Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Ghost of Song: Review & Interview: Get Ready to Rock

'Ghost of Song' is the solo album of Trevor Jones of the duo Miracle Mile. He has already garnered rave reviews for his previous work and going by the ten songs on here he is going to do it again.
The overall feel is one of quiet reflection – nothing too fast paced – with a strong, often moving lyric.
A song like 'Homeward' deserves to be a hit single and if it doesn't make BBC Radio 2's airplay list (or for that matter any song on here) then something is wrong with the world. It is one of those tunes that reaches out to anyone, as does 'Hopeland'. In fact the whole album is well worth indulging in and Trevor Jones has a wonderfully smooth voice that suits the musical mood perfectly. It is not so quiet as to merge into the background as the lyrics and voice keep you listening.

Jason Ritchie

1. What are you currently up to?
As well promoting the release of ‘Ghost of Song’, I’m working on the new Miracle Mile album (my main musical venture). We recorded the bare bones of the songs in the summer before Marcus Cliffe (my musical partner) decided to dismantle the studio and rebuild it in his garden. He’s just put in the carpet and chandeliers so we’ll be reconvening the recording soon. I’m hoping that the album (tentatively titled ‘In Cassidy’s Care’) will be out in the summer. There may well be gigs to support that release.

2. Could you take us through the new album ‘Ghost Of Song’?
The songs from 'Ghost of Song' were inspired by time taken out in Corsica where we have a small house. I retreated there after a fairly frazzled period in London; the island inspired a real purity of thought for me; the simple life led to uncluttered thinking and inspired a real creative outpouring which informed the songs that you hear on the album.

3. The new album contains songs from two previous album 'Hopeland' and 'Keepers'. Have the songs been re-recorded/remixed at all?
Both ‘Hopeland’ and ‘Keepers’ were a combination of song and spoken word; ‘Ghost of Song’ is a distillation; a way of re-presenting a selection of the songs in a different light: Marcus is getting into vinyl and was raving about the fact that he's actually listening to music again; the process of placing needle to record makes him commit to the moment and see it through. We addressed the idea of releasing the selection as vinyl. I chose 10 tracks (5 aside) for 'Ghost of Song' in an attempt to create an old fashioned 'bedsit kind of album' that folk might learn to love to live with. It turned out too expensive unfortunately but I kept the old style vinyl concept for the collection and applied it to the songs; I hoped that it would affect folk and linger in the same way some of my old favourites have stuck with me (Blue/After the Goldrush/Hunky Dory/Steve McQueen etc) and picked songs that had a certain homely yet woozy feel to them. I also want it to take people back to the original albums and shed light on the new Miracle Mile album 'In Cassidy's Care' due out in the summer...

4. You are a keen blogger - does this make a good way to connect with listeners of your music? What for you makes an entertaining blog and any you'd recommend?
I’m not sure what makes effective blogging; it’s not really a mindful process for me, just a healthy forum for my daily outpourings. I guess that it’s a direct way of connecting with friends of my music and a positive outlet should we need to pass news on via the grapevine. It’s nice to get immediate feedback from folk also; a bit like chatting over the garden fence.

5. How does your solo work fit in with Miracle Mile? E.g. do your solo songs represent something you couldn't record with Miracle Mile?
I wrote the songs for ‘Hopeland’ (and later ‘Keepers’) after my retreat to Corsica. Because the experience was so singular, it seemed only natural to step aside from the ‘Miracle Mile’ banner and present it as a personal project. I knew that I still wanted to work with long-term musical partner Marcus Cliffe, but needed to change the working template in order to mark the recording as a departure. I decided to limit the time spent; we wouldn’t luxuriate as we might have previously done. The focus would be on ‘performance’; first takes were often ‘keepers’. We would also limit the number of instruments used. We agreed on a natural approach: acoustic guitar, double bass, and a battered old upright piano. There would be the odd intrusion of brushed drums. Cathy Thompson glided in to offer violin and viola, and Melvin Duffy drove through snow to colour with pedal steel and Weissenborn. Marcus’s partner Lucinda sang along from the kitchen, occasionally when the tape was running. Twenty days later, ‘Hopeland’ was recorded and mixed. It was a similar story with ‘Keepers’.

6. Has the internet helped you get your music out there or has it in some ways hindered it by websites offering free downloads? Do you still rely heavily on CD sales as opposed to downloads?
I’m fairly traditional when it comes to music; I love to cherish the hard copy (CD/Vinyl etc) and have the cover and artwork in my hands; that’s the way I’d like folk to receive my stuff. I accept that downloads are the way forward and can see that they offer an immediate experience, but am not totally convinced by the format; there is an inevitable compression of sound. We are however currently speaking with a couple of labels about re-releasing our back catalogue as 24 bit re-mastered downloads, that’s all in the offing but at least we’re trying to do the dance…

7. What have been the live highlights so far and why?
We haven’t gigged for an age. The first two Miracle Mile albums were written around a gigging band. It was a cracking little band that featured two ex members of Haircut 100; Les Nemes (bass) and Phil Smith (sax) as well as drummer Trevor Smith and Tasmin Archer's old guitarist Mark Hornby. We did the usual London rounds, but, as the music has got quieter, we retreated to the calm of the studio and the live unit eventually disintegrated. It’s not always easy to control live sound when you are trying to do things subtly… maybe we’ve become a little anal, could be time to dust off the leather pants again…

8. For someone new to your music what would you recommend they start with and why?
I reckon that ‘Ghost of Song’ is the perfect entry point for my solo stuff. As Miracle Mile have released 8 albums I’d recommend ‘Coffee and Stars’ 2009’s collection of selected songs.

9. Any good rock ‘n’ roll tales to tell…

I’ve led a sheltered life… I once spat at Sting at an early Police gig…

10.What do you enjoy doing in your time away from music?

I enjoy travel, spend a lot of time in Corsica; plenty of walking, I love to read, cook and play lots of squash. And, of course, there’s always music…

Anything else to add and a message for your fans?

I’d just like to thank the folk that have journeyed with us. Once people give our music a chance, they seem to stick with us. For me this whole thing is all about connection; it’s great when folk listen hard and get what we are trying to do and give us positive feedback; nothing beats that affirmation.

1 comment:

  1. There may well be gigs to support that release.
    you are past the leather pants stage though no doubt they still fit