On Saturday 16th December, we proudly present the legendary and iconic songwriting partnership of Chris Difford & Glenn Tilbrook of the band ‘Squeeze’.
Chris and Glenn will be joining us at St Mary’s Church after hugely successful sold out UK and US Squeeze “Join The Dots” tours.
Chris and Glenn have written some of the most enduring and best-loved songs of our time - ‘Up The Junction’, ‘Cool For Cats’ and ‘Labelled With Love’, to name but a few. 2015 saw the release of the critically acclaimed ‘Cradle To The Grave’ which was written as a soundtrack to Danny Baker’s BBC TV sitcom ‘Cradle To Grave’. This year they have released their long awaited follow up ‘The Knowledge’ which is receiving glowing reviews across the board.
Chris Difford’s lyrics and Glenn Tilbrook’s music have prevailed through turbulent times over the past four decades, from the ever-changing musical landscape to their own internal reshuffles and an acrimonious break-up.
‘The At Odds Couple’ will see Glenn and Chris reflecting on their careers, as part of Squeeze and as solo artists, sharing not only the music but also giving an insight in to what makes the two of them tick as a partnership.
We also welcome the wonderful trio Arcelia as support for the evening. A rich mix of exceptional songwriting , outstanding vocals and exquisite harmonies.
We would like to thank our Event Sponsor StoneRock Dental Care for their continued support of our events.
Chris Difford is a rare breed. As a member of one of London’s best-loved bands, the Squeeze co-founder has made a lasting contribution to English music with hits such as ‘Cool For Cats’, ‘Up The Junction’, ‘Labelled With Love’, ‘Hourglass’ and ‘Tempted’. Despite the fact that Chris has helped soundtrack so many fans’ lives since his first release in 1977, the passion for innovation and love of playing still drives him to carry on writing rather than sit back and admire his handiwork. Chris recently celebrated his 60th birthday and for 41 of those years he has been writing with Glenn Tilbrook, very much the Odd Couple. When Squeeze take a break from the road, Glenn and Chris have been touring their ‘At Odds Couple Tour’ both in the UK and the US.
Chris and Glenn wrote a new Squeeze album based on the life of Danny Baker, it was the soundtrack for a BBC2 production called ‘Cradle To Grave’ staring Peter Kay. All original music, it became the first Squeeze record in 15 years. ‘From The Cradle To The Grave’ was a very exciting project for all concerned and it was so good to be back in the charts and on the radio again.
Over the course of a 13 album career with Squeeze, it was clear from the very beginning that Chris Difford has few peers when it comes to smart, pithy lyricism. His ‘kitchen sink-drama’ style has drawn plaudits from fans on both sides of the Atlantic, while his influence is keenly felt today. The likes of Lily Allen and Mark Ronson, Kasabian, Razorlight and The Feeling have all recognised the debt they owe to Squeeze’s music and to Difford’s way with words, while journalists were moved by his winning combination with Glenn Tilbrook to dub the pair ‘The New Lennon and McCartney’.
Chris first learned to stand on his own when he wrote the lyrics for the fictional band Strange Fruit in the 1998 British comedy film ‘Still Crazy’, for which he won his first Ivor Novello award. Since then he has written and contributed lyrics for the likes of Elton John, Wet Wet Wet, Jools Holland, Paul Carrack, Lisa Stansfield and Bryan Ferry.
Chris has curated ‘Songs In The Key Of London’ event at the Barbican, bringing together musicians old and new such as Glenn Tilbrook, Suggs, Jools Holland, Blaine Harrison (Mystery Jets) and James Hunter, as well as students from the local community. A second event took place in Greenwich Park in 2011 with Gary Kemp, Chris Wood, UB40 and others. In 2014 ‘Songs In The Key Of London’ took place in Regents park with Gregory Porter, The Strypes, Guy Barker Ed Harcourt and Sophie Ellis Baxter. A new ‘Songs In The Key Of London’ event is being planned for 2018.
Chris hosts songwriter workshops and has done so for over 25 years. In 2014 he formed a partnership with ‘The Buddy Holly Foundation’ to run a week of writing at Pennard House Glastonbury. Other writing events include Guardian Master Classes held in London and smaller events at The Rathfinney Wine Estate in East Sussex.
‘Chris To The Mill’ a box set of his 3 studio albums comes out in March 2017 on Edsel Records. Available also on Amazon. His forth studio album follows sometime in the summer, written with Boo Hewerdine it’s called ‘Not Only But Also’ and is a collection of songs written in their spare time over the last three years. It’s coming out on Boo’s own label.
As if that is not enough, Chris has a book released this August by Orion Books, an autobiography called ‘Some Fantastic Place’, he will tour the book in 2018 around all the good bookshops and small theatres of England.
Don’t be fooled by the title of Glenn Tilbrook’s latest album, Happy Ending, or at least not all of it. He’s happy, of course, and why wouldn’t he be? He’s more than earned his place at pop’s top table as one of our most cherished singers, guitarists and songwriters, not to mention an in-demand and endlessly endearing live performer. But more than 40 years after he first answered an ad placed by Chris Difford looking for like-minded sorts to form the band that became the much-loved evergreen Squeeze, an ending is nowhere in sight.
In 2014 alone, in addition to releasing the highly acclaimed Happy Ending (“an unqualified triumph” – Daily Mirror), Glenn is busy treading the boards both at home and away, saddling up with Mr Difford again for a tour of songs and stories under the banner “The At Odds Couple”, and – also in tandem with Chris – writing material for a TV series based on the life of another South London renaissance man, journalist and broadcaster Danny Baker.
“It’ll be just Chris and myself on stage playing songs in quite a different way,” says Glenn. “We’re very different musicians to when we first started out, we’re way ahead of where we were – you could say we’ve actually learned how to play properly! We’ve put in a lot of time rehearsing, and have gone into our catalogue of songs from before we started making records, things people won’t have heard before, and there’s some good stuff in there.
“On record, there’s never really any reason to look back, but live it’s a different perspective. It’s interesting to revisit those songs we wrote between 1974 and ’76; there’s lots of them. It was an incredibly fruitful time for us. There will also be some new stuff, songs that we’ll be recording early next year, which go hand in hand with the Danny Baker TV series.”
The Glenn & Chris connection to Baker stretches back to even before the days of Squeeze.
“I remember meeting Danny for the first time when I was about 17, and Chris actually went to the same school as him. We’re South London contemporaries, so we know what the area was like back then. I read Danny’s book, which is very evocative of that time, and I thought it would be a good idea for us to do something based on it. Of all the vehicles I’ve been looking at for myself and Chris to get involved in, this was the one I thought really had legs. It’s a really exciting project.”
Such is the continuing work ethic of a fellow who’s never been far from the action since Squeeze made their recording bow with the Packet Of Three EP in 1977. Those humble three tracks led to such enduring pop classics as Take Me I’m Yours, Cool For Cats, Up The Junction, Another Nail In My Heart, Tempted, Labelled With Love, Black Coffee In Bed, Hourglass (this could go on for a while…), not to mention landmark albums like Argybargy, East Side Story and Some Fantastic Place.
Squeeze’s demise in 1998 (though not permanent) saw Glenn embark on a solo career that spawned the albums The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook (2001) and Transatlantic Ping-Pong (2004), showcasing an ever-maturing songwriting talent (his first major works without the input of lyricist Difford) and the formation of his new band The Fluffers. Initially put together as a touring concern, The Fluffers came into their own on Glenn’s next long player, 2009’s Pandemonium Ensues – by which time Squeeze were also back in business, playing sell-out tours across the UK and US.
2011 saw Glenn and Nine Below Zero collaborate on The Co-operative, an inspired mix of original songs co-written with Dennis Greaves, plus instrumental tracks and a few covers, from Johnny Paycheck via Randy Newman to Lennon & McCartney.
