Legendary Leeds Folk Artist Michael Chapman has released the second single from his forthcoming album True North, set for release February 8th on Paradise of Bachelors. Following the universally celebrated 2017 album 50, After All This Time follows the 2018 release of album opener “It’s Too Late” described by The Guardian as a “sage, yet defiant assessment of boozy regret.”
The unflinching, bittersweet After All This Time features the voice of UK songwriting hero and longtime Chapman friend and collaborator Bridget St John. Floating on a cloud of BJ Cole’s pedal steel guitar, After All This Time is as weightless and lovely as It’s Too Late is brooding and menacing.
True North finds the elder statesman of British songwriting and guitar plumbing an even deeper deep and honing an ever keener edge to his iconic writing. This authoritative set of predominantly new, and utterly devastating, songs hews to a more intimate sonic signature—more atmospheric, textural, and minimalist than 50, stately and melancholy in equal measure. Recorded at Mwnci Studios in rural West Wales, True North surveys home and horizon, traveling from the Bahamas to Texas to the Leeds of Chapman’s childhood, haunted by the mirages of memory and intimations of mortality. Joining him on this introspective journey is a cast of old friends and new disciples: the aforementioned Bridget St John sings, and once again Steve Gunn produces and plays guitar, collaborating with cellist Sarah Smout and legendary pedal steel player BJ Cole, who has accompanied everyone from John Cale to Scott Walker, Elton John to Terry Allen, Felt to Björk.
By the time True North is out in the world, Chapman will be seventy-eight years old and will have released nearly as many records, a staggering achievement. The elegiac True Northnavigates the treacherous territory of time, resulting in the most nakedly personal album of his career, his most authoritative, unguarded, and emotionally devastating statement. The album begins with the gnawing regret of It’s Too Late and every song Chapman sings thereafter directly references the passing of time—its blind ruthlessness, its sweet hazy delights—in noirish language almost mystical in its terseness and precision. This is Chapman at his darkest and most nocturnal, yes, but also his most elegant and subtle, squinting into the black hours with an unseen smile.
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