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Who better to give you a guided tour of Tom McShane‘s new album The Ural Winter than the musician himself. He takes us through the album track by track.
Colin Carberry, 05 Jul 2012
Much of the chatter surrounding Tom McShane’s new album, The Ural Winter, has focused on the interesting nature of its inception. Recorded live over two nights; the sizeable audience invited to the customised studio at Belfast’s Oh Yeah were encouraged (were, in fact, expected) to help with the backing vocals, aid the acoustics, and ultimately shake up the air in the room. And because of all that, and thanks too to the sympathetic production job done by Ben McAuley, The Ural Winter is a wonderful sounding record.
But if you concentrate too much on the method of its construction, there’s a chance you can miss the magnificent thing that has actually been built. And that really would be a shame. Humane, lyrical, piercingly truthful (and personal): this is the album Tom has been working towards for years. And there’s no better guide than Tom himself, to help plot a course to the heart of this most heartfelt of albums.
“2008 was the most difficult year of my adult life. I had fallen into a terrible state of depression and the seeds of The Ural Winter were sown during that period of emotional turmoil. More was written after my return to health, as a means of putting unwanted feelings to rest.
‘The Water’ was the last song written for the album, although it is representative of my mindset during my depression. I felt it was important that the album should begin there to put what followed in context.”
“I had released a version of ‘Fighter’ as a 7” in 2008, intended as the first recording of what would become my next album. Returning to the studio following the Fighter tour, I found I was increasingly dissatisfied with making music in that environment and the project was abandoned.
I saw ‘Fighter’ as the first example of a change in my writing style, a style I would further develop while writing this album. It seemed proper that I include it.”
The Ural Winter
“In 2009 I threw myself into a sink-or-swim adventure across the USA. In many interviews I have spoken of how this was an attempt to reconnect with music, which it was, but it was also an attempt to reconnect with life and find joy in it. I cannot overestimate the impact that tour had on the ethos and sound of this album, particularly on the title track.”