Big Country bassist Tony Butler will release his debut solo album ‘My Time’ on Phoenix Rising Records.
Butler’s debut album arrives after 40 years working in the music industry, having worked with the likes of Pete Townshend, Chrissie Hynde, Ray Davies, Steve Lillywhite, Roger Daltrey, Nils Lofgren and Siouxsie Sioux, before becoming a founding member of Big Country, who would go on to sell over 10 million records.
While Butler sings and plays electric, acoustic and bass guitars throughout the album, ‘My Time’ includes contributions from Big Country drummer Mark Brzezicki, who plays on four of the album’s eleven tracks (‘She’s Coming Home’, ‘Scared to the Bone’, ‘My Big Ferrari Heart’ and ‘I’m Getting Old’) and Big Country’s long-time touring keyboard player Josh Phillips (‘I’m Getting Old’).
After Big Country singer Stuart Adamson’s untimely passing in December 2001, Butler harboured a deep desire not to be involved in the music business, so ruled out all opportunities to become part of any ‘supergroups’. Instead, Butler became a music lecturer at a college in Devon.
Despite Butler’s his initial reluctance, Big Country reformed in 2010 with The Alarm’s Mike Peters’ on vocal duties and embarked on two sell-out UK tours.
However, while the tours were hugely successful, Butler was unhappy with the new material the new line-up had begun to write, amongst other things, so made the difficult decision to leave the group in August 2012 – which led Butler to the proverbial crossroads of his life.
In the summer of 2013, Tony started to enjoy writing again and set about the task of writing his debut solo album with renewed vigour. He also began writing a book charting the demise (from his viewpoint) of the post-Adamson line-up of Big Country, called ‘Then Came the Great Divide’.
Being managed once again by former Big Country manager Ian Grant gave Butler the confidence to see the project through. Butler said, “After mixing and mastering the album I presented it to Ian, which would be the real acid test. Fortunately, he really liked it and, all of a sudden, the project would be real.”
Butler said, “After years of working with some of the finest songwriters, musicians, producers and, of course, Big Country, I feel that this time is ‘My Time’ to put myself out there; apprenticeship well and truly served.”
“I felt I had finally earned the right to take a central role for the first time, to be able to put together a musical project that is essentially about my life, loves and tragedies is something that I have owed myself for a long time.”
Tony started recording the backing tracks for the album while he was still teaching, and it was here that he really started to conceptualise the basic premise of the album. “I then went onto recording everything else at my new studio,” says Butler. “I commandeered one of the rooms in my partner’s house, where I spent a very enjoyable period completing the album. I was able to spend a lot more time working on the lyrics, as by this time I had ended my employment at the college.”
The lyrical aspect developed a personal flavour, but not so personal that other people would be unable to relate to it themselves. “I was writing about people I knew and loved, so the words were a labour of love to write,” Butler says. “Stuart Adamson is very much remembered in this album, for nothing more than being an inspiration. Big Country had a unique sound, attitude and understanding in terms of people. Each part made the whole, but with this album, I am keen for people to understand my contribution to the band’s creativity; what I contributed, what I developed, and what I learned. This is ‘My Time’ and I’m really happy.”
1. Heaven Saved a Place for You
2. Boy From The Bush.
3. Strange Old Town
4. She’s Coming Home
5. Save My Dignity
6. Long Shadows
7. Scared to the Bone
8. My Big Ferrari Heart
9. I’m Getting Old
11. Here Comes The First One
12. A Lovely Day (demo) (Bonus Track)
PRODUCED BY: Tony Butler
ENGINEERED: Tony Butler and Tom Nordon
RECORDED BY: Tony Butler
MIXED BY: Tony Butler
STUDIOS: The Factory Studio (Devon), The Thrutch Hutch (Devon) and The Wobbly Studio (Cornwall)
Vocals, Backing vocals, Bass Guitar, Electric guitar, acoustic guitar, Keyboards and Tambourine – Tony Butler.
Drums: Mark Brzezicki (Tracks 4, 7, 8, 9), Colin Wright (Tracks 1, 5, 6, 10, 11) and Rich Walker (Tracks 2, 3).
Keyboards: Josh Phillips (Track 9).
Additional lead guitar: Tom Nordon (Track 11).
All songs published by: SGO Publishing.