Adam Norsworthy Interview
Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: Thank you for taking the time to chat with us today. You’ve had a stunning career, both with The Mustangs and as a solo artist, Do you prefer the freedom of being solo or do you miss the band dynamic at all?
AN: Well I still perform with both the Mustangs and The Milk Men, so I get the best of both worlds. It’s great to be with the guys traveling around the country, and working on songs together and then chilling with a beer after a show, but I also like to work on my own sometimes and some of the more personal songs would be a bit awkward in a band setting, so that’s where the solo stuff comes in. I love doing both, really. I’d miss either if I couldn’t do it. I certainly don’t have to compromise anything when I’m on my own, so things do get done quicker!
PD: You have been awarded many accolades from your peers for your song writing. Is there any particular award or comment that you feel the proudest of?
AN: Not really, the nicest accolades are the private ones when someone takes you to one side and tells you how much a song you’ve written has moved them, or how much it means to them. Overall awards and accolades are great but music is so subjective it seems daft that any songs should be more worthy of an award than another, but someone telling you they had to pull over on the motorway to listen to your song 10 times in a row with chills running down their spine..that’s real, and very rewarding to hear!
PD: Your latest album, ‘The Circus Moon’ has been out for a few weeks now, can you tell us a bit about the writing process and the recording of the album?
AN: I’ve been writing songs for a long time and I had a handful that I wanted to cherry pick from the past and do on this record, and I had a few new ones as well, so when I realised I had an album’s worth of good material, it was time to start recording. I never write to formula, I just let what I think sounds good come out and then try and do the best representation of that song that I can. That can be the tricky part…a great song doesn’t always become a great record, but I think if any skill improves over time, it’s the ability to capture a good song on a recording. I think I did that fairly well with the last two solo albums. Perhaps not so much on the Love & Wine tracks, but once these 10 songs felt good to listen to, I knew it was just about cooked. I played everything myself on the album so the process can move quite quickly once you are focussed and have the time and space to really get into it.
PD: Has the album got a particular theme?
AN: Sometimes you don’t realise an album has a theme until you start sequencing it, then I realised that this one sort of did..perhaps not obviously like on The Mustangs’ last album, but it’s there. It feels to me like a long night in the life of a restless soul. It starts with the party, and then he goes through many sleepless hours mulling over all those things that keep us awake, and it ends with a rebirth on Rollercoaster. The title comes from the idea that under a Circus Moon we all turn into fools and clowns. Which it kind of feels we are all doing at the moment. Mentioning no names….!
PD: ‘The Circus Moon’ is your third solo album, would you say there are any differences in direction or the development compared to the previous albums ‘Love & Wine’ and ‘Rainbird’?
AN: Definitely. I think on Love & Wine you can hear me fining my feet both with production and songwriting. There’s still a few tracks on there I like very much and still play live – My Father’s Books has been very popular, as has Still Life. But it’s quite under-developed compared to Rainbird. With Rainbird I got in House of Tone to co-produce it – that’s Wayne Proctor from King King and Steve Wright from the Connie Lush band. I also had some fabulous players join me on it like Anna Brigham on violin and Matt Beable on bass guitar. There’s a real richness in the sound and the material. I honestly don’t feel there’s a bad song on there and the reaction to that album critically was overwhelming. On The Circus Moon I wanted that similar depth of material, but decided to produce and play everything myself – apart from Amy Heggart’s violin – to give it a more insular, personal feel.
PD: How has the response been to the new album?
AN: Critically? Fantastic! I honestly couldn’t have written better reviews myself! It’s very flattering and rewarding what people have said the album and certain tracks on it. I make the music I want to make with no compromises, so when people tune in to it and enjoy it so much, there’s nothing better really.
PD: Are there any plans to tour with the album?
AN: I don’t think there will be a full tour, so to speak, but I’ll be doing plenty of solo acoustic shows in support of it throughout 2019, and I’ll also be doing some solo band shows with the great Rich Young, and Derek White (from Storm Warning) – two guys I know well who are great players. So keep an eye out for ANB – the Adam Norsworthy Band, as well as the solo acoustic shows.
PD: I am particularly impressed with the quality of each track on the album. Each one could be a single in its own right, but which track on the album are you the proudest of and why?
AN: Thank you! That may be my love of melody coming through..I do like to be able to hum a track. I really don’t have favourites but I think a couple of tracks have come out as particularly good recordings – Jobtied & Boatless and Let Your Red Hair Fall….but I know a number of people who especially like When The Sun Goes Down too.
PD: How can people purchase your music?
AN: It’s available on the Skyfire Records label from all good online retailers; Amazon, iTunes, HMV and many others. If you google my name and/or the albums you will find them easily. I think some HMV outlets even have CDs in store, and I know the online Skyfire shop has some.
PD: Who would you say has been the biggest influence on your career?
AN: I became obsessed with the Beatles when I was very young…the music and the back story behind the band, so I grew up with a love of melody and harmony. I love all their solo stuff too. As I grew I discovered the blues, Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, Clapton, Tom Petty, Richard Thompson, John Barry…all off whom I think you can hear in my music. But David Bowie and Neil Young became the big big influences as songwriters and, more importantly, as artists. Both so different in many ways….Neil Young was all about feel, Bowie was all about context. I try and marry feel and context and hopefully come up with something that is uniquely ‘me’! I was so shocked and numb when Bowie died. Everything seemed off kilter for a few weeks. I hope Paul McCartney is looking after himself!
PD: How is 2019 looking for you?
AN: Really busy, as ever, which I love. The Mustangs have a new album out in March which is written and mostly recorded..we are just putting the finishing touches to it. It’s a concept album about industrialisation..I kid you not! We’ve always liked a challenge and tried to step outside of the usual blues clichés, and this album is no different. There will be another Milk Men album – our third – at some point too. Maybe early 2020 but writing is underway for that. The reaction to Gold Top our last album was amazing, so we know we have to do a good record to follow it up. And there will be a new solo album either towards the end of next year or in 2020. It’s almost written and I’m very excited about the plans I have for it. But I don’t want to reveal too much just yet. I’ll be playing various gigs and festivals with all three bands, and hoping to get back to Glastonbury with the Mustangs if possible. I’m also working on staging a big charity blues rock concert about which there will be much more info coming soon!
PD: Thank you again for chatting with us. Have you any message for the readers of this interview?
AN: Thanks, it’s been a pleasure. If people like any of the artists I’ve mentioned, or acts like them, they may like my stuff….I think it’s just good old fashioned songwriting, so please do check it out. You can find out more about me at www.adamnorsworthy.co.uk or join me on Facebook at Adam Norsworthy – Singer/Songwriter or keep up with me on Twitter at NorsworthyAdam or Instagram at AdamNorsworthyMusic..I can barely keep up with myself with all that social media.. I miss the old days of just playing and recording! Lol…
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