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“Incredible Boost” As Mayor’s Funding Hits Right Note For Tees Valley Music Group

A Stockton-based band has been supported to grow and record more music during lockdown thanks to funding launched by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen.

Cattle and Cane, brother and sister Joe and Helen Hammill, have lost out on live music fees due to concerts that have had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, cash which would have been used to fund their next album.

The duo had previously recorded their last two albums, Mirrors and Navigator, away from home in professional studios but, as a result of the pandemic, have had to change their approach.

Now, a grant of more than £8,000 has helped them to set up a studio at home and hone their recording skills so their newest album can be produced in the Tees Valley.

They also hope their new set-up will allow them to record other artists in a safe and secure environment, making them less reliant on funding from live music in the future.

Cattle and Cane’s singer-songwriter Joe said: “The last 12 months have been an unprecedented time for the music industry. We had only just released our third album and didn’t get the chance to properly tour it. We had some festivals in the diary we were excited to play but obviously they had to be cancelled. We did some live streams to try and keep engaged with our fans and it was a boost for us to know how much people want to support us.

“This funding is an incredible boost for us. We have pretty much finished writing our fourth album and the money is going to go towards recording, producing, and releasing that album. By the time we’re ready to release the album we’re hopeful that the music industry will be back on its feet. This will be thanks to the funding provided by the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority. We’ve lost a good percentage of our normal income from the cancellation of gigs – and would have struggled to fund a new album so soon. This album is coming at the right time and will give us a shot in the arm and we are so thankful for the opportunity.

“We’re hoping to coincide the new album at a similar time with our headline show at the Globe on December 18, 2021. Already, we can see how eager people are for live music by the tickets already sold for the gig. It’s going to feel incredible to be playing such an iconic venue after such a long time without live music. We can’t wait!

“This funding we’ve received means we’re in a position to have new music to share later this year and around the show at the Globe, which is going to be such a boost in our progression as a band and will go some-way to future-proofing Cattle & Cane. Thank you!”

Mayor Houchen said: “The coronavirus pandemic has been difficult on a whole range of industries, but creatives like Cattle and Cane have really suffered, not least because large gatherings aren’t currently allowed, with hospitality and entertainment venues closed to protect the public.

“Cattle and Cane are a brilliant band with a loyal and growing fanbase across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool and further afield and it would be a huge shame if they suffered a setback due to circumstances outside of their control.

“I’m delighted we could support them, and with this funding they can now go on to help other musicians and grow our music scene, making the region an even better place to live and visit.

“Of course, this is just one tranche of funding from a whole host of support that I’ve been introducing throughout the pandemic, to protect our fantastic small and medium-sized businesses of all types, and therefore secure the livelihoods of local people across our area.”

Cattle and Cane are one of more than 20 businesses, organisations and creatives helped by the £300,000 Cultural Development and Innovation Fund, established by Mayor Houchen in October last year. It aimed to back small and medium-sized businesses as well as sole traders and freelancers bring forward new ways of working to help them thrive in the face of the pandemic.

It followed the success of further funding streams launched by the Mayor, such as the Welcome Back and Back to Business Funds to help the hospitality sector and other businesses reopen safely after the first national lockdown, and the Emergency Apprenticeship Fund to assist companies in creating more than 100 new apprentices across the region.

Picture by Nick Wesson Photography