First Impression : Findlay Napier : Glasgow
Released late in 2017, Findlay Napier's second solo album, Glasgow, has eleven songs - five covers, three co-written with producer Boo Hewerdine, three solely self-written. With this album, and his last Very Interesting Persons, each track essentially takes the lyrical form of a vivid short story with a film-maker's eye for detail - this time focusing on his home town for subject matter.
For both albums he has worked closely with Hewerdine, and despite already having a well established songwriting and performing career, the benefit of this specific relationship is clear. As the arrangements shift between muted blues and delicately picked echoes of the folk revival, and between guitar and piano, the music is always a well judged framing of his distinct and richly accented vocals.
On Glasgow, a song such as St Anthony's Digging A Hole lays out Napier's rare qualities. Simultaneously rousing yet melancholy, it was written after hearing a Radio 4 documentary, and is as spirited a gravedigger's lament as you will hear.
From the same LP There's More To Building Ships hits a similar, affecting mark with a clear political stance, whilst Wire Burners (a co-written piece) is a sensitive depiction of the plight of the Scottish city's forgotten homeless. He is as handy with cover versions too - his interpretation of The Blue Niles' A Walk Across The Rooftops is exceptional.
Glasgow is evocative contemporary folk that undoubtedly defines Findlay Napier as a significant singer-songwriter. The quiet, devotional songs to the city and its people it presents, full of 'the ancient odour of the streets' as Vic Chesnutt would have had it, will at the very least permanently change your perception of the place.
You can buy Glasgow (CD/DL) via Bandcamp.
FINDLAY NAPIER I Glasgow