Stephen Fretwell’s long-awaited third album, Busy Guy, was released recently. Described by Fretwell himself as “a song cycle of sorts,” Busy Guy examine the seasons of a life, exploring fatherhood, grief and rebirth, with Fretwell’s trademark eloquence and wit.
Fretwell, now 39, grew up in Scunthorpe but cut his musical teeth in Manchester in the early noughties, playing in the bars and clubs of the legendary Northern Quarter. In the years before that, as a teenager, he visited his cousin who lived in Vienna. On these trips, he’d stay up late with his cousin’s wife and she would play him her record collection (“the Nicks [Cave and Drake], Morrison and Morrissey – who I presumed were related,” he laughs) and talk about her interior life. This experience, witnessing music and lyrics being used to process thoughts and feelings, informed his approach to songwriting, giving his early work a maturity beyond its years.
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