After years of recording, writing and touring with Zero 7 and Sia, Dedi Madden has made a long-awaited album – “The Final Man”.
Calling in the gifts of the best of British musicians, Dedi has come up with a beautifully crafted record to provide a rich listening and feeling experience.
His simple yardstick throughout its making was the question “Is this me?”, knowing that it’s easy to lose sight of that when under pressure from the industry, the world.
With natural instrumentation, classic songwriting and no auto-tuning, this richly harmonic blend of soulful vocals, expressive guitars and a warm production is often panoramic, yet at times intimate in its sound – a man, his voice and a guitar.
“Tell Me What the Day Is”, written with Henry Binns (of Zero 7), is the only collaboration on the album. The rest are songs from Dedi’s personal experience and insights, and his musical wealth.
Let the 14 tracks on The Final Man transport you to a place where questions hold more value than answers, forgiveness than blame, the journey than the destination.
Musical giant Paul Stacey (Oasis, Noel Gallagher, Black Cowes, Finn Bros), while mixing the album, said “Well, it’s not like anything else out there.”….
Music to Dedi’s ears.
I bumped into a musician/producer friend of mine at the tube station last week. A couple of weeks earlier I’d given him a copy of my album ‘The Final Man’. We exchanged greetings, laughed with the joy of a chance meeting, and then he burst out with “Man, your album – I can’t get enough of it – it’s the best thing I’ve heard since ‘Grace’ by Jeff Buckley!”
I was thrilled that it had moved him so and I replied “I don’t normally ask for this sort of thing, but if that comment is genuine and from your heart, please say it in some public way”.
I mean, if you were to read “My mate has made a cool album, check it out” you might be unlikely to make time to listen, what with the ocean of stuff promoting itself constantly on the Web. But if somebody wrote “Hey everyone, this is the best thing I’ve heard since ‘Grace’!” you would at least give it a listen, wouldn’t you? I would.
Now I am not saying for a second that it is the best thing since that classic record, but it did really move someone, he really was very excited.
Long and short – he hasn’t expressed it on any public forum. Maybe he’s not good with Facebook, maybe it feels too vulnerable to be praising some work so openly, in case he got it wrong…?
My question is though – how do we get something of artistic value (whether it’s ‘classic’ material or merely because it’s someone’s true honest expression) heard by a larger audience, without either a promotional machine behind it or a nice pair of legs in front of it?
Actually, now I mention it, my legs aren’t so bad…..hmmm….
So here is the first album review for The Final Man. It is overwhelmingly positive! Click here to have a look:
I am now very happy to say that my album “The Final Man” is out! CD Baby for hard copies, downloadable from iTunes, Amazon, etc.
I could thank Paul and the musicians forever, but you can read all about them in my previous blog.
There will be videos to follow now, the first scheduled for shooting next week.
Thank you everyone along the way, and I really hope the music reaches, touches, moves…all the things music is for.
A good friend of mine recently commented on the content of a lyric I wrote a while back, for a song she’d heard several times. She had understood a part of it to mean something other than what I had intended. It was a subtle difference but her angle on it had never occurred to me!
I noticed, not for the first time, that I really enjoy having my lyrics ‘misinterpreted’ by the listener. This way I may even learn something…..about how it may be heard, how I can be even clearer another time (without losing personal poetic spontaneity), or even of the possibility of some subconscious part of me expressing which I wasn’t aware of….(well obviously, otherwise it wouldn’t be subconscious!).
Of course, I might want to clarify things if the deeper content of the words had been misconstrued. For example, if the lyric was essentially one of forgiveness, with a view to more acceptance & understanding, and then that was projected onto incongruently – in other words, say, reinterpreting it as a message of attack or condemnation – then I would almost certainly want to point out that it had not been my intention (unless it was!)…(unlikely).
Mostly though, I get a real thrill when I hear an unexpected interpretation of a song, not least for the fact that it has been taken in with enough openness to have reached someone at all – to get them thinking, and (please, thank you) feeling!
