The future is bright and casts a guitar-shaped shadow.  Welcome, Alan Roberts….

 

It is with real sadness and great love that we’re announcing the April 7th, 2019 gig at The Musician as Thure’s final stage appearance with Project Blackbird. After five years and two albums of shared music-making, he has decided to refocus his energies and considerable talents on other endeavours. Ming, Jon, Styx, and Jamie will continue on the path Thure has helped forge, with a new guitarist whom we’ll introduce in due course. In the meantime, we’ll reflect upon the wonderful partnership we’ve had with Thure, look forward to cheering on his next adventures, and treasure the ongoing friendship. As Semisonic said it best, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end“.

Peace and fortitude x

I can’t think of a more generous opportunity for a band than having its full-length album played in its entirety on the radio, with each track punctuated by commentary from one of the band’s members. Which is exactly what our musikalische Freunde von Radio Marabu have offered us with their “TrackByTrack Albumspecial” featuring Endurance, first broadcast online on February 17th, 2019 and available to listen to for a limited time via podcast. (The mp3 files are too large to post here, but please contact us if you’ve missed the boat.) A very big thank you to Marcel Fischer and Anett Schilling, and to my bandmates for tolerating the inevitable (and somewhat seat-of-the-pants) focus on vocals and lyrics.

Thank you to Amelia Vandergast, whose review of “Elevation” on the A&R Factory blog describes the track as an “alchemic attack on ignorance and bigotry….leaving you with the sense that you’ve just stumbled across the artist we never knew we needed“.  As I write, The Specials’ album Encore is #1 in the UK charts, and Brandi Carlile is up for six Grammys.  It’s good to know that music with a socio-political core and conscience is alive and kicking in these troubling times, and that by picking up our instruments and raising our voices we can be a small part of the movement to speak truth to power.

In trying to promote our own work, we’ve had the pleasure and privilege of discovering like-minded platforms such as the Lost on Radio Spotify Playlist and Lost on Radio Podcasts presented by Mark Knight of Right Chord Music. Knight describes Lost on Radio as “a weekly showcase of incredible new, undiscovered, and under appreciated music from around the world….[that] aims to showcase incredible artists that have been overlooked by radio, or pushed to the late night fringes“.  He isn’t afraid to play tracks that are 6’19”, so it was a delight to hear the full version of “Same Heart” on Episode 254, complete with a very complimentary “red wine” reference.  You can listen below, but check out other Lost on Radio podcasts, and the entire playlist, on Spotify.

“Same Heart” was also recently featured on Broadtube Music Channel.

 

Turtle Tempo is a music discovery webzine and events promoter based in South East London that “prides itself on being fully committed to giving exceptional independent & alternative music artists the recognition that they deserve“.  Annie Rew Shaw’s excellent interview with us was published on February 6th, 2019:

Hailing from all across the globe, Project Blackbird is an international collective of musicians from equally diverse backgrounds and experiences….[who] have just released their debut LP Endurance – an immersive and thought-provoking record intertwining carefully-crafted musicianship with emotive lyricism and themes.

I had a chat to the band to learn more about the project and what drove them to create Endurance

Check out the full interview here.

 

A nicely positive review from Gareth Thompson in the January/February 2019 edition of RnR Magazine , which doesn’t tend to review independent releases.  “More a creative than commercial act“?  We’ll take that anytime, thank you very much!  But, credit where credit is due: the “two others” are the equally indispensable Thure Gade Johansen (co-songwriter and guitarist extraordinaire) and Styx (bearded meister of beats).

 

FM, shortwave, and online alternative music station Radio Marabu have quietly championed “Elevation” to the #1 slot on their playlist (“meistgespielten Tracks“), and on December 10th, DJ Marcel Fischer marked the occasion with an interview with Ming on his “Neue Musik” programme Gitarre X (listen to the edit below, or the full show here).  Vielen dank to Marcel and our wonderful European listeners…and watch this space for a full album feature of Endurance on Radio Marabu in 2019.

 

We’d like to give a warm and belatedly public welcome to Jamie Varley, who will be depping for Thure on those occasions when Thure is in Denmark, and who will be a valued fifth band member/jack-of-all-trades when Thure is here. Jamie’s first gig with Project Blackbird will be at More Coffee Co in Melton Mowbray on November 10th, and all five of us will be playing at The Musician Pub in Leicester on November 18th.

Over the past few months Jamie has stepped forward fearlessly and with incredible generosity, offering his time, good humour, promotional energy, and talent. We are honoured and grateful!

And while we’re at it…let’s give a little love to Styx, who has been there since the beginning but was unlucky enough not to be at the Borderline gig where we snapped our home page photo. One of these days, we’ll get a shot with all of us together. In the meantime, our drummer does exist:

Enormous thanks to the prolific and talented Neil March, whose song-by-song review in his Trust-the-Doc blog calls Endurancea masterpiece of musical invention and cleverly crafted Pop of an intelligent, calm and yet emotionally affecting kind. Evidence beyond all reasonable doubt that Project Blackbird are a band the world needs to know about.”