Lonely Tourist is living the High Life

It’s a shame that you can’t clock up air miles between Scotland and Bristol. Otherwise, Paul Tierney would be quids in.

The singer-songwriter moved south several years ago, but still makes regular weekend trips home to work on new material.

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“I’ve recorded everything with Jim Lang, a brilliant producer and musician,” Tierney says from his south-west base. “He’s been decent enough to mix stuff on his own and send it down, saving me a trip back to Glasgow.”

Lang was a bandmate in 90s nearly-weres Odeon BeatClub – but when asked about their “ones that got away” tag, Tierney is refreshingly honest.

“The truth is we weren’t really good enough to make anyone offer us a record deal beyond one single,”he admits.

Plenty of music fans would disagree, but he insists: “We were kicking about Glasgow when A&R guys were picking up acts from all over the place so it’s not like we didn’t have chances.”

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One such break was the patronage of one Pete Doherty who asked the band to support Babyshambles on two tours, even taking in the Barrowlands.

However, he’s not bitter. “Looking back isn’t helpful, and I’m happier now than I ever was then.”

He is also perhaps busier than ever – apart from his solo Lonely Tourist guise, there’s Plume of Feathers – more a writing duo, with pal Chris Webb plus other Bristol musicians, with art projections by artist Stephanie Black for the live shows.

Their self-titled release focused on pubs, and BBC 6Music DJ Steve Lamacq – another champion of Tierney’s work – has likewise declared new employment-themed long-player ‘Remuneration’ a “concept album”.

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“‘Concept’ isn’t such a dirty word these days anyway,” he insists, as I casually drop the shadow of Rick Wakeman into the musical pot. “Public Service Broadcasting and Gruff Rhys all made albums on a theme that didn’t involve wizards' hats.”

‘The Ballad of Paul Tierney’ was about another ‘might have been’, his namesake Manchester United footballer. I put it to him that a subject of the next album is obvious...

“A concept album around football? I wouldn’t mind having a go at that, there would be plenty to write about.”

Something which should please Colchester United (and number 1 Lonely Tourist) fan Lamacq?

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“The patronage of Steve Lamacq and Gideon Coe is amazing and unexpected,” he says. “It boosts your ego and – for 5 minutes at least – you think maybe you can actually write songs.”

However, as his former band found, critical acclaim doesn’t necessarily put food on the table. But the new album, like its predecessors, are ticking along nicely.

“Sales are ok...” he offers “but I wont be buying a yacht – or a even season ticket for the football – just yet.”

But if there is one thing this tourist will be carrying on with, it’ll be the ‘globetrotting’ lifestyle.

“I’ve been on a lot of Easy Jet flights – put it that way!”

Remuneration is out now

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