Express & Star

Black Country band formed during Covid celebrate release of their debut album

A Black Country music duo are celebrating the release of their debut studio album.


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The band - Big Special - is composed of Walsall locals, Joe Hicklin, 31, and Callum Moloney, who teamed up during the coronavirus pandemic after years apart when following their own separate paths.

Their debut album is named Postindustrial Hometown Blues and is set to be released on Friday this week.

The Black Country duo are also sharing their first new music of 2024 in the shape of a huge new single called ‘DUST OFF/START AGAIN’, along with more UK/EU headline shows and festival appearances.

The band’s new body of work comes in the wake of a sold-out winter UK headline tour, multiple playlisted singles on BBC 6 Music, and their presence as a hotly-tipped prospect for 2024 in a number of Ones To Watch lists.

Lead singer Joe Hicklin said: “'DUST OFF/START AGAIN’ is a bolt of cursed vomit, spewed into a stewpot of English class issues regarding housing, ownership, mental illness, appropriation and human rights.

“It’s about the disregard for the common man. And how it is expected of anyone, regardless of their situation, to carry on, struggle through and go to work.

“It’s about how the privileged and powerful attempt to define, debate and justify the social positions of all whilst the ideals of our governing systems are pressed upon the working-class youth, so that they quietly accept their role as a commodity and place blame on each other, as they wave the flag that keeps them down.”

Joe said that their debut album has a story-driven theme with a running narrative that pulls all of the tracks together

Joe said that both he and Callum first met when attending college in Birmingham over a decade ago, but only really went full pelt at making a band together recently.

They started making music in 2019 and then spent the UK lockdown writing songs and developing the band to a point where they could start performing.

Since then they’ve taken the UK music landscape by storm, selling out venues up and down the country while never forgetting where they came from.

Big Special’s tour started in Liverpool this week and will tour across the UK and abroad until until August.

Joe added: “I’ve always wanted to be an album musician, it’s how I like to take in music so to be here now is really exciting for me personally, and of course for Callum.”


  • May 7 – District, Liverpool, UK

  • May 8 – The Key Club, Leeds, UK

  • May 9 – XOYO, Birmingham, UK

  • May 10 – King Tuts, Glasgow, UK

  • May 12 – Strange Brew, Bristol, UK

  • May 16 – Jazz Café, London, UK

  • May 17 – Horatio’s, Brighton, UK (The Great Escape 2024)

  • May 18 – Deaf Institute, Manchester, UK

  • May 20 – Kasbah Club, Limerick, Ireland

  • May 21 – Workman’s Cellar, Dublin, Ireland

  • May 22 – Ulster Sports Bar, Belfast, Norther Ireland

  • May 24 - Netherlands, Den Haag, Zwarte Ruiter (Sniester Festival)

  • May 26 – Bearded Theory Festival, Derbyshire, UK

  • May 27 – Paradiso Upstairs, Amsterdam, Netherlands

  • May 28 – Effenaar, Eindhoven, Netherlands

  • May 30 – Block Party Festival, Paris, France

  • May 31 – Vestrock, Hulst, Netherlands

  • June 1 - Dauwpop Festival, Hellendoorn, Netherlands

  • July 26 – Low Festival, Benidorm, Spain

  • July 28 – Latitude Festival, Suffolk, UK

  • August 23 – Reading Festival, Reading, UK

  • August – Leeds Festival, Leeds, UK