"Horseshoe" is the magnificent first single proper from the long awaited second album New Gods by WITHERED HAND (aka Edinburgh based folk-rock troubadour Dan Willson). Love and the fear of loss is the theme here, and its plaintive entreaty of "Please don't put a shadow on her lung" is coupled with an an epic soul-stirring pop tune that leaves no room for doubt. As Dan himself says, "It's about love. Not romantic love or sexual love. The other stuff."
Active in the world of visual art and dabbling in music for many years, Dan Willson came late to singing and songwriting at age 30, in a period of reflection between the death of a close friend and the birth of his first child. The resultant material, much of which went on to become the album Good News, was praised for its depth and startling honesty, and won him accolades from the likes of Rolling Stone and Mojo, as well as fans from Jarvis Cocker to Marc Riley. The ensuing years saw him embraced by the now defunct Fife-based musical powerhouse the Fence Collective and his songs picked up by MTV and cult series Skins.
A prolific live performer, recent Withered Hand shows have included Pam Berry of seminal 90s US noisepop band Black Tambourine (who also contributes vocals to the new album) amid a rotating cast of musical friends embellishing Dan's exuberant and original songwriting, alongside his fragile and uplifting solo performances.
Aided by a grant from arts council body Creative Scotland, New Gods saw Withered Hand entering a proper studio for the first time to work with legendary Scottish producer Tony Doogan (Belle & Sebastian, Mogwai, Mountain Goats, Teenage Fanclub), and features guest appearances from a veritable who's who of Scottish music including King Creosote, Eugene Kelly of The Vaselines, and members of Belle & Sebastian (Stevie Jackson, Chris Geddes) and Frightened Rabbit (Scott Hutchison).
Withered Hand will be heading off to Austin for South By South West in March and will be playing a series of UK dates over the next few months including Wales Goes Pop festival at The Gate in Cardiff on 20 April.
Listen to 'Horseshoe' here: