Robbie Cavanagh returns with his stunning second album To Leave / To Be Left, out 13 October via At The Helm Records.
Recorded at Eve Studios near Manchester, To Leave / To Be Left finds Cavanagh (sounds like ‘Copa Cabana’) building upon his debut with 11 new tracks exploring, ‘leaving and being left. What’s taken away and what’s left behind’.
Eve Studios is an old vicarage full of old BBC equipment and collected antiques, giving the album a really natural, old sound without feeling forced. Robbie, producer Roo Walker and Engineer Henry Broadhead worked closely together, deciding on each sound, each instrument, each tone. Keen to make the album sound as natural as possible, drums, bass and at times guitar and vocal were all recorded live. ‘Most of my vocals were one take. I think the whole record just has a very live feel to it. It’s more instinctive.’
Cavanagh continues, ‘This collection of songs has been accumulated over a few years. Some are much more recent, some were written just after the first record. We started with about 25 songs, and in quite a natural way, the more I played them, to myself, other people or at concerts, the more they started a natural selection process and soon it was clear which songs were the strongest and which fitted in a frame work. It was important having Roo involved, because it’s easy to get precious about certain songs that may not be the strongest but have an emotional tie. Roo was able to make sensible decisions on the song choices and together we put together a record that has a theme, a style and a mood that we’re really happy with.’
The personal, emotional tales and stories on To Leave / To Be Left find Cavanagh further understanding his approach to songwriting, ‘Sometimes writing is a very natural process. I tend to find in a lot of situations, the first thing you wrote was the best. The more you wrestle with an idea and try to change it, the more contrived it becomes. I’ve learned to go with my instincts a little more.’
Based on the quality of these 11 songs we are confident that trusting those instincts has led to an outstanding album.