‘Like Tom Waits and Nick Cave, William Crighton is an original. But apart from that, he’s like no one else’ - Stack Magazine
"This album is a result of doing what I've always loved to do and will always do - write songs about my experiences and relationships in the environment around me." Crighton says, describing Empire.
"My last album was the first time I was able to really look back and examine myself and my life in context. I guess I'll get more of a picture of what this album is to me the closer I get to the next one, it felt right to make"
Produced by established producer and collaborator Matt Sherrod and recorded in a series of evocative settings, Empire expands Crighton's powerful sound into sprawling new planes and finds the singer-songwriter bringing a cinematographer's eye for detail to bear on his unique and immersive lyrical style.
“Once in a lifetime a gig surpasses all expectations, slapping you in the face with its grace, majestic singing, the quality of the material, and, in this instance, the acoustic ambience of the venue… [it] demonstrated music's power to stir the heart and soul. In my all-time Top 10 that one.” Iain Sheddon
The world abounds in symbols and ciphers; the Australian continent warms, its own unique portents, omens and code.
In the plumage of the black cockatoo, pictograms scrawled into the sand by the nails and scales of earthbound lizards, the glassy eye of the carrion crow glaring.
William Crighton identifies powerful analogues of lived experience. It's a gift that finds its truest expression yet on his landmark second album, Empire.
EMPIRE ALBUM TOUR
SAT 14 JULY THE NORTHERN, BYRON BAY, NSW
SUN 15 JULY BELLO WINTER MUSIC, BELLINGEN, NSW
THURS 19 JULY GRACE EMILY, ADELAIDE, SA
FRI 20 JULY HOWLER, MELBOURNE, VIC
SAT 21 JULY MONA HOBART, TAS
FRI 27 JULY 48 WATT ST, NEWCASTLE, NSW
SAT 28 JULY FACTORY FLOOR, SYDNEY, NSW
THUR 2 AUG BLACKBEAR LODGE , BRISBANE, QLD
Cambridge Folk Festival - August 5 2018, Cambridge, UK
Boomtown Fair - August 11 - 12, 2018 Winchester, UK
Tønder Festival - August 23-26 Denmark
Development of the Album - EMPIRE
"We're all conditioned one way or another and for me, at least 50% of the time, it feels impossible to know where that begins and ends. Songs feel like freedom"
It's a world of peril and of sudden beauty, in which one man prepares for doomsday while another isolates profound truths in the song of an insect.
Against this backdrop, Empire's shifting perspectives and contrasting viewpoints coalesce to form a richly detailed mandala of an experience.
Since the release of his debut, has attracted the attention of many taste-making publications including Rolling Stone Australia. In January 2017, the first of Crighton's much-lauded performances at the Tamworth Regional Gallery was ranked by late, great rock critic Iain Shedden among his "all-time Top 10" live shows.
Also in 2017, Crighton released 7-inch vinyl 'Hope Recovery', accompanied Dan Sultan and CW Stoneking on their respective national tours, and performed to thronging crowds at WOMADelaide and Woodford Folk Festival. He showcased at Canadian Music Week, New York City's Mondo Music Conference and the Folk Alliance International in Kansas City.
Building a reputation as a world-class live performer, Crighton recently completed his debut Canadian tour, alongside Terra Lightfoot and will travel to the UK and Scandinavia midyear to play a selection of prominent music festivals before returning to Canada in September.
Of his inspiration in composing the songs of Empire, Crighton says the driving force was "just being here. My 9-year-old daughter says, 'hope is the one thing that brings us together', I agree with her and think it could go either way. There's more and more people realizing what's going on and changing things for the better but on the other hand there's a lot of greed and crazy out there holding on tight"
A few years ago, I asked a good mate, a Wiradjuri bloke, if he thought a "great awakening" was coming and he said, 'they're white fella words, we've been living sustainably for 100's of thousands of years' - That put me in my place and inspired me beyond measure."
Empire sees William Crighton expand his study of the human psyche.Hard close-ups meet a roving widescreen lense. The world he weaves bristles, heaves and crawls with life: birds and beasts, men and monsters; cities and seas; all imbued with profound significance, both personal and epochal.
Joining Crighton in the studio were "a tight group of friends and family", including Sherrod on drums and synth, wife Julieanne on vocals, and Crighton's own brother Luke on bass.
Frayed chords and distorted squalls of psych-and-desert-rock guitar muscle conjure 'Devil's Tongue'.
Beyond the scorching, often frenzied dynamism of the album's towering rock moments, the deft deployment of synthetic and treated sounds-as on the loping 'Let Love Come First'
Inspired by a dream Crighton had on the banks of the Bogan river opener 'Fire in the Empire' draws us into darkening gulfs of time and bloody history. Cathedral bells, spectral wails, and the percussive, mounting urgency of the track's driving guitar rhythms cement its pervading sense of disquiet.
