The Long Haul

by The Wynntown Marshals

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about

‘The Long Haul’, the new album by The Wynntown Marshals, was recorded in three short months in the band’s Edinburgh loft space. Recorded and mixed on a Tascam portastudio by Andrew Taylor, a good friend of the band, the album sees the band stretch out a little from the purer Americana sound of ‘Westerner’.

Organ and piano are more prominent this time round and there are pop hooks aplenty, sitting comfortably alongside more guitar-heavy tracks and subtler, more intimate moments.

On two tracks, simple strings are employed to beautiful effect and there is also a sparkling cameo from Diane Christiansen of Chicago-based outfit Dolly Varden on the album closer ‘Change of Heart’.

The trademarks of the Marshals’ sound – honest and heartfelt lead vocals, the driving guitars, chiming Rickenbacker 12-string, and sweet pedal steel – are still present.

The story songs of old are also in attendance; ‘Curtain Call’ is a stripped-down hymn to a ruined Victorian illusionist, while the country-shuffle/sea- shanty of ‘The Submariner’ tells the tale of a modern-day Captain Nemo.

However, line-up changes have brought a new dynamic and a more collaborative approach to songwriting and arrangements, while adding new flavours to the sound too. Listen closely and you’ll hear multi-layered backing vocals, mellotron, banjos and mandolins, echoes of 60s beat-pop, and simpler, more contemporary guitar lines.

Highlights include the hook-laden, radio-friendly ‘Canada’ and the country-rock groove of ‘Low Country Comedown’ - a track inspired by the band’s regular trips to the continent. ‘Whatever It Takes’ shows the band’s more sensitive side, ‘The Submariner’ rolls up-country then dives deep into the ocean.

‘Tide’ is a windblown, Crazy Horse-esque workout, and the aforementioned ‘Change of Heart’ brings the album to a close in epic style (think Neil Young or Tom Petty jamming with a string quartet).

‘The Long Haul’ speaks of so much more than the path the band have travelled to get to this point. It’s a treatise on journeys past, present and future, an ode to relationships, friendships and family and, ultimately, it’s a soundtrack to our endless search for identity and the road home.

credits

released 15 July 2013
Keith Benzie: lead & backing vocals, guitar, harmonica, handclaps
Iain Sloan: guitars, pedal steel, resonator, handclaps, backing vocals
Murdoch MacLeod: bass guitar, vocals, additional rhythm guitar on 5
Kenny McCabe: drums, backing vocals, piano on 8

with:

Andrew Taylor: keyboards, banjo, mandolin, percussion
Diane Christiansen: harmony vocals on 10
Christine Munday: violin on 8 & 10
Julia Munday: cello on 8 & 10
Owen Nicholson: additional rhythm guitar on 3, 4 & 7

Produced by Andrew Taylor at Wynntown HQ & Inch House,Edinburgh

Diane's vocal on 10 recorded by Steve Dawson at Kernel Sound Emporium, Chicago, Illinois

Mastered at Swanfield Studios, Edinburgh

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about

The Wynntown Marshals Edinburgh, UK

Formed in Edinburgh in 2007, The Marshals tip their hat to The Jayhawks, Wilco, Drive-By Truckers, Tom Petty, Ryan Adams & Neil Young.

Their sound can loosely be described as ‘country rock' with powerpop hooks, but they love layered guitars, catchy choruses and have an unabashed belief in the power of rock music as a storytelling medium.

The new album "The Long Haul" is out now!
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Track Name: Driveaway
We had just broken into our twenties
Booked a return flight to New Jersey
You said 6 weeks should be plenty
Made up an address on entry

The first part of the mission
Was for an uptight upstate New York physician
Take his Saab 95 to his daughter down in New Orleans
You fell into the pool with the keys in the pocket of your jeans

Rucksacks, guitars and cars
The road ahead was ours
The road ahead was ours

Stopped at the Hoover Dam for a while
On our way to the city of sin
‘Life in the Fast Lane’ was playing on the radio
As we descended in

It looked just like a sea of neon
From the back seat of the rental car
Spent that first night sleeping in the car park
Of some Country & Western bar

So if you give us $200
You just pay for the gas
Go check out the monuments
Then bring us back the documents

We’ll see you in three days’ time
We’ll stumble over the finish line
Your glass is half empty mine’s half full all the time

There’s over 3000 miles to go
Will we make it I just don’t know
If you see Kay tell her that everything is fine

