the Golden Dregs On Grace & Dignity
4AD has announced the signing of songwriter/producer Benjamin Woods and his project, the Golden Dregs, to the roster. To celebrate the news, Woods has shared a new song, “American Airlines,” as well as details of his 4AD album debut, On Grace & Dignity.
Hailing from Cornwall – a county in south-west England that draws thousands of tourists on holiday, and where thousands of locals could never hope of affording one – Woods grew up with a keen awareness of that gap between idealism and reality. the GOLDEN DREGS’ third album, On Grace & Dignity, out February 10th , considers his home and what it means to be shaped by a place – in this instance, Truro, Cornwall’s capital, home to a rare three-spired cathedral, a peaceful river and a lot of empty shops and flimsy out-of-town housing estates. Written, recorded and produced by Woods from his South London home and childhood bedroom in Truro, it was mixed by Ali Chant (Perfume Genius, Aldous Harding) who provided additional production.
Sharing a preview of On Grace & Dignity, “American Airlines” follows a man searching for “his best self” on holiday. “Life is often lived waiting for the holiday and not really enjoying the here and now,” Woods muses. “It seems a strange pattern that we have.” The track is accompanied by an official video by dinomoves.
On Grace & Dignity’s origins lie in winter 2020 when Woods lost his job in lockdown and moved back to his parents’ house. The only work he could get was as a labourer on a poorly run building site on the grimmest outskirts of Truro. “It was such a bleak winter – waist-deep in mud digging holes and rolling out turf on top of building waste, really grim stuff, which became the backdrop to the stories I was trying to write,” he adds, citing Raymond Carver, Lydia Davis and Richard Hugo as influences.
In among the personal reflections on loss of innocence and inferiority, Woods spins subtly interweaving narratives about survival, desperate acts of violence, loss and the limitations of community in the face of rapacious gentrification. Nevertheless, it is, appropriately for an album about home, somewhere you’ll want to spend a while. Life here proceeds at a
graceful pace grounded by Woods’s deep voice, which seems to resonate from his feet as he delivers the sort of meticulously written lunar wisdom worthy of Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner, or the tidy yet revelatory koans of Silver Jews’ David Berman.
For the On Grace & Dignity artwork, he’s commissioned Bristol-based model-maker Edie Lawrence to construct an HO-scale fictional Cornish town. Christened Polgras, the 8 ft by 4 ft model features a viaduct, an estuary, a supermarket, new-build houses and industrial buildings; every song from On Grace & Dignity is represented by a scene in the town. “There’s different parts of the experience of growing up in Cornwall in there,” he says. “Some of it was from me looking at it when I was down there that winter, and some of it was me harking back to the experience of growing up there. It’s defined by that sense of duality, of
coexisting realities,” he explains. “You’re geographically so far away, and it has a strong identity of its own, as well as a different landscape. It’s so rugged and bleak, but beautiful –which is what I really like in music.”
the GOLDEN DREGS 2022 TOUR DATES
October 31 – BRUGES, BELGIUM, Cactus Club
November 1– PARIS, FRANCE, Le Trabendo
November 2 – UTRECHT, NETHERLANDS, TivoliVerendenberg (Pandora)
November 3 – HAMBURG, GERMANY, Uebel & Gefaehrlich
November 5 – COLOGNE, GERMANY, Kulturkirche
November 6 – BERLIN, GERMANY, Feststaal Kreuzberg
November 7 – PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC, Roxy
November 8 – VIENNA, AUSTRIA, Arena Wien (Grosse Halle)
November 9 – GRAZ, AUSTRIA, Dom im Berg
November 12 – FRIBOURG, SWITZERLAND, Fri-Son
November 13 – MUNICH, GERMANY, Freiheitshalle
November 14 – FRANKFURT, GERMANY, Zoom
November 16 – BRIGHTON, UK, St. Georges Church
November 17 – LONDON, UK, The Roundhouse
NOVEMBER 18 – BEDFORD, UK, Esquires (HEADLINE SHOW)
November 19 – BIRMINGHAM, UK, The Mill
November 20 – GLASGOW, UK, QMU
November 21 – MANCHESTER, UK, O2 Ritz
Supporting Ezra Furman
April 6 – LONDON, UK, Village Underground
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