INTERVIEW: Dale Husband | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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While the TS1 postcode has come in for some criticism in recent years, it remains a cultural melting pot and hotbed of talent for Middlesbrough’s finest up-and-coming musical heroes, largely for its cheap rent and easy access to rehearsal spaces and local venues. Gresham Road’s finest, Dale Husband, returns in June with his first full-length solo effort after a couple of EPs in 2016 and 2018 and preceded by the singles Storms and Worried Moon. While the work rate might not seem prolific at first glance, Dale is in a deep and fertile creative furrow just now, channelling a sound usually found deep in the Appalachian foothills as he manages to craft subtle layers of musical ideas out of some sweet and savvy storytelling.

While Dale’s style is steeped in American folk for fans of Jackson C Frank and Cormac McCarthy, The Endless Heavy Sleep is built around the story of a local anti-hero, a country gentleman and writer called John Hall Stevenson who died in 1785, as Dale explains: “Most of my music has imagery that reminds me of East Cleveland. I’d never read much about Stevenson until around the time I was finishing these songs. His writing was really lucid but he felt trapped by the confines of his status. He was also good friends with Lawrence Sterne. I was reading Sentimental Journey at the time and they both share an atmospheric style that influenced the album.” 

Dale is in a deep and fertile creative furrow just now, channelling a sound usually found deep in the Appalachian foothills

Dale is a familiar face around Teesside, fronting up Heel Turn as well as playing bass in Dripp and Sorry Escalator. Having hooked up with Sad For Life Records the time seemed right for a solo record. Ste Bardgett from Mouses produced the record, and along with violin and backing vocals from Teesside’s Parissa Zarifi and light musical accompaniments from Alex Chalmers, they have created a lush, rootsy and timeless album. “The brief was along those lines. I’m a massive fan of Sam Beam’s [aka Iron & Wine] early home recordings and Great Lake Swimmers. In terms of production they were both points of reference for the recording, as was Elliot Smith’s XO. We all worked hard and really have the whole thing; depth and shade. I’m very grateful to them.”

At the time of writing there has been no realistic plan on when or how live music may be able to restart but Dale is pretty equable. “I’m not concerned with gigging my solo stuff much these days. I’m hopeful to have another EP out not too long after this one and ideally release another one this year too. I always seem to have a backlog of nearly completed songs so the plan is to get as many of those out of my head as possible.” On the subject of the lockdown he comments:It’s been positive in terms of song writing. I am usually out of the house a great deal so it’s been nice to be able to demo some new material. I got a banjo for Christmas so I’ve been sinking a lot of hours into becoming proficient at that. My future plans remain the same, recording for Sorry Escalator and Dripp has been put on hold but I’m really eager to get on with the next projects for those guys.”

Dale Husband releases The Endless Heavy Sleep on 5th June via Sad For Life Records

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