** PLEASE NOTE: This show will take place at our alternative home for the evening: SAINT MATTHIAS CHURCH, Wordsworth Road, London, N16 8DD. Doors open 7.30pm. Music starts 8.15pm. **
“It’s always the plan to shift a gear, stir something up and tell the truth of where I am in the world…”
Change is in the air for award-winning artist ROBERT VINCENT.
The Scouse singer/songwriter will release his fourth studio album in 2023 and its music is riding the winds of change in the air. “The songs are less traditional sounding,” he reveals. “I’m learning how to lower my barriers and have made a more personal album than ever before.”
It was the start of 2020 when Robert’s third LP, the critically-acclaimed ‘In This Town You’re Owned’, was released by Thirty Tigers and walked straight into a worldwide pandemic. That stalled all promotional plans and tours, but the record resonated enough to grab his growing fanbase and win the Americana Music Association UK’s ‘Album Of The Year’ and ‘Artist Of The Year’ award for 2021. Now, the big man wants to spread his music’s prescient words: “I think there will be mixed memories for anyone who lived through that and hopefully the album was a bit of a soundtrack to those times for some folks,” he says. “I had to try and take the positives as an artist. I hadn’t had any time off in many years from gigging and that gave me a bit of a reset… but I’m looking ahead to a successful year of touring and playing these new songs to people. It’s a tough time, but I’m positive about doing bigger and better things.”
The new songs reveal where Robert’s confidence is coming from. The widescreen drive of ‘The Insider’ asks us all to “find a better way” over a motorik beat reminiscent of The War On Drugs latest recordings, whereas the lilting ‘Anywhere’ (“what binds us is love”) waltzes its way into your heart upon a bed of whirling organ and wistful piano chords. “The new album has more of a concise sound,” Robert says. “The songs arrived throughout 2022 and are born from my own personal experiences, rather than the social commentary of the last album. This album contains a very intimate set of tunes.”
The record has captured said intimacy. Robert’s core band gathered under the eye of producer Jon Withnall (Coldplay, I Am Kloot) and made the music live in the studio, looking into the whites of each other’s eyes. “I chose to record closer to home with my usual band of brothers and sisters (Anna Corcoran on piano, vocals; Jim Kimberley, drums; Danny Williams, bass; Adrian Gautrey, guitar, keys) and they assisted me beautifully as always. We’ve also got featured musicians like Joe Coombs, an amazing guitar player from the south west, and Ethan Johns (who produced my last album) adding inspired bits here and there. Violinist Amy Chalmers added string arrangements and Ethan has mixed the album, so it’s a real family affair.”
It’s a family finding themselves in new circumstances, however. These songs represent a left turn for an artist who is ready for something more. Sure, that powerful and soulful voice that attracted acolytes such as Bob Harris, Paul Carrack and Mary Chapin Carpenter still leads the way, but songs such as the haunting ‘Beast Inside’, rural lament ‘When We Sleep’ and classic-in-waiting ‘The Hard Way’ (“we all bleed the same, let your story begin”), will reach deep into you and pull out that parts that respond to another person sharing their truth.
There’s an urgency to this music that places this beautiful and warm sounding record firmly in the present. “Didn’t mean to let you down,” sings Robert in the quietly devastating ‘Circumstance Of Ignorance’, as the ghosts of the past rage against the dying of the light in the background. “I suppose it’s an album about love and how it’s only love… it won’t kill you to show it,” laughs Robert. “Love is a pure thing: you either feel it, give it or you don’t. These songs are about connection and trying to overcome mental and physical barriers with love and empathy towards ourselves and others. That might sound trite on the page, but hopefully not in the message and the music. My favourite new song is called ‘Follow What You Love and Love Will Follow’… we all need a bit of that right now.”