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Former Busted star Charlie Simpson makes waves on his own

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: August 08, 2014

By Rob Smyth

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HE is most well known for his time in Busted, but Charlie Simpson is still pushing to be taken seriously as a solo artist.

After rising to fame in the ranks with the BRIT-award winners, Charlie Simpson then released his first solo album, 2011's Young Pilgrim.

Far from a disappointment, the record received widespread critical acclaim, and hit number six in the UK album charts.

Three years on and he's back with a second, decidedly more intimate LP, Long Road Home,

Talking about his inspiration for the new record, he said: "I think from the outset I wanted to make this record a more live sounding album.

"On the first LP I played a lot of the instruments myself, so it all had to be layered as a studio recording.

"I didn't have my backing band then, but I was keen to have them involved this time.

"So we went to a studio called Monnow Valley, down in Wales, which is a really cool studio, great vibe – it's where they recorded Bohemian Rhapsody and stuff.

"We set up with the band, and a lot of the songs we just recorded in one and took the live takes as they were, which gives this album a much different feel to Young Pilgrim.

"A certain kind of warmth. I wanted to pay homage to some of the 70s-sounding records that my dad brought me up on, so internally I guess that was one of the main inspirations for the sonics of the album."

Charlie said that the album would be different from his first effort."

He added: "I think in general it's a much more personal, or not personal but intimate record this time.

"Much more stripped back, a lot less instrumentation going on. So this way of recording really lent itself to that sound– a natural progression, I guess."

The first track he wrote for the record, Emily, was penned after he had a bout of writer's block.

He added: " I never really experienced writer's block before, I don't know what it was – I'd write something then come back to it a couple of days later and decide it wasn't what I wanted to be making, or it just wasn't flowing properly.

"I'd never experienced that sort of feeling before.

"Also when you're on album two there's a lot more expectation there, the nice thing about Young Pilgrim was the fact there was no expectation as nobody had a clue what I was going to do as a solo artist.

"This time there was pressure."

Producer Steve Osbourne has helped Charlie craft his latest album.

He said: "Basically I was a big fan of the stuff he'd done before – I first came across him through the second Placebo album.

"I love that record, I was at school when it came out and absolutely love it.

"He's also responsible for a record called Vheissu by Thrice, which is one of my favourite albums, and for me is a real testament to Steve's talent in the studio.

"On top of that he did the KT Tunstall stuff, acoustic work, collaborated with Paul Oakenfold on some dance – he's just a really eclectic guy and has a huge knowledge of different styles.

"So I played him the demos and he just really got it, all the influences that had given me inspiration in the writing he picked up on – he just felt like a really good choice for the job."

'Long Road Home' is a collection of self-penned refreshing confessionals and Charlie's distinctive and smoky vocals combined with the raw acoustic delivery of instrumentation shine through.

It could be a big hit, and the former Busted star has grown up a lot since his boyband days.

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