Coat of Arms - Track by Track

Mark Abrahams and Andy Powell talked through the whole album, track by track. It was published as an audio file in late 2020.
Yours truly transcribed the whole story and was allowed to publish it here. Thanks Andy and Mark!


Andy: "Hello this is Andy Powell and..."

Mark: "... This is Mark Abrahams..."

Andy: "... of Wishbone Ash. We're going to give you a track-by-track breakdown of the new album Coat of Arms."

Select which track's story to read from the tabs below.


Empty Man

Andy: "The song Empty Man is an interesting one. I presented it to the band on the last album, so actually the basis of it is quite old but I never it got off the ground. I had in mind the way it's going to go, which is the way it eventually turned out. Prior to recording the album, I had in mind the idea that I was going to do a solo album. In fact, I had a little recording deal set up, so this song was really going to be used for that. I had quite a lot of the lyric together and lyrically it started about one person I had in mind. Then, of course, we had big political upheaval and changes in America, and it became kind of about another person. It's really a look of a shallow person with an empty life. He's not really getting any joy out of all the so-called successes that they've had. So that's the lyrical idea. It's quite an acoustic sort of song, almost folky kind of thing, like a picking exercise. Mark, you added this ethereal..."

Mark: "Yes, I had the idea to bring this kind of almost western style."

Andy: "I called it Ghost Riders in the Sky..."

Mark: "Yeah, yeah, and then we called it Jim's bomb through alley. Where the guitar comes in with an effect using a volume pedal to swell in with delays, but quite a discorded... "

Andy: "Yes discorded. It makes you... "

Mark: "Makes your head turn."

Andy: "It does. It's spooky. It adds to the Empty Man feel. It sounds like it's been played in a canyon. Again, it's got that alarmist kind of discordant felling about Mark's guitar part."

Mark: "It's a real simple line, but very effective."

Andy: "As with all of our songs in our past, the most simple lines have been most effective. Sometimes less is more. Also: What I love about the end of it is that it goes into a klezmer al reggae section at the end, which is quite unusual for a rock band to do. The guitar solo at the end is an acoustic guitar solo, so that was quite fun to do and something different. It could have been an electric guitar solo, but it ended up being an acoustic guitar solo played by me. I was really happy for the most part how the song came about."

Mark: "I really like the acoustic solo in the end. I think it really works."

Andy: "Yes, got a lot of character to it. Had a lot of fun recording it, actually. Empty Man. Good track!"




Transcribed/written by: Rainer Frilund - Last update: Apr, 2021