Reg Meuross announces new album and tour

Reg Meuross

In 2011 Stephen Jordan, the Head Librarian at The Bodleian Music Library in Oxford, approached Reg Meuross with the idea of commissioning a compilation of unreleased material. After a cursory search down the back of the sofa Reg managed to find 20 songs that he had recorded to various stages of completion between 2006 and 2011 but which had failed to make the final cut onto albums. Stephen reduced the list to 13 and the result was the signed limited edition album The Dreamed And The Drowned.

Surprisingly to Reg that collection of songs which he had considered unsuitable for the various designated albums at the time of release attracted some of the best reviews of his career: “There is no doubt after listening to this selection of Reg’s unreleased songs that my view of him being one of our best singer/songwriters of our time is reinforced still further.” Alex Gallagher, Folk Radio UK. Anyone who is lucky enough to own a copy of The Dreamed And The Drowned will know very well that a rejected Reg Meuross song is in no way a reflection of its quality – but more a question of its suitability to the collection, or as (the now late) Stephen Jordan said himself “some songs are right books put on the wrong shelves.”

Now, with two successful solo albums under his belt (December and Faraway People) and a third on the way to complete the trilogy and as a nod in honour and appreciation of Stephen, who died in 2015, we felt it would be a good time to have a scratch around and see what else may have been overlooked. The resulting album Songs About A Train is a limited, signed release comprising eleven songs recorded by Reg between 2013 and 2017. Release date February 2nd 2018 (via Proper Records).

Reg will be touring with this album, plus previous release Faraway People, throughout the first half of 2018 in a Two Albums Tour.

“Some songs don’t stay still long enough and scamper off, some are dazzled by the dragonfly’s gleam. Some songs are right books put on the wrong shelves.” Stephen Jordan (1957-2015)

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website.

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artist’s website: regmeuross.com

‘Letting Go’:

Tour Dates

JANUARY

12 Roots Music Club, Doncaster, S. Yorkshire
13 Cruck Barn nr Skipton, N. Yorkshire
14 Kardomah94 Hull (12 Silk Handkerchiefs preview show) narrated by Brian W Lavery
17 Live Session Radio 2 Folk Show
19 Private gig Priston, Somerset
20 House Concert, Maidenhead, Berkshire
24 Cheese & Grain Frome, Somerset
26 Burton On Trent Folk Club, Staffordshire
30 Dartford Folk Club, Kent

FEBRUARY

2 Bridport Town Hall Songs About A Train SOUTH WEST ALBUM LAUNCH
3 Langfords Acoustic Cafe, Salisbury, Wilts
11 Raven Folk Club, Chester, Cheshire
14 Old Cinema Launderette, Durham Songs About A Train NORTH EAST ALBUM LAUNCH
15 British Legion Club, Coldstream, Scottish Borders
17 Ardross Hall, Ardross, Ross Shire
20 Glachbeg Croft Folk Club, Inverness Shire
21 Edinburgh Folk Club, Pleasance Festival Theatre, Edinburgh
22 Biggar Folk Club, South Lanarkshire
23 House Concert Blackpool, Lancashire

MARCH

1 Green Note, Camden, London Songs About A Train LONDON ALBUM LAUNCH
2 George Hotel, South Molton, North Devon
3 The David Hall, South Petherton, Somerset
10 Keynsham Space, Bath Festival
11 Osmington Village Hall, Weymouth, Dorset

APRIL

5 Hove Folk Club, East Sussex
6 Village Pump Folk Club, Trowbridge, Wilts
10 Fishponds Folk Club, Bristol
12 Pebbles Tavern, Watchet, Somerset
15 Salem Chapel, East Budleigh, Devon

MAY

2/3 Private storytelling through song workshop, Barcelona, Spain
5 Solidarity Festival, Barnsley
12 Wedding party, Somerset
13 Hebden Bridge Folk & Roots Festival
16 Epping Folk Club, Essex
17 The Stables, Milton Keynes
18 Chettle Village Hall, Dorset
26 with Anna Tanvir, Heart of Devon, Bow
27/28 Bude Festival, Cornwall
30 with Anna Tanvir, St Anne’s Barnstaple, North Devon
31 with Anna Tanvir, Chapel Arts, Bath

JUNE

1 with Anna Tanvir, Kingskerswell, Devon
6 Faversham Folk Club, Kent
21 The Old Stables, Cricklade, Glos

JULY

3 House concert, North Devon
6 Americana Fest 2018, Kelham Hall Notts
7 New Forest Folk Festival, Hampshire
12 Frome Festival + The Portraits Somerset
13 Holywell Music & Folk, Oxford
21 House party, Portsmouth, Hampshire
26 Orpington Folk Club, Kent
27 Coastal Connections, Brighton, East Sussex

REG MEUROSS – Faraway People (Hatsongs HAT011)

Faraway PeopleI enjoyed Reg’s previous album, December, and Faraway People is more of the same and even better than its predecessor. Once again Reg has stripped himself back to the basics of voice and guitar – plus a bit of banjo and harmonica – with only engineer Roy Dodds in the studio for company. And for all its soft reflectiveness it hits as hard as anything you’ll hear this year.

