When The Lost Brothers returned home from Nashville after recording The Passing Of The Night they stopped to do a show in their spiritual home of Liverpool.

The only people who turned up to the Irish duo’s gig were a bunch of old label-mates from The Coral. But a day after the show The Coral’s Nick Power sent The Lost Brothers a couple of songs.

One of the tracks, Hotel Loneliness, was the starting point for The Lost Brothers’ fourth album, New Songs Of Dawn And Dust, released in September.

“When you’ve just done an album you have a fresh canvas and you are looking for a new spark to inspire,” says The Lost Brothers’ Mark McCausland.

“He sent us those songs and Hotel Loneliness gave us the spark and kicked us into action.

“We said: ‘OK, if this is going to go on an album all the songs need to be at least this good.’ That started us off.”

As with the band’s other albums, New Songs is steeped in folk and Americana. But wider influences such as Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen and Ry Cooder have been worked in.

Hotel Loneliness, in particular, reminds of their old pal, Richard Hawley.

The expanded horizon is partly thanks to another Scouser – producer, Bill Ryder-Jones – who is a former Coral man.

“Bill is so tasteful in what he does,” says McCausland. “Everything that comes out of him is perfect and precise and exactly what a song needs.

“Stones Throw was written as fast as a Johnny Cash track but Bill said: ‘Let’s not do it like that.

“‘Let's make it like a Nick Cave piano thing and slow it right down.’ That was his idea and he was spot on.”

Ryder-Jones narrowed down 40 or so songs the duo had written on the road over the last few years to 12 on the album. He suggested they include instrumentals Nocturnal Song, Spanish Reprise and Between The Crow And The Rat.

“That Paris Texas album by Ry Cooder was a big thing for us. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, too. We love that soundtrack.

“We’d love to do a full album of instrumentals some time and Bill seems keen for that.”

McCausland and Oisin Leech have known each other since they left Ireland for Liverpool in the early 2000s. They started The Lost Brothers in 2008 when their respective bands The Basement and The 747s fell apart.

Both had come out of a fertile Merseyside scene powered and championed by the former Shack and Top drummer, Alan Wills, who formed Deltasonic records to put out music by The Coral.

“Alan was the godfather of the Liverpool scene.

“Even if you were not signed to Deltasonic he would help you out.

“He gave us all our start when we were 18 and 19-year-old kids.

“He believed in everybody and made you believe in yourself. He came along and gave us a career.”

Wills, a Liverpool legend, was knocked off his bike in May and died three days later. His death lingers over the city’s musical landscape, which has slumped in recent years.

“The vibe went to Sheffield,” says McCausland.

“But Liverpool is getting it back again.

“The Coral have started Skeleton Key records and there are some great new bands in the city such as By The Sea and The Sundowners. I think the next really great record in three or four years will come from Liverpool.”

McCausland and Leech dedicate New Songs Of Dawn And Dust to Wills. When McCausland’s previous band split Wills insisted the studio time booked in Portland did not go to waste.

That session, with Bright Eyes and Decemberists’ producers Mike Coykendall and Adam Selzer, delivered The Lost Brothers debut album, Trails Of The Lonely.

Six years on, after recording two other parts of a three-album trilogy – first with Richard Hawley’s band in Sheffield and then in Nashville with Brendan Benson and The Cardinals – New Songs Of Dawn And Dust opens a new chapter in the band’s existence.

“We started in Liverpool – it’s where we met but we never made a record there. It made sense to go back there, go back to start.

“We’ve come full circle.”

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