Ray Davies will release his latest solo album, Our Country: Americana Act II, on Friday, but the founding Kinks frontman gave fans a preview of the record Wednesday by posting one of its tracks, “The Big Guy,” on his official VEVO YouTube channel.
As Davies explains in an accompanying interview clip, “The Big Guy” was written after he was shot in the leg by a mugger in New Orleans in 2004. It finds him reflecting on two men who worked as his bodyguards when he used to tour with The Kinks.
“[The song is about] a guy called Tony and a guy called Bobby…what they meant to me,” Ray maintains. “‘Cause I have a tendency to self-destruct on tours, like most musicians. And Tony was under instructions [that] if I had more than two pints, he could break my arm…or threaten to.”
He also reveals that the “big guy” in the tune is God.
Davies wrote in detail about the New Orleans incident in his 2013 memoir Americana. The book, along with its focus on his coming to terms with his conflicted feelings about the U.S., inspired both his 2017 album of the same name and Our Country: Americana Act II.
In a new interview with U.K. newspaper The Independent, Ray says of Our Country, “It’s difficult…It’s all the same project, to make it stand as two records is quite complicated. It’s got a through-line where more of that story is covered in the second album.”
As previously reported, the new album — like Americana — features Davies backed by members of the U.S. alt-country band The Jayhawks and by his longtime guitarist Bill Shanley. Our Country includes some spoken-word sections featuring Ray reciting passages from his book.
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