GTC EXCLUSIVE: JOE STROUZER Track x Track the May EP
Joe Strouzer – May EP is available now at Bandcamp.
by Walter Price
In what will rapidly be known as one of the best releases of 2020, Joe Strouzer’s brand new 5-track EP, ‘May’, is a roots stunner. Fair warning, this isn’t a let’s go folk to be hip, this is an authentic set that’ll move you. And the London-based songwriter was kind enough to stop by the GTC to go track x track. And you stream the full album below.
Soon Be Over – This year I bought a ‘60s Hofner 12 String guitar which I’ve decked out with super heavy strings and tuned down to a B baritone in the style of Blind Willie McTell. It’s been a great guitar to play with a slide and, while working on my chicken coop, I had been listening to McTell’s occasional touring partner Blind Willie Johnson. Struck by his song Trouble Will Soon Be Over’s resonance with the current situation with Covid-19 across the world I was inspired to write Soon Be Over, a song looking to the future and a return to simple joys of meeting friends and sitting down with family a little further down the road. It was written and recorded in just a few hours.
One Two Three – In April we hatched three chickens at home and we’ve been calling them One, Two, and Three. Since they were chicks I’ve been singing to them and I wrote this song while sitting in the garden with them on one of their first evenings outside while our black cat Lilith watched them like it was a TV show. I recorded it a week later in a morning and it took a whole bunch of takes to get all the words outright, I kept singing about mosquitoes eating bats and not the other way around.
Won’t Allow Us – Won’t Allow Us imagines the Covid-19 virus as a dark figure in the night creeping from house to house. The writing is inspired by the voodoo culture in blues and traditional songs like Oh, Death and a line from Dust My Broom. For the recording live take I am playing my Dobro overdriven through a valve amp with a heavy tremolo effect, a foot tambourine and vocals, I then overdubbed my amplified harmonica solo, I’ve been listening to Little Walter this month too, and a banjo take too. It was written and recorded over two afternoons.
Spaghetti Bolognese – This song was written off the cuff while Rachel cooked Spaghetti Bolognese, it all came together in a matter of minutes and I recorded it after dinner. Top tip, moving very slow really is the best way to catch a fly in glass, I’ve become an adept flycatcher after moving to the country.
Song For Willie (Second Edition) – I was inspired to make this EP after thinking about my friend Willie Singerman’s book of poetry, also called May. I wrote Song For Willie shortly after Willie passed away in May 2017 and, although a version is recorded for my upcoming LP Newcastle To New Orleans, I felt I should put a new version on May, this time I’m playing guitar rather than banjo. It is about me missing my friend and draws its imagery from songs that Willie wrote and that we performed together on our travels through the UK, Germany, and Louisiana.
Artist photo by Danny Gladstone
Joe Strouzer – Vocals, Simon & Patrick parlor guitar, Dobro,12-string Hofner “Big Bertha” tuned to baritone, Kay 5-string banjo “Lillie Mae” and various Suzuki and Hohner harmonicas.
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This album was written (with the exception of Song For Willie) and recorded at home in May 2020 while herding two cats, raising 3 chicks, and building a coop. I took the title, “May” in tribute to my late and greatly missed friend Willie Singerman from his book of poetry “May”.