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Michael Weston King and Lou Dalgleish talk to Sean Hamman; SH: Congratulations on How Do You Plead? It's a great album. Can you tell me how the record came about? Was it intended as a homage to the classic bittersweet 60s and 70s girl and guy duets? I'm thinking of George Jones & Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton and Porter Waggoner, Johnny Cash & June Carter. MWK: In many ways it was but we did not want to cover their songs, it was all about re-creating that sound and feel but with new songs written in that style. Most of them were written specifially but I also had a few older ones that I never had chance to use with The Good Sons, or on my solo albums as they were so overtly country. Lou and I given we have been together now for 13 years had always envisaged doing something jointly / equally - it just took us a long time to decide what. I was listening, as I often do, to my old George Jones records on e day and it struck me when I heard his duets with Melba and Tammy of course, that this was it! SH:What's the appeal of those songs and artists to you? Why are you drawn to them? MWK: well, for a start they are older artsists, the great songs of George and Tammy, Johnny and June etc were not sung when they were kids or even in their 20's, these are people in or approaching middle age, who have lived life and felt it's pain and it's joy. Lou and I are too of that age so it fits. These songs are written and sung from a mature, seen-it-all view, and I love that. SH: One of my favourite songs on the record is Going Back To Memphis. Can you tell me a bit about it? It's a great country-pop tune. MWK: I am a huge fan of Tom T Hall, and this is kind of a nod to his song "That's How I Got To Memphis", which also had a great pop tune even though written by one of the greatest ever country song writers. A couple of years ago I was driving from Nashville to Memphis, and we were going along Music Highway passing signs for the Lorretta Lynn Theme park and all that. I just stated jotting a few ideas down, I think "24 Hours From Tulsa" came on the radio too and it prompted me to think of a guy, who has been out on the road for too long, going back to someone he left behind, settling down etc. One review said "Going Back To Memphis" sounded like a lost Glen Campbell song. If only! There was a great documeentary about Glen on the other night. What a great voice, let alone a stunning player. Would have loved him to cut one of these songs. Too late now I guess. SH: Some of your songs' lyrics and your vocal delivery remind me of Elvis Costello at times - is he a big influence on you and Lou, as songwriters? I'm specifically thinking of a track like Put Your Hair Back - written by Lou. Who else do you rate as songwriters? MWK: Lou and I were, and still are, huge fans of EC, (in fact it was through him we met, but that is another story) Almost Blue is what turned me onto country in the first place, and courtesy of his immaculate taste in song choice and songwriters, it opened up a new world of music for me. From there on it was Harlan Howard, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Gram all the way. It took Lou a little longer as she was still entrenched in more Jazz and Pop in the 80's and 90's but living with me, she had no choice but to listen to country. LD: Although my family background was steeped in a love of jazz, The Beatles and pop music, I fell in love with Patsy Cline’s voice at an early age. It was like a guilty secret, listening to music that was considered very uncool and rather cheesy, but there was something so pure and beautiful about the way she sang. I had no idea then that I would go on to write and sing country music myself. I was busy writing and performing within the “serious female singer songwriter” genre. Then, when I heard Costello’s Almost Blue, I realized that there was a whole other world of country music out there that didn’t have to be twee and embarrassing. (Having said that, I have come to love the twee and embarrassing quite a lot!) When I met my husband Michael, he was way ahead of me in terms of country music awareness, and to be honest I resisted the call for some time. But before I knew it I was hooked, and as it turns out, writing and performing as My Darling Clementine is proving to be my most artistically inspiring genre. And a lot of fun. SH:Some of your songs' lyrics and your vocal delivery remind me of Elvis Costello at times - is he a big influence on you and Lou, as songwriters? I'm specifically thinking of a track like Put Your Hair Back - written by Lou. Who else do you rate as songwriters? MWK: Lou and I were, and still are, huge fans of EC, (in fact it was through him we met, but that is another story) Almost Blue is what turned me onto country in the first place, and courtesy of his immaculate taste in song choice and songwriters, it opened up a new world of music for me. From there on it was Harlan Howard, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Gram all the way. It took Lou a little longer as she was still entrenched in more Jazz and Pop in the 80's and 90's but living with me, she had no choice but to listen to country. "Simply exceptional" No Depression 5/5 ***** “How Do You Plead?” "One of the most exquisitely pained American country albums of the year comes from this British couple" New York Daily News - Top 10 cd's this week "I have to agree with my English counterparts - simply the best British Country album ever made." 3rd Coast Music, Texas . 5/5***** *3rd Coast Music in Austin also vote My Darling Clementine as their "Band of the Year" "If you ever identified with that twinge of pain while listening to Dolly Parton duets or June and Johnny Cash, you need to give My Darling Clementine a shot. A successful throwback in every single sense, even down to King’s cornflower blue Safari Suit on the beautiful album cover. If How Do You Plead? is the question, fantastic is the answer." Glide Magazine 4/5**** “A baker’s dozen of originals that sound like they came straight out of the June/Johnny-Emmylou/Gram-Nancy Sinatra/Lee Hazelwood catalogs. This is as authentic as anything out of Nashville or Texas...A batch of superb C&W corkers.” American Songwriter 4/5**** Each song is better than the next. Personal, pure and seamless there isn’t a dull moment on the album. so striking and wonderful it’s a crime it isn’t a mainstay on every radio station across the world. Wordkrapht - 5 /5***** Part rockabilly, part just plain hurtin' scenarios, great singing and some new, new looks at duet material make this an outstanding acquisition and worth every penny Victory Music "This British duo created a country collection that is a loving testament to the co-ed duet balladry of folks like George Jones and Tammy Wynette. All originals written by the husband-and-wife team of Michael Weston King and Lou Dalgleish (Lou’s the lady), the songs on How Do You Plead? are like messages sent from Nashville 30 or 40 years ago." Salt Lake Scene - Voted #2 in top 10 Best of 2012 list "...lightning has struck for this couple and they’ve emerged with a near perfect bag of duets that will likely inspire enthusiastic cries of “authentic”, “mesmerizing” and “the next Johnny and June”. But you––and they––needn’t worry about that. All that matters is that How Do You Plead? hits the spot with ace writing, singing and playing." Pop Matters 8/10******** The great thing about "How Do You Plead?" may be that it doesn't simply recycle the tradition at which it is casting a backwards glance, but contributes to that tradition as well. Country Standard Time "This one is a perfect example of a full package. While the picture itself is pretty cool it isn't going to make this list alone, but when you actually hold the disk, the retro feel is amazing. It looks like it should smell moldy, straight out of someones basement in 1979. When we reviewed it we made mention of it, to go along with the amazing country duets on the disk. A complete package release." Rock The Body http://www.rockthebodyelectric.com/2012/12/year-in-review-2012-best-album-art.html The best country album we’ve heard this year comes from the UK. This is what country music is supposed to sound like. Majestic Show blog http://www.themajesticshow.com/2012/08/my-darling-clementine-how-do-you-plead-album-stream/#