Wigtownshire Duo Launch Album At Glastonbury

The Bookshop Band’s much anticipated new album Emerge, Return was launched on Saturday when the Scottish-based duo played at Glastonbury.

At the same time, they released three podcasts featuring the album’s producer, Who guitarist Pete Townshend, and authors Robert Macfarlane and Shaun Bythell.

The band, Beth Porter and Ben Please, have close links to Glastonbury Festival, having played there several times while they lived in nearby Bath. Also, the album’s cover art is by the festival’s poster designer Stanley Donwood.

All the tracks on Emerge, Return have been inspired by classic and contemporary literature. In Bythell’s case it was the best-selling Diary of a Bookseller and in Macfarlane’s it was Underland – which also gave rise to the album’s title.

Beth said: “We love Glastonbury, and it’s a dream come true to launch an album here then set off on a 71-date tour of the UK.
“It’s already been quite an amazing journey, working with great contemporary authors like Margaret Atwood, Robert Macfarlane, Philip Pullman, Shaun Bythell, Carol Birch and Yann Martel when we wrote the songs, and then with Pete on the production and recording and Stanley for the artwork – quite a line-up.”

The tour is mostly of independent bookshops but also takes in a series of small festivals and even a nature reserve.

Ben said: “We’ve always existed in the worlds of music and literature, making music inspired by stories and playing them to live audiences in bookshops.
“News of the album has attracted a lot of media interest, and we’ve done some preview gigs which have sold out, so we’re really looking forward to the tour.”

Shaun Keaveny described Emerge, Return as “Hypnotically beautiful” on Radio 2’s The Folk Show and Zoe Ball described the band as “amazing!” on the Breakfast Show.

Audiences are strongly advised to book tickets early as many of the performances are selling out fast. Due to high demand it’s hoped that some of the gigs will be live streamed.

The album is available on limited edition coloured vinyl, CD and streaming. A surround sound immersive mix will be released at the same time as the stereo mix.

And if Pete Townshend gets his way, US audiences will also soon get the chance to enjoy some of the small-scale and intimate concerts which are their preference.

He said: “For most artists, events like these are some of the most nerve wracking. If you’re a performer in front of a small audience you can see every twizzle of every face, you can see what people are saying to their friends. 
“One hopes that The Bookshop Band can go on to play The Sphere in Las Vegas. I would like to think it’s a possibility.”