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Sweet Billy Pilgrim

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In July 2009 Sweet Billy Pilgrim frontman Tim Elsenburg was busy with his day job when his mobile rang. Kneeling on the floor of a broken-down toilet with one hand down a U-bend, he fished his phone out of his back pocket and answered a call telling him that his band’s second album ‘Twice Born Men’ had just been nominated for a Mercury Music Prize. On that day, his life changed.

Released on David Sylvian’s own label, Samadhisound, ‘Twice Born Men’ had been critically acclaimed upon release, but Tim and his bandmates, bassist Anthony Bishop and drummer Alistair Hamer, had been scraping together funds to play a couple of shows in support of the release to try and spread the word. With that surprise announcement, suddenly there was a platform to gain wider exposure than they’d ever dared dream.

A partnership with EMI followed along with a new wave of press interest and an appearance on Channel 4’s ‘IT Crowd’, as well as the nationally televised Mercury Music Prize ceremony, meaning that Sweet Billy Pilgrim’s select fanbase started to swell and Tim could finally, with the aid of a small publishing advance, give up work and dedicate himself to full time to music. But fairy tales are not without their darker corners.

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