Legendary singer-songwriter Dana Gillespie, with over 70 albums to her credit in a career spanning six decades, adds a new chapter with the release of her stunning new album First Love on 31st May 2024 through Fretsore Records. The album will be released on CD, standard black and limited edition translucent red vinyl. 

While First Love is a deeply personal album, it marks a shift for Dana who teams up with close friends Marc Almond and Tris Penna who co-produced the album. Marc had thought it time to do something about Dana being the last undiscovered secret of the music scene. Together, they have put together an inspired collection of songs, each related, in some way, to Dana’s extensive career and authentically interpreted by this master of her art.

Marc Almond says

“Dana sings the life she lives and what a life indeed. The last of the great ladies of Bohemia, exotic troubadour and muse of Legends. An open mystery.”  He goes onto say: “A treasure waiting to be rediscovered, and famous for being unknown. The secret is out.”

“It’s very unusual for me to do an album on which I haven’t written all the songs” says Dana, “and it’s the first time in years and years that I’ve let someone else produce the album for me. Normally I do everything but, in some ways, it’s a bit of a relief and a joy to give it over to Tris and Marc, who’s are old hands at this.”

“I have some reason for having every song on this album,” Dana explains, “they’re not just thrown in there, randomly.” First Love opens with Dana’s version of Green Day’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams. “I heard this on the radio and I thought the lyrics were particularly poignant.”

The first single release is Morrissey’s Spent The Day In Bed. “We’ve never met,” Dana continues, “but he sent this amazing email saying ‘Your version is far better than mine!’

Leonard Cohen’s Dance Me To The End Of Love was Marc’s suggestion and we do it as a duet.

“I’ve never sung a Dylan song before but I’ve always loved Not Dark Yet. It was a joy to sing because it’s not like his version – there’s a darkness to it. Marc wrote Brewer Street Blues and I know Brewer Street well as I grew up going to my drum lessons and dance classes all round Soho In the early sixties. This song captures the area where I used to hang out, so I could relate to it well. Gods And Monsters (Lana Del Rey) is so quirky, I can smell California when I hear this song because it absolutely paints a picture of an era for me.”

“I heard Bowie’s early demo of Can You Hear Me and we stuck to this version as its so simple. Tris suggested it would be nice to include one of Bowie’s songs because Bowie played such a big role in my life, in the 60s and 70s.

“I wrote the lyrics for First Love, Last Love. I like to write about emotions and heart issues. Being older, I can look back at my first love, my last love and all the ones in between, but the first and the last are the most important of all.

“Stevie Nicks’ song Dreams was recorded literally at the end of the sessions; we had about half an hour left so we thought ‘Why not try it?’ It’s really down to the barest bones, just the piano and the voice.”

Dana’s sublime bluesy vocals are backed by a classy musical line-up of Dom Stockbridge (guitars). Harry Whitty (bass guitar, trombone and trumpet), musical director Matt Gest (piano and keyboards) and drummer Evan Jenkins.

“The voice is very much the dominant thing on this album but it sounds good because it’s complimented by such wonderful musicians,” Dana enthuses. “All the musicians are actually guys that play in my Blues band and I know that they’re so good they would be able to do something really interesting.”

Dana Gillespie – First Love is released by Fretsore Records on 31st May 2024.

First Love – Track Listing
1. Boulevard of Broken Dreams (Billie Joe Armstrong/Tré Cool/Mike Dirnt)
2. Spent The Day In Bed (Morrissey/Gustavo Manzur)
3. Dance Me To The End of Love – featuring Marc Almond (Leonard Cohen)
4. Not Dark Yet (Bob Dylan)
5. Brewer Street Blues (Marc Almond/Neal Whitmore)
6. Gods And Monsters (Elizabeth Grant/Tim Larcombe)
7. In A Broken Dream (David Bentley)
8. Can You Hear Me (David Bowie)
9. Simple As This (Jake Bugg)
10. First Love, Last Love (Dana Gillespie, Nick Hogarth, Leslie Davidson)
11. Dreams (Stevie Nicks)
Produced By Marc Almond And Tris Penna

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