New Release & Tour: Ben Howard – Is It? / Couldn’t Make It Up

Photo Credit: Toby Coulson

Ben Howard releases his fifth studio album, Is It? on the 16th June 2023 through Island Records.

In the Summer of 2022, Ben and his band recorded Is It? over 10 days in the Le Manoir de Léon studios, nestled between Bordeaux and Biarritz, in the South of France. The album is introduced by ‘Couldn’t Make It Up’.

Produced by Bullion (Westerman, Nilüfer Yanya, Orlando Weeks), ‘Couldn’t Make It Up’ is the first track of that ten-song record, exploring music after Ben experienced two mini strokes (TIAs). ‘Is it?’ is a lush, sonically splintered album which captures Howard working through those moments of seismic shift.

Ben has to say – “I found it impossible not to dwell on the absurdity of it, that with one tiny clot, one can lose all faculties. It really ate into the writing of the record.”

In March 2022, Ben Howard was sat in his garden when he found himself unable to think clearly, form sentences or speak for almost an hour. A month later, after the same thing happened again, the Ivor Novello Award-winning singer-songwriter learned he’d suffered two TIAs (transient ischemic attacks – known as mini-strokes). “It was out of the blue,” says the 35 year-old. “It was a confusing time.”

That June, after a month of inconclusive hospital tests Howard and his band returned to Le Manoir de Léon, where they’d previously worked on his third album, Noonday Dream.

Next month, Ben kicks off a UK and European tour in Madrid at La Riviera on the 18th May, hitting cities through Spain, Portugal, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Slovakia, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and the UK including an already sold-out show at London’s new Alexandra Palace Park on 22nd July. He is currently confirmed for UK festival performances at Boardmasters and Victorious in Portsmouth, and headlines “On the Mount at Wasing” series of outdoor shows in Berkshire. A new date at London’s Royal Albert Hall has also been announced for 1st June.

18th May – La Riviera, Madrid
19th May – Santana 27, Bilbao
20th May – Palacio de Congresos, Santiago de Compostela
22nd May – Coliseu Lisboa, Lisbon
23rd May – Coliseu Porto, Porto
25th May – Razzmatazz, Barcelona
26th May – Le Rocher de Palmer, Bordeaux
1st June – Royal Albert Hall, London
15th June – Fairview Park, Dublin
17th June – Piknik I Parken – Oslo, Norway
19th June – Carré Theatre, Amsterdam SOLD OUT
20th June – Carré Theatre, Amsterdam SOLD OUT
21st June – Phil Haarlem, Netherlands
30th June – Rock Werchter, Werchter
1st July – On The Mount At Wasing, Berkshire
2nd July – Down the Rabbit Hole, Beuningen
4th July – Philarmonie de Paris, Paris
6th July – Arena Wien, Vienna
7th July – Pohoda Festival, Trenčín
9th July – Sexto ‘Nplugged, Sesto Al Reghena
11th July – Žluté Lázně, Prague
12th July – Progresja Summer Stage, Warsaw
14th July – Zitadelle, Berlin
15th July – Stadtpark, Hamburg
17th July – Tonhalle, Munich
18th July – X-Tra, Zurich
21st July – SWG3 Yard, Glasgow
22nd July – Alexandra Palace Park, London SOLD OUT
23rd July – Cardiff Castle, Cardiff
11th August – Boardmasters, Newquay
27th August – Victorious Festival, Portsmouth