Two of New Zealand's most distinguished songwriters, Lyttelton musical troubadour Delaney Davidson and Barry Saunders of The Warratahs have teamed up for a special collaborative record named Word Gets Around, releasing in conjunction with a record release tour happening across the nation in this May.
The offbeat new project was sparked when the pair were simultaneously sound-checking in a church for an event with Marlon Williams and Tami Neilson, and quickly gathered steam as both artists recognised the creative synergy of their intergenerational collaboration.
The fruits of their recorded labour can be enjoyed with the album's title track, a foot-stomping, tumbling tumbleweed of raw-edged rock'n'roll guitars and smokey vocals you can listen to below.
Delaney Davidson and Barry Saunders met in a church. They were soundchecking for the Churches Tour with Marlon Williams and Tami Neilson. Barry playing old gospel songs and Delaney chugging out his signature blues trance thump.
The connection was immediate.
Barry joked about being fused together by lightning in a deal made in blood forever. Davidsons ears pricked up.
Since then they have toured NZ a few times together and produced an album of songs.
“It felt like something that just needed to happen. It felt right.” Says Saunders about the songwriting push these two have wrought into being. “I was just throwing these words and ideas at Delaney and watching them bounce off his head.”
Davidson agrees, “Yes it was all pretty quick, these songs just started appearing out of the kitchen air and we were grabbing them as fast as we could. It has a realness and truth to it. An immediacy that is hard to find in music. Real songs about real things.”
Saunders is a master of localizing the subject, and you can relate to the songs. Guitars in hallways, people on the street, dark smoky parties. These aren’t about some lofty ideal or rooted in glossy production. It’s blood on the floor. Davidsons production brings his trademark immediacy to the game, and gives these songs a sparkle and grain.
The result? “It’s a manic and barnstorming balance, at times when we were singing we couldn’t tell whose voice was whose, it all just melded together, I’d be singing in Barry’s voice and he in mine..” Says Delaney. “it must be that deal in blood we made.. “
This balance is a constant on the album both artists strongly represented by their work and values. It has the rocking strength and dark power of Davidson previous work naturally paired with the heartfelt, straight dealing and traditionalism of Barry’s past. The fact that we are both heavily into songwriting provides a classic feel and a thread throughout these 9 songs.
Word Gets Around is out on April 26th.