The Trick Is To Breathe is Sid Griffin’s first solo album in a decade. Recorded in Nashville, Tennessee at the home studio of Thomm Lutz in February 2014 it was a joyous, easy and (almost) carefree session, the entire album completed in four days.
“Before Christmas I had sent some Nashville friends acoustic demos of my songs and of my new arrangement of a version of The Youngbloods’ great Get Together. These men and women had learned the songs off my demos and most of the songs we recorded were second takes…in fact these players are so accomplished I don’t think any track was recorded in more than four takes,” recalls Griffin.
After recording in the UK for most of the past two decades it Sid decided to do everything differently from his last solo album, As Certain As Sunrise. “I recorded in the USA instead of Europe, I did not engineer, co-produce, or mix the album, on a few tracks I only sang, I put myself entirely in the hands of others, I did not use any of the Coal Porters’ vast musical talents, I primarily used musicians I had not met before the sessions and I enjoyed myself thoroughly. Without question it was time for a change, time to shake things up.”
As promoters and venues were frequently contacting Griffin about solo shows it was obviously time for new Sid Solo Music. Yet the multi-tasking Griffin, a musician first, a writer second, a broadcaster third and…oh yes, a family man on top of all that, didn’t have much time to spare to record. “You can spend weeks doing an album. Both my previous solo albums were done piecemeal, that is recorded in bits here and then bits there over weeks. I needed to get an album done quickly.”
“Billy Bragg told me his last album was recorded by Joe Henry in just a few days out in Pasadena, California and I remembered Dylan did Nashville Skyline in only a few days. So I contacted some Nashville cats I knew, they recommended Thomm Jutz as a producer, he and I hit it off, Thom picked most of the players and by the time I flew to Tennessee these folks knew my songs better than I did. Hence we started on Monday and were done by Thursday!”
Sid did play mandolin on two tracks, guitar on about six more, but the core of the band was Mark Fain from Ricky Skagg’s Kentucky Thunder outfit on bass, the great virtuoso Sierra Hull on mandolin, Paul Griffiths on drums, Thomm Jutz on guitar, Justin Moses on banjo, fiddle and dobro, and gospel legend James T. Brown on backing vocals. Other than Thomm Jutz and Paul Griffiths none had met Sid before the sessions began.
The Trick Is To Breathe announces Sid Griffin is back on the world stage as a solo artist, globe-trotting troubadour and singer-songwriter. “It’s a great record, it really is, my best songs ever and you can play them with a group behind you as I did in Nashville or they can be performed by me solo.
I am in a good space as the saying goes and The Trick Is To Breathe is going to help keep me there. Yes, I am an American who lives in Europe but my heart resides south of the Mason-Dixon and it shows on this album. I can’t wait to tread the boards again and play these songs for the people.”
The Trick Is To Breathe Album is Released 18th September 2014
The second track from Sid’s The Trick Is To Breathe solo album is also the second video from this CD. The video was directed, produced and edited by Cecil B. “Tom” Stevens of Indiana USA, a favourite movie director of Sid’s.
The song is an attempt to write a tune which crosses the style of Jimmie “The Singing Brakeman” Rogers with Bob Dylan…and it ended up sounding like Willie Nelson! The brilliant mandolin playing is by Sierra Hull, a most talented young lady.
Find The One is The Coal Porters’ fifth and most accomplished album since they unplugged, forgot about the electricity bill and prepared for global warming by morphing into an entirely acoustic act.
Produced by British folk-rock legend John Wood, the man behind the early classic LPs by Fairport Convention, Nick Drake, and later on recording both Squeeze and Beth Orton, Find The One features five fine Sid Griffin songs, a trio from Scottish guitarist Neil Robert Herd, and Find The One also announces the entry of world-class singer, ace bassist, and all-around nice guy Tali Trow into the Coal Porters.
listen to samples from Find The One here;
The CD of Find The One even includes a seven minute documentary film encoded on it, playable on any computer. The film is by Toby Cameron and Richard Crandon of On-Par Productions and dynamically illustrates everything warm, musical, funny and human about the band within its short seven minute span.
No Coal Porters album can exist without a nod to the greats who have so inspired Sid Griffin and his merry cohorts and Find The One is no exception. Sid’s harrowing tale of a slave family’s escape on the Underground Railroad, Hush U Babe, features the astonishing guitar of ex-Fairport Convention guitar guru Richard Thompson (!) and listeners will also hear a formal DJ introduction of Sid’s love ballad Ask Me Again by the BBC’s legendary Brian Matthew, not only a man who knew The Beatles on a first name basis back in the day but whose Saturday Radio 2 show is the Beeb’s most popular show today. Now that is a career!
Find The One is Out Now
The Coal Porters are Paul Fitzgerald on banjo, Tali Trow on double bass and vocals, Neil Robert Herd on guitar and vocals, your very own Sid Griffin on vocals and mandolin, and the great Kerenza Peacock on fiddle and vocals.