Peripatetic folk musician and multi-instrumentalist Adam Howard is the Portland-based artist behind The Duke of Norfolk. In the build-up to his forthcoming album, ‘A Pebble of the Brook’, Howard has shared the first single January / Eden, Come Slowly.
Howard takes his love for books and combines it with a mix of organic and electronic elements. Finger picked guitars are met with pops and stretched wobbling digital notes in a slow tense build that unfurls with boundless energy. Speaking on the single, Howard offered:
“The song’s two titles are, respectively, for the new beginning and for the slow hope of some approaching joy. It is the beginning of a story told in reverse and a reminder that the end of one story is always the beginning of another. It is about grief in several forms and is, in part, a rumination on the last two lines of Emily Dickinson’s poem 96 which read ‘Parting is all we know of heaven, / And all we need of hell.’”
‘A Pebble of the Brook’, named for William Blake’s poem “The Clod and the Pebble”, is about perception. The Duke of Norfolk attempts to look at the same things with different lenses and in some respects, the second part to his last album, ‘Attendre et Espérer’, as it’s also centered around grief. The album follows the thread of it as it leaves its sanctioned place at funerals and anniversaries to hide itself in travel photos, shifting relationships, and bicycle injuries.
‘A Pebble of the Brook’ begins with the voice of the dead questioning our perspective and ends with his admission of uncertainty.