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You and I have talked before about how important the acoustic guitar is to you –
“That’s right, and that’s still important to me. On this album, I didn’t want to hide behind musicians or production. I stripped things down. It was important for me to get back to me with a guitar or at a piano. Doing that would let the lyrics and the vocals stand out and capture the audience. I was confident that these were some of the strongest songs I’d ever written, and going back to Tom allowed me to show them off and really realize what they were all about.
“In many ways, this is the kind of record I would have made if Back To Bedlam hadn’t sold. If I hadn’t put You’re Beautiful on it, I would have done another indie album, and it would’ve been called Moon Landing.”
I don’t want to use the word “renaissance,” but as you know, there’s a wealth of acoustic-based acts doing very well these days. Your thoughts?
“These things goes in waves, don’t they? It’s not a new thing. Before The Lumineers, there were folks playing acoustic-based music; before me there was Damian Rice, and before him there was David Gray. They didn’t invent the genre, either. It goes around in different cycles, and it will continue to do so. As long as good music comes from it, that’s all that matters.”
When you sit down to write, which guitar do you go to? You have your Gibson J-45 and your LG-1…
“Yeah, but you know what? A lot of the time it’s on piano. I played a lot more piano on this record, and you can hear that, I think. Blue On Blue is one of the most acoustic guitar-led songs on there, but it’s got some phenomenal piano, too. Postcards is one I wrote on the piano, but now it’s a ukulele song!” [Laughs]