Coal Porters Return w/5th Album

 

Produced by British folk veteran John Wood, the
album will hit U.S.
shores on September 18. Includes left-field
cover of Bowie’s
“Heroes.”

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Our London-based (but Kentucky-bred) buddy Sid Griffin, late
of the Long Ryders and a published author of numerous music biographies, has
been making a name for himself in recent years with his alt-bluegrass combo the
Coal Porters. Along the way he and the group have become mainstays of Britain’s Americana
scene. They’re set to roll out their new album on Sept.
18, titled Find the One,
via Prima Records and produced by English folk-rock legend John
Wood
(Fairport Convention, Nick Drake, Beth Orton, Squeeze). Two
installments of a ten-minute film about the Coal Porters will be uploaded to
YouTube in August. Tour dates will be announced soon as well.

 

Recorded in north London
studios once used by the likes of the Clash and Queen, the new album contains
five new Griffin
songs. Guitarist Neil Robert Herd added three tunes, and fiddler Carly Frey
contributed two songs that, according to Griffin,
“wed acoustic folk with the Left Banke’s ‘Walk Away Renee.'” The band’s
longtime encore “Paint It, Black” finally got recorded. Also included is an
acoustic, campfire-style take on David Bowie’s “Heroes.”

 

In addition, two legendary guests make appearances on Find the One.
Folk-rock guitar hero Richard Thompson plays on Sid’s new song “Hush U Babe,” a
harrowing tale of escape from Dixie via the
Underground Railroad. And British DJ Brian Matthew, most familiar to Americans
as the voice introducing The Beatles on more than a dozen of their live
sessions for BBC radio, performed the same chore for the Coal Porters,
introducing Griffin’s
song “Ask Me Again” on Find
the One
.

 

The backstory: The
Coal Porters started as an electric band, “kinda a Long Ryders-Lite” according
to Griffin. But
a decade ago Griffin produced an album for U.K. folk-rockers Lindisfarne
and he caught the acoustic folk music bug. With guitarist Herd riding shotgun
the duo revamped the Coal Porters as a mandolin, fiddle, banjo, guitar and
doghouse bass act – no amps, no drums but lots of harmonies and hot soloing.
“Our live fees went up, our gig calendar became crammed . . . I dunno, why I
didn’t think of it earlier?” laughs Griffin
today. “My music has the same passion it always did,” states Griffin, “It is still anthemic as it was when
I sang ‘Looking for Lewis & Clark.’ But now I find myself playing to
audiences who are intensely listening, and who pay rapt
attention.

 

“For any artist such devout attention is so terrific. It is
such a blessing. I am grateful to receive it. With Find the One the Coal Porters are
paying back that devotion. And I hope you can hear it on the record too.”

 

 

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