Well folks, we told you we'd share news with you first - so here's a real exclusive! We are over the moon to let you know (and for now, just you! Shhhh) that we have a collaboration video with the marvellous Joss Stone coming very soon. It's sounding and looking great. We haven't quite ironed out the details of when and where we'll release it - more on that asap - but the deal is you get to hear our news first and we're very excited about this! We also thought that you might like to know a little bit about how our unlikely association with Joss came about, so here is the history of UFQ and Joss Stone, as remembered by Tom.
We first met Joss in the backstage of Chai Wallahs at Green Man Festival in (we think) 2013. You probably know how much we love the Chai tent and its team. Their hashtag #whereallgoodthingscometogether is particularly applicable here! Joss struck up conversation with Paloma and Joe after our set. She was lovely and very complimentary. I can't remember if Frank was involved in that conversation but I do know that I was packing up my gear and missed almost the whole thing. Cue "Was that Joss Stone!?" conversations on the way to the van.
That could have been that - one of those interactions you have with someone famous who turns out to be a normal, warm, friendly person. We were delighted, then, when a couple of months later she came to see us play in Bristol and was just as approachable and chatty as before. Charlie Heys was covering Paloma's maternity leave at the time... cue another whispered "Tommy, is that Joss Stone!?" conversation.
Shortly after that, in 2014, Joss invited Joe and Paloma down to her home studio to put some fiddles on her single "The Answer", which was released in 2015. Her social media included a photo of Joe's scribbled sheet music, with the cryptic caption "Jo [sic] and Paloma are lovely..." causing some amusing fan speculation and confusion between Miss Trigás and Miss Faith! I wasn't there but I remember a lot of talk about amazing cake.
In December 2015, Joss asked us to play at her Christmas party which was, frankly, pretty wild. The below picture of Ben mixing the show gives you an idea! We played a one off UFQ version of "The Answer" with Joss and had a great time partying to the music our dutch friends Broken Brass Ensemble. The party was Santa's Workshop themed and at one point we were approached by a man, seemingly dressed as Dracula, who told us we would be playing at his big festival in Switzerland the following summer. Told us. Very Directly. Apparently he was supposed to be an elf.
The next time we saw Joss was when she invited us to be on the bill for her Joss Stone and Friends gig at The Roundhouse in London in 2016. This was a big charity do for Barnardo's. By this point, Joss had already started her "Total World Tour" and this was a rare UK appearance. It was a gig to remember, as you can probably tell from our grins in the shot of us fanboy/girling Nitin Sawhney in the bar below! That summer, we did indeed play the big festival in Switzerland on a ridiculous bill including The "Original" Blues Brothers Band, Status Quo and Foreigner. Quite a journey from bumping into Joss backstage at Green Man!
We're so pleased Joss has been in touch during lockdown and we cannot wait to share her incredible singing on a UFQ track with you!