RED SKY JULY – Shadowbirds
Album release September 15th 2014
‘Losing You’ – single release Sept 22nd
Red Sky July return with Shadowbirds, the follow up to their acclaimed, self-titled 2011 debut. Gorgeous harmonies, beautiful melodies, top-drawer songwriting, signature guitar playing and an Americana-inflected, alt-country twang are the name of the game for this accomplished London-based trio.
Red Sky July are husband and wife duo Ally McErlaine (guitarist in 15 million-selling band Texas) and Shelly Poole (previously one half of million-selling duo Alisha’s Attic) along with former model Charity Hair (The Alice Band and, latterly, The Ailerons with Blur’s Dave Rowntree).
What started as a “soul food” side project, one with no boundaries or expectations, developed into the band’s debut album that garnered wide media support, with Q Magazine describing it as “a timeless blend of vocals & intricate twang…, as atmospheric as it is emotional”, the Evening Standard as “a seductive, exuberant mix of voices” and the Daily Telegraph as “well-crafted songs featuring slick harmonies”. The release also saw support on national radio stations including Radio 2 (who described the band as having “mesmerising vocals, touching lyrics, beautiful melodies and a sense of self belief”) and appearances on national TV including BBC Breakfast.
Consummate live performers, a headline national tour and support slots with the likes of Deacon Blue, James Walsh (Starsailor) preceded them joining Jools Holland as special guests on his UK summer tour, returning later that year to perform at his sold out performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Most recently the band toured with renowned Nashville singer/songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman on her UK tour, both opening for her and performing as her band. Red Sky July also performed at the Scottish Music Awards where they were presented with a prestigious Tartan Clef award by Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy.
Shadowbirds was produced by Ross Hamilton and Michael Bannister of Glasgow’s Rocket Science Studios with musical collaboration from Mark Neary and Ally’s Texas bandmates Ross McFarlane and Eddie Campbell, “the great thing about recording in Glasgow is that we can call on these amazing musicians to work with us. We recorded the entire album in one week” Ally recalls.
‘Lay Down Your Love’, the first single from new album, is Shelly explains “about asking for a break when you’ve really had as much as you can take…Does it always have to be the hard way?” and is a perfect appetiser for Shadowbirds. Themes of hope, love, loss and despair are often couched in contrasting music – the foot-tapping jauntiness of ‘Here Then Gone’ masks the desolation of the lyrics; whilst ‘New Morning Light’’s more mournful melody is actually about a positive change in the air.
Stories of relationships – both doomed and enduring – sit alongside tales of tragedy and affirmation. Elsewhere, ‘Renegade’ was written after reading Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy “we think it is how the book would sound if it had noise” Charity reveals. Anglo-Italian singer/songwriter Jack Savoretti features, and shares the writing duties with Shelly, on ‘Any Day Now’, a song inspired by the diaries of Karen Christenze Dinesen (the inspiration for the film Out Of Africa).
When asked what they wanted to achieve when they started making the album Shelly simply replies “We just wanted to make something beautiful”.