The opening title track attacks government cruelty through the stories of its victims, driven to despair and suicide and ‘Angel In A Blue Dress’ takes a specific case of a nurse in the resource-starved NHS. ‘The Lonesome Death Of Michael Brown’ contains several nods to Bob Dylan in both its title and lyrics and ‘Cicero’ is oddly reminiscent of ‘A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall’. The former tells the story of the Afro-American boy shot by a white policeman in Ferguson, Missouri which gave rise to a wave of protests but I’m uncertain about the link to the Roman senator in the latter, unless it is his life-long struggle against corruption. The song has a modern setting with some righteous finger-pointing at the rich, and particularly bankers and lawyers, but more empathy for the ordinary people.

There is tenderness here, too. ‘New Brighton Girl’ and ‘In Your Arms’ are both love songs and ‘Refugee’ sees the western world through the story of one such, trying to settle into a new life. Its anger is buried in regret and a sense of helplessness but it’s there. Reg is not without humour, either. ‘Leavin’ Alabama’ tells of an imagined meeting between Hank Williams and Dylan Thomas – in a bar, of course – and ‘Phil Ochs & Elvis Eating Lunch In Morrison’s Café’ is pure Michael Marra. Note the apostrophe, this café is in the south-eastern USA although Reg also places it, somewhat confusingly, just off the M18 and it imagines two of his heroes together with him trying to eavesdrop.

Faraway People is destined to be one of the albums of the year. It will be released on July 28th but you really should be queuing up already.

Dai Jeffries

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website.

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artist’s website: http://www.regmeuross.com/

‘Faraway People’ – in the studio:

REG MEUROSS – December (Hatsongs HAT010)

DecemberReg Meuross’ new album is a back-to-basics affair; one man, his acoustic guitar and harmonica and ten songs. It’s remarkably refreshing – I don’t know Reg’s music as well as I should but I think that will change very soon.

The opening song, ‘When You Needed Me’, is catchy and clever but I can’t help but think that he’s being rather knowing. He puts all the solo singer-songwriter tropes in this song – hints of Paul Simon, a dash of Bob Dylan and a wash of Leonard Cohen – as if to say “that’s what you expected, now let’s get on”. He follows that with ‘I Want You’, a love song with a great sense of intimacy, and this, you feel, is his real voice. That voice returns in the single, ‘The Hands Of A Woman’, a delicate ode to love that suddenly explodes with bitterness. The pattern is repeated with ‘In My Heart’ but this time the emotion is sadness rather than anger.

Reg is a master of melody, something of a lost art these days. ‘The Day She Never Cried’ is a perfect example of a sublime tune matched with great words and ‘The Night’ is a series of word-pictures that pull you in to snapshots of the world. Some of these songs are drowning in regret – ‘When You Needed Me’ and ‘Smarter Than Me’ are self-deprecating while ‘The Day She Never Cried’ obsessively picks away at the scars of a failed relationship. At least I think that’s what it’s about but the writer stands apart as if denying responsibility.

The album being called December it has to end with a ‘Christmas Song’ about one of the people forgotten at the festive season. Reg could take a very jaundiced view but, as with the rest of the album, the mood is one of regret and is surprisingly tender. This is a fine collection of songs which conceal great depths within their simplicity.

Dai Jeffries

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the banner link below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artist’s website: www.regmeuross.com

Reg Meuross – new single and album

Reg MeurossAfter 10 album releases Reg Meuross has returned to the solo format which inspired him to write and sing in the first place. December is a collection of 10 of the most beautiful songs which go straight to the heart.

Many will know award winner Reg for the extraordinary intimacy of his live solo performances, and it’s the countless requests at these unique events for ‘the one that sounds just like what we’ve just heard’ that have inspired the production of this distinctive and entirely solo album of new songs.

On the 3rd of December Reg drove to London with his newly restored 1944 Martin guitar on a promise. That promise was to repay the kindness of various friends and supporters who had helped in bringing that sweet little instrument back from San Jose to the workshop of the master luthier, Stuart Palmer, in Doncaster. The moment he held that lovingly restored guitar in his hands, Reg set about fulfilling his promise by writing an entirely new collection of songs on it, and it was these which he brought to his great friend, the drummer and recording engineer, Roy Dodds’ Kitchen Floor Studio in White City. Over two days Reg recorded straight to mic with no overdubs or studio trickery.

This is the sound of beautifully crafted songs in their purest, most original and definitive form. One man – who just happens to be ‘one of the finest songwriters this country has produced’ [Mike Harding] – and his guitar.

