Speak, Brother

Updates and musings from the guys

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.


What is it about the sea that’s just so….

.. Je ne sais quoi?

I’ve been thinking recently about priorities and wanted to pen some stuff down, to keep myself in check if nothing else! But let me back up a tad..

It’s been a busy, exciting, and tiring year for me. Lately, with getting married and inheriting a new side of the family, I’ve been cherishing my family time way more then I ever have. We managed to get a weekend away with some of the family by the beach the other weekend and it was so, so great. My first break in ages, and first time by the sea since for what seems a long, long time. The disadvantage to living in the middle of England, I guess.

We arrived at our tired looking, 1970’s décor filled, seafront hotel room (which was wonderfully tacky but it somehow added to the whole seaside, pier slides, crazy golf, fish n’ chips and arcade game experience) to find the main window overlooking the vast, sun soaked North Sea. And it was perfect.

Instantly, stress levels that I didn’t even realise I had, began to ease.

There’s something beautiful about the sea. Whatever it is, I’m sure its the same reason why so many people I know, including myself, would say they would love to live near it one day or would consider a dinner for two on a sea-view balcony to be one of the most romantic things to do. Perhaps even the same reason why the stereotypical ‘Surfer Dude’ is so chilled out (.. and no, it’s not the weed for most surfers I’m sure 😉 )

I wonder if it’s the open space… The vastness of it all. The confined spaces that we find ourselves in everyday can really put a mental block on our state of mind. Whether it’s the office, bedroom, or even garden our sense of perception is shrunk and all our problems seem huge and in our face. It’s reassuring when you look out to as far as the eye can see, and all of sudden problems seem their rightful small insignificant size.

There’s also the constant moving of the waves, the gentle current, the sea birds bobbing, the waves rolling. Nothing is stagnant. I don’t think I realise how often I hold in pressures, frustrations, anger, or other emotions, deeper thoughts, and forget to deal with them just because there’s simply no time. Just swept under the carpet until I get to a point where I’m a little depressed, and I don’t know why. While I watch the sea, my mind just processes, slowly, calmly and steadily.

The unique sound of waves crashing, and water rushing through sand and stone are so commonly recorded and sold as CD’s (as cheesey as they seem) to help people who struggle, sleep. I’m sure there’s some clever science around it, but I’m convinced there’s something in the way our brains process sound that triggers a calming response to the sound frequencies of waves crashing and water flowing.

I’m not some nature guru telling you to move out by the sea. I do think though, that much in life we call ‘busyness’, we put on ourselves. OK, I know there’s always lots to do. But how easy is it for busyness to run our lives? Does ‘doing stuff’ sometimes feel way more important than spending quality time with our families?

Your thoughts?

EDIT: There’s a nice site here that Emilie (@sisarqua) shared with me that just plays chill out sounds.. one of which is the sounds of waves. Not quite the same, but a nice replacement 🙂

James x

Summer lovin’

So far the summer season has been great for us. We’ve continued to have great support for Dry Bones with a featured slots on Brite Revolution’s homepage and live sessions in a bookshop and Premier Radio in London. We’ve also had more radio play on BBC Cov & Warwickshire with the lovely Marian McNamee.

Dry Bones – Big Comfy Session

Summer Part 2

We’ve also gigged quite a lot the past two months and we finally have a chance for a quick breather before Part 2 gets under way. We are spreading out a little to Scotland, Wales and the East Anglia in the next few weeks so have a look if we’re near you. Below are the dates, but more are to be added to keep a look out! Would be great to see you!



What’s next??

At the end of the Summer, we plan to release our EP featuring Dry Bones and 3 more songs online. It’s currently only been available at shows but we want to make it available to everyone.

We also have a few other special things lined up too which we’ll be keeping you up to date with in due time 🙂

Speak soon,


Into the wild..

May 18th – Launch night. The previous weeks had been a blur.. the most hectic since my wedding. Friends and family started pouring into the Merchant Inn, Rugby, as the legendary crew and I finished the setup. It all looked perfect.  But there was still much on my mind.

It wasn’t until after our first set, when the big screen came down and the Dry Bones video began playing in all it’s glory, where the weight of it all fell off . And like a father on the sidelines watching his son step out onto the football pitch for the first time, we watched.. proudly. Although not pride in our own ability, but more in the fact that so many people were involved. From our EP designs and Merch stands, to the audio & video production and photography.

We were able to share why we write and play music, and we hope to bring you along this journey of sharing songs and stories of hope and love to anyone who needs to hear it, or just likes our sound.




(Photo’s by Redwood Photography)

What’s happened since?

Monday, May 19th marked the launch of Dry Bones to the world and it has had some brilliant response. We’ve had various blogs and shares from abroad, featured on the Noise Trade website and sat in the top downloads for 4 days. It has also seen radio play from various local, national and some international radio stations and other 1700 plays on YouTube (What here).

What’s next?

Thank you so much for sharing the video and free download. Your sharing truly helps us get our music out there so do keep it up.

Next up,  we’re really excited to be releasing our EP in July followed by a brand new single and video later in the summer! And if that wasn’t enough, we have more writing and 19 shows (so far)  this summer to keep us busy.

With special thanks to..

