A more immediate and visceral collection than the previous multi-platinum selling Songs From The Deep Forest, The Duke Special’s new album, I Never Thought This Day Would Come is full of moments of beauty and hope juxtaposed with a dark, brooding edge – the trademark twist of the Duke.
Recorded between Wapping, London; Champaign, Illinois and Culleybackey, Northern Ireland, I Never Thought This Day Would Come was produced by long-time collaborator Paul Pilot and mixed by Nick Terry, best known for his work with the Klaxons and The Libertines.
In a deliberate attempt to push outwards, Duke Special undertook many writing collaborations for this album including sessions with Daniel Benjamin (drummer with German punk band Jumbo Jet), Paul Pilot, Phil Wilkinson and Bernard Butler. The wind, brass and percussion of the RTE Symphony Orchestra, under the stewardship of the inimitable David Brophy, add a swirling carnival flavour to the proceedings.
Since the release of Songs From The Deep Forest, Duke Special has toured sold out shows across Ireland, the UK and Europe. From headlining a packed-to-the-rafters Shepherds Bush Empire in London to stage diving at Electric Picnic, hosting five sell out nights back-to-back at Belfast’s Empire Music Hall to appearing as a special guest performer at the Cannes Film Festival, Duke Special has come further than he ever imagined he might.
Crowded House invited him along on their first tour in ten years. He gave a little-known Welsh singer called Duffy her first ever shows, guested for the legendary Ray Davies in London and performed at The Irish Film Boards Oscar Wilde event in LA.
Duke Special’s immense creative talents have seen him writing the theme tune for Sesame Tree – the Northern Ireland edition of Sesame Street – where he also got to sing with The Muppets in the final episode. He has hosted a night at the Belfast Film Festival where he performed as a puppet of himself. He recently created a night of song and theatre in the Spiegeltent for the Dublin Fringe Festival and performed his songs accompanied by a 60 piece strong RTE Symphony Orchestra at a sold out show in Dublin’s National Concert Hall.
The Duke recently learned to swordfight for an on- stage showdown in Dublin with his long time nemesis, Neil Hannon.
Duke Special is touring throughout April and May, and will no doubt entrance audiences with his brilliant touch and unique sound as he leads them, like a ringmaster of an oldtime circus, into his world.