New Northern Dream
album - 29 October 2016
01) Photograph: A New Beginning
02) Indigo Trees Hold Back The Stars
03) Consolation Street
04) Time Stops Here
05) The Trip
06) November Fires (My Northern Dream)
07) Between The Seasons
08) The Lamp Of Invisible Light
09) New Northern Dreamer
11) The Pond Yacht
12) In A World Of Strange Design
13) Miracles To Happen
14) The Legendary Spaceman Blues
15) A Month Without A Moon (Jupiter In Saggitarius)
16) A Northern Man
17) Hymn Of The Old Albion Co-Operative Society
New Northern Dream is an album of vocal and instrumental pieces issued on the Sonoluxe label in a limited edition of 600 copies. The album was the fourth to appear in Nelson's Super Listener Series and was presented in a jewel cased sleeve.
New Northern Dream was first announced on the Dreamsville forum on 9 February 2016, nearly 9 months ahead of release. At that stage Nelson had completed just one track, but had formed the idea to make an album that represented "a portrait of vanished Yorkshire". The album was not a remake of Nelson's 1971 debut Northern Dream, but did contain a few musical references to that 1971 debut, including new versions of "Photograph" and "Northern Dreamer".
The final track listing for the album was confirmed on 5 May 2016 - the same day that Nelson announced tentative plans for a launch party (provisionally to be held on 3 September 2016). Those plans were firmed up on 10 July 2016, with a revised event date of 29 October 2016, at the by now familiar surroundings of the Clothworkers Hall at Leeds University. Over 200 attendees were rewarded with an autographed copy of the New Northern Dream CD, a live performance (Nelson's first such outing for just over 3 years), and the customary play back of the album (with track by track commentary provided by Nelson himself). The event sold out within days of going on sale.
Of the initial pressing of 500 copies, the remaining 288 copies of the album went on general sale Tuesday, November 1st, selling out in less than four hours. In fact, demand so rapidly outstripped supply, that a second pressing of 100 copies was rushed to honour outstanding orders. Once these were fulfilled, the remaining 63 copies went on sale on November 15th (which also sold out within a matter of hours). Inbetween pressings, it was reported that a copy on eBay sold for a staggering £455!
Available for purchase as a digital download here in the Dreamsville Store.
IF YOU LIKED THIS ALBUM, YOU'LL PROBABLY ENJOY:
Northern Dream, All That I Remember, The Alchemical Adventures of Sailor Bill, Tripping The Light Fantastic,
Golden Melodies of Tomorrow, Kid Flip, Satellite Songs, Fancy Planets, Fantasmatron, Custom Deluxe,
"New Northern Dream is a sequel to Northern Dream, the album I recorded in 1970 and released independently in 1971. It brings a new perspective to the album's concept with totally new songs but also some direct references to material on the original album. It's a fusion of my early '70s style with my more current sounds. The album has an 8-page booklet with some photographs by Martin Bostock reproducing some of the original album's settings."
"I've been turning this idea over in my mind for quite some time now, wondering whether I might record an album with the title New Northern Dream.
The idea would come full circle, as it were, to create a mainly acoustic vocal album that had certain connections with my first ever solo album Northern Dream, but without slavishly emulating that particular album.
It would be a 'New' Northern Dream...perhaps with a similar scenario to the original, but seen through the lens of a time-camera, bringing the sounds and songwriting sensibilities into the present, and with brand new songs written in a more contemporary style.
The main connection would be concerned with acoustic foundations, (though with more avant-garde overtones), bringing electronica and some discreet orchestral textures to bear on certain songs.
Subject matter might still resonate with 'Old Yorkshire' though, evoking memories of when the county had a less obvious modernist appeal...a portrait of a vanished Yorkshire perhaps."
"Sonically, it owes nothing to the earlier recording at all, it's much more lush and richly textured than the original album...the sound is light years away from that...technology has moved on so much since then. In terms of sound, it's very much like my other current albums rather than anything from the past.
