At the end of April, we played a gig for Sensoria 2012 at Upper Chapel, a beautiful church in the centre of Sheffield. It was a really fun night, which included our own tribute to the late Levon Helm, a cover of 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.' The first time performing in a church, I quickly became conscious of some of the irreverent content of my lyrics: "I'll parry and I'll goad / For what greater prize / to win this land / from where religion must die". Oops. No disrespect intended to the Unitarians, though as their website states, they are a "haven of religious liberalism and tolerance." Phew.
Anyway, as a consequence, Jo and Nigel, Sensoria's organisers, invited us to play at Club 60 for their end of festival party. It was the first time we played their and again, we had a great night. Little did we know, Blakey - Club 60s main man - records all the shows, and pretty much straight after we stepped off stage, he took us upstairs to have a listen to the show. We were impressed and got into a conversation about recording with him. He's got oodles of enthusiasm and after talking about our various options, we arranged to meet up a couple of days later to discuss it further. The studio is full of various contraptions that took me back to my childhood - a BBC computer, for example! I remember, as a ten year old, being completely hooked on a general election game I played on my BBC. Hmm, I was a strange child.
So, after discussing some of the finer details, we booked in 5 days of recording in mid August. Were all pretty psyched about going into the studio - it really is like going away on camp! - though we've got a bit of work to do before then. There are a bunch of new songs that need plenty of work on them and we're just figuring out what's going to make the cut. A difficult process but we feel we've got plenty of good stuff to choose from.
One of the newbies, 'Marry Me, Ellen Hart', musically, is something of a tip of the hat to Nick Cave's Henry's Dream - perhaps specifically, 'Papa Won't Leave You Henry' - which I only found out recently was produced by David Briggs, Neil Young's long-time producer. Unfortunately, they weren't too pleased with the results or Briggs' live studio approach, so ended up remixing it. This consequently gave us the Live Seeds album, as they wanted to do the songs justice. Hmmm, still in my top 3 Nick Cave albums, no matter what they think. Lyrically, 'Marry Me...' continues my obsession with Edwin Stanton, Lincoln's cantankerous Secretary of War, as he woos his stubborn second wife. The lady in question was warned off the old curmudgeon by numerous friends (Stanton had turned from a care-free, loving father and husband to an embittered and ambitious man after the death of his wife, child and brother in the space of a few years) but he persisted and soon got his way.
It's looking like it'll appear on the album, along with a few others that haven't been aired live yet. In the meantime, here's one of the songs from the Club 60 gig that will also appear on the album. Tis all yours to download for free. Enjoy.