(Photo: Mark McNulty)
(as solo artist)
2009 – present
Henry Priestman (guitar / vocals)
After over 35 years in the music business – and with a credit list longer than both your arms – in 2009 Henry Priestman (having not sung since 1981!!) reinvented himself as a singer-songwriter, and released his debut solo CD “The Chronicles of Modern Life” to critical acclaim. Never one to rush things, 5 years later, in Feb 2014 Proper Records released the eagerly awaited follow-up entitled “The Last Mad Surge of Youth“, which garnered Henry the best reviews he’s had in his 37 year career.
Both albums are the sound of a man who’s seen the music world explode from punk (his band Yachts supported the Sex Pistols in ’77, and The Who on European Tour in ‘79) via pop (three million albums with The Christians; a top five single for Mark Owen) through to the digital age (soundtracks for James Bond/Xbox, BBC’s Wildlife on One, Natural World), writing/production duties with the likes of singer/songwriters Amy Wadge, Lotte Mullanand 10cc‘s Graham Gouldman (three co-writes with Graham on his latest “Love and Work” album) and still has something worth singing about.
So in this age of genre’s, niches and “tribes”, where does Henry fit in? Amazon.com seem to think he’s folk (“Chronicles…” topped the Amazon “Folk and World” charts on it’s release), Radio 2’s Johnnie Walker described Henry’s new direction as “music for grumpy old men“, The Daily Mail said he is “a master of the rueful observation”, and elsewhere the phrase “post-punk-folk-protest” has been bandied about.
Henry Priestman’s “got form,” his “previous” including Yachts (described in Gene Sculatti’s U.S. book The Catalog of Cool as”Cole Porter Punk“!), It’s Immaterial, The Christians (writing all songs on their 1987 triple-platinum debut), sharing a mic anda number one single with Paul McCartney, and composing the title song for London West End musical “Dreamboats and Petticoats“. To say nothing of a roll call of sessions for fellow North West luminaries including Lightning Seeds, Johnny Marr, Ian McCulloch, Pete Wylie, Ian McNabb and Echo & The Bunnymen, plus vocals on Jools Holland/Tom Jones’ 2004 CD.
The single to be taken from “Chronicles..” was “Grey’s The New Blond” which was playlisted at Radio 2 & featured on BBC Breakfast TV (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOiTSqpjhR0) and further singles “Don’t You Love Me no More” and “He Ain’t Good Enough for You” also picked up extensive Radio 2 and independent radio airplay….and in 2012 Plane Groovy Records re-released “Chronicles…” on gatefold heavy vinyl.
On the new album “The Last Mad Surge of Youth” Henry is joined by guests including 2013 Radio 2 Folk Award nominee Katriona Gilmore, (Gilmore & Roberts), Graham Gouldman, Lotte Mullan & Probyn Gregory (The Beach Boys).
As of November 2014, two songs off the new album have been covered by other artists: Aled Jones has recorded a version of “At The End of the Day” (Surge’s opening track, dedicated to Henry’s late mother) on his new album “The Heart of It All”, and Valentine Song has been used in a Ridley Scott produced short film “Kismet Diner”, which won best film in the 2013 Manhattan Short Film Festival. (watch this beautiful film here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9xw3YCMhNE).
Having discovered a new found love of live work (mixing ramshackle chaos and tear-jerking poignancy in equal measures!) he continues to tour all over the UK, including many housegigs, which have gone from strength to strength, Henry having having done at least 20 in the last two years (watch True Believer video, shot at a genuine housegig in early 2013 : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hrmtu1Xokp0)
You could say Henry likes to keep busy… the last mad surge of youth, perhaps?
(Full details to follow)
The Chronicles Of Modern Life (CD) – Stiff Records, 2009
The Chronicles Of Modern Life (LP) – Plane Groovy, 2012
The Last Mad Surge Of Youth (CD) – Proper Records, 2014
The Chronicles Of Modern Life (CD) – Hen Records, 2014 (reissue)
Singles / EPs
Don’t You Love Me No More (Promo CD / download) – Stiff Records, 2009
Grey’s The New Blonde (CD / download) – Stiff Records, 2009
Valentine’s Song EP (CD) – self released, 2012
Settle Down (Live DVD) – Sandbox Digital, 2015