Thursday, September 24, 2009

Phil Roy: In The Weird Small Hours LP


Phil Roy, In The Weird Small Hours LP cover, © Michael T Regan Photography 2009

I first shot Phil Roy for Decca Records, prior to the release of Phil's album The Great Longing. Phil's successful songwriting career includes working with some of music's greatest soul/R&B singers, such as Ray Charles and Aaron Neville. Recently, Phil asked me to collaborate on the album art for his newest release In The Weird Small Hours, inspired by the classic Sinatra album In The Wee Small Hours. Phil covers Radiohead, Elliott Smith, Connor Oberst Terrence Trent D'Arby (among others) and presents the work through his own interpretations. I must say, his version of Radiohead's All I Need is wonderfully brooding/melodic with a haunting brass sound.

Phil Roy, In The Weird Small Hours album art © Michael T Regan Photography 2009

I'm not a huge Sinatra fan and I didn't have knowledge of the album art, but I visualized Phil in a barren field under a street light. I didn't want to over light the scene or add uneccessary props. Our goal was to express the mood of the music. After doing research on the Sinatra album I was struck by the cover image of Frank alone of a sidewalk at night with street lights receding into the background. It took a bit of convincing for Phil to come on board with the idea (as well as numerous reminders that his other whimsical ideas weren't really up to the flaming marshmellow for instance...) but he's thrilled with the package and I hope the album gets the respect it deserves. Besides the cover image, there's a two panel horizontal image inside as well as a square panel with a portrait. The CD is printed with a long exposure of the empty street at night. BUY A COPY OF THE ALBUM HERE.

About Sinatra's Album In The Wee Small Hours:

Wikipedia: " The album was his first full 12-inch LP, and more importantly it contained a set of songs specifically recorded for the album, which had not always been true of his previous 10-inch records; further, albums at the time were generally randomly compiled collections of a performer's hits rather than deliberately sequenced and selected. In the Wee Small Hours used only ballads, organized around a central mood of late-night isolation and aching lost love (supposedly due to his separation from Ava Gardner). The sequence is triggered by the morose opening title track, which had just been written, and then is followed up by a selection of pop standards, each effectively arranged in a restrained, mellow manner, either for a small ensemble or brooding strings (often highlighted by woodwinds or a celesta.) The album cover, now considered a classic, directly reinforced the overall theme, featuring a pensive Sinatra set against the backdrop of a deserted and eerie night-time streetscape."

Phil Roy photographed for Decca Records, © Michael T Regan Photography 2008


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