Can you remember your #SlowtoNow moments? A trip to the beach, a birthday, a long chat with a friend? Tweet @SpeakBrotheruk or share with us on Facebook 🙂




EP Preview – Track #3 Break In

Ever felt like going in circles? This song was an outlet of frustration for me when I wrote it. After repeatedly going through the same struggles, I kinda felt like I was wadding through mud. I’m a bit of an introvert so I can overthink things pretty easily and make them way bigger than what they actually are. Making negative thoughts big in my life eventually  turned into depression. Depression over nothing really specific either. Just a dull, numb inexplicable feeling.

I’ve been reading one of Stephen Fry’s books and of learning his battle with depression, which was/is certainly considerably worse than anything I’ve had to deal with. Listen to My Fry talk about his depression:

Listening to him talk about it though is quite confusing to me as I’m so used to him making me laugh with his brilliant witty genius! It outlines pretty heavily to me that anyone can be going through stuff you have no idea about, and gives me a little more patience for some people.

One of the things Fry links to depression is the sense of nothingness and no future. It’s like being locked in a padded room filled with mirrors so you can’t see past yourself. You can’t see your future, or your purpose for living. If you don’t have a sense of purpose, why bother?

I started writing this song in the midst of something like this,  but also where I found someone, or should I say found me, who simply came alongside me.

EP Preview – Track #2 My Love

‘My Love’ is obviously a love song. But this song is about the love of a dad for his daughter. On her own, she couldn’t be happy. She was convinced she needed the accepting, loving words and opinions of some bloke to feel any self worth. I know this girl and she is beautiful in every way and it hurt every time she completely devalued herself so I wrote this song as a message to her. It’s kind of a love letter to her from her Dad.

I don’t know why exactly, but the idea of being completely content with yourself, be it looks, personality, hobbies, what ever it is, can actually be hard to imagine. To be free from the judgement of others and their opinions is not easy.

I’m writing this in the dressing room (not as posh as it may sound) at a gig where I’m the featured act of a competition. As good of an opportunity a competition in a nice big venue can be for a young artist, it is all based on the judgements of other people. You’re trying to impress someone based on your talent, image, looks, style, individuality (which is probably more to do with whether you’re ‘interesting’ to someone or not.). It tests you on how good you are as a product, more than your music. I can hear the young contestants talking about their performance, some more worried than others. There are more sad faces then happy ones at the end that’s for sure. Why does life have to be about the ‘survival of the fittest’ or ‘may the best man win’.  What if it wasn’t? What if it was more to do with enjoying  yourself, enjoying your talent and enjoying others being themselves? Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as that.. With Magazines, Newspapers, Facebook Adverts, are all telling us there is something wrong with us, and we need to buy into whatever they’re doing to be complete… But hey.. I’m on the boundaries of ranting and should perhaps save that for another blog.

I don’t know of anyone who has it all figured out yet, but I’d hope that this song can be a reminder to us all, that we are all unique, lovable and that we are at our best when we are content with how we are made to be.