Duke Special new album – Oh Pioneer out 9th July

‘Oh Pioneer’ is the new album from Lisburn-born, Belfast-resident Duke Special. The LP, which releases in the UK on July 9, comes jam-packed with the singer and songwriter’s idiosyncratic worldviews and some of the most inherently melodic pop music you’ll hear this or any other year.

You’ll know Duke Special, of course, from catchy, radio-friendly songs such as Freewheel and Last Night I Nearly Died, and you’ll know him, also, from his Choice Music Prize nominations (2005’s Adventures In Gramophone, 2006’s Songs From The Deep Forest) and his three Meteor Music Award nominations. What you may not be aware of, however, is the vast array of other work he has been up to since his 2008 album, I Never Thought This Day Would Come. “Some people have been asking me where have I been and what have I been doing,” says Duke Special, “but I’ve actually been very busy.”

He’s right about that. In the past three years, Duke has put his singular artistic imprint on five (yes, five…) albums: Little Revolutions Vol 1 & 2, The Stage, A Book & The Silver Screen (comprising songs from the London stage show, Mother Courage And Her Children, The Silent World Of Hector Mann, and the EP, Huckleberry Finn), and Under The Dark Cloth (a record inspired by the works of pioneering American photographers Paul Strand, Edward Steichen and Alfred Stieglitz). Clearly, we are dealing with someone here who gets creative nourishment from all aspects of the art and literary world.

“It’s been a rich journey, for certain, and I wouldn’t have done it any other way. In terms of where I am with this record, it is in a crude sense the next studio album. In a linear sense, however, it’s just the next thing I wanted to do.”

Without any compromises or obvious nods towards garnering radio play, Oh Pioneer charts its own steady course. Duke Special wouldn’t want it any other way. “I would much rather keep on doing what I’m doing like this – and be skint – until the day I die,” he confirms. “Absolutely, and without hesitation. I’ve no genuine interest in chasing commercial success. I’d love what I do to be successful on its own merit, of course, but I’m in it for the long haul. If there are no hit singles on the album, then so be it.”

Released on his own record label (Adventures In Gramophone), the new album sees Duke Special very much his own man and own artist.

“I knew back then I was an artist,” says Duke of when he began his solo career in 2002, “and I didn’t need an endorsement from a record company, or anyone else, to tell me that.”



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