Elsewhere, 'Happiness’ charts blissed-out new vistas shivering with feeling, while 'Mr Brown' draws on touchstones including the Beatles at their most engrossing, giving way to the low brass and woodwind of the bittersweet 'Sadness'.
The excoriating sheets of guitar noise that power belting rock moment '999' recall flavours of Midnight Oil's 'Redneck Wonderland', counter pointing a heart worn dedication to his wife in 'Julieanne'.
'Rejoice' couples carnivalesque theatricality to the sloping stomp of 80s post-punk, while penultimate track 'Someone' features an impassioned performance from guest vocalist Gawurra, who delivers, in language, a song line of his Milingimbi homeland. "It's hard to be in the presence of Gawurra and not be inspired in some way," Crighton relates.
Closing with a desolate take on Eric Bogle classic 'The Band Played Waltzing Matilda', Crighton signals his undying commitment to interrogating the myths that make us as a people.
Above all, Empire is a songbook of breathtaking insight. The flame of the human spirit is, in Crighton's hands, shown to be the most powerful force at work in 21st Century Australia: one that produces both soot and shadow, but also guiding light, illuminating both the painful past and the difficult path forward. Let hope chime.
Empire is out on ABC Music on 4th May 2018
HIGH RES IMAGES
Please see link opposite for a range of approved-for-use images of William Crighton.
"Original Australian voices should be celebrated and supported with all we have. Here is one to rally behind without reservation." Martin Jones - Rhythms
"It’s high theatrics, gutsy and cool at the same time." - Newcastle Herald
“Mesmerising debut album.”' ****1/2 stars - The Music
“Crighton is a major talent”' ****1/2 stars - Courier Mail
“2000 Clicks is killer.” John Schumann (Redgum)
“What a talent." - Felicity Urquhart Saturday Night Country (ABC Radio)
“'Rarely do you witness an audience spell bound and breathless.” - Life Music Media
His debut, self-title album was released on March 18, 2016.
“It’s high theatrics, gutsy and cool at the same time.” - Newcastle Herald
“Mesmerising debut album 1/2 stars” - The Music
“Crighton is a major talent. 1/2 Stars” - Courier Mail
WILLIAM CRIGHTON - limited edition 7inch 'HOPE RECOVERY'
31/3/2017 - WILLIAM CRIGHTON RELEASES 'HOPE RECOVERY'
Buoyed by a mesmerising debut record and a slew of live appearances that defined ferocity of spirit, William Crighton’s 2016 was nothing short of a breakthrough year.
The “Riverina Kid” has no intention of resting on his laurels in 2017. He’s locked in for a set of showcases in Toronto for Canadian Music Week and gigs in Vancouver this April and will release a hypnotic new 7-inch vinyl release and digital single called Hope Recovery on March 31st 2017.
To coincide with this exclusive new release, Crighton will perform a string of dates along the East Coast of Australia, which will take his live performances to a new level.
The release, recorded in various locations, including Mullumbimby, in the mountains of Laguna, and his own backyard studio in the Hunter Valley, is presented as an 8.46-minute piece of music. It flows seamlessly from the epic jam and rumination on religious accountability ‘Talking to God’, into the uplifting and delicate Australiana soundscape of the title track. The bonus is Neil Young’s classic environmental lament ‘After the Gold Rush’.
30/11/2016 - WILLIAM CRIGHTON RELEASES 3RD SINGLE - JESUS BLUES
To celebrate his spate of festival appearances, Australian singer-songwriter William Crighton will release his new single 'Jesus Blues' off his highly acclaimed self-titled debut album. It is accompanied by a startling video that places the singer as an omnipotent suburban entity.
"It's a song about temptation and questioning everything" Crighton explains.
Director Pier Carthew says the music video is set “as an evangelical trip into hard-knock suburbia” that “shakes off the suppression of suburban life to reveal hidden dreams, nightmares and the sheer bizarre nature of ordinary people.”
WILLIAM CRIGHTON RELEASES SINGLE ‘JESUS BLUES’
30/6/16 - WILLIAM CRIGHTON 2ND SINGLE - 2000 CLICKS
‘2000 Clicks’ illustrates Crighton’s literary approach to lyricism. The stirring track explores ideas of fate and free will, the ways in which we navigate the everyday chaos of life and evade the challenges it throws at us. These ideas are framed through the song’s narrator, a man in deep reflection as his car lies in a ditch, a storm raging all around him.
“‘2000 Clicks’ is a story from growing up out in the Riverina,” Crighton explains. “Humans seem to suffer from the ‘grass is greener’ syndrome a lot. Sometimes it is, sometime's not. Whether it's getting out of your home town headed for Queensland or setting off in a space ship to Mars, running from the mess we make instead of cleaning it up is an approach that always has an element of appeal.”
Accompanying the release of ‘2000 Clicks’ is a music video directed by Crighton, his wife Julieanne and drummer and collaborator Reuben Alexander. The clip is low-fi and gritty, centred around William's performance. Subtle psychedelic moments reflect the idiosyncratic images and questions the wind brings to the mind sometimes.