Album release: 'The Garden' by Robin Adams
Release date: 13 April 2015
Label: Backshop records
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‘The Garden’, the fourth studio album from Glaswegian acoustic performer Robin Adams, most certainly has a 19th century aesthetic throughout. Much of the album's content stems from a huge influence from the life and death of Vincent VanGogh, Adams’ lyrics really channelling his profound appreciation for the man and his seemingly unflinching dedication to his work, and the sacrifices he made for art's sake. He notes how VanGogh’s relationship with both the darkness and the light of existence were so inherently tied to his unique expressive art form, and in order for him to capture these wild energies in his work, he had to first invite them and become them, often to his physical and mental detriment, going on to say; “He was willing to put himself through that turmoil without question, regardless of a distinct lack of success. That is something that as an individual scares me and as a songwriter and artist I am in awe of. I soon realised that his influence on me was far too substantial to be worked into one song. His effect on me was more deserving of a full body of work and so it unravelled from me very naturally and quickly. Most of creativity is stumbling on the muse and then everything else tends to fall into place.”
Drawing on influences like Bert Jansch, Nick Drake, John Fahey, Vincent VanGogh, Neutral Milk Hotel and Arthur Rimbaud, the record has a predominant theme throughout. Although two of the ten songs are themed on the tragedy of war and one poem in particular by Arthur Rimbaud, 'Sleeper in the Valley', the rest of the songs are based around the character of the archetypal struggling artist; struggling being a state that Adams knows all too well. For in spite of his numerous awards (The Burns Song Award, The Billy Kelly Songwriting Award, Emerging Excellence Award) a chronic illness has held him back from realising any kind of touring schedule. His previous record ‘Wilt’ documented these darker times, selling out its limited run, finding popularity thanks to its claustrophobic and gloomy qualities.
Even the recording process was deeply personal. The entire album was recorded by Adams on his own, in a bedroom over looking a garden. “I approached every song as I imagined VanGogh might have went at a painting. There had to be the capturing of a moment, there had to be a rawness and a truth in every performance. If I didn't transcend in some respect during the song, I knew it wasn't acceptable.”
The Garden is released on April 13th through Backshop Records.
- **** - Q Magazine
- "Strummed ruminations worthy of John Martyn" - The Skinny ****