Chris Porter and Mikey at LifeIsArtFilms for doing such an awesome job producing the Dry Bones video, Chris Bearne for having the perfect face for Dry Bones, acting, sailing and generally being the perfect sport acting for us through rain and shine. Martin Morris for driving us across the country with various boats and gear from dawn till way past dusk. Jeff Cotterill for being one of the most resourceful and generous men we know.

Adam Collins for providing the lighting and running the audio for the launch. Sean McCabe for being a legend and helping out off the cuff. Adam also filmed some of our shenanigans while recording the EP. Basically trys to make us look / sound good. Pete Dowsett for tracking producing our EP and Stuart Jones at the legendary Woodworm Studios.

Emilie Barbier for designing the EP & Ayse Herring for designing the merch stand.

Matt Jones at Lucious Fox Photography and Emilie Barbier for some live photos. Rob at Redwood Photography for live photo’s and launch night review which you can see here. Thanks to Stylusboy for supporting us on the launch night.

Thank you to all our friends and family for supporting us, and continuing to support us.

Speak soon,

James, Matt & Nath.


(Photo by Emilie Barbier)

My biggest creativity killer..

I’ve finally booked some time away next week to do two things: Rest, and write some music.

About bloomin’ time!! … So I’ve been thinking about creativity this past week, and just wanted to share ONE thing I know killed it for me many times in the past.

One thing I love about being creative is that there are no rules.. This isn’t a blog about the right or wrong way to ‘do’ creativity. True creativity is free and limitless.. But with anything that is free in this world, there are ways things to try to blind, gag and suppress it’s freedom.

Last year (far too long ago) I went away, like I am next week. Generally, for me, I feel I have to go away and give myself a good chunk of time to write, as my output can be pretty poor when squashed in the middle of a busy, daily routine. Not a rule. Not for everyone – but works well for me. That time, some of Speak, Brother’s best and most passionate songs (so far) were born. Each song I wrote, tells a story I care deeply about. But my time away certainly didn’t start off like that..

I remember sitting down, at this beautiful house on a hill in the Cotwolds, listening to music I love, lyrics that move me, beautiful stories of love, self sacrifice and hope..

You’d think I’d be beaming with inspiration.. For a short time I was. But that inspiration shortly turned into something toxic.. A poison that quickly choked every ounce of creativity, passion and honesty out of my very being until it was empty. I now see the effects of this poison everywhere, in every genre of music, in all levels of popularity and all over YouTube and the radio.

It’s called ‘Imitation’.

I just wanted to write music that sounded like that music I liked listening to.. Sounds innocent enough? But with that mind-set, I stopped anything NEW happening. I wanted what they had. I just subconsciously regurgitated their stories and melodies until I was left with a song that sounded ok, but felt wrong. It reaked of a souless, counterfeit, fake, bogus, stinky smell that lingered around the whole thing. There was no ‘me’ in any of it.

I set out to write a song, for the sake of getting a song to sell, forgetting the purpose of it. I guess, If you think about it, anything creative has a purpose of some sort. And if a purpose of a song, is simply to be bought, no matter what it’s about, it will come across pretty shallow and lifeless, and will most likely be a rip off of something. There’s probably an argument for the effect of the commercialization of music and the difference between a hobby and a job.. But money should be no reason to sacrifice authenticity. You see it all the time, the bigger the world makes an organisation, artist or whatever, the more distant and fake it seems. That’s probably why I think the local music scene is always important.. Anyways, I’m getting sidetracked……

On that long weekend last year, I ended up writing a song about a girl (someone I know and love) who continually devalued herself, giving herself away to any lad that gave her attention. Another about my passed grandparents and their lives together.

With whatever creative thing you do, painting, poetry, music, writing, cooking, designing etc:

Use YOUR own stories, struggles, successes, revelations, pains, hopes and no one else’s. Let your songs, stories, poems etc come from you for true creativity to flow. That’s when the good stuff comes out.

Of course it’s good to have inspiration, but let inspiration be just inspiration, and let the essence of the song be from you.

I’m sure the’re billions of blogger writing about creativity, but I just wanted to put my two pence worth in. We’re all creatives at heart, so what have you found works and doesn’t work for you?

Hope my time next week is as fruitful as last time, but most of all I’m looking forward for some walks, early nights and time to myself.. Man.. I sound old. But I love it 🙂





Well.. it’s been a crazy few months for me. Eventful for many of us I imagine, with Christmas, New years, work.

On top of that, I’ve got a beautiful new wife, doubled my family, a house, with more bills to pay.. It’s certainly a season of new things.

But on top of THAT .. We (myself, Matt, Nath, and other good friends of the team) have been working hard to reveal some new things that have been bubbling up for months…….

This past year or so I’ve had many gigs.  Though there’re always ups and downs, I love them all. Playing my songs, sharing my stories and meeting you is quite a privilege indeed. Matt and Nath love it too. The idea of the three of use playing together was conceived over a year ago now after many gigs together it has grown into something rather special.

This year introduces Speak, Brother.

  • The same songs,
  • the same 3 faces,
  • the same antics,
  • … just a new outfit.

We thought long and hard about the name, we feel it sits deep within our ethos.. So I’m sure I’ll share bits about that in my blog as we go.

This year, expect:

Singles, music videos, new CDs, blogs and most important of all –  more shows near you.

Speak soon,

James Herring