I’m so happy to finally be able to share the opening track of the album, ‘Not Now, Horse’ with you. The song features Stannington Brass Band, as well as Neil Piper on drums, Katherine Jackson on violin and Hannah Browne on flute and horn. It was expertly produced by Dave Sanderson. The video was made by Andy Brown and Nathan Gibson:
Neighbour of the Year is an album about anxiety. It is circular in nature; the seven songs represent the cycle of anxiety, starting here with Not Now, Horse, told from the point of the cycle where there is strength, where you can build and fortify your defences, where you can regain or retain a sense of perspective. A lack of perspective is always a sad thing, but it’s incredibly hard to keep hold of and it can often take something quite extreme to remind us what really matters and what doesn’t.
I’m frustrated when people, as a result of lacking pespective, seem content to make life more difficult for others to further their own needs. I’m talking about bosses working people too hard unnecessarily, about people failing to take a moment to see things from someone else’s point of view, people who like the sound of their own voice too much, people who go looking for drama, who like to make something of nothing, people who waste my time. Time’s really all we have, and I don’t want it stolen from me by people who don’t care about me. This song was intended to take all this frustration, crush it into a ball and throw it to the wind. It’s deep breaths, it’s big sky.
I wrote most of the album looking out of my window at the big sky, taking deep mental breaths and working through the anxiety cycle through songwriting. That’s why I’ve chosen to release the album on window-like, clear 10″ vinyl (also on cd/digital, don’t panic, vinyl enemies). It’s me looking out and it’s you looking in.
The album has been a long time in the making and my producer Dave and I spent a great deal of time in the studio carefully building this particular song from my vocal and guitar part into something much bigger. We had a very clear idea from the beginning of the instrumentation we wanted to use and the feelings we wanted to create. For me, the brass band brings the weight, the pressure, the depth of feeling, whilst the strings and the flute are nature; the birds, the wind, the water, the trees, big sky.
Swallowed flies escalate horseward
Not now, horse; be saddled or be swept away on a lungful of the cold dawn air, heavy, neighing cloud!
Little turnips grow. Leave them alone
Do not dig; their enormity is all a myth
Let them sleep in earth, like we all must do, when all your dirty dramas are as still as you
Sink your withering words without sound in the shallows
Let me throw your voice to the nesting sparrows
Be silent now – it’s almost dark enough to hear all those songs you forgot to love
Finish what you’ve begun, leaving things badly drawn
Light arrives from the sun, a billion babies born
As, thighbones high, we wade out and out and out and out
Until we become nothing…
…And are everything, things we’ve never seen
We breathe out at last, we breathe out at last