One of Wigan’s best-known musical exports has unveiled a new single and video outlining his uncompromising, independent approach to his art.
Former frontman in The Verve Richard Ashcroft has chosen They Don’t Own Me as the third song to be released separately from his latest solo album These People.
The Up Holland musician has previously said the album was influenced by his own increasing understanding of his role as a musician during a period of what he describes as a “decline in freedom of speech and the arts”.
The video for They Don’t Own Me follows the single being put onto radio playlists around the country and comes ahead of two special headlining live shows in London and Liverpool this December.
The song has earned rave reviews from music critics, with one publication saying its combination of slide guitar work and sweeping strings makes its one of Ashcroft’s most powerful songs, with the chorus being described as “euphoric” and “stadium-sized”.
These People, Ashcroft’s fourth album as a solo artist, has also proved a hit with the release finding its way into the top three of the charts for full-length albums.
Ahead of its release, Ashcroft said in a statement: “Some personal and world events take a darker turn, leading to a sense of urgency and a clearing of the mind. To do nothing would be a crime in this sick nihilistic age of war”.
The album’s songs deal with global events including the Arab Spring uprisings and the war in Syria in the Middle East as well as coming closer to home with much more personal tracks, including one about the death of a close friend.
Ashcroft, who directed the video for They Don’t Own Me himself, is currently touring across the UK and continental Europe on the festival circuit and will then head off for gigs in Japan and South America.
These People was produced in collaboration with Chris Potter and Wil Malone, who returned to the fold having provided the string arrangements for The Verve’s classic album A Northern Soul and Urban Hymns as well as the singer and guitarist’s debut solo release Alone With Everybody.
Ashcroft and Malone will team up again this December for two special live shows which will see the frontman backed by an orchestra on new songs and favourites from his back catalogue.