Yep Roc Records has announced the new album from psychedelic folk troubadour Robyn Hitchcock. The Man Upstairs will be available on Aug. 26. It sees Hitchcock uniting with producer Joe Boyd (Nick Drake, Fairport Convention).
Rather than simply record a new selection of songs, Boyd suggested what he called 'a Judy Collins album' such as Elektra would have released in 1967 - part well-known favorites, part personal discoveries, and part originals. The multi-tiered approach offered Hitchcock the rare opportunity to record as a performer, not "just another singer-songwriter laying their freshest eggs."
Thus, modern standards like Roxy Music's "To Turn You On," The Doors' "The Crystal Ship," and The Psychedelic Furs' "The Ghost In You" are interlaced with lesser-known ones from friends like Grant-Lee Phillips ("Don't Look Down").
Meanwhile, new Hitchcock originals "Trouble In Your Blood" and "Comme Toujours" find his stark vocal and guitar cast by Boyd against simple, autumnal backing.
"I've always wanted to make a folk record produced by Joe Boyd," says Hitchcock, "and now I have: thank you, universe!"
Recorded and mixed at London's Snap Studio in one week last October, The Man Upstairs further comes adorned with delightfully macabre cover art painted exclusively for the album by singer/songwriter Gillian Welch.
Hitchcock will herald The Man Upstairs with a pair of intimate live dates slated for June 20 at Santa Monica's McCabe's Guitar Shop and Seattle's Columbia City Theater on June 23. A complete North American live itinerary will be announced soon - for more, please see robynhitchcock.com/tourdates.
From plugging in Bob Dylan's electric guitar at his infamous 1965 performance at the Newport Folk Festival to his stewardship of an array of folk heroes - Joe Boyd has been intimately involved in some of music's milestone moments.
Young Robyn first encountered Boyd almost five decades back, the words "produced by Joe Boyd" emblazoned on album after album in his teenage canon. The two eventually made a more human - though no less personal - acquaintance in 1985 as Boyd helmed R.E.M.'s Fables of the Reconstruction. A relationship developed and in 2012, they toured the US with "Robyn Hitchcock & Joe Boyd - Live & Direct From 1967," coupling musical performances with Boyd's reminiscences of a time when giants walked among us.