The Great Divide

by Andrew Howie

supported by
Fergus McNeill
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Fergus McNeill Hard to pick a favourite song on this beautiful album. Songwriting that is as challenging as it is accessible as it is enduring: that must be the song-writer's Holy Grail... Clearly Andrew Howie has been drinking from that cup! Favorite track: The Fury And The Sound.
Steve Lawson
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Steve Lawson I've been a fan of Andrew Howie for longer than I care to remember. As a musician, writer, thinker and human being, he's an inspiration, and his music just gets better and better. I have an unreleased all acoustic version of this album, which was already in my favourite albums of the year. This more produced version is at least as brilliant if not more so. Everything about it is great. Seriously. Favorite track: Time On My Side.
Daniel Borsos
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Daniel Borsos Songs like Arab Spring, Time On My Side, and Victory are some of the best songwriting you will hear - technically perfect and emotionally packed. Favorite track: Arab Spring.
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1.
01:20
2.
03:27
Listen and I’ll tell you why If you can’t understand me at all I’m turning everything into blacks and whites And friends into enemies Living in the desert is hard A walk across the great divide The morning prayer a call to arms A place to define myself by taking a side And the questions and the doubts you adore Are a luxury I can’t afford So can’t you see I’m living in an occupied land Where all I know is sinking in the sand So now I’m grabbing onto anything I can I knew before I back up every word I say With a force that can’t be reckoned with My morning prayer is that the world would see I can separate truth from myth And the source of my authority Is just two steps away from me So can’t you see I’m living in an occupied land Where all I know is sinking in the sand So now I’m grabbing onto anything I can I knew before And this is not a strange or futile bid I’m thinking of the future of my kids And the boundaries they need to navigate This terrifying world so filled with hate This unforgiving desert heat And the dust that gets in my eyes Don’t lend themselves to thoughts of grace and peace And lovers being reconciled So I’ll defiantly stand my ground And dismiss you without a sound So can’t you see I’m living in an occupied land Where all I know is sinking in the sand So now I’m grabbing onto anything I can I knew before So can’t you see you’re living in a liberal land Where all you know is safe and close at hand So now you’re taking it for granted And losing your integrity in whispers and in shades
3.
05:10
Goodbye evangelical certainty You’ve served me well for thirty odd years But now I know it’s time to leave I am no longer a baby in your fragile little arms So don’t tell me your stories And don’t sing me your songs And don’t presume that you know me And that it’s me who’s in the wrong Fear may well be the beginnings of wisdom and love But I don’t want to be afraid anymore And I need to grow up Goodbye cookie-cutters and Sunday schools How can I be part of this game if I don’t play by your rules And it’s no fun for anyone with me just hanging around So don’t tell me your stories And don’t sing me your songs And don’t presume that you know me And that it’s me who’s in the wrong I’ve had more than my share of this safety in numbers And strong certainties I choose to live in a dangerous world Where I know I am free And it’s no fun for anyone with me just hanging around So don’t tell me your stories And don’t sing me your songs And don’t presume that you know me And that it’s me who’s in the wrong Can’t you see that the gossip, the grudges, the violence Have taken their toll I choose to escape from the clutches of your good intentions And save my own soul Who is that walking towards me as I Leave these sinking ships Beckoning me ever forward With a whisper on her lips There is more than this
4.
Your narrow street Tenement wall Your sandstone heart That doesn’t fool me at all Your darkened close Cracks in the stair Your burned out light This is the armour you wear Oh let me show what I’ve found The fury and the sound Tear your defences down Your measured love This counted cost Your fearing heart Can still redeem what is lost Oh let me show you what I’ve found The fury and the sound Tear your defences down Oh letting go is not defeat Give up on your retreat The place where two worlds meet Take a breath Take my hand A few small steps Into this no man’s land Oh shake the dust off from your feet Give up on your retreat The place where two worlds meet Oh let me show you what I’ve found The fury and the sound Tear your defences down
5.
05:26
Everywhere you go you bite your tongue Keeping quiet to please some other someone So please Please listen To me Everyone you meet seems to be certain Never taking a good look behind the curtain So please Please listen To me There is a voice lodged deep inside your brain Gagged and bound since birth Happily restrained But these knots they are unravelling Like the stories and the songs you sing But it’s hard to kneel and to be disarmed But you’ve got to believe that you cannot be harmed So please listen Please listen Please listen Please listen To me
