Celebrates Emerging Artist Award win with sun-drenched video for new single “Big August”
Taken from new album Upwards of Summer out now
Live Date – 12 October – The Lexington, London
Watch video for “Big August”
To celebrate winning the top Help Musicians UK / PledgeMusic’s Emerging Artist Award for his new album Upwards Of Summer, Ralegh Long is set to release the Rough Trade endorsed album highlight “Big August“ as a new single, which was premiered on God is in the TV. In sync with the season, Long has described the track as dealing with, “the promise and menace of high summer.” Chiming mandolins and Jack Hayter’s (ex-Hefner) swooping pedal steel, combine in a lush, beautiful soundscape that UNCUT said; “conjoins the moods of R.E.M’s Losing My Religion and Beck’s Sea Change.” On top of this sits Long’s hushed vocal, which brings to mind, “a British Kurt Vile or Ryan Adams” (God is in the TV). The song was written while touring in Singapore – a country where somewhat surprisingly Long has developed a significant fan-base – and finds this most autumnal and English of songwriters exploring a tropical, sun-drenched climate. The soundscape is perfectly complemented by a Robyn Hitchock-esque sea of impressionist imagery depicting a world unravelling in the summer sun, with, “greens the colour of orange and reds the colour of blue”.
The video nods to the song’s origin by combing an intimate performance with plant details and vintage footage of Singapore and Hawaii. The video was directed by rising director Katia Ganfield, who has helmed videos for Childhood, Telegram, Yassasin, and Mellah. She is currently working on a documentary for Channel 4 which explores mental health in the music industry – a theme that resonates strongly with the story behind Upwards of Summer.
At the end of 2016, worn out and disillusioned, Long found himself wondering whether he would continue making music. During a period of recovery he began to write again, tentatively at first, just to please himself, remembering what it what it felt like to pick up a guitar for the first time, and tapping into that place of instinct.
He decided to record these songs, considering it perhaps “a last hurrah”. Working with his touring band and producer Margo Broom (Fat White Family, Phobophobes, Goat Girl) he recorded the album in a one-week stint – a liberating process he credits with healing his relationship with music. Long says, “we treated it like it might be the last one and somehow that changed something significant about how I approached it. Fear went out the widow. I didn’t doubt, I didn’t second guess, I just trusted myself and I trusted those around me.” The resulting album is a revelation. The piano, strings and woodwind of his debut are nowhere to be seen, exchanged for a jangle of chorus guitars and anthemic hooks that make up a thrillingly confident return – a powerful set of songs exploring the binaries of frustration and excitement, youth and age, restlessness and homesickness.
Upwards of Summer has been described by CLASH as the sound of, “an artist revitalised and brimming with confidence.” Its first single, “Take Your Mind Back”, landed immediately on Spotify’s Indie List and was picked up by Elton John for his Beats1 radio show, who described it as simply, “a great song”. Most recently, Upwards of Summer was awarded the coveted Emerging Artist award by Help Musician’s UK and Pledge Music. Long says, “I am delighted and hugely grateful to win this award. This couldn’t have been further from how I imagined things turning out. I made the record as a last hurrah, as someone who’d almost given up; I never could have expected it would go on to win this award.”
Long released his debut album Hoverance to critical acclaim in 2015. This album of “spooky pastoralism” (Mojo 4*s) won praise from The Guardian, for its, “twilit ambience and demented beauty.” His followed-up this up with an EP We Are In The Fields, which was praised by Gold Flake Paint who said, “his folk-like tales precisely seasoned with a graceful sense of the outdoor surroundings he placed himself within.”
Tracks received heavy radio rotation from BBC6 Music presenters Lauren Laverne, Guy Garvey and Gideon Coe, as well as on BBC Scotland, Amazing Radio and internationally. To date, Long has over 2 million plays on Spotify. Long spent the summer touring, with many shows in Europe, which were hailed by Sky Arts as “calling to mind the atmosphere of Nick Drake”.
“A great song, love this.” Elton John, Beats1 AppleMusic
“Conjoins the moods of R.E.M’s Losing My Religion and Beck’s Sea Change.” UNCUT
“An Artist revitalised and brimming with confidence.” CLASH
“Upwards Of Summer swirls yellows and golds into the more sombre palette of debut Hoverance with mandolin, luminously swooning pedal steel and a crackling powerpop gloss…hints of the Lilac Time, R.E.M and Roddy Frame.” MusicOMH
“‘Big August’ ratchets up the bucolic feel with the addition of a mandolin. The vocals are pushed dreamily to the back of the mix. Long’s performance here is similar to a British Kurt Vile or Ryan Adams. The vocal is broken by poignant pauses and the guitars create the emotional climate.” God is in the TV
“Upwards of Summer is a revelation” ShireFolk
13 September – The Mental Wealth Festival – John Lyon Hall, City Lit – London
12 October – The Lexington – London