Shares new single “Hills Of Rome”
Taken from forthcoming double CD retrospective Rain Dries Your Eyes
Due out on 28 April (new release date!) via Tombola
Listen to “Hills Of Rome” here
5 March – Vernal Equinox, PRESTON w/Emma Tricca
11 March – Slaughtered Lamb, LONDON
6 April – Lantern Society at Print Works, HASTINGS
22 April – Music’s Not Dead, BEXHILL
2 May – Servant’s Jazz Quarters, LONDON
7 May – Jenny Lind – HASTINGS
20/21 May – Wood Festival, OXFORDSHIRE
“One of the UK’s best kept secrets.” – Mojo 4*s
“McNiff’s quiet, intimate, fragile-sounding vocals draw you into his world – an almost timeless place, through which he drifts, a romantic loner, a dreamer, at home with the blues.” Time Out
“Dark songs of drunkenness and murder!” – The Independent 4*s
“Not just a good songwriter, a truly great one.” – Americana UK 9/10
Jason McNiff is set to release a double CD retrospective anthology called Rain Dries Your Eyes, due out on 28 April via Tombola. Today he shared the track “Hills of Rome” via Clash. Gorgeously lilting and uplifting, the track showcases McNiff’s simple-yet-powerful acoustic guitar work partnered with an enticing folk-pop melody. Jason says of the song: “My brother James moved to Rome in 2004/5 and I used to go visit him a lot on cheap Ryanair flights. I remember the first time, waiting at the airport in the pouring rain next to a priest taking a nip every now and again, like something from ‘The Power and the Glory’, the Graham Greene book. The smells sights and sounds of the city are stills captivating now. I think it’s my favourite place.”
Rain Dries Your Eyes spans more than 15 years and includes brand new tracks, previously unreleased material and songs from Jason McNiff’s six studio albums. The collection showcases his fragile, wistful and timeless blend of blues and folk. A modern day troubadour, McNiff started recording in the early 00s, but he has a sound that harks back to the great folk rock pioneers of the late 60s/early 70s.
Jason McNiff is a London based Yorkshireman of Irish and Polish descent. With nods to Bob Dylan and the Band, Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon, Bert Jansch, John Renbourn and Wizz Jones, McNiff is often touted as one of the UK’s most precious musical treasures – a great songwriter and top-notch finger-style guitarist. His 2011 album, April Cruel (Fledg’ling Records) was nominated for best album in the alt-country category at the Independent Music Awards in the US.
Off The Rails was McNiff’s 2000 debut, which was produced by Andy Allen of the Hank Dogs (who was one time bass player with the Sex Pistols for their “Silly Thing” single). The album was recorded in a closing down tape studio in Wandsworth and engineered by Alun Lane, and also featured Geoff Spence on drums, who McNiff met whilst studying at Nottingham University; “Nearly 30 years my senior, he’d lived through an era I could only imagine through records… We did many gigs together, but it was the endless hours spent talking and thinking about music that was the most valuable time.”
The 2003 follow-up, Nobody’s Son, maintained McNiff’s signature sound but included contributions from members of both the Hank Dogs and South London country rockers Grand Drive. The title track has been reworked for this collection and features guest vocals from London-based Italian folk singer Emma Tricca, with whom Jason as collaborated as the duo Tricca McNiff (whose album Southern Star was released in 2016).
For his third album Another Man (Wonky Atlas in 2006), McNiff wanted to have a band so he put together a crack team of Steve Brooks (Ahab, Danny & the Champs) on drums, Graham Knight (Simple Kid, Ahab, Orphan Colours) on bass, and Andy Drummond on Organ. It was recorded live in the room of another soon-to-be-closed studio, this time in Bath, Somerset.
In 2008, McNiff was anthologised on In My Time, which featured material from all three of his previous albums, along with a few newly recorded tracks. The album also featured Simon J Alpin of Willard Grant Conspiracy on lap steel on “Pilgrim Soul”.
April Cruel, his 2011 album, was McNiff’s first to be recorded at Bark Studios in Walthamstow by Brian O’Shaughnessey – he has since returned many times. The track “Kissing the Wind” features Fryda, an instrumental duo from Italy.
His 2014 album God Knows Why We Dream features the song “Heart of A Poet” on which he plays a hand-made Vicente Sanchis A 2 Spanish guitar, which he used in his job as resident flamenco guitarist at a Spanish restaurant in Waterloo.
The new songs on the album include “Cairo” (which is a new song from an old idea using a Rob Armstrong guitar in open D tuning), “Sun Comes Up”, “Marry Him” (featuring Garry Smith on Dobro) and “Sicily” (written after touring round Sicily with his Dad as the tour manager).
For all his talent for lyricism and effortlessness as a songwriter, McNiff has also shown his adeptness as a musician by way of cover versions, as demonstrated by the exclusive download-only version of Jackson C Frank’s “Blues Run the Game” with the digital release. Weaving inspriation from classic American songsmiths with strong roots in English folk, McNiff serves up astutely arranged ballads embued with warmth and beautifully crafted imagery.
Jason McNiff Discography:
2000 Off the Rails (Snowstorm Records)
2003 Nobody’s Son (Snowstorm)
2006 Another Man (Wonky Atlas)
2008 In My Time (Snowstorm)
2011 April Cruel (Fledg’ling Records)
2014 God Knows Why We Dream (self)
Rain Dries Your Eyes
1. Off the Rails (from Off the Rails)
2. Woody’s Annie Hall (Off the Rails)
3. Southbound Train (Off the Rails)
4. I Remember You (Nobody’s Son)
5. Another Man (Another Man)
6. Blow Up The Bridge (Nobody’s Son)
7. Hang On To Your Woman (Off the Rails)
8. Kissing in the Wind (April Cruel)
9. Summertime in Soho (Off the Rails)
10. Marry Him (NEW)
11. Nobody’s Son feat Emma Tricca (NEW version of song, Emma on lead)
12. Adieu to Lausanne (Nobody’s Son)
13. Students of Love (NEW version of track from April Cruel)
14. New York (Off the Rails)
15. Hat (Another Man)
16. Journey Home (Unreleased recorded 2002)
1. In Our Time (NEW version of song from Another Man)
2. Hills of Rome (Another Man 2006)
3. Green (God Knows Why We Dream 2014)
4. A Different Word (God Knows…)
5. All Around America (Nobody’s Son)
6. Tombola (April Cruel 2011)
7. Delia (Another Man)
8. Sun Comes Up (NEW)
9. Coming Back To Life (New version of track from God Knows)
10. Game Over (God Knows… 2014)
11. Heart of a Poet (God Knows…)
12. Bus of Tears (NEW version of track from April Cruel)
13. Pilgrim Soul (In My Time 2008)
14. The Picture (God Knows)
15. Sicily (NEW version)
16. Weeping Willows Weep (Nobody’s Son)
17. Cairo (Stuck in the Past) (NEW)