Morrissey, Leeds and a dog chain combine in arena gig and album release

The album artwork for Morrissey’s March 20 album, I Am Not A Dog On A Chain

MORRISSEY will preview his new album, I Am Not A Dog On A Chain, at Leeds First Direct Arena on March 6.

This will be the northern marrow to his one southern gig, The SSE Arena, Wembley, London on March 14.

Released on March 20 on BMG, the album will be preceded by the single Bobby, Don’t You Think They Know?, featuring guest vocals by Seventies’ Motown legend Thelma Houston.

“One of the biggest joys for me in this business is getting the opportunity to collaborate with other top artists,” says Thelma, now 73. “I love the challenge to see if what I do can work with what they’re doing.

“Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. I think the blend of what Morrissey is singing and what I’m singing really works on ‘Bobby’. And it was a lot of fun working with Morrissey in the studio too!”

Produced by Joe Chicarelli, whose credits include Beck, The Strokes and The Killers, I Am Not A Dog On A Chain was recorded at Studio La Fabrique in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France, and Sunset Sound in Hollywood, California.

“I’ve now produced four studio albums for Morrissey,” says Chicarelli. “This is his boldest and most adventurous album yet. He has pushed the boundaries yet again, both musically and lyrically. And once again proving that as a songwriter and singer, he is in his own category. In truth, no one can be Morrissey but… Morrissey.”

I Am Not A Dog On A Chain follows last May’s California Son, a covers album that featured Ed Droste, of Grizzly Bear, Billie Joe Armstrong, of Green Day, LP (aka Laura Pergolizzi), Broken Social Scene’s Ariel Engle, Petra Haden and Young The Giant’s Sameer Gadhia.

Morrissey’s last album of original compositions was Low In High School in 2017. The new one has a track listing of Jim Jim Falls; Love Is On Its Way Out; Bobby, Don’t You Think They Know?; I Am Not A Dog On A Chain; What Kind Of People Live In These Houses?; Knockabout World; Darling, I Hug A Pillow; Once I Saw The River Clean; The Truth About Ruth; The Secret Of Music and My Hurling Days Are Done.

I Am Not A Dog On A Chain arrives against the backdrop of The Smiths’ former frontman, 60, sparking controversy with his latter-day political views.

Tickets for his Morrissey Live In Concert 2020 gig in Leeds are on sale at gigsandtours.com, ticketmaster.co.uk and axscom/uk.

Damien Jurado in a rush as he storms into Leeds City Varieties for February gig

“It just felt like it was time,” says Damien Jurado of recording a solo acoustic album last year

SEATTLE singer-songwriter Damien Jurado will showcase his acoustic album In The Shape Of A Storm in a solo show at Leeds City Varieties Music Hall on February 25.

The 47-year-old American will be playing ten dates on his European February and March tour after releasing his 14th studio album on April 12 last year.

Jurado always likes to work fast, but In the Shape Of A Storm came together with unprecedented speed, even by his standards, being recorded over the course of two hours one California afternoon.

On his sparsest album to date, gone are the thundering drums and psychedelic arrangements that defined the trilogy of concept albums he made with his long-time collaborator and close friend Richard Swift.

Gone too is the atmospheric air that hovered above his early albums for Sub Pop. Here, instead, there is only Jurado’s voice, acoustic guitar, and occasional accompaniment from Josh Gordon, playing a high-strung guitar tuned Nashville style, rendering its sound spooky and celestial.

Although his fans have long requested a solo acoustic album, the prospect never made sense to Jurado, until one day it simply did. “It just felt like it was time,” Jurado says.

“There is nothing left to hide,” Jurado sings on the opening Lincoln, where everything is clear and laid bare, two tone, like the drawing he crafted for the record’s cover.

Originally written for 2000’s The Ghost Of David, Lincoln was shelved and forgotten until Jurado rediscovered it on an old cassette tape, inspiring him to gather up compositions that had never found proper homes. As a result, In The Shape Of A Storm became an archive of previously abandoned songs.

Jurado’s discography is filled with songs written as miniature movies, cinematic vignettes that capture people, the places they are from, and where they are going. By contrast, In The Shape Of A Storm is his first black and white picture, both a snapshot of two hours in a California recording studio and a document spanning 19 years and a life of music.

“I believe songs have their own time and place,” Jurado says. For these ten, that time has finally come on album number 14.

Tickets for Jurado’s 8pm Leeds gig, when he will be supported by Dana Gavanski, are on sale on 0113 243 0808 or at cityvarieties.co.uk.