Sing Beneath the Sun

Filmed & Produced by Jordan Carroll

Featuring Matt Steady (Violin)

Ruth Owens (Vocals)

After the First World War, Jim returned to the unforgiving work of a collier once more at Gawber. The Barnsley Pal’s Battalions, raised in the excitement of 1914, had been decimated on the fields of the Somme. From late 1916 onwards, these battalions held increasingly fewer Barnsley men in their ranks. Jim lost many pals at the front, but it would have been on returning home to Barnsley that their absence weighed upon him. There was scarce a house in Barnsley that hadn’t been touched by grief.

Following his musical passions, by this time Jim had started to perform in the evenings with a quartet. It had been Jim’s dream to work as a professional musician, but this truly was an exhausting life. A 12 hour shift at Gawber in the day and a concert late into the night. Edith-Maude saw that the workload was slowly killing him and determined to help Jim out of the pits to pursue his musical ambitions.

So the story goes, one evening as Jim came in from the pit for tea, he could barely keep himself awake. Edith-Maude placed that little tea-caddy, full of the money she’d been saving, down on the table and said “You don’t go down that pit anymore Jim”.

This little bit of extra money allowed Jim to purchase an insurance book. Working for a local firm, he’d go door to door collecting the bonds. This work tided him over while he became more established as a musician. As the Jazz age rolled in, Jim also began performing as a clarinetist in ensembles and big bands.

This song imagines that conversation Edith-Maude had with Jim, referencing the steadfastness that had seen him through the war and imploring him to escape the coal mine before it’s too late. Thanks to Edith-Maude’s loving support, Jim never had to work another 14 hour shift at Gawber again.