albany down

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Contemporary UK blues-rock band, Albany Down, came together with some classic rock and Brit blues-rock influences, but with their 2011 debut album, ‘South of the City’, they found their own sound. Albany Down

Albany Down are Paul Muir on vocals, guitarist Paul Turley, drummer Damien Campbell and bassist Billy Dedman and they have recorded a brace of albums with producer Greg Haver (Manic Street Preachers, INME, Super Furry Animals).

“These guys are really going somewhere; make sure they take you with them!" – Paul Jones, BBC Radio 2

Blues Rock Review offered a fair assessment of both the band and their debut album: “South of the City” is a solid debut album from Albany Down and they will be an interesting band to watch develop in the coming years”.

They now step up to the plate with12 original well-crafted songs on their formidable new album “Not Over Yet”. Traditionally a band’s second album is regarded as being problematical but Albany Down have turned that notion on its head, taking all that was good on “South of the City”, honing their song writing craft and reveling in Greg Haver’s powerful production.

The band’s big Zeppelin-influenced sound draws from the same British blues-rock well, that gave Zeppelin a head start all those years ago and later was rediscovered by Joe Bonamassa. But it’s the resonant substance of the band’s own songs and their exuberant style that gives the new album its edge.

“We all came to the band with different but related musical influences” says vocalist Paul Muir. “We wanted to build on those and write and play music that was all our own and really ‘now’. We enjoyed working with Greg on the first album and he has undoubtedly enabled us to expand both our musical horizons and our self confidence in trying new things.”

The debut album, “South Of The City”, clearly showcased what the band were capable of - ranging from the superbly arranged ‘Mercy’ to the low-down dirty, slide-led blues epic of the title track.

“Not Over Yet” finds Albany Down playing to their strengths as they explore the full scope of their musical dynamics to match their fast rising song craft. And where vocalist Paul Muir could previously have been compared to the likes of Paul Rodgers, he stamps his own personality on this album, while guitarist Paul Turley adds his own passionate performance as part of a sparkling mix.

It’s one thing to focus on your style and develop your sound, but quite another to deliver songs that can set you apart from your contemporaries. “Not Over Yet” does the trick, from the soaring Eastern vibe of the intro and the Black Country Communion feel of ‘Back Again’, to the funky bluster and potent hook of “Take This Town”. Their jewel in the crown is the mandolin-led “Man Like Me”. That’s not to overlook the climactic blues-rock ballad "You Ain't Coming Home" and the reprise of the album’s opening Eastern theme on the big production “She’s The Light”.

“Not Over Yet” also reflects the band’s old school, daily existence as a hard working road tested outfit, who have enjoyed well received appearances at the Burnley and Maryport International Rock/Blues Festivals as well as the legendary 100 Club.

Albany Down are a band that runs on pure adrenalin, unrelenting energy and raw emotion. “Not Over Yet” is a landmark album full of their strongest songs, lingering melodies and great playing. They save their best for last on the epic “The Working Man”, a song for our times. The band’s stellar performance showcases vocalist Muir’s full range, and features a defining guitar solo from Paul Turley. You can pay this track no better compliment than to say it sits effortlessly with any major song from the classic rock era, and would surely light up contemporary rock radio.

Rock blogger Neil Mach probably got it right, when he recently described the band; “As hot as volcanic ash and yet as cool as snow slippers.”

“Not Over Yet” is an aptly titled album and an accurate barometer of a band on the up-escalator and will soon be tearing up a venue near you.

Paul Muir
What started the love affair with music for you?
I was brought up surrounded by music. My Mum and Dad are both big music fans and whether I was at home or visiting my Dad, there was usually something musical going on. Hell, I was named after Paul Rodgers and Paul Kossof. I'd sung as long as I can remember, played with keyboards since I was 8 and drums since I was 12, but nothing really pulled me into music until I got a guitar at 16. It changed my life. A month after, I'd already written my first song, but it wasn't until I started singing them that I realized I was much better at singing than I ever would be at guitar. I was listening to songs, going "yeah, I can hit that note," and eventually the desire to be up there at the front, being the guy telling the story, became my life. Not a bad achievement for the awkward, shy kid from school.

