The Joyzine Advent Calendar – 24 Days of Free Music Downloads #1: Piney Gir

The first of December has rolled around once more, The Joyzine Christmas tree is ablaze with fairy lights and it’s time for the nineteenth edition of The Joyzine Advent Calendar! Every day until Christmas Eve we’re giving away free downloads of tracks by artists that we love (including plenty of exclusives and a fair few festive favourites) on what, as far as we’re aware (and we’re always happy to be corrected), is the longest running such calendar on the web.

As always, the tracks are completely free to download and there’s no need to sign up to any mailing lists to access the songs (though if you’d like to you can join ours here), but if you’re enjoying the tunes we’d love you to make a donation to the wonderful charity Child Poverty Action Group, who work on behalf of the more than one in four children currently growing up in poverty in the UK by providing support to families navigating the social security system, taking legal action to challenge unjust decisions and campaigning for change. You can make a donation on this link.

Kicking things off, as has become something of a tradition here on the calendar, is the effervescent Piney Gir, who has featured on more of our calendars than any other artist, as well as being so imbued with the festive spirit you could pour her over your Christmas pudding and set the ceiling on fire.

One of our longstanding favourites, Piney released her latest EP Alchemy Hand this year, which looks odds on for a spot in our end of year favourites list. You can read her track by track guide to the record here. Piney has recorded an exclusive new track, ‘Do Good for Goodness Sake’, for this year’s calendar – read on to find out more about the track and the plans she is concocting for 2023.

What have you been up to in 2022?

I feel like 2022 has ramped up big time, after a weird-couple-of-years that doesn’t need explaining, it has started to feel like live music is back in the saddle again!  It ramped up to 11 (I played Truck Festival with an 11-piece band!) and I have been busier than I’ve ever been.  I had the joy of supporting Gaz Coombes with a Piney acoustic line-up (Garo + Roxys) on tour last March around the UK promoting my newly released EP Alchemy Hand (out now on Reckless Yes).  I worked with Sheep Street Films (Oly Ralfe from Ralfe Band & his partner Emma Faulkner) to make a video for the lead single “The Seventh Dial” and I’m so proud of it, there is even a dance routine, which I love!  We shot the video in The Betsey Trotwood in Clerkenwell, one of my favourite pubs. 

When I’m not doing Piney stuff, I sing backing vocals as a Roxy (a girl group, backing vocal trio named Roxys by Nile Rogers backstage at Jools Holland’s “Later”) with Gaz Coombes.  Gaz is releasing a new album that we sang on, it’s such a great record I can’t wait for people to hear it, there are a handful of singles out now, check ’em out!  Looks like we’ll be doing some touring with him next year.  We have such a great time playing and touring together.  I can’t wait to do more of it!

…And I guess this is quite a biggie… Roxys had the honour of playing The Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury singing with Noel Gallagher, the slot right before Paul McCartney headlined.  I had a conversation with Angela from The Magic Numbers, who played The Pyramid Stage a few years ago, and I wrote an article about What it’s like to play The Pyramid Stage for Joyzine, so y’all should check that out!  Roxys have also had the pleasure of singing on Noel Gallagher’s new record (out next year as well) and that month of touring with him last June was such an amazing experience.  We went to some lovely places and played cool gigs in unusual settings like The Eden Project, Kenwood House, Cardiff Castle… everywhere we went was outside in beautiful nature and for the most part the weather held.   I do feel lucky to find myself with these opportunities and to share this with my singing sisters Emma Brammer and Amy Ashworth.

Then just two weeks ago, we sang with Willie J Healey at the O2 supporting Florence and the Machine, it was bonkers playing such a huge venue full of people like that; the sound is really reverby on stage, it’s kind of a headflip to get used to that sound… but it’s also really fun to hear your voice flying around a huge space like that.  It’s such a shame that Florence broke her foot and had to postpone the rest of the tour, but hopefully she’ll be on the mend and it will be rescheduled soon.  We did a special live session with Willie J Healey at Toe Rag Studios (made famous by The White Stripes and countless others), it’s a very cool analog studio and everything is recorded to tape.  Doing that session felt a bit like going back in time.

What do you have planned for next year?

Well, I’ve already written the next EP (I’m doing a trilogy with a view to releasing all 3 on a pretty vinyl deluxe version once they are all finished).  The plan is to complete the demos I have underway, and then record the EP in Berlin, my drummer (Mike Monaghan) and keyboard/sax player (Tomas Greenhalf) both moved out there at the very start of the pandemic, so the first 2 EPS were recorded quite differently.  Astral Spectra was recorded remotely via file-sharing during lockdown & Alchemy Hand was recorded all-in-one-room at Bark Studios in London over the course of about 2 days so it was ultra-live and spontaneous.  The Berlin approach will be a split-the-difference kind of affair, we’ll record as live, but do a few overdubs and spend some time mixing together, etc… I’m really looking forward to it and I love how the process can really change the sound, creativity is so versatile!  I am lucky to have found people I love to work with and feel safe to share ideas with, and I am happy to run with their ideas too!  It’s very collaborative and I love it.

What can you tell us about today’s track?

This song is about the butterfly effect, a small thing can ripple into a big thing, so why not do something good and see how it grows?  I actually wrote “Do Good For Goodness Sake” for the next EP, but then I realised that lyric has a sort of ‘spirit of giving’ vibe to it that is perfect for Christmas.  When we started recording it, we began by layering up the synths and Wurlitzer and other organ-type keyboards and it really started to sound grand and festive, and I thought, ya know, if the elf-shoe fits?  Wear it!  I accidentally wrote a Christmas song, but that’s perfect.  As you know I’m a huge fan of Christmas and I’ve written one (or covered one) every year for Joyzine for several years now!  It’s become one of my favourite festive traditions; I am so grateful to Joyzine for this each year, it’s such a fun idea to have a musical advent calendar.

What makes the perfect Christmas song?

There are so many excellent Christmas songs and I love them for different reasons.  I.e The Waitresses “Christmas Wrapping” has all kinds of sass and will get you dancing at the Christmas Party, where “2000 Miles” by the Pretenders might make you cry it’s so beautiful and heartfelt, about missing someone around the holidays.  I do love jazzy Christmas numbers by Perry Como, The Andrews Sisters, etc… those oldies remind me of spending Christmas with my grandparents, which were the most magical Christmases for me growing up.  They live in the forest in Wisconsin, which is so much like a winter wonderland, the farm was built in 1910 and has a real Norman Rockwell feel to it.  I love going there, especially for the holidays, it’s a magical place.  Those old-timey Christmas songs take me there.  I love the new indie Christmas stuff that Joyzine gifts the world each year… Thank you for the music!

Download ‘Do Good for Goodness Sake

Find out more about Piney Gir on her official website

If you enjoy the track, we’d love you to consider making a donation to Child Poverty Action Group

Check back every day until Christmas Eve for more free music – Merry Christmas everyone!

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