Dave Sutherland is a London-based Americana country singer-songwriter. An accomplished performer filled with raw energy and emotion, his new album ‘Last Drop of Empty’ is produced by Stacy Parrish, whose work with T Bone Burnett, Alison Krauss and Robert Plant on Raising Sand won him a number of Grammy awards and legendary Jefferson Aiplane/Hot Tuna’s Jack Casady, who also plays bass on the album. Dave met Stacy when headlining at the Troubadour in West London, when talk turned to them working on a record together, Stacy approached his longtime friend Jack Casady to co-produce. A text message to Dave from Stacy simply said: “Jack listened to your voice for less than 5 seconds before saying ‘I’ll do it’”.
‘Last Drop Of Empty’ was released in March to critical acclaim with extensive airplay across the UK, Europe and America. The first single ‘Damaged’ reached No.6 on the British and Irish Country Charts and No.5 in Europe, with the accompanying video picking up a number of awards.
Dave’s music speaks of life, love and London with the eye of an artist and the ear of a poet. He released his first record under the guidance of Bert Jansch. His album ‘American Refrigerator’ cemented his popularity in the UK and elevated him Stateside with his US audience often asking ‘How can you speak like this and sing like that?” A state-hopping tour of the US then saw his last album ‘On The Waiting List’ reach No1 on the US Americana charts. He’s currently touring ‘Last Drop of Empty’ around the UK, with a US tour planned for next year.
In the summer of 2022, Dave released the single “Yorkshire Grey”. The Yorkshire Grey was a pub on the South Circular in Road in south east London, infamous for the bare-knuckle fights held in the back room between legends such as Lenny ‘The Guv’nor’ McLean and Brian ‘Mad Gypsy’ Bradshaw. Dave remembers being taken there as a child by his uncles, who would leave him sitting outside with a bottle of Coke and three packets of cheese and onion crisps, telling him to ‘make
it last’, whilst they went inside to watch the fights. He has clear memories of the smell of the pub every time the door opened and the excitement and anticipation in the air.
Dave had an idea for a song about a young man being offered a lot of money to fight one of the big-named fighters, and who agreed so he could buy a ring for his sweetheart. It’s one of Dave’s most popular live songs, regularly requested at gigs.
The heel stomping ‘Ghosts’, a story of separation and love, is the opening track on Dave’s album ‘Last Drop Of Empty’. It It features Dave on guitar and vocals, Jack Casady from Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna on bass, Gunnar Frick on piano, Ross Garren on harmonica and Stacy Parrish on a plethora of accompanying instruments.
In September 2022, Dave was named UK Male Country Singer Of The Year at The UK Country Music Awards
Spotlight UK Artist interview: September 2022
In December 2022, Dave released the single “Nineteen Twenty-Four”. It tells the story of a man who has been down on his luck, reflecting on his life, lamenting where he failed, recalling who he loved and hoping that someone will remember him this Christmas.
The song could have been very different. Dave had the idea over two decades ago and this year decided to record it for a Christmas release, but there were missing lyrics from his notebook and the essence of the song seemed to be lost forever.
After a chance phone call with Martin Levan, producer of Dave’s 2008 album ‘On The
Waiting List’, Dave returned to Red Kite Studios in Wales to demo some new songs. Martin pulled Dave’s archived files from the vault and in them was the missing original demo for Nineteen Twenty- Four. When Martin played the CD through the speakers, it revealed not one but two missing verses in all their glory! Work began in earnest to get it ready for Christmas: it was already mid-August!
Dave enlisted the musical talents of Steve Simpson from the legendary Slim Chance on electric guitar and mandolin, Charlie Hart and Geraint Watkins, also from the Slim Chance fold, sharing piano duties, Tim Hutton from The Doghouse Derelicts on a plethora of brass, esteemed musicians Malcolm Hoskins and Jim Kimberley on bass and drums respectively, and Welsh songstress Lowri Evans on harmony vocals. Trips to and from Wales ensued and with Martin’s stellar production, the record began to take shape.
Of the track “Ever Changing Skyline”, Dave says…
“I was standing on Greenwich pier watching the tide come in and looking out across at the Docklands, remembering what it used to look like when it was just one grey tower. Then I thought back to what the changing skylines were 20, 30, 50 years ago. What skylines did other generations see? Wars, bombings, wastelands, endless sky turning into buildings, lights, taller and taller towers. Less and less sky. That night, I sat at the kitchen table with a small bottle of Jack Daniels and wrote the whole song straight off, from start to finish: that in itself made a change!”
In September 2023, Dave released the standalone single “Dear John”. Originally written by Jackie McAuley and Johnny Gustafson and a 1982 Top 10 hit for Status Quo, the song title describes the term for a letter written to a man by his lover telling him their relationship is over: a ‘Dear John’ letter. When Jackie discovered Dave was covering the track he was delighted, and more so when he heard the Americana/Country take on the song: “Superb arrangement. Oh my, what a sweet voice. I’m privileged”.
Francis Rossi of Status Quo had previously got in touch with Dave to tell him how much he enjoyed Dave’s album ‘Last Drop of Empty’ after Dave handed him a copy in the street. Upon hearing “Dear John”, he dropped Dave a message with: “Nice job, very country. Well done”.
“Dear John” was recorded at Red Kite Studios in Wales and produced by Martin Levan, with Steve Simpson (acoustic guitar), Geraint Watkins (whirly piano), Jim Kimberley (drums) and Malcolm Hoskins (bass) all bringing their considerable talents. With the track put down, the search was on for a female vocalist. Dave then met Rumer when they both guested with Slim Chance and, bowled over by her stunning voice, was delighted when she agreed to sing harmonies. Nashville’s Bruce Bouton’s pedal steel finished the track off.