"...It's impossible to imagine fans of Nick Drake and John Martyn not falling in love with them... reminds me of the first time I heard John Barleycorn Must Die..."
- The Sunday Times
"...recalls equal parts John Martyn, Nick Drake and Davey Graham..."- Mojo 4****
"Perfect Summertime listening..." - Q 4****
"The songs just jump out of the speakers and straight into your heart. To me The Bench Connection are on a par with the best of what anyone is doing, or has done..." Bill Fay.
"Matt Deighton and Chris Sheehan paint a moving picture of life in the obscure; the vocals hurt and the playing is chillingly good... this record sneaked out onto the internet a couple of years ago and just survives. It’s a hidden treasure..." Chris Difford - The Express, My Top Six Best Albums
When Chris and Matt met in 2005 in the shadows of a haunted Kent mansion for a Chris Difford songwriter's retreat, both were in the midst of solo albums. Matt was finishing off 'Wake Up The Moths' and Chris was half way through 'Goodbye Cruel Circus'. They wrote 'Young At Last' with Tara MacDonald on a bench in the shade of a willow tree, the afternoon after staying up all night dancing to The Faces 'Debris' on repeat; and didn't see each other for another 12 months, (again on a Difford week) where they wrote Parting Shot as a duo. What followed was a series of 14 'magic Thursdays' in the studio where the album was constructed - each song written and recorded live in a day, with an extra day for every few songs for friends like Mike Rowe, Tim Weller, Sarah Brown and Julia Thornton to sit in and play or sing. Mixed by longtime accomplice David Anderson, and mastered by legendary engineer John Dent, the album has become something of a lost treasure.
In the earlyish days of Myspace, The Sunday Times journalist Tom Cox borrowed four of the songs for a fictional band 'Son Of Bench' under the premise that the record was started in 1976 by Angus Bench and Ian Benchley, who got halfway through before Angus drove off a motorway bridge to his death (was it a suicide?). Upon finding the unfinished reels in the loft, Angus's son Jack (who never really knew his dad) sought out his dad's old writing partner. Now a grown man and musician of some repute himself, he formed the Son of Bench and the record was finally finished.
The story caused a sensation on MySpace where there were comments celebrating that 'they don't make records like this anymore!' and 'you can tell it's done on old tape!'. There were offers of management, agents, record deals - until eventually the lid was lifted with a double page spread in the Sunday Times Culture section to much celebration. While the story may have been a ruse, the songs are as real as songs get. Two artists 'living off chocolate biscuits' recording an album sat on cardboard boxes, sharing microphones where necessary, and grabbing favours from all the good souls that played on the album for free. No click tracks, no autotune. Honest, pastoral, acoustic stuff that the world almost forgot. We're proud to be able to finally publish the album - Mojo and Q gave it 4 ****, Q calling it 'Perfect Summer Listening', while Mojo said it 'recalls equal parts John Martyn, Nick Drake and Davey Graham' and The Sunday Times comparing Saint Want to the 'first time I heard John Barleycorn Must Die', while saying 'it's impossible to imagine fans of Nick Drake and John Martyn not falling in love with them.'
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