The masterful follow-up to his universally celebrated 2017 albumâ€¯50,â€¯Michael Chapman’sâ€¯True Northâ€¯finds the elder statesman of British songwriting and guitar plumbing an even deeper deep and honing an ever keener edge to his iconic writing. This authoritative set of predominantly new, andâ€¯utterly devastating, songs hews to a more intimate sonic signature—more atmospheric, textural, and minimalist thanâ€¯50, stately and melancholy in equal measure. Recorded in rural West Wales,â€¯True Northâ€¯unflinchingly surveys home and horizon, traveling from the Bahamas to Texas to the Leeds of Chapman’s childhood, haunted by the mirages of memory and intimations of mortality. Joining him on this introspective journey is a cast of old friends and new disciples: once againâ€¯Steve Gunnâ€¯produces and plays guitar, and fellow UK songwriting heroâ€¯Bridget St Johnâ€¯sings, collaborating with cellistâ€¯Sarah Smoutâ€¯and legendary pedal steel playerâ€¯BJ Cole, who has accompanied everyone from John Cale to Scott Walker, Elton John to Terry Allen, Felt to Björk to Brian Eno.
After five decades of recording and touring, veteran British songwriter and guitar sage Michael Chapman has finally made what he calls his "American record," and the aptly titled 50 now stands as his late career masterwork, a moving legacy statement by a legend. Backed by a collaborative group of friends and acolytes - Steve Gunn (who also produced), Nathan Bowles (Pelt, Black Twig Pickers), James Elkington (Jeff Tweedy, Richard Thompson), Jason Meagher (No-Neck Blues Band), Jimy SeiTang (Rhyton), and fellow UK songwriting luminary Bridget St John - Chapman tears into both bold renderings of new songs and radical reinterpretations of material from his revered catalog, the crack band adeptly scaling the same rarefied sonic heights of classic Harvest albums like Fully Qualified Survivor, guided by a true survivor's instinct, wit, and wisdom. The result is a sublime chiaroscuro self-portrait, more shadow than light, as an invigorated Chapman wrestles with weighty themes of travel, memory, mortality, and redemption, his world-weary whispers assuming the incandescent power of prophecy.
The deluxe LP package includes tip-on jacket, printed inner sleeve, lyrics, and download card with two bonus tracks; the CD features a gatefold jacket, lyrics, and two non-LP bonus tracks.