The Bookshop Band album, produced by and featuring Pete Townshend

“Not just good but achingly good” ~ The New York Times

“Really fabulous new music . . . just delightful.” ~ BBC Radio 2

The Bookshop Band came to life as an artistic collaboration with their local bookshop Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights in 2010. They write and perform songs inspired by books and have released 13 book-inspired albums collaborating with over 100 authors.

Between them Beth Porter and Ben Please bring the books to the stage along with a multitude of instruments, including cello, harmonium, glockenspiel, guitars and ukuleles which, along with their distinct voices, create a cinematic sound that draws the audience right in to a highly intimate performance, at once touching and mesmerising, heart wrenching and funny. No previous knowledge of the books is required as the band guide the audience through the stories behind each song’s inspiration.

On 28 June 2024, during Independent Booksellers’ Week, The Bookshop Band will release their 14th studio album, EMERGE, RETURN, produced by and featuring, Pete Townshend. The album’s songs are inspired by books, including The Book Of Dust by Philip Pullman, The Testaments by Margaret Atwood, The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell, and Underland by Robert Macfarlane. It features cover art by artist Stanley Donwood.

The first single from the album is ‘Sanctuary’. “We’ve been playing this song live for a few years now after we were commissioned to write it (along with Room For Three) and play at the launch of the book in The Bodleian Library in Oxford. Hear it like you’ve never heard it before! We were lucky enough to work with Pete Townshend for this whole album so you will hear his unique additions to The Bookshop Band sound.”

To pre-order the album:

Or to pre-save a listening link for the new album when it’s out:

“When I realised that these songs were about books and were rooted in books, were testaments to books, and essays and reflections and reactions and responses to stories – this is story upon story upon story. What was actually happening was a poetic response by Ben and Beth to what was, in some cases, poetic writing. That is what’s so extraordinary about what you do. 

The musical side – it’s good to be able to feel I can say all this without it being a puff – I really do love what you do and I wouldn’t have produced the work had I not loved it. But the fact that the when I did start to look deeply into what the songs were about, what I found was the most incredible substance. And intelligence and creativity and humanity and sensibility and kindness, but also darkness, sometimes quite scary darkness. So it’s very, very, very rich stuff. Make sure you put the lyrics in the CDs. I think that’s because once I saw the lyrics I started to realise, Wow, these guys are terrific wordsmiths and lyricists and poets, as well as wonderful musicians. 

What was interesting for me, when I heard the first CDs, and when we started to exchange a few notes, was the idea that all these songs had been born out of a bookshop experience. For most artists, an event like this is one of the most nerve wracking. If you’re a performer in a small audience where you can see every twizzle of every face, if you’re like me and you can lip-read, you can actually see what people are saying to their friends. So in a way the intimacy of the experience is something valid too. One hopes that The Bookshop Band can go on to play The Sphere in Las Vegas to transport you to this intimate space. It’s a possibility, I would like to think. You can imagine saying to the brilliant designer Es Devlin, “Come up with something that is equal to this incredible music. Come up with something visual is equal to what I hear and I feel when I hear this music. You must hear the songs if you haven’t heard them, they’re just astounding. Really wonderful.”  ~ Pete Townshend

“The band are great! If I had a bookshop I’d stock all their albums.” ~ Margaret Atwood

“It’s a modern day Twinkle meets fairytale-land for adults. You’ll be smitten.” ~ BBC 6Music

Twitter: @TheBookshopBand
Instagram: @bookshopband

The band are now based in Wigtown, Scotland’s Book Town, but will be on tour this year to promote the album, playing in bookshops, libraries and festivals all over the UK.

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