Mike Scott co-produced album crystalizes early potential
Released by Cadiz Records on 4 December 2015, Freddie Stevenson daring and beautiful new album ‘The Darkening / The Brightening’ marks a coming of age of this singularly talented British/American songwriter and guitarist. Co-produced with Waterboys’ singer Mike Scott, ‘The Darkening / The Brightening’ comprises eighteen short songs audaciously arranged in two song montages; each song on ‘The Darkening’ section of the album drops a key, whilst ‘The Brightening’ lifts, creating a holistic cycle of story and song. This is an album in the true sense of the word, a mosaic of luminous, original song shapes, plucked from the old air of the Scottish borders where Freddie wrote them, and inserted, like butterflies on the pages of a book, in the bytes and grooves of this remarkable record.
Mike Scott said, “Freddie is one of my favourite contemporary songwriters and singers, and this album is his finest work, a thing of rare beauty, and surely one of the best folk albums of our time.”
The story behind this album lies in the autumn of 2013. After an ill-starred move to the Catskills and a dramatic break-up with his girlfriend, Freddie found himself on tour opening for The Waterboys across North America and the UK. All bridges burned behind him, tour’s end found our troubadour back at the rural Scottish home of his father with an aching heart, and soon Freddie’s blues were alchemised into a special series of songs. “That spring,” he tells, “I saw a picture of a girl sitting in a hollow tree, her gold hair bathed in light. This became the beginning of The Brightening; I wanted to create music that uses the streaming format to its advantage – a longer piece that you enter like a different world and which takes you on a journey. And that became ‘The Brightening’.
When ‘The Brightening’ was finished, Freddie sent it to Mike Scott. “He loved it but wrote back saying it was too short to be a record, why didn’t I write another cycle called ‘The Darkening’. I got the impression, sending subsequent versions to Mike, that I was dropping a penny into a deep well. Back would come Mike’s thoughts, like the echo of the penny dropping. I realised the majority of the time he was pointing out things I already knew, but that I just hadn’t listened to my intuition. Being encouraged to listen with such intensity has raised my game.”
Freddie Stevenson’s background is as colourful as his music. He is a genealogical descendant of 13th century Scottish poet Thomas The Rhymer, and his mother, Jocelyn, was for many years one of Jim Henson’s team. As a teenager he studied to be an actor at RADA and once, while dressed as pantomime character Buttons, shook hands with the Queen. A decade ago he embarked on the life of a troubadour and moved to New York City in 2009. Along the way he crafted three brilliant-yet-mystifyingly-still-obscure albums, ‘Body On The Line’, ‘All My Strange Companions’ and ‘The City Is King’, picking up fans – including the likes of Scarlet Johansson – along the way. Each showcases his gorgeous turns of melody and clever, dryly humorous lyrics.
‘The Darkening / The Brightening’ is a beautiful modern folk music statement, an entertaining, illuminating vision through the creative eyes of a gentle master; a trip into a bright, strange otherworld – and back again.
For more information or to request an interview please contact Chris Hewlett PR on email@example.com or 0845 601 2833