News Ruthless Trust

Announcement! Announcement! Light Has Come

I started an album in 2020. It is now 2023 but, finally, on March 21st you will be able to hear the first single from my new project Ruthless Trust. The track is called Light Has Come. I wrote it in 2016 about Boris Johnson, Brexit, poverty, inward-looking people and the risk I could see that nice things like eugenics might be around the corner. All infused with the fact that, try as we might, no human being can individually or even in conjunction with lots and lots and lots of others come close to providing the kind of life and hope that we all need. The light we need has come in to the world, so why bother walking in the dark? Seems a bit silly, no? That’s what the song is about. It rocks hard. We (Harun and I) made a video for it last year when I had had one of the worst night’s sleep I’ve ever had in a very loud and too expensive hotel the night before. You can see that on March 21st too. There’s a link all set up and ready on the Videos page. The song sounds like a big mix of what people who liked British rock c1995-8 might make when they reach the point of being so frustrated with the world that they just want to play everything as loudly and aggressively as possible. It sounds like me, but better than I ever have and I’m delighted with it. Which makes it ironic that to all intents and purposes I am a brand new artist as I haven’t released anything at all in nearly 10 years. Please help by listening and telling other people to listen too.

The album Ruthless Trust will follow in May. Before that there’ll be two more singles, which I’ll be saying a lot more about soon.

And so I’m gently grinding my way into gear to get ready to promote something new. It’s been a long time and the whole landscape of music and promotion has changed to the point that I feel oooooollllld as I come to trying to ask you to listen to my songs. But, you know, please do. I think this album is by far the best thing I’ve ever made and this first song is a really good kick off for it.

Since I last wrote anything here I also changed jobs and am now in what the manager of the football team I Chaplain for calls ‘holy recruitment’. I help those who are thinking of being ministers in the Church of England in the area I live in to work out if that is what they are actually being invited to do. It’s been a big shift. There is lots that’s good about it. It meant leaving Emmanuel, where I’d been working and enjoyed being part of a community since 2014, which even 9 months later feels like a fresh loss and a lack in my life.

I’m also older and grumpier. Cerebral Palsy is remorseless and my body, whether I look after it well or not, changes and finds new ways to ache and fail. Tremendous stuff.

But, mostly, things are actually pretty good and I have a new single out on March 21st, so how could things be better? Pre-save it by clicking on the beautiful cover below.


An Update: Where Have I Been?

So, it’s been a while. Are we all well? I haven’t posted anything here for a period of time which begins to look somewhat negligent. What have I been up to? Here’s a short update:

I appeared on Friday Night Theology at the end of September with a post about Football and Treasure. Read it here.

I’ve been writing a few music reviews for Drowned in Sound. You can see what I’ve been up to there by clicking on this sentence.

The blog post I put here a few months ago about the wedding of my friends Matt and Ruth has been on something of a journey. It was presented at a conference at The Vatican called Living Fully, and is now to appear in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Disability & Religion, which is great. This journal is the arena in which most of the most current discussion of theology and disability takes place. I’m pretty honoured to be featured in such a publication.

There are exciting developments in the conversation in the Church of England regarding leadership and people with impairments and disabilities, particularly after a recent breakthrough at General Synod, brought about at least in part by some sterling work and impressive speeches from several colleagues in ministry. It feels like a time for change is coming. It’s a real joy to be part of the Disability Task Group, led by Roy McCloughry and featuring some of the finest people in this field (and me). A lot of things happen behind the scenes, in the quiet, out of the public eye, but things are happening. It’s exciting.

I’ve been away from my regular role as Curate at Emmanuel Church for the last month or so. Instead, I’ve been privileged to have a placement with the Chaplaincy Team at St Andrews Healthcare. I could write so much about being there. Suffice to say that I have a newfound and developing passion for the place of what is commonly called Sector Ministry. I’m so thankful to the team there for welcoming me so warmly, and for my colleagues at Emmanuel for releasing me for this time.

I’ve also written a few songs. Sorry for the breakdown in my A Song A Month plan. The tracks will appear soon. Earnest discussions are taking place about what to do with them all…

So, that’s your update for now. I don’t think I’ve missed anything, but perhaps I have. More soon!


Where Have I Been?

