Performed by the BAFTA-nominated actor and singer Jessie Buckley and her band ‘Jessie and The Leonards’, written by Kate St John and Neill MacColl and featuring Hannah Grace Deller, the song is a powerful representation of life on the NHS frontline.
Inspired by Hannah’s photographs of life as a frontline nurse during the Covid-19 crisis, ‘Working On The Frontline’ is the first release from the album ‘Song Club’, a collection of songs by award-winning songwriters – including Nick Heyward, Graham Gouldman, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Mark Nevin and Kathryn Williams – that celebrate frontline workers and document a poignant moment in time
Speaking about the song Jessie Buckley said “While the sky was falling we spoke from distant places, hoping we were all ok and worrying when we weren’t, wondering if or when we might be able to meet again to play music. The whole world was upside down. Neill MacColl and Kate St. John, my amazing and talented beautiful soul-friends found a way to put a chink of light in the shutters and get the band back together. More importantly they have written a great song that tells a very honest and raw story of what it has meant to be on the front line as an NHS worker during the Covid pandemic. I hope that we and our governments are awake to the incredible, invaluable force that is the NHS. I can’t love Kate and Neill and Hannah enough for making this song happen. I hope the world will listen.”
Neill & Kate said: “Working on The Front Line is written from the point of view of a frontline NHS worker, to convey some sense of the reality of what it’s like to work on a Covid ward. The inspiration for the song came from the photographs of hospital workers taken by Hannah Grace Deller, talking to her about her own experiences of working as a nurse at St. Mary’s Hospital and reading first-hand accounts by other frontline nurses. Matter of fact, uplifting and hard-hitting…the words are theirs put into song.
Curated by Chris Difford, the ‘Song Club album’ is inspired by Hannah’s photography on the frontline. In addition to being a paediatric matron Hannah is a talented photographer who, throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, has been documenting her and her colleagues’ experiences. When Hannah’s photographic work was featured on the Channel 4 programme ‘Grayson’s Art Club’, it grabbed the attention of the Squeeze co-founder and Grammy nominated and double Ivor Novello Award winning lyricist.
“I first saw Hannah’s photography on Grayson Perry’s Channel Four program ‘Art Club’. Lockdown provided some great TV moments and this was one of them. Inspired by her work I asked all of my co-writing chums to use her photographs as inspiration for songwriting. Together we have created a body of work to raise funds for the frontline workers, it has been so inspiring to hear the results” says Difford.
“I hope that the voices of all the unsung heroes, their efforts and sacrifices are heard in this music. For me this record is a thank you to all my colleagues on the frontline, from the porters & domestics, to the doctors and nurses, I’ll never forget how we all stood side-by-side on the frontline fighting this illness together.” Hannah Grace Deller, matron paediatrics, Imperial College NHS Trust
Difford’s co-writing chums are a host of world-class, award-winning songwriters – including Nick Heyward, Graham Gouldman, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Mark Nevin, Julia Fordham, Robert Vincent, Judie Tzuke, Kimmie Rhodes, Judith Owen and Kathryn Williams – who have used their time in lockdown to document a poignant moment in time.
“Songwriters have been in lockdown like everyone else and collectively we have dark stages and an unsure future regarding live performances, so this has been something to focus on by way of embracing the amazing work of the NHS and frontline workers” says Difford. “My aim is to document this strange time we are living in and I hope bring inspiring songs to the ears of many.”
Proceeds to (Royal College of Nursing) RCN Foundation COVID-19 Support Fund www.rcnfoundation.org.uk
“We are incredibly grateful to Chris, Hannah and everyone involved in the Song Club album project – donations to the RCN Foundation COVID-19 Support Fund will make a huge difference to the many frontline nurses, midwives and health care support workers who are continuing to make an invaluable contribution at the very forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic. Support from the project will not only help those individuals who may be experiencing personal hardship as a result of COVID-19, but will also help to address some of the psychological implications associated with working on the frontline at this difficult time.” Deepa Korea, RCN Foundation Director, RCN Foundation