I'm really pleased to announce that our new album Stripped Back is now available to pre-order. Click on the image of the album cover below to go to the pre-order site and see details of the merch options available, which include the CD Album, a Lyric and Stories Behind the Songs Booklet, a T Shirt and the chance to join a Zoom merch signing session with Steve and me.
It's been a funny old year, hasn't it? Lockdown hit the music industry hard and at the time of writing we are only just seeing the first signs of a return to live performances. We did a really enjoyable set at Planet Rock’s Winters End on 1 March 2020 but since then, like many others, we have been limited to online streamed gigs, mostly from home (although we did manage a really enjoyable show at the excellent Birmingham Streams venue).
Without the prospect of a tour to promote it, a full new studio album had to be put on hold, but co-writer Steve Birkett and I saw an opportunity to use the time to do something we've wanted to do for some time - which was to revisit and reimagine some of our most popular tracks. The result is Stripped Back, a new studio album that includes a fascinating re-working of six tracks from More Sinner Than Saint and four from the second studio album Believe. If you saw one of our duo streamed gigs, you will have an idea of how the songs will sound.
We write a lot of songs and in the aftermath of More Sinner Than Saint we had over 20 songs that had not made the cut for that album, most because they simply did not ‘fit’. The feel and mood of Stripped Back created the scope to include two of these previously unreleased tracks, so Blues For Us (to be released as a single tomorrow, 12 March 2021) and Washing All Over My Heart make their deserved debuts on the new album.
And lockdown presented the opportunity for a different approach to the recording process. Steve, a talented multi-instrumentalist, undertook the vast bulk of the playing and recording, as well as the arrangement, production and engineering. The musicians who make up the gigging band – Neil Ablard, Nigel Darvill, Aiden Goldstraw and Vince Yarrington – contributed ‘remotely’ to the track Hurts, but the rest of the music is Steve’s. And, keeping it in the family, the album was mixed and mastered by his son, Steve Birkett Jnr. Even three of the images that are used on the album artwork were shot remotely by Adam Kennedy (the fourth is by yours truly!).
The end product is a laid-back, yet vibrant album of which we are very proud. And we are glad that this awful period has produced something that might not have otherwise been made – a case of lockdown, but no freeze frame for us! xx