With another blues wave on the powerful surge in recent years, it’s great to see young bucks riding the trend, but it’s even greater when veterans return to the fray to show the class. One of the latest albums from such masters of the trade is “Nine Yards” by Del Bromham, well-known as a leader of mighty STRAY, a band held in highest esteem by many a hard and prog rock aficionado. As strong a record as it gets, its appearance is accompanied by a very stylish video, a string of concerts, including festivals – and a train of questions about the group’s and Bromham’s future that the artist kindly agreed to answer.
All in all, “Nine Yards” contains 14 cuts, the aforementioned video illustrating the lead-in. Reviewed here, here’s the album’s tracklist, the clip, and a little chat with Del Bromham.
1. The Ballad of JD
2. Walking Down The Road
3. Nine Yards
4. Everybody Has To Sing The Blues
6. Bring Them Home
7. Smiling Face
8. What Comes Around
9. You Don’t Know How I Feel
10. World In A Suitcase
11. Father And Daughter, Mother And Son
13. Don’t Throw Your Love Away
14. Catch You When You Fall
– Del, do the two solo albums in a row mean there’s no STRAY anymore? Wasn’t there a talk of a new DVD?
Actually, the STRAY album "Valhalla" came in between my solo albums becase "Devil's Highway" was originally recorded back in 2004 and was only available on my website or at live shows. Angel Air records picked it up later. As far as STRAY albums are concerned, there will be a “Live In Japan” album available next year. There have never been any long term plans for STRAY as a band, it has always followed whatever path looms up in front. Last December, Stu Uren, our bass guitarist for the past seven years decided to call it a day, so that just left myself and Karl Randall. We were not sure what to do initially, but we had some important shows to play which we were committed to play, and an old friend of mine Robbie Stewart-Mathews jumped on board and played the shows. As for a new STRAY album – it is possible. We are just taking stock of things at the moment and will be recording when we feel we have something different to record. Not sure about the DVD, maybe – there was talk at one time of recording the shows in Japan, but nothing happened and there are no plans at this time.
– How did the juke joint entertainer image, like the one in a new video, come about?
“The Ballad of JD” is about Jack Daniel, he of the famous bourbon. His story is fascinating and it was something that I wanted to put into music. Quite often when I write songs, I visualize an image or a video – don’t ask me why, it just seems to happen! I wanted the look and the setting to be of the time, so I thought the sepia coloring like on the old photographs would be fitting. When I discussed making the film with producer Lee Vernon, we were really on the same page. He knew the look and the location which was a little bar in Bedford, UK which looked like it had been stuck in time. The hat belonged to my dad who passed away a few years ago, and honestly, I often wear the shirts and waistcoats so it’s not such an image thing specifically for the film.
– How often do you get to play the steel guitar as seen there?
The guitar is a beautifully engraved steel resonator guitar with some pretty mother pearl inlay in the fretboard, made by the Dean guitar company. I have used it on a couple of live performances, but quite honestly, it stays in the house most of the time as I prefer to use a standard acoustic guitar on live shows.
– Would you like to be sponsored by the Jack Daniel’s company?
Sponsorship? Well, any kind of help is always welcome, but I’m not sure what kind of help the Jack Daniel’s company could give me, although I do understand that they are trying to get involved in the music industry as are one or two other companies I can think of. Coincidentally, my record label, Angel Air Records, have a PR company in New York, and I am told they will be presenting the song and the video to the Jack Daniel’s company. Might be an interesting drinks rider in the dressing room at shows!
– How’s the solo gigging going?
I’ve not played as much this year. It was something I decided at the beginning of the year. I wanted to take a break and take stock of what was going on in the business and in my life. Having played pretty well non-stop for more years than I could count, I felt it was something I needed to do and come back fresh. It’s so easy to get on that musical treadmill, one gig after the other and barely given a chance to what you should or could do next. So next year, I hope to be playing lots more, both solo and or with STRAY. It’s funny, when I first picked up a guitar when I was a kid, I realized I new what I wanted to do, but I never really had a plan about tomorrow. I just go with whatever comes next. So I guess that’s what I keep on doing until I’m physically unable to do it anymore! I intend to be around for a long long time yet!