Chances are, you’ve never met a musician like Laurence Crow (aka Wolfe Sunday) — and chances are, once you have met him, you will never forget him.
A friend introduced me to his music last year and I was instantly impressed with the energy and excitement that fills the Colchester/Essex musician. Laurence writes from his heart, detailing his life experience in verse, both happy and sad. Things have not come easy to him, but he perseveres and comes out shining.
Laurence recorded his previous album surreptitiously, but the new one is completely above-board. Every tune on the self-titled album is a gem.
“Damage Control” is a rollicking moshable tune about a house party gone awry, featuring a singable melody.
“The Barstool Brawler’s Son” is a lively, bouncy happy track that encompasses the feel of Laurence’s music.
“I’m Not a Rockstar, But I Sure Wish I Was” is a fun little number that will surely become an anthem.
Laurence Crow is currently on tour with fellow singer/songwriter Joe Booley (previously featured here: https://r8singer.wordpress.com/2017/04/17/heartfelt-songs-are-joe-booleys-specialty-joebooleymusic/) and he took some time recently before a gig to sit and chat about the tour, Tramlines and his new self-titled album.
Where are you at today? You have a show tonight, right?
Totally, so we’re currently sat in a park in the middle of Manchester, we’re playing at the Castle in Manchester tonight (July 25). It’s gig number 603 for me.
Wow! You keep track of them and know right like that?
Yeah haha, I have recently. A few months ago, I had a thought that I must have quite a high total, so I looked through all my social media and calendars and worked it out, and I’ve been keeping track since!
It’s quite fun to announce at shows, it makes every gig quite unique.
Gig 600 ended up being at Tramlines Festival in Sheffield and that was a major party anyway, so it was just one more reason to party.
Was Tramlines one of your biggest to date?
Not the biggest, but probably the most fun. I was playing a smaller garden stage, but we packed it out, and I ended up crowd surfing into the main venue and over onto the main stage of the venue. It was pretty insane. I love it when crowds go as mental as I like to during the sets.
That sounds like it was so much fun! And you have played every kind of “venue” imaginable, right?
After 600 gigs, you end up playing pretty much anywhere and everywhere that will have a skinny, long-haired acoustic punk singer.
The weirdest place I’ve ever played is definitely a launderette. We rocked up with our guitars, just a bunch of us mates, and just started playing. All the people were just washing their clothes with a look of shock!
Were they fans by the end of your performance?
I hope the ones that stayed were! A lot seemed to get away very quickly!
Haha, probably pensioners who didn’t get modern music.
I’ve had some amazing older people rocking out at the front before!
I’m glad some are hip! You are touring with Joe Booley now, how is the pairing working?
It’s amazing, we’re actually both doing a collaborative drawing over a beer as we speak.
I think it’s a really interesting pairing of music, that has worked really well at the shows. While Joe is more introspective and reflective with his music, I am more outgoing, and more interactive with the audience. I feel like this makes for a really interesting show.
Like a ying/yang dynamic …
Haha exactly! He makes nice music, and I stand on things! It’s a beautiful dynamic!
So, let’s go back to you … When did you first start playing? What for you started?
So I started making music in bands about 10 years ago. I played bass for a long time. But those bands never did much, and when they eventually fell apart, I felt I had to carry on making music, so I used it as an opportunity to do something different. I picked up an acoustic guitar and started gigging, writing songs and learning guitar as I go!
Who has influenced you on your musical journey?
I always say I’m influenced by Frank Turner, for his way of approaching being a singer/songwriter, his method of writing, and his insane tour schedule. That’s all stuff I try to aim to be like. But more recently, I’ve been really into a band called Gogol Bordello, a gypsy folk punk band from New York. They have such an insanely energetic live show, and that’s been something I try to recreate, as a solo musician.
You have always been an outside-the-box thinker, haven’t you?
Haha, thank you. That’s very kind.
I like that you make your own rules, don’t follow the norm … You follow your heart. Tell me about the new album … It’s like the proverbial box of chocolates …
The new album is really important to me, I feel like it kind of captures exactly how I want Wolfe Sunday to sound, which is why we decided to make it self-titled.
12 tracks are a lot for an album these days. Did you have trouble choosing?
Totally! In fact, I originally wrote about 40 songs for the album. I cut that down to 16 that I demoed and then of those, 12 made it onto the album. I guess it was pretty hard to choose, but I hope I chose the right ones.
I think it’s a great selection. Any plans for the extras?
So I really wanted to eventually release a deluxe of the album but with completely acoustic and restructured versions of the songs, acoustic remixes so to speak, that would almost be how I play it live.
Now, what does the album mean to you?
I think the album means a lot of different things to me. A lot of the songs cover the theme of loss, of growing up in a poor family and not having as much as the people who I grew up around, of previous relationships, one in particular, that ended with a feeling of loss and worthlessness, and more recently, the things I’ve lost and given up to stay touring, the sacrifices made to make a living from music. It’s about those kind of things. In that sense, it’s a strange album, although it’s very upbeat and fun sounding, underneath it really conveys a lot more about my past and really who I am. Again, that’s why it’s self-titled.
And it was published through Joe Booley’s Beth Shalom Records …. how did you do that?
We actually got in touch through a friend about rereleasing my last demo record, but I was demoing new songs at the time, and Joe was super stoked to help release those new tracks. We spent a few months arranging it all and leading up to the release.
It’s fantastic how it all came together, and now you are sharing the stage on a joint tour. What is next after you wrap up these dates?
I’ve got a few more dates booked almost straight after the tour, some festivals across the south, and then I’ll be holing myself back up to catch you with all the art I’ve been itching to create while away! I’ve got a lot of musical ideas that I have been working on that I’d like to start penning properly. Touring with Joe has been a big inspiration, hearing his music every night has been really cathartic and I’d love to try out some new styles of songwriting.
You can find Laurence Crow as Wolfe Sunday at wolfesunday.com, wolfesunday.bandcamp.com, on Twitter at twitter.com/wolfesunday, on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuPcXT9n4d61zzHn0PrITkA, on Instagram at instagram.com/wolfesunday and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/wolfesunday/. You can buy or stream his new album at https://bethshalomrecords.bandcamp.com/album/wolfe-sunday .