Photo by Grant Lee Phillips
Southgate House Revival, 111 E 6th St, Newport, KY
7pm doors, 8pm show, $20 adv, $25 dos, Buy Tickets
The Man Upstairs sees psychedelic troubadour Robyn Hitchcock uniting with legendary producer Joe Boyd (Nick Drake, Fairport Convention, R.E.M.) for one of the most unique outings of his already quite distinctive career. The album – which arrives just one short year after 2013’s acclaimed Love From London – sees the British singer/songwriter musing on mortality, masculinity, and the impossibility of forever via an unexpected intermingling of self-penned originals and “songs I wished I’d written.” Modern standards like The Doors’ “The Crystal Ship” and The Psychedelic Furs’ “The Ghost In You” are reimagined as stark and melancholy folk ballads, and then set to powerful effect alongside haunting new songs like the plaintive “Recalling The Truth.” Hitchcock’s 20th solo studio recording – give or take a few outtake, demo, and rarities compilations – The Man Upstairs is a remarkable portrait of an artist raging quietly against the dying of the proverbial light, even though that light may well be the 9:35 to Winchester coming directly at him.
“Yet another autumnal record,” says he. “Yet another elegiac record. It’s reminiscent of I Often Dream Of Trains – there’s a lot of autumn on that record as well. It was me, half the age I am now, already kind of nostalgic, already anticipating middle age. “