The connection with Northern Dream is difficult to explain, it's more of a spirit or feeling than anything directly tangible. But there's a little quote from 'Everyone's Hero' for 8 bars in the middle of 'Consolation Street', a humorous aside, a little nod and a wink to those who own the original album."
"There was obviously a certain amount of thought about how to make a connection with the original album without trying to reproduce it's sound and style (and innocence). That would be totally impossible without rendering it as a pastiche and would ultimately not be respectful to the original album.
We have to accept that the album was a product of its time and of the place I inhabited back then, both physically and internally in my own head. And, naturally, I don't live there any more, how could I? Are we exactly the same as we were 46 years ago? Have we not grown and changed and matured? If we're trapped in the past, we're not living life to the fullest. We can't go back, only forward. The past is, as they say, a foreign country.
Music isn't easy to manipulate in a strictly scientific way, at least not the way I do it. It can only be expressed as a result of the immediate moment, the actual moment it's created, with all the various forces that influence it at that particular point in time. It's a diary entry, an ongoing journal, a record of where we are now, which in turn becomes a record of where we were then.
That's the beauty of it. It's not something we can force or demand, it emerges according to our circumstances which, naturally enough, are in a constant state of flux.
In the case of this album, I had to reconcile the way I think now about music, combined with the recording equipment I possess, and my current production values, with this vague notion I had about wanting to reflect my very first solo album, made 46 years ago.
Finding an inroad to this hasn't been easy. I've no real idea whether I've succeeded or not. On the surface it sounds very much like one of my more current recordings. How else could it be? But I think there are some conceptual tags that make it connect to the first Northern Dream. I don't quite know how to articulate these in this explanation...it's all kind of nebulous and vague, but it's there, nonetheless. Whilst it's very much a 'modern' Bill Nelson album, it somehow links to the very first Bill Nelson album of all those long years ago. Don't come to it with any heavy expectations, though...just let it be itself."
"It has an intentional '70s vibe but with a few twists. (I never play anything completely 'straight', do I?!)"
Bill's Listening Notes for the album: 'New Northern Dream' Listening Notes
"It is a cracker.
One of the most "immediate" albums I'd say since Joy Through Amplification. Full of great melodies, pop hooks, ebow, and a mix of styles too."
"I'm enjoying the whole NND album in its entirety, but "The Lamp of Invisible Light" should be a massive hit single.
Confident, fulsome, melodic. Right 'on the money'."
"Quite brilliant. Catchy, lyrically moving, great tunes. Love the acoustic guitar and flute sounds.
Looks back but looks forward too.
As always, listen on headphones!"
"This one should appeal to both those that like BBD as well as those that like Bill's pop/rock albums. I played it twice today. Love it."
"This is an absolute gem. A nod to the past but a different album. I don't know how you keep doing it, but you've done it again. Your music has kept me company for over 40 years, through the highs and the lows of my life, enhancing every moment. Thank you x"
"I just can't get you out of my head.
Humming, whistling "singing" both at work and home, it can't just be me can it.
"Photograph" a new beginning revitalised and just as refreshing some 40 years later.
The whole album is just sublime.
"Abandon any preconceived ideas, all who enter here...
You might imagine that an album which finds Bill in a sentimental mood might be more reflective and quiet. Maybe more pastoral...Yet nothing could be further from the truth.
It's funny, despite the fact that Bill has released over 100 albums stretching across four and a half decades, I don't think of him as a singer-songwriter per-se. When I think 'singer-songwriter', I think monochromatic and repetitive - boring. Whereas to me, Bill's music defies categorization. Fans are used to Bill releasing albums back to back that each explore different styles, sometimes with very little in common. But with New Northern Dream I hear a master singer-songwriter at the height of his powers. The electric and acoustic guitars intertwine in bittersweet harmony, as we are treated to one powerful, melodic ballad after another."
