A Raised Fist & A Helping Hand

Marvellous Merseyside – WSO Interviews #19

Featuring Robert Vincent, Henry Priestman, Les Glover, Pete Riley, John Jenkins, Iain Till, Denis Parkinson, Lis Garrett, David Nixon

No other city has taken to WSO like Liverpool. The whole city is embracing We Shall Overcome. We have a few words from some of the people taking part in that amazing weekend in Liverpool.

Robert Vincent
I’m a singer songwriter….i’m 6foot6 ish! People say I look like a wookie, I’d say only very slightly though.

Well as soon as I saw the political situation unfold the way it has recently, I knew that people would have to do something to make a difference. So this doesn’t surprise me at all. And I jumped at the chance to be involved.

We Shall overcome has been pretty inspiring. It all happened very quickly and when people need too, they come together. That also gives lots of people hope I would think.

There are always seems to be a great vibe around causes like this, because I think egos and agenda’s are left to one side as musicians and performers. It just generally becomes a great thing to be part of.

Henry Priestman

I’m 60 this year, but having the time of my life, and I believe that, even after 38 years in “The Biz” (and even a few hits – tho’ many many years ago!), my best work is still to come.

The sinking feeling I felt on the day after the Election made me want to get involved. I’ve been inspired by Joe Solo and Val Colvin’s (and others!) enthusiasm for this project, and the way it’s caught fire.

I’m forward to doing a special one-off performance with my best mates Les Glover (aka Loved up Les) and Pete Riley.

Les Glover 

I am currently the singer and guitarist with Henry Priestman (The Christians) I also write songs and have performed all over the country at concerts, on TV and radio, and I see first hand the vast differences between the poor and wealthy. I am old enough to remember Live Aid and the global changes it brought about, maybe we can change something closer to home this time.

We need change and stronger representation and here’s where we start. I feel hopeful when I see people who stand up against bullies, wether they’re in the playground, the head of a school or business, or in Westminster.

I’m hoping to have a great event, hear some great music, but more importantly show solidarity. I’m hoping to raise awareness among the the more prosperous members of our society that austerity measures are hitting the more vulnerable members harder than they could imagine!

Pete Riley

I’m partial to listening to classical music whilst driving…i think its the soothing calming effect it has on me…plus some of the tunes are amazing..! I think “We Shall Overcome” is a great cause, and when the people unite in their defiance of austerity, it will show commitment and power….real power..! What makes me hopeful? The youth…its all about the youth! I’m looking forward to playing music with great folk, for great folk, and having a great time, and whilst doing so hopefully raising awareness for “We Shall Overcome”.

John Jenkins 

I have released a CD called “Intruders” under the name “John Jenkins and That Sure Thing” which featured different Liverpool Singers and due to release the follow up in Autumn called “Honeymoon Hangover” under the production of Scott Poley and guest vocalists of Robert Vincent, Thom Morecroft, Chris Howard, Paul Dunbar, Steve Thompson and Tricia McTeague

It’s been obvious for so many years that the gap between the Rich and Poor is widening with the inequality of the poorer members of society being punished for decisions taken by the richer people in this country, I actually work for the public sector during the day and each department is run by uncaring selfish people who only want to better their own careers rather than do good for the rest of us

I love the idea of a collective voice in a peaceful protest through the arts

Iain Till 

The injustice and self serving careerism which masquerades as Democracy in the present UK, and the outdated system of First past the post which allows an unrepresentative and unelected government to take power. The fact that people in my country are using food banks, and that a class system which is over seen by an elite, un-elected figure head continues to destroy communities and citizens against one another.

I want this to change. I want to use whatever talent i have too help make those changes take place.

I’m inspired by people. People, in the face of adversity, who rally and find energy to start over. Selfless people. Honest people. talented people. And Animals.

We Shall Overcome is about a collective passion for change. And hopefully the changes which it may help to garner.
The comming together of similar minded, progressive and energetic people. And the music too!

Denis Parkinson 

I’m a singer songwriter from Wirral who returned to playing live music a couple of years ago after a long break. Thanks to Facebook a band I was in at school 30 years ago, “Always Caught in Disney”, reformed and we have played in Liverpool and Bulgaria as well. I released my first solo album this year “Liverpool Skyline”. I’m having a lot of fun and have met many lovely people through the music.

WSO seems to be a positive way of making a difference to people who have been disadvantaged by recent political changes. Raising money to help is better than just protesting in my opinion and is more my thing. I’m inspired by people who try to change things to improve the situations of other people who need help.

I’m looking forward to making a difference through playing music and meeting like minded individuals.

Lis Garrett 

I’m on board as a photographer. October 4th will be mine and my husband’s third wedding anniversary. We both work – we’re lucky. We have a roof over our heads and we can afford to spend money without worrying where our next meal will come from. I wanted to give something back to people who aren’t as fortunate as us.

The sheer force of people coming together to make a difference all over the country is astonishing. It makes me hopeful that we can do anything we set our minds to. I’ll be working as a photographer so I will be doing my favourite thing – listening to music and taking photos. I am looking forward to the feeling of togetherness and camaraderie that I know is going to bind us all together.

David Nixon

I consider myself primarily a songwriter who has in recent months found himself playing original songs at various open mic nights around Liverpool, at a number of great friendly venues in the company of John Jenkins and Denis Parkinson. Recently received some local radio play and currently recording some songs featuring Robert Vincent on vocals with plans to record more with me on vocals.

The assault on Health and social care by the government has got emotions running high and the growth of food banks and homeless people just tells you how bad the austerity measures are hurting our neighbours. The strength of feeling may just be encompassed with this musical uprising and I’m glad to be a part of it!

It’s inspiring that the hard work of a few can involve so many to work together to make a difference.


Author: Matt Hill Songwriter

Storytelling singer-songwriter and community artist who offers a British take on folk and Americana. Formerly known by the stage name Quiet Loner. Recent projects include a songwriting residency in a museum, an album co-written with people at a homeless project and a stint as a resident musician in a prison.

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