March 2010 – Musician – Ed Harcourt

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About

Born the third son of a British Army officer, his family home is the manor house of Wootton, East Sussex. He is a great-nephew of the food author Elizabeth David and of Nicholas Ridley, Baron Ridley of Liddesdale, and a great-grand nephew of the one-time mayor of Eastbourne, Roland Gwynne. His brother is noted paleo-anthropologist William Harcourt-Smith. He is married to the singer and musician Gita Harcourt-Smith, née Langley, singer and songwriter in The Langley Sisters. Together, the couple have one child, a daughter named Roxy.

Before going solo, Harcourt played the bass and keyboards for Snug, a band formed in the mid-1990s by Harcourt, James Deane, Ed Groves, and Johnny Lewsley at school. The band recorded two albums and a handful of singles together before dissolving.

In 2000, Harcourt recorded his debut mini-album Maplewood EP straight to a 4-track recorder at his grandmother’s house in Sussex. After signing with Heavenly Records and releasing Maplewood in November 2000, Harcourt recorded his debut studio album Here Be Monsters with producers Gil Norton and Tim Holmes. The album was released in June 2001, and charted on the UK Albums Chart at #84. One month after its release, the album was nominated for the 2001 Mercury Prize.

Following the non-album single release of the Brian Wilson cover “Still I Dream of It” in October 2002, Harcourt recorded and released his sophomore album From Every Sphere in February 2003. The album became his highest-charting release in the UK, peaking at #39. The album also performed moderately well across Europe, peaking at #6 in Sweden, #25 in Norway, and #103 in France. From Every Sphere also yielded his highest-charting single to date, “All of Your Days Will Be Blessed,” at #35. A second single, “Watching the Sun Come Up,” was less successful, peaking at #79.[7] After a steady schedule of tour dates in the UK, Harcourt’s third album, Strangers, was released in September 2004. The album peaked at #57 in the UK and at #7 in Sweden, and produced the singles “This One’s for You,” “Born in the ’70s,” and “Loneliness.”In August 2005, the B-sides and rarities compilation Elephant’s Graveyard was released as a digital download.

Harcourt’s fourth album The Beautiful Lie was released in June 2006 to warm critical reception, with Allmusic hailing the album as “an invigorating and frequently gorgeous affair, essential for old fans and a good place to start for newcomers.”The album was not as successful on the UK charts, peaking at #97. The Beautiful Lie was co-produced with Jari Haapalainen, and features contributions from The Magic Numbers, who sing backing vocals on “Revolution in the Heart”; Graham Coxon, who plays guitar on first single “Visit from the Dead Dog”; and Ed’s wife Gita, who plays violin throughout and sings duet vocals on the track “Braille.” Harcourt recorded several tracks with the French jazz trumpeteer Erik Truffaz for his album Arkhangelsk, released in early 2007. Harcourt also performed live with Truffaz’s group to promote the album. They also did a Take-Away Show video session shot by Vincent Moon. In October 2007, Harcourt released the compilation album Until Tomorrow Then: The Best of Ed Harcourt, collecting material from the first seven years of his solo recording career.

After Harcourt’s contract with Heavenly/EMI ended, Harcourt signed with Dovecote Records in the United States to release The Beautiful Lie stateside, as well as his new EP Russian Roulette in May 2009. Also in 2009, Harcourt composed the original music for the soundtrack to the Donnie Darko sequel S. Darko.[13] In early 2010, he wrote a song called “Isabel” for the SOS Children’s Villages Emergency Relief Fund in Haiti.

Harcourt’s fifth studio album Lustre was released on 14 June 2010, the first on Ed’s own record label Piano Wolf Recordings (distributed by Essential Music Marketing). Ed stated on his official MySpace blog that he recorded the album with producer Ryan Hadlock in Snohomish County, Washington, saying of Lustre: “It’s got horns, violins, howling, mellophones, the Langley sisters, barks, whistles, hell I even sung down by a creek in the middle of the night.”

LNL Questionnaire

Your favourite virtue?

VICE!

Your favourite qualities in a man?

WIT, LOYALTY, CYNICISM, A DISLIKE OF CLOWNS

Your favourite qualities in a woman?

COMPASSION, HUMOUR, BEAUTY, A LOVE OF WINE

Your main characteristic?

A VERY MILD FORM OF TOURETTES

What draws you most to your friends?

MADNESS

Given the opportunity what would you most like to change?

IN GENERAL? PEOPLE’S CAPABILITY FOR CRUELTY & TORTURE.

Who would you most like to take out for dinner?

TOM WAITS, WOODY ALLEN, CAROLE KING, CORMAC McCARTHY, SHANE MACGOWAN, THE MUPPETS & MONICA BELLUCI (BILL HICKS, DAVID NIVEN, DOROTHY PARKER & OSCAR WILDE IF THEY WERE STILL ALIVE)

Your idea of happiness?

FAMILY

What is your favourite way of spending the day?

BANGING ON INSTRUMENTS & SPENDING TIME WITH MY DAUGHTER, COOKING FOR FRIENDS.

Whose life other than yours would you most like to have lived?

GHENGIS KHAN

Where would you most like to live?

I’M GOOD HERE.

Who is your favourite author?

HUNTER S THOMPSON

Who is your favourite poet?

JOHN DONNE

Your favourite heroes in fiction?

KING LEAR, RP MCMURPHY, SCARLET PIMPERNEL, SHERLOCK HOLMES

Your favourite heroines in fiction?

ALICE IN WONDERLAND, LYRA BELACQUA, MISS HAVERSHAM, THE WIFE OF BATH

Your favourite painters?

MAGRITTE, RALPH STEADMAN, BOTTICELLI, ROBERT CRUMB, JIM WOODRING,TURNER, MUCHA, FUSILLI, BLAKE.

Who is your favourite composer?

VEERS BETWEEN MOZART & DEBUSSY

What is your favourite Film?

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD/ THE PIANIST

Your favourite food?

SUNDAY ROAST!

Your favourte drink?

WINE

Who do you most admire?

MY WIFE

What is your present state of mind?

HAPPY/SAD/HAPPY/

For what fault have you most toleration?

SLOTH

Your favourite motto?

TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE

Links

Ed on Facebook

Ed’s Official Site

Ed On My Space

Ed Harcourt on Amazon

Ed on the radio

        

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