Hot, Sweaty and Sultry Blues From the Florida Keys.
Who among us wouldn’t be tempted to pick up an album in the Blues section, called KING OF CRAZY TOWN? Then I defy you to get more than a minute into opening track Do What I Say, Don’t Do What I Do before thrusting your hard earned cash towards the Sales Person! Man oh Man …… this is a hot and sweaty kind of Blues that I haven’t heard in a long, long time. The first three songs come thick and fast, hardly leaving you time to get your breath back, with I Want It All swinging and grooving like the ban’s lives depend on you dancin’ your ass off , and Blue’s sleazy voice is seduction personified! You do get the opportunity to catch your breath when Bill slows things down on track #4 the sadder than sad Everybody’s Leaving Town; which is just Bill and Resonator guitar alongside Matt Backer on harmonica. recreating the Field Songs he grew up listening too. As Bill himself says in the intro to Hunker Down; this is his ‘Hurricane’ song; and he somehow manages to recreate the ‘electric tension’ such a thing creates in a four minute song …… which is well worth hearing. Perhaps it’s because of the gap between releases; but Bill Blue has a lot to say; and say it he does in Enough Blues to Give You The Blues and the slow and sultry Closing Time. The title track from that last album, Mojolation gets another run out here; and it’s certainly funky enough to make me hunt out the original album. Selecting a Favourite Track was difficult until I realised that perhaps two can become one, as the sizzling title Track King of Crazy Town leads or perhaps bleeds into Bill Blue’s tribute to the real King of the Blues; BB King with the stifling and passionate Indianola; during which I swear Bill Blue’s voice takes a tearful warble at one point. But then again, there’s You Ain’t Fun Anymore with it’s wailing harmonica, dazzling piano and guitar interplay and of course Bill Blue replying to his long suffering wife’s accusation that he Ain’t Fun Anymore! Which is the song that really is my Favourite Track here. And another thing; if you judge albums by the cover …….. then what you see is what you get! Bill Blue was originally guitarist to Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Cruddup, then formed his own ensemble that toured the world until he had ‘had enough’ and needed a break; which lasted 25 years! Thankfully he’s back …….. and following up his 2013 Comeback album 7 short years later with The King of Crazy Town ….. which he just may be.
Harry Chapin THE BOTTOM LINE ARCHIVE (1981) Store For Music
Timeless and Magical Observations That Haven’t Aged a Day
I presumed that I was a bit of a Harry Chapin ‘fan’ when this arrived; yet can’t find the ‘Best Of’ CD that I ‘cherished,’ then remembered that it was actually on vinyl; and I had sold it as part of my collection 20+ years ago! So; this Triple Album has been a marvelous voyage of discovery for me. As with all in this series; the original concert here was released in 1998; but for this re-release it’s been gussied up and a second 88 minute ‘show’ from the same evening included too! It was a different time then; when a Star like Harry Chapin still had to play two sets a night in a Club rather than filling an Arena once every couple of years and streaming it to an adoring (and paying) public! The first Show/CD opens with very little ado as Chapin and band slide straight into Taxi, and while it’s a new song to me …….. the adoring crowd sing-along with gusto on “Harry ….. keep the change” when prompted. There’s so much to like here; obviously Chapin’s ‘Hits’ W.O.L.D, Mail Order Annie and Cats in the Cradle are here; but they took on a whole new life for me as I listened more closely than ever to the wisdom in the lyrics. That’s actually what I think I’ve taken for-granted all of these years; Chapin’s songs have aged very well; if not actually matured like a fine wine in the decades since they were first created. For me there are surprises around every corner; none more so than Harry’s Speaking Voice on his very generous intros and background stories ……… he sounds like one of those 1960’s Noo Yawk Jewish Comedians with a stogie in the corner of his mouth that turned up on Saturday evening TV; and if at some time he had uttered “A funny thing happened on the way to the theatre tonight…..” this album would have been nigh on perfect. Where to start on the songs? Old Folkie is about and dedicated to one of only Three Heroes that Chapin has; the 60 year old Pete Seeger …….. was 60 deemed to be old back then? Remember When The Music is one of those songs that has the power to make you smile and sigh at the same time; the intro to and actual song If My Mary Were Here will send a shiver down your back; and it’s a similar sensation with If Flowers Were Red too. One of the other joys here is the Production ……. remember this was recorded in a nightclub way back in 1981; the band are crystal clear behind Harry’s grizzled and world weary voice; and even allowing for some minor tweaks over the years, this is a warts n all Live Recording; without very many warts at all. Oh Lordy; selecting a Favourite Song has been a nightmare as nearly every song here has stood the test of time and touched me in some way; but I’ve finally narrowed it down