"I really feel that this time Bill has hit the nail on the head and achieved the aims that he related when presenting the preview of the album. A great balance between looking back and looking forwards. The musical references to the original Northern Dream fit seamlessly into what I personally feel is his strongest collection of work for quite some time without overpowering it with a sense of nostalgia or whimsy.
The album has a more 'rock' feel than I was anticipating and despite Bill's often proclaimed aim to avoid the tropes of mainstream rock elements in his music I actually think they work to his advantage here."
"I've been listening to NND since the launch last week and it's just simply wonderful!
Where other artists falter and stumble as they get older, Bill just continues to go from strength to strength...this is a work of art that, for me, captures the essence and innocence of Northern life from a bygone age....and I'm a Londoner!
If you were expecting a Northern Dream part 2, then think again...this is an album that absolutely stands tall in its own right. Bill's guitar work is exquisite as usual and the prominance given to the acoustic guitars just add something special, a nod to ND I suppose.
Buy it now! ( maybe not, sold out! ), beg, borrow or steal or download it when available, you will be blown away!...
"It's a lot harder than I expected. I assumed it would have been a more electro-folk album to align with the original, something like Songs of the Blossom Tree Optimists.
Most of the songs are more rock orientated than anything else with a couple of ambient instrumentals thrown in for good measure. A couple of nods to the original, but as Bill has stated, this is quite a different beast.
Highlights for me are "Indigo Trees", a beautiful ambient style guitar piece, "New Northern Dreamer", but my favourite is "A Month Without A Moon" - superb song capturing the anthemic feel of "Another Day Another Ray Of Hope", "Boat To Forever", "God Man Slain" and the like."
"While this album revisits the themes of looking back to Bill's youth, it has a more pop oriented feel than previous retrospective albums. Indeed, some of the tracks wouldn't sound out of place on mainstream radio, but still have that distinctive Bill Nelson sound."
For me listening to your music is like preaching to the converted - but NND is really the most cohesive cd that, in my humble opinion, you have produced in many years.
All the songs are stunning and original, but NND is so textured, so considered, original and beautiful that it has had me listening to it about 4 times in a row today - it is that enjoyable!!!
I think this is the best series of songs that you have done for ages, no offense meant, and really show that you are at the top of your game.
It is a great pleasure to own this cd and to have the joy of hearing it again and again...gush, gush...but it's all meant.
Well done Bill! New Northern Dream is stunning and beautiful."
"It's definitely "accessible" (horrible word, but you know what I mean) and while it is coherent I'd stick my neck out and say it's one of Bill's more stylistically varied albums. Yes, Bill's hallmark multi-layered electric guitar pieces and extended codas feature frequently, but other tracks make welcome use of acoustic guitar as rhythm or lead instrument. Two tracks in particular, "Indigo Trees Hold Back the Stars" and "The Pond Yacht" bring back memories of the wonderful Rosewood albums, though now the acoustic guitar work is complemented by clean electric playing. While there are no out-and-out rockers, there are several poppy numbers such as "Consolation Street", "In a World of Strange Design" and "Miracles to Happen"; wistful ballads such as "Between the Seasons" and "Daydreaming", and a great slow blues number "The Legendary Spaceman Blues", all featuring strong electric guitar work (and sparingly effective use of e-bow).
Lyrically, there's a strong element of nostalgia, though not for the flares and Afghans of the 70's that some might have hoped for (or feared!) – the references are to earlier times: steam trains and gas lights, the shops and toys and bonfire parties of Bill's childhood. The present and future are not forgotten though, with "The Trip" and "Miracles to Happen" waking us from our reverie to remind us that even now, "life is such a blast" and we can and should still be "dreaming of tomorrow"."
"On my first listen now and my first impression is simply wow! It just amazes me after so many albums Bill that you can still maintain such quality. I'm having to revise my all time favourite Bill top 50 again! But which ones to go on..."Consolation Street"? "The Trip"? "Time Stops Here"? "November Fires (My New Northern Dream)"? I might just have to make it a top 75..."