One of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most beloved folk-blues musicians, Darren Watson, is launching his seventh album - Getting Sober For The End Of The World – in October and taking it around the country!
Getting Sober For The End Of The World tells a diverse range of stories in song – from the upbeat, harmonica-laden Self Made to the dark, poignant ballad Ernie Abbott. In 1984 Abbott, Wellington Trades’ Hall caretaker, was murdered in one of New Zealand’s most infamous acts of domestic terrorism. The Trades’ Hall bombing is still unsolved and Watson exquisitely asks “…somebody’s got to know who put Ernie Abbott’s soul in God’s hands?” (There’s a music video for Ernie Abbott due to drop very soon.)
The album begins with the title track – a brassy, stomping singalong about ironically giving up partying just as life on Earth looks likely to end. Although this song was penned before the Covid-19 crisis, it is strangely prescient. Watson says “ I wrote the song last year about the world we’re leaving my mokos. Climate change was on my mind. You know, we’d better get our shit together kind of thing. Nothing to do with Covid-19, but it totally speaks to these times for everyone around the world.”
The lock-down wiped-out the original album release and tour dates but Watson kept moving forward. He used his time at home to make a cheeky DIY video for the song Getting Sober For The End Of The World and released it as an early album taster. It got a great response, particularly from some notable fellow artists: Rick Holmstrom, long-time musical director for soul music legend Mavis Staples, and legendary blues guitar man, has become a fan of Watson’s work over the years. So when Darren asked him to play on a track he shouted “Oh yeah!’ and laid down his swampy trademark Telecaster sound on the catchy, back-porch funk of Alison Jane.
The new record is the long-awaited follow up to 2018’s critically acclaimed Too Many Millionaires. It is Darren Watson’s most ambitious project yet, being entirely self-recorded and produced.
Watson says “I was stoked with Millionaires and how it was received – but I reckon Getting Sober is big step up. I literally poured blood sweat and tears into every part - the lyrics, the arrangements, and the recording and mixing. Then there’s the bands’ playing! Everyone played their asses off. We captured some really dynamic performances. This one breathes, it really does. ”
Taranaki folk music legend MIKE HARDING will be opening the show at 8pm
A musical storyteller at ease with his audience, his instrument and his mission to seek out and share in performance the songs of New Zealand.
8pm Saturday 3rd October
All Tickets $30Book Tickets
“If Ry Cooder had a long-lost New Zealand cousin, it would be Darren Watson. In Getting Sober For the End of the World you can smell the crawfish étouffée bubbling on the stove while a New Orleans first line shuffles and slinks past the window, the lyrics carrying you along with the unifying connection of music and humanity.”
“I’m digging Getting Sober For The End Of The World. It’s not easy writing catchy tunes that carry a message, but Darren pulls it off easily, singing in his big, soulful voice: “...you can hold folks up, you can knock folks down, it matters what we do and what we say.” Right on!”
Rick Holmstrom (Mavis Staples Band)
Simon Sweetman review:
Graham Reid review: