Alex Clare’s ‘Three Hearts’ Tells It Like It Is

Plus, Clash speaks to the songwriter about his influences...

Alex Clare has always wanted to find his own voice.

Simply copying other artists would never do – he had to find his own path, locate his own way of making music. It's an individuality that has been expressed across three albums, with Alex Clare recently completed work on the third part of this trilogy.

'Three Days At Greenmount' will be released on September 14th, with each performance allowed to become as raw, as unhindered as possible.

He comments: "I locked myself away in a studio in Leeds to record, in a three-day session, my most personal songs from my three LPs. 'Three Days At Greenmount' is a new rendering of my songs, straight from the heart, recorded 100 per cent analogue, stripped back and acoustic."

The results are pretty special. As a preview, Clash has obtained a live session version of 'Three Hearts', an album track where Alex truly puts himself on the line, telling it like it is.

Simply shot but so very powerful, you can check it out below, then read a short essay from Alex Clare about his Influences.

The first record I remember hearing that really punched home was 'Sweet Dreams' by the Eurythmics. The song really jumps out of the stereo. the synth hook, the vocal and production are totally on point. My parents didn't have the biggest record collection, but the records they did have really stuck with. I learned to sing from a tall Scottish lady and one the most beautiful souls who ever lived.

Marvin Gaye. He was one of the biggest early influence in terms of soundscape, particularly with the tracks 'What's Going On' and 'Sexual Healing'. Then I went on to hearing more hip-hop and indie/rock in the 90’s. The Fugees record 'The Score' and Radiohead’s 'OK Computer' were albums I listened to religiously.

You go through different phases. All of these phases add to your musical soundscape and although there was a time I never would have admitted to being a fan of Annie Lennox, as you get older, you realise your influences appear subconsciously. In my late teens I got into folk – mainly Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan. It was at that time I started playing guitar and writing lyrics. Prior to that I'd been focused on drums, with Buddy Rich and Ginger Baker being heroes at the time.

In terms of life influence Bob Dylan’s 'Freewheelin…' album really stands out. You could clearly hear Bob Dylan’s influences with a strong tip of the hat to Woody Guthrie. 'Don't Think Twice Its Alright' is definitely the ultimate break up song.

When I was coming up in music in London, in the early 2000's the bands that came out of that scene were as varied as Florence + The Machine, Mumford & Sons, the Maccabees etc. Making waves shortly after bands like The Libertines and of course Amy Winehouse. That variety of artists coming from one place at one time really forced you to be and do your own thing musically. You could not get away with being an amalgam of anyone stylistically. And that was an integral part of music from London in the early 2000s.

Those were particularly wild days, lots of parties, in random old pubs and ware house, lots of hangovers and wild times. Just as musically and creatively this period of my life was foundational, so to, it was the most integral period of my life in terms of how to, or rather how no to live my life. I asked big questions about what I really wanted to make from life and what am I doing here. I had dear friends and loved ones who taught me powerful lessons in life and love, as well as music.

The song 'Back To Black' brings me back to that time. I remember sitting in Amy's front room, where she played it for me the first time so clearly. Just after she had written it. it was so powerful, so painful. I didn’t pick up a guitar or pen to write for three months. That song was just the ultimate.

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