Winter in the Blood

Probe One Music POM-07, released March 2012

We begun to play quite a number of acoustic shows, with various combinations of members, but mainly as a trio with myself, CC Thornley on banjo and Hayley Anderson on violin. In June 2011 we began to discuss recording a few acoustic tracks for an EP to reflect this side of the band. We started recording some tracks in our own Green Man Studios in July, and within a month or two we had the basic parts of 15 tracks recorded. It quickly became apparent that an album was the obvious way to go rather than an EP, and Winter In The Blood is the result.

The recording and most the mixing was finished by the end of the year, although it took a while longer to fine tune everything – not helped by me unexpectedly having to move house over Christmas! Bernie Dodd added some great percussion parts, bringing a new dimension to the songs with the cajon snare, the djembe, the shakers and more. In retrospect I’d have probably added some more bass parts, but Frank Packer appears on Winter In My Blood only (although he’s also part of the “sailor’s choir” on Girls of Old Maui). As with the last album we had a couple of guests adding to the recording too. Long time associate Mark Lanigan played the picked guitar part on The Last Voyage (my own picking being a little… agricultural) and Peter O’Shea (Stomp Dog) added some fiddle to Ace of Spades. CC only joined the band as we were coming to the end of recording our last album “Stormclouds”, so this is the first recording where he’s been fully integrated into the sound. He’s also responsible for The Last Voyage finally coming to fruition. I had the lyric and the bare bones of the song for some time, but it wasn’t until I’d pretty much given up on it that CC suggested some changes to the arrangement – at which point everything finally fell into place.

We’ve performed most of the songs here live with the full band too, mostly in markedly different forms from what you hear on this album. But I really enjoy these slightly more civilised versions. Some of the highlights for me include the outrageously awesome banjo solo on our version of Motorhead’s Ace of Spades and the big layered backing vocals in Girls of Old Maui. No Respect is I think the pick of the bunch. The version of King of the Balladeers seems to maintain all the energy and power of the full band version despite the stripped back approach, and it’s a great improvement on the recording you may have heard that we did with the band back in February 2011. Arrows actually dates from 2004 – written just before our first album Travelling Through Time was released. We demo’d it and subsequently discarded it in 2007 too, but only now has it finally come to life.

Once again, Stu Rowe of Lighterthief Productions in Swindon (UK) has done a great job of mastering the album, and once again Dolly Sampson has done a wonderful painting for the cover. I suspect the next album will be back to the full electric line up, but this album represents an important part of what Zeptepi is all about, and there will no doubt be more recordings of this nature in the future.

Phil