Rich Ragany & the Digressions announce new album, Beyond Nostalgia & Heartache. Released 25 June via Story Highway Records and Tapes
After fronting, writing and putting out three albums in three years with Role Models (the last one getting to #25 in Vive Le Rock’s Albums Of The Year and doing UK tours with Scott Sorry and Michael Monroe), Canadian born, London located songwriter Rich Ragany set out to expand his musical horizons and to find the right musicians to join him on that task.
Finally settling on a line-up that includes Andy Brook (celebrated producer, SHUSH), Gaff (Glitterati, Dedwardians, Desperate Measures, Hollywood Brats), Ricky McGuire (UK SUBS, The Men They Couldn’t Hang), Simon Maxwell (Role Models, Yo Yos) and Kit Swing (Mallory Knox, Seven Days And Doesn’t Die), the newly realised Rich Ragany And The Digressions released their debut album Like We’ll Never Make It in April 2019, picking up some keen support from BBC Introducing.
They packed out shows in London, sharing stages with the likes of The Lemonheads, The Men They Couldn’t Hang, Whitfield Crane and Warrior Soul.
With time and talent on their hands, Rich and the band used lockdown to get creative and wrote a new batch of songs. Files, ideas, and banter were sent flying across the digital highway and new songs quickly began to take shape.
“Everyone did their parts at home over the bare bones ‘vocals and acoustic guitar’ demos I sent out,” explains Rich. “They would send what they had done back and forth and to our producer (and keyboardist) Andy Brook, who would then mix. The result was incredible, depth and colour with a cinematic feel. The demos themselves sounded great and inspired, so I knew we had a special album in the making. All of this really provided a way to keep us focused, it kept us in constant contact with all the banter, fun and excitement, during a time we couldn’t see each other.”
Then, in a break between lockdowns, the band headed to Andy’s studio, The Brook in Wallington (which is where all the Role Models and the first Digressions albums were recorded) and got to work on Beyond Nostalgia & Heartache and produced twelve tracks of perfectly crafted power-pop anthems and focused songwriting craft.
The title, Beyond Nostalgia & Heartache, comes from a night over at guitarist Gaff’s house, where so many great ideas where born! Guitarist Kit Swing was sat cross legged on the floor, talking about an Aerosmith song she loved, the feeling it gave her “…it’s… it’s like… beyond nostalgia and heartbreak!“
“That struck me as an incredibly beautiful thing to say. I changed heartbreak for heartache, so it sung better and there ya go,” explains Rich. “It’s a song about yearning to be with someone… maybe feeling you lost contact… missing them and the frustration of that. But again, the feeling of the chorus melody and those harmonies lift you to a place that reassures you… you can still reach out… even to a memory… sometimes someone in your heart is all you have. But it can be lifesaving and special.”
Heartbreakers Don’t Try, the first single to be aired from the album in March this year is, as Rich describes “a pretty simple song lyrically about the fight you can have with depression, but then that great feeling of just saying “FUCK IT” and standing up and taking on the day, week or challenge. Just taking that cloud and giving it stiff little fingers and going out and gettin’ some JOY! The liberation.”
That joy shines through every moment of the songs three-minutes-and-fourteen-seconds; a gloriously upbeat, melodically addictive reverberation that radiates and beams from the speakers and soaks the listener in sheer good vibes.
As we emerge from the lockdown gloom of the last few months, Heartbreakers Don’t Try is just the tonic to lift the spirits high and think onto better times, with a chorus that warms the heart, highlighting the gorgeous vocal harmonies between Rich and guitarist Kit Swing, a theme that runs throughout the album’s duration.