After many years spent as a steadfast and inventive collaborator—not only playing bass and producing four albums with Hiss Golden Messenger, but in large part forging that band’s sonic signature—multi-instrumentalist, recordist, and audio engineer Scott Hirsch finally made a solo album, and it’s called Blue Rider Songs, released August 2016 on Scissortail Records.
The album emerged from various personal contexts: a year of near-constant touring with Hiss Golden Messenger in 2015; a move with his family from Brooklyn to California, and the launch of his new Echo Magic West studio there; and above all, the process of making the self-titled Golden Gunn album with M.C. Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger and their mutual friend Steve Gunn. Hirsch wrote much of the music on that album, and watching Taylor and Gunn set words and vocals to his instrumental productions proved the necessary catalyst to take his writing and recording into fresh territory under his own name. Hirsch even reinterprets Golden Gunn standout track ‘The Sun Comes up a Purple Diamond’ here, repurposing Gunn’s lyrics, but attenuating the song into something even more heat-stricken and dilatory than the hazy original.
Blue Rider Songs nods to the Tulsa sound and rural American greats like JJ Cale, drawing tangled traditions and tangents of North American vernacular music and in Hirsch’s inimitable aesthetic, brings in notably subtle contributions from old band mates The Court and Spark and HGM stalwarts Phil Cook (Organ and harmonica) and Matt Douglas (Sax), among others, along for the ride.
Hirsch will tour the UK and Ireland from the end of August including a run of dates with Michael Chapman including London’s Bush Hall on 8th September (details below). This will find them together on a bill for the first time, two artists who share a musical cosmos but who’s orbits hadn’t yet collided.
Both artists cast a mercurial eye on their art-form, moving the primitive guitar into realms of blues, jazz and the avant-garde. Chapman’s smoky vocals have an unassailable Northern darkness and grit, whilst ‘Blue Rider Songs’ is suffused with a cool, soulful and sweet atmosphere. Not to be missed!
Scott Hirsch Ireland/UK Tour 2017
*with support from Michael Chapman
Tues 29th – Whelans, Dublin, Ireland. (supporting Courtney Marie Andrews)
Fri 1st – End Of The Road Festival
Saturday 2nd – Moseley Folk Festival
Monday 4th – Broadcast, Glasgow*
Tuesday 5th – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds*
Wednesday 6th – Grain Barge, Bristol*
Thursday 7th – Gullivers, Manchester*