By most counts, 2016 was a crummy year. From celebrity deaths to political and societal tensions, it was a year that most are eager to leave behind. Among the notable losses of the past 12 months was the breakup of acclaimed and beloved New York rock band Augustines, which rose from the ashes of ’00 cult act Pela and went on to release a trio of breathtaking albums full of lyrical retrospection and songwriting intelligence.
Augustines would be the first to tell us that the end of one story is just the beginning of another, and true to form, this morning singer, guitarist, and co-songwriter William “Billy” McCarthy has announced a solo career. Included in his message are a handful of European live appearances and a Patreon campaign to keep the music alive.
“I am starting 2017 with new eyes and a fire inside,” McCarthy writes. “I have spent my life travelling from towns to cities, from countries to continents and last year I started reflecting. I revisited journals, I looked back through photographs, I spent time with my art and it reminded me of where I have been and, importantly, it shone a light on where I need to go. Sharing my music with you all is my core, it’s my being and it’s likely how we met. There will be new music and am working right now my first solo album.”
McCarthy’s Music For The People tour starts with eight performances in Germany throughout April, with additional gigs to be announced in Ireland and the United Kingdom.
“I tip my cap to the last six years and will forever cherish that experience,” he adds. “But, y’know, the world has changed and we all need to pull together in every way. As difficult as 2016 was in parts, my spirits were raised and carried by the wave of community and support and that, my friends, is down to you. I am now opening my heart to doing this differently. I am inviting you all to become patrons and support me as an artist, for as little as the price of a coffee or beer per month. Before I explain a little about what this model is, I need to tell you what it’s not. It isn’t charity; not a virtual cap being passed around. It is a platform through which you invest little and often in me as an artist and access far more my work than I have shared before — you will get new music, you will get exclusive content and, more than ever, you will get my time. We will collaborate as you support me in bringing me into your worlds in exciting new ways.”
In addition to the music, McCarthy has also promised work on his first book, which he says serves to document his “travels and sharing the experiences that continue to inspire me to this day. You heard some of these stories during my first solo tour last year and, my friends, we barely scratched the surface! I am ready to share more of me with you.”
It all could align nicely with the highly anticipated Augustines documentary, RISE: The Story of Augustines, which is expected to be released later this year. Watch the promo video below for more info.