I was expecting to be able to announce the release of my new album, Up The Cut, by this point… but it has not turned out quite how I’d hoped (my fault – I think I tried too much, too quickly). It’ll have to be delayed. Hopefully not by too long.
In the meantime, here’s something that my friend Jon Nice and I have been working on as The Grizzly Folk duo, on and off for the past 15 months. This little EP is called Tape Machine, and it’s out on Bandcamp today. You can have a listen to the title track below.
The lead song, ‘Tape Machine’, has to do with my years travelling and living around the world. I spent much of my childhood living in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and then moved to Fukuoka, Southern Japan, in my early 20s. Every time I’ve travelled anywhere for work since then, I’ve taken great joy in heading out early in the morning and watching the streets of whichever city I’m in come alive. Wherever you are in the world, you hear the same warm greetings, regardless of language. Expressions of love and best wishes to each other for the day ahead. The sound of the words may appear different, but the sentiment is always the same. On a small level, it’s that thing about there being some much more that unites us than divides us. This song is about that.
The second song, ‘Spencer Walker’, is a daft fumble with the story from the traditional song, ‘Spencer The Rover’. Jon and I love taking different genres and styles and seeing if we can mash them together to make something cohesive and interesting. So, this is that. Nothing more than frivolous fun. (That said, I do think there’s a great, modern retelling of Spencer’s story to be told by someone. I don’t think I’ve done it justice, lyrically, here. I think it has to do with depression and vagrancy. Someone should look into it.)
The third song, “The Broomway”, is a spoken word track, based on a chapter in The Old Ways by Robert Macfarlane. As is so often the case, I had a loose set of lyrics but no tune. I challenged Jon to create a kind of musical soundscape – something foreboding that envisaged being lost at sea (emotionally, politically, geographically – whatever you like). What he came back with did just the trick, but I felt that a sung melody would diminish some of that atmosphere. And so there we have it – a beautiful aural construction by Jon Nice with some foreboding words from me. Thanks to Mr Macfarlane for the inspiration.
If you’re a Spotify/Apple Music/Deezer listener, the EP will be out later in the month, also featuring our cover of “Sad Sad Feet” by Cate Le Bon. I’d have liked to get this on the Bandcamp version, too, but it’s almost impossible to procure the licensing for the cover. For all its faults, one of the positives of working with Spotify and the streaming world is the easy with which the licenses can be acquired. Maybe something for Bandcamp to work on.
I hope you enjoy the recordings. You can buy it on Bandcamp by clicking here.