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Door One

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Door One, borrowing the nickname for a recreation ground in Nottingham near where David grew up, has a musical personality that is distinct from his work within Big Big Train even though Gregory Spawton plays acoustic guitar on two songs. Recorded with 4 core musicians: Jeremy Stacey (King Crimson, Eric Clapton, Noel Gallagher, Sheryl Crow, The Finn Brothers),Theo Travis (Steven Wilson, Soft Machine, Gong),Steve Vantsis (Fish),Gary Bromham (Bjork, Sheryl Crow, George Michael).

The album was steered to completion under the control of David's close friends Patrick Phillips and Gary Bromham and his partner Sarah Ewing. Making Dyble Longdon’s acclaimed 2020 record Between A Breath And A Breath had been a step away from Big Big Train, the band that made his name. Plus we see how it affected the family, both literal and the band-family – our “loss” in no way compares to their… but we feel it. Overall, listening to Door One reminds of how I felt when I listened to by first BBT opus - The Underfall Yard. David, sadly, died - depriving BBT of an incredible voice and the wider rock world of a genuine genre-straddling vocalist.Right from the opener “Into the Icehouse” with its cinematic music, you can tell that David was trying to do something new. The Big Big Train gig I attended in Edinburgh in 2019 will always be etched in my mind as one of the stand out concerts and performances I’ve ever been to, irrespective of how things ended up turning out – and it’s that, plus my love of the music he was a major part of creating with BBT, and the kinship that the music invokes in fans, that makes his passing a painful one. Nicely crafted tracks but a couple do seem to be that they are missing the final touches to the album. I said earlier this track “should be a standard” – what I mean by that is that I could easily hear this song being interpreted by any number of singers (certainly those outside of the rock / prog tradition! The CF was then finished and mastered by some exceptional musicians and studio technicians as a tribute to this irreplaceable musical force.

The jazz tones are supported by a fantastic saxophone solo by Theo Travis before everything shifts, around the halfway mark, into a different piano-led groove which brings a more optimistic tone: “You don’t have to let the fear of letting go keep you from embracing change”.The album is not actually very long in duration but it has flashes of brilliance and will need several plays to really understand, which is fitting really. Accepting the change that has occurred and facing it bravely whilst keeping the memory alive, even though the loved one has gone. The 103 third parties who use cookies on this service do so for their purposes of displaying and measuring personalized ads, generating audience insights, and developing and improving products. This album is different because of his passing but it is still a good listen, even if it is painful, for what has gone and for what could have been in his future. This one has a funky edge, powered along by electric piano, with some clavinet and Travis’s sax joining towards the end of the track.

I was excited to discover a band I hadn’t heard of before who had an unique perspective on rock music, merging elements of prog and folk together and bound together by David’s Gabrielesque vocals. There's a suppleness to the instrumentation on Door One that is often missing in BBT’s meticulously crafted music. Starting with the sounds of nature, which lead to some quite dark and ominous music and the sound of footsteps – it conjures in my mind a Twin Peaks soundtrack type atmosphere. It’s a reflection on the quality experience of singing to an audience, no doubt drawn from David’s experience of doing just that: “I hit the stage as they strike up the band, the audience moves to the beat. The quality of the writing and playing on this album make it an absolute standout album of 2022 for me.Especially because – as Longdon looks back on doors opened, paths chosen, and where those choices have led – this personal, emotional and frequently sublime record simply vibrates with life, and living. I will say that this tends to make the album feel quite raw, which isn’t a word I would ever have used for David’s music in the past.

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