A singer-songwriter from Preston has released an EP inspired by life in his home city.
Ric Birtill’s short album, The Preston EP, features five songs about religion, romance, employment, agoraphobia and alcohol dependence.
The 25-year-old says he aims to make music that is “different and refreshing”, yet influenced by everyday life.
He said: “I’ve released it on my own label, Friargate Records, named after Friargate, where I used to live above a shop called Rags in a skanky room with no heating, electricity and no bed!
“This is where I wrote most of the songs from the EP.
“The EP is already getting great reviews.
“Since uploading it to bandcamp as a free download, it has received very generous donations from people who don’t feel comfortable ‘getting something this good for free’.”
The mini-album features tracks called Envy, A Pub For Every Day Of The Year, Don’t Leave The House, Enough Is Enough and I Did Not.
Ric isn’t the first ‘creative type’ in his family, as he comes from a long line of talented musicians and journalists.
His granddad George Birtill OBE was a former editor of the Chorley Guardian and the Leyland Guardian and also a successful author.
Known as ‘Mr Chorley’, he became the town’s honorary historian, enjoying spells as a magistrate and a councillor.
Ric’s uncle David Birtill is a golf journalist for the Daily Telegraph, while another uncle, Paul Birtill, is an acclaimed poet and playwright.
Meanwhile, his father Godfrey Birtill is a gospel singer, who has released 15 live albums and two studio CDs.
Ric is going on a nationwide tour next month to support the release of the record, called ‘Comin’ straight outta Preston - The Preston EP Mini Tour’.
It includes a performance for the cast of the hit TV comedy Red Dwarf, when they appear in a Q&A event at The Ritz Cinema in Lincoln, where Ric now lives.
He said: “My music is quite different, there is a review on my blog which says ‘it’s good to hear something different and refreshing’.
“It’s hard to define, I suppose you could call it indie folk. But I don’t sound like Mumford and Sons, I don’t sound like Fairport Convention and I don’t sound like Blur!
“There is some indie and some folk in there but I don’t necessarily sound like that music, although you could classify it like that if you were putting it in HMV!
“I write about things I’m inspired by, things around me. It could be catching the bus. Little things and things that are quite dull, almost in a Ray Davies-esque way.
“I write about it quite literally, I don’t use too many metaphors, I’m no Joni Mitchell.
“If I’ve got an idea I write a song - I hardly ever touch my guitar or play an instrument unless I’ve got an idea for a song.
“To me the idea is king.”
He has also been chosen to play the part of Paul Draper in a Mansun tribute band, Taxloss Lovers, at the 2014 Mansun Convention in Chester this August - an honour for Ric, who is a big fan of the band.
Ric is now working on the first single for his second EP with an artist named Roo Walker, which he hopes to release this summer.
And if that isn’t enough to keep him busy, he also has a side project called Dollymops, a heavier sounding band, which has already had one EP on Friargate Records, and will release the Dollymops EP 2 in December.
To find out more about Ric’s music visit www.ricbirtill.com.