Music

Lost Stars

LOVE SONGS FOR THE PLACES WE'VE LOST,
FROM LOCKDOWN IN NEW ZEALAND

Lost Stars is Bob McNeill's first solo album since 2010's Me and Mary Ann. He started writing the songs while on tour in the US and Canada with Gillian Boucher in 2019, inspired by the locations they visited. The album began as a series of love songs, set against these backdrops. When New Zealand went into lockdown in March 2020, he began recording the songs at home, using a makeshift recording studio and whatever instruments and gear happened to be lying around. Working alone, he decided to release the tracks one by one, as they were finished. In early 2022, Bob revisted Lost Stars. He re-recorded two of the songs and remastered the album, adding the single "Itasca".

Lost Stars tells unusual stories in unfamiliar landscapes: a relationship that can't survive crossing the state line between Oregon and California; a man who leaves the love of his life in central France; an islander slowly captured by big city life in Massachusetts. Russian sailors crossing the Pacific, to wind up in San Francisco among the Spanish missions. Lives lived in a failed boom town in the Mojave desert. Lost Stars also visits an eclectic group of great and quixotic figures - Amelia Earhart, running out of fuel over the Pacific; Robert Louis Stevenson, plodding through French mountains among the ghosts of the Camisards; Donald Crowhurst, alone in the South Atlantic; and, in the title track, Carl Sagan.

Featuring McNeill's unique songwriting and direct, primary melodies, the album is driven by his guitar playing, on acoustic, Spanish and electric guitars. Freed from the usual constraints of a production environment, and with McNeill playing all the instruments, the album is his most intimate to date, embracing all his eclectic influences, from folk to rock, alt-country and Spanish music.

CREDITS

Recorded by Bob McNeill
Using whatever was to hand

Mixed and mastered by Bob McNeill, April 2022

Special guest vocal by Emily Griffiths on "Itasca"
Radio voice by Ted Cizaldo on "Itasca"


Released 1 May 2022
All songs written by Bob McNeill



 
The California Tapes

SPANISH AMERICAN KIWI FOLK ROCK N ROLL

Project Feijoa's debut album The California Tapes was released on 1 September 2019. Written by Bob McNeill and recorded mostly in the second half of 2018 / early 2019, the album is a collection of 11 songs mostly written on the road in 2009, around Santa Barbara and San Francisco. Propelled along by Rob Henderson's driving basslines, the album weaves McNeill's Spanish and electric guitar tomfoolery with Emily Roughton's gorgeous viola, piano and fiddle stylings to create a rich and varied sound palette for the stories. An album to listen to over and over.

The California Tapes includes McNeill's "fire trilogy"; Jesusita tells one's man's story of the 2009 Jesusita fire in Santa Barbara, as he runs for his life, while the last reminders of an old love are burned over; in Painted Princess, he finds something worth living for in a figure from the Chumash past; in Las Canoas he hears the story of an older fire, from California's gold mining past, and sees his story as part of the cycle of love, loss and renewal.



PROJECT FEIJOA ARE

Emily Roughton: Piano, viola & fiddle
Rob Henderson: Bass
Bob McNeill: Guitars & programming, vocals

SPECIAL GUESTS

So many thank yous to...
Mike Moroney: mandolin on Jesusita
Jonathan Berkahn: accordion on Las Canoas

CREDITS

Recorded by Bob McNeill
Additional source recording on Lay me down, San Joachin, La Vaquilla and Las Canoas by Robbie Duncan at Braeburn
Mixed by Bob McNeill
Produced by Project Feijoa

For more information on Project Feijoa, visit the band's website....

Released: 1 September 2019
Running time: 51 minutes

All songs written by Bob McNeill




 
Race for the Sun

"A terrific ten-track trek through traditional peaks and valleys of melody..


...subtlety and nuance carry both the day and the tunes, reminding listeners that less can be more, and that music lives in the spaces between the notes."


--CELTIC LIFE INTERNATIONAL


Gillian Boucher & Bob McNeill's debut album Race for the Sun has all the trademarks of their live shows - tight, punchy fiddle sets; lyrical songs; and poignant slow airs. Race for the Sun brings together an eclectic collection of instrumental favourites from their live shows, played with her usual panache by one of Cape Breton's top fiddlers. Race for the Sun also features three new songs from three times Best NZ Folk Album winner Bob McNeill, including the title song, about Scottish emigrants who eventually reached New Zealand via Cape Breton and southern Australia. Rounding out the album is a cover of Emily Bay, a terrific convict ballad by fellow Kiwi Andrew London.

Gillian (fiddle & piano) & Bob (guitar) are joined on Race for the Sun by some of NZ's best musicians; Andrew Laking on bass, Emily Roughton on fiddle and Duncan Davidson on acordion and whistle.

SPECIAL GUESTS

So many thank yous to...
Emily Roughton: additional violin on Race for the Sun
Duncan Davidson: accordion, whistle on Race for the Sun
Andrew Laking: bass on Fury, Race for the Sun

CREDITS

Recorded by Andrew Downes (Surgery Studios), Ross McDermott (AudioSuite) & Bob McNeill
Mixed & mastered by Bob McNeill
Produced by Gillian Boucher & Bob McNeill

Fury, Steel & Silver, Race for the Sun and FGL written by Bob McNeill
Emily Bay written by Andrew London
The Glen of Aferlow and The Abbeyleix written by Sean Ryan
47 Upper Hillsborough written by Pascal Miousse
Seanamhach Tube Station written by John Carty
Mountain Road #2 written by Martin Mulvilhill
The Salvation written by Simon Bradley
The Clare written by Jimmy Ward
Lament for James Moray of Abercairney written by Neil Gow


Released: 16 October 2019
Running time: 45 minutes


 
Me and Mary Ann
1  Signs of Trouble
2  Spitfire
3  Me and Mary Ann
4  Norway yawl
5  Strong winds for autumn
6  Nazareth
7  Southland man's lament
8  Last time I saw him
9  Iron in the blood
10  Shine

“Endearing, and at times haunting songs... yearning and enchanting...
a thoroughly captivating album”

New Zealand Musician

““One of New Zealand’s most prominent and gifted songwriters...
the songs are beautifully written”

Americana UK

Me and Mary Ann features brand new recordings of some of Bob's best known and best loved songs, together with new songs written in 2009. Recorded in Nashville, the album features some of the music capital's top session musicians as well as guest appearances by some of the musicians in New Zealand, Ireland and Scotland that McNeill has worked with over the last ten years. Me and Mary Ann was produced by Rob Winch.


Previous releases:

Following Distance (2008)

The Little Cascade - Ben the Hoose (2006)

Turn the Diesels (2004)

Covenant (2001)


BOB MCNEILL

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