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Upcoming shows: Memorial... His Lordship... Florry + Memorial... Bad Bad Hats... Dana Gavanski... Caoilfhionn Rose... The Lovely Eggs... James Yorkston... Rain Parade... Matthew and the Atlas... Gratis: Makushin... Lightheaded + Mt. Misery... Jake Xerxes Fussell... Andrew Wasylyk & Tommy Perman... Charlie Parr... Mock Tudors... Dominie Hooper... Ryley Walker... Terry Reid... Chime School... The Courettes... Tusks... Roddy Woomble... Myriam Gendron... Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra... Kris Drever... Erland Cooper... Pokey LaFarge... Skinny Lister... The Unthanks in Winter... Emily Barker...

When: 7.30pm on Thursday 7 November 2019
Where: St Philip’s Church, Encombe Place, Salford, M3 6FJ

We’re delighted to be working with the Delines again – this time, at St Philip’s!

Sometimes, fate’s just a damned cruel thing. But when it nearly capsizes the career of an acclaimed band in the blink of an eye, the band’s only prudent choice is to hang in there until the ship is ready to sail again. That’s what the Delines did while supporting the recovery of lead singer Amy Boone, who underwent three years of treatment and rehab after both her legs were severely broken when she was hit by a car in Austin, Texas. What sustained their spirit, according to guitarist and songwriter Willy Vlautin, was knowing they already had most of their sophomore album, The Imperial, in the can.

Three years after their momentum was so rudely interrupted, the band will finally release The Imperial in January 2019 via Décor Records, picking up where they left off following their stellar 2014 debut, Colfax. Like that album, The Imperial features Damnations, TX co-founder Boone evoking a beat-up Dusty Springfield or a weary Rickie Lee Jones on 10 tracks penned by Vlautin, who is also lead singer/songwriter for Richmond Fontaine whom broke up in 2016 and an acclaimed novelist (two of his books have become major films).

Upon its release, Colfax earned the Delines plaudits from fans, critics and tastemakers like the Drive-by Truckers’ Patterson Hood, who picked them as 2014’s best new band in No Depression. Uncut gave Colfax nine out of 10 stars, praising its “widescreen romanticism” and proclaiming it “the richest collection of songs Vlautin has written.” Colfax wound up on a dozen yearend top-10 lists and snagged a couple of album-of-the-year accolades — a remarkable feat for a band that had never played live and had rehearsed for only a week before recording.

“Colfax was an experiment,” Vlautin says. “The Imperial is the result of touring, solidifying the lineup and months of rehearsal.”

By the time they began recording it in Portland with producer John Morgan Askew, they had successfully toured Europe and Australia, including sold-out dates in the U.K. and Ireland.

Unfortunately, Boone’s accident put a stop to everything. “We were all just devastated when Amy got hit,” Vlautin says. “I mean, she was just walking on a sidewalk in a parking lot, and the next thing you know …”

The next thing was nine surgeries, painful skin grafts and learning to walk again (she now uses a cane crafted by a bandmate). It took two years before she was able to fly from Austin to Portland to finish the album.

“I was still pretty messed up from getting hit,” Boone recalls. “The outside world seemed like one big, dangerous obstacle course. Every step of the way I had to talk myself down from panic attacks. I remember when Willy and [drummer] Sean Oldham picked me up, I suggested I’d be better off in the back seat with a blindfold and a cigarette.”

Not that anyone could tell from listening to the album. If anything, it serves as a testament to the band’s collective resolve — and talent. Not to mention Vlautin’s songwriting, which vividly paints worlds both romantic and lonely, desperate and hopeful. On “Holly the Hustle,” he relates the harrowing tale of a girl who grows up to join the lowdown life. In the horn-drenched “Where Are You Sonny?” a woman searches for her missing boyfriend. The title song tells the story of a long-split couple who meet again years later, following his release from prison.

Equally adept at sounding broken-hearted and optimistic, weary and resilient, Boone conveys these characters in a voice that’s grittier than Bobbie Gentry’s and more lonesome than Sammi Smith’s, and steeped in the soul-ballad tradition. It’s the voice Vlautin fell in love with when he first heard it during a tour Richmond Fontaine did with Damnations, TX, the band Boone had formed with her sister, Deborah Kelly.

“There wasn’t a night that I didn’t sit by the stage and listen to them sing,” he recalls. “I’ve always loved their voices. It started when I wrote a duet called ‘Post to Wire’ for one of them to sing with me. I had no confidence back then, so I decided the first sister I started talking to, I’d ask to sing the song. It happened to be Deborah.”

She also sang on the Richmond Fontaine album The High Country, and was going to tour with the band, but backed out when she became pregnant. Boone wound up filling in.

“On the road, I’d listen to her warm up and I started dreaming about being in a band where she sang all the tunes,” Vlautin explains. “That’s how the Delines started — with me wanting to hide in the back and listen to Amy sing.”

He spent the next year writing those tunes. Then, he says, “I wrote her a sorta thesis on why she should join up with me. Luckily, she said yes.” Then he tapped RF drummer Oldham. “He’s so damn cool and good,” Vlautin says, “it brought the idea of the Delines to life.”

Portland’s Freddy Trujillo signed on to play bass. The Decemberists’ Jenny Conlee contributed keyboards, but because of her other commitments, multi-instrumentalist Cory Gray stepped in to round out the band’s cinematic, late-night country-soul sound with keyboard and trumpet. “He’s been our ace in the hole ever since,” says Vlautin. “So much of The Imperial is influenced and inspired by him.”

To say they’re looking forward to sharing it with the world is a bit of an understatement. “It’s been a slow, hard recovery for Amy,” Vlautin notes. “It’s amazing how tough she is. It took us a long time, but The Imperial is finally done and the Delines get to be a band again.”

Tour support comes from Those Pretty Wrongs. Those Pretty Wrongs are Jody Stephens and Luther Russell, two old friends and veterans of the music scene in different ways. Jody was the drummer for the legendary band Big Star and now helps run equally legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis. Luther Russell was the leader of seminal roots-rock band The Freewheelers and is now an acclaimed solo artist and producer.

It was the documentary Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me that brought Jody and Luther together creatively, when Jody asked Luther to join him for some promo performances. A chemistry was immediately noticed. They began writing songs and performing them whenever possible, soon taking their name from the opening line of Shakespeare Sonnet 41, which they slipped into one of their first collaborations, Fool Of Myself. Burger Records released the first track they cut in Memphis, Lucky Guy, with Fool Of Myself as the flip side. There was an outpouring of support for the new music, which gave Jody and Luther the confidence to move forward.

We’re excited to be returning to a very special venue for this show: St Philip’s Church. The building is one of Greater Manchester’s finest Georgian buildings, dating back to 1825, and its Greek style is unique in Salford.

Buy tickets now. Tickets are available from Vinyl Exchange, WeGotTickets.comTicketline.co.uk and on 0871 220 0260.

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All shows are 18+ unless otherwise stated.