Rucksacks, guitars and cars
The open road was ours x 2

So if you give us $200
You just pay for the gas
Go check out the canyon
Remember the deadline

We can look back on this when we’re older
When we’ve pulled over to the hard shoulder
(Better if we drive away)
Track Name: Canada
It's a big world out there
There are mountains and there are seas
And it's the North Atlantic
That separates you from me

I would get there if I could
But I admit I find it hard
I feel stuck in this corner
Like a stamp on a postcard

And while I'm on the subject of correspondence
I've missed your voice and your easy way with words
If you could find the time it'd make my week
You don't even have to speak
Just pick up a pen and write me a letter from Canada

This mighty river this town sits upon
Was the source that led you here
But like my heart it freezes over
At this time of year

And when the melt water starts rising
Remember I was once your friend
I promise you won't be found wanting
Upon me you can depend

Our family bonds they are unspoken
We’ll get there although the outboard is clearly broken
If you can reach out and offer your hand to me
I'll help you climb this family tree
And with a little help we can both make it back from Canada

The halls of this museum
That we walked through years ago
Showed us images of our past
A kind of sepia slide show

We've chosen our sides so let's enter the fray
We can't affect the past so let's concentrate on today
So steel yourself for what lies ahead
Fix bayonets and go back to bed
And for the next 10 years we can dream about life in Canada
Track Name: Low Country Comedown
The cobbled streets we walked upon
The canals were lined with trees
They evoked a simpler time and place
You found me on my knees

The whisky that you bought me
Tasted good but tasted strong
The dim light in that bar room
Told me we'd been away too long

This is a low country comedown
Now I'm back in the arms of the ones I love
This is a low country comedown
5 days away from you is sometimes too much
It's been so good to see you this time

As we turned the van homeward I swore
This time there'd be no ifs or buts
The road marked on the sat nav
Looked like a mess of twisted guts

The hotel rooms merge into one
The ceiling always looks the same
You can help me out when I'm passing out
But someone else can take the blame

This is a low country comedown
Now I'm back in the arms of the land I love
This is a low country comedown
5 days with you is never enough
It's been so good to see you
This time out

800 miles is a long way from home
I can see you growing up in the pictures on my phone
And if my eyes they fill up
And spill over like a coffee cup
Just know that I can't make it on my own
Track Name: Whatever It Takes
You missed the last bus home the other day
I think it's safe to say that you were miles away
Were you too caught up in that paperback you were reading?
Are you convinced you know where the next chapter is leading?

The plot was tight, the main characters believable
To lose you now would be inconceivable
It feels like we're just turning over another page
You should mark it with an old bus ticket and come back to it another day

Now I can see the storm clouds gathering overhead
The thought of you leaving just fills my heart with dread
I'm gonna do whatever it takes to make you stay here instead
I'm gonna do whatever it takes, whatever it takes

Duly noted is what you said
Was your diary entry written down, or was it only in your head?
You tend to record almost every word for posterity
But from time to time I question your sincerity

And now the rain is coming down in sheets
The pavements look like glass on these city streets
I'm gonna do whatever it takes to make you admit defeat
I'm gonna do whatever it takes, whatever it takes
I'm gonna do whatever it takes, whatever it takes
Track Name: Tide
Sailed through
And you caught me in your tide
Came to
You’re the only thing for miles
Lay back
And I’m soaking up your sky
Gets dark
But I’m safe in your starlight

Warm wind
On my shoulders eases pain
Cool rain
I love to stand in your cool rain
Drinking it all in
Fill myself up with you
Seeing you all around me
I can’t see another soul

Because you’re my island
You’re my island
You’re my island
Track Name: The Submariner
She stands at the kitchen window
Staring out past the fields to the blue
It finally becomes one with the horizon
She wonders what became of you

Years ago you hired a lock up
Where you whiled away the hours with your plans
With this love of the ocean
We could never quite understand
We could never understand…

You measured out distance in fathoms
And followed phosphorescent trails into the gloom
It’s there that you stayed, in that diving bell you made
Now little more than a handmade tomb

When you left they found the diary you’d written
It read just like a suicide note
We knew then that you might not make it back
And we’d be haunted by the words that you wrote

Late one night I found her talking to your visor
Looking in at where your eyes had once been
They clouded over many years ago
I still think of all the things that they’ve seen
The things that they’ve seen…

You measured out distance in fathoms
And disappeared from sight amidst the spume
Never to come back, your wreath a mess of bladder wrack
The inky depths the place you met your doom

