On 24 June 2022, Lewis Wood will release his debut solo album Footwork. After a decade of playing as part of bands, most notably Granny’s Attic, he really felt like now was the time to make his first solo recording.
“This seemed like a really good opportunity to create a project that would showcase my tune-writing as part of a longer form work. It’s something I have been very proud of over the last few years and I wanted to take it to the next level” he says.
The album consists entirely of original tunes written for regional English Step Dancing, and features the feet of Melanie Barber, Toby Bennett, Lynette Eldon, Lisa Sture, and Simon and Jo Harmer, all leading exponents of this family of dance styles.
It is a genre that Lewis feels is under-represented. “In this country we tend to focus on Ceilidh and Morris Dancing, but we have an incredibly diverse array of step and clog dance styles from all across the country, which hold up to the more well-known Appalachian and Sean-nós styles. It’s made for a really eclectic album.”
He has been working on the project since 2019, when he met up with the dancers to work out exactly what makes each dance style unique and what was expected in a tune, using everything he learned to write the tunes for the album.
The album, initially expected to be released in 2020, was held up by the Covid-19 pandemic, which meant he was not able to get the dancers in one space for the recording. Determined to get ahead, he spent the first lockdown recording all the instrumental parts in his family home in Worcester, with a little help from multi-instrumentalist Matt Quinn in Sheffield.
“Recording at home was an entirely new experience for me, and I really felt like I was learning on the job somewhat. The big positive was that I had more time to experiment with overdubs and really create a sound for each track that I was happy with. That’s a luxury you don’t get when you’re paying for studio time. Here I was with all the time in the world!”
In July 2021, the dancing was finally recorded in The Brook, Southampton, with The Drystones’ Alex Garden on engineering and mixing duties.
“Alex was absolutely integral to the album coming together” says Lewis. “They brought focus to the project at exactly the right time, as well as experience and energy in spades. I’m also really grateful to the Alan Surtees Trust, who provided £1,000 of funding towards the recording sessions at a time when finances were especially tight.”
The album will be followed in September by the first live shows. These will feature every track on the album, alongside traditional material and all-new segments, creating an engaging companion piece.
Artist’s website: www.lewiswoodmusic.co.uk
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