rue North, the masterful follow-up to Michael Chapman‘s universally celebrated 2017 album 50 is due for release February 08, 2019 on Paradise of Bachelors.
Today marks the premiere of the second single from True North viaStereogum. The unflinching, bittersweet “After All This Time” features the voice of UK songwriting hero and longtime Chapman friend and collaborator Bridget St John. Floating on a cloud of BJ Cole’s pedal steel guitar, it’s as weightless and lovely as “It’s Too Late” is brooding and menacing.
Listen to “After All This Time” (featuring Bridget St John) HERE.
True North finds the elder statesman of British songwriting and guitar plumbing an even deeper deep and honing an ever keeneredge to his iconic writing. This authoritative set of predominantly new, and utterly devastating, songs hews to a more intimate sonic signature—more atmospheric, textural, and minimalist than 50, stately and melancholy in equal measure. Recorded at MwnciStudios in rural West Wales, True North surveys home and horizon, traveling from the Bahamas to Texas to the Leeds of Chapman’s childhood, haunted by the mirages of memory and intimations of mortality. Joining him on this introspective journey is a cast of old friends and new disciples: the aforementioned Bridget St John sings, andonce again Steve Gunn produces and plays guitar, collaborating with cellist Sarah Smout and legendary pedal steel player BJ Cole, who has accompanied everyone from John Caleto Scott Walker, Elton John to Terry Allen, Felt to Björk.
By the time True North is out in the world, Chapman will be seventy-eight years old and will have released nearly as many records, a staggering achievement. The elegiac True North navigates the treacherous territory of time, resulting in the most nakedly personal album of his career, his most authoritative, unguarded, and emotionally devastating statement. The album begins with the gnawing regret of “It’s Too Late,” and every song Chapman sings thereafter directly references the passing of time—its blind ruthlessness, its sweet hazy delights—in noirish language almost mystical in its terseness and precision. This is Chapman at his darkest and most nocturnal, yes, but also his most elegant and subtle, squinting into the black hours with an unseen smile.