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The August release on Bowers & Wilkins Society of Sound comes from Sunderland-born singer/guitarist Marty Longstaff, better known as The Lake Poets, and is available now.
The Lake Poets' self-titled debut album was recorded in just three days in Nashville. That Longstaff recorded enough songs to seriously consider releasing a double album is testament to his dedicated work rate. That the 11 songs to make the final album are sparsely beautiful and set to see Longstaff mentioned in the same breath as John Martyn and Richard Thompson are credit to a startling ability to pare his finger-picked guitar playing to the bare essentials, just right for Longstaff's shimmering, pure vocals.
The Lake Poets is certainly an album that's easy to get lost in, drawing listeners in with intimate songs rich in painting the big picture about love and mortality by way of a keen eye for the vivid small details of life. "People are interesting and they've all got good stories. If you listen to them, you always learn something" says Longstaff.
Although made at Nashville's Blackbird Studio, a place where countless American music legends have recorded, Longstaff's voice echoes with the unadorned distinctively North East tones of Paddy McAloon and Martin Stephenson & The Daintees.
However it was another alumni of the North East, Dave Stewart, that has produced the album in Nashville with musicians including drummer Chad Cromwell (Neil Young, Mark Knopfler), pedal steel guitarist Dan Dugmore (James Taylor, Bob Dylan), bassist Michael Bradford (Ringo Starr, Stevie Nicks), plus Academy of Country Music Award winners Mike Rojas (keyboards) and Michael Rhodes (bass).
"Within seconds of hearing Marty's voice, I was scrambling to get directly in touch with him. I was sent a link to a YouTube video by a chap in my home town called Harry Collinson. He said when he heard this boy sing at a charity concert held in a church it made him well up with tears. Marty, aka The Lake Poets, is from Sunderland -which is also my hometown. So I not only connected with his voice, but every word that fell from his mouth was like a road map back home to the emotions and feelings I had growing up there. Marty sings the truth as it is - no holds barred, and his sense of melody is intrinsically linked to those huge stormy skies and the crashing waves that inhabit the North East of England - and weave their way into great songwriters minds. Marty is the real deal, one of the greats up there following a lineage of english songwriters from John Martyn, Nick Drake to Richard Thompson and Thom Yorke. The emptiness you feel in this recording comes from a deep sense of knowing - and allows the listener to follow the story all the way back to the heart." - Dave Stewart
Within three days, 24 songs were recorded. "Nashville is a long way to go to f*** up," laughs Longstaff, an effusive and innately inquisitive soul whose Master's degree in Linguistics can be detected in his love of using words to great effect both in his songs and in conversation. "I worked as hard as I could. I thought 'I've got an opportunity in a world-class studio here'."
Read more about the incredible story behind The Lake Poets' album and watch an exclusive video premiere of the track 'Your Face' at Bowers & Wilkins Society of Sound.