The Former Me
‘The Former Me’ is a completely solo re-recording of songs released before 2014’s ‘Outsider’ album, plus a couple of carefully chosen covers. It is intended as a bridge between ‘Outsider’ and his next album due for release next Spring.
It’s August 2015 and driving home from a gig in Canterbury an idea is put to John Forrester – why not re-record some of the older material, the way it is played now, with his voice the way it is now? Forrester had grown uncomfortable with the releases before ‘Outsider’, as he felt they no longer accurately represented him. Some of the songs had survived though, and he still liked them enough to play them live. Gradually the idea grew on him & soon he was spending 2 days with producer Ali Gavan in his studio near Brighton.
Despite a long songwriting career, this is the first album Forrester has recorded completely solo – in the past other musicians have always added their magic & sparkle to the bones of his songs.
“I found the time recording these songs strange. They were written so long ago, not how I’d write now, and with no one to embellish my playing. Who was I back then? But gradually I found my feet and surprisingly, the songs took on a new life”
He then spent some time in Cornwall recording overdubs and writing new material, and the idea became a reality. He also chose to record two covers, again something brand new for Forrester.
“I don’t play many songs written by other people. I usually find it difficult to sing someone else’s words with real conviction, but the two covers included here have been following me around for a long time now. Mark Burgess was the singer with The Chameleons, one of my all time favourite guitar bands, and his lyrics have been interwoven with my life for years. The sentiment of ‘Stop Talking’ resonated with me when it was released & it translated easily to solo performance. When I first saw Eddi Reader sing ‘Allelujah’ live I knew it was a song I had to sing. Recording it recently made even more sense after meeting Roy Dodds, percussionist on the original Fairground Attraction version, with Roy telling me that we were pretty much standing where the song had been written. Ten minutes earlier I had walked under the Westway at the start of the song. Synergy in action.”
Forrester decided to keep the album simple, and to add no backing vocals, bass or other instruments. These really are just the songs in their raw state. The result is a bare album, with a mood of resolution & regret, touched with the odd spot of poison & wonder…