This Time Next Year

by MDH

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about

Bass, Drums and Rhodes recorded by Iggy B @ Bella Union Studio
Everything else recorded by Adam Chetwood @ Chetworld

Produced by Adam Chetwood & Michael Humphrey
Mastered by Ed Woods
All songs by Michael Humphrey - MDH
For lyrics etc. visit mdhmusic.com

Thanks to all the musicians, to KiKi, and to Biggy
In memory of Nick Coyle

Review by Katie Bamber:

"If you're an inordinately talented Northern Irish singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist living in south-east London in mid-Trump, mid-Brexit, full-shitstorm 2018, what's the natural response?

To write a full-blown 15-track ode to sun-kissed Americana packed with open roads, pick-ups and prairie winds. Obviously.

Michael Humphrey's fourth album, This Time Next Year, sits on a bedrock of acoustic, bass, drums, organ and harmonies evoking 1970s Neil Young. It takes us on a road trip from the classic upbeat country rock of opener 'Favourite Place to Hide', via the beautifully uncrowded space of 'You Don't Have To' (a track that almost disintegrates halfway through—in a good way), to the frantic, high-energy pop of 'Blastoff Hill'.

There are many kinds of break-up album. This is not the kind you listen to in your bedroom while crying over Instagram photos in your pants. It's a million miles from grey skies, grey streets and naval-gazing: think whiskey-fuelled trip to Nashville during which you happen to stumble across a brilliant song craftsman from Bangor with an incredible band and bevy of backing singers in a dive bar.

Much of This Time Next Year is sung to the nameless 'you' in a relationship that's trundling slowly to its end. There's a thread of exasperation through the whole thing—an awareness of space being filled with 'too much time' that's all too easily wasted and a craving for something, anything, to break the drudgery. It's less American dream, more a romantic dream of an America that represents escape, freedom and a different life, or a life that might have been.

But behind the country rock stylings, it's Humphrey's sterling pop sensibilities that shine through. Yearning for You is a gorgeous, melodic heartbreaker that would suit a summer festival singalong as well as it would a lo-fi acoustic set. You can hear the Emmylou Harris and Ryan Adams for sure—but also Counting Crows, Tracy Chapman, Lenny Kravitz, Joni Mitchell (especially in the bell-like piano of 'No One Knows I'm Here') and early 90s acoustic rock in the vein of Blind Melon and Crash Test Dummies.

To call Humphrey a versatile musician is an understatement (this is a man who's as comfortable arranging Nine Inch Nails and a 12-minute musical medley for a cappella groups as he is giving classic opera a contemporary makeover for the Royal Opera House). His smooth, athletic vocals and the unapologetic, backing-singers-and-big-band joy of this collection of songs make them a tonic for the strained, growly, faux-soul blandness that characterises so many of the male singer-songwriters dominating the charts today.

And maybe dusty-road Americana love songs aren't such a surprising choice for a UK songwriter in 2018. Maybe an album that's part nostalgic escape fantasy, part cry of frustration, part motivational note-to-self to actually do something and make a change, is exactly what these times call for.

Regardless, This Time Next Year is crying out to be played again and again, ideally at full volume while you drive. If that drive is round the M25 in the pissing rain, all the better."

credits

released April 6, 2018

MDH - Lead Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards, Thigh Slaps
Paul Tompkins - Bass Guitar
Moneer Seify - Drums
Adam Chetwood - Hard Guitar, Pedal Steel
Laura Ralph - Backing Vocals
Katie Bamber - Backing Vocals
Anna Trocmé Latter - Backing Vocals
Lizzie Maughan - Backing Vocals
Chris Tortise - Backing Vocals
Nick Hartley - Backing Vocals

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MDH London, UK

MDHmusic.com is the home of recording artist MDH (Michael Humphrey) and the hub for a range of musical endeavours offered by MDH that you may be interested in. MDH writes, arranges, directs, produces, composes and performs – check out mdhmusic.com for more info. ... more

