On May 28th, 2021, Justin Sullivan steps out from New Model Army to release his second solo album, eighteen years after the first. Surrounded is a collection of sixteen new songs, written in the first weeks of the 2020 lockdown. These songs are again guitar-vocal compositions highlighting Sullivan’s love of storytelling, wide open landscapes and powerful atmospheres.
Mostly recorded at home, the album also features contributions from many other musicians including Jon Thorne on bass (Lamb) on harp Tom Moth (Florence and the Machine – and brother of NMA bassist Ceri Monger), plus string arrangements from composer friends Tobias Unterberg, Henning Nügel and Shir-Ran Yinon. Also featured are the current members of New Model Army. The album was mixed by Lee Smith at Greenmount Studios in Leeds, co-producer and mixer of New Model Army’s recent albums, including 2019’s From Here – their highest charting album to date globally.
Justin Sullivan says, “Under the circumstances, it wasn’t particularly surprising that this was the moment to make another solo record and the songs came thick and fast in the first few weeks of the lockdown. There is not so much about ‘what’s happening in the World’. As with ‘Navigating by the Stars’, which was written in the aftermath of 9/11, I wanted to write about other things – some well-known stories, some less well-known, a few autobiographical and more a landscape of the imagination than social comment.
“I’m grateful for all the many musical contributions I received from friends that help create all the different atmospheres and places; it’s a long album, but it seems that all the songs belonged together in one collection. I hope people enjoy it.”
Surrounded will become available on multiple formats such as CD Hardcover Media Book, Heavyweight Double Vinyl Gatefold and Digital and is available for pre-order as of now: https://justinsullivan.lnk.to/
Today also sees the release of ‘Amundsen’, the very first single from Surrounded which gives an emotional first insight into this very personal album.
Justin Sullivan about ‘Amundsen’: “The stories of polar (and in particular Antarctic) adventurers at the beginning of the 20th Century have long been a fascination. On my first solo record, ‘Ocean Rising’ is, in part, the story of Ernest Shackleton’s epic voyage from Elephant Island to South Georgia. The final race to reach the South Pole between Robert Scott and Roald Amundsen is another fascinating tale.
“Being raised in England, Scott and his ‘noble, tragic’ failure is a story written large in national mythology but the other man, a truly remarkable explorer, is rarely acknowledged. The battle over who gets to tell which version of a story is very relevant in these times of ‘culture wars’, but the song is more a simple study of the man himself; I hope I have done him justice.”
‘Amundsen’ is now available as stream and digital download: https://JustinSullivan.lnk.to/
The release of Surrounded will also see the re-release of Sullivan’s only previous solo album from 2003, Navigating by the Stars, released on CD but unavailable for many years. Described by The Independent as having “the warm organic quality of Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks”, the audio of this new version has not been altered but carries two additional tracks. These are ‘Sooner or Later’, which first appeared on a B-side in 2003, and ‘The Wreck of The Essex’, a song written and recorded later that same year that has laid dormant ever since but for a few live performances.
Navigating by the Stars will become available digitally and for the first time ever on vinyl. In addition, Justin Sullivan’s stunning debut album comes in a CD Digisleeve Edition with an expanded booklet as part of a Ltd. CD Box-Set Edition of Surrounded, followed by a standalone release later this year.
3. Coming With Me
4. Clean Horizon Dry
5. Stone and Heather
6. 28th May
9. Sao Paulo
11. Sea Again
12. Clear Skies
13. Rip Tides
14. Daughter Of The Sun