I still fear the day that you’ll return
To steal her away from me
I hope you found what you were looking for
At the bottom of the sea

You measured out distance in fathoms
And followed phosphorescent trails into the gloom
It’s there that you stayed, in that diving bell you made
Now little more than a handmade tomb
Now little more than a handmade tomb
Now little more than a handmade tomb
Track Name: Crashing (Like The Reds)
Ask me what difference twenty years makes
And I’ll simply put it like this
When something you admire seems to conspire to expire
It’s disastrous

Now it’s written in the local newspaper
And it’s talked about from the hills to the sea
The farmers, the teachers, oil men and the preachers
Try to believe

And so we fall, crashing like the Reds
We have lost our general in battle
Our sabres no longer rattle
We just await the day that we will rise again

This is part of our history and our make up
It’s engrained in our hearts and in our minds
Now part of the national psyche, a testament
To failure and to our demise

And so we fall, crashing like the Reds
We have fallen from the saddle
Now we’ve been rounded up like cattle
The demarcation lines drawn out in barbed wire
These demarcation lines are drawn out in barbed wire

Are we out of our league?
What have we done for this town?
Now I don’t know if the fall is worse
Or the knowledge that we’re staying down

So try to think of our rescue
Our saviour will arrive again one day
To drag us out of obscurity
And allow us to rightfully say

That we are back, this time to stay
Track Name: Curtain Call
Here I sit in this dingy room
Alone with needle, tourniquet and spoon
Just me and a bed and the poppy haze
Here I’ll stay until they take me to the grave

It hasn’t always been the same
The audience used to call my name
You should’ve seen me in my finery
Let me tell you how it used to be

At the curtain call, show time again
I’d take to the stage with my cape and my cane
At the curtain call, show time again

I must have seen and done it all
Played to sell out crowds at the Egyptian Hall
Held the court with high society
Thought this was how they would remember me

I knew every trick in the book
Shared a bill with Maskelyne & Cooke
And every night I’d act out thrilling scenes
But your face it still haunts my dreams

At the curtain call, show time again
I’d take to the stage with my cape and my cane
At the curtain call, show time again

It’s over, it’s over, it’s over now…

And I don’t know how it all went wrong
We’d performed the bullet trick for oh so long
Keller told Houdini it was cursed
Should’ve listened to their cautionary words

The palm, the ditch, the steal went down
My sleight of hand techniques I thought were sound
The load and simulation seemed to go OK
But the misdirection and the switch took you away

At the curtain call, show time again
I’d take to the stage with my cape and my cane
At the curtain call, show time again

Here’s my curtain call, show time again
Never thought I’d pick up this revolver again
Maybe soon I can be with you again

It’s over, it’s over, it’s over now…
It’s over, it’s over, it’s over now…
Track Name: North Atlantic Soul
Will you come with me when the wind pulls me away from here?
Or will you stay behind that door?
And will the slate-grey rain drive you away
Or keep you near?
Well, they’re inside me, too.
As much a part of me as you are

I’ve got a North Atlantic Soul
I’ve got a little bit of rock and roll
I feel fine when the weather turns cold.

And when the sunshine’s bright, hard cold still bites,
Day’s never far from night,
Will you be walking by my side?
And when a fearsome sky reflects dark greys behind my eyes
Will you be inside me too?
As much a part of me as they are?

I’ve got a North Atlantic Soul
I’ve got a little bit of rock and roll
I feel fine when the weather turns cold.

I’ve got a North Atlantic Soul
I’ve got a little bit of rock and roll
I feel fine when the weather turns cold.

The wind’s a devil and the sea’s deep blues
Are always pulling at my shore-bound shoes
And I’ve always got a moment to lose Myself.
Track Name: Change Of Heart
Spring is still a long way off it seems
There's frost forming on my broken dreams
If I can win your heart the engine might start
And I'll take you out tonight when it gets dark

We're at our best when we're not together
But we can't bear to be apart
I didn't come here looking for a get out clause
Just looking for a change of heart

Life's a journey and this is the long haul
Our destination hasn't been confirmed
I'll send a postcard from the places that I visit
With notes on the weather and the lessons I've learned

We're at our best when we're not together
But we can't bear to be apart
I didn't come here looking for an easy way out
Just looking for a change of heart
A change of heart

Now I'm sat in my car outside our home
The hazard lights keep time just like a metronome
What I'm going to say is written on my sleeve
This is hell but we cannot leave

Change of heart