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Track Name: Favourite Place To Hide
You act as if he doesn't know it, but you know he does
You think your armour doesn't show it, but you know it does
You wanna block it out, as you wait for the next episode
There's a finger right on your weak spot that decides when you will both explode

And the cloud of lies will fill up this blue sky
And be seen for miles and miles around

'Cause you can't find a way to convincingly say you're sorry
And you can't find a reason to ask him to forgive
And while he's biding his time, you're losing your mind
So come on over to your favourite place to hide

You bet he's told his friends about it
'Cause when they look at you you can see the knives in their eyes and where they're pointed when they smile at you
You look away in shame 'cause you took his name and they welcomed you
The silent tide of blame is boiling over, up and through the

cloud of lies That fills up this blue sky
and is seen for miles and miles around

'Cause you can't find a way to convincingly say you're sorry
And you can't find a reason to ask him to forgive
And while he's biding his time, you're losing your mind
So come on over to your favourite place to hide

And the cloud of lies will fill up this blue sky
And be seen for miles and miles around

So, Make it rain - so you can take shelter
Make it rain - take cover with me

'Cause you can't find a way to convincingly say you're sorry
And you can't find a reason to ask him to forgive
And while he's biding his time, you're losing your mind
So come on over to your favourite place to hide
Track Name: You Don't Have To
Been walking this line so long
Been singing my lonesome song
So many times that it's tattooed on my mind

Been searching each lonely cloud
Wondering where and how the road will go
Past the end of the rainbow

Tell me that there's nothing wrong
Tell me that it's just my imagination running hard away
It's just that, we're tired and we're terrified
The mist is lifting in my mind, so don't even try

Cause you don't have to
- to give yourself away
- to be careful what you say
- to tell me what her name is
Cause I've already seen
Enough for me to know
That it's time for me to go
So I'll set my sights and keep on walking on my own

Been casting my mind back down
This landslide and looking around
Peering through the dust to find something left of us

This emptiness fills the air
And I wonder if it's always been there
Hiding behind you, even through the good times

Tell me that there's nothing wrong
Tell me that it's just my imagination running hard away
It's just that, we're past the point of talking
And any happy ending has disappeared and been used up and torn to pieces

So you don't have to
- to give yourself away
- to be careful what you say
- to tell me what her name is
Cause I've already seen
Enough for me to know
That it's time for me to go
So I'll set my sights and keep on walking

This line so long
Singing my lonesome song
So many times that it's tattooed on my mind
Track Name: Yearning For You
I don't know what might happen
If I pull up a chair
You can sip your Manhattan and push back your hair
It's such an old situation
For me to ask you your name
You won my infatuation and I lost the game

And the room suddenly empties
The lights suddenly dim
And the air seems to push me towards you but you turn away and walk off with him
My chest locks like a handcuff
My heart sinks though the floor
And the air it completely deserts me and follows you both down the hall out the door

I don't know why I do this
The same thing every time
When I hear you've met someone and you're doing fine
It's not that I'm feeling jealous
But I am darker than blue
Each time I get rejected it reminds me of you

And the room suddenly empties
The lights suddenly dim
And the air seems to push me towards you but you turn away and walk off with him
My chest locks like a handcuff
My heart sinks though the floor
And the air it completely deserts me and follows you both down the hall out the door

I'll move on any day now
I'll work out what to do
Once every heartbeat
Starts yearning for you
Track Name: Happy With Someone Else
You stand up to put your sweater on
And you fumble for your keys
You say you’ll see me later on
But who you come home to won’t be me

Cause I’m striking out on my own, the swallows have flown
Leaving home for the summer breeze

I wait to hear the front door slam
I reach in the closet right to the back
All my things and everything I am
All packed up in this rucksack

I’m striking out on my own, the swallows have flown
Leaving home for the summer breeze

And if I can’t help you, when I’m right here with you
Then I’ll leave you by yourself
As the hand that feeds you, I could start to heed you when you say
I might as well go and be happy with someone else

I make it to the garden gate
Then I stop to look behind
I tried so hard not to hesitate
Made it 4 steps closer this time

