McSweeney and his change of Coat

Sheffield singer-songwriter Neil McSweeney
Sheffield singer-songwriter Neil McSweeney
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Sheffield troubadour Neil McSweeney is launching his fourth album, A Coat Worth Wearing, at The Harley, Glossop Road, on Friday.

It is produced by award -winning folk producer Andy Bell and is the second release for new imprint Hudson Records which the pair have set up.

The singer-songwriter sees the album as building on the success of its predecessor, Cargo, and displaying a marked development in both sound and approach.

Its nine songs were conceived as a piece and subsequently recorded together, largely in full -band live-takes, over seven days in the Welsh countryside.

“The songs emerged steadily feeding into one another rather than single songs, “ says McSweeney. “They are a collection of ideas. I am hoping to have come up with something which hints at a complexity rather than the simplicity which I have striven for in the past. There’s a thread through the songs which people may see if they spend time with it.”

Setting lyrics that deal with the contrasts and contradictions of life to romantic melodies as hopeful as they are melancholy, McSweeney’s songs have already been championed across the media (“a songwriter of rare ability” according to Radio 2).

Over the years he has toured extensively throughout the UK and mainland Europe on his own and as support for Richard Hawley and Bellowhead, among others.

After an initial short tour around the release of A Coat Worth Wearing, appearing either solo or with friends such as Paul Littlewood and Vera Van Heeringen, he expects to continue on the road throughout 2017 and beyond.

However, this will need to fit in with commitments to a part-time post in  the Music Department at the University of Sheffield teaching on their MA Music Management degree course.

“It’s part of bringing a broader remit to the course headed by Fay Hield, bringing mainstream into the thinking a bit more,” he says. “There’s previously been a hard line between the funded and the laissez-faire areas of the business.”

McSweeney is able to contribute his experience as a “DIY musician” and now partner in a record label which has also just released an album by Radio 2 Folk Award-hominated The Furrow Collective.