She got a place on the tour by being cheeky. Lisa Hannigan, the Irish singer/songwriter who began her career with Damien Rice, met Richard Hawley at a festival.
Hawley had been scheduled to sing with another performer, who pulled out at the last minute. The duo struck up a friendship and tonight will line-up at Birmingham’s HMV Institute.
Lisa takes up the story: “I met him at a fantastic Irish TV music festival called Other Voices In The Dingle, which is promoted by RTE.
“Richard was supposed to be singing with somebody else but my friend, who produces the show, said the other person wasn’t there and would I mind? I worked with him and we rehearsed for the day and it was great. It was a brilliant weekend.
“The tour was coming up and I put myself forward for it. He said yes, which was really lucky.”
Hannigan will be playing songs from her two solo albums, the impressive 2008 debut See Sew and last year’s exceptional Passenger.
“I loved recording the second album. It was the exact opposite of a difficult second album. It was really, really easy. I wrote all the tunes and took my time. We arranged the tunes, got them demoed and into good shape. It was as simple as that. It was pretty much recorded live.
“When I finished that record, I thought to myself, that’s brilliant, I’ll carry on writing, and , of course, I didn’t.
“Now, thankfully, I’m feeling pretty good about the next record.
“Hopefully I’ll have time during the tour to do a bit of writing and we should have something out next year.”
Hawley, meanwhile, is in imperious form, having followed his remarkable Truelove’s Gutter release with the Mercury Music Prize nominated-Standing at the Sky’s Edge.
He said: “I really wanted to shake things up. I wanted a big, loud sound. I realised when I was recording it that I was in danger of frightening off some of my listeners, but it was what I wanted to do.
“The stories on the album are about people I knew when I was growing up in Pitsmoor, Sheffield.
“Thatcher took over when I was 12, and things started going very wrong in the community soon after. It’s happening again now, which is why I wrote it.
The Government pulled the rug out from the people and it created all sorts of problems. That’s what the album’s about. It tells the stories of the people whose safety nets were taken away from them by Thatcher.”
Richard Hawley and Lisa Hannigan play HMV Institute tomorrow and tickets are available, priced £20, at www.gigsandtours.com