With the release of the band’s album ‘Songbook’ we asked Leon Garner to take us through the album’s tracks.
We wanted to make a contemporary songbook album, not something that could of been dug up in time casual, but that felt relevant. We deliberately didn’t rehearse or write charts, or do more than a few takes, to give the Audience a feeling of live concert with mistakes, flat notes as part of the musical experience and not sort of filter out the imperfections – an old fashioned concept but I think it makes the tracks more a living thing than a bland auto tuned product.
We had to lean on the boys talent, intuition and imagination because nothing was written down per say. We were also on a super tight time frame but I think we created something special and that we’re super proud of.
It Could Never Be Me
Charlie originally sent over the melody as a ballad for me to put some lyrics to. I liked it is a ballad but I think tempos sort of find themselves especially when you’re gigging them lots – it’s been on a musical journey of its own this song. From a ballad to a Bossa to what is on the album.
The intro was thought up by Mikele Montolli who’s a monster on the bass and my favourite part is Rupert Cox’s Piano solo – it’s super playful and swings like a mother fuc**r!
The Way you look tonight
I love this standard – it’s beautiful and simple. I love the ending to our version the way it falls off the swing and we play it freely. The band has to be alert because we did it differently on every take. I think you can hear that tension in the record. It’s an alive silence, not a dead one.
Old Devil Moon
Like Tomlinson’s drum solo opening is one of my favourite things on the whole album. He slams on the bass as an opening note.
There are some big notes in there for me – a bugger to play live but super fun. I think this track really displays the talent of the musos and is just a fun summer track.
I love Rupert’s playing on this. It’s genuinely beautiful. We had some extra time in the studio so we just played the two of us. This is one take, no rehearsal. It’s not perfect but that’s one of the reasons I like it so much. It feel like you’re at a jam after a gig and the people in the band are just playing through tunes they like to play.
Nice and Easy
It’s the only track with Guitar on the album. Rob Barnaby sounds wicked, I love his sound it’s unique, he’s also a perfectionist so he wanted to do take after take, I think after the 5th Rupert said ‘for Fu*k sake Rob, I think we’ve got it’. Obviously Rupert was right we took the second take. Saying that rob carried on working on it from his home studio and I’m so grateful he did. It’s really terrific playing.
Too Close For Comfort
It’s the only track with a written arrangement, and it’s a very good arrangement by Douglas Marriner. It’s playful, fast, and gave the boys a bit of headache trying to play at that speed and read, trying to catch all the cheeky little hits and rhythm changes.
The Nearness Of You
My strongest vocal on the album in my opinion. I think that’s because I’ve sung it a million times. There’s a top D at the ending note which takes some ball to hit but the accompanying around it by the boys is spot on.
I Left My Heart In San Francisco
This came from the improvised session at the end of the recording session. Rupert’s impro is astonishing, its such a pleasure to play with. He also has an amazing ear he knows where I’m going musically before I do. Also I’m so glad this on the album, I’m a massive Tony Bennett fan. I was recently in San Fran and I went for a walk at sunrise and saw the bridge and my mind I instantly heard Tony’s Voice singing the opening line.
When You Come Into View
So glad Charlie Flint played on this tune with me, he’s a super gifted player and because he wrote the tune with me we could dig deeper in the studio. Listen out for his opening harp like arrangement, its kind of camp but it evokes a memory, like in those old films you hear the harp, the screen goes blurry and you enter a dream. That’s what it feels like looking back at old relationships and re-examining them. Usually I work out it was me that was a Knob, but none the less makes good writing material.
Thank you to Leon for giving us a run through of the album’s tracks.
Check out the track Old Devil Moon, below:
Read our interview with Garner here