2. Oh, Lonesome Me
3. Family Tradition
4. In The Pines
5. Whiskey River
6. Wayfaring Stranger
7. Wild Horses
8. Everytime I'm Kissing You
9. First Time I Saw Your Face
10. Lost Highway
"Ya know, I'm still not exactly sure how it happened," says Ryan Hamilton.
It's an unlikely album. In one corner you've got Tony Wright: Britrock star, Terrorvision singer and dry stone waller. In the other sits Texan singer-songwriter Hamilton, formerly of People On Vacation (featuring Bowling For Soup's Jaret Reddick), occasional collaborator with Ginger Wildheart, and currently leader of Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors. And they've made a country record, Grand Ole Otley, named after Wright's coffee and print-shop in Otley, Yorkshire.
More precisely, Grand Ole Otley is a collection of old-fashioned folk and country classics, from a surprisingly downbeat version of Dolly Parton's Jolene to a surprisingly upbeat take on Hank Williams Jr.'s Family Tradition. Those who know the traditional folk classic In The Pines from Nirvana's unplugged cover of Where Did You Sleep Last Night? will love the way the song has been fleshed out with full band and howling harmonica, and The Rolling Stones' Wild Horses is given a plaintive, slightly ghostly reading. It all rounds off with Leon Payne's Lost Highway, a song made famous by Hank Williams, where the duo are joined by former Hey! Hello! singer Victoria Liedtke.
"I was already a fan of Terrorvision, and we have a lot of mutual friends," says Hamilton. "But I had never met Tony. I don't know if he heard our song on the radio, or just overheard our stuff that Dave [producer Dave Draper] was working on. Whatever happened, he expressed interest in working together. I was flattered and excited. Before I knew it, we were recording an old song together called Everytime I'm Kissing You. Never in a million years did I think we'd make an album together. Especially not this album. This whole thing continues to be the most wonderful surprise."
"It's strange how things have fallen into place with this project," says Hamilton. "Accidentally. Sort of creepy, actually. But, again, that old school, dark/creepy vibe lends itself well to these tunes. I think we've stumbled onto something wonderful here. Accident or not, it just works. Even though on paper, it looks like it shouldn't.
"I think the different worlds we come from creates this really challenging, but super satisfying, super creative environment. Well... it does, when I can understand what Tony (and his Yorkshire accent) are actually saying!"
The unlikely pair - who recently discovered they're actually distant cousins – will take the album on the road for a short string of intimate shows, beginning tonight with a show at the Parish in Huddersfield. Tickets are on sale now (dates below). Physical copies of the album will be available at the shows, while digital pre-orders are available from iTunes now (opens in new tab).
"It's the distance between us that makes it so easy to record together," says Wright. "Maybe the tour will bring out the Alanis Morrisette in both of us and we'll make an album called Sour Little Tablet... not that Ryan needs any more Alanis bringing out!"
Jun 06: Huddersfield Parish - TICKETS (opens in new tab)
Jun 07: Mancheste Gullivers - TICKETS (opens in new tab)
Jun 08: London St Pancras Old Church - TICKETS (opens in new tab)
Jun 09: Nottingham Bodega - TICKETS (opens in new tab)
Jun 10: Gateshead Prohibition Cabaret Bar - TICKETS (opens in new tab)