Sheffield Americana band team up with historian

The Payroll UnionSheffield Americana band The Payroll Union has teamed up with the University of Sheffield’s Department of History to explore the city of Philadelphia during the mid-nineteenth century through music, film and art.

Drawing on the research interests of Dr Andrew Heath, the band will research, write, and produce an album which interprets the city's tumultuous growth. Artist Samuel Paul Skillington and designer Michael Eden will be joining the project to craft a rich visual document to accompany the music.

Documentary filmmakers Optical Jukebox will be making a film that looks at how history can be seen through music and art.

Lead singer Peter David said: “Whether on our website or at gigs and events, we'll be bringing together artists, historians, students, and anyone else with an interest in how we tell stories about the past. As the project has evolved, the scope has broadened to bring in some unlikely collaborations. That’s why we’re really keen to welcome new ideas. If anyone wants to get involved, just get in touch.”

The project will be officially launched today (21 October 2013) at The Harley, where the band will perform some of the new material they’re working on. They will be supported by local songwriter David J Roch and another historian-songwriter, Gregory S Davies. Illustrations already created by Samuel Skillington will be projected on the night, and there'll be chance for people to learn more about the project.

Dr Andrew Heath said: “It's great to work on a project that is seeking new ways to tell stories about the past. Pete takes his history seriously, and I've found it exciting to see what he's creating with a period and place I've been studying for years.”

You can follow the progress of the project on Twitter (@FaithFearPhilly) or email

Additional information

Payroll Union
Payroll Union website

The University of Sheffield's Department of History
Department of History

The University of Sheffield

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For further information please contact:
Amy Stone
Media Relations Officer
The University of Sheffield
0114 222 1046