On May 28th, Justin Sullivan will release his second solo album, eighteen years after the first. “Surrounded” is a collection of sixteen new songs, written in the first weeks of the 2020 lockdown. The songs are again guitar-vocal pieces featuring his love of story-telling, wide open landscapes and strong atmospheres.
Mostly recorded at home, the album also features contributions from many other musicians including Jon Thorne on bass (best known for his work in the band Lamb and countless jazz combos), Tom Moth (harp player from Florence and the Machine - and Ceri’s brother), string arrangements from composer friends Tobias Unterberg, Henning Nügel and Shir-Ran Yinon, backing vocals from Anna Douglas and Laura Shackleton (from the Bradford duo Waiting For Wednesday) and vibraphone from Matty Anst, along with contributions from many others, including all the current members of NMA. It was mixed by Lee Smith at Greenmount Studios in Leeds, who also mixed the last three NMA releases. The album comes in a media book CD format and double vinyl.
JS: “Under the circumstances, it wasn’t particularly surprising that this was the moment to make another solo record and the songs came thick and fast in the first few weeks of the lockdown… There is not so much about ‘what’s happening in the World’. As with Navigating by the Stars, which was written in the aftermath of 9/11, I wanted to write about other things - some well-known stories, some less well-known, some autobiographical and more a landscape of the imagination than social comment. I’m grateful for all the many musical contributions I received from friends that help to create all the different atmospheres and places; it’s a long album, but it seems that all the songs belonged together in one collection. I hope people enjoy it.”
Simultaneously, Justin’s first solo album “Navigating by the Stars”, which has been out of print for some years, will be re-released. The new version will come in a cardboard digipack with an expanded booklet and for the first time on (double) vinyl. The audio has not been altered but there are two additional tracks: ‘Sooner or Later’, which first appeared as a B-side in 2003, and ‘The Wreck of The Essex’, a song written and recorded later that same year that has laid dormant ever since but for a few live performances.
To pre-order the album(s), go here…
Please note that, with the ever-increasing shipping costs and now the added complications of Brexit, it may be cheaper for people outside the UK to order from outlets in their own countries. We will be adding links for these soon.
Today sees the release of ‘Amundsen’, the first single from Justin’s “Surrounded” album which gives a first insight into this very personal album.
“The stories of polar (and in particular Antarctic) adventurers at the beginning of the 20th Century have long been a fascination. On my first solo record, the song 'Ocean Rising' is, in part, the story of Ernest Shackleton's epic voyage from Elephant Island to South Georgia. The race to reach the South Pole between Roald Amundsen and Robert Scott is another fascinating tale. Being raised in England, Scott and his 'noble, tragic' failure is a story written large in national mythology but the other man, a truly remarkable explorer, is rarely acknowledged. The battle over who gets to tell which version of a story is very relevant in these times of 'culture wars', but the song is more a simple snapshot of him and I hope I have done him justice.”
‘Amundsen’ is now available as stream and digital download: https://JustinSullivan.lnk.to/Amundsen
The single is also accompanied by an official music video which can be found on the official New Model Army YouTube channel: