A band which left rock legend Pete Townshend "blown away" when he first heard them are set to perform in Abingdon next month.

The Bookshop Band, formed by Ben Please and Beth Porter, will play their new album, 'Emerge, Return', at St Nicolas’ Church, hosted by Mostly Books, on July 17 as part of a 70-date UK tour.

Mr Townshend, from rock group The Who, was gifted a set of the band's CDs and admired the quality of the music and – as a former bookshop owner – the fact their work is inspired by literature.

Pete TownshendPete Townshend (Image: Ian West/PA)

The album has been produced by Mr Townshend at his own studio, and he has also played on every track.

He said: "I listened to the CDs in my car as I was travelling. I was blown away, completely blown away.

"I got into the whole Bookshop Band technique, which is just two people making this sound like a symphony orchestra.

"It's quite extraordinary. Each song was special in its own way. So, I reached out."

Emerge, Return looks at themes including the oppression of bodies, free will and free speech.

The content is inspired by books such as 'The Testaments' by Margaret Atwood, 'Brave New World' by Aldous Huxley and 'The Book Of Dust' by Philip Pullman.

Mr Please said: "It's been a rollercoaster working with Pete Townshend, really exciting and not something we could ever have predicted happening.

“He brought his great musicality and experience to the recording process, doing things we'd never have thought of ourselves, offering a different perspective on the songs.

"And the fact that he ended up playing on every track added an extra dimension – I think that fans will hear his influence woven right the way through the album."

Ms Porter added: "Ben and I are really excited to be touring this album.

"Playing these songs live and getting to share stories in bookshops is what this band is all about."

Radio 2’s The Folk Show with Shaun Keaveny described the album as "hypnotically beautiful", while Zoe Ball also praised the band on the Breakfast Show, calling them "amazing".

The band, which has worked with many celebrated authors, plays gigs in small bookshops across the UK, USA and Europe.

Best-selling authors such as Kate Mosse have asked them to write songs for the book launches.

The band has existed largely off-grid, occupying a creative space between the music and book worlds.

Their approach is to read books, respond by writing a song, and then bring the work to new audiences by performing in bookshops.