Alberta Cross announces summer and fall tourdates across the UK and mainland Europe15-06-2023
When you’ve spent most of your life on the move, hopping from one country to another, tour to tour, city to city, bar to bed, bed to bus, what happens when you finally stop? It’s a theme that weaves its way through Sinking Ships, the excellent seventh record by Alberta Cross. The band, based around lead singer and guitarist Petter Ericson Stakee, explored the idea of years spent in transit on 2020’s What Are We Frightened Of? (key giveaway: the first song was titled Find A Home Out There). That record was a creative reset that saw Stakee enter into a fruitful songwriting partnership with producer Luke Potashnick and here they pick up the thread. “A lot of the songs are about what comes after settling down,” says Stakee, who now lives in Frome, Somerset with his family. “It’s about life catching up with you, a lot of things catching up with you and how that does a lot to your head.”
In many ways, everything that is wonderful about Sinking Ships is wrapped up in its opening song and first single Mercy. It’s all there: the expansive, panoramic rock atmospherics, the melancholic majesty, epic and simplistic at once, bombastic but never overblown, an indelible hook giving the song its uplifting swell. “Mercy deals with mental health and that feeling when you stop, getting back on your feet,” says Stakee. Sinking Ships is made up of songs that look back in an attempt to try and plot a way forward.
With that in mind, then, how about a recap to remind you how Alberta Cross got here? The group were formed by Swedish native Stakee and his London pal Terry Wolfers way back in the folk-rock land grab of the mid-00s, when waistcoats were in fashion and the banjo industry was booming. There was something different about this duo, though, their anthemic Americana-tinged songs possessing a vulnerability and earthiness, and it soon showed in how hugely their debut record The Thief & The Heartbreaker began to connect. “It felt so great writing those songs,” recalls Stakee. “Wherever I play in the world, I still have to play them. It felt so pure, it was one of the most exciting times I’ve had as a songwriter.”
What followed was success on both sides of the Atlantic and the relentless grind of US touring that comes with it. They embarked on high-profile jaunts with Mumford & Sons, Portugal. The Man, Neil Young, Them Crooked Vultures (Dave Grohl, Josh Homme and John Paul Jones) and Rag N’ Bone Man and performed on distinguished TV shows around the globe, appearing on The Late Show with David Letterman, Last Call with Carson Daly and more, whilst their tracks were featured on hit TV shows such as Million Little Pieces, Sons Of Anarchy and Californication.
They honed their sound and refined their chops over their next three records, 2009’s charged epic Broken Side Of Time, 2011’s exploratory EP The Rolling Thunder and 2012 groove-infused Songs Of Patience, but there were bumps, too. Label meddling taught Stakee to stick to his guns in future, whilst Wolfers’ time in the band reached the end of the road. “Terry was my brother for years, my best buddy and a really soulful bass player.” Upon his departure, Wolfers implored his soon-to-be ex-bandmate to go it alone, so he did, throwing himself into 2015’s self-titled fifth album. After moving from New York to Berlin to London, the afore mentioned What Are We Frightened Of? was a chance to start again and Stakee arrived at writing sessions for Sinking Ships in the mood to take stock.
“I guess I never paid attention to how I felt since I got signed in 2006,” he explains. “It was just a whirlwind, which was fucking amazing but also you don’t care about anything – you’re in your early twenties, who gives a shit?”. What he realised as the world ground to a halt in 2020 and 2021 and everyone had a lot of time to reflect was that he hadn’t been treating himself very well. Now the repercussions came knocking. “My mental health wasn’t great, I had all this anxiety and depression and all this stuff just hiding under everything,” he says. “I parked it somewhere and didn’t want to think about it, but along the way it still affected me massively. I probably drank more and did more stuff that was harmful because I didn’t feel super awesome. That’s where this record came in. It was like, ‘who am I?’. I’m Swedish but I’ve lived abroad for longer than I lived in Sweden. It’s weird when you’ve been away from where you come from and then you find your new homes everywhere. As much as I love that and couldn’t see myself living in Sweden, it definitely does stuff to you.”
With Sinking Ships, everything just fits, the sound of an artist working without any interference disturbing the transmission. Everything he’s done so far has been leading to this. “I’m freer and purer, I feel more inspired than I’ve ever been,” says Stakee. Sinking Ships begins an exhilarating new phase for Alberta Cross.
Today we're happy to announce a whole bunch of tour dates for Alberta Cross:
17/07: Holmfirth, UK - Picturedrome º - SOLD OUT
18/07: Lincoln, UK - Egine Shed º - SOLD OUT
20/07: Northampton, UK - Roadmender º - SOLD OUT
27/07: Turnbridge Wells, UK - Assembly Hall º
09/08: Wrexham, UK - Rocking Chair º -SOLD OUT
16/08: Frome, UK - Cheese and Grain º - SOLD OUT
17/08: Plymouth, UK - SU Main Hall º
25/08: Granada, ESP - Festival Fiestas de Loja
26/08: Stanford Hall, UK - The Long Road
27/08: Dorset, UK - BeCider Seaside
14/10: Noorbeek, NL - Wanderloss Festival
15/10: Cologne, DE - Yard Club
16/10: Berlin, DE - Badehaus
17/10: Utrecht, NL - TivoliVredenburg
18/10: Groningen, NL - Der Aa-Theater
16/11: Oslo, NO - Krøsset
17/11: Bergen, NO - Kulturhuset
º with Johnny Marr