Service Station Coffee By Pistol Pete Wearn Due On June 6th
Service Station Coffee, the first full-length album by Pistol Pete Wearn, is set for release by Footstomping Records on June 6th, 2016.
The record, which features both original material written by Wearn and reinterpretations of blues classics, has been produced by Alastair Jamieson at Birmingham’s Park Studios. It was mastered in London by Jon Astley, known for his work with The Who, Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones amongst others.
Wearn was named the 2015-16 Solo Blues Artist of the Year by Moonshine Magazine, and Service Station Coffee represents the next stage of the bluesman’s increasingly noteworthy career. Having made a strong name for himself on the live blues circuit over the last several years, on the album Wearn takes stock, develops and deepens his sound, and puts his own original compositions front and centre.
On songs such as Just Another Sinner and Jesus on the Mainline, Wearn reimagines the gospel singer as a world-weary fairground barker, equal parts awe-struck and sceptical. “Whilst I’m a committed atheist these days, I’m fairly confident if there is an Almighty Being up there he’s got more to worry about than my lifestyle choices,” says Wearn.
The album’s gospel theme is established in the album’s growling opener, Money-Lenders in the Temple – “Roll up, roll up,” Wearn hollers, inviting listeners to “put your money down.” But it’s not all fire, brimstone and Mississippi Fred McDowell: in songs such as the tenderly dark Excuse Me, the album takes on an introspective, almost singer-songwriterly aspect.
“I wrote it thinking it was a warm and lovely song about how cosy my favourite pub is,” Wearn says of Excuse Me. “But everyone who hears it agrees it is rather bleak, so perhaps I inadvertently wrote a song about alcohol dependency.”
With appearances by banjo wonderkid and BBC Folk Award nominee Dan Walsh, alt. country songstresses Franklin and Jones, plus piano, fiddle and drums, Service Station Coffee offers a full-spectrum summation of Wearn’s current sound. Live, his incendiary shows rarely leave a pint glass upright, all powered by his lusty vocals and cutting slide guitars; on album, extra layers are added to this potent base.
Reinterpretations of classic blues material make this development most plain: where Wearn’s Nobody’s Fault but Mine and Police & High Sheriff are faithful recreations of his raw solo sound, the album’s version of Rollin’ and Tumblin’ features a blistering banjo solo by Walsh.
Perhaps the lead song of the album, however, is Eight Miles from Stafford, in which the multi-instrumental character of the record is most fully realised. “As you travel north from Birmingham on the M6, just past junction 12 there is a ‘Stafford 8’ sign,” explains the resident of this Midlands county town. “Its number 8 has been inadvertently stuck on upside down so it is fatter at the top. It used to be an in-joke amongst my circle of friends, but when I started touring seriously it became a little landmark to tell me I was nearly home.”
With blues, bluegrass and gospel orbiting each other on the catchy, accessible and rewarding Service Station Coffee, Wearn has a lot more trips on the M6 – and another exciting year away from home – ahead of him.
Here at The Blue Cafe we have managed to lay our hands on a copy and will be doing a track-by-track review next week. Before our review, you can order yourself a copy by clicking here.