Arguably, though, Happy Ending is Glenn’s most personal work to date, a series of evocative portraits of time, people and places, that included writing and vocal contributions by his own children Leon and Wesley, in addition to old friends Simon Hanson (Fluffers/reunited Squeeze drummer) and Dennis Greaves (Nine Below Zero, also Glenn’s compatriot in the side project band The Co-operative).
“I’m really, really vibed up on what I’m doing now,” Glenn says of Happy Ending. “To me, this record takes its place alongside Pandemonium Ensues, East Side Story, Argybargy and Cool For Cats, which are my favourites of all the ones I’ve made. That’s five albums that I’ve thought ‘Yes! I’ve actually done that properly now”...”
Anyone who has witnessed Glenn on the live stage can attest to the properness of his doings, as it were. Armed with ready wit, raucous vibes and a shed load of grin-inducing great songs, there are few musicians able to connect with their audience on such an immediate and warm level. The ever burgeoning festival circuit is frequently enriched by Tilbrook the troubadour, whether he be leafing through his own plentiful back pages or dashing off impromptu audience requests ranging from Jimi Hendrix to Tony Orlando & Dawn, and all points in-between.
“I’ve been doing solo tours for the last 18 years or so, and it’s been great fun. When I started it was becoming clear that the old music business model of record companies was a thing of the past, for me, and it was time to do things under my own steam. And to be honest, I’ve never been happier. You may not have the major sales of the old days, but what you’re doing is so much more gratifying.
“More or less everything I do now is because I want to do it. I’ve always wanted to make music, but there were times when the business side of it got in the way, and I felt removed from what I’d originally set out to do. When you’re involved with a major label it kind of becomes like writing by committee, whereas all the best stuff should be personal, it should be your own voice. Happy Ending is probably the most personal album I’ve ever made, and I’m really, really proud of it.”
Away from the constant and steady stream of fine music, Ivor Novello, Nordoff Robbins, Mojo and PPL awards, landmark plaques commemorating his formative Squeeze years in Greenwich, Glenn is also active in the charity Love Hope Strength, set up by his friend Mike Peters of The Alarm. LHS raises money to set up cancer units in countries in need, and works tirelessly on raising awareness on bone marrow donation. His work with the charity has included record-breaking treks up mounts Everest, Fuji and Kilimanjaro, which should come as no surprise to anyone already in thrall to the man.
Be it mountains or music, Glenn Tilbrook is never very far from the top.
An acoustic folk trio, rich with harmonies, drenched in soul. Simon Fostertakes time away from his commitments as a member of The Flying Pickets to join busy voice artist Teresa Gallagher (Octonauts, Thunderbirds, Thomas & Friends) & songwriter Gavin Alexander to tour the release of their second self release album ‘Building on the Land’.
With a sound likened to Crosby Stills & Nash, America, Paul Simon coupled with their stunning songs of every day life, they have been in demand as support for the likes of Scott Matthews, Oysterband, Jon Gomm, Mawkin, Michele Stodart, Maddy Prior & regularly join Chris Difford of Squeeze on his solo UK dates singing all the Squeeze hits and more.
“Wonderfully warm harmonies..” MOJO Magazine
“Fantastic set. Stunning harmonies. The vocals were amazing.” Bob Harris’s Warehouse Recording Co
Situated in the heart of old Rye, and providing marvelous views over the surrounding area and coast from its tower, St Mary’s has stood for the best part of 1000 years and is home to the oldest still-functioning pendulum clock in the country . It has some fine stained glass, including a window designed by the pre-Raphaelite Burne-Jones in the north aisle. St Mary’s provides a wonderful setting for our live events throughout the festival and has hosted artists including Antonio Forcione, Sarah Jane Morris, Ian Shaw and Ola Onabule.
Facilities at St Mary’s Church
Please note all performances will have an interval of approximately 20 minutes.
St Mary’s Church