- 31 May 21
‘20’ by David Kitt will be released on vinyl and all streaming platforms on Friday, July 2nd.
Irish musician and producer David Kitt is set to revisit 20 songs from his extensive back catalogue in a new project, titled 20, celebrating the two decades since the release of his debut album.
Renowned for crossing genres, Kitt has released eight albums of songs under his own name and also makes music as New Jackson, Garies (with Lumigraph), The Lock-In (with Tim Wheeler and Conor Creaney); and has recently started ‘Awayday’ a label for his more experimental material.
2021 has already been a busy year for the artist, with an album release as Sansbut with free jazz saxophonist Catherine Sikora and producing and composing music for Cornaleena, a film featuring writer Kevin Barry, composer Jennifer Walshe and legendary Canadian singer-songwriter Mary Margaret O'Hara amongst many other esteemed artists.
Last March, Kitt arrived in Paris during peak Covid uncertainty to cancelled gigs. He decided to mark 20 years since the release of debut album The Big Romance by choosing 20 songs to re-record for an intimate reworking of some of his favourite and most successful tracks.
The record features Villagers' Conor O’Brien, who performs a stunning chamber vocal arrangement on ‘Winter Song'. Michelle Stoddart of The Magic Numbers brings some of her Numbers magic to ‘Lessa Lit A Candle For Me’, regular collaborators Margie Jean Lewis and Katie as well as drummer Graham Hopkins (formerly of Therapy), Goodtime John, Ann Scott, Karl Odlum, David Singleton and Justin Carroll.
The new collection, 20, will be released independently on vinyl and digital on July 2nd, 2021.
“Choosing 20 songs was more difficult than I expected, but with one eye on what I feel fans might want to hear, especially in the absence of shows I was planning for this year, I've chosen the 20 songs that resonate with me the most at this moment in time," Kitt said in a press release.
"20 songs I feel I can still fully inhabit and at times, find something new in too.”
Having chosen the songs, the recording process ended up taking longer than expected and a lot of the early recordings he made in Paris and Dublin were abandoned.
“I realised on what i thought was the home straight of doing this 20 record that I’d chickened out, once again, from doing what I’d set out to do - which was make a record centred around solo guitar performances off the tempo-locked grid. The record had slowly become overpopulated with beat-driven tracks, and while I felt it needed a bit of that, I’d gone too far,” Kitt added.
The recording process took off when the talent moved to South Kerry, where the magic of the Kingdom and slower pace of life and a quiet place to record all helped provide the necessary setting to get it right.
“It's funny how sometimes the most simple things are the hardest to pull off. I thought that simplifying things would make my job easier but it turned out to be the opposite. With so much relying on the solo performances I had to get it perfect, not technically perfect, it just had to have a certain magic to carry it - that magic proved elusive, especially against the tide of lockdown 3 and Irish January, but the circumstances probably helped in their own way too.
"It filled me with even greater respect and admiration for those classic singer-songwriter records of the 60s and 70s. like Joni Mitchell Blue, Nick Drake's Pink Moon, you know the ones. They're just so hard to pull off the guitar playing on those two in particular is just superhuman. I’m not saying I’ve quite reached those dizzy heights, but I’ve definitely made a record that I haven't made before and one that I’m really excited to share.”
After stripping back the record and curating 10 songs for Part 1, Kitt introduced beats an electronic arrangements for Part 2 - marking 20 years since the release of The Big Romance.
"With no other plans to mark this occasion, no opportunities to gig it, and without the rights to the original to do a proper vinyl reissue, and Warners seemingly having no interest in doing so either, it felt good to reclaim some of these songs and have new versions that I was free to release myself."
Working with his skilled collaborators remotely really helped with what was a very solitary existence in south Kerry during the pandemic.
“The intention was always for this to be a fans-only record but it turned out so good I thought it was worth giving a bit of promotion and getting it to as many people as possible. There are 2/3 albums of new material coming out in the next 12 months so this is it for the nostalgia," Kitt continues.
“I feel ready and very keen to take the songwriting wheel back from all these younger versions of myself I’ve been spending so much time with, but if ever there was a time to look back and even learn from getting back into the headspace of these old songs this was the time to do it”.
Check out the tracklist for 20 below:
Song of Two Birds
All Night Long
Step Outside in the Morning Light
Winter Song - featuring Conor O’Brien
Still Don’t Know
Strange Light in the Evening - featuring Margie Jean Lewis
One Clear Way - featuring Margie Jean Lewis
Into The Breeze - featuring Margie Jean Lewis and Katie Kim
Sweet Summer Morning
Whispers return the sun; Rest the moon
You Know What I Want to Know
Song from Hope Street
Pale Blue Light
Say No More
Lessa Lit a Candle For Me
Guilty Prayers, Pointless Ends
A Real Fire