to three; Halfway To Heaven, again because the back-story is worthy of a comedy club and the story will set the hair on the back of your nick on end; Sniper originally written as poem in 1966 about a Mass Murderer that shocked America but woah ……….. it sadly hasn’t aged a second in half a century and is still just as prescient today in 2020! But, even better than those is Mr Tanner a sad and beautiful tale of a man with a ‘great singing voice’ who gets invited to sing on a big stage; but a NY Times critic destroyed him the next day (‘in four short lines’) ……….. when I listened for the first time I thought Chapin had a time machine and could foresee the myriad of Talent Shows on TV today and the utter devastation Social Media can cause. The evening/albums close with two rather beautiful songs, You Are The Only Song and finally the ‘Hit’ Circle; both of which grab every single emotion in your body and squeeze them until you don’t know whether to laugh or cry …. or both. A big debt of gratitude goes to Chapin’s ‘backing band’; which features his brother Steve on keyboards (and occasional vocals), Big John on (powerhouse) bass, Howard Fields playing drums in a way normally associated with Charlie Watts and Ringo Starr and the backbone of Chapin’s ‘sound’ ……. Yvonne Cable on cello, harmonies and beautifully breathy vocals. The saddest part of this album is that so many of Chapin’s caustic and pissy observation of America in the 1960’s and 70’s still resonate now 50 bloody years later! This has been a marvellous discovery; or should that be re-discovery for me and I can’t recommend this highly enough. Go on; treat yourself!
Amazing and Important Songs That Shouldn’t Have To Be Written or Sung in 2020
I first came across Northern Irish Folk Singer and Troubadour Matt McGinn via a mutual friend in the Province who suggested he get in touch with RMHQ around the time he released The End of the Common Man album in 2018. Like the rest of his generation Matt grew up in the uneasy aftermath of The Troubles that blighted this beautiful part of Europe; but hasn’t really wrote about the feelings that time effected him and those around him …… until now. Not long after that album hit the world, he released the single Lessons of War as a taster for the project in connection with Arts Council NI, that has spawned this amazing album. For the project McGinn initially reached out to musicians from all over the world, but especially from areas of war or conflict, asking them to contribute to a song he had written that highlighted the futility of war. This was the stunning title track Lessons of War; which was such a success that it spawned the idea for a full album in a similar vein. Without delving too deeply into the background of each song; let’s just let the music speak for itself. I Read The Writing on The Wall is a universal tale that was probably written about Northern Ireland, but could just as easily be about Syria, Libya or even Brazil too, as the politicians spout rhetoric across the globe while lining their own pockets at the cost of the poorest under their leadership. Even more powerful writing and incredible musicianship combine on the next song I Was There, which takes a Jazz melody and flute to take the listener on an incredible journey that scare the bejasus out of me in 2020. That’s the ‘thing’ here; come on ……. we are nearly a quarter way through the 21st Century and greedy and selfish politicians of all hues and backgrounds are still causing chaos and needless death and starvation in every continent; have we learnt nothing from the past? That’s a rhetorical question; which becomes the dark spine for several songs here; with Child of War, The Hunt and, of course Refugees all perfect for radio; but awaiting a brave producer or presenter to add them to a playlist. In this ‘disposable age’ this is an album that needs to be invested in and listened to in solitude; there certainly ain’t much to add to a Spotty playlist; that’s for sure. Although there is one (deliberately) commercial song; the amazing single Bubblegum which hopefully will bring a few unsuspecting people towards the rest of these very important songs. Matt isn’t the first songwriter to cover these issues in song; I can think of three other albums we’ve reviewed in the last few years; but that doesn’t make Child of War or the delicately beautiful An Shuaimhneas One Day of Peace any less fascinating or important ……. just different words on the same harrowing stories. Bubblegum, as sung by Ciara O’Neill and about a young girls innocent diary pages written at the height of Northern Ireland’s Troubles/Civil War is the most obvious contender to be my Favourite Song; but when I heard the final song When Will We Learn I found myself clenching both my fists and teeth. But the way Matt McGinn gently lets his words and story breathe, make this one of the most important ‘protest songs’ I’ve possibly ever heard from a native of these fair islands and is most certainly a ‘song of our times.’ It’s fair to say that these songs don’t make for Easy Listening; but there should certainly be a place either on your record shelf or mobile phone for these songs that are coated in a ‘terrible beauty’ yet are still accessible to anyone with even a semblance of a conscience.
