Dot Allison releases a new single, ‘Can You Hear Nature Sing?’, which trails a forthcoming album on SA Recordings.
The long-player, ‘Heart-Shaped Scars’, is due out on July 30th, digitally and as a double gatefold vinyl (as a limited edition pressing of 500, now available to pre-order).
Following several solo releases including 1999’s ‘Afterglow’, ‘We Are Science’ (2002), ‘Larks’ (2007), and ‘Room 7½’ (2009), the new releases are the first new music in a decade from the former One Dove vocalist, who had taken time out to raise a family.
‘Can You Hear Nature Sing?’, is the second single to come from the album, co-written with Zoë Bestel, and follows ‘Long Exposure‘.
That lead single from the album was, Allison says: “One of the first songs I wrote on ukulele. Last March I picked up the instrument and started composing, the fact I don’t play the ukulele was very freeing and I had to compose purely by ear, constructing my own chord clusters.”
Of the album, she adds: “I wanted it to be comforting like a familiar in-utero heartbeat, a pure kind of album that musically imbues a return to nature”.
Allison produced the album alongside Fiona Cruickshank, with Hannah Peel adding string arrangements to four songs, with gypsy jazz fiddler Seonaid Aitken, Su-a Lee (of McFall’s Chamber), Patsy Reid (formerly of Breabach), Scottish Ensemble viola player Jane Atkins, plus double bassist May Halyburton all contributing.
As well as the Zoe Bestel collaboration, the album – recorded at Castlesound Studios in Allison’s home town of Edinburgh – also includes a collaboration with singer-songwriter Amy Bowman on ‘The Haunted’, plus field recordings of birdsong, rivers and the ambience of The Hebrides – where Dot has a cottage.
Folk musician friends including Sarah Campbell as well as Bowman would meet for “sharing ideas and passing instruments between us all, amongst friends and the island community.”
“It’s where I first sang ‘Long Exposure’ in public at a folk house-concert,” she recalls, “so, I can definitely hear some of the Hebrides in ‘Heart-Shaped Scars’.”
Despite the decided folk influences in the new record, most notable may be that of the late Andy Weatherall. The producer of One Dove’s ‘Morning Dove White’ album “championed, signed and mentored me… I hear his influence throughout all of my albums.”
“Love, loss and a universal longing for union that seems to go with the human condition,” she adds. “To me, music is a sort of tonic or an antidote to a kind of longing, for a while at least.”
‘Heart-Shaped Scars’ track listing:
1. Long Exposure
2. The Haunted
4. Can You Hear Nature Sing?
5. Ghost Orchid
7. Forever’s Not Much Time
8. Cue The Tears
9. One Love
10. Love Died In Our Arms
Jockrock says: “Delicate and stripped-back, it’s a far cry from Allison’s One Dove heyday, but a long-awaited, triumphant, and most welcome return”.
More at dotallison.com.