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GROOVES: How 1960s musicians resurfaced for Joshua Radin's Underwater album

Joshua Radin

Joshua Radin’s new album, Underwater, features musicians who have worked with some of the industry’s legends

Published: 13 September, 2012
by ALICE HUTTON

THERE are singers who fill albums with cover tracks from bygone decades in some vain hope that the mythical glow of the era will rub off.

Then there is Joshua Radin, an American singer-songwriter and all-round multi-talented dreamboat who simply rounded up the original musicians behind some of the most iconic albums of the 1960s and stuffed them all in one room filled with instruments, vintage recording equipment – and possibly food.

It turned out to be a genius idea and his new album Underwater is testament to how artists such as drummer Jim Keltner (who has worked with Bob Dylan and John Lennon), pianist Benmont Tench (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) and string arranger Jimmie Haskell (Simon and Garfunkel) continue to bring the best out in the people they work with.

Plus, it sounds like the highlight of Radin’s entire life.

Speaking from a recording studio in LA, he said: “I wanted the album to sound like it was something, you know, from another time. An old timeless, classic album from the 60s.

“So I had to bring in the absolute best musicians I could think of. I didn’t think I could even meet these guys let alone...” – a pause follows, filled with over-awed mumbling.

“I just asked!”, he blurts out. “No one said no, it was incredibly humbling. I think [artists now] are encouraged to be one-dimensional. Back then you had to be amazing at everything. So every day I walked in the studio and I was by far the least-talented person in the room.”
That is Radin for you – self-aware, grateful and a genuine music fan.

This is the guy who, without you knowing it, has probably sound-tracked your last love affair. The 38-year-old’s velvet voice and haunting melodies have been catnip for everyone from chatshow host Ellen Degeneres, who flew him out to Portia Di Rossi to play at her wedding, to more than 100 television programmes and movies, making him one of the widest known artists you may have never heard of.

All that will change at Koko on September 26 when he kicks off the UK leg of his European tour of Underwater, the album inspired by being “stranded on land” by a punctured eardrum as a toddler, and the release and inspiration behind diving under the waves for the first time in two years ago.
Radin says he can’t wait to be back in our capital and has a special surprise for his fans.

“I’m in LA recording, I just wrote this song a couple of days ago and I think there is something to it. It’s called In Her Eyes, so look out for it – if it ends up being a huge hit then the audience at Koko could be the first in the world to hear it.”

• Joshua Radin will play at Koko on September 26 at 7pm supported by Scars on 45.

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