Out January 31
Listen to new track 'The Garden Of England'
Sam Lee today announces his third album, ‘Old Wow’, due for release on January 31, 2020, his label debut for Cooking Vinyl. Produced by Bernard Butler (who also contributes electric guitar) and featuring Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser, the album will beaccompanied by Sam’s most comprehensive national UK tour to date, including his Celtic Connections premiere on January 29, 2020. The news arrives today alongside the first track lifted from ‘Old Wow’, the electrifying ‘The Garden Of England’, a re-write of the traditional song ‘Seeds Of Love’ - streaming here. As with Sam’s previous albums (the Mercury Music Prize nominated/Arts Foundation Award-winning debut, ‘Ground of Its Own’in 2012, and 2015’s equally acclaimed ‘The Fade in Time’), ‘Old Wow’ looks set to surprise, challenge and inspire.
Sam Lee plays a unique role in the British music scene. He is a multi-award-winning singer, a committed folk song collector and a successful live promoter helping to reinvigorate UK folk music. Trained in visual art and contemporary dance, Sam has presented radio documentaries and appeared on stages around the globe. A passionate conservationist & environmental campaigner, Sam has recently collaborated with Extinction Rebellion, Music Declares Emergency and the recent RSPB campaign, ‘Let Nature Sing’, which improbably launched 3 minutes of birdsong into the UK Top 20 charts.
Recorded at RAK Studios and Studio 355 with Bernard Butler's (Suede, MacAlmont & Butler) production, ‘Old Wow’ pushes Sam’s music into further remarkable territory. Butler’s electric guitar playing marks the first time the instrument has ever appeared in Lee’s music, whilst Elizabeth Frazer’s spine-tingling vocals join other appearances from Cosmo Sheldrake, spoken-word poet Dizraeli and The Gloaming’s Caoimhin O Raghallaigh.
The diverse cast of musicians Sam has assembled take the album’s reinterpretations of traditional songs into deeply affecting territory in an age of climate crisis. ‘Old Wow’ is devoted to the natural world; a commitment that has long since dominated Sam’s principles. The title came to him during a journey in Scotland, when a buzzard swooped down the mountainside and screamed overhead. Sam felt he was “receiving a message, telling me to listen deep - suddenly the name ‘Old Wow’ emerged. I use it to describe that sense of wonder and magic that can, if listened deeply enough, animate nature very powerfully.”
Spanning new interpretations of American spirituals (‘Lay This Body Down’), Romany Gypsy songs (‘The Moon Shines Bright’) and traditional English standards (‘The Garden Of Love’), ‘Old Wow’ arrives alongside arresting artwork. Designed by Alex Merry (Damien Hirst, Gucci), an anachronistically bucolic scene captures the singer amongst vegetation & animals, with modern traces of human impact conspicuously absent. With ‘Old Wow’, Sam Lee has created a timeless bridge; in his words; “Music that simultaneously looks back into the past and ahead to the future. An urgent cry to help inspire us all to fall back in love with the natural world that we might strengthen our resolve to protect her.’
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