‘Fishing Pole’ is a gorgeously languorous introduction to a man whose musical history is long and glorious. The main songwriter and producer of band 13ghosts (self-described as “critically successful and financially disasterous”) Brad Armstrong was approached by his record company, Cornelius Chapel Records, to re-issue his 2016 debut solo album, the sublime ‘Empire’ on vinyl. Having been working on some new material, Armstrong suggests they might want to also release his new album, ‘I Got No Place Remembers Me’ – they agreed.
Armstrong describes it thus:
In 2018, Cornelius Chapel decides they want to re-issue Empire on vinyl. Armstrong says, Hey, hang on, how about issuing this next record instead? Cornelius Chapel says, How about we do them both? Armstrong says, Ok, that would be very nice, thank you. He makes the record. It is called I Got No Place Remembers Me. He whispers a prayer to himself that it is a lie, and, standing on the cliff at the edge of the world, he heaves the record out into the void, arcing, spinning, disappearing finally down into the darkness.
13ghosts released 6 full length albums between 2002 and 2012, via Birmingham Alabama based label, Skybucket Records, and Atlanta Georgia based, This Is American Music. When the other songwriter left in 2008, Armstrong remained the sole writer, and they released two more albums before he left and moved to the Hudson Valley in 2012 taking with him the record which he’d written and tracked back in Birmingham, which featured 13ghosts bandmate Jason Lucia on drums and Maria Taylor, from Azure Ray, on harmonies, along with one lead track. Apart from fiddle playing by Sue Nuckols, and the double bass of Jason Taylor, the rest of the album was performed by Armstrong. This became ‘Empire’, released in 2016, and synced to ABC’s ‘Nashville’, and ‘Kingdom’, on DirecTv.
‘I Got No Place Remembers Me’, set for release on April 19, is an album of 13 songs, with opening track, ‘Brother Ford’, feeling like a cross between Charlie Daniels’ ‘The Devil Went Down To Georgia’ (not just because of the stunning fiddle playing) and the “evil country” of Saddle Of Southern Darkness. It’s a morality tale of sorts, with Armstrong poetically telling the story of an itinerate preacher – the Brother Ford of the title – who wasn’t all he made out to be. He got what was due him however:
Here you all, come gather round and I’ll tell the tale of the Maker’s Mound. Here stands a warning to a man: Don’t ever dare to raise your hand against the one from over the sea, made everything will ever be. Here lies Ford, what’s left of him is buried in the alkaline.
Armstrong’s voice, although languid and drawling, packs a whack of emotion in every syllable, and accompanied by guitar harmonising with Maria Taylor, of Birmingham Alabama duo, Azure Ray, tells a sad story of a couple who just seem to be going through the motions of love. They have one thing that binds them however – and it’s the shared memory of a fishing pole; could it keep them together? Or do they need to cut the line?
‘I Got No Place Remembers Me’ by Brad Armstrong is set for release April 19. You can pre-order it from his Bandcamp store, and Amazon. Find Brad Armstrong online on Facebook, Instagram, and his official website.
You can see Brad Armstrong perform live at the following:
30 April – Seasick Records In-Store Performance (Birmingham, AL)
2 May – The Nick w/ Will Stewart (Birmingham, AL)
3 May – Waller’s Coffee Shop w/ Taylor Hollingsworth and Adam Klein (Atlanta, GA)
4 May – Sunstroke House w/ Taylor Hollingsworth (Columbus, MS)