Glasgow’s very own “Americana” star, Daniel Meade, returns to the fray with his latest release Rust, an album which finds him moving further away from the countrified songs which populated his breakthrough album, Keep Right Away, which was populated with a bevy of Nashville stars. While songs such as Always Close To Tears prove that Meade is well schooled in the way of honky tonk country, he’s always had more up his sleeve. Having cut his teeth on the rock circuit with his first band, The Ronelles, he moved into rockabilly and old time rock’n’roll with his band The Flying Mules and his cluster of album releases, whether solo or with various band combinations have always had an interesting mix of styles.
Rust follows in the wake of When Was The Last Time, an album on which Meade beefed up his sound, especially on the guitar front, with Townsend like chords and jangly power pop driving the songs. This time around, the guitars, while still in attendance, take second place to Meade’s first love, the piano, with the songs here bashed out at his home on his old joanna and recorded by him and then embellished with overdubs, all played by Meade himself. He says that many of these numbers were either written some time ago or were percolating in his head for a while, just waiting for the right time and circumstances to record them and, having exorcised some demons via the previous album, the time was now right. In addition, Meade has reached back to some of his original influences, rock’n’rollers and writers such as The Proclaimers and Gerry Rafferty and he even delivers several numbers in an unashamed Scots accent.
For a home produced and self-played album, Rust is quite astonishing. There’s layers and layers unfolding on many of the songs. Funny How The World Turns opens with some slick piano, not too far removed from Blue Note cool, before fuzzed guitar and trumpet like arpeggios take us into sixties psychedelia and Dreams Grow On Trees likewise has a warm fuzzy sixties feel to it with its massed voices. Elsewhere, Meade dives into fat sounding rock’n’roll bliss as on the rollicking Same Kind Of Crazy and the roadhouse blues of Another Conversation while the barrelling piano and guitar intro to Fanny Fanny Bang Bang is quite exhilarating. A “nonsense song,” according to Meade, Fanny Fanny Bang Bang is the sort of song which will appeal to anyone who thinks that the finest sentence ever written is, “A-wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-wop-bam-boom!”
It’s surprising to hear Meade open the album with the bar room piano jaunt Anywhy Anywhere Anyhow which he sings with his Glasgow accent (and vernacular) well to the front. But, with his curt dismissal of much that poses for Americana these days, it’s a fitting curtain opener to some of the preoccupations which populate the album. Meade’s been through the mill and seen the damage done and much of Rust is a farewell to those days. These Things Happen is a joyous song buoyed on parping horns, inspired by Meade’s time on the road with The Proclaimers and the title song is a glorious amalgamation of honky tonk piano and gnarly guitar al la The Stones with an uplifting chorus. Meade nails it however on the one stripped back song here. There’s just his guitar and voice on Workin’ On An Old Song, a manifesto of sorts as he sings “It’s good to run with old ghosts.” It’s comparable to Neil Young’s infamous Borrowed Song in some respects with Meade setting out his wares for all to hear.
Rust is available now and there is an official launch party for the album this week at Glasgow’s Rum Shack. All details here.