What does Albany Down offer that is different to other bands on the show tour and studio scene?
Mainly balls. There's so much bland indie crap around, you can't get away from it. It's either that or guys shouting about stuff that doesn't really matter - to them or us! We've played gigs with loads of both these types of band, and it's hard to tell them apart. We've got a gutsy sound that doesn't shy away from its bluesy roots, and it always stays musical rather than just being loud. I think it sets us apart from the crowd, and when you actually see the look of surprise and enjoyment on people's faces when they see you play for the first time, that's fantastic.

What goes through your mind when you listen to the debut album, South of The City?
I don't like listening to recordings of myself, so I haven't actually heard that much since we left the studio! Having said that, it's pride, mainly. There are some really good songs on there that I think stand up to big mainstream acts. I'm a bit overly-critical though, so I'm always listening and picking out bits that I want to change or things I would have done differently; only my own parts though, never the arrangements or the other instruments. But it's a great list of tracks with a wide range of style and appeal; there's something there for everyone.

What does the name Albany Down mean or signify to you personally?
The word "Albany" for whatever reason makes me think of flying birds. No idea why. Now that I think about it, combined with the word "Down" it creates the same sort of opposite vibes that Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith have; a heavy part and a gentle part. For the rest of the world, it should mean awesome music, great fun, and a desire to go see the shows.

Are you happiest in the rehearsal room, stage or studio?
The feeling of a great crowd reaction can't be beaten. It feeds me, and I could just stand there and absorb it all night. I would love to be able to get a little more involved with the album production next time, since it's an area which I'm personally interested in. But Greg (Haver, producer) was awesome, so I wouldn't want to do anything to piss him off!

If you had a choice of touring any country or continent, where would it be and why?
America, no question. It's the biggest market in the world, with some of the most famous stadiums. To tour the big venues, even just supporting another band would be absolutely incredible. Asia would be cool too, since a lot of the countries there seem to really embrace British rock bands.

What does the dream of a rock and roll life mean to you personally?
Is there anything else? It's all I've wanted since I was 16, and I have no alternative plan! It's pretty much the only thing I think about. We have a fantastic network of support, we've got really good musicians and we're in a very strong position to actually make something of this, so what more can you ask for? I'd settle for being able to make a living from it, but I'll grab global superstardom if it comes knocking.

What comprises your current favorite equipment, for live and in the studio?
For the live shows, a Shure SM58; the finest vocal microphone ever created - wireless if possible. And a great crowd. No idea what we used for the vocals in the studio, but I'd happily use them again. Oh, and LOTS of water.

Paul Turley

What started the love affair with music for you?

I first picked up the guitar when I was 14. I was playing other instruments, but the guitar was the only one that really clicked with me. Shortly after I started learning, my Dad gave me a Hendrix CD which really opened my eyes to what was possible on the guitar; I loved that sound and it inspired me to want to play like that. It also encouraged me to expand my musical tastes, and from there, I started listening to other rock bands like Led Zeppelin and Cream, and also to blues and jazz.

What does Albany Down offer that is different to other bands on the show tour and studio scene?

I don't think there are many original bands at the moment playing the kind of bluesy rock and roll that we play. We try to write songs with memorable choruses and catchy riffs, but with room for solos and some degree of improvisation to keep things fresh.

What goes through your mind when you listen to the début album, South of The City?

I'm very proud of the quality of the songs and the recordings. It always amazes me when I think of the development of each song, from a simple riff or an idea for a chord progression into these massive, finished tracks.

What does the name Albany Down mean or signify to you personally?

Blues, blisters and broken strings. Good times and rock and roll.

Are you happiest in the rehearsal room, stage or studio?

Playing live in front of a crowd provides the most immediate thrill. A good gig in front of an enthusiastic audience is a brilliant feeling. I do like being in the studio as well; seeing a song develop from ground-zero into a finished track is great.

If you had a choice of touring any country or continent, where would it be and why?

