ANYONE familiar with the weathered tones of The Phantom Band will know that the Glasgow group’s frontman Rick Anthony possesses a voice that is the aural equivalent of a Hot toddie - warm, comforting, therapeutic even.
Ever the restless creative, Anthony has been gradually building a following around his Rick Redbeard persona, a project which he has been evolving since well before The Phantom Band’s debut album Checkmate Savage in 2009.
While The Phantom Band are known to cut loose and turn their amps up to eleven when the mood takes hold, Rick has used his solo career to explore a more sombre style of expression.
The first Rick Redbeard album will see the light of day in January (on Chemikal Underground), and has been eight years in the making. In some cases such a time-span could hint at tortured perfectionism, but a few listens of No Selfish Heart confirm that this work has matured like a single malt.
Of its inception, Anthony reveals his fascination with the passage of time: “It’s my attempt to harness that sense of yearning for something you’ve never had or can never hope to recapture. The nostalgia for when I was a child - growing up in the countryside - has never left me, it’s a constant melancholy for something I can’t even name anymore.”
To get across this sense of innocence and humanity, Anthony decided to sidestep the sophisticated modern studio in favour of a much more DIY set-up at his parents’ home in rural Aberdeenshire and his flat in the west end of Glasgow. So creaking piano stools survive the final edit, as the singer-songwriter strives for a certain kind of warmth:
“I’ve always been attracted to comforting music; for me, Leonard Cohen’s music is never depressing, it’s soothing. I want people to hear my songs in the same way I’ve heard certain music over the years: like kind words from an old friend.”
Suitably, Anthony will perform songs from the Rick Redbeard album live at Shhhh Festival this weekend in Glasgow, along with the likes of Gravenhurst, Emma Pollock and Meursault.
• Shhhh Festival, Platform, Glasgow - Saturday (1 Dec)
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