Saturday, 22 September 2012

Well, dear reader, I have to say that at this point I begin to get nervous. Stage fright I suppose, and my head begins to fill with Dante's Horrible Perhapses. What if no one likes the album? What if they all want their money back? What if it is ridiculed and so on and so. You see I have lived with this material for the last three years. Practically every day has been spent wrestling these tunes out of the recalcitrant aether and I have grown so close to it that I no longer have any idea at all how it sounds! I worry about my guitar playing, my composition skills, lyrics and just about any tiny element you could conjure up gives me cause for neurotic angst.
I'm not an especially good guitarist; I have had to learn certain aspects of composition, counterpoint and harmony as I went along.The whole piece did not come easy, so to speak. And I really want you to enjoy it and get something out of it!
Well that is largely up to you in the final analysis. Let me attempt an explanation. I am often asked what influences this stuff. I think that more than a few folk believe I come from the Enid, Yes, Genesis, King Crimson school of thought. Not a bit of it dear reader, not a bit of it. Whilst I admire that distinguished company I rarely if ever listen to their music and my stuff doesn't come from the same place. Perhaps the closest band, in spirit but not in music, to my approach is The Band. That may seem surprising, but it aint really. The Band wrote for a forgotten America. Their songs came from the Lost Lands of the US, I think; from a culture swept away in a tornado of social progress and  political and social change. Theirs are songs about a people no longer at home in their own country. Consider, for example, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down. A fabulous song by anybody's standards. I feel they same about my music and England. 
England is a weird (or perhaps Wyrd)  little place. It has no indigenous mythology, no wonder tales, no great and ancient books of lore. In this sense it is almost unique in the world. Most every other culture has it's high stories, it's gods and heroes, but not England. What we do have though is by far the richest and most varied store of folk tales, folk songs and folk lore of anywhere in the world. You could call this A Hedgerow Mythology and it is extraordinarily rich and diverse. 
We are in danger of losing touch with this golden horde of ours and if that should happen, in my view the consequences would be horrible. I use the word WE guardedly because it has recently taken on a rather sinister and subtle social significance. If one listens to the radio, one will often hear phrases such as "In England WE now think so and so" or "WE have become a nation of this and that." To me this is a supermarket identity and supermarket thinking that supports the construct of a homogenized Many against any One who might be striving to become an individual. Many of the English hedgerow tales reflect and warn against this tragedy, this assimilation of the one into a mindless whole. Be warned, dear reader, be very warned!!
Anyway, I dearly hope you will at least enjoy this next album. If you do, it will bring me great delight and huge pleasure.
Speak Soon.
Lots of Love
Francis xxx

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