A tour of the USA would be brilliant, just for the history and rock and roll heritage.

What does the dream of a rock and roll life mean to you personally?

Writing great songs, seeing new places, playing to huge crowds of people and having a good time.

What comprises your current favorite equipment, for live and in the studio?

My main guitar is a Goldtop Gibson Les Paul. I also have a Fender Strat set up for playing slide, and a white Suhr Strat that I use on some songs. My current amp is a Reinhardt Vintage 50, which is a 50 watt US valve amp. I have a pedal board with a fairly standard selection of effects: overdrive, fuzz, wah, etcetera. Buying stomp boxes is hugely addictive.

Damien Campbell

What started the love affair with music for you?

I encountered my first set of drums at performing arts school when I was 11. I haven’t looked back since!

What does Albany Down offer that is different to other bands on the show tour and studio scene?

Albany Down has the sound that I like to hear - powerful drums, mean guitar riffs, pumping bass and amazing epic vocals.

What goes through your mind when you listen to the début album, South of The City?

I think, “What an album!”, it’s got highs, lows, hard and soft. It is one of my favorites and I never get tired of listening to it.

What does the name Albany Down mean or signify to you personally?

I’m not sure really, but I’m sure at some point it will mean a hell of a lot to me!

Are you happiest in the rehearsal room, stage or studio?

I am happiest on stage, as this is where I play to the fans personally. It’s the greatest feeling being up there whilst the fans scream and shout for more and more. But I also love being in the rehearsal room and in the recording studio as this is where all the hard work and creativity comes together.

If you had a choice of touring any country or continent, where would it be and why?

It would have to be the USA, they are mad for music, especially rock. They have a massive music industry over there and someday I would like to be part of that.

What does the dream of a rock and roll life mean to you personally?

It means that I get to play my music that I love to people who want to listen, get paid for it and not have the stresses of normal life. Perfection.

What comprises your current favorite equipment, for live and in the studio?

I love my snare! It’s got such a warm but sharp sound. I use Remo Ambassador skins and Remo Pinstripes on my other drums.

Billy Dedman

What started the love affair with music for you?

In high school, all of my friends were picking up guitars, but I figured if everyone is going to do that, what about other instruments? So I decided on the bass guitar. My Dad used to play the bass when he was my age, so he knew what to look for when buying my first one second hand. From there, it was tough love I guess, as I wanted to be really good, but, as any musician starting out will know, it takes a LOT of practice. It wasn't until I heard Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" from the BBC sessions that it really hit me that this is what I want to do. From there, I just started playing in all my spare time, and so I learned every song, every riff I could get my hands on. I started playing with bands with the friends from school, and from then on, there was no turning back.

What does Albany Down offer that is different to other bands on the show tour and studio scene?

In all the gigs we have played together, I haven't really seen any bands play the sort of heavy rock and blues that we do. I also haven't seen a band that has a lead guitarist and rhythm section as good as ours, that really soars and kicks hard when it's in the zone. We leave a lot of room in some songs for improvisation, and I think that makes for a more exciting live show.

What goes through your mind when you listen to the début album, South of The City?

I have to pinch myself sometimes; even though it's always been a dream and a goal to reach this point, to have an album of this quality blows me away. I often think were have been incredibly lucky, especially to work with Greg Haver; he's a total legend.

What does the name Albany Down mean or signify to you personally?

To me, it means good-time rock 'n' roll. To get down and dirty and have a proper party.

Are you happiest in the rehearsal room, stage or studio?

I love all three, although probably I like performing live on stage most of all. The adrenaline rush and excitement is just awesome, especially at a big gig with a huge crowd, all shouting for us.

If you had a choice of touring any country or continent, where would it be and why?

I'd love to tour America. I want to be in a coach travelling down route 66 with a whisky and coke in my hand. That's the dream, and why the hell not?

What does the dream of a rock and roll life mean to you personally?

It means total freedom and artistic expression. It's raw power; the definition of music itself.

What comprises your current favorite equipment, for live and in the studio?

I love my Fender Precision bass guitar. It's all I need.

 



 
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