So, songwriters and poets- do you enjoy being misinterpreted? Do you learn from it?
The incredible musicians who played on The Final Man are credited on the album sleeve, but I’d like to mention them here as well.
Mark Smith –
I approached my old bass player friend Mark Smith (The Waterboys, Leo Sayer, Morrissey-Mullen, Percy Sledge, Shania Twain, Lionel Richie, Van Morrison, George Michael, Kokomo, etc etc etc…) at a jam party, saying it looked like the songs I was working on at home seemed to be coming together as an album, and asked if he would come to do the first proper studio session. He was so easy and willing immediately, really giving me the impetus and confidence that this was something I could do without any industry input.
Suddenly, having done these lovely rhythm tracks, Mark died in his flat in Battersea one evening. Mark was a beautiful guy and very loved. I feel honoured to have him on my record.
Jeremy Stacey (Noel Gallagher, Sheryl Crow, Finn Brothers, Waterboys, World Party, Echo & the Bunnymen, Eurythmics, Joe Cocker, Robbie Williams, Aztec Camera, Sia, Zero 7, Jason Rebello, Ryan Adams, Tom Jones, etcccccc…..) –
I’ve known and worked with Jeremy since we were 14 and he is one of our most inspiring and exciting musicians. I had about 40 new songs roughly recorded from day 1 and had a fun day with him whittling the list down to 17 songs for proper recording (to later choose the best of those for the album). One of these was a song I had written with the incredible Sia (on a Zero 7 tourbus) called “I Owe You One”. I had the idea of having it on the album as a duet with her, but somehow it didn’t feel right for this particular project, so I put it aside. Some would call me NUTS! Maybe the song will make a future appearance somewhere. The only other co-write, which DID make the album, was a song called “Tell Me What the Day Is” , written with Henry Binns (Zero 7 mainman). It was very poignant to me that there was at least a nod to my unbelievable times with Zero 7. Henry’s original synth ideas remain on the recording.
Jeremy and I then fixed a date at his old studio with Mark. With this array of great drums and mics to choose from, we recorded the rhythm tracks ourselves (and some ‘tape op’ assistance from Jim Hewin).
Robin Mullarkey (Zero 7, Jamie Cullum, Jason Rebello, Robbie Macintosh, Jacob Collier, Ronnie Scott’s house band….)
I knew that I also had to get my ex-band mate from Zero 7 in on bass. Robin is a masterful musician and a fantastic guy.
Peter Dale –
Peter (my school friend Gobbo! ) helped so much on this album with everything from playing piano, scoring string parts, taking my computer apart, ideas and so on.
Andy Dewar – Andy played percussion on most of the tracks and supported me with regular listening and feedback.
Mali Korsten – beautiful, talented Malianna did most of the girlie BVs….so quick, easy to direct and tuneful….
Patrick Bettison is a top jazz bass player, but he played melodica here.
Barnaby Dickinson (London Horns) played trombone.
Gareth Lockrane played 3 types of flute.
Ben Castle played clarinet.
Cuan Korsten played slide resonator guitar on a track.
Carmen Daye sang harmonies on one track.
The string section was: Sally Herbert (vn), Ian Burdge (vc), Oli Langford (va,vn), Frances Dewar (vn)
Paul Stacey played bass on 3 tracks, a couple of extra guitars and a Fender Rhodes….
… and while we’re on the subject of Paul…..
Paul Stacey (Oasis, Black Crowes, Finn Brothers, Jason Rebello, Noel Gallager, Tom Jones and many more) –
Jeremy’s twin brother and one of my closest friends, Paul mixed this album. I blinked one day and this awesome guitarist had become one of the best producer/mixers around.
Thank to all of you guys, so much,. This may not be of interest to anyone else but you never know.
