Boo Hewerdine is well known as one of the greatest (and busiest) songwriter performers in the business, but incredibly, it's been 7 years since Boo released his last studio album of original material God Bless The Pretty Things (Reveal Records 2009). Not that Hewerdine has been inactive, far from it, the period has been the most productive of his career.
Boo wrote Radio Ballads for the BBC's Olympic and recent Child Migration series. Elsewhere new songs were commissioned for art galleries and museums, including the Beneath The Dark Cloth project at the Met in New York.
There has been a huge array of writing and producing with both established and upcoming artists and 'passing something on' to budding writers via his much loved songwriting workshops.
Boo spent three years writing a daily blog which lead to podcast fun with that staff of The WORD (RIP) and invitations to join Radio broadcasts such as The Verb (BBC Radio 3) and a moment of personal satisfaction when his work was included in the radio round up Pick Of The Week on BBC Radio 4.
A chance meeting with American guitarist Brooks Williams one snowy night in Ely lead the pair to form State Of The Union (a duo who's sound is simple, vibrant and alive, contemporary songs wrapped up in old time blues and country soul. State of The Union have recorded and released two albums and an EP, in quick succession, live in the studio with engineer Mark Freegard, the duo appeared on BBC1 TV Andrew Marr show performing their cover of Pet Shop Boys Rent.
Hewerdine wrote lyrics and played on over 30 new recordings by and with other artists during the period including the acclaimed 2014 album (Vagabond) and 2015 EP (Back The Dogs) with Scottish singer Eddi Reader, Last Man Standing Ep (2015) with Kris Drever of Lau and Duke Special. Reveal Records compiled the first document of his career to date with a fine Best of compilation My Name In Brackets and swiftly followed that with an album of lost recordings found in a box! This album was Open which received five star reviews and was number 5 in the Telegraph Albums of The Year 2015. Last year was spent writing and producing an ambitious new double album and theatrical show for Chris Difford of Squeeze, details of which are soon to be announced. All that and Boo toured with Eddi Reader in Europe, Asia and played a series of sell out headline shows in the UK and an invite to host Boo Hewerdine & Friends songwriters circle at London's Kings Place. There has not been a moment when Boo Hewerdine has not been working on something creative. His every day continues to be full of music and he has waited patiently to tell some older personal stories that will feature on his new May 2016 released Born EP and forthcoming Swimming In Mercury album (due September 2nd on Reveal Records).
I felt like I had to wait for the right time to tell some old stories, working on the Best of compilation My Name In Brackets and finding the Open recordings took me back a little, each song a placed me in a memory. I soon realised I had to go further and revisit the time when I was first making music. Taking the bus down to Rough Trade in London with my demo tape Julia, playing cheap guitars with broken strings.
For Swimming In Mercury and Born I have used instruments I've not used for years. The process has been more akin to when I was starting out in an indie band. I used my father's old beat up piano and I wrote some songs with my son, Ben which was great. The lyrics came fast, I trusting my pen.
'There was West Side Story
A Minuteman was flying
New elements half dying
(The Year That I Was Born)
It blows my mind that I still have the opportunity to make music, that I have a voice and that there are people who want to hear and release it. Time is precious and this is the music that I needed to make.