If you’ve been paying attention to the Americana scene in the UK, you will have noticed the energetic sound of The Blue Highways, whose outstanding debut full-length record, ‘Long Way to the Ground’, was praised by AUK for its, “…big sound and intelligent songwriting.” Known for being a dynamic live act, the band have recently released ‘I Wanna Party’, an EP of purposeful rock and roll songs, designed to get you moving. Now, the band’s singer and songwriter, Callum Lury, is putting out impressive solo material and we are delighted to premiere the latest single, ‘Rosie’. In tone and delivery, this immediately brings to mind the Springsteen of the mid-1970s. The piano flows with currents of rock and roll and desperate escapism as Lury sings of getting out of town and starting afresh somewhere new. It’s a classic theme that will always resonate. Quite simply, what makes ‘Rosie’ stand out is the quality of both the songcraft and Lury’s vocal performance. His voice is in turn explosively emotional and quietly delicate; changes in pace and volume help to tell the story and convey the depth of feeling, remaining utterly captivating from start to finish. In the video, recorded at The Betsey Trotwood in London, we see Lury lost in the music, totally absorbed in the narrative and the melody. It’s a strikingly good performance: those comparisons with Springsteen are positive and favourable and unsurprising given Lury’s musical influences.
Lury explained to AUK what the song means to him: “Born to Run was basically the soundtrack to my youth. Even if my life was nothing like the characters in those songs, the album taught me to dream and imagine some other place, where rock’n’roll heroes walked the streets, and music was more than just a hobby or a pastime or a lesson. That and, more than maybe anything else, it sparked my love and passion for the piano, the object that has basically been the basis of my work, my study, my life for the past twenty years. ‘Rosie’ is partly a love letter to the music of my youth, but there’s the reality of my life in there, that so far maybe I haven’t realised all the ideas and hopes I had growing up, that I’m still fighting for that rock’n’roll dream, and that while time always seems to be running out, the only way you definitely lose is by taking yourself out of the game.”
‘Rosie’ offers a contrast to Lury’s work with The Blue Highways as the big band sound gives way to the simplicity of the just the singer and his piano. The song is all the more powerful for this and the fluid, fluent keys and insistent vocals are a great introduction to Lury’s talents. Recent singles ‘Hungry Love’ and ‘Keep the Light On’ also come recommended. After years arranging horns for folk groups and working as a songwriter, a band member, a music tutor, Callum Lury, both as a solo artist and as a member of The Blue Highways, is emerging as one of the finest voices in UK Americana. Enjoy.