Gerry Norman announced himself as a solo artist in his own right under the Tour Alaska name with his 2019 album The Guiding Moon. For many Norman will always be known as the frontman of the enigmatic A Plastic Rose. But in Tour Alaska his music has been given new life, mellow, intimate and personal songwriting. Two years on from that first solo album, we bring you a first look at his new single ‘Apple Disguise‘.
‘Apple Disguise’ is simply gorgeous songwriter fare, wistful and easy, with melodies that hark back to Tom Petty or the influx of songwriter pop in the 90s. Norman’s voice and pleading, searching lyrics carry the tune, with a chorus that’ll connect instantly. A medley of guitars, whirring keys and percussion all come together for a full, engaging sound, with some wonderful musicians recruited to the album, but it’s the melodies that will give the song its instant appeal. Writing through lockdown, Norman worked alongside producer Dean Stevens to carve out a new sound and approach. Tour Alaska’s first album never quite ventured as far into pop, but ‘Apple Disguise’ immediately sounds perfect for a stage, beyond Belfast house parties and onto a festival stage. Written years ago in Edinburgh, the song evokes that down-on-your-luck, late night wander, seeing beauty amongst the sadder moments.
The video, filmed in the dance studio of Belfast’s Vault Artist Studios with overlaid flourishes, is delightfully simple and fits perfectly. Created by John Clerkin and Gerry Norman, less is more.
“This song is actually nearly 17 years old when APR was only a flickering little sparkle in my eye and WAY before I got all screamy and emo. I lived in Edinburgh at the time with my then girlfriend/now wife and actually debuted it at a fringe gig as part of the Edinburgh Festival that year. It’s basically about walking around Edinburgh city begging for forgiveness one of the many times I’ve had to beg for forgiveness over the years. I knew it was never gonna be an APR song so I would just whip it out at house parties singing it drunk with all my old mates.
With the new direction of Tour Alaska and the chance to record the album with a full band in a sweet studio the time was finally right. I was also honoured to have Binzer Brennan (The Frames, Bell X1, Little Matador) and Gavin Fox (TURN, Idlewild, Little Matador) on this recording. We got to know each other when APR toured the UK with Little Matador a few years back so I was able to chance my arm and get them on board as they were bored during lockdown. Sinead O Connor’s keyboard player was also available as she had to cancel her tour including Glasto main stage. Lucky me!”
‘Apple Disguise’ is our first glimpse at a second album, on its way this September. Stay tuned for more on the album and a launch show soon. ‘Apple Disguise’ is released this Friday, pre-save it here.