"Our genesis occurred on the day that Charlie Burchill's
mother gifted him a varnished piece of blonde wood with six strings attached. That event more than any other
unimaginably determined our lives and it continues to do so more than four decades and hundreds of co-written songs later."
"Dizzy with a recent inexplicable desire to reconnect both with the threads of our music - and our earlier selves -
we walked through the doors of Gorbals Sound Studio in the south side of Glasgow. Returning to a building, that still
housed the small wooden stage on which we gave our first ever performance as 16 year olds, was enough to give the retro
chills. But the thrills soon took over as an otherwise empty room began filling up with the powerful sound of a lone
acoustic guitar, ringing out and signifying that we were once again engaged with the sound and place where, for us,
it all started." - Jim
"It was just over two years ago while on a late night drive from South Queensferry to Glasgow, that I
switched on Radio Scotland and was amazed to hear King Creosote (I'm a fan) do a
very cool piano version of Simple Minds The American.
Sounding as good as it did, it was enough to convince me right there and then that we should explore for ourselves
a selection of classic Minds songs that could not only work with an acoustic based sound, but
could perhaps reveal something within the songs that is maybe less featured in the original.
Some sort of circle felt complete therefore, while making the same drive on Saturday night. I
switched on to hear our acoustic version of Waterfront kicking off
Billy Sloan's BBC Radio Scotland show. I have to say... the radio sounded very good!" - Jim, November 7th 2016
The first acoustic work by Simple Minds took place in 1990 when Charlie
and Mick attempted a stripped down, acoustic version of
Waterfront for the
Def II Documentary which wade made on the back of
Street Fighting Years. It was a rather tongue-in-cheek version but
had enough novelty that it was included on the Glittering Prize 81/92 video.
The next acoutic work took place five years later, prompted by Virgin America's
stripped down, acoustic reworking of She's A River. The band promoted the
Good News From The Next World album with an acoustic version of
She's A River (performed during several US radio appearances), and played radically different versions of
See The Lights and
White Light/White Heat during the
The acoustic format was then dropped during the next decades, with just New Sunshine Morning
being played acoustically during a Billy Sloan session in 2002. However the format
returned during the promotion for Big Music where the band played several
acoustic sessions, most notably for the Chris Evans Breakfast Show.
This eventually led a concert at the Zermatt Unplugged Festival.
Having spent weeks working on meticulously layered acoustic arrangements of their best-loved songs for
this 90-minute performance, they then made plans to record them. With
Jim and Charlie augmented by regular
bassist Ged Grimes, backing vocalist
Sarah Brown, returning acoustic guitarist
Gordy Goudie and new percussionist
Cherisse Osei, they temporarily halted the recording of the
forthcoming sequel to Big Music – an album that is 'anything but acoustic' –
and gave their complete commitment to an all-encompassing acoustic project.
The album was recorded at the Gorbals Studio in Glasgow, a former railway workers' social club, in June 2016. It was here that
Charlie played their first gig,
as teenagers in a school glam-rock band.
Fellow Scot KT Tunstall was invited to play on Promised You A Miracle.
She rearranged the song and contributed vocals, guitars, bass and backing vocals. She also appeared in the
promotional video when Promised You A Miracle
was selected as the single.
The album was finished on the 18th August 2016.
The first promotional release from the album was a video accompanying Promised You A Miracle,
which was released on the 28th September. This first video just featured an animation of the album's artwork. This coincided
with the song's first play on the Ken Bruce show on BBC Radio Two.
The guitar was located in Mississippi and was photographed by a local photographer. The scratches and writing were then
added in Photoshop. However the band were so taken by the guitar and the look of the final artwork that they purchased it, had it shipped to
the UK, and then the scratches and writing were applied using transfers.
The guitar was showcased at their gigs, taking centre stage in front of the drumkit.
All the numbering of the photograph contact sheets in the artwork referred to previous Simple Minds'
songs e.g. the range 81, 82, 83 and 84 referred to New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84).
The "distressed" inner sleeves of the vinyl featured the original Claddagh taken from
Live In The City Of Light.
"In about a week's time we will witness the release of our Acoustic album. Over the last few months or so,
various tracks have been previewed on radio and on-line. As ever we are delighted when people like what they hear and see,
and delighted even more when positive comments are posted. Who does not like to be encouraged after all?
Within all of that we would like to show our appreciation for designer Stuart Crouch. It is
Stuart's vision that brought together the artwork for the Acoustic project, and what a great job
he made of that sleeve - especially with that "scratched guitar". The image - complete with song titles - has almost
become iconic to Simple Minds already.
It has been a pleasure working with Stuart over these last years, and I am sure many Simple Minds fans
will have appreciated Stuart's design work throughout. Including
Celebrate - The Greatest Hits + and
Big Music. And now Acoustic.
Throughout our career we always felt that our artwork should match the creativity of the music. Thanks
Stuart!" - Jim, 3rd November 2016
Jim wrote a short introduction to the album which was included in the artwork.
1000 copies of the CD booklet were signed by Jim and
Charlie. These were offered for sale first.
The vinyl also included a digital download code.
The album was toured as Acoustic Live 2017 with KT Tunstall
as special guest for the European dates and The Anchoress (Catherine AD)
as special guest for the UK dates.
"Our songs mean a lot to people, so we had to be careful," said Jim.
"It wasn’t a case of just knocking up some acoustic riffs. We had to show respect to the songs and retain everything
that made them good in the first place, and we wanted to create a Simple Minds party album, not a
traditional, introspective acoustic album – more something that people will play during goods times. This experience
has reinvigorate and excited us about the potential of new songs, which we’ll begin recording soon."
"It really has been encouraging to see how much pleasure the acoustic album has already given to those open-minded
enough to take a chance on it. There were plenty of doubters and still are. Some really quite ignorant comments came our
way and that that will probably continue, but it will never deter. Blunt negativity of any sort has had no real effect on
us whatsoever for four decades, so why would it do so now? Usually it causes us to laugh, if truth be known.
But then again, given that it has taken us until now to release such a project, it might be obvious to suggest that
we ourselves had plenty of reservations? And we certainly did. Until... the music started that is!
Because as soon as Charlie Burchill came up with the haunting acoustic
template for the album opener The American, it was obvious to us that
this would be more than a worthwhile exercise, and something we should commit to wholeheartedly.
That commitment will extend to next year's accompanying tour. And
for those who saw and enjoyed the Hackney Empire preview I would
like to say - you really have not seen anything yet! The news that tickets for that tour are selling so well
throughout UK/Europe, and that additional dates are being added etc, is of course heartwarming.
So again, we say thanks to all who have "backed us" with the acoustic record and tour. Your enthusiasm has an immense
effect on who we are and what we do. It really means the world!" - Jim, 3rd December 2016