I dream of journeys repeatedly:
Of flying like a bat deep into a narrowing tunnel
Of driving alone, without luggage, out a long peninsula,
The road lined with snow-laden second growth,
A fine dry snow ticking the windshield,
Alternate snow and sleet, no on-coming traffic,
And no lights behind, in the blurred side-mirror,
The road changing from glazed tarface to a rubble of stone,
Ending at last in a hopeless sand-rut,
Where the car stalls,
Churning in a snowdrift
Until the headlights darken.
At the field’s end, in the corner missed by the mower,
Where the turf drops off into a grass-hidden culvert,
Haunt of the cat-bird, nesting-place of the field-mouse,
Not too far away from the ever-changing flower-dump,
Among the tin cans, tires, rusted pipes, broken machinery, —
One learned of the eternal;
And in the shrunken face of a dead rat, eaten by rain and ground-beetles
(I found in lying among the rubble of an old coal bin)
And the tom-cat, caught near the pheasant-run,
Its entrails strewn over the half-grown flowers,
Blasted to death by the night watchman.
I suffered for young birds, for young rabbits caught in the mower,
My grief was not excessive.
For to come upon warblers in early May
Was to forget time and death:
How they filled the oriole’s elm, a twittering restless cloud, all one morning,
And I watched and watched till my eyes blurred from the bird shapes, —
Cape May, Blackburnian, Cerulean, —
Moving, elusive as fish, fearless,
Hanging, bunched like young fruit, bending the end branches,
Still for a moment,
Then pitching away in half-flight,
Lighter than finches,
While the wrens bickered and sang in the half-green hedgerows,
And the flicker drummed from his dead tree in the chicken-yard.
— Or to lie naked in sand,
In the silted shallows of a slow river,
Fingering a shell,
Once I was something like this, mindless,
Or perhaps with another mind, less peculiar;
Or to sink down to the hips in a mossy quagmire;
Or, with skinny knees, to sit astride a wet log,
I’ll return again,
As a snake or a raucous bird,
Or, with luck, as a lion.
I learned not to fear infinity,
The far field, the windy cliffs of forever,
The dying of time in the white light of tomorrow,
The wheel turning away from itself,
The sprawl of the wave,
The on-coming water.
The river turns on itself,
The tree retreats into its own shadow.
I feel a weightless change, a moving forward
As of water quickening before a narrowing channel
When banks converge, and the wide river whitens;
Or when two rivers combine, the blue glacial torrent
And the yellowish-green from the mountainy upland, —
At first a swift rippling between rocks,
Then a long running over flat stones
Before descending to the alluvial plane,
To the clay banks, and the wild grapes hanging from the elm trees.
The slightly trembling water
Dropping a fine yellow silt where the sun stays;
And the crabs bask near the edge,
The weedy edge, alive with small snakes and bloodsuckers, —
I have come to a still, but not a deep center,
A point outside the glittering current;
My eyes stare at the bottom of a river,
At the irregular stones, iridescent sandgrains,
My mind moves in more than one place,
In a country half-land, half-water.
I am renewed by death, thought of my death,
The dry scent of a dying garden in September,
The wind fanning the ash of a low fire.
What I love is near at hand,
Always, in earth and air.
The lost self changes,
Turning toward the sea,
A sea-shape turning around, —
An old man with his feet before the fire,
In robes of green, in garments of adieu.
A man faced with his own immensity
Wakes all the waves, all their loose wandering fire.
The murmur of the absolute, the why
Of being born falls on his naked ears.
His spirit moves like monumental wind
That gentles on a sunny blue plateau.
He is the end of things, the final man.
All finite things reveal infinitude:
The mountain with its singular bright shade
Like the blue shine on freshly frozen snow,
The after-light upon ice-burdened pines;
Odor of basswood on a mountain-slope,
A scent beloved of bees;
Silence of water above a sunken tree :
The pure serene of memory in one man, —
A ripple widening from a single stone
Winding around the waters of the world.