Duke Garwood

Duke Garwood - Steve Gullick Photograhy

Heavy Love new album released 9th February 2015 on Heavenly Recordings.

The entire record listening public should know Duke Garwood’s music. The fact most don’t is a fucking travesty. He’s a mystic, a musical genius and Heavy Love is a total mind-blowing masterpiece. Get with it people!” Mark Lanegan

Duke Garwood is the real thing; like the perfect blues perpetually emanating good vibes thru a uni-vibe (even when he’s singing about darkness). An old soul and a saint…” Kurt Vile

My brother Duke is the most soulacious soul man I know. He’s always cut his own groove and it’s been my honour to play with him so many times.” Seasick Steve

I’ve listened to Duke for years but have not heard him as in control and powerful as he is on Heavy Love. His guitar playing and singing remind me of an unrequited and lusty relative of JJ Cale. I fucking love this.” Greg Dulli

I met Duke at The Luminaire. He was playing sweet ballads with a tint of free-jazz; his voice was thin and full, like a Chet Baker turned into a midnight wolf. The first question was ‘who is this guy’?” Jehnny Beth (Savages)

You should know Duke Garwood. As it is, his soulful, stripped-bare sound has been under your nose this entire time. Until now, he’s been the mysterious figure in tales where Mexican gangs forced tequila down his throat, a ghost-like presence at gatherings of some the world’s biggest rock stars-turned-his closest friends, and an unassuming continent-hopper trying to find his way in the world. But that’s all set to change with Heavy Love – the brand new album about to thrust Garwood from south London’s unlikely bluesman and into the spotlight he so thoroughly deserves.

When I was young and pretty, I could’ve become a star,” reveals Garwood. “Luckily, I didn’t have any inkling to. I didn’t know what I was doing; I wanted to play music the way I wanted it to be played. That probably saved my life”. Truer to his muse than ever before, Heavy Love brilliantly explores this magical artist’s auteurist, cinematic vision. Through inspired imagist lyricism (‘Honey In The Ear’ describes Garwood’s troublesome tinnitus as a result of touring with Kurt Vile) and a wonderfully charismatic vocal slur marrying elements of the blues to his spacier, more experimental leanings, Heavy Love captures a musician at his peak, and one who has embarked upon the kind of character-building, detour-strewn route known only by the greatest artists and vagabonds.

Navigating from the mouth of the Medway to Thailand’s bar scene where he played harp alongside Georgie Fame’s son Tristan and Yngwie Malmsteen’s keyboard-player before focusing on the guitar, Garwood’s travels extend to the mean streets of Paris and back to Hackney’s squatlands in which he soothed “drunken misery” and grappling with newfound fatherhood by playing his own “mad kind of blues”. Shortly after venturing to Cuba in search of singers Compay Segundo and Omara Portuondo, and the ‘non-existent’ dream of Che Guevara, a truly bleak period followed; battling drug and cash flow problems in a music-filled bolthole on Brixton Hill, and then homelessness until a life-affirming encounter in Morocco with The Master Musicians Of Jajouka; the mythic powers of which inspired Rolling Stone Brian Jones and jazz visionary Ornette Coleman to record with them in the 1970s. “Their leader, Bachir Attar, taught me some tunes – one riff was over 3000 years old,” recalls Garwood. “I jammed with them and dreamed I could learn their magic.”

Along the way Garwood has formed deep connections with great musicians including Josh T. Pearson and distant legends Tinariwen. Singer Jehnny Beth, whose delicate vocals appear on Heavy Love’s haunting title-track, took Garwood across America’s open road with her band Savages and he’s played horns with Archie Bronson Outfit; each encounter clearly recognising a kindred spirit within — yet it was meeting similarly quixotic soul Mark Lanegan that ignited something extra special. Shortly after Garwood played guitar on Lanegan’s 2012 solo record Blue Funeral, the pair recorded collaborative album Black Pudding in Josh Homme’s Pink Duck studio in Los Angeles. “I’d never been so prepared, so professional,” reveals Garwood. At the end of the process and finishing a day early, he re-entered the studio with Alain Johannes (QOTSA) and Mark Lanegan at the helm to record Heavy Love. “It took longer than anything I’ve ever done,” he says. “This is my finest work; all the songs have sat deep with me for a long time.”

Garwood’s finest and most precise album yet, Heavy Love is the sound of a genuine artist who has defined his career at his own pace and always on his own terms. The most focused distillation of the magic that’s made his bewitching story such a pleasure to trace; it’s dark, mystical, and erotic sound returns Garwood’s music to the elements, to his mad blues, the unhurried grooves and desert slithers, and his spectral, past-midnight burr that’s set to, at last, make him famous. “I want to make music until my dying breath. I give it all. It is my blood,” he says. “I’m older, but I feel comfortable. It’s like I’ve found an extra gear in my body, in my mind, and I just went for it. I think that shows on Heavy Love.”

For more info contact Will at In House: will@inhousepress.com / 0161 236 4805

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