Strange Faith - Love & Poverty (CD/LP, Tru Thoughts, 2015)
Strange Faith - Love & Poverty
(CD/LP/Digital) Tru Thoughts TRUCD/LP315, 2015-09-11
01. Sun Gone West 02:33
02. Hard Work In (Good Lovin Out) 03:08
03. Fair Weather 03:13
04. Just A Man 03:47
05. My Old Friend 02:24
06. Muriel 02:49
07. Walking Over 02:42
08. Just A Few Feet From The Gutter 03:07
09. Tell Me Why 02:55
010. Sweetest Sweetheart 02:53
011. Say Thank You 02:42
Nostalgia 77 : official | bandcamp | facebook | juno | junodownload | parisdjs | twitter
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Press Release :
11th September sees the release of the 'Love & Poverty' album by Strange Faith, a new collaborative project from a varied cast of musicians including country soul singer-songwriter Jeb Loy Nichols and jazz/blues/folk producer and composer Benedic Lamdin, acclaimed for his output under the Nostalgia 77 moniker alongside work with the likes of Valerie June, Jamie Cullum and Prince Fatty.
Strange Faith brings a rich and vibrant, breezy yet bluesy twist on the laid-back soul sound and earthy lyrical slant that has seen Nichols crowned the “high priest of country cool” by Rolling Stone magazine.
But while that voice is unmistakable, 'Love & Poverty' is a far cry from being a Nichols solo effort, and it shines with the vital and equal input of a talented ensemble: in attendance at the original session, held at drummer Antonio Feola's Fish Factory studio in London, were Feola himself on drums, Ned Crowther on bass and vocals, Nichols on guitar and vocals, and Lamdin also playing guitar.
Like many of the projects with which Ben Lamdin is involved – including last year's massively acclaimed (and BBC 6Music Playlisted) dub/jazz exploration with Prince Fatty, and his many live albums under names including Nostalgia 77 & The Monster – this one grew organically from an informal session that proved too special to ignore and became a repeat occurrence.
“Every month or so we then got together for a couple of days and cut new tunes or added and changed others”, recalls Lamdin; “Just playing and recording for the sake of it. The sessions were always fun and mercifully free of expectation. Anything that didn't work fell by the wayside. Nobody mourned the lost. The result is a record of simple, straightforward songs, recorded as we found them.”
The album is infused with the contrasting atmospheres of the inner London location where the sessions took place, and the Welsh countryside, where US native Nichols has made his home and where these songs first came into existence.
“I took daily walks last summer up and down the hill that leads to my home, and all the songs just seemed to spring out my footsteps,” he elaborates; “Maybe that's why they're all roughly the same tempo - a walking tempo - some faster (going downhill) and some slower (coming uphill).”
The opening track, “Sun Gone West”, which sets the scene for an album of glorious warmth and a strolling momentum, was mostly written on the way down the hill but finished while walking through Harlesden on the way to the studio, epitomising this mix of country and city or, in Nichols' words, “of rural Wales and peri peri chicken shops”.
The first single is a double A-side featuring the sweet ambling of “Walking Over” – almost a mission song for the LP - and “Hard Work In (Good Lovin Out)” which channels the idea of Dylan making a record at Stax in the '60s.
Elsewhere, the album continues the beautiful mix of soul and folk, laced with uplifting harmonies, with the characterful electric guitars and sway of country music rising to the fore in songs like “Fair Weather”; the driving rhythm & blues of “I’m Just A Man”, calling to mind the meatier and more bluesy direction of Lamdin’s two most recent Nostalgia 77 albums; to the gentle, melodic flow and heart-on-sleeve poetry of “Muriel”.
“I don’t recognise myself on this album; it’s really nothing to do with me”, says Nichols. “Strange Faith is to do with us, with us in London, in the studio: the coming together of very different people to make something new… learning and discovering the songs together. It's a conversation. A conversation that may begin in Wales but always finishes in London.”