Taken from “Let’s See What the East Wind Brings”, out now via Rusted Rail.
Good Shepherd speaks:
“Back before accessible laptop recording, for me a digital 8 track was a revelation. It seemed a long series of experiments and research to find out how to record with any clarity at all. Working out what kinds of flavours of sound might work well together came from many days with ears in the cans. With self imposed limitations it was the hammer claw loops of guitar, double tracked vocal and a simple bass that began to deliver a sense of space within a song and allowed it to be sculpted a little as it emerged. A song cried out for cymbals and a friend obliged, one solstice we stayed up for the sunrise and recorded our late night jam, which I re-discovered years after and became a tune. I was a big fan of Madonna, True Blue in particular struck me as each song had a distinct identity – the spanish one, the rocky one, the confessional one, the romantic one, the papa one.
I felt strongly that each of my songs deserved the most distinct character I could nurture from within it.
None of my songs were recorded with an audience in mind or with any idea that they may be released – therefore I think they are naive and authentic, mellow and melodic but as punk as fuck with the DIY ethic.
I look back at my teenage years in Northern England in the late eighties and early nineties with, at least musically, great fondness. Finding music that I believed in enough to allow it to define me, thirty years on. Of course there was John Peel, recorded from end to end, cleaving the best onto mixtapes to share with the trusted. We could put tapes on the school bus and our local band, The Wedding Present, had albums George Best and Bizarro, that just intoxicated me. I remember everyone on the bus hollering every line of “My Favourite Dress”. Sonic Youth, Minutemen, Firehose and Dinosaur Jr came joyously to our ears through the iconic skate videos from the states and closer to home Madchester, post-New Order and The Smiths, had kicked off and the bleeps and beats of Acid House were pulsing out of youth clubs and village halls taken over for baggy birthday parties masquerading as mini-raves.
Obsessions hadn’t hit yet but my first came through Peel who played The Boo Radleys noisy and battered melodic clatter from the album Ichabod and I. I championed this band with anyone who’d listen and suddenly they were on Rough Trade and then to my absolute delight Creation where MBV had not long changed my world with Loveless, while Slowdive were releasing pillars of cathedral rock. So Loveless and the Boo’s Everything’s Alright Forever are horizon gazing, haze drenched, woozy noise pop that I love dearly.
I also fell heavy for the finger picking mastery of Bert Jansch, John Renbourn and ache of Anne Briggs’ vocal which led to cherry picking through the original psych-folk movement and it’s many reverberations through the first decade of a new century. Will Oldham became an obsession through his finest, wonky and wild years. I’m not sure how much the inspiration of these talents and geniuses is traceable in my recordings but these are the foundations of what my ears enjoy.”