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Bryan Ferry Shares New Songs And Stories From His Upcoming Record

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Bryan Ferry Shares New Songs And Stories From His Upcoming Record

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Bryan Ferry Shares New Songs And Stories From His Upcoming Record

Bryan Ferry Shares New Songs And Stories From His Upcoming Record

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/361155023/361385734" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Courtesy of the artist
Bryan Ferry
Courtesy of the artist

It's been more than 40 years since singer Bryan Ferry started making some of the freshest, most original rock music of the early 1970s in the band Roxy Music. Ferry was 26 years old when the group formed in 1971, but his unexpectedly mature croon was a potent counterpoint to the glam and eerie electronic rock the group made. Later, as a solo artist, Ferry found entry points to cover both '60s rock hits and standards from the 1930s. His music has been a combination of all those things ever since.

Bryan Ferry is now 69 years old. His voice is a bit deeper and even more alluring. His latest (and fourteenth) solo album, Avonmore, comes out Nov. 18.

He recently sat down to chat about the record and his life of music with All Songs Considered hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton. Speaking from member station WNYC in New York, Ferry talked about his love for sad music, why he'd like to see his songs turned into a Broadway musical and how he was inspired to become a musician after hitchhiking to London to see Otis Redding play.

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You can listen to the full interview with the link above, or read select quotes and hear songs from the new album below.

Guest DJ Bryan Ferry

Bryan Ferry, Avonmore
Courtesy of the artist

02Midnight Train

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    Song
    Midnight Train
    Album
    Avonmore
    Artist
    Bryan Ferry
    Label
    BMG
    Released
    2014

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Midnight Train

  • from Avonmore
  • by Bryan Ferry

On using nine guitarists for this song:

"Piano's such a great instrument. Not that I play it that great, but I play it well enough to write songs on it. And I've got this lovely old — I've had it for many years — this Steinway piano. I've had it since about '72, '73 maybe. I love the sound it makes. And I use a kind of cassette player, which I had a switch on, and if there's anything that I like then I'll take it to the studio on a later date and play it to [producer] Rhett [Davies] and see what he thinks. And usually we have the same sort of taste about which melodies are gonna make it and which ones aren't. It's exciting — the different stages, different parts of the process happen between the initial tune that happens on the piano and the finished piece when the record's made. So many different sounds, and so many different guys who put their heart into it. It's fantastic, really, what happens in the end. You get all these people who play very kind of emotional music sometimes. It's fabulous."

Bryan Ferry, Avonmore Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Courtesy of the artist

09Send In The Clowns

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    Song
    Send In The Clowns
    Album
    Avonmore
    Artist
    Bryan Ferry
    Label
    BMG
    Released
    2014

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Send In The Clowns

  • from Avonmore
  • by Bryan Ferry

On singing Sondheim:

"I like sad music, and [this is] a beautiful sad song. The fact that it comes from a Broadway musical is good, because some of the great songs have come from musicals, you know? Cole Porter used to write for musicals, of course. It's a great tradition. And I'd never done anything by Sondheim before. But that's a beautiful song with a beautiful, haunting lyric. And as a singer, I'm always looking for good lyrics to sing. It's a very emotional song, I think."

Bryan Ferry, Avonmore Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Courtesy of the artist

10Johnny & Mary

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    Song
    Johnny & Mary
    Album
    Avonmore
    Artist
    Bryan Ferry
    Label
    BMG
    Released
    2014

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Johnny And Mary

  • from Avonmore
  • by Bryan Ferry

On collaborating with dance music producer Todd Terje:

Todd Terje is "a friend of my son, Issac and [Isaac] has kind of been in charge of delegating dance mixes to people, 'cause he's very much in tune with that world and being a DJ himself a bit. And Todd Terje is really good. He did a couple of remixes for us: one of 'Love Is A Drug' and one of 'Don't Stop The Dance,' a couple of years ago. And I thought it would be nice to kind of record something with him, so he came to my studio in London and we worked on 'Johnny and Mary' together. And then he went back to Norway and completed and mixed it."

Bryan Ferry, Avonmore Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Courtesy of the artist

03Soldier Of Fortune

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    Song
    Soldier Of Fortune
    Album
    Avonmore
    Artist
    Bryan Ferry
    Label
    BMG
    Released
    2014

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Soldier Of Fortune

  • from Avonmore
  • by Bryan Ferry

On working with Johnny Marr:

"Johnny is a very good spirit. I mean, he's, he's got a true rock and roll spirit. He lives the music and he's fantastic. [This song has] a very sort of tender sort of bit of guitar, really, which started with this riff that Johnny was playing in the studio. And we built it up from that."

Bryan Ferry, Avonmore
Courtesy of the artist

04Driving Me Wild

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    Song
    Driving Me Wild
    Album
    Avonmore
    Artist
    Bryan Ferry
    Label
    BMG
    Released
    2014

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Driving Me Wild

  • from Avonmore
  • by Bryan Ferry

On bringing together rock, disco and jazz musicians for a single recording:

"I did the keyboards and Johnny Marr's playing the guitar. Then you hear Nile Rodgers enter on the chorus. Marcus Miller's playing the bass. I'm very happy with the way it turned out. I tend to start the thing on piano first. I do the sketch on piano. Normally, at home. Then I bring it to the studio later and then start turning it into something. I give them a free reign normally, because I know how sympathetic they will play. Over the years, you get to form really firm musical bonds with people. And I first worked with some of these guys and boys and girls back in '83, so we go back quite a long way."

Cover for Otis! The Definitive Otis Redding

Otis Redding

  • from Otis! The Definitive Otis Redding

On his musical inspiration:

"I hitchhiked from Newcastle down to London to see Otis Redding and the Stax Revue, with Sam & Dave, and Eddie Floyd, and Steve Cropper, and all those great musicians. And Booker T., etc. That was the kind of road to Damascus for me, really. I was still at university. Still dreaming. And when I decided I really want to do this — seeing all of these people on stage, playing this beautiful music — that's when it all kind of came together for me."

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Buy Featured Music

Song
Otis! The Definitive Otis Redding
Album
Otis! The Definitive Otis Redding
Artist
Otis Redding
Label
Rhino
Released
1993

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