Representing the solo work of the Chester based English musician Lee Wylding, The Far North formed in late 2019, offering a vehicle for the singer/songwriter’s more retrospective acoustic work.
Lee was previously the vocalist and songwriter in the UK Americana band The Fireflys.
Lee’s ethos is “To go back to a traditional way of crafting songs, where every lyric is wrought out, every drum beat and guitar line is played from the heart, in turn making the songs meaningful and of value. I wanted to make an album which can be played in full at once, rather than just cherry picking the best songs and releasing 10 singles. This approach isn’t something at the forefront of popular music in 2022, basically I wanted this album to sit comfortably next to Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen and Fleetwood Mac, sonically”.
To realise this vision The Far North hired revered UK producer Nigel Stonier, who is famed for his work with such luminaries as Lindisfarne, Joan Baez, Robert Plant and Martha Wainwright. Recorded at Manchester’s Airtight Studios, the debut album “Songs For Gentle Souls” was released through Red Lantern Records in November 2020 and reached #1 on the Apple Music and Amazon charts. The Far North were additionally supported on this journey by The Analog Music Fund.
Steeped in influences from the 1960’s and 70’s, The Far North are actively contributing to the burgeoning UK Americana scene and have already enjoyed airplay from radio stations in the UK and globally, including BBC 6 Music (Chris Hawkins), Regional BBC and Independent Local Radio. Lee’s debut gig was at Old Trafford Stadium in March 2020 just before lockdown but has since supported The Sunbirds, Bang Bang Romeo, IST IST and Merry Hell.
In 2023, The Far North released the EP “Songs For Healing Hearts volume 1”.
Of the EP, Lee says, “ I wanted to continue the thread of writing directly like on our initial release ‘Songs for Gentle Souls’ and these are aimed at anyone who has obviously felt love, loss, hope, and despair.
“The songs aren’t about anyone specifically per se but the feeling we all have when we fall in love, when we get our hearts broken, when we miss someone when we feel amazing, we’re full of hope.
“So, I guess what I’m trying to say is the songs are for everyone!
“The one exception on the EP is the song ‘Unplayed Guitar’ which I wrote in tribute to my friend John who passed away in 2009. The song basically states that his life meant a lot to me and you know I’ll never forget you, and your friends won’t either.”
The EP includes the single ‘Home Sweet Home’.
Of the song, Lee says, “I wrote this song a few years ago during lockdown. I had the chorus straight away and then wrote the verses and middle eight a little while later. I think there’s a slight romanticism in the mundane minutiae of life, especially when we live in a world of social media screaming at us to ‘Travel more, have more fun, work out more, drive a nicer car, buy a bigger house, live, laugh, love’.
“I find all that is sensationalised because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with living a normal life, sitting in the garden, enjoying a book and a cup of tea, or a walk somewhere local with a friend. Everybody wants to be famous now, and I’m all for people wanting to better themselves but we shouldn’t be made to feel like failures if we are making ends meet in a biscuit factory.'”
The second EP ‘Songs for Healing Hearts Vol 2’ will be released in the winter of 2023 and it will continue this vein of songwriting.
Lee says, “There are a lot of songwriters that I admire and a lot of them like to tell stories and I’ve always tried to be that kind of songwriter. It doesn’t come easy to me, so I only write about what I know and I know an incredible amount about heartbreak, sadness, and loss. But that’s not to say this is a sad record, because the underlying thread that holds all my songs together is the fact that there’s always hope. Even if it’s a smile on the Tube or it’s a happy text from someone that you like there’s always hope.”