Artist’s website: http://www.regmeuross.com/

JESS VINCENT – Shine (Hatsongs HAT008)

JESS VINCENT ShineOnce again produced by and featuring Reg Meuross (who also co-wrote five of the 12 tracks) with regular collaborators, guitarist Marcel Rose and cellist Beth Porter joined by Pete Willis on bass and Graham Brown taking over from Roy Dodds (who handles the mastering duties) on percussion, Vincent’s third album continues her upwards momentum as one of the brightest names on the UK folk-country scene. Again, the DeMent and Parton comparisons are to the forefront, but this time round I’d also suggest there’s a definite touch of early Nanci Griffiths to her engaging warbling trill, especially so on the lovely ‘Fall Apart’, the song itself putting me in mind of Julie Gold.

Reg providing the harmonica and banjo, it opens with the sparkling exuberant and infectious upbeat folk-pop title track, a number that could make the most dismal winter’s day feel like glorious spring, then, keeping the theme of love’s positivity (and the harmonica), comes ‘Love Me True’ before the first of the album’s songs rooted in real life figures. Featuring Vincent on shruti box, ‘New Amsterdam’ is a sort of sea shanty and gypsy waltz cocktail about Olive Thomas, a silent movies actress (and sister-in-law to Mary Pickford) whose promising screen career was cut short in 1920 after drinking mercury bichloride, rumouredly laced in her wine, sparking one of the first of media frenzy Hollywood scandals.

Moving from movies to music, Meuross co-penned closer ‘Billy Tipton’s Waltz’, Brown on brushed drums and Mike Cosgrave on piano, tells the story of William Lee Tipton, an Oklahoma-born 1950’s jazz pianist and saxophonist who was born Dorothy Lucille , but lived her life as a man (she had several wives and three adopted sons, who only discovered the truth when, 74, their father was treated for a fatal peptic ulcer), forming the Billy Tipton Trio (the others unaware of his true sex) and releasing two albums.

A somewhat less celebrated name, featuring Porter’s cello, ‘Wind On The Downs’ is adapted from the best known work by the Oxford-born poet Marian Allen, written after her fiancé, Arthur Greg, a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps who was shot down in 1917. And, staying with a military but introducing a personal touch, the gently dappled, vocally soaring Parton-esque ‘Charley’s Song’ was written as a morale-boosting tribute to her army officer friend and the responsibilities she takes on.

There’s also a very personal note to the banjo and accordion backed Vincent/Meuross waltzer ‘Wrong Shade Of Blue’ that juggles the musically upbeat framework and the sunny day images with the emotions welling up over her mother’s death. She adopts a similar mismatch on ‘Shackles And Chains’, where she duets with herself on a piano led DeMent-like country heartbreaker about a woman rescued from post break -up suicide drowning and the chains of the past by a man the narrator meets in bar and who follows her to the sea.

Featuring Cosgrave’s accordion and Brown on cajon, the last of the co-penned numbers takes its cue from Tex-Mex tales of men seduced by femme fatales, ‘Run, Senor Run’a train-rolling rhythm tale about how Carlos ignores his friend’s warning that the woman with whom he’s besotted has come from the grave.

Which just leaves two self-penned tracks, the mid-tempo uke and cello accompanied ‘Raining’, a track that pretty much sums up the sort of day we’ve all had when the world seems to fall apart and the waters rise, and, again calling DeMent to mind, the gentle Appalachian heartache of ‘Here And Now’, Porter’s cello underscoring the lyrics (again, surely informed by her mother’s passing) about the grief, loss and and sense of being left alone following the death of someone close. Listen hard and you may find it hard not to feel a lump welling in the throat. Her best album yet, Vincent doesn’t just shine, she positively glows.

Mike Davies

If you would like to order a copy of the album, download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the banner link below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website.

Artist’s website: http://www.jessvincentsings.com/

‘Shine’ – live performance and interview:

REG MEUROSS: England Green & England Grey (Hatsongs)

Reg MeurossOn this album it’s the historical material where Reg Meuross’s songwriting is particularly fascinating. His account of how the Suffragette Emily Davison hid in a House of Commons broom cupboard on the eve of the 1911 census is well told (‘Tony Benn’s Tribute to Emily Davison’). The story of the only woman to have officially served as a soldier in World War One is nicely recounted in ‘The Ballad Of Flora Sandes’. ‘They Changed Her Mind’ as a title is a clever play on words, the song looking touchingly at cases of mental asylum inmates who should not have been locked away at all. ‘The Band Played Sweet Marie’, about the violin given to the bandleader of the Titanic by his fiancée, is a gem.

Meuross also has a gift of wrapping up a polemic in a cheerful melody. He starts the album passionately, in ‘What Would William Morris Say’, blending poetically expressed words of Morris with a critique of the contemporary landscape from a classic liberal-left perspective. The title track has a similar dystopian theme, and is possibly seeking to emulate William Blake’s ‘Jerusalem’ in its sentiment. Its memorable and tuneful refrain has an air of sanguineness, and combines with verses railing against aspects of Britain’s past and present.

The album’s most poignant track, ‘Counting My Footsteps To You’, written on the subject of dementia, is measured in its expression and is a compelling song of great pathos. The CD comprises a wide-ranging collection of tracks, all well arranged and played. It certainly merits attention from beyond the folk constituency.

Colin Bailey

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the banner link below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artist’s website: http://www.regmeuross.com/