Written By GingersnapComments Off on Mission Creep Album Review: Music OMH
An Enjoyable Collection of Well Crafted Songs
by John Murphy | Music OMH | June 17, 2023
An enjoyable collection of well crafted songs, mostly self-penned, defy expectations for a debut album from a successful actor. It’s easy to be cynical about seeing yet another middle-aged actor deciding that it’s not enough to be wildly successful in their chosen field. No, what they really want to do is music. History is littered with such characters – in the last few years alone, Kiefer Sutherland, Russell Crowe and, famously, Johnny Depp have all turned their hand to rock music, with varying degrees of success.
You sense that Damian Lewis, best known for roles in TV shows like Band of Brothers, Billions and Homeland knows this too. “It’s just what the world needs…another record by an actor” he’s said, while promoting Mission Creep. The fact that it’s another collection of ‘authentic’ bluesy rock is yet another reason to be wary.
And yet…against expectations, Mission Creep is actually pretty enjoyable. It may not be enough for Lewis to give up his day job, but it’s certainly a respectable collection of well crafted songs – most of which have been written by Lewis himself. His voice, while maybe not the strongest instrument, is full of soul and character, and when he tackles the more personal material on Mission Creep, you can see why this was a particular itch he had to scratch.
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Southern Comfort and British Spirit Unite
by Jen Long | The Line of Best Fit | June 17, 2023
Bringing together a diverse line-up, all under the umbrella of Americana, Black Deer’s 2023 edition kicked off with a celebratory sense of collaboration and more than a kiss of sunshine. Everything from folk and bluegrass to gospel and rock’n’roll, Black Deer Festival embraces and celebrates all that rolls into the canon of Americana. Based in Kent’s Eridge Park, the garden of England is transformed into a sea of cowboy boots and stars and stripes for three nights.
British actor-turned-musician Damian Lewis channeled his formative love of Elvis into a raucous set of rockabilly jams and segued from bolstering country-rock to London accented banter with a seamless charm. Playing at The Ridge, the festival’s tent-covered second stage, Damian brought together one of the bigger crowds of the early afternoon with his honky-tonk-ready rock n roll. His Elvis inspiration is detailed in our recent Nine Songs chat. Outside the tent the sun beat down, “I didn’t know we were gonna be inside. I’ve got factor fifty on, and now it’s all in my eyes,” he joked. View more photos from the event in our Gallery.
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Hoedown of the Summer
by Gingersnap | damian-lewis.com | June 16, 2023
Damian returned to the stage for a live gig at the 4th annual Black Deer music festival on Opening Day, Friday, June 16 – the same day as his album release for Mission Creep. Photo above shows Damian playing tracks from his new album to a packed Ridge tent stage. He also signed copies of his album during the festival. According to Soundsphere Magazine, “It’s scorching hot, the BBQ is on and the beers are cold. Damian Lewis has just released his first album and is casually propping up the bar.”
Watch an exclusive clip of his Black Deer performance and interview with ITV News Arts Editor Nina Nannar here. They spoke backstage about what it’s like for Damian to return to music. You can also listen to the interview here or the full podcast here. Damian told Nina,
“My kids don’t like it. Full stop. They want Dad to be dad. And they’re much happier when Dad’s cab is available and running and taking them to school. It’s very interesting when even your own children say, ‘Dad, you’re an actor. Now you’re pretending to be a rock star or a musician.”
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A Warm, Rich Debut
by David Cheal | Financial Times | June 16, 2023
Mission Creep ★★★★
When Damian Lewis made his acting breakthrough as a US army major in the second world war TV drama Band of Brothers, it came as a shock to many viewers to learn that he is British, such was the seeming authenticity of his American accent. Now, at 52, Lewis springs another surprise: he is a singer-songwriter of some distinction, here releasing his debut album.
The publicity blurb tells us that as a young man Lewis took off with a guitar and busked across Europe, and that he has long since yearned to return to making music. While the songs here are a long way from being “busked”, they nevertheless have a loose, rootsy quality, a sense of swing and spontaneity. Stylistically the album covers a broad spectrum, from folk-rock to jazz to glam, but its sonic palette — acoustic guitar, keyboards, saxophone and clarinet, bursts of electric guitar, stabs of Hammond organ — brings cohesion to this disparateness.
And then of course there’s the big question: Can he sing? There’s a chequered history of actors turning to music, some with success (Minnie Driver, Hugh Laurie), some less so (Russell Crowe). Lewis belongs firmly in the former camp, possessing a tenorish voice that’s firm and true, ascending at times to considerable heights. He can write a decent tune, too: most of the songs here are by Lewis, with a sprinkling of covers.
Written By GingersnapComments Off on Mission Creep Album Review: MOJO Magazine
Authentic Rootsy Debut Album
by John Aizlewood | MOJO Magazine | July 2023 issue
Damian Lewis Mission Creep ★★★
Homeland actor’s authentic rootsy debut album.