As usual, there’s a lot going on in my world. I’ve not done so well recently at posting about it here. I’ve been popping up online here there and everywhere though. One place is on Threads (you can keep up with my occasional writing on that platform here), writing a snappily titled piece called ‘Why The Marris Bill Frightens the Life Out Of Me’ (see what I did there?). Read that here

Yesterday, I appeared (at short notice, talking off the top of my head) on Helen Blaby’s BBC Radio Northampton lunchtime programme talking about the awkwardness of disability. 8 or 9 minutes of me on local radio. I bet you can’t contain yourself and have already clicked on the Listen Again link here. I start waffling around the 13.10 mark. Thanks to Helen for having me on, and finding me amusing.

I’m continuing to write as and when I can fit it in for Drowned in Sound and Clash. Click the names of the sites to find where I’ve been most recently.

There’s always more going on, but that’ll do for now!

I’ll be back with a roundup of what I’ve been enjoying musically recently soon.


And Now For the News…

I’m alive and well! It’s been a great few weeks. A few bits of news from me:

I am ordained a Priest in the Church of England next Saturday. This is quite a big deal. I love the Church I’m privileged to be part of (find out more about us here). It’s been a tremendously fun and educational first year. I’m excited to see what’s next. This is what a large portion of my life these days is about and I couldn’t be happier. If you want to come next week (why not?!) get in touch with me.

I reviewed the new albums from Everything Everything (here) and Gengahr (here) for Clash Magazine. Clash is one of my favourite print magazines. It always smells lovely (!). Right now they’re between print publishers, but I hope before long that it will return to the high street shelves. It’d be nice to get some more writing into physical print. This is an especially nice development as I was contacted out of the blue as a result of a review posted on here, so I should thank Maribou State and Ninja Tune too! I really enjoy writing about music. It’s relaxing and restful, as well as sometimes exciting and exhilarating on those days you hear something truly wonderful.

I also had a piece published as last Thursday’s ‘Thursday Threads’ (here).

You’d think I was beavering away at a keyboard all the time. Far from it. I sat down to write this morning and realised I hadn’t sat at my desk for a few days. Life is good. Life is (the great kind of) busy.

Hope all is well with whoever reads these posts!





Lots of new Drowned in Sound reviews + whatever else

Hello everyone

I realise I’ve been negligent in my keeping in touch recently. To be honest I’ve been busy, enjoying life and mostly quite tired when not doing so. Apologies if you’ve been waiting on tenterhooks for me to pronounce on any particular topics. I figure there are enough opinions in the world without me constantly feeling the need to add my own.

I haven’t been writing much recently, but when I have, it’s been for Drowned in Sound. I’ve been reviewing various albums for them, which is a fun diversion. I doubt they’d be too happy with me if I started reproducing pieces here, but my writer’s page for that site is here so you can keep up with the various things that I’ve been putting in my ears recently there.

One of the things that’s happened since I’ve started doing pieces there is that lots of bands, artists and PR people have been emailing me. Mostly they’ve been pitching music to me that I’ve never heard of. This has been quite an aural adventure. I can’t write about everything for Drowned in Sound, due to the fact that they assign their own reviews, and I would struggle to write about everything I get sent because I have a job which I like, and a wife which I like a lot more, and so = lack of time. However, I’ve got in mind to write pieces about some of these bands and artists which are new to me every so often on here. There’s so much good music in the world. The majority of it never gets the attention that it is due. Anything small I can do to help that is worth doing. As a former independent musician myself, I know how hard it is to pour heart and soul into your work and then have it ignored by the world at large.

On that note, I hope by now you’ve heard Mirrors, my album from 2014, which is out worldwide (for free) on Come and Live! If not, now’s your chance.

But for now, real life calls and I must return to writing about Lazarus. See you around soon, and Happy Easter!



Mirrors released on Come and Live!

I am really excited today to be able to say that Mirrors is available from Come and Live! Come and Live! is run by Chad Johnson, who is an amazing guy and a great friend. Chad’s desire is to release Christian music that is high quality, has integrity, and which points people to Jesus, so it’s pretty exciting for me that he thinks Mirrors, and I personally, fit the bill. He also likes to give it away for free. So, from today, you can download my album for free from the Come and Live! website (hover over the last sentence to get to my page on the website).

