Prisoner Of Love
(album out 22 February 2019 through Bloodlines)

1. Life Moves On
2. Mr Ripley
3. Poor Pilgrim
4. One Hand Reaches For Another
5. The Wind Blew Hard
6. Then Comes Love
7. Lucy In A Black Dress
8. Shifting Heavy Circles
9. Don’t Break Up With Me
10. The World Has No Size Now

From The Sports to a remarkable solo career, Stephen Cummings is one of Australia’s most loved and respected singers and songwriters. February 2019 sees the Bloodlines release of Stephen’s 20th solo album, Prisoner Of Love. It’s Stephen’s first album in five years.

Long ago, I worked out I was good at dealing with the perpetual confusion between the sexes, and I haven’t strayed too far from this,” Stephen says, explaining the Prisoner Of Love title. “Basically, for every step forward there is a step backward and sideways too.”

Stephen made Prisoner Of Love with The Ferrets’ Billy Miller.

“I couldn’t have made the album without him,” Stephen notes.

A Mushroom contemporary from the late ’70s, Billy also produced Stephen’s 2009 album Tickety Boo and 2012’s Reverse Psychology.

“It follows the others in the way that we always have fun when we work,” Billy says. “I reckon a sense of humour in pop songs separates the good from the great. It sets the scene, so that when (for instance) he might say, ‘Why don’t you try some backwards mandolin between the verses’ (‘Don’t Break Up With Me’), he doesn’t get from me the usual frosty silence from a humourless engineer that is common in most big studios.

Billy, Rebecca Barnard, and Billy’s son, Eduardo Miller, provide some exquisite harmonies, while Andrew Duffield, from Models, co-wrote and plays on ‘Don’t Break Up With Me’.

Rebecca has worked with Stephen for 30 years, since singing on his 1988 classic, Lovetown.

Stephen is an incredible lyricist and has a unique way of phrasing words and melody like nobody else,” Rebecca says. “His songs are always a pleasure to sing.”

Prisoner Of Love is a dynamic-sounding album, though Billy says;

The sound we were after? When you’ve got a great singer like Stephen, it’s pretty simple: everything we add is merely a support for that voice.”

The ARIA Award-winning artist had indicated that Prisoner Of Love would be his final studio album…

No,” he says now, “but it will be the last melodic rock/pop type album. I must have written upward of five or six hundred songs and that seems more than enough.

But Prisoner Of Love shows there’s a lot of life left in Stephen, who released his first solo album in 1984. It crackles with a vitality that artists half his age would love to have.

Stephen is also a songwriter who knows that less is more. Prisoner Of Love is tight and concise (10 tracks), though it’s loaded with wry observations on life, love and pain. “What seems painful can pay big dividends,” Stephen reflects in the album’s opening cut, ‘Life Moves On’. Later, in ‘Poor Pilgrim’, he observes, “Freedom will be won, it will be won painfully.”

Prisoner Of Love – Stephen’s 20th solo album (excluding three compilations and two live albums) – is perfectly complemented by artwork from Jim Pavlidis.

Prisoner Of Love will coincide with the release of the 50-song career anthology A Life Is A Life, which gathers tracks from every Stephen Cummings solo album. Bloodlines is also re-releasing Stephen’s solo catalogue and the re-issue series will include some vinyl releases for the first time.

I am excited,” Stephen says, “I am rapt to have all my songs and recordings in the one place.

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