Grown-Up Poptastic Anglo-Americana Never Sounded Better.
Anyone who follows us on The Twitter will be aware of the Hoo Haa it took to get a review copy of this release …….. thankfully ‘that squabble’ is over with; but had been any other artist in the world but Pete Molinari, I would have given up weeks ago. Anyways; we have it now and…. well……. it’s taken some ‘getting into’; as like all his previous releases; apart from his very unique voice, it’s very different from what has preceded it. Which is a good thing; because I love it when songwriters grow and develop; moving on ‘in a good way’ …… which has always been the Molinari Ethos. First song Goodbye Baby Jane actually illicited an OOH! The first time I played it …….. by Pete’s standards it’s a big old Alt. Rock sound, albeit with a cool melody and almost Glam Rock chorus; yep the title did remind me of Slade and to some degree that ‘memory’ carries on throughout the song too. Pete sounds like he’s been listening to a lot of different bands in the years he’s been off the radar, with several influences coming through songs like the psychedelic No Ordinary Girl where he sounds a bit like Liam Gallagher; but with typical Molinari chutzpah; ‘this is how you should have done it!’ And he’s right; it’s the finest song Oasis never recorded. Fear not; this is 100% a Pete Molinari album through and through; and the most commercial thing he’s ever released with Radio Friendly songs bouncing out of the speakers every couple of minutes. There’s never been a time in history when the World wouldn’t have been a better place for the grungy Garage Song, I’ll Take You There or his quintessentially English Pop Song, Please Mrs Jones coming out of the radio and defying you not to sing along. Obviously there’s not a bad song here; and I’m impressed that there’s a a distinct flow, taking you on a Kiddy Rollercoaster of highs and lows, with absolutely no peril involved at all. Pete still slides a couple of his trademark melodious Folk-Rock songs ; like the deep and meaningful Absolute Zero and then there’s the title track Just Like Achilles and Born To Be Blue with their jaunty tunes that gives them the capacity to make you sit back and listen to his wise words of wisdom, while shuffling to the beat. Selecting a Favourite Song here is a bit like standing in an orphanage and looking at all the cute and longing faces; knowing full well you are going to break a lot of hearts with those you leave behind. The singer’s love for all things Americana come through loud and clear on Waiting For a Train, and then Colour My Love is a doozy with a big ole Philles Records production and the piano led ballad Steal The Night is as good a song as Molinari has ever recorded and perhaps the whole album actually spins off this magical three minutes; but; and this is controversial ….. I’m going for …… cue drum roll ……….. You’ve Got The Fever; a delicious slice of moody Alt. Country flavoured Americana but with a Molinari cherry on top. What’s not to like? I’m no lover of the hype that accompanies Vinyl releases; but maybe ten years ago Pete Molinari was an Early Adopter releasing LP’s and 45RPM singles to an adoring fan base; but for the time being and for fiscal reasons, Just Like Achilles is a Download/Streaming only release; yet these songs just cry out to be played in that format, where the listener has to choose the time to invest in listening to music; and boy will you ‘listen’ to these songs when you get the chance.
Milk Carton Kids & Ryan Bingham Tine Theatre and Opera House NEWCASTLE January 29th 2020
I’m a fan of Texan singer-songwriter Ryan Bingham; but The Milk Carton Kids have passed me by; with their reviews being handled by the Legendary Roy Peak in Americae for us. So, with both acts on this double bill being popular on RMHQ I was pretty excited to attend tonight; especially as it was going to be in one of my favourite; if under used venues in the City Centre. Baring in mind how ‘popular’ Milk Carton Kids are; I was disappointed to see a few empty seats in the downstairs area; especially as there were a couple of dozen people sitting in the balcony; but perhaps they got a better view up there. Bingham came on stage to muted applause; but that was more to do with the house lights still being on rather than any slight; as the raucous applause and cheering that followed many of his songs would prove. His opening song; The Poet set the tone for his 50 minute set; slow, moody and deeply personal with his grizzled voice and nippy guitar picking settling the crowd down very quickly. As he re-tuned his guitar he told a delightful story about how his Mother had initially instilled a love of music in him as a child and also bought him his *first guitar. This led into the deeply personal Tell My Mother (I Miss Her So) which brought the loudest applause for a support act’s song than I’ve heard in years.
For a young man; Bingham has packed a lot into his years; which tends to end up in his songs, which come from the ‘Sing About What You Know’ guide book; and with songs as diverse as Jingle and Go, Broken Heart Tattoos and Crazy Heart in the locker; he’s a welcome torchbearer for the legendary Texan Songwriter Troubadours who came before him His first *guitar got another mention later when he told us about the first tune he ever learnt to play; which I’m not going to spoil as it’s a key part of his set; but it got both chuckles and ‘aaahhs’ from the receptive crowd. The final two songs; South Side of Heaven and Crazy Heart itself felt like an encore; especially as their introductions received loud hoots, hollers and applause before Ryan’s world weary voice once again sang about his world weary wisdom, in a way that belies him not actually headlining. *Disclaimer The next part of the evening is being written an hour after a ‘Twitter Spat’ with both the band and some fans (most who weren’t at the gig!) regarding an incident that I will talk about later. I will try not to let this ‘colour my words’ and just refer to my notes. During the interval there was a distinct buzz of anticipation in the bar; and I’m pleased to report that there was a very diverse mix of ages in attendance; which makes a nice change for Roots gigs in Newcastle. The dapperly dressed duo arrived on stage to tumultuous applause and whistles which stopped in the blink of an eye as they stood by the single microphone and went into the winsome Younger Years (?) which was full of delicious harmonies and sublime finger picked guitar from both chaps; reminding me of those early Simon and Garfunkel records. With a smile and a nod to acknowledge the applause Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan regaled the adoring masses with a masterful A Sea of Roses; and as it ended the long haired Pattengale ‘complained about the clicking from a/the photographer’s cameras’ and instead of the ‘first three songs’ being allowed for photographs he requested they cease immediatly. At this stage I was already back in my seat after realising that the act was going to remain stood at the mic for the rest of the gig; and I saw one other making his way to the back; which left the third of our infernal trio; who began packing his cameras away (out of view …. or so he thought). Had events stopped there; all would have been fine and dandy; but our friend Kenneth got his eye on him; and taking on the guise of Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory began to make fun, nay torment this chap …… to the amusement of several in the audience. This went on for nearly five minutes, with Joey Ryan trying to mediate and get the gig back on track; but ‘Sheldon’ wouldn’t let it lie and kept interjecting. Eventually sanity was restored and the concert continued; with a rather nippy Bluegrass song; that really emphasised their dexterity on guitar but their wondrous harmonies too. Seeing how ‘judgmental’ their fans are; I’m not going to guess at the song titles in my notes; and very few were introduced in the traditional manner; although I did recognise Broken Headlights and it’s whispered harmonies; Maybe It’s Time and New York; which was a definite highlight for me. Perhaps I’m not bright enough or perhaps even educated enough to ‘get’ Pattengale’s wacky sense of humour (I think the woman behind me was in danger of peeing herself at one stage; she was laughing so much); but he was easily distracted from the job in hand………. teasing Ryan about a song ‘written for a funeral’ and ‘hearing Ryan sing a particular song for the first time’ …. then deliberately putting him off by pretending to waltz to the off-beat. Then there was the obligatory gag about accents when someone called out a request (The Only Ones btw; and rather splendid it was too as they sung it ‘off mic’); and again; he just didn’t know when to pull up the metaphorical drawbridge. Although 70% of the audience seemed genuinely surprised; the duo came back for the contractually obliged encores; Hope of a Lifetime and The As and Clay followed by a very slow and wearisome Michigan; when the night was crying out for something up-tempo (they must know a feisty Bluegrass song that would fit the bill; or at least Wake Up Little Suzie!) As we all know music is very subjective; and we all like different things in different ways. Tonight Milk Carton Kids were technically exceptional; and their harmonies are up there with the very best of all time; but if you didn’t know individual songs in advance (as my brother didn’t) nothing really stood out of the pack. If it hadn’t been for the Twitter spat/attack this morning towards my alter-ego I probably wouldn’t have spent the last two hours writing this review.
Sweet Lizzy Project Technicolor Mono Mundo Recordings/Thirty Tigers
Classy Pop via Havana and East LA.
I first heard of these guys through their connection with the Mavericks, but musically the link isn’t immediately that obvious. The opening song TECHNICOLOR, certainly lives up to its title, with a wide sweep of sounds – orchestral, rocky guitars, sound effects,electronic and even luscious Euro pop choruses. “Turn up the radio” sounds less like the Cuban pop I initially expected and more like Scandinavian hit factory material and the relentless indie-pop continues on the following track “Ain’t nobody to call” with its My Sharona riff. The first non-English track is the more chilled and swinging “Tu Libertad;” which wouldn’t be out of place on a Camila Cabello album. The Mavericks make an appearance halfway through the album, on “The Flowers in the Seed” which has the trademark Raul Malo vocals and a descending chiming guitar line reminiscent of “Oh what a crying shame”. Musically there’s another swerve with “What was happening to me” which is straight up radio-friendly pop followed by a tempo drop on “These words,” which strays into Nirvana unplugged territory, with a solo that is crying out for bedroom air-guitar. “Travel to the Moon” and “Vuelta Atrás” both sound like the Cure fronted by Katzenjammer, although neither are as jarring as that might at first sound. The album finishes reflectively with “December 31st,” a big indie-pop melancholy ballad which is just perfect for daytime radio. As titles go, TECHNICOLOR signals its intentions well – it’s got a huge, all over the place range that’s surprisingly cohesive. Its sights are firmly set on the mass pop and radio market though, and its not likely to find a natural home amongst the roots and Americana crowd, as entertaining as it is in parts.
Quality Barroom, Foot Stompin’ Punk Infused Canadian Alt. Country.
John Borra’s Canadian version of alt-country owes a nod to punk rock and that’s a good thing. It’s interesting to me, as someone who started out playing bass in punk rock bands before gravitating to fronting their own material with acoustic guitar in a folk-rock format (with a hint of country), how many others have gone that same route? (John Borra played in punk bands in the 1980’s, and has played bass in multiple bands, now fronting an Alt-Country band. Apparently he also sidelines as an audio engineer when he’s not playing music, engineering and producing this album himself. Surprisingly, these are all things which I’ve also done! If I find out that he also writes music reviews for online blogs then our lives are indeed mysteriously mirroring one another for sure!) Is there a sense of familiarity between punk and country that ties them intrinsically together? Three chords and the truth apply equally, as does a sense of honesty and simple rawness, but there must be something more for artists as far apart as Florida, Toronto, New Zealand, and Italy to come to similar musical conclusions. Whatever it is, John Borra seems to have found his way from punk rocker to Alt-Country frontman and is doing an admirable job of making it work. Blue Wine, his first solo album since 2002, is equal parts poetic Honky Tonk and revved up Punkish barn burners. Backed by a band of musicians more than capable of pulling off whatever Borra throws at them, he sings his way through eleven well written songs that show off his distinctive voice to perfection. Borra’s lyrics sometimes leave a bit to be desired—his rhyming schemes would never be mistaken for Dylan’s or Cohen’s— but he makes up for it with uncompromising grit and a strong sense of melody. And complete props to the unexpected cover of the Velvet Underground’s “Foggy Notion.” Borra’s version keeps the fun urgency of the original and turns it on its head with a bit of barroom stomping and tasty piano. Speaking of that piano, eschewing lead guitar for the standout lead piano of Mike Boguski throughout this album was a wise and crucial decision too, as Boguski deliciously hammers and pounds his way through these tunes as if he owns them, bringing to mind John Cale’s frenzied piano on many of the tunes by the aforementioned Velvets. “Americana” bands take note: It doesn’t always have to be pedal steel, mandolin, or chicken-pickin’ to set the right mood! Other standout tracks on Blue Wine are “The Wars,” “Machu Picchu,” and the barroom romance of “Hambre and Dolores” which were all co-written with poet Eva H.D. “Secret Time” is a sweet and fulfilling album closer, but “Way Back Home,” a duet with Dani Nash, who also wrote this fun, swinging tune, is the track you’ll go back to again and again.
Young British Blues Rocker Comes of Age on Exciting Double Live Album.
