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James Dean Bradfield Details New Solo Record 'Even in Exile'

Thursday, 02 July 2020 Written by Huw Baines

James Dean Bradfield has detailed his new solo album.

The follow up to his 2006 LP ‘The Great Western’, ‘Even in Exile’ is out on August 14 and finds the Manic Street Preachers frontman collaborating with lyricist Patrick Jones, the playwright brother of his bandmate Nicky Wire.

The record investigates the life and death of Chilean artist and activist Victor Jara. Head below to stream its chiming indie-rock lead single The Boy From The Plantation, the third track released following There'll Come A War and Seeking The Room With The Three Windows. In a statement, Bradfield said:

“Sometime at the start of 2019, Patrick gave me a handful of poems each of which touched on different aspects of Victor Jara’s life. When I read them, I was struck by the idea that if a life means anything, it will continue after death. That thought stuck with me and made me want to turn Patrick’s words into a record. 

“One of the reasons Victor’s story chimed deeply – then and now - because as with so many other politically active people’s stories from that era, it results in death. The idea now that freedom of political thought might end in death is still too shocking to contemplate, yet we live in an age where oppositional politics leads to untold bitterness and a total lack of empathy, compromise or respect. It is so destructive, I think this period of history points to so much that’s relevant right now.

“And again and again, his voice returns. At the end of 2019 when I was finishing the record, people were gathering at Plaza Italia in Santiago and singing his songs at a mass protest against the government. His voice is an echo that inspires trust and guidance. Through reinvestigating his music I’ve learnt that music that is politically motivated doesn’t necessarily need to be polemic punishment, it can be poetic, personal and musically transcendent

“Growing up, Victor Jara’s name was regularly heard in music. It seemed to have a global recognition through songs by artists like The Clash, Simple Minds, Working Week and Calexico. And that carries on. Springsteen covered one of his songs recently. In terms of creating art about an artist, I was inspired by the album Mermaid Avenue by Wilco and Billy Bragg. That record took the words of Woody Guthrie and presented them in a different context, creating a loving act of artistic archeology and a fitting tribute to a great mind.”

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