6.
03:48
Booted up in black steel toe caps Holding little fragile hands Prolonged and sentimental goodbyes When he shouts he hopes she understands The stitches slowly coming apart Inside his heart And he could count the years on fifty fingers That he’s worn your smile and been a dead ringer For a member of a club that is a mystery to me Staring through Europa’s windows Wishing he could sneak in and hide From the prolonged and sentimental love songs That make him contemplate suicide And you wonder why his lips never part Well, here’s a head start Yeah he could count the years on fifty fingers That he’s worn your smile and been a dead ringer For a member of this club that is mystery to me Baptised in black when he had zero comprehension Of a life outside this monochrome dimension That felt safe and warm but was a strange introduction to this world And can you see he’s barely holding it together That he’s tried to fake it but it doesn’t make it better And the voices in his head they say they won’t be fooled again But the best part of a Sunday is her smile When he sees her face returning down the aisle And they sing the songs together as he holds her in his arms Yeah he could count the years on fifty fingers That he’s worn your smile and been a dead ringer For a member of this club that is a mystery to me Baptised in black when he had zero comprehension Of a life outside this monochrome dimension That felt safe and warm but was a strange introduction to this world And the darkness in his soul is like a poison That consumes the light that people say can save him But his scars are like a beacon in the freezing desert night
7.
07:13
Your weathered face Longing to be free From across the hall Approaches me It is a lovely thing to have known you It is a lovely thing to have known you It is As we start to dance Around and around You close your eyes with a smile And tears trickle down It is a lovely thing to have known you It is a lovely thing to have known you It is a lovely thing to have known you It is a lovely thing to have known you It is
8.
The twins have shared a room since they were born And since that day time has relentlessly marched on Now they are older it is time to separate So I’ve got beds to build and rooms to decorate I’m clearing out the junk from our spare room With both a sense of wonder and impending doom That every second, every hour slips through our hand There is no safe deposit box, no on-demand But don’t be afraid of the dark Don’t be afraid oh trembling heart Sometimes I cower, sometimes I hide But I need more than time on my side So I’m trying not to think about it all Like I avoid the pictures on the kitchen wall Of yesterdays that I never re-create Can’t travel back towards to fix all my mistakes But don’t be afraid of the dark Don’t be afraid oh thankless heart Sometimes I cower, sometimes I hide But I need more than time on my side So as the quietness descends upon our home And for the first time late at night you are alone As I lean in to whisper prayers in your ear The words I choose will be the ones you need to hear But don’t be afraid of the dark Don’t be afraid oh trembling heart No need to cower, no need to hide And I need more than time on my side
9.
Listen and I’ll tell you a story Of a girl who ran away From a father who never raised his hand But who hurt her in different ways By always demanding perfection Never releasing his hold Believing that Jesus was on his side And that love is a means to control So can’t you see Can’t you see all the damage you’ve done And the war that nobody has won Behind these paper thin walls Each time the girl ran she would someday return To this home where she strangely felt safe But when the time finally came to leave home for good She felt lost and alone and afraid So she followed in her father’s footsteps Wearing him like a disguise And preaching to people a gospel of fear To a church growing daily in size So can’t you see Can’t you see all the damage you’ve done And the war that nobody has won Behind these paper thin walls Where every page Is filled with rules That you didn’t make But that you still cling to Like an old friend Believing without them Your world it would end So tear down your paper thin walls And see the damage that is done When a love has been tarnished forever The bail out can’t cover the costs Well that’s when I hope there is something bigger than your Definition of found and definition of lost Come see the damage you’ve done
10.
03:10
We both know that I curse and I swear My way through every day And I lose my patience with You and the kids But please don’t mistake my curses for wishes That you would change Given half a chance to do it all again I would Given half a chance to do it all again I would I am the undefeated champion of under-appreciation But I try to treasure every day with you I have failed to set the world alight I have failed to put the world to rights But I know my victory is you Given half a chance to do it all again I would Given half a chance to do it all again I would Given half a chance to do it all again I would Every pipe band marching past The humming underneath our flat The starlings nesting in our roof The godless evenings demanding proof Every cry in every night When I was wrong and you were right Given half a chance to do it all again I would