In the ever-variable tradition of actors making records, Homeland/Billions star Damian Lewis is of the authenticity-seeking variety, i.e. he’s more Billy Bob Thornton than David Hasselhoff. This means covers of ‘Harvest Moon’ and, more predictably but more successfully, J.J. Cale’s ‘After Midnight,’ plus a clutch of warm, slightly jazzy originals in a similar rootsy vein. His voice is gently grizzled, whether adding grit to the otherwise supper-club ‘Wanna Grow Old in Paris’ or wigging out with reasonable conviction on ‘She Comes.’ Lyrically, he’s a touch too desperate for edge on ‘Soho Tango’ (“you took me to the toilet, gave me coke,” indeed); he seems to have a car accident in ‘Makin’ Plans,’ and there’s an all-round surfeit of sexual tension. But when everything gels on the excellent ‘Down on the Bowery’ and ‘Zaragoza,’ it’s really quite, yes, authentic.
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“Romantic, offbeat, witty, wise, very touching and unarguably accomplished.” – Daily Telegraph “Lewis’s songs are beautifully written and performed” – The Line Of Best Fit “Rootsy” – MOJO “Proves to be a highly compelling, eclectic endeavour” – Music Week “Be prepared for something very special” – Blues and Soul
Written By GingersnapComments Off on Damian Lewis Debut Album Mission Creep Out Now!
Happy Release Day
by Gingersnap | damian-lewis.com | June 16, 2023
Today Damian released his debut album Mission Creep! What a monumental achievement for him, congrats! Visit our Gallery here to see the making of the album art and studio photoshoot. Singles released ahead of the album are Down on the Bowery, Zaragoza, Makin’ Plans and She Comes. Upcoming shows include Rough Trade East (includes album signing!) on June 19, Union Chapel on July 11 in London and Mercury Lounge NYC on July 19. Additionally, Damian just announced new September/October UK Tour dates here. Don’t miss out, get your album copy now and enjoy the music!
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Heartfelt Songwriting Detour
by Adrian Thrills | Daily Mail | June 15, 2023
Mission Creep ★★★★
Damian Lewis knows exactly what he’s getting into here. ‘It’s just what the world needs… another record by an actor,’ says the film star, drily, of his new career as a singer-songwriter.
With fellow thespians Kiefer Sutherland, Hugh Laurie, Jeff Goldblum and Scarlett Johansson all having made albums in recent years — and Johnny Depp seemingly happiest with a guitar in his hands — he has a point.
But Lewis, 52, who played U.S. Marine Nicholas Brody in Homeland and Steve McQueen in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood, is moving into music with honourable intentions, and his debut album, Mission Creep, is nothing like a vanity project or midlife crisis.
A contemplative set of rock, folk and jazzy grooves, it’s a heartfelt affair with a natural feel.
After coming up with the songs, without co-writers, in lockdown, Damian was introduced to the London-based jazz musicians of Kansas Smitty’s House Band by the septet’s saxophonist Giacomo Smith, and it’s they who provide the bulk of the richly-varied backing here, with Smith and slide guitarist Dave Archer to the fore.
Written By GingersnapComments Off on Damian Lewis Busking in London
by Gingersnap | damian-lewis.com | June 15, 2023
Damian was seen busking just outside Fitzroy Square in London earlier this week. He sure is brushing up on his public performance skills! One wonders if his guitar case was out of shot on the ground accepting gratuities 😉 More photos and video in our Gallery here.
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Bringing Mission Creep to the States
by Gingersnap | damian-lewis.com | June 14, 2023
Just on the heels of playing Union Chapel on July 11 in London, Damian is scheduled to play music gig at the New York venue Mercury Lounge on Wednesday, July 19, 2023. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. at 217 East Houston Street and show begins at 7:00 p.m. Tickets go on sale beginning June 16, 2023 here, and prices are $25 online or $30 at the door.
Damian’s album Mission Creep can be ordered from several outlets here and he just announced new September/October UK Tour dates here. Don’t miss out, get your tickets now!
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“Sod that, why can’t I have a go at something else?”
by James Hickie | Music Week | June 14, 2023
You may know him as the star of TV shows like Band of Brothers, Homeland and Billions, plus films like Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood, but Damian Lewis is adding another string to his bow in 2023. This week, he releases his debut album, Mission Creep, via Decca Records.
The journey to this point began a long time ago. A fan of everyone from John Martyn and The Rolling Stones to Velvet Underground and Eddie Cochran, Lewis tried to write songs in his early twenties before his nerves got the better of him. “I didn’t feel comfortable doing it,” he tells Music Week. “I didn’t know how to do it, I wasn’t confident.”
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A Really Happy Accident
by Neil McCormick | The Telegraph | June 10, 2023
Photo by: Rii Schroer for Universal Music
For his next trick, the Wolf Hall and Billions actor is turning rock star – and this time he’s not pretending. “Why doesn’t he stick to acting?!” says Damian Lewis, in a wry pantomime of outrage. The 52-year-old star of hit TV dramas from Band of Brothers to Billions, via Homeland and Wolf Hall, is anticipating the reaction to his boldest career move to date: on Friday, Lewis will release a debut album of his own songs.
“We’re notoriously bad at changing lanes in this country,” he says. “I’m fully aware of how dangerous it is for me, tiptoeing into another area of the arts. It’s a bit like standing up on top of the parapet going, ‘Right, take your shots, everyone; throw s— at me!’ ”