Pack your bags kids, Hardwicke Circus are going to Austin.
There’s a Texas-sized hole in my heart that’s finally to be filled. This band has always felt transatlantic, with much of our sound originating stateside; blues, country, rock and roll, gospel, soul, of these and much more it is the motherland. For a bunch of school friends from Carlisle to trace the footsteps of legendary British bands that have taken this hallowed path before us is exhilarating and important.
As Zack says, ‘After hearing the news about SXSW I immediately thought of my influences; The Who, Zeppelin, Rory Gallagher and all the other British bands that made that journey across to the USA to tour. To the land of Blues. All the crazy stories you hear. And now it’s time for HC continue the British invasion and show America what we’re made of. We’re built for it.‘
Especially important to us is to be making our US debut in Austin, the Live Music Capital of the World, where a stroll down 6th street could unearth more exceptional live bands than a love-struck hog in a barrel of moonshine. The history of this great music city is not one that requires further pontification, but from the Grey Ghost, Nash Hernandez, Townes Van Zandt and SRV through Iron and Wine, Willie
Nelson, Janis Joplin and Lucinda Williams, the city has produced some of the best artists of all time and has been huge in pushing and pulling this band into the shape it is now. That’s without mentioning the game-changing Austin City Limits, of which many words have been written, all more beautifully encapsulating than my own.
As British boys, we also can’t wait to taste a tipple of the American way, with a shed load of new on the horizon, as Tom points out ‘Austin, Texas is so far away. It’s a different climate, a different landscape, it’s joe buck territory. You know I can’t even consider what’s gonna go down.’
Andy is particularly looking forward to the change is scenery ‘considering I have never flown or visited anywhere outside of Europe’, although it is yet to be seen whether the relevant authorities will allow such a man beyond their jealously guarded borders.
Some are more excited about clasping hands with our American brothers than others, however, when asked about their unique brand of living, Lewis said this;
‘I’ve never been to America. It’s never particularly appealed to me, especially Texas, too brash, too loud, a state of cowboys and supersize everything.
It’s bigger than France. And it is everything I am not.
And yet it’s hard not to be attracted to a place so sure of itself, so exuberant and bold, so big. I don’t eat ribs, I don’t drink coke, and I do not wear a cowboy hat (editor’s note, I am certain Lewis will wear a cowboy hat at some point whilst there), yet I still can’t wait to be there, and to be invited to play at the most significant showcase festival in the world renders it all irrelevant anyway.
It’s a milestone kind of feeling to officially become an international band; for years people have told us that we should play in America, and it always sounded superb, but just like some faraway fantasy of an idea, way off in the potential distance. But suddenly it’s here.
And we don’t know where this trip will lead beyond SXSW but I know it’s our biggest opportunity yet to climb another rung on the musical ladder, and for that I am grateful. And excited, most of all I’m excited. Yes, I would like fries with that thank you.’
To finish up, Jonny says ‘this is amazing news, it’s not every day a Cumbrian band gets this opportunity, but we’ll grab it and run with it until the US hears what we believe in. Getting here goes way beyond the famous 10,000 hours - it’s been four gigs every week for the last three years - in pubs, clubs, prisons, theatres, wrestling arenas, festivals, university halls, the list goes on!
SXSW is a huge step up but one we’re ready for; I can’t wait to get out there with the band.
For Hardwicke Circus, 2020 is all Go!’
So, to the people of Carlisle, and all the other towns in Cumbria, villages and cities in these beautiful British Isles I say thank you for continuing and amazing support; and to our American brethren I say, see you soon.