My periodic ‘band’ the Legends of Tomorrow (rising from obscurity and releasing something every so often since 1995) has a download EP out on 11 November. Four originals, a Pentangle cover and a montage video encouraging people with artistic aspirations not to go to Nashville.
Here’s some of the PR blurb. The montage video is in the comments.
Don’t Go to Nashville EP
The Legends of Tomorrow
Digital release: 11 November 2019 on iTunes, Amazon, etc.
Author/music creator Colin Harper has wheeled out the ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ as a periodic moniker for recordings gathering many musical friends together since 1995. This EP comprises two new songs, two from 2007/08 and one from 2000 – the oldies hitherto digitally unreleased. All are newly mastered by occasional ‘Legends’ member Cormac O’Kane at RedBox Recordings Belfast and showcase five of Northern Ireland’s finest pop, rock, Celtic soul and bluegrass vocalists: Mickey Rafferty (The Minnows), Ciaran Gribbin (Leya/INXS/solo artist), Paul Casey (solo artist), Janet Henry (solo artist) and Lyndsay Crothers (Wookalily).
The title track was inspired by the current obsession among songwriters, particularly in Belfast, with the idea of ‘Nashville’ and particularly with the scourge of ‘co-writing’ – a Nashville practice that, in Harper’s view, is more about chasing a market with formulas than it is about genuine artistic expression or innovation.
Harper: ‘Nashville has become a bore. People go there to co-write with people they haven’t met before or worse, people from the place they’ve just come from! Leave Americana to Americans, I say. Stay at home and let your music-making imagination run free, unshackled by the templates and conventions of a place on someone else’s continent.’
‘Don’t Go to Nashville’ is itself free of formulaic concerns – it starts with a bass solo, it namechecks Ralph McTell, it changes tempo halfway through, it brings together renowned jazz pianist Flatts Conigan (a cunning pseudonym) with punk legend Petesy Burns (The Outcasts) on drums, it has a false ending, it has an eight-bar drum fill and it ends with a joyous instrumental coda. None of this would pass a ‘Nashville co-writing’ exam, and it’s all the better for it.
Two of the other songs – ‘When it’s Gone’ (written 2007) and ‘Greta Thunberg at the End of Time’ (written 2019) – reflect environmental issues:
Harper: ‘I don’t want to preach about it. Others can do that better. These songs are observations and, to a great extent, self-reflective pieces of writing. I’m responding to a slow-motion tragedy and asking myself what I can do about these things as much as anyone else.’
‘People on the Highway’ is a Legends recording of a Bert Jansch song, reflecting Harper’s interests as an author, his first of six books to date being Dazzling Stranger (2000), a biography of the British folk guitar icon. Notably, it features Irish traditional music icon Martin Hayes on violin.