Waterloo singer-songwriter Andy Norris has been gigging north and south of the river for more than twenty years with his three/four piece band, performing tight original material that occupies a melodic place between pop, rock and folk. His carefully crafted songs have revealed stories of early relationships, of growing up and growing older against a backdrop of London.
Born in Liverpool, like many young people from the north, Andy came to capital in the 1980s and has lived and worked here ever since. This spring he released his first solo album, Mersey Morning, a personal retrospective in which past themes have matured into new ones with suggestions of marriage and the arrival of children.
Andy will be gigging again on Battersea Barge on 20 July, giving his solo album its first live airing. For people who know the area (Vauxhall, Waterloo, Westminster and Borough), the titles, lyrics and sounds of Mersey Morning should conjure up its locations and vistas; from coffee shops on Lower Marsh to views from Waterloo Bridge and walks along the embankment. The venue for the gig (the Lower Deck on Battersea Barge) is a perfectly intimate and stylish setting; rocked and swayed by the Thames and well served by its own bar guaranteeing a very special evening out. Tickets are just £5 but capacity is limited so book online at www.batterseabarge.com if you don’t want to take the chance of paying on the door.
Recorded at the Cabin Studio in Walthamstow by Rupert Gillet, who also wrote all of the string arrangements, Mersey Morning feels like a soundtrack to a film that has not yet been made, or a sequel to a movie from the 60s with Terence Stamp, Julie Christie and Waterloo sunsets.
The title track opens the album with the cry of seagulls and as the narrative moves south there are chimes of Big Ben, sounds of London and the river that wanders through its heart. The instrumental ‘Midnight at Waterloo’ ends the first phase while the next short instrumental begins the second half on, of all places, ‘Mulholland Drive’ – a long way from home. The faded colours of the earlier tracks become more vivid as the album progresses, arriving in present day, with new-found loves and passions.
The layers of double bass and cello played by Gillet, the flute by Stewart Curtis and violin by Antonia Pagulatos add a new layer of refinement to Andy’s songs, and all of the musicians who performed on the album will be playing live on Battersea Barge in July.
In the closing tracks there remains a slight melancholic acceptance of the approaching day’s end, with songs like ‘The Black River’ and ‘To The Sea’. With splashes of harmonica and jaunty snare drums throughout there is a riverboat feel to it all, so where better soak it up than on a barge in Battersea? If you can’t make it on 20 July you can download the album at www.merseymorning.com.