about

"An eclectic, absorbing, skilfully-executed album from a talented, inventive artist."
- Cross Rhythms

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Andrew Howie has been quietly making music as Calamateur since 2000, from his John Peel endorsed early releases through to his critically acclaimed later albums 'Each Dirty Letter' and 'The Quiet in the Land' (the former featuring the sublime duets with Jo Mango 'Retreat', and 'Change This World', as heard on BBC3's drama 'Lip Service'). As Calamateur, Andrew also contributed vocals to songs on the first two albums by Scottish collective The Grand Gestures.

After taking a break for a couple of years to concentrate on gaining an MA in songwriting, as well as working in Scottish prisons, schools and community groups running songwriting workshops, he's now ditched the Calamateur moniker and is writing, playing and releasing music under his own name.

Why ditch the pseudonym? "It just doesn't feel right anymore," says Andrew. "When I started making music the stage-name was something for me to hide behind. It's time for me to step out from behind the mask and learn to be comfortable in my own skin".

His debut (if we're allowed to call it that!) album is the soon-to-be-released 'The Great Divide', preceded by the single 'The Fury and the Sound', co-written with acclaimed Scottish singer-songwriter Yvonne Lyon. The single is backed with an unexpectedly upbeat, but haunting, cover of Nirvana's 'I Hate Myself And Want To Die'.

Other than Yvonne Lyon's gorgeous contributions of piano and backing vocals on four of the album's ten tracks, multi-instrumentalist Andrew performed, recorded and produced the album himself in his home studio. After carefully selecting and fine-tuning the bare bones of the songs (while discarding more than a few along the way), he crafted the sonic landscapes and arrangements over the course of a year to produce an album that is at once immediate and slow-burning. It is, without a doubt, his most assured offering yet - a long-player of meticulously crafted songs that unashamedly deal with the deeply personal (but universal) themes of uncertainty, conflict, parenthood and doubt, as well as the chasms (hinted at in the album title) that often exist within our everyday lives: between the people we want to be and the everyday reality of who we are, between the beliefs we publicly profess and the doubts we privately struggle with.

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"Dropping a stage moniker and putting your own name up front and centre is clearly a big move for many artists but given the personal nature of many of the songs on The Great Divide by Andrew Howie, it would possibly be strange if he continued to play behind his Calamateur title. Howie’s rich and warm vocals are the standout feature of the album, nestling comfortably on top of sparse acoustic guitars and modest electro twitches and tweaks. It’s an album that feels pretty comfortable and confident in its own skin, rarely changing pace or over-extending itself. As is often the case, this is the album’s big strength and if not quite its weakness, it’s certainly a fact that perhaps diminishes the overall impact of the record. This is emphasised by the way that ‘Dead Ringer’ leaps out of the speakers and provides you with a refreshing blast of tempo and vitality. It is not as though it would trouble any Dutch Gabba enthusiasts but it’s got some power and passion, with a really poppy hook. A few more songs like this on the album would have given the record a tremendous balance and allowed the slower paced tracks to stand out more as opposed to blending into one. The individual songs are all decent in their own right and if you listen to tracks on shuffle or here and there, there’s a lot to like on The Great Divide. What it does, it does very well, it just may have been better if there was a bit more to what is on offer. There’s talent on show here and if you like taking things at a slower pace, you’ll find plenty to be pleased with this album."
- Is This Music?

"Long-time readers of Cross Rhythms will remember Scotland's enigmatic Calamateur and now the Stirling-based songsmith has released this self-penned and self-produced under his own name. 'The Great Divide' is a richly-layered and textured sonic soundscape of confident vocals, sparse acoustic guitars, synths, keyboards, fragile beats, distortion and electronic bleeps. Howie is joined by the critically acclaimed Scottish songstress Yvonne Lyon on piano and backing vocals for four songs. The lyrics are not cliched; deeply personal and achingly honest - the spiritual element though not being overtly obvious; intertwined throughout as Howie brings his questions, doubts and hurts to God; ultimately offering hope. "Arab Spring" with chugging guitars and distortion is an attempt to get into the head of someone with a different viewpoint of life. "Post" is a thought-provoking, stripped-down piece of earnest electronica railing against "evangelical certainty" - potentially controversial to some. "Dead Ringer" with heavy guitar riffs is the most up-tempo number here. "Annie" is a beautiful epic; a tribute to Howie's grandmother who recently passed away, sampling a Japanese choir singing "Softly And Tenderly" and her voice. An eclectic, absorbing, skilfully-executed album from a talented, inventive artist."
- Cross Rhythms

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credits

released March 16, 2015

Written, played, recorded and produced by Andrew Howie, except:

'The Fury And The Sound' written by Andrew Howie and Yvonne Lyon.

Piano and backing vocals on 'The Fury And The Sound', 'Time On My Side', 'Paper Thin Walls' and 'Victory' by Yvonne Lyon @ www.yvonnelyonmusic.com

Recorded at home.

Mastered by Iain Hutchison @ www.glo-worm.com

Cover photo by Stephen McLeod @ www.allmyfriendsarejpegs.com
Cover design by Alister MacInnes @ www.dufi-art.com

Released on Autoclave Records. CLAVE015.

www.autoclaverecords.com

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about

Andrew Howie Stirling, UK

Andrew Howie (ex-Calamateur) is a Scottish singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer & prison/community group music tutor. He combines confessional & empathetic lyricism with acoustic instruments, noisy electronics & ambient textures to create introspective, hook-laden songs about uncertainty, doubt & love. You'll find him either holed up in his home studio or playing in your living room. ... more

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