Yip Man is the alter-ego of Scottish songwriter Al Nero, the former frontman of blissful guitar slingers Le Reno Amps and the co-founder of Glasgow’s Armellodie Records. Since Le Reno Amps bowed out in 2011 one might be forgiven for thinking that outside of co-running Armellodie Nero has been somewhat idle.
In truth he has been undergoing metamorphosis. He’s been away. Al Nero went to China…Yip Man came back. So what brought him to Dumfries?
Al explains, “I wrote most of Braw Power in Foshan, China whilst I was living out there for a few years, doing some teaching. Eventually it was time to come home to Scotland and I found myself in the rare position of having no ties or commitments to any one or anything. I threw a dart at the map and lo-and-behold it struck Dumfries. So here I am, I’ve been here for over a year now and have a lot of affection for the place and the people that have made me feel so welcome. I teach in a local school and I live pretty much slap bang in the centre so I think I’ve got a good feel for the place. It’s a bit smaller than China right enough!”
The resulting music displays Yip Man’s ability to melt down a rainbow of musical possibilities into an irresistible marriage of riff & melody in the brightest of colours.
From the explosion of the lop-sided opener ‘Barnburner’ and the synth-riddled rocking of ‘Not That Easy’, to the Calypso carnival of ‘For Your Own Good’ and Pavement-esque brain-rockin’ of ‘Skinny White Ghost’. The songs on ‘Braw Power’ find Nero lyrically and poetically tackling his own existential ennui, whilst sounding like a man who just found the last Golden Ticket in his Wonka Bar.
And he’s already got a link with the Dumfries & Galloway music scene: “I’m not overly familiar with the local music sharp-shooters, other than Small Town Sounds, but I’m hoping to clarify that over the next wee while. I co-run Armellodie Records, a small Scottish label which is primarily based in Glasgow, and we released an album by Saint Max and the Fanatics a couple of years back. Max is from down this way. That’s really all I knew of Dumfries musically before now, that was a great album though and a good indication of the hidden talents of Dumfries. Ha. I hope Yip Man can now be added to that cannon!”
Braw Power will be released via Armellodie Records on LP, CD and download from Friday 11th November 2016. Two free singles are available at yipman.bandcamp.com.
Head over to Facebook and check out the Yip Man Facebook Page.