Stephen Fretwell, the iconoclastic singer-songwriter, has announced the release of his newest album, Busy Guy, and released the first taste of the album with the song ‘Embankment’.
Busy Guy will be the first new album Fretwell has released in over 13 years. Earlier this year, the artist released the single ‘Oval’, the first new music of any kind from him since 2007.
The new album title seems to show a sense of humor about Fretwell’s decade long absence from recorded music. “Years ago, Dan [Carey, founder of the label Speedy Wunderground] asked why I always carried a copy of The Guardian, a notebook and a pen when all I did was go to the pub,” Fretwell said.
“I said: ‘If you go to the pub at 11am with a newspaper, a notebook and pen, you look like a busy guy rather than a pisshead,” Fretwell continued. “It became a joke between us. The joke too is that I didn’t do any music for years.’
Why Fretwell went on creative hiatus is still a mystery. Apart from appearances playing bass with Alex Turner’s The Last Shadow Puppets, Fretwell has been mum on almost all fronts. It was rumoured that he had retired from the music industry to raise his kids, but evidently, that was not a permanent retirement plan. In any case, it’s refreshing to hear that voice again.
‘Embankment’ is sure to incite even more comparisons to someone with who Fretwell has spent his entire career being lumped in with: Jeff Buckley. Fretwell contributed a cover of Buckley’s ‘Morning Theft’ to the tribute album Dream Brother: The Songs of Tim and Jeff Buckley, and both artist share a vulnerable, weary voice that sound perfectly in harmony with acoustic arrangements.
Check out ‘Embankment’ down below. You can also check out the tracklist for Busy Guy, which is set for a July 16th release.
Busy Guy tracklisting:
1. ‘The Goshawk and The Gull’
5. ‘The Long Water’