BACKTRACKING: Gaz Brookfield
A look back at an artist or bands entire back catalogue
Every few weeks the Solo Armada will select a chosen artist/band and invite you to listen to each and every studio album that the artist/band has produced and discuss on social media.
From their debut to the last album released. An opportunity to understand and discover a bands original beginnings and how their music has evolved over the years and not rely on greatest hit compilations or that comfortable album that you’re so familiar with.
You may or may not already be familiar with the music of Gaz Brookfield, or you may only know the more popular songs. Now is your time to listen to something new, or get back into something you’ve perhaps forgotten. Or maybe even sit back and enjoy one of your favourites! At present, Gaz’s music is only available on Bandcamp, but you can still listen on there. As Gaz is currently recording album 6 and these things aren’t cheap, why not pick up an album or two or some merch while you’re there?
A fiercely independent singer/ songwriter, Gaz Brookfield spent the early years of his music career flitting between bands and trying to find his place in the world of music. He started playing solo shows in the search for that all important musical ‘home’ and to date remains completely independent in all of his work, preferring to have total control rather than money and fame which handing over certain aspects of his career would provide.
It’s worth noting before we delve into his back catalogue, that the five studio albums we focus on are merely the surface of Gaz’s releases. He has several live albums as well as the Solo Acoustic Guy albums where he has recorded some of his more popular songs… well… solo and acoustic! He also has a split release with Jake Martin called ‘Aged Revolt’. For the purpose of this article we are sticking to the studio recorded albums, but if you like what you hear, it’s well worth rummaging through the rest of Gaz’s releases, you won’t be disappointed.
In fact, we love Gaz so much that we have decided to make his gig on 14th December 2019 at Bristol’s SWX the Solo Armada’s 2nd Annual Christmas Gig! Its a chance to enjoy fantastic music, meet people from the Solo Armada in person and have a damn good time! Find out more info HERE. Get your tickets and we’ll see you there!
This is backtracking. This is Gaz Brookfield.
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Trial & Error – Released 1st January, 2011
In Gaz’s own words, ‘You have your whole life to write your first album’. Trial & Error had been written, but Gaz was in a position where he had no way of recording it. So in the true nature of DIY music, he bought a mic and some software and learned how to do it himself.
Around the time of recording Trial & Error, Gaz won the Acoustic Magazine Singer Songwriter of the year award. The prize was a guitar (that he kept) and some fancy recording equipment which he didn’t know how to use, so ended up selling it to fund the production of physical copies of the album. The standout tracks of this album are ones that are still very much mainstays in Gaz’s live sets, including ‘Thin’ and ‘Diet of Banality’.
Tell It To The Beer – Released 8th June, 2012
Tell It To The Beer is, among other things, very much about drinking. Another home recording, the album contains a couple of Gaz’s perhaps more popular songs. ‘Be The Bigger Man’ and ‘Under The Table’ are still very much loved when Gaz plays them live.
In The Company Of Thieves – Released 2nd December, 2013
Between the the release of Tell It To The Beer and In The Company Of Thieves, Gaz was doing a lot of touring. Playing up to 200 shows a year, it was bound to influence his songwriting and this is the result: an album about touring. The writing for this album happened on the road. The tours also saw Gaz travelling across the UK and Europe in support of bigger artists, including Frank Turner and The Levellers. It was during the tour with The Levellers that Gaz had a slightly unfortunate day, trying to get from Bristol to Nottingham to join the tour. The story of this day led to arguably one of Gaz’s most popular songs, and the album’s title track, ‘Land Pirate’s Life’.
True And Fast – Released 6th June, 2015
There comes a time in pretty much everyone’s life when they are faced with the truth about their own mortality. It was during the writing process for this album that Gaz was faced with a reminder of his own. Along with various other things happening around him at the time, forcing Gaz to look at how he deals with grief, he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. This lead to songs such as ‘The Diabetes Blues’, ‘Just A Ride’, and ‘Godless Man’. But these by no means define the album, which also features more fun tracks including ‘Ode To Ozzy’ (Ozzy is Gaz’s van) and ‘Maps’.
I Know My Place – Released 19th December, 2016
Along with True and Fast, I Know My Place is Gaz’s most successful album to date. Up until this, Gaz had recorded all his albums at home, playing all the instruments. For the recording of I Know My Place, he took to a proper studio – Ladder Factory Studios in Oxfordshire – inviting friends along to play on the album. These friends form the basis of Gaz’s live band, The Company Of Thieves. The album had Gaz on guitar and vocals, Leks Wood on drums, Lukas Drinkwater on bass (who would be replaced with Tom Granville in the live setting), Chris Webb on guitar, Nick Parker on mandolin and Ben Wain on fiddle. Once the album was recorded, producer Sam Bates suggested a keyboard player, Jon Buckett, and so the album was complete. In the 12 days it took to record and mix the album, Gaz made something that outstripped his previous albums in terms of sales and had the album pressed onto vinyl.
Lostfolk – Release Autumn 2019…Probably
Album 6 is – at time of writing – currently being recorded. It is to be called Lostfolk and Gaz is hoping it will be released in the autumn, in time for his tour in the last three months of the year. It is being produced by Jon Buckett, and if Gaz’s previous albums are anything to go by, it’s bound to be wonderful. So keep an eye out on Gaz’s social media for updates, and check out his tour dates there too.
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