21 February 2020 will see the release of a very special album from the newly inaugurated Steve Harley Acoustic Band. “Uncovered” includes interpretations of nine painstakingly chosen songs created in many instances by peers and contemporaries of Steve, those with shared histories and some that he admired from afar.
These are songs with heft and honesty that have always connected and resonated within him; this is material that he’s always wanted to perform and may even wish he’d written! This diverse collection of Harley’s Interpretations is in some ways an almanac rather than just a set of great tracks: Steve’s links with some of the songwriters go back to the very start of their careers: Bowie in Beckenham; Dylan throughout his early teens; Cat Stevens/Yusuf and Paul McCartney, both massive early influences…
Added into the mix are two songs from Steve’s own incredible catalogue, reworked from the originals: ‘Love, Compared With You’ which now boasts a newly-composed third verse, plus ‘Only You’, played Live for several years, but recorded here for the first time.
The band that performs this collection features Barry Wickens on viola, violin and acoustic guitar, Oli Hayhurst on double bass, Tom Hooper on percussion and the Roots Music Legend, Martin Simpson, on guitar. Steve also sings a duet with the amazing Scottish singer, Eddi Reader on ‘Star Of Belle Isle’ and add to this, a beautiful, stirring acoustic solo from the legendary Jim Cregan on the Errol Brown-penned track, ‘Emma’. Steve is no stranger to acoustic music, having toured with his Acoustic Trio [as well as the full Cockney Rebel rock band, of course] for years now and receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award for Acoustic Music in 2018.
Check out the video for ‘I’ve Just Seen A Face’- BELOW:
The recording sessions for ‘Uncovered’ were a joy; full of passion, virtuosity and grit. As Steve says, “I was roaring with stamina and passion when I went in to sing the final versions. Sang all 11 in one and a half days. The hunger and desire to perform was almost primitive. Matt Butler (engineer) has recorded my voice up-close and unaffected. I sing out – but seem mostly restrained.” Audiophile alert: It’s worth mentioning that this might be the first album we have ever heard that has absolutely no EQ – the recordings are totally organic, absolutely natural. No EQ, no effects.
Whilst this collection is largely a celebration of other writers, Steve’s own talent cannot be overstated, both with regards to his interpretation of the works featured on ‘Uncovered’ but also of course his own tracks that feature. Rod Stewart, who covered Steve’s song “A Friend For Life”, describes him as “One of the finest lyricists Britain has produced.” MOJO magazine said simply, “Harley creates rock songs that are proud, lyrical and full of yearning.” Steve has also been described as “A consummate performer at the top of his game”, and this stunning collection of beautiful, heartfelt songs will bear that out.
‘Love Compared With You (Your Eyes Don’t Seem To Age)’ (SH) with new, third verse / ‘Absolute Beginners’ (David Bowie) / ‘Ae Fond Kiss’ (Robbie Burns/Trad.) / ‘Emma’ (Errol Brown, Hot Chocolate) / ‘How Can I Tell You?’ (Cat Stevens) / ‘I’ve Just Seen A Face’ (Paul McCartney/The Beatles) / ‘Out Of Time’ (Jagger/Richards) / ‘Lost Myself’ (Richard Hawley/Crispin Hunt – Long Pigs) / ‘Only You’ (SH) / ‘Star Of Belle Isle’ (Trad.) / ‘When I Paint My Masterpiece’ (Bob Dylan) [CD format only]
Wow, the first video from the new album! I can only hope that this is the first of many. Barry is magnificent as always and it’s nice to see James here because I don’t recall him being in the published lineup. The more I hear this song, the more I love it, it definitely has Steve’s stamp on it. Was the video just released today? If so, Happy Birthday to me! ❤