Retail link, PR sheet & CD text for ‘Rust’, released June 2011
Rust can be purchased in physical or download form here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/colinharperthepeacefulmi
‘Squirrel’ can be heard in full (with a video of delightful squirrels) here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVsDrfmenus
Colin Harper & The Peaceful Minds
A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, Colin Harper used to write about music. A couple of books, a few hare-brained schemes and 10 years down a blind alley later (accepting a job in the public sector and trying ever since to get out of it), he has finally put his name to a CD of songs.
This isn’t the first Colin Harper album, though. In 2007, after years of his songs quietly appearing on other people’s records – including collaborations with Bert Jansch, Brian Houston and Martin Hayes – he collected a bunch of his songs and instrumental pieces together on a CD credited to The Field Mouse Conspiracy. Guest artists that time – 50 in all – included Duke Special, Paul Casey, Judy Dyble, Sarah McQuaid alongside several Van Morrison sidemen.
Irish music bible Hot Press declared, “Music journalist can write songs shock! This collection makes you wonder why Harper didn’t turn poacher much sooner…” Hi Fi News caught the vibe perfectly: “Right here you’ll find the long-lost spirit of music making for the sake of making music.”
In 2010 Harper released Titanium Flag, an all-instrumental CD – veering between chamber music, progressive rock and cool jazz – inspired by two books on Arctic history and travel. The reaction to this work has been an inspiration – with airplay ongoing across Europe, if IMRO/PRS statements are to be believed. Ex-Skid Row legend Brush Shiels got in touch to say: “There is so much energy coming off Titanium Flag that it has to be contributing to global warming! In some small way you will definitely affect people who care about the state of our planet, which is something that Skid Row never did. Beautiful piece of work.” Former Focus guitarist Jan Akkerman declared it, simply, “a masterpiece”.
All of which leads to Rust. The songs on Rust – and others that didn’t make the cut – were recorded simultaneous to Titanium Flag, but operate in a different sound world. Most are mellow, rather wistful and discursive pieces. A theme is the quest for the half-full glass, which is what much of life seems to be about. It’s the first time Harper’s voice has appeared on record. Respected songwriters Martyn Joseph and Pat Gribben (The Adventures) went out of their way to be encouraging about the material, then in demo form, while producer Cormac O’Kane was insistent that Harper use his own voice for once, to bring the right character and emotion to the songs.
One guest vocalist, Carol-Anne Lennie, does appear, on lead song ‘Squirrel’ – viewed by Harper as ‘Sandy Denny fronting the Who’, with the added bonus of ex Liverpool Scene/ Plainsong/ Pink Floyd guitarist Andy Roberts on Beatle-esque electric guitar and Irish jazz maestro Linley Hamilton on brass. But that’s pretty much where any comparison to previous guest-heavy projects ends.
In short, it’s 39 minutes of fairly wistful music by a small team of decent players that isn’t all as autobiographical as it might seem, and which might go down rather nicely on late-night radio.
Text from the CD Insert
- Squirrel (5:24)
- Testament (3:25)
- Gold Rush (5:47)
- Rust (4:46)
- Underachievement (5:06)
- A Part Of Eternity (1:46)
- Aztec Energy (4:34)
- Blues for The End Of Time (5:16)
- The Last Place On Earth (3:54)
All songs written and published by Colin Harper (IMRO)
The Peaceful Minds:
Colin Harper: vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar (5), keyboards (9)
Karen Smyth: backing vocals
Cormac O’Kane: keyboards, bass (2, 3), electric guitar (4, 7)
Ali MacKenzie: bass
‘Late-Night’ Tony Furnell: drums/percussion (except track 1: Jim Cuthbertson)
Carol-Anne Lennie: lead and harmony vocals (1)
‘The Legendary’ Andy Roberts: electric guitars (1)
Linley Hamilton: trumpets (1), flugelhorn (11)
Tracks 1-3 & 9 produced by Cormac O’Kane
Tracks 4-8 recorded by Bernard Flanagan
Carol-Anne recorded in Luton, Andy recorded in London
‘A Part Of Eternity’ and ‘The Last Place On Earth’ are new edits of tracks previously released on Titanium Flag.
Design is by Mark Case of White Noise Studios, Belfast
During 2010 I recorded Titanium Flag, an instrumental suite inspired by the Arctic, which was released in Summer 2010. The muse was flowing at that time: in parallel with the instrumentals a lot of vocal pieces were being written and recorded, with my friend and collaborator Cormac O’Kane adding the fairy dust to both projects, whenever his frenetic schedule allowed. In the year that passed between the first sessions and the last, enough perspective had flowed under the bridge to reshape what might have been a set of songs defined by anger and loss into a shorter offering in which paths in the forest twilight are still yet visible and within reach. And, just beyond those woods, the glistening lights of an inn where glasses are always at least half-full. One can but hope!
Colin Harper, March 2011