To striking out on my own, the swallows have flown
Leaving home for the summer breeze

And if I can’t help you, when I’m right here with you
Then I’ll leave you by yourself
As the hand that feeds you, I could start to heed you when you say
I might as well go and be happy with someone else
Track Name: Die For My Country
The sidewalks of Nashville are covered with gold
I paid for my ticket with the songs that you sold on the golf course
And it forced me to fold

I hold my convictions real close to my heart
There's lots of good music forsook from the charts, I'll get lucky
After my next false start

You call up your family and lie down the phone
You wish that they'd leave you alone

I said I'd die for my country
In my boots and my spurs
Lay me next to John Henry
Where the prairie wind stirs
When my folks come to see me
They'll recollect what they heard
I said I'd die for my country
And I gave country my word

You found that the aces were stole from the deck
You've got all your near misses tied up round your neck, man it's heavy
But it keeps you in check

I could try some writing but I'm drinking instead
The advice I was given was laden with dread and false wisdom
And it went to my head

They can take my tape player and my beat-up car
But they won't take my Rhinestone guitar

Because I'll die for my country
In my boots and my spurs
Lay me next to John Henry
Where the prairie wind stirs
When my folks come to see me
They'll recollect what they heard
I said I'd die for my country
And I gave country my word

I said I'd die for my country
And I gave country my word
Track Name: Blast Off Hill
I’m tired of not believing
Depressed by what I’m seeing
Guided by my mind, ignoring what I’m really feeling
There’s a different meaning
From this mess I’ve been in
These old sunken eyes they desperately need redeeming

There’s a road A thousand steps cut in the hillside
You got to climb But the sight will give you butterflies

All my cares will look smaller from there
The view will give me chills
I’ll see you there, with the wind in my hair
I’ll meet you at the top of blast off hill

The temperature is cooling
Ready for re-fuelling
The drudgery of every passing day is gently gruelling
The habit’s set for breaking
Time for demonstrating
Like is for filling up, for burning bright and not for wasting

There’s a road A thousand steps cut in the hillside
You got to climb But the sight will give you butterflies

All my cares will look smaller from there
The view will give me chills
I’ll see you there, with the wind in my hair
I’ll meet you at the top of blast off hill

There’s a different meaning
From this mess I’ve been in
These old sunken eyes they desperately need redeeming

There’s a road A thousand steps cut in the hillside
You got to climb But the sight will give you butterflies

All my cares will look smaller from there
The view will give me chills
I’ll see you there, with the wind in my hair
I’ll meet you at the top of blast off hill

I’ll see you there, with the wind in my hair
I’ll meet you at the top of blast off hill
Track Name: OK, Let's Go To America
Please find me something to do today
To keep my spirits up
It's so overcast and grey
We could find some fun
Across the ocean in the U. S. of A.
New Orleans, Chicago, L.A.

The open roads of San Antone
Could drive my cares away
A quarter for the telephone, OK

I wanna take everyone I know to America
Better get your coat the taxi's here
I'm gonna take everyone I know to America
Right about this time next year


The signs are screaming loud and clear
They're pointing to the door
To get me outta here
Better save the date
And co-ordinate for the summer next year
JFK, LAX, O'Hare

And then at last we'll raise a glass
At San Francisco Bay
Hawaiian shirts and sunglasses, OK

I wanna take everyone I know to America
Better get your coat the taxi's here
I'm gonna take everyone I know to America
Right about this time next year
Right about this time next year
Right about this time next year
Track Name: Face The Day, Turn And Run
Face the day, turn and run
You know you shouldn’t pay a penalty for soaking up the sun
Time has past, I think we’re done here
You know forever lasts for just as long as clocks are being spun

I was holding the floor while you were falling
You were waiting for a moment to arrive
We were watching the clouds and now we’re calling time

Face the day, turn and run
The ultimatum that you’re reading from has got you overcome
So let it fall down from your fingers
And let the feeling of the freedom linger count it down to one

I was holding the floor while you were falling
You were wondering when I’d start to recognise
We were reading the answers and ignoring the signs

You’re hiding something in the dark behind your eyes
But I can see the spark in the tears you’re cryin
I’ll be waiting up and marking time for you to settle your mind

Face the day, turn and run
I think the bigger the mistakes we make the closer we become
Track Name: Better Days
We ride on punctured tyres
Past bunting and barbed wire
Benches ripped out from the ground
And stacked up on the fire

There’s no life left in this town, just pick-ups passin’ through
Help me up and lead me out, what else is left to lose?

Delay, delay, delay
Can you hear what the televisions say?
If you can’t get away
Save it up for better days

Streetlights block the sky
Yellow like your eyes
The clouds are screaming as they fly
and muscle pink behind

There’s no life left in this town, just pick-ups passin’ through
Help me up and lead me out, what else is there to do?

but Delay, delay, delay
Can you hear what the dial-up modems say?
If you can’t get away
Save it up for better days

You hear the humming rails
But you never see a train
A windmill with no sails remains
Steadfast in the gale
Track Name: Happiness
Impatience rattles its chain, pride’s predicting rain
Hope is closing the blinds, fear comes knocking again
Its pistols at high noon for luck and misfortune
As tension starts counting from ten

Happiness is a promise you can’t trust
Decent lives are hard to lead before the dust
and ashes and stone, as the rust fills your bones
Happiness, this time stick around
or just leave me alone

Denial gathers his thoughts and starts changing his mind
Contentment stares at the clock, he’s running outta time
Jealousy sneers, checks himself in the mirror
And reckons he’s looking alright

Happiness is a promise you can’t trust
Decent lives are hard to lead before the dust
and ashes and stone, as the rust fills your bones
Happiness, this time stick around
or just leave me alone

And love is waiting here at home for you
Beggin please, send some relief
Because friendliness is just loneliness for two

Happiness is a promise you can’t trust
Decent lives are hard to lead before the dust
and ashes and stone, as the rust fills your bones
Happiness, this time stick around…
Track Name: Dread The Morning No More
I used to walk the gutter show up in time for work
I didn’t mind the weather or puddles by the kerb
But my job was gettin’ harder and the punches suffocated the perks

Now I’m on the lookout I read my horoscope
Easy come and easy go for heartlessness and hope
Make a list of what you wanted and sit down behind your old periscope

Now I’ve padlocked the icebox and I’m pacing the floor
And I won’t dread the mornin’ no more

I started out on merlot and finished off the rum
That was forgotten in the cupboard from when your friends had come
It was early in the morning when my eyes closed I was finally done

I was waking up declassified beneath the human race
Angry acetaldehyde was beaten on my face
And then people started exiting and calculating all of the waste

Now I wake up full of acid feeling bloodshot and sore
And I won’t dread the mornin’ no more

Say mister can you help me I’ve fallen through the cracks
All my redeeming features well they’re never coming back
Could you spare a silver dollar, a four-leaf clover or a heart-attack

You didn’t get my message I was talking to the wall
I heard a deathly rattle and I had to heed the call
I thought that all this matter, it seems it doesn’t matter at all

Now I’ve padlocked the icebox and I’m pacing the floor
And I won’t dread the mornin’ no more

Now I wake up full of acid feeling bloodshot and sore
And I won’t dread the mornin’ no more

Now I’m eating cold turkey on God’s golden shore
And I won’t dread the mornin’ no more
Track Name: Decide Slowly
Decide slowly, she said
I know how that pendulum swings in your head
You're just a passer-by
Not in the camera's eye
And you're pulling way too hard on that thread

Decide slowly, she wrote
Like one of those awful motivational notes
Take your time and I'll
Be along right behind
You know that you're not doing this alone

There's a fork in the road
Searchin' high and low, where to go
Into the unknown, with no-one to follow

Look left and right
It takes time in your mind to balance the signs
Life's not black and white
When drawing the line, it's safer you'll find to
Decide slowly, she said

Decide slowly, she said
You won't put a foot wrong if you mind where you tread
And you're movin' on
With every step you're long gone
And the light is waiting for you up ahead

Decide slowly and don't forget
Sometimes it rains and yes your feet might get wet
But the sun will shine
And your trainers will dry
The dark clouds haven't taken the sky yet

There's a fork in the road
Searchin' high and low, where to go
Into the unknown, with no-one to follow

Look left and right
It takes time in your mind to balance the signs
Life's not black and white
When drawing the line, it's safer you'll find to
Decide slowly, she said

Decide slowly, she said
I know how that pendulum swings in your head
Track Name: Will It Be Tomorrow?
Sittin’ here lookin’ at an empty glass
Countin’ ev’ry minute as the hours pass me by
Any second now I’ll see the sun come up
I hide from the daylight so no one sees me cry

Sure, I know this is how things go
When someone goes and leaves you left behind
In emptiness and silence
You took your car and your toothbrush too
And the space you left got filled with too much time

Will it be tomorrow if I go to sleep?
Or will this feeling last forever
What will follow in the mornin’?
Will I be greeted with more sorrow, if so I think I’ll just keep myself awake


Red eyes burnin’ in the dawns blue glow
Shadows creepin’ down to the cheekbones of my face
I see the stars fade through the cold window
I think of where I’m headin’ but I’m stuck in outer space

I scream your name but the sound won’t come
The fresh air has been taken from my lungs
In emptiness and silence
The glass fills up and the eyes re-set
On the blurry middle distance and the things I should’ve done

Will it be tomorrow if I go to sleep?
Or will this feeling last forever
What will follow in the mornin’?
Will I be greeted with more sorrow, if so I think I’ll just keep myself awake


Two years just went rushin’ by like I was in a dream
Now ev’ry minute drags its heels I’m stuck here in between

Will it be tomorrow if I go to sleep?
Or will this feeling last forever
What will follow in the mornin’?
Will I be greeted with more sorrow, if so I think I’ll just keep myself awake
Track Name: Walkin' On
WALKIN’ ON
Well I was sold, if truth be told
On the promise in your auburn eyes
And certainly, it seemed to me
We’d be together ’til the end of time
The feelin’s good, when love it true
Your heart swells to twice the size
But as things panned out, it shrinks back down
When you discover they’ve been telling lies

So now I find you
Standing on the corner screaming “what the hell is goin’ on!?”
So realise that
Once you dry your eyes you’ll see the reasons why I’m walkin’ on


Once again, you were working late
In the morning you forgot your phone
What sealed your fate, occurred at 5 to 8
When I was startled by your message tone
The screen lit up, your game was up
You were mixing pheromones with Mr Jones
I’m jumpin’ out this rut, I’ve had enough
I’m sick of spending evenings on my own

So now I find you
Standing on the corner screaming “what the hell is goin’ on!?”
So realise that
Once you dry your eyes you’ll see the reasons why I’m walkin’ on

So now I find you
Standing on the corner screaming “what the hell is goin’ on!?”
So realise that
Once you dry your eyes you’ll see the reasons why I’m walkin’ on

Oh with ev’ry step I take towards the light
Oh you fade into the distance black and white, and it feels alight, yoo hoo hoo!



So now I find you
Standing on the corner screaming “what the hell is goin’ on!?”
So realise that
Once you dry your eyes you’ll see the reasons why I’m walkin’ on
Track Name: No One Knows I'm Here
No one knows I’m here
Sure when was the last time you saw me
Must’ve been last year
Hey we never made it to that movie
You could be forgiven for thinking
that I might’ve lost my way
No one knows I’m here
So I’m staying home, and staying lost today

I know you’re too polite to stare in windows
I thought you’d like it if I kept the curtains drawn
I’ll put my answer in an email by tomorrow
Once I finish off this song

No one knows I’m here
And though you might imagine that I’d like it
Well my diary’s clear
But I can’t find peace in peace and quiet
No one’s here to interrupt
My working reverie
No one knows I’m here
So just carry on until you hear from me

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