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“I saw some graffiti on the stone wall of a Cathedral, it read: ‘Still No Sign Of Al’. I wondered who Al was, how and why he had disappeared and I began to write about him, about his journey and how he ended up there - his name etched in stone on that Cathedral wall.”
Ed Laurie’s 3rd solo album is more personal than Ed lets on here, but it is a record imbued with searching and mystery. Set within a mercurial, musical narrative, ‘Cathedral’, for all its ellipses and ambiguities, is anchored by the sum of its parts: Ed’s distinctive guitar playing, soaring violins, wild saxophone, an expressive rhythm-section, and beautiful, emotive vocal performances, all take the listener on an enlightening journey. This record also confirms Ed as a songwriter capable of writing a collection of songs that stand together as much as they stand apart, each song lending itself to the next to create an ‘album’ in the true sense of the word.
Up until now, Ed’s career as a musician has seen him release records in Europe and in the USA. But despite unanimous critical acclaim (see reviews attached) - his debut mini-LP ‘Meanwhile In The Park’ reached the top ten across European download charts through nothing but word of mouth, his debut LP ‘Small Boat Big Sea’ earned him itunes album and single of the week - obstacles still lay ahead. The music business’s economic and artistic demise, alongside its growing obsession with safe formulas, branding and instant commercial break-through has meant that Ed, like other independent-minded artists, had to finish ‘Cathedral’ without the guarantee of release. He was also determined not to follow ‘in-fashion’ production values; with a nominal budget the band went to record unrehearsed, playing without a click-track, improvising as often as possible and recording quickly – a few takes and out.
Why Ed felt the need to make a record like this can be attributed, in part, to his disenfranchised roots. His father died suddenly when he was seven and he consequently lost touch with the paternal side of his family. “My roots are divided – my paternal family were more English than my maternal – the East End of London, and some Scots too. They were quite a ballsy lot. My maternal side is spread out, unanchored, bits in East Europe, even South America… so as a result I have a different musical palette.” There is also a determination to constantly challenge himself further as an artist. “So much of the music I love evokes memory - distant, but incandescent memory and although I feel closer now to the lost years of my youth I have had to dig deeper for these songs… I didn’t settle until I felt that the songs could begin to write themselves.”
This nostalgia beats at the heart of ‘Cathedral’ - a record so full of love, loss and longing that it carries the listener to a place that is increasingly hard to find. In this modern world, visionary music like this needs to be heard.
'Outstanding, a modern classic' - PLAYMUSIC MAGAZINE UK
'With elements of Classical, Flamenco, Fado, Chanson and Gypsy Guitar, 'Small Boat Big Sea' avoids over-production, preferring sparse imaginative arrangements. An album of melancholic splendour!' LES INROCKS, FRANCE
'Ed Laurie's songs speak several languages... the grace with which he brings the continents together gives his writing hypnotic death.' JALOUSE, FRANCE
'The album is an exquisite one, showcasing a sparse, brooding elegance' NPR, USA
'Ed Laurie evokes the feeling of calm before the storm. With haunting vocals and gentle, Spanish-inflected guitar, 'Meanwhile In The Park' is a dark and stormy affair.
'Like all great songwriters, Ed Laurie takes his influences and moulds them into something entirely new and unique. An artist of rare and exceptional talent' NIGEL WILLIAMSON, THE GUARDIAN