We Still Shine: New country album is best I've ever made, says Tony Christie
THEY don't make them like Tony Christie anymore, writes Graham Walker.
The Yorkshire singing legend has been entertaining us for more than 50 years ago with greatest hits from Las Vegas, I Did What I Did for Maria and Avenues and Alleyways to signature chart-topper (Is This the Way to) Amarillo.
He turned 80 last year and inspirationally shared how he is now battling dementia.
But this tour de force is determined to go on doing what he loves best.
Not only is he on a European tour - which includes Scunthorpe Plowright Theatre on February 22 and Leeds City Varieties on October 27 - he is also releasing his first studio album in 12 years.
We Still Shine, which is released this Friday, February 16, is further proof, if any were needed, that he intends to shine on.
A heartfelt musical endeavour that sees him returning to his roots in country music, a collaboration with his long-time producer and close friend, Graeme Pleeth. it will be avaialble on CD and digitally, including a Dolby-Atmos version.
PRE-ORDER: Ge the album here tonychristie.lnk.to/WeStillShine.
LISTEN: Opening track Home Home Home is also available to stream now - CLICK HERE.
The album is Doncaster born Tony at the top of his game, charming and full of his renowned positivity but also reflective, with ruminations on the passage of time; love, loss and a life well lived.
It powerfully illustrates why he became one of the UK’s best-loved performers and it’s a ringing demonstration that living with dementia doesn’t have to mean an end to creativity and exploration.
The recording is a testament to his enduring spirit and passion for country music, as he continues to leave an indelible mark on the world of entertainment.
With planning starting shortly after his dementia diagnosis in 2021, it has been a relatively swift and, he says, a highly rewarding process, fully recorded in Nashville where it’s been a real family affair
He says it's his best album yet.
Tony told us: "I absolutely love this record and If this were to be the last record I ever make then I would be pleased to leave this as my legacy.”
He said: ”I loved every minute of making this record. It’s the first time my wife Sue had joined me on a recording trip to Nashville.
"My son rented a house that was literally a two minute walk across the road to Blackbird recording studios where we spent three weeks making what I believe to be the best album I’ve ever made, and I really mean it.
"I’ve just come back from Abbey Road Studios where the album has been mastered and it’s the first time I got to hear the album in its entirety and in sequence. I was so blown away by the sound, It brought me to tears. This album is very special to me and has been in the planning for a good few years.”
He added: “Together with my son Sean and my producer Graeme Pleeth we have been backwards and forward to Nashville collating songs and demoing them until we were finally happy we had it just right.
“We worked with the cream of Nashville’s studio musicians and engineers in what is arguably the best recording studio in the world and what I love most about this album is we recorded the band in one room.
"We would listen to the take and if everyone was happy with their performance we would then add little overdubs, just like we used to do in the old days.
"You can feel the musicians playing live like a band rather than everyone being recorded separately and then time corrected and tuned bit by bit."
The writing and recording process has involved friends and renowned musicians such as Graham Gouldman, Jerry McPherson and Beth Nielsen Chapman and the sound of Nashville is a new setting for a full Tony Christie album; his seasoned and familiar pipes augmented by a powerful rhythm section featuring swooping pedal steel and Tennessee’s finest pickers.
Tony, originally from Conisbrough, became an ambassador for the Music for Dementia campaign in 2023, helping it raise awareness of the transformative power that music has on people living with dementia.
As part of this support, Tony released the charity single, Thank You For Being A Friend, featuring Sting and Nile Rodgers, in order to raise money for the Power of Music Fund.
Tony has also lent his support to the recently launched Music Can online platform, which helps people living with dementia, their carers and musicians to feel confident about using music as part of their care. The site has been spearheaded by Universal Music UK and developed by Boston Consulting Group.
Celebrating the release of the new album, Tony will be touring the UK and Ireland to showcase the new record alongside his greatest hits.
Tickets for live shows through the UK and Ireland are on sale now at www.tonychristie.com
We Still Shine Tracklist
Home Home Home
Early Morning Memphis
Just Like Yesterday
In The Times Of My Weakness
It’s Been A While Since I Missed You
Once Upon A Time
That’s What Friends Are For
Produced by Graeme Pleeth
Engineered by Lowell Reynolds
Assisted by Steve Cordray
Mixed by Graeme Pleeth
Recorded at Blackbird Studios, Nashville
Mixed at The Pleeth Station, London