Ed Askew ‘For The World’ out now on Tin Angel Records
“one of acid-folk's farthest-out relics” Pitchfork
"timelessly bittersweet” Popmatters
“an overpowering sense of awe and mystery” Paste Magazine
Features performances from Sharon Van Etten, Marc Ribot (Tom Waits & Elvis Costello), The Black Swans and Mary Lattimore (Meg Baird, Thurston Moore)
On 16th September Ed Askew released his latest record ‘For The World’ on Tin Angel Records. Anyone who loves ‘outsider’ folk legends from Tom Rapp to Roy Harper or Gary Higgins to Peter Grudzien knows the name of the legendary bard Ed Askew.
Filled with Askew’s trademark baroque odes the album builds up to an unrelenting crescendo of harp flourishes and harmonica. Askew’s charismatic warbling vibrato vocals, at times, are reminiscent of both Simon Finn and David Bowie. ‘For The World’ continues to offer an insight into his life although it is notably less heartbreaking than it’s predecessors. These charming songs of love and escapism capture both the spirit of Askew along with the hearts of musicians (and fans) who have been with him for decades.
Ed Askew recently toured the US for the first time 2011, as a result of the tour it was decided that Jerry DeCicca of the Black Swans and producer of the final recordings of Larry Jon Wilson (Drag City/ 1965 Records), would assist Ed in making his first non-solo album.
Down the street from the Cotton Club, they spent a week in a West Harlem warehouse that September. Ed Askew was joined by Jay Pluck, two members of The Black Swans' Tyler Evans (banjo, tiple, electric guitar-- and now a permanent member of Ed's entourage), Canaan Faulkner (bass) and Eve Searls (backing vocals), along with Mary Lattimore (Meg Baird, Thurston Moore) on harp.
Later down the road, electric guitar was added by fellow outsider Marc Ribot (Tom Waits, Elvis Costello) and backing vocals on 3 songs by super fan Sharon Van Etten. The results of those sessions were to become the album ‘For The World’.
Ed Askew is a painter and singer-songwriter who lives in New York City. Born in Stamford, Connecticut, he moved to New Haven to study painting at Yale Art School in 1963.
After graduating from art school in 1966, Askew was called up for the draft. Not feeling particularly enthusiastic about going to war at age 26 (the Navy tried to convince him that he should apply for officer training!), he looked for a teaching job and found work at a private prep school in Connecticut. It was while teaching he started making songs; he also acquired his Martin Tiple (a 10 string lute-like instrument originally from Columbia) at this time. "I must have written 25 songs that semester; all of the material on Unicorn and possibly some stuff on Little Eyes."
He then recorded his second album for ESP, Little Eyes, but it sat in the vaults for almost 40 years until it saw a limited release in 2007.
The singer-songwriter moved to New York for a few months in 1967 where he met Bernard Stolman of ESP Disk' (Pearls Before Swine, Sun Ra, Albert Ayler), who offered him a contract. That year Ed's first album was released, Ask the Unicorn (on Parlophone in the UK) and it quickly disappeared into folk-psych obscurity.
In support of the limited vinyl/ digital re-release of the 80's era cassette tape Imperfiction, Ed was accompanied on piano by Jay Pluck and travelled with tour mates, The Black Swans.