Spottiswoode adds to his prolific output with his most intimate record so far. PIANO 45, the Anglo-New Yorker's first solo collection since UGLY LOVE over a decade before, is as raw and stripped down as it gets.
Of the fifteen tracks only one is performed on guitar, Spottiswoode’s primary songwriting tool. Spott turns instead to the piano. “The piano has allowed me to be more emotional and direct. And it inspires quite different melodies.”
Most of the songs feature simply piano and voice. Only a few have any extra embellishment – and then mostly just some extra backing vocals. Enemies keyboardist Tony Lauria takes over piano duties on three of the tunes - Now Didn't I, You'll See and Happy or Not. For the rest of there record the Englishman is on his own. Luckily, he had producer Kenny Siegal with him at Old Soul Studios to offer advice and much needed encouragement.
“After working for over a decade with my 7-piece band, it’s refreshing to get down to the basic song. I don’t feel I have to prove that I can rock out or be orchestral. It has been quite a challenge to make a record so naked and unpolished.”
Documenting the period around a romantic break-up, the songs on Piano 45 combine Spott’s storytelling skills and trademark wit with a greater vulnerability. These are sometimes spiritual tunes about love, family and loss.
The opener, Sentimental Song, looks in the rear-view and tells the story of a small family. There then follows various shifting perspectives on the end of a relationship. Now Didn’t I is philosophical. Haven’t Changed At All wallows in self-pity. The Walk Of Shame takes a more film noir approach. The narrative of the record weaves between light and dark through a soul-searching prism. What Comes Next closes the collection on a reassuringly gentle and hopeful note.
“Yes, I have turned into a cliché. This is my mid-life solo acoustic heart-on-my-sleeve romantic break-up record. At this rate you’ll find me in a lounge suit swigging martinis by 2020.”
An OLD SOUL RECORDS release.
Nominated for an Independent Music Award for Best Folk Record of the Year
Chariot and What Comes Next can be heard in the Kim Cummings feature film, IN MONTAUK, the latter as the closing credits track.