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The Romance Of Sustain

Bill Nelson

album - 14 August 2003

Romance Of Sustain - Cover


01)  This Very Moment (Version 1)

02)  Artifex

03)  Appolinaire

04)  It Just Doesn't Rain Like It Used To

05)  Rocket Rabbit's Secret Dream (Osram Energy Device No. 1)

06)  Transoceanic

07)  For Stuart (Triumph And Lament)

08)  Gloria Mundae

09)  Steamboat In The Clouds

10)  Real Men With Ray Guns

11)  Locarno

12)  Wondermonster

13)  Full Sail

14)  Black Fish/Silver Pond


The Romance of Sustain (Painting with Guitars Volume One) album was the first to appear on the Universal Twang label, another short lived 'private' label created exclusively for Nelson's prolific output.  Issued in a single pressing of 1000 copies, the album first went on sale as a pre-release on August 14 at A Private View event, staged to premiere the DVD Flashlight Dreams and Fleeting Shadows, held in Gateshead.  The CD was then available at merchandise tables at gigs and Nelsonica '03 and Nelsonica '04, and the Rooms With Brittle Views website.  The album comprised guitar-based instrumental music which would go some way to define the artist's work for the 21st Century.  The Romance of Sustain album includes Nelson's tribute piece to former Skids and Big Country guitarist Stuart Adamson, "For Stuart", written for a special benefit gig staged in Adamson's memory.


Available for purchase as a digital download in the
Dreamsville Store.


Plectrajet, Six String Super ApparatusTripping The Light Fantastic, Fantastic Guitars, The Awakening of Dr Dream,

Practically Wired, Plaything, Custom Deluxe, Modern Moods For Mighty Atoms, Wah-Wah Galaxy


"Romance of Sustain (Painting with Guitars Volume One), was primarily a collection of instrumentals that I'd intended for use in live performance."

"It doesn't exclusively contain material I've featured in my live performances.  It does have a few solo performance tracks, ("For Stuart" being a major one), but it also contains things which have never featured in my concerts."

"I wonder how many people 'got' the title of The Romance of Sustain?

Just thinking now that, for many fans, it may seem a rather peculiar title...but it has a definite meaning.  If you are a guitarist, you will probably understand that one of the 'Holy Grails' of guitar playing is tone and sustain.  By that I mean the way that a guitar string resonates and transmits the tonality of the instrument to the ear, over time.

Guitarists are forever in search of that perfect sound, the note that continues to hang in the air after a string has been struck by the plectrum.  It sustains and creates a lyrical, legato effect, almost vocal, or viola-like.

The search for sustain and tonality has become legendary and different guitars, amps and effects have taken on an almost magical quality if they have proved successful in the guitarists' search for individual note sustain.

In that sense, there's a 'romance' or fantasy attached to the sound of the guitar...this evasive, elusive, perfected dream of a vibrating string. Hence my choice of The Romance of Sustain for an album dedicated to the sound of the electric guitar."

"The piece "For Stuart' was made as a tribute to the late Stuart Adamson and deliberately contained several phrases from Stuart's favourite Be Bop Deluxe songs, because Stuart was such a huge fan.

Stuart also traced and bought the original Hoyer guitar I'd posed with on the 'Axe Victim' album cover.  The Skids also asked me to produce some recordings for them, including their 'Days In Europa' album.  I remember Stuart asking me to show him how to play certain Be Bop Deluxe licks whilst we were in Rockfield recording that album.  However, I always encouraged him to develop a sound and style of his own, which he did and perfected so well with his work with Big Country."



"A Classic.  Period."


"I almost feel envious of those who are just discovering the works (more like the universe) of Bill.  Wherever you roam therein will reveal wonders; some magnificent, some sublime, but always unique.  It's one Muthalode of a life's work, but rich and satisfying in its extent.  I'm listening to the track "Artifex" off of The Romance of Sustain, and as usual I sit with a bemused MonaLisa smile on my boat-race.  Yeah, warmth, beauty and wonder."

Iron Man No. 28:

"One of the great things about the way you record music, Bill, is the layers and the detail.  Painting With Guitars (and other elements), if you will.  Suddenly the listener can hear something new and unexpected on a familiar album or even a familiar track."


"For me the best bridge between 20th and 21st Century Bill Nelson music is The Romance of Sustain."


"I think every track on Romance of Sustain is as good as it gets.  It's an inspired album of unadulterated brilliance."


"Whenever I hear the opening notes of "For Stuart" I still get goose bumps - sublime."

"In my opinion this is Bill at the top of his game.  An absolute essential for any collection of his work.  Get it now!"


"For Stuart nearly had me in tears."

John Izzard:

"Forgive me if you've already heard it, but I'd recommend you buy Romance of Sustain, if only for one track!

This, of course, being "For Stuart (Triumph and Lament)".  It's no surprise that this track gets frequent mentions in both Bill Nelson and Big Country circles - the track being both written for, and dedicated to, the late and great Stuart Adamson.

The track is crammed full of Be-Bop references, which any fan of Bill's earlier works would find irresistible.  Someone else said that it brought tears to their eyes...Well, mine too and no doubt countless others.  It's that good.

I'd suggest this is one of those tracks that justifies the cost of an entire album in itself!  Don't get me wrong, Romance of Sustain is one of my preferred albums of Bill's more recent offerings (and I like 'em all), but I'd still buy RoS if it only included "For Stuart" and 14 other tracks of morse code!"


"The 'Modern Music' guitar in "For Stuart" is probably my favourite Bill Nelson moment ever.  Goosebumps every time I listen."

steve lyles:

"I put on Bill Nelson's "For Stuart" track and was struck by how it really sums up Stuart Adamson's musical vision with Big Country...and really captures the "essence" of what Stuart and his music was all about."


"Full Sail":  "About 2:38 into the song he rips a cadenza that shouts JOY TO THE WORLD!! (at least that's what I always hear)."


"The period that gave us Romance of Sustain, all the way up to the Rosewoods, represent the some of THE greatest stuff I've had the pleasure of overdosing on.  If Bill had streched out the recording process over a few years, instead of months (or weeks?), would these albums still retain that magic and flow?  It seems that he is very in touch with the muse, and how she likes to work him.  We, as fans get to benefit by being able to hear such a large, glittery catalogue."


"This is one of the top albums in my collection - my journey to acquire this album makes Jason's journey to aquire the Golden Fleece look like a trip to the shops."


"Bill's best release this far."

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