One of the best things about Come and Live! is that it isn’t a record label. It’s a collective of musicians and ministers based on relationship. Come and Live! is putting out Mirrors because Chad and I have been friends for a long time now. I first nearly had an album out on Come and Live! when Heart Strings came out in 2010. It’s been a long time coming. It is so inspiring to partner with a group of people who don’t just “get” music and musicians, but whose passion is seeing people meet with God through that music and the people who made it.

I won’t be suddenly becoming a full-time musician, or anything like it. I don’t know if I’ll ever make another album. I hope that I’ll continue making the different bits of my life match up and have integrity. I doubt I’ll make a penny from this, but the sense of partnership in walking alongside Come and Live! in the gospel and as friends is better than any amount of money.

Also, it’s beyond exciting for me to part of the community that brought Ascend the Hill, The Ember Days, Least of These and others to the world. If you don’t know who they are, you should.

And lastly, I beg you, watch the Columbia documentary on the Come and Live! website. It will make you marvel, I have no doubt.

Get downloading

(and I know they spelt my name wrong. To be fair I have two names which are very difficult to spell!)



New Threads Article

Today I’ve had a new article published on Threads (Evangelical Alliance). It is a piece detailing a few tentative thoughts of mine about how the language of “rights” does not go as far as the love and grace of God in offering us life and the best way to live it.

You can read it here

I should point out that rights are very important, and that it’s easy for me, in a society which largely does not treat me as less than human (in spite of occasional attempts to and my loud protestations) to pontificate about rights when many, many people all over the world don’t have the rights that I and we take for granted. I do truly believe that God offers something better. I have tried to make the power mine. It is His.


New Articles

Recently I’ve taken a step back from blogging and self-promotion (which I am too good at and have to be careful of, in my view) to focus on life and work and all the normal things. Whilst this is, I think, a healthy thing, it’s also meant that I haven’t kept up to date with where some of my published writing has appeared, so, in case you were wondering, you can now get to some recent album reviews I’ve been writing for the brilliant Drowned in Sound here. It’s funny how when I was predominantly focused on being in bands I would have given my right arm to appear on a site which has such a good reputation and gets so many hits (actually something ridiculous like 2.5m a month) but I’ll settle for appearing there as a very amateur music critic. It’s also a nice way to get to hear new albums before most other people do.

Also, you can find me in the current issue of Sorted Magazine, in which I write about the issues of disability and masculinity. My piece directly follows an interview with Brad Pitt, which is probably the only time I’ll be able to say that in my life. I also managed to get them to publish a picture from my wedding day, for which I may now have been forgiven by my wife. You can read the text of the article here. I would strongly ask and urge you to buy a copy of the magazine if you can though. It is available in 20 countries, or thereabouts, including in WHSmith. Helpfully, the one most local to me and my Church decided to miss out on the possibility of selling several copies by not stocking it, so i hope you fare better than I.

Musically speaking things are fairly quiet at the moment. Mirrors is out now, and I think at least 7 people have heard it. Some of them even liked it. I’m off to America on Monday to have a holiday and visit some of my favourite people, including Kevin Bruchert (producer) and his family.

Also, my good friend Harun Kotch has a new project which I would love you to view and support.

I think that’s everything for now.


Greenbelt! Monday! 1PM! Living Room!

Like it says in the title up there, I will be speaking with Mr Mat Ray of Livability at Greenbelt on Monday 25th at 1pm in the Living Room venue. Our topic is: Disability: Are We Talking About it Enough?

The answer isn’t yes, and it takes longer to say than no.

I’ll be on site most of the weekend. Come say hi if you spot me.


New Threads Article

Hi, I’m on holiday this week (having a great time, thanks for asking) but was asked by Threads/Evangelical Alliance to write something in response to the suicide of Robin Williams, and other depression-related news recently. Having spent some time being told not to get type-cast in to writing about disability, I seem to be getting a lot of opportunities to write about its even less sexy cousin, but there we go!

I find the maudlin way we deal with mental health and suicide, egged on by a scandal/tragedy-hungry press to be particularly objectionable, so rather than writing about a particular case (about which I know virtually nothing apart from its sad outcome) I wanted to offer something more generalised and, tentatively, hopeful.

So, click below to read some of my current thoughts on depression and mental health, with particular thanks to Mr Mat Ray, who is a good friend, and a very clever man.

I’ll post the article on the site when I get home, but for now it’s back to my holiday. See you all soon.

Read the article here