Most regular readers know of my love of The Blues in just about every format imaginable; and also my desire to promote the great and the good among British exponents to the outside world, as well as those lonely men and women who haul their guitar case across the highways and by-ways: Plymouth on a Monday night, Aberdeen on a Tuesday and then Norwich on the Wednesday. When I first came across Ben Poole he was just on the verge of leaving the latter category and is now firmly in the former camp being both a great singer-guitarist and a good guy. I’m not normally a lover of Live Albums; especially in this category as it wouldn’t be the first time someone I admire for filling their studio albums full of 4 and 5 minute belters get a tad self-indulgent on-stage. But; Guitar lovers and Rockers alike can be assured that there are more than enough guitar solos here to satisfy their cravings; but song lovers like me are indulged too, with Poole’s fine penmanship probably being allowed to overshadow his marvelous fretwork on most songs; even the 8, 11, 14 and 15 minute long tracks. It’s no surprise that most of the tracks here come from his last two albums; as it was recorded in July 2019; but there are a couple of juicy oldies tucked away for the long serving fraternity. Following a very brief intro the band get off to a growling start with Take It No More and already you know you are in for a treat. Being a Live Album there’s a glorious rawness to many songs; with a personal favourite Win You Over now maturing like a fine wine and Found Out The Hard Way somehow seems even more intimate than the album version, to me. Start The Car; from the same album really finds drummer extraordinaire Wayne Procter and bassist Steve Amadeo on fine form as Poole sings as if his heart could break at any moment. That powerhouse duo are the spine that allows the singer-guitarist go meandering on Anytime You Need Me and Time Might Never Come which close the set; coming in at just shy of half an hour when played together; but even I haven’t got bored listening to them (yet). Another elongated song is the exquisite cover of Have You Ever Loved a Woman; and I swear there’s not a wasted note from any of the trio in the 11 and a half minutes of transcendental Blues-Soul which builds and builds to a crashingly luxurious ending that had even me head-banging in the car! Where to go for an actual Favourite Song? Further On Down The Line is a doozy; as is his take on Jeff Healey’s I Think I Love You Too Much; which is another song Poole has allowed to grow and develop over the years; and Dirty Laundry now sounds like it’s fast becoming his Trademark song; but I’m going for Don’t Cry For Me; where the band come together as one and for me; it’s Poole’s finest vocal performance across two glorious albums of quality British Blues Rock that will not just surprise but impress American Blues fans (and promoters?) PS The album was recorded over three nights in July 2019 at the OldSchoolhouse in Barnsley, The Half Moon in South London and Bootleggers in Kendal, Cumbria.
Dynamic Next Step in an Exciting and Colourful Career.
A colourful and dynamic live performer, the challenge for Tami Neilson is to encapsulate that vivacity in the recorded medium. Opener “Call your mama” is a song that wouldn’t sound amiss performed by the Cramps, although here the production is much more mainstream and shows off Tami’s Wanda Jackson-esque pipes nicely. “Hey Bus Driver!” and “Ten Truck” are united in their transport fetishism – again the production focuses on highlighting the vocals, which leaves the backing lacking in a scuzzy or extravagant edge that the songs might have benefited from. “You were mine” delights in a twangy and spacey sound and this is complemented by a howling vocal that really lifts it. This convergence of instrumental and vocal aggression in the production shines again in “16 Miles of Chain” and “Tell me that you love me”. “Any fool with a heart” is a lovely tune, but the production doesn’t seem to know whether to focus on the harmonies or the rhythm guitar. (personally, I’d have gone for the harmonies.) “Sister Mavis” is a name-check song that has the kind of call and response suited for the live arena, but sounds a bit repetitive in recorded form. The album closes with “Sleep”, where the vocal/instrumental balance really works to best effect. Overall, an album best played loud to get the best of it.
Singles come and go on a daily basis at RMHQ, with our emphasis being on Albums; but as you know some manage to hit us between the eyes and we simply need to pass them on to the world at large. This arrived an hour ago and alongside the fantastic video has meant an album I’d intended listening to is still in it’s jewel case.
“SamLee’s new single ‘Lay This Body Down’ is a re-working of an African American spiritual, with heavy echoes of Greek mythology’s River Styx path to the afterlife. It arrives alongside a striking new video created with choreography featuring dancers from London’s Ballet Rambert. Taken from his upcoming album, ‘Old Wow’ is due for release on January 31, and produced by Suede’s Bernard Butler and also featuring a rare appearance from Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser.”