Darren Hayman's new record is out soon:

“May Day” is the first single to be taken from Darren Hayman’s powerful new collection of songs based based on William Morris's Chants for Socialists (due for release on wiaiwya on 2 February). Darren explains:

“Of all of Morris’s lyrics that I arranged May Day is the least concerned with the shackles or work or the socialist struggle. May Day become know as International Workers Day shortly before the writing of these words so it’s tempting to assume that Morris was thinking more about the day as the ancient spring festival, a holiday to beckon in the first days of spring.

In much the same way I’ve treated the song as a workers’ holiday rather than a workers’ celebration. On my album of Morris lyrics I have dressed many of his words with a feint sorrow and ennui. May Day however is the album’s true moment of optimism and it’s only pop song. I wanted to make the guitars chime and the singers’ soar.

For about three minutes I wanted it to seem like everything might be alright.”

The album Chants for Socialists was recorded at three of Morris’s homes; The William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow (with a choir of left-leaning locals), Kelmscott House in Hammersmith (where they used the Albion press used by Morris to handprint the record sleeves) and Kelmscott Manor in Gloucestershire, (where Hayman played Morris's own piano).

The result is a beautifully crafted album, lovingly produced with a team of enthusiastic helpers who lent their expertise and time, which will be made available to anyone who wants to listen, allowing people to pay what they can afford or what they think it’s worth. Chants for Socialists is an album of 19th century chants made relevant to the 21st century while staying true to many of William Morris’s ideals.

Buy the album from hefnet.com