Ahead of the release of his new album ‘Jupiter’s Wife’ and a Dublin headline show, Joe Chester releases a 4-track EP featuring the breathtaking and deeply affecting song ‘Staying Together For The Children’. Joe talks below about how the song came about and it’s poignant theme.
“The first song I wrote for the album that became ‘Jupiter’s Wife’ and one which was written under pressure as I had a recording date at Sun Studio in Memphis, but no songs. So this was one of four songs I wrote in a relatively furious month of activity in the summer of 2017, an unusual situation for me as most of my songs take a little longer to materialise (Hilton and Michael, for example took four years to finish, although that’s another story.) I’ve said in interviews before that I often have no memory of writing songs (I don’t remember writing ‘Charlie For A Girl’ or ‘Juliette Walking In The Rain’, for example) but it’s perhaps more accurate to say that I remember starting songs and finishing them just not what passes in between and that’s certainly true of this song. All I can say is the title is a phrase that had echoed down the years from growing up in Dublin in the 70s and 80s, in an Ireland before divorce.”
Also included is ‘Synge’s Chair’, one of four touching instrumentals punctuating the new album. Joe says of its origin: “The imagery of the Aran Islands often appears in my songs, most notably, I suppose, in ‘Valley Of Tears’. On this album, the song ‘My Shipwrecked Mind’ is partly inspired by the folkloric tale from the west of Ireland “Mairtin Mac an Ri” (sometimes known as “The Knife Against The Wave”) in which a fisherman is confronted by a hostile supernatural sea spirit. The fisherman triumphs. This tune, ‘Synge’s Chair’ is an attempt to capture in music the atmosphere of that remarkable middle island, Inis Meain. The fiddle is played by my friend Steve Wickham.”
The final track on the EP is a cover of an Elvis Costello song from his “King Of America” album. This track struck a chord with Joe and it was recorded within the last few weeks in Joe’s home studio in the South of France. Joe explains, “recorded on my trusty old Studer 2 track machine, this is one of my all-time favourite Elvis Costello songs, from his miraculous year, 1986 in which he made the two classics, ‘Blood & Chocolate’ and ‘King Of America’ (the album from which this is taken) and seemed somehow to be a fitting B-side to ‘Staying Together For The Children’.”
1. Staying Together for the Children (Album Version)
2. Staying Together for the Children (Radio Edit)
3. Synge’s Chair
4. Little Palaces
Available on digital stores from Friday 17th April.