1. Ronnie Miller and 2. Joe Solo
8th August 2022
Ronnie is not your traditional 'Folkie'. He first picked up a guitar when he was around 12 years old. "My brother got a guitar for Christmas but it hurt his fingers so he lost interest. I picked it up and just immediately fell in love - I've played guitar almost every single day of my life since". And it shows.
Unfortunately for Folk music, at the age of 16 he discovered electricity: electric guitars, two storey amplifiers, curly leads, fuzz boxes and lots of lovely, lovely noise. In a career spanning over 40 years he's played just about every kind of music you can imagine: Folk, Rock, Pop, Country, Dance, Jazz - he even spent a season in Panto, sitting in the orchestra pit. It all adds up to an accomplished style that's been informed by all the music he's listened to and performed over the years.
About 15 years ago he decided to return to his acoustic roots and since then has become a highly admired and respected figure in the Folk scene, regularly stopping by at local festivals and sessions where his versatile and eclectic playing never fails to impress. From delicate, classic inspired fingerpicking to vibrant thunderous strumming, Ronnie's experience and command of his instrument is clearly evident.
He is also a highly talented singer and songwriter who has won several song writing competitions with songs such as the haunting 'The Ballad of Bobby Melville' and the heart-wrenching 'A Letter too Soon'. He has contributed a number of original compositions to a forthcoming CD which his band, Hoolet hope to be releasing some time in 2023.
Joe Solo - photo by Jason Shipley
Joe Solo is an award-winning musician, writer, poet, activist, broadcaster and washing machine engineer from Scarborough. His musical odyssey began in 1987 fronting a bash-em-out band at school, and has seen him play nine countries either as lynchpin of pop-punk upstarts Lithium Joe or hammering out his unique brand of Folk, Punk and Blues in his own right.
On top of releasing twenty one albums since 2004, Solo has written a series of children’s books for Unison on social justice and equality; runs a research project on the Hull Pals Battalions in the First World War; hosts a weekly Monday night radio show; has had one of his poems used in an international campaign to educate on dementia awareness; co-runs ‘May Day Festival of Solidarity‘ an annual event bringing together voices from music, poetry and politics to celebrate International Worker’s Day; and has still found time to open for the likes of Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott, Billy Bragg, Chris Wood, TV Smith, Louise Distras, David Rovics, Grace Petrie, Attila the Stockbroker, Otis Gibbs, Robb Johnson, Edgar Broughton, Naomi Bedford & Paul Simmonds, Emily Portman, Pete Wylie, and The Blockheads; whilst his songs have been played by John Peel on Radio One, Mike Harding on Radio Two and Tom Robinson on BBC6Music.
Throughout the Covid Lockdown in 2020/21 Joe sold music and merch from his Bandcamp and donated the money to a grassroots cause each week as part of his #LockdownSolidarity campaign. The initiative eventually raised £24,235 which he donated to food banks, community outreach services, soup kitchens, refugee support, and domestic violence units up and down the UK. He also ran the We Shall Overcome Isolation Festival on Easter Saturday 2020, pulling together some of the finest voices in political music raising a staggering £28,000 to ensure WSO could continue to function without the gigs which are its lifeblood; while his ‘Live From T’Shed’ gigs raised half that much again. Then, to get the world moving again, he organised ‘We Shall Overrun’ a collective tag team of volunteers whose cumulative miles running, walking, wheeling and swimming circumnavigated the globe twice raising £10,000 for the hardest hit.
Live, Solo has a growing reputation as both a performer and raconteur, being both thought-provoking, comical and punch-the-air political often in the same breath. He is not an artist you forget in a hurry.
“Fire, integrity, commitment….writes some of the hardest hitting and most pertinent songs ever.” -Mike Harding.
“I heard this noise coming off the stage, I went WOW, whoever that is I’ve got to go and check him out and there was just this one man on the stage blowing up a storm with an acoustic guitar!” –Tom Robinson, BBC 6Music.
To support Joe’s community fundraising visit: joesolomusic.bandcamp.com
To find Joe Solo songs on your streaming site of choice click: joesolo.hearnow.com