The Nailmasters are one of the two folk bands which appear in my novel The Wood Road North, and this performance is one of the few artefacts documenting their existence outside the text. Here we find singer Bill Smothers accompanying himself on the song with which he shares a name. This was recorded at the band’s secret studio in 2001, and tells the story of a hopeless drinker in the grip of forces greater than himself.
Bill Smothers: guitar and vocals. Solar winds summoned by Yuri Gaga.
I’m having a crisis! This face isn’t mine. So you’ve seen me drink lager? I used to drink wine. The stars of my future shone down over me until I couldn’t say what the future might be. Now the black clouds gather round here. It’s blowing like rain and it will do, I fear. But the rain and the pain fall again and again around here. This rotten pub was a filthy old hole when I first started drinking, a decade ago. I’d never considered I’d ever come in, but I still wasn’t trying so hard to fit in. Now the black clouds gather round here. I’m crying my troubles out into my beer, but the ale is available late, if you’re regular here. This is the house where my grandparents lay, and where I’ll more than likely be laid out one day. Bill’s poor old mother lives under a cloud, and although it’s a dark one, she’s stubbornly proud. Now the black clouds gather round here. I’m living in Belper and living in fear of the shadows that follow me, waiting to swallow me here.