After the huge success of Their first album Somebody’s Opus, Ash Bell and Matt Bone, the lads from Starboard Cannons, have just finished their second offering The Valiant and the Brave. On the eve of the recording’s launch we caught up with singer/songwriter Ash Bell.
Why this album now?
It’s been a couple of years. Had a few new songs. Dug up some old ones. Seemed like a good idea at the time…
In what way is this album different from or the same as the last one?
I think the response to the first album gave me the idea that it was okay to be a bit introspective with the lyrical content, so that’s probably a bit more personal this time round. Also we weren’t quite so strict with our folk-band rules. We used some electricity and I have no regrets.
Are the players, writers and production team the same as Somebody’s Opus?
The core team was essentially the same. Jordan Power wove his special magic once again as engineer/co-producer; Jason Caspen on drums and Steve Cook on all things strung – but there’s a few cheeky special guests in there too, including Mikey Bee (MT Warning), Ash Grunwald and a bunch more. It’s a really good mix of different styles and themes, I reckon.
Did your last album fulfill your expectations?
Absolutely! It was a bit scary making this album, knowing what we were following with the success of Somebody’s Opus. It very much put us on the map, and is still doing a pretty good job even though its baby brother is getting all the attention..
The ‘second album blues’ are nothing new. Once the first album is out, you’re writing for a purpose. Everything that comes out is something you know will be scrutinised and compared with all that’s come before. But this can be good! Letting go of expectations is the key. The writing takes care of itself.
What’s behind the album title?
It’s one of the lines from the track Horses Stay Behind. The song is written about the situation that arose at the end of the First World War with the Australian Light Horse.
What’s your favourite track?
I like Andy because it’s a very personal story for me. Also Sara Tindley does some harmonies and that’s always nice. Steve Russell’s piano playing in Down The River still gets me every time.
Were there any tracks that didn’t make the cut?
No. We really scraped the bottom of the jar this time.
The Starboard Cannons will launch The Valiant and the Brave on Saturday 31 May from 7pm at the Court House Hotel Mullumbimby. All ages welcome. $15 on the door.