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RICK REDBEARD

Awake Unto is the second mesmerising collection of songs by Rick Redbeard, aka Rick Anthony of cosmic rock magicians The Phantom Band, and comes three years after his delicately poetic solo debut No Selfish Heart. Quarried from similar stone to that of Michael Hurley, Leonard Cohen and Bill Callahan and wrapped in layers redolent of Angelo Badalamenti, Awake Unto weaves folk, balladry and filmic impulses into a tapestry of song so deftly detailed the rewards multiply with every listen.

Where his debut trod an uncluttered path, employing little more than Anthony's burnished baritone, acoustic guitar, piano and violin, Awake Unto brings a far broader spectrum to bear on its heavenly melodicism — banjo, accordion, reversed keyboards, drums, widescreen electric guitar — while still leaving space for the simple formula which lit up its predecessor. There’s a larger pool of contributors here too: Rick’s sister Josephine duets on “Get Friendly (Blood)” while a cohort of his Phantom Band colleagues (Duncan Marquiss, Gerry Hart and Iain Stewart; Derek O’ Neill mixing) also manage to join the cèilidh. The family connections continue, with Awake Unto’s vivid artwork supplied by Anthony’s mother, providing yet another contrast to No Selfish Heart’s austere, monochrome woodland.

While lyrical themes suffuse both albums — love, sex, death, dreams and memory loom large — Awake Unto’s approach is less allusive and more confident as Anthony learns to stretch his limbs as a solo performer. Rick Redbeard is no maudlin troubadour either: in “The Golden Age” you find a loping, rainbow-bright paean to positivity; “What Fine People” salutes the human spirit over an almost too beautiful haar of classical guitar and harmonium; and the closing “Let It Rust” makes the case for reality versus reverie as a painterly series of textures unfolds and dazzles, the mystical heart of the music a counterpoint to the plea underpinning the lyrics.

Following in the wake of two Phantom Band albums - Strange Friend (2014) and Fears Trending (2015), and the music he wrote for Theresa Moerman’s New Talent BAFTA-winning documentary ‘The Third Dad’, it’s hardly surprising Awake Unto marks an assured shift in scope, colour and tone from its spartan forerunner. Rick: “If No Selfish Heart was a tasteful black and white pencil sketch, Awake Unto gets the crayons out to colour it in.” He’s too modest by half of course, as even the most cursory listen will demonstrate. Awake Unto takes the core elements of Rick’s debut — his towering, mahoganied voice and melodic imagination — and cloaks them in fabrics and hues; elevating them to giddying new heights in the process.

STAFF COMMENTS

Laura says: Another wonderful solo album from the Phantom Band front man. Although we've not had Summer yet, this makes me long for cold Winter nights - it feels like you should be curled up in front of a roaring fire with a nice single malt listening to this!

TRACK LISTING

Wild Young Country
In My Wake
The Golden Age
Unfound
The Night Is All Ours
Field Years Get Friendly (Blood)
Yuki Onna
What Fine People
Let It Rust

Rick Redbeard

Dreams Of The Trees

    Rick Anthony's first release since 2013's critically-acclaimed No Selfish Heart LP (Chemikal Underground) that Uncut magazine called “Superb… beautiful…. a glorious album [9/10]" and The List claimed was “Something akin to a masterpiece".

    These three new songs show the side of Anthony that he's been exploring between shifts at his day job as singer of Glasgow late-aughts indie rock stalwarts The Phantom Band. Soft and entrancing, limited to 300 hand-numbered copies.

    Rick Redbeard

    No Selfish Heart

      Debut solo album by Rick Redbeard of The Phantom Band. Eight years in the making, ‘No Selfish Heart’ is a warming, darkly poignant collection that navigates universal themes of love, place and the passage of time.

      Recorded at his parents’ house in rural Aberdeenshire and the flat he calls home in the West End of Glasgow, ‘No Selfish Heart’ has an intimate, homely feel to it which only adds to the album’s sense of timelessness.

      While the album evokes certain elements of Leonard Cohen, Bill Callahan and Bruce Springsteen, the album remains undeniably Scottish, harking back to the dark (often macabre) lovelorn tragedies of that country’s folk tradition.


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