It’s been a rocky road for Joe but persistence has paid off

Joe McCorriston and John Allen
Joe McCorriston and John Allen

As the old saying goes, “what does not kill you, makes you stronger”.

This should certainly ring true for Morecambe based singer-songwriter Joe McCorriston, who has battled with self-loathing and anxiousness over the past two years, leading him to question the musical path he has chosen to take.

For most of us, getting up on a stage and exposing our soul would be too much to even comprehend, so it’s no wonder performers get a case of the jitters sometimes.

But for 21-year-old Joe, the experience has been a learning curve, and he is now putting the finishing touches to his fifth album, due out in December, which he is recording with Louis Davy at Lancaster and Morecambe College.

“I’ve taken performing on full time,” says Joe as he prepares to take to the stage as headliner at Bootleggers in Kendal for the venue’s Thursday night acoustic session.

“It’s pretty scary to be honest, but so exciting as well.

Joe soundchecking with John Allen in Flensburg

Joe soundchecking with John Allen in Flensburg

“I didn’t start writing the album as a story, but it turned out that way. It’s pretty much about a battle I’ve been having with myself. It’s been me versus me. A lot of it is about my struggle with self-loathing, and my own anxiousness, which thankfully now I’ve pretty much overcome.

“Certain things have happened over the last couple of years which have knocked me a bit. It would stop me from going out, from performing.

“It definitely seems as if it’s something people can relate to, a lot of people I’ve spoken to say exactly the same thing happened to them. But I’m feeling much more confident now.”

Aside from a few gigs here and there and some festival appearances over the summer, Joe has been concentrating on getting the album finished.

It’s the best lot of songs I’ve written for a long time so I’m really excited about it

“It’s the best lot of songs I’ve written for a long time so I’m really excited about it,” he said.

“Some are happy, some sad, there’s acoustic, loud, some full on punk, some straight up pop, and also a mixture of the two. The album is 70 per cent full band and 30 per cent solo, with the Blockbuster Blues (Charlie Burns on bass and Marc Holland on drums) playing all the music. Everything you hear is us, and there’s no session musicians. I’ve even played a bit of piano.

“This album is particularly about the band, and it’s our first proper recording together.”

Joe headed out to Germany earlier this year to play a number of gigs with Hamburg based musician John Allen.

The Blockbuster Blues

The Blockbuster Blues

“Germany was amazing,” he said.

“I had my mind blown. Everyone out there is so appreciative of music. People will turn up and actually listen to you.

“Over here the music seems to be a background while people have a drink, but there the music comes first.

“I sold hundreds of CDs which was great and we were treated really well by venues and promoters.”

September and October see further tours for Joe, with a few he is particularly excited about.

“John’s coming here in October, and October 9 is the only date we’ve got left, but so far we’ve had no bookings from Lancaster Music Festival.

“We’re playing The Monarch in Camden, London, on October 13, which is owned by Beans on Toast, who pretty much launched the careers of Mumford and Sons and Frank Turner so we’re really excited about.

“We’re also doing the Star and Garter in Manchester as well and we’re doing an in-store show at the New Hell Fire Club record shop in Glasgow, which is exciting as they’ve been really good to me over the years.

“I’m also doing a September tour with Dru Blues, who used to live here in Lancaster but is now based in Sheffield.

“We’re doing 12 dates across the country in smaller towns including Batley, Perth, Dunfermeline, Sunderland, Barnsley and Doncaster.”

Joe said that the underground live music scene in the UK is a bit hit and miss at the moment, and reckons people don’t go out enough to listen to live music.

He added: “I’m really trying to create a buzz with this album. I’m really happy about it. It’s a complete change from the last few albums.”

Joe also plays the Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, on September 3, and the Soup Kitchen, Manchester on September 4.