HENRY PRIESTMAN and country singer Lottie Mullan aren't the sort to go for a bunch of garage carnations on Valentine's Day.
No, when panic and forgetfulness sets in, they write a song.
"Valentine Song was written by myself and Lotte Mullan three years ago, when we realised in a panic it was February 13, and both of us had forgotten about Valentine's Day," the former It's Immaterial/Christians man tells Liverpool Confidential.
"But we're canny, us songsmiths. We managed to write the song, quickly demo it, and get it up on Lotte's Facebook by midnight on 13th. My wife cried when she heard it."
One assumes this was in a good way, but that was just the start of the story: Lottie's version of Valentine Song went on her own album and it was picked up by film director Ridley Scott.
He featured it as the central theme running through a short film, called Kismet Diner which won first prize in The Manhattan Short Films Festival last November. So far, the clip, a clever promo for Cornetto, has had more than two million YouTube hits from all over the world (Spanish, Mexican and Turkish versions were also released, using the same song).
Henry's own version of Valentine Song is only just out. It was shot in the tiny Junction Coffe in Aigburth last week and features Lottie Mullan as the waitress. The track features on his new album, The Last Mad Surge of Youth, which is a follow up to his first acclaimed solo album, Chronicles of Modern Life, from 2009 on Island Records.
Why the delay?
“I started this new one in 2010, expecting to get it done quickly to capitalise on the relative success of the first," he says.
"I had a version almost ready, then sadly my mum died and ten months later my mother-in-law died. Suddenly rushing out an album didn’t seem that high up on the agenda. Furthermore, I started writing more songs better suited to where I was up to in my life. Consequently, it’s a more poignant and reflective album (and slightly less of a ‘Chronicles Of Modern Life part II’) than the original version would have been. It feels like a step forward rather than more of the same.”
More than 35 years in the music industry have helped Henry bring some seasoned guests to the album. The Last Mad Surge of Youth features the talents of Radio 2 Folk Award nominee Katriona Gilmore (Gilmore and Roberts), Graham Gouldman of 10cc, Paul Simpson (The Wild Swans) and robyn Gregory (Brian Wilson/Beach Boys).
Of the coffeee shop video he says: "It was a rush job, arranged through Liverpool's Sandbox Digital/Periscope Productions, and directed and shot by Jon Dawe and Paul Avis. But it's turned out so well."
Betwixt albums, Henry has been playing many house gigs and also holding songwriting workshops at schools around the country - prep for heading back to the road for a nationwide series of live dates in February, March and April.
Henry’s varied career has seen him open for the Sex Pistols, tour with The Who (with his 1st band, Yachts), and write every song on a triple platinum selling album with The Christians plus music for ads, BBC TV Wildlife, X-box, & production work.
The album is out on Monday (February 17). He says: "It's a voice for all those 'of a certain age' that have grown up but are still full of life and maybe even a little bit angry!"
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