Sometimes the strangest things happen. As most of you who read the books know, DCI Banks loves many different kinds of music, and one of the singer-songwriters he listens to in All the Colours of Darkness is Keren Ann. Late last year I was approached by Keren Ann’s record company, EMI, to write the “bio” for her new album, 101. I had no idea what this meant but soon found out that it’s a sort of description of the songs and music on the album and a little bit of information about how they came into being. Mostly, it goes out with review copies and other publicity-related stuff. Hardly a job for a novelist, I thought.
However, Keren Ann had seen that I had picked one of her songs for a New York Times playlist I was asked to compile a few years ago, and she was curious. As she was looking for something a bit different, more creative, she asked me if i could write a sort of story around the songs, as many of them involve intrigue and even murder. So I gave it a shot. I listened to the music. We emailed back and forth a bit and ended up with something a little personal and a little surreal, but certainly different from the examples of other bios I had seen.
Anyway, 101 is released in the UK on 4th April, and was picked as CD of the Week in the Sunday Times. There’s also a long interview with Keren Ann in the 3rd April’s Observer review section, and a video on the Guardian web site in which she discusses writing the album’s first song, “My Name is Trouble,” and sings a lovely acoustic version.