INTERVIEW: Cows Lying Down | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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With a love of music developing at an early age, it seemed only natural for it to be a big part of how Paul Davidson understands and interprets the world around him. “My sister, Geraldine, was thirteen years older than me and every week she bought records by the bucket load.” He says. “Unfortunately, as Geraldine was confined to a wheelchair, she could not reach up to the radiogram. By the time I got to the age of three I had mastered this task and took over the vital job of getting the vinyl onto the spindle and then onto the turntable.”

Listening to pop music and enjoying the tune is something common enough, but Davidson was especially enticed by lyricism: “words and stories which filled the room in mono created images of strength and frailty and painted pictures of people’s situations and feelings.” 

This is more than evident in his project, Cows Lying Down. Though a musically layered delight, it’s the lyrics that arguably catch one’s attention. Davidson explains that the lyrical inspiration dances between reality and metaphor: “I observe the world and the people in it, while also reflecting on some of the things which have happened in my life. I collect information constantly and ideas for stories grow out of this.”

Noise of The Fisherman, their newest album released on 1st September, contains a plethora of narrative songs. Trudy With A Yellow Case, for example, draws from a real life scenario in which Davidson wrote a poem for a girl in art school, though he became too shy to confess to authoring it when he noticed “her nude portraits in the gallery shot by an older photographer (with a flashy car). The end of the song which sees her approaching me years later is pure imagination… or wishful thinking.”

I observe the world and the people in it, while also reflecting on some of the things which have happened in my life

Drawing from the world around him and twisting it with interpretation is a common theme in Cows Lying Down’s discography. Another song on their newest album, Sunken Boat Song, was inspired by a boat stuck in the River Tyne. “Which sort of reminded me that this is how I was feeling: sunken. Going nowhere and finding it difficult to get by. However, the next time that I saw it, my life had moved on and I was no longer that sunken boat. I had been rescued.” 

There is an honesty to this new release, which is borne out of a genuine and simple love of music. The four other musicians collaborating on the new album, Martin Brindley, Caroline Hoile, David O’Hara and Alan Burn, have all been given their space to leave a mark. “I sometimes forget to come in with my vocal line as I’m just listening to them play and thinking ‘Wow. I am very lucky’.” 

Paul Davidson may have had humble beginnings (“I set to work with a small plastic guitar with John, Paul, Ringo and George transfers stuck on it”) but with experience has been able to create an earnest musical project to be treasured. 

Cows Lying Down release Noise of the Fisherman on 1st September via FishFish Records. They play HMV Newcastle on Saturday 14th September

 

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