New England-based Americana troubadour Jeffrey Foucault has announced a UK tour for next month, in support of the European release of his new album ‘Blood Brothers’. Foucault will be touring with Eric Heywood (Pretenders, Ray LaMontagne) on pedal steel and electric guitar, with support from special guest Ry Cavanaugh (Session Americana), whose own new album ‘Time For This’ will also be released to coincide.
‘Blood Brothers’ is the follow-up to Foucault’s 2015 album ‘Salt As Wolves’. The record is described as “a collection of reveries, interlacing memory with the present tense to examine the indelible connections of love across time and distance. The poet Wallace Stevens wrote that technique is the proof of seriousness, and from the first suspended chord of ‘Dishes’ – a waltzing hymn to the quotidian details of life, which are life itself (‘Do the dishes / With the windows open’) – Foucault deftly cuts the template for the album as a whole, showing a mastery of technique as he unwinds a deeply patient collection of songs at the borderlands of memory and desire.” A departure from the austere electricity of his last outing, the new album sets blues aside to pull together strands of country, R&B, gospel, rock’n’roll, and folk in a series of small-canvas portraits. There’s a touch more light coming through the window than on previous releases too, with layers of backing vocals sung by women – including Foucault’s wife Kris Delmhorst, as well as the various partners of the band.
Foucault was 17 when he learned to play all the songs on John Prine’s eponymous debut on his father’s mail-order guitar, spending long evenings in his bedroom spinning piles of old records on a hand-me-down turntable, lifting the needle to transcribe every line of ‘Desolation Row’. At 19 he stole a copy of ‘Townes Van Zandt: Live and Obscure’ from a friend (which he has never been properly punished for), and a few years later, having quit school to work as a farm-hand and carpenter Foucault began writing the songs that became his first album (2001’s ‘Miles From the Lightning’). Since then he’s been everything from solo country-blues troubadour to frontman for a six-piece rock ‘n’ roll band, along the way compiling a discography notable for its visceral power and complex poetics. Yet it wasn’t until he paired with drummer Billy Conway (Morphine) that the final piece fell into place and Foucault found the Luther Perkins to his Johnny Cash, the truly sympathetic collaborator to frame and fire for his brand of Americana.
Since 2013 Foucault and Conway have toured across the United States and overseas together, refining a primal, stripped-down stage show: two men, two chairs; a beat-up Gibson J-45 and an electric guitar tuned low and played through a 5-watt amp; a suitcase kick drum, a low-boy cymbal, a snare drum. The pair plays only what they can carry into the club alone in one trip, so you won’t need to sheepishly stare at the ground if they’re unloading when you arrive. Here are those dates:
JEFFREY FOUCAULT TOURING UK APRIL 1-11
support at all shows by special guest Ry Cavanaugh
Wed 1 April – Winchester – The Railway Inn
Thu 2 April – London – The Water Rats
Fri 3 April – Newcastle upon Tyne – Gosforth Civic Theatre
Sat 4 April – Leek, Staffs – Foxlowe Arts Centre
Sun 5 April – Sheffield – The Greystones
Mon 6 April – High Wycombe – Kingsmead House Concert
Tue 7 April – Barry, South Wales – The Butterfly Collector
Wed 8 April – Manchester – The Rose and Monkey Hotel
Thu 9 April – Glasgow – Broadcast
Fri 10 April – Strathdon, Aberdeenshire – Glenbuchat Hall
Sat 11 April – Aberdeen – The Blue Lamp