Marouli, led by successful musician and composer Graham McCusker, recently released their debut album Tall Tales from a Distant Uncle. The record, which has beautiful stories woven throughout, pays homage to Billy Connolly’s storytelling tradition and was created after Graham beat leukaemia.
Marouli was formed by composer, music director and session musician Graham McCusker (vocals and keys) and is also made up of Alex Hill (keys), Josh Poole (saxophone), Nick Waldock (bass) and Matt Brown (drums). The band’s sound is inspired by jazz and pop artists like Steely Dan and Gregory Porter, as well as those from Graham’s classical roots, like J.S. Bach.
Graham and keyboard player Alex Hill met when they were students in 2018 and with the addition of three college friends, the lineup was complete and Marouli was born. The lead vocalist had been sitting on a catalogue of self-penned songs for quite some time, and with the help of the new band, the tracks morphed into what is now Tall Tales from a Distant Uncle.
Graham McCusker said: “I wanted each song to be a ‘tall tale’, as Billy Connolly would say, so a little miniature moment of time and tale being told in each song.”
Marouli’s self-composed debut record draws elements from blues, rock and throwback pop, creating a cinematic sound that is classic yet fresh. Graham McCusker said: “I wanted each song to be a ‘tall tale’, as Billy Connolly would say, so a little miniature moment of time and tale being told in each song.”
“I also wrote the album for personal reasons – I have now had cancer twice in my life. In the quieter, more difficult moments I have been writing music. Marouli is now that outlet of this music for me and I want to take it as far as it possibly can go”.
“The album was able to be recorded thanks to my Gran leaving a little bit of inheritance to me to get it off the ground initially so it is also in memory of her.”
The album includes the highly-anticipated debut single Let Her Go, a classic tale of love, anger and how we can, as humans, forget how meaningful friendships are. Other standout tracks include Shane, an upbeat bluesy track that follows the life of the titular character, I’ll Keep On Running, a dramatic and mysterious track about the breakdown of a relationship and Fumblin’, a track about falling for someone which is floaty and dream-like.
Playing alongside the five band members on the album are musicians Nicholas Lockewood, Harry Fausing Smith (Tom Misch, Lissie, Chloe Foy), Thomas Fripp (Big Society, The Specials), Robin Mullarkey (Zero 7, Jacob Collier, Paloma Faith etc) and David McCaffrey.
The album was recorded at Angelic Studios near Banbury and at Hope Mill Studios in Manchester.