My second studio album, The Red Café, is out on 23 May.
The record that I assumed would be my second—the one I made with Boo Hewerdine last year (which is absolutely beautiful and is called True and False)—will be out later this year with any luck. But I still had other songs in the works: some finished, some half-finished; ideas that related well to each other. So I spent this winter working very hard (my version of work, that is… you know…) on writing and recording. What I made has ended up with no option but to become The Red Café.
I couldn’t be more delighted with it. I wrote, recorded and mixed it here at home in Bridport, Dorset with help from a few talented friends.
The Red Café grew into the space between other projects. In this space, stories started to emerge.
Glimpses of people passing-by in animated conversation got me thinking; phrases picked up from books and elsewhere did too; faces in the photographs I made stood out in my mind. Whole new songs began to form.
Hook On The Line (single – out 1 April 2016) was written after watching—from a café window—all the people going off to work one rainy morning. It ended up with a lazy feel on the record; I’m not sure why. The song The Red Café’ was written at the piano wondering at the life of a woman in a painting. The whole song kind of ‘appeared’ in one go and I don’t know how but I think I managed to keep all the pathos intact on the record with just the sound of my creaking old piano. Victory Lap was written after watching a documentary on the life of Glen Campbell. It’s the oldest song on the album and it’s found a home with just guitar and the right feel. For the song Again, a song about love rediscovered, I changed tack halfway through the recording and pushed myself to make my electric guitar playing sound more like Johnny Marr than Johnny Cash.
As a songwriter and photographer I always find myself on the outside looking in; witnessing other lives, relating them to my own. Turning them into stories that I’m once again on the outside of.
‘I’m not scared of many writers but, Jesus… that song’ Pete Greenwood on The Red Café.
‘Just lovely…’ Ricky Ross
‘A gorgeous album…’ American Roots UK
‘That song is SO beautiful…’ Chris Evans (BBC Radio 2)
There’s gonna be a handful of album launch dates. In cafés. I know: it’s either coffee or I’m not playing. These are still being scheduled. The only confirmed date so far is on 21 May at the Hyde Park Book Club in Leeds. Pete Greenwood and Lisa Marie Glover are joining me on the bill. 4—7 p.m. Unnecessarily brilliant songwriting for a Saturday afternoon. Nice and civilised. Tell your friends if that’s near you. London, Cardiff and here in the South West are also on the cards. Watch this space for details.