Great North Release Fourth LP 'The Golden Age' Today
Great North release fourth LP The Golden Age today
With a career already spanning 10 years and three albums, New Zealand band The Golden Age still aren’t over the hard yards.
For their fourth album, The Golden Age, the band has embraced fully its workhorse reputation. These are songs that glory in the inglorious and often-disappointing life of a working musician.
In particular, they reflect on the loss of friend and occasional band mate, Sam Prebble, who died in 2014.
“Few people have lived the failing musical life more beautifully than he did,” says frontman Hayden Donnell.
Despite its subject matter, The Golden Age skips the self-pity and reaches straight into the canon of 80s working class rock. Donnell’s songwriting heroes are on display: Jackson Browne, John Hiatt, Gillian Welch, Tom Petty, Paul Kelly, and of course, Bruce Springsteen.
“I like that this album inspired by failure, both musical and otherwise, is our most optimistic-sounding ever. It’s the release you find when you let go of your need to impress people,” says Donnell.
The Golden Age is also album about change.
Or as Donnell describes: “The impermanence of all good things”.
The most noticeable change is a departure from the band’s alt-country roots. Great North’s previous two albums, Up In Smoke and Halves each won Folk Album of the Year at the New Zealand Music Awards.
The band, too, has uprooted. Now based in the UK, Great North are currently on a 20-date European Tour to launch the album.
The Golden Age was recorded in Auckland by Jonathan Pearce (The Beths, Sal Valentine) and produced by both Donnell and Pearce. It features a veritable who’s who of New Zealand folk and alt-country.
Alongside Pearce’s distinctive guitar and organ parts, Matthew Hutching plays pedal steel, Alex Freer plays drums, Elizabeth Stokes plays brass, Eamon Edmundson-Wells contributed additional bass, and Dale Campbell provides backing vocals. There’s also a choir of friends of Sam Prebble, including fellow songwriters: Reb Fountain, Dylan Storey, and Brendan and Alison Turner.
But by far Donnell’s most longstanding collaborator is his wife, Rachel Donnell, who plays bass and lends vocals. Donnell himself plays acoustic guitar, piano and sings.
Currently based in London, the Auckland duo’s most recent tour kicked off in the Netherlands on 28 September, continuing throughout Europe until 14 November.
The Golden Age is out digitally and in stores on CD and LP today.