Frank Turner today releases a new single, “The Gathering,” featuring guest appearances from Jason Isbell and Muse’s Dom Howard.
Turner didn’t want to write a lockdown song. Over the past year he’s written and rewritten songs, trying to steer himself away from the subject that will no doubt dominate the charts for years to come. But for a man whose life and career is so intrinsically linked to live music, not referencing the dearth of festivals and gigs started to prove impossible. Not least since Turner himself has spent much of lockdown playing virtual shows from his living room, raising over £250,000 to support endangered grassroots venues up and down the UK, many of which might not have otherwise survived the pandemic.
So it’s fitting that Frank’s new single “The Gathering,” an upbeat, Glam-esque stomp, puts a positive spin on things, anticipating a return to normality. “It’s about that moment when you come together in a room full of people, and you lean on a stranger and sing along with the chorus and get the words wrong,” explains Turner.
Produced by Rich Costey (Biffy Clyro, Foo Fighters), who Turner worked with on 2013’s Tape Deck Heart, “The Gathering” features pile driving drums courtesy of Muse’s Dom Howard and a triumphant guitar solo from Jason Isbell, who recorded remotely from Los Angeles and Nashville. The new track follows a number of huge life changes for the star, who left his beloved London for the Essex coast, also getting married after the release of 2019’s No Man’s Land. “The biggest thing for me about the lockdown experience was about identity,” Turner says. “I am the guy who tours, this is who I've been since I was sixteen. This is the longest period of time I've slept in the same bed continuously since I was seven.”
That’s set to change this summer when – in celebration of the ethos behind ‘The Gathering” – Turner and label Xtra Mile Recordings will present a run of outdoor shows, helping to kick start the return of live music. It’s been a catastrophic year for the industry as a whole, with the COVID-19 pandemic dealing blow after blow for everyone in the sector. In true punk rock style, Xtra Mile and Turner want to take matters into their own hands with a set of versatile events that can either be socially distanced or full capacity depending on the maximum safety of the audience, performers and crews and in accordance with any national restrictions in place at the time of the event.
Turner says: “At a time when the pandemic has wreaked havoc all across the live music industry, I feel like it's important to get back to the basics – playing live music to entertain a crowd. This summer, with Xtra Mile and friends, I'm taking the punk approach – do it yourself, find a way. I can't wait.”
A full, one-day festival bill, Turner will headline the shows with supports coming from the Xtra Mile label roster that includes Skinny Lister, Johnny Lloyd, PET NEEDS, Ducking Punches, Non Canon, Deux Furieuses, BERRIES and Guise, alongside XMR favorites Samantics. Lineups may vary across the events.
19 – Bideford, The Big Sheep *
20 – Bideford, The Big Sheep *
26 – Frome, Cheese & Grain *
27 – Frome, Cheese & Grain *
08 – Liverpool Top Rope Brewery * – competition winners only
17 – Gloucester Llanthony Secunda Priory*
18 – Gloucester Llanthony Secunda Priory*
21 – Manchester Urmston Sports Club (full band show)
03 – Hull, Zebedees Yard *
* duo shows with Matt Nasir