Mann Friday’s third single off their upcoming album, Bridgenorth Road, is a refreshing folk-pop track called “Redgrave”, that deals with the complexities of traditional relationship roles, and how that could change when a man surrenders to a woman.
With a love of verse that was instilled in him by his poet mother and nurtured by his highly influential English teacher, Mann Friday frontman Rob Burrell developed an affinity for English that spilled over into his fluid and detailed songwriting, and “Redgrave” is no different.
The Mann Friday frontman explains
“There’s an old Chaucerian book called The Wife Of Bath’s Tale and it was a setwork that I had to study for A Levels when I was a kid. The book is about what women truly want in marriage, which is this thing called ‘maistry’ (mastery) that is basically the concept of a woman wanting their partner to surrender to them, in a spiritual way. That doesn’t mean in any demeaning/emasculating sense, it’s about the nuanced dynamic at the very core of a relationship,”
Apart from recognising the beauty of being with someone on multiple levels, lyrically this is the second time that the album title, Bridgenorth Road, has been mentioned in a Mann Friday song in 25 years, the last time being in a track called “Diamond Eyes” on their 2002 debut album The Orchard.
Rob comments on writing “Redgrave”
“Lyrically I really enjoyed writing it, I wrote it in one morning, and I knew exactly what it was going to look like, I knew the chorus was going to be this confession of surrender.”
“But at the end there was this long fade out and I thought that it just didn’t feel finished. And that same day ‘In The Middle Of The Night’ by Billy Joel came on and when I heard the instrumental gap I started singing a riff over it and I thought – wait, this would work in ‘Redgrave’! And so the last verse is all derivative of that Billy Joel track.”
Featuring the staple Mann Friday line-up of Ryan Koriya on bass, Justin Cocks on guitar, and Michele Benigna drums, after “Redgrave” was finished it gave birth to piano being an essential part of Mann Friday’s sound, which is how pianist Ottavio “Otto” Barbiera became part of the band.
At its core, “Redgrave” acknowledges the power struggle that emerges within a healthy relationship and goes on to detail the prospect of a vulnerable surrender, underpinned by an uplifting piano melody.
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