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Door One

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The Big Big Train gig I attended in Edinburgh in 2019 will always be etched in my mind as one of the stand out concerts and performances I’ve ever been to, irrespective of how things ended up turning out – and it’s that, plus my love of the music he was a major part of creating with BBT, and the kinship that the music invokes in fans, that makes his passing a painful one. I will say that this tends to make the album feel quite raw, which isn’t a word I would ever have used for David’s music in the past. Facing a blank page (or in my case, screen) to put down some thoughts about the late David Longdon’s final album, Door One, is a daunting task. David Longdon – Vocals, Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Mandolin, Keyboard Programming, Piano, Stylophone, Percussion.

A reflection on his craft, The Singer And The Song must be at the very least partially autobiographical. He had been recording since April 2021, following the completion of Big Big Train’s Common Ground album.It’s a reflection on the quality experience of singing to an audience, no doubt drawn from David’s experience of doing just that: “I hit the stage as they strike up the band, the audience moves to the beat. The 103 third parties who use cookies on this service do so for their purposes of displaying and measuring personalized ads, generating audience insights, and developing and improving products.

Forgive (But Not Forget) is a further revealing song that deals with the hurt of a failed relationship. The Letting Go” is just as good, though, with its 10+ minute runtime, hopeful aura, fantastic instrumentation, and grand ending. It doesn’t ruin this album, as I think it does add a layer of emotion that isn’t always present with BBT, but it can be distracting and certain moments do not sound very good at all.In The Times, Dominic Maxwell said of David “ Having taken a long time to get where he wanted to be, Longdon tried not to waste his precious time. It opens with Into The Icehouse, an instrumental, ambient piece of birdsong and minimal piano tones playing almost a lament.

On one hand, it can be tempting to heap praise simply due to nostalgia or emotion, but on the other hand it feels disrespectful to be dishonest. Right from the opener “Into the Icehouse” with its cinematic music, you can tell that David was trying to do something new. Finishing the album was a balancing act of me trying to honour what we had been talking about but without his ears to say ‘Yes, I like that’ or not.Perhaps surprisingly for an album made by someone known mainly as a Lead Singer, the album opens with an atmospheric instrumental – and that’s absolutely as it should be; because David’s talents were much broader than that of a frontman. It’s a good thing to know that this album was 95% complete at the time of David’s passing and so what we are hearing is pretty much his complete vision for this set of songs. However, by the Spring of last year, he was seeking to forge a solo career in parallel with continuing to be a leading force within Big Big Train.

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