I’ve been wanting to write an album based around a Medicine Show theme for quite some time now, in fact I wrote a song for it just after I finished ‘The Life and Death of A.J Rail’ in 2015, but I was never quite inspired enough to realise the idea into a full album – so it was put on the back burner, waiting for inspiration and the right opportunity to come along.
Enter Jason Elliott on behalf of The Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival! At the end of October last year Jason rang me with a proposition, he wanted me to write an album specially for the Festival and perform it as an hour-long stage show, obviously I jumped at the chance and whilst we were talking I remembered about my Medicine Show idea, the cogs started turning, inspiration came and roughly a week later I’d laid the song-writing groundwork for the album.
I decided early on that the story was going to be a bit macabre and have a dark undercurrent, as I was writing the songs I envisaged Tim Burton style characters and that’s the sort of the feeling I wanted to get across, a twisted, macabre fairy tale - Tim Burton style and in the spirit of the original Brothers Grimm stories too, with a total absence of Disney! I think I achieved it quite well, I’m certainly over the moon with the finished album. It’s also afforded me the opportunity to use nonsensical words or just make up my own (Grammar Nazis beware), in the style of the old Medicine Show Doctors, which was great fun. I failed to get the word disgustipated in there though, which was high on my list of words to get in!
Unlike ‘CrowSoul` which was bleak, macabre and humourless, I wanted this album to be a little more tongue in cheek, there’s humour there for anyone with the same weird, dry sense of humour that I have. Musically I’d say it’s a cross between traditional Country Blues and Vaudeville, but I could be wrong! There’s bound to be a few Tom Waits comparisons flung around and although I love Tom, he’s not really a big musical influence on me, I just write what I want to hear and hope other people enjoy it too.
I’ve really enjoyed writing and recording this album, it’s given me a chance to let my imagination run wild, and I think it’s fair to say that it takes elements from everything I’ve done musically over the last few years and mixes it all together into something quite unique.
The album will be released at The Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival on August 25th and I will be performing the album in The Little Theatre at noon on the same day.
A link will go live for special pre-order bundles on May 27th on my Bandcamp page, these will include the CD, A5 Story Book, Stickers and Exclusive Album T-Shirt. The first 50 copies sold will also get a limited edition ‘Half Deaf Clatch Patch’